Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Doctor on Iraq

'The Doctor' is really no Dr. at all, just a good friend I have known for almost 25 years. We met in the early 80's while attending North Hennepin Community College. I was on the Student Senate and also the Legislative Director for the Minnesota Community College Student Association (MCCSA). The Doctor later became President of the MCCSA. He leans Right about as much as I lean left, so our debates can be spirited. Sometimes, on issues like guns and school choice, we take the opposite view of our ideological leanings.

Yesterday he had one of his many epiphanies and put together various thoughts on Iraq he had been mulling over. I felt it was worthy of a post of its own so my readers could cull his thoughts. Regardless of where you are on the issue, it is a well thought out screed with some outside the box thinking.

But that is only my view.

Doctor, the floor is yours:


I was thinking.

What to do about Iraq. When you stand back and look at it the answer appears obvious when you consider the inevitable.

Pick the winner !

The fundamental conflict in Iraq today is the Shiite and Sunni dispute. One that has waged on for this region for centuries. American presence has enabled the revitalization of this power struggle by eliminating Saddam who ruled oppressively against the Majority Shiite but kept relative order in the nation of warring factions. Most of the violence in Iraq today are these groups in a cycle of retaliation fueled by religious fervor and anti American presence. Saddam was embolden by American support and was prompted by us to wage war on their neighbor Iran.

It is somewhat presumptuous of us to assume we can enter a region and complete an "extreme makeover" on a society that has little in common with our own, who holds different values, traditions and bears different burdens from their past and perceives fundamental differences of what the promise of what the future holds. We certainly have the ability to initiate change and disruption through force but have little ability to provide lasting solutions to a problem that is not our own that we do not fully understand and attempt to manipulate for our own selfish benefit.

A most egregious American error was the dissolution of the Iraqi Army. This Army may have had ruthless leadership which maintained order, yet the dissolution created a power vacuum. Militia's were emboldened to fill the role on a local level lead by religious clerics. At the same time our national unity and coalition efforts became more of a window dressing to the world highlighted by a new token Iraqi Army. This Army was formed to satisfy pentagon quotas of boots needed to "do the job" without acknowledging leadership control, credibility and fear among the Iraqi people.

The first thing we need to ask ourself is if a unity government has a chance of surviving the future. Without a strong central Iraqi army, and leadership to balance the power between the factions, in the end it will be futile. The growth of Militias and their supporters have out paced the establishment of a national government. It has been a race which the militia has been gaining more and more strength and influence while the current Iraqi leadership continues to look inept and unable to move past fundamental problems inherent in trying to Westernize a society with so many complex issues.

Before we can decide what we should do next we have to look at ultimately where everything will end up. The likely result will be a civil war. The Shiite Majority, led by clerics like Sadr, have the numbers which have multiplied in the past few years. Backed by Iran they have or will soon have the ability to take over control of Iraq. In fact they currently control the votes needed for President Jalal Talabani (a Kurd) to maintain power. Seeing the two together it is obvious which among the two has confidence and control. Sadr is smart. They control votes for the existing coalition government while at the same time building their own internal organization. Sadr inherits the religious legacy from his father and grandfather and gives him a legitimacy for voice among the people.

During the most recent bloodiest day in Iraq, It was Sadr forces that was first to respond at the scene. Everything from security to medics to hospital visits handing out payments to victims for their suffering by taking action and planning revenge. The people of Iraq will rally to a true leader which they are doing in droves.

The most influential country to Iraq in the region is Iran. A neighbor that has much in common with each other. Common borders, economic opportunities for selling goods and services to each other and commonality among the peoples religion and hatred for America. While Iran is an Islamic Republic and has quirky social laws, they do represent a strong growing almost booming market economy that seem to go about their business without respect to what the country leadership is doing on an international scope. They have become a very westernized society (in middle east standards) despite American embargoes and efforts. The wounds of their war runs deep as 900,000 young men died in the war with Iraq that was planned, encouraged, and supported by Washington. They will continue to seek their own interest which we should do as well.

The outcome is obvious, without a strong central Iraqi army, the Shiite majority lead by Sadr will develop Iraq into an Islamic Republic. Why not just pick the ultimate winner now, give him support, engage Iran in discussions for mutual benefit and stop the killing sooner rather than latter. They will still be there long after we are gone when their children's children sing songs about their victory and our defeat.

The Doctor


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Just Answer the Question!

Is this just a taste of things to come:
Bush asked Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.

Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.

“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,” Bush retorted, according to the source.
I can think of a dozen responses the President could have given, none of them as confrontational as the one he chose. So much for his 'pledged to work with the new Democratic majorities in Congress'.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Legislative Leadership

Fecke has a nice breakdown of the new Legislative leadership:

House Majority leadership
Margaret Anderson Kelliher: In 2005 presented comedian and potential 2008 senate candidate Al Franken with the gift of a crock-pot, with the advice, ''Nothing says 'I care' quite like wild-rice hot dish for the neighbors.''
House Minority leadership
Marty Seifert: Nicknamed "Cannonball" by Star Tribune columnist Doug Grow
Senate Majority leadership
Former Pawlenty Chief of Staff Charlie Weaver says of him, "Our politics don't line up, but I like his spunk."...GOP Senate District 38 Chair Michael Brodkorb calls him "Larry 'The Jerk' Pogemiller"
Senate Minority leadership
David Senjem: Has described himself as "in the middle" of the GOP Senate Caucus, and has said he is not as flamboyant as outgoing Minority Leader Dick Day
And that's just a sampling.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Blue Dogs

Tim Penny discussed the Blue Dog effect over the weekend:
Like Clinton in 1992, congressional Democrats today face a similar dilemma. In short, Democrats must feel like the dog that finally caught the tire. After sweeping to victory in nearly every closely fought congressional race, they now have a majority in both congressional chambers.

From the Iraq war to ethics, to deficits, the Democrats spent the election season criticizing Republican mismanagement of the people's business -- while seldom offering a coherent alternative of their own. Now they are in charge of Congress and must deliver. What will they do? What can Democrats agree upon? Thankfully, Democrats will be led by two experienced and respected Budget Committee chairmen, John Spratt (S.C.) in the House and Kent Conrad (N.D.) in the Senate, both of whom are serious about reducing deficits. Spratt has recently gone on record calling for a balanced budget within five years.
And that will be a challenge for sure!
To reach that goal, they might start by looking to the Blue Dog caucus -- comprised of 44 moderate and fiscally conservative members (nine of whom were newly elected this fall). Their prescription for fixing the budget morass created in recent years by Republicans is worth a serious look.

Among other budget disciplines, the Blue Dogs have proposed restoring "pay as you go" budget rules, tighter restrictions on emergency spending, and limitations on appropriation earmarks (commonly called pork-barrel spending).

From the Blue Dog list, Democratic Party leaders have so far only embraced the reenactment of "pay as you go" budget rules. That would make eminent sense given the success of these rules in the '90s when budget surpluses reappeared for the first time since 1969. "Pay go" policies serve to hold the line on new entitlement spending and new tax cuts (requiring that any such measures be honestly offset with other cuts or revenue increases so as to result in no net increase in the deficit). Regrettably, Republicans allowed these "pay go" rules to lapse in 2002 -- and large deficits have returned in the ensuing years. Restoration of "pay go" would hamper any proposed expansion of entitlement spending -- and would make extension of tax cuts beyond their expiration date in 2010 more difficult to achieve.
Penny may have reduced himself to an asterisk in Minnesota Politics, but he makes a lot of sense here. If you haven't read it yet, you should.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

The extended family all got together last Sunday, as is tradition. Today is the immediate family and maybe a couple visitors. I do most all the cooking. Chopped the veggies for the stuffing last night. Was back in the kitchen at 7 bells sautéing vegies and doing the Turkey prep. Yes, I stuff my bird and have always had great success. Now it is a waiting game till the bird gets close. Then the flurry in the kitchen begins again. The cooking part is easy, it is the timing that can be a challenge.

There is strong circumstantial evidence to support my Mayflower Descendancy. It is pretty convincing and has been authenticated through the Benjamin Eaton born 1742. That was a crucial link that only recently has been secured. There is now a drive to do DNA testing to further confirm the lineage.

You all have a fantastic Holiday Weekend. Don't eat too much today, or spend too much tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

GOP Prez Hopeful: Romney

Not only has Midtopia gotten a new facelift, but Sean discusses Mitt Romney's Right Wing credentials and 2008 presidential aspirations:
Mitt Romney has stirred some bipartisan excitement when considering 2008 presidential candidates. He's smart and interesting; he was a successful Republican governor of a heavily Democratic state (Massachusetts), showing he can get things done when bipartisanship is called for; and he took a solid stab at reforming his state's health-care system.
Read it all, unless you have already, since Midtopia should be a daily read!


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Early '08 Dem Prez Peak

The Republicans are getting more excited everyday. Yes, I said Republicans:
Recently re-elected Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York is twice as popular as her nearest Democratic rivals in the 2008 presidential race, according to a new CNN poll.
The GOP couldn't hand pick a better foe. Where does the early list go from there:
Second place for "likely" support was nearly even among Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois (15 percent), former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina (14 percent) and former Vice President Al Gore (14 percent), given the poll's margin of error or plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Of course, the GOP would love to face Kerry again, but even they realize the Democratic electorate is a bit smarter than that:
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the Democratic nominee in 2004, lost support, dropping from 12 percent in late October to 7 percent in the latest poll.

Worse news for Kerry: a majority of registered Democrats say they do not want to see Kerry win the party's nomination in 2008.
Hre is how they all stack up:Early on, I still like Richardson. Not sure about retreads at this point, although the growing surge of Gore supporters just may see him become a force again. Stick a fork in Kerry. I believe it is still a bit early for Obama, but know he will be ready in '12 or '16. And if the race came down to McCain and Hillary, I would probably join the dark side. But not to worry, the GOP isn't clever enough to do a Left flank and endorse McCain, so that match up wont happen.


Monday, November 20, 2006

A Tale of Two Statesmen

Former GOP Secretary of State Henry Kissinger:
But on Sunday he said a military victory in Iraq was no longer in the cards.

"If you mean by clear military victory an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible," he said.
And British Prime Minister Tony Blair:
Frost suggested that the West's intervention in Iraq had "so far been pretty much of a disaster."

Blair replied: "It has, but you see what I say to people is why is it difficult in Iraq? It's not difficult because of some accident in planning, it's difficult because there's a deliberate strategy -- al Qaeda with Sunni insurgents on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other -- to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war."

Opposition MPs seized on the comment as evidence that Blair has finally accepted that his strategy in the Middle Eastern state had failed.
Message controls is more important now then ever. Blair claims it was a mere slip of the tongue, but at the very least it was a fruedian. The Bush Admin has to figure out a way to begin a 'new direction' in Iraq, while still staying the course. It will be an intersting juggling act.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Another Education Analogy

Things are hectic both at home and at work. So I am relying on some items in my 'hopper' to get me through. The following analogy is more related to merit pay. However, it does lay out some of the realities of testing and other challenges that educators face when being tasked with ensuring success, even though many variables are out of their control.

The Best Dentist ---"Absolutely" the Best Dentist

My dentist is great! He sends me reminders so I don't forget checkups. He uses the latest techniques based on research. He never hurts me, and I've got all my teeth, so when I ran into him the other day, I was eager to see if he'd heard about the new state program. I knew he'd think it was great.
"Did you hear about the new state program to measure effectiveness of dentists with their young patients?" I said.
"No," he said. He didn't seem too thrilled. "How will they do that?"
"It's quite simple," I said. "They will just count the number of cavities each patient has at age 10, 14, and 18 and average that to determine a dentist's rating. Dentists will be rated as Excellent, Good, Average, Below average, and Unsatisfactory. That way parents will know which are the best dentists. It will also encourage the less effective dentists to get better. Poor dentists who don't improve could lose their licenses to practice."
"That's terrible," he said.
"What? That's not a good attitude," I said. "Don't you think we should try to improve children's dental health in this state?"
"Sure I do," he said, "but that's not a fair way to determine who is practicing good dentistry."
"Why not?" I said. "It makes perfect sense to me."
"Well, it's so obvious," he said. "Don't you see that dentists don't all work with the same clientele; so much depends on things we can't control. For example, I work in a rural area with a high percentage of patients from deprived homes, while some of my colleagues work in upper middle class neighborhoods. Many of the parents I work with don't bring their children to see me until there is some kind of problem; I don't get to do much preventive work. Also," he said, "many of the parents I serve let their kids eat way too much candy from an early age, unlike more educated parents who understand the relationship between sugar and decay. To top it all off," he added, "so many of my clients have well water, which is untreated and has no fluoride in it. Do you have any idea how much difference early use of fluoride can make?"
"It sounds like you're making excuses," I said. I couldn't believe my dentist would be so defensive. He does a great job.
"I am not!" he said. "My best patients are as good as anyone's, my work is as good as anyone's, but my average cavity count is going to be higher than a lot of other dentists because I chose to work where I am needed most."
"Don't get touchy," I said.
"Touchy?" he said. His face had turned red and from the way he was clenching and unclenching his jaws, I was afraid he was going to damage his teeth.
"Try furious. In a system like this, I will end up being rated average, below average, or worse. My more educated patients who see these ratings may believe this so-called rating actually is a measure of my ability and proficiency as a dentist. They may leave me, and I'll be left with only the most needy patients. And my cavity average score will get even worse. On top of that, how will I attract good dental hygienists and other excellent dentists to my practice if it is labeled below average?"
"I think you are overreacting," I said. "'Complaining, excuse making and stonewalling won't improve dental health'... I am quoting from a leading member of the DOC," I noted.
"What's the DOC?" he asked.
"It's the Dental Oversight Committee," I said, "a group made up of mostly lay persons to make sure dentistry in this state gets improved."
"Spare me," he said, "I can't believe this. Reasonable people won't buy it," he said hopefully.
The program sounded reasonable to me, so I asked, "How else would you measure good dentistry?"
"Come watch me work," he said. "Observe my processes."
"That's too complicated and time consuming," I said. "Cavities are the bottom line, and you can't argue with the bottom line. It's an absolute measure."
"That's what I'm afraid my parents and prospective patients will think. This can't be happening," he said despairingly.
"Now, now," I said, "don't despair. The state will help you some."
"How?" he said.
"If you're rated poorly, they'll send a dentist who is rated excellent to help straighten you out," I said brightly.
"You mean," he said, "they'll send a dentist with a wealthy clientele to show me how to work on severe juvenile dental problems with which I have probably had much more experience? Big help."
"There you go again," I said. "You aren't acting professionally at all."
"You don't get it," he said. "Doing this would be like grading schools and teachers on an average score on a test of children's progress without regard to influences outside the school, the home, the community served and stuff like that. Why would they do something so unfair to dentists? No one would ever think of doing that to schools."
I just shook my head sadly, but he had brightened. "I'm going to write my representatives and senator," he said. "I'll use the school analogy -surely they will see the point." He walked off with that look of hope mixed with fear and suppressed anger that I see in the mirror so often lately.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

An Educational System Analogy

As the other wonks try to dissect the latest testing numbers, let's put a little perspective into it with a cutesy analogy.

But while you are trudging through those numbers, remember that it is only a moment in time. We are, in some way, comparing apples to oranges as the new test that was taken was a more difficult and rigorous exam. It will take a few years of comparing the same test to their respective results, rather than congulating some type of comparison to a totally different testing instrument.

On with the fun:
The New Education System ---The Football Version

1. All teams must make the state playoffs and all MUST win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable. If after two years they have not won the championship their footballs and equipment will be taken away UNTIL they do win the championship.

2. All kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time even if they do not have the same conditions or opportunities to practice on their own. NO exceptions will be made for lack of interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities of themselves or their parents.

3. Talented players will be asked to workout on their own, without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who aren't interested in football, have limited athletic ability or whose parents don't like football.

4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th, and 11th game.

It will create a New Age of Sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimum goals. If no child gets ahead, then no child gets left behind.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Trimming the Hedges

Joementum hedges:
Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut said yesterday that he will caucus with Senate Democrats in the new Congress, but he would not rule out switching to the Republican caucus if he starts to feel uncomfortable among Democrats.
Come on, don't you think he is already feeling uncomfortable. What is the tipping point?

Love it or hate it, Sen Joe is the most powerful Senator right now. And he is already flexing his muscle.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Senate Scramble

Speculation is in full swing for the 2008 DFL Senate nod. I am not sure I am on the same page as some of the early prognosticators. A sitting Senator who has nurtured his moderate credibility will be tough to beat. And Amy's game plan will be difficult to match against an incumbent. Let's look at some of the names being thrown around.

Al Franken: We tried a personality already, I am not sure the state would elect another one. It sure would make for a great campaign season, but I am not convinced that Al is electable. It would be an uphill battle for Franken to establish credibility within the state. It may also mean he would have to go off the air a little earlier then he would like. Al better serves the party on the airwaves. My gut says he sits this one out.

Betty McCollum; 4th District Congress: Why would someone in the most securest political job in Minnesota want to risk it. Amy won because of strong moderate stances that appealed to a broad range of voters. Betty would have a difficult time playing the moderate card, one that Coleman is holding tightly against his chest. Whoever wins the middle wins the Senate. Amy proved that. Norm has the middle right now, and it is his to lose. Betty wouldn't stand a chance, today. I doubt she'd roll the dice on a run and give up her congressional seat. with seniority and majority in hand.

R.T. Rybak: It's been a while since the Mayor of Minneapolis successfully ran for a US Senate Seat. And R.T. is no Hubert Humphrey. Unless there is a major shift to the Left by the electorate, Rybak's chances are minimal. He has a couple years to get Minneapolis in order, then he has a decision to make, a 3rd term as mayor, or a gamble for Senate. I say he stays on task in the big city.

Ciresi is the big money anomaly. he is becoming the perennial Senate contender who wisely recognized Amy's strength and stayed out of that fray. I say he runs, but unsuccessfully.

Mike Hatch may be teased at the thought, but his electoral history has been local. A jump to the Senate may be a reach, and reach to far out of his grasp. If he couldn't beat Tim for the Governor's seat, he would be a long shot to unseat Norm.

Judi Dutcher has to be the early favorite. The E-85 gaff was nothing more than that. With two years to brush up on national and international issues, including E-85, this former Republican and top statewide vote getter has the best shot at Norm. I say Judi is the early favorite.

Senator Coleman will be in a new role with the GOP in the minority, at least for now. It will be a chance for him to further claim his moderate credibility, and show he can work with members of both sides of the aisle. And the growths and strength of the Minnesota Blogosphere will be keeping a close eye in him.

SO that is who the PiPress mentioned In their article. Who else is out there that may want to risk their political future by butting heads with an incumbent, besides me of course.


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Bloggers take Control of Blog House

The Blog House was handed over to a mix of 5 of us this week. Here was my take:
Flash at Centrisity (1): Mike Hatch was the best hope for the DFL. However, I couldn't come up with a single scenario where Tim Pawlenty would lose. To Joe Average Voter the governor is simply "too nice of a guy" who was doing a "good job." Add to that a flank from the left by Peter Hutchinson, and the numbers were tough to find for our attorney general.

So both our state and nation will have Republicans in the executive chair. Two-term President Bush and two-term Gov. Pawlenty now have to deal with Democratic majorities in both chambers for the first time. The president has talked about being a "uniter, not a divider." The governor shared his desire to "work together" for a better Minnesota. It's time to put the rhetoric away and acknowledge the mandate. People didn't merely want change, they demanded it. A true leader will acknowledge that reality.

My colleagues on the right love to tout the strong leadership and strength of the governor and president. I now expect to see that from them. But, just as important, the Dems have a responsibility as well. They now have two years to show the state and the country they were right all along. They need to make wise choices within a limited time frame. See, two years isn't very long, and much more will be at stake then.
Others contributing this week:
Kennedy vs. the Machine
Minnesota Monitor
Minnesota Democrats Exposed


Friday, November 10, 2006

Why I Voted No.

There was an exchange in the thread below regarding School levies. Brooklyn Center's failed, again, and now they are facing some very difficult decisions. I would have not only supported that request, but worked hard to get the message out. St. Paul's passed. I am an educator for the St. Paul system, and I voted no.

Frequent commenter Nathan stated:
You voted no for the St. Paul school levy? Are you crazy?
Crazy, not really, somewhat delusional at times, but definitely not crazy *laughing*

I had a pretty good inkling this one would pass. I voted no for a few reasons reasons.

A) I'll consider voting Yes on a referendum the first time I make it through a school year and I don't hear of an Administrator telling a subordinate 'Hurry up and spend this money before we lose it'

B) There are FIVE area superintendents. Before Harvey, there was 2. I'll let them have three, so cut two of them.

Finally, transportation and busing. With open enrollment as many as 8 buses drive by my house. There has to be a better way. Either limit openness to regions, or develop a hub busing system so no more than three buses will drive by my house significantly reducing cost as well.

There is still a lot of fat in the district, it needs to be trimmed.

Here is a letter I sent to the school board a couple years ago when they closed the school I was working at. It lays out some of these options.

Centrisity; fiscally conservative, socially progressive.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ed Bradley (60 Minutes) Gone!

via CNN:
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Ed Bradley, the longtime "60 Minutes" correspondent who reported on subjects ranging from jazz musicians to the Columbine school shootings, has died. He was 65.

Bradley died Thursday at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital of leukemia, according to staff members at the CBS program.

Rock meet Hardplace

via Cagle's Index.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Phase One Complete: Rusmfeld to Resign

Heard on MPR and CNN now reports that Rumsfeld will resign.

Hmmmmmm, who will replace him.

More as this develops.


UPDATE: Phase Two falls flat,
"Bush said he is nominating Robert Gates, former head of the CIA, to replace Rumsfeld."
Whewww! Dodged a bullet there. But there are still some carrots left in GW's back of trick., the least of which is letting Joe be Veep after all. How ironic would that be!

51?: And the Lieberman Factor

Barring a bag a ballots materializing, or a drawn out court battle that would take away the will of the people, the US Senate will flip to Dem control as well, 51 - 49.

Both Montana and Virginia are yet to be projected. But the several thousand vote leads the Left leaning candidates enjoy should hold.

I say, not so fast, there IS the Lieberman factor. I have been a Lieberman supporter for quite sometime. I supported him during the 2004 Democratic Primary process, and during this year's CT Senate Primary. Once he lost, I felt somewhat betrayed he chose not respect the decision of the constituency within his party, and become an Independent. This makes me nervous. It wouldn't be the first time a Senator left the major party to claim Independence, and inevitably caucus with the opposition. Joe pledged to caucus with the Dems, and I only hope he honors that pledge. Regardless of what he does, there is a Chairmanship for him.

But there is another scenario that is even more intriguing, and that has to do with the future of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. President Bush seems to have as much power in determining the balance of the US Senate as Cheney would if it were 50-50. With the tumult that has surrounded Rummy, culminating over the last several weeks, The President has a Win-Win option before him. Fire Rummy (or accept his resignation, same difference) and appointment Joementum to the post. This allows for the GOP Governor to appoint the replacement, and what do you know, 50-50 and Cheney breaks the tie.

The Left needed a Lieberman proof majority to prevent themselves from spinning wheels on the ice. I hope there are some deep and sincere talk going on in the 'new' Senate majority, or it will be over before it even begins.

But that's just me!


Conferences tonight, which is why I was fortunate to have the morning off. I need to get to work, but may check in over the dinner hour to see what you'all are up to,

Hatch Concedes

It was not wrong to wait. Things were still tight last night, and it was OK to choose to go home to bed and wait it out.

Hatch has offered his congratulations to the Governor. After he completes his term as AG, he will return to private practice.

Best answer of the gaggle:
"What would you do differently?"
Hatch:"I'd WIN!"
Regardless of what his distractors want you to believe, Mike Hatch is a GREAT public servant who always puts the people first.


Almost Perfect

With 94% reporting, AG Hatch is down by about 30,000. Dirty math means there is about 200,000 votes out there, and Hatch needs at least 120,000 of them. That is a real tough margin to make up. Ya can't win 'em all.But not to worry.

The Dems regain a solid majority in the State House, flipping a 68-66 GOP house to a current projection of 85-49 for the Dems. Although Dean Johnson, DFL Senate Majority leader fell, the Dems still picked up 8 seats to increase their margin to 44-23.

The remainder of the State Executive branch went to the challengers, with the election of Lori Swanson, Mark Ritchie and Rebecca Otto.

Nationally, the House becomes Blue with over 30 seats in their favor. The Senate is coming down to the wire, with a very likely possibility that the Left grabs 51.

So both our State, and the Nation, will be led by Republicans, but they will have to deal with Democratic majorities in their Houses, and quite possibly the Senates as well. Bush talked about being a uniter, not a divider. Pawlenty shared his desire to 'work together' for a better Minnesota. It's time to put the rhetoric away, and acknowledge the mandate. People not only wanted change, they demanded it. A true leader will acknowledge that reality.

My colleagues on the Right love to tout the strong leadership, and strength of the Governor and President. I now demand it. But as importantly, the Dems have a responsibility as well. They now have two years to show the state, and the country, they were right all along. They need to make wise choices, and value their time. See, two years isn't very long, and much more will be at stake then.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Mayor Elect Tim Willson

Brooklyn Center Mayor (86% reporting)

4,128 55.7% TIM WILLSON

CONGRATULATIONS Cousin Tim. We'll see you at Thanksgiving!

A Family Photo(L-R)Flash, My Sister, The Mayor Elect, My Mom, Mrs. Mayor Elect, and Cousin Sheila.


DFL Victory Extravaganza

What a change from the other locations. Intermittent internet, but at least access, and tons of people. I'm sitting on Blogger row and will bop back in periodically.

The WiFi is being stubborn so we are sharing an Ethernet cable that I brought.


UPDATE: OK, its the morning after, but I would rather keep things grouped together. Here are some pics of the evenings events.


Blogger Row

I just missed Franken's visit to blogger row. He spent some time chatting with those who were there, and then went down to visit with the TV Cameras.

Ritchie accepting the responsibility that is now his. Keeping Minnesota elections clean, and accessible for all.

GOP Party

Decent crowd with long faces already at the GOP gathering. Saw Rudy glad handing. He's looking good and still wearing the trademark flannel

The NARN Crew at work interviewing the Chairman . . .

. . . who later addressed the solemn audience with his Yogi Berra "It's not over till its over' Speech, including the infamous holding out hope lines of 'When the absentee ballots come in we'll be just fine" and the more timely 'remember the Twins were behind all year long, until the last game, and they won at the end when it mattered. Folks, it was barely after 9:00 and he was already making up excuses. This may be a better night for Dems then I thought.

In transit to the Crowne Plaza for the remainder of the evening and what hopes to be the most spirited and energetic crowd yet.


Indy Party

Great time at the Indy Bash. GREAT positive crowd ready to enjoy a GREAT evening regardless of the results,

Here is a quick pic of the layout:

A Nice spread for all to enjoy.

Her I am visiting briefly with Tammy Lee introducing her to the readers of Centrisity.

As we left we were fortunate to run into Robert Fitzgerald. The Doctor opted for Fitzgerald this year, and was pleased to have another opportunity to visit with him.

I congratulated him on his excellent campaign, and the bright future he has ahead of him depending on which path he chooses.

We just pulled into GOP headquarters. so more around 9:30


Results Links

Starting around 8:30 this evening, I will dole out hourly screeds sharing with you my experiences as I traverse the Election Night gatherings. Yes, there will be pictures. I won't be running any totals or tabulations, so here are the places to go.

Granted, you could just go to CNN , the Strib, even the PiPress or MPR but we have our own forces in the Blogosphere, so give them the attention they deserve.

Minnesota Monitor
Kennedy -v- Polygraph
Kool Aid Report

I am sure there are many others, but those are the ones I'll be following in the early goings. Use this as an open thread to tel me, and my readers, where the other late breaking stories can be found. I'll be back around 8:30, from GOP Election Night Headquarters.


Election Night Coverage from Both Sides

The Doctor and I will be out and about tonight, as we have in the past.

We'll begin with a mid evening beverage and meal at Rock Bottom Brewery, downtown Minneapolis. Stop by if you're in the area. Just ask the bartender for 'Flash' they'll know where I am.

Just before 8:00 we'll head out to the gatherings. A possible stop at the Hyatt, where the Independence Party will be, before journeying south.

The MN GOP will be at the Sheraton in Bloomington (off 100 and 494), where The Doctor will feel more at ease with his like minded brothers and sisters. I'll be sure to stop by the Patriot broadcast area to give the crew a smirk or a smile. It will probably be too early for a smirk, so a smile it will be. Maybe they will give me a bit of airtime to provide some 'balance' to their broadcast. We'll see.

A few hours later, it will be off to St. Paul, and the Crown Plaza Hotel for the DFL Victory Celebration. This is where we will most likely end our evening. We generally prefer ending up where the most positive vibe is, and lately that has been with the GOP. This year, with Amy leading the ticket, there should be plenty to celebrate, and maybe some surprises as well.

I'll be doing hourly updates, on the half hour. I figured 'Centrisity' would be more suited for posting on the center of the hour. So look for a short paragraph, blurb, mini screed, or scandalous news beginning at 8:30 this evening, and every hour after that. Unless, of course, the techno gremlins interfere.

If you haven't voted, VOTE, and then sit back and watch the returns roll in. I'll do a quick post this evening before I head out. I'll point you to the great coverage in the local blogosphere, as long as you return here on the 30s for my take on all the action.


Hopes without Fears: Not a Prediction post

I can't do a prediction post, as it would just be a jinx on my candidates that I would have to live with for another couple years. So instead, I'll do my hopes without fears.

MN Governor
I hope that Hatch pulls this out. Gov TPaw is a likable guy, but he is using his persona to drive Minnesota into a pothole haven lined with skyrocketing Health insurance premiums, unbearable property tax burdens, and risky public safety cuts. We really need someone who has shown over the years they are sincerely on our side. Not with a smile, followed by a wink and a nod, but with a snarly growl to anyone who may prevent him from getting this state back on track. That person is Mike Hatch.

Even if the current Governor sneaks in, his hands will be tied with the Senate remaining in good hands, and the State House switching control. Guv TPaw will then have to show us if his good natured 'let's work together' attitude is sincere, or just another GOP trick.

US Senate
Poor Mark?!? Ya know, I think he may have had a shot at this thing, but he blew it right out of the shoot. As soon as he ran away from the President, and tried to pretend to be of independent mind, the MN Electorate saw him for who he was. A "say what you want to hear, but I am going to do what I want to do anyway" politician.

Amy kept it clean, and stayed on issues. Her positions are rock solid and resonated with the voters. Every US Senate candidate out there should take a long look at how well this campaign was run. Amy will be a fantastic voice for Minnesota, and I have a strong feeling, that if the Righty Tighties can take off their blinders long enough, they will see true value in having her represent them in Washington!

US Congress
No doubt that there are 4 races that were decided before challengers even announced, the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th. Oh sure, we had a curve ball thrown at us in the 5th. But clearly a lefty candidate would prevail in this +70% Bright Blue district. Its no surprise that these 4 seats are all Dems, leaving the remaining 4 primed for pickings.

I don't see three of them changing hands, which means the 3rd, 2nd and 6th will remain Red, although taking on a more purplish hue. Ramstad is a 'good' Republican who will work well with his colleagues on the other side of the aisle. Kline is a tolerable fit for the 2nd, although I felt the evenhanded Luther was a far better match. And finally the 6th. El would have one this race, no doubt in my mind. A soft spoken, smooth taking, prolife Moderate Dem against a . . . how should I say this . . an out of touch Right Wing Radical Extremist. I hope the voters in the 6th won't embarrass Minnesota by sending this anomaly to Congress, but they probably will. I guess the good news is Kennedy will lose tonight, about 8:15, and if he is a wise man, will be gearing up to take his seat back. It's his for the taking, and I will go on record today supporting him 100% if that is what he chooses to do.

Please vote today, or you may just be asking yourself tomorrow, why didn't I!

More later . . . when plans for Centrisity's Election Night coverage is revealed


The Fecke Endorsements

Fecke of BotML put up his two part endorsement posts yesterday. Here are some highlights.

Part I
These were his congressional endorsements. Only one squabble here. Obi Sium, OBI SIUM. Now I've met the man, and he has even been to the garage, but I don't think I could vote for him. In my endorsement I found a candidate who I could support, and matched my ideology perfectly. Why didn't you consider this individual, Jeff?
So I have decided to endorse the only person I know, in the 4th district who matches me perfectly. An ideological clone, a mirror of my mind, and someone who I have full manipulative control of. That person is ME . . . write-in Kurt 'Flash' Schiebel for 4th district congress!
But his screed on the 6th was some of his finest work:

Patty Wetterling is fine and all, but I’d vote for anyone—Mark Kennedy, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Satan (but I repeat myself)—before Bachmann. Michele Bachmann must be stopped. If you want to boot Wetterling out and send Phil Krinkie or Mark Kennedy or some dependable GOPer to Washington in two years, by all means, sixth, do it. But stop Bachmann now. Your state, your country, your world is depending on you.
I couldn't agree more!

Part II
His support of Amy was never in doubt, and his kind words for Fitzgerald were spot on!
I would be remiss in not noting that I considered strongly supporting Robert Fitzgerald, who has run a strong, idealistic campaign. Fitzgerald deserves praise for his conduct and his candidacy–but I have come to believe that the Independence party’s time has come and gone.
The rest of the slate is straight DFL, but that is where most moderates are at these days. The Right has had full run for long enough, and they have squabbled their opportunity by turning their back on the middle class to protect their Richie Rich friends. I look forward to the beginning of change on Wednesday Morning.


Monday, November 06, 2006

The Progonosticators

I'll probably roll the dice on a few races tomorrow, but since I am always wrong, I want to be careful not to jinx anyone. However, Electoral-Vote has an interesting table of other 'Gurus' who have stuck their neck out a bit and attempt to peer into their crystal ball:
Senate House Guru
48-48-4 212-199-24 Congressional Quarterly
49-49-2 223-197-15 Charlie Cook
51-49-0 237-192-06 Stu Rothenberg
51-49-0 230-205-00 Larry Sabato
49-49-2 241-193-01
49-49-2 235-200-00 Votemaster
??-??-? ???-???-?? Election 2006
It will take more than a last minute GOP surprise to prevent the House from going Dem, the Senate is still too close to call. Races in Virginia and Rhode Island, Missouri and Montana are the ones to watch, with Maryland being the only viable GOP pickup at this late date. And of course, there is the Lieberman factor. Who knows what he has up his sleeve.


Why Ritchie for SoS?

Why Ritchie for SoS? Because he is doing the job already, and far better than the incumbent. Today the Supreme Court is expected to force the current GOP SoS to actually do her job:
the state Supreme Court is expected to again rebuke Kiffmeyer on Monday for failing to fully carry out the duties of the office she has held since 1999. Since then Kiffmeyer has repeatedly been taken to court as a result of her actions making it harder for Minnesotans to vote (see table here). After pressure from community groups and Democratic Secretary of State candidate Mark Ritchie, she has corrected information distributed to voters and implemented some laws.
Kiffmeyer has been a complete failure for the people of Minnesota, and nothing but a partisan tool of the GOP. Our own little Katherine Harris if you will. That is not what the office is suppose to be for, and clearly not following in the legacy of great SoS's like Joan Growe.

I hope you'll join me in supporting Mark Ritchie, and a return of the Secretary of State's office to the people of Minnesota.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fat Lady Warming Up in CD5

MNCR has the SurveyUSA numbers that will be released on KSTP tonight. I'll adjust them if necessary, but here is what he has:
We finally have poll results in CD5. SurveyUSA’s poll for KSTP is complete, and will be broadcast on tonight’s 10 PM news. The results, according to a solid source…

Ellison (DFL): 49
Fine (GOP): 25 24
Lee (IP): 22
Pond (GP): 2
If Ellison were in the low 40s, and Ms. Lee in the 30s, there may be a case for the 5th District GOP to follow suit with the Connecticut GOP in their Senate race.

These results should boost Fine's numbers as the GOP faithful recognize that even switching to Tammy Lee will not prevent the election of Mr. Ellison.


UPDATE: In the Poll's crosstabs, the most interesting stat was the party breakdown. 43% of of those who Identified themselves as Independent voters supported Ellison. Tammy Lee's break down was pretty similar across the board; 15% GOP, 23% DFL, 28% IND.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Byerly's Stop:Campaign for Change

A few photos from Amy's pit stop at the Roseville Byerly's.

The bus arrives. You can see the inflatable bulldog on the far right. That is the GOP State Auditor's float that apparently has been following Amy throughout the day. I must assume that since the GOP is floundering so bad, this last act of desperation is an attempt to pick up on Amy's coat tails.

Pulling up to the group of supporters.

Various candid moments with the electorate. Amy really knows how to engage the crowd and bend an ear. She will make a GREAT voice for the people of Minnesota.

Here is a quick snapshot of an individual from the 'otherside'. Seems that either Kennedy or MNGOP surrogates are following Amy around trying to catch her in an editable moment for some last minute shenanigans. This is where it is so clear that Kennedy and the MNGOP know that their candidate is so weak and shallow their only choice is to go after the opponent, rather than prop up their own. Sad, really!

Final shot of Amy with her supporters, and the 'other side's' private videographer.


Amy's Homecoming Tour

Amy will be doing a mini tour of the cities, today, following her appearance in the UMN Homecoming parade. I'll be up at the Roseville Byerly's to say Hi this afternoon. Other times and locations are listed below.

9:00 AM
Amy Attends University of Minnesota Homecoming Parade
Line-Up Location: 2nd St. SE & 5th Ave. S, Minneapolis
End Location: Oak St. SE & University Ave.

10:30 AM
Amy Greets Gopher Fans Outside Metrodome
900 S 5th St, Minneapolis

12:00 PM

Amy Meets Voters in Plymouth
Plymouth Cub Foods, Plymouth Cinema 12
3550 Vicksburg Lane, Plymouth

1:15 PM
Amy Meets Voters in Roseville
Roseville Byerly's
1601 County Road C West, Roseville


Friday, November 03, 2006

Balance of Power: The Stretch Run

Here is an update from three sources tracking Balance of Power in the US Senate and/or House:

Rasmussen Reports

49 Dem/Lean Dem
48 GOP/Lean GOP
03 Toss Up

Electoral Vote

49 Dem
49 GOP
02 Ties

241 Dem
193 GOP
001 Tie

Election Projection

51 GOP
47 Dem
02 IND

219 Dem
216 GOP

I'm not in any position to make predictions, besides I am wrong more times then right. We'll leave the Predictions and the Election Super Pool to Fecke over at BotML. But here's a quick take.

The House will go Dem, no doubt, and how the new majority works toward enacting sensible legislation with a lame duck minority party President will be key in what happens in 2008's horse race. The Senate may fall into new hands as well, but for how long. Then GOP Senator Jim Jeffords from Vermont made a deal to leave the GOP and go Independent. After wrangling for a key committee chairmanship, he opted to caucus with the Dems, returning control to the Democrats.

Now we have a Conservative Democrat from Connecticut switching to Independent status. There is no telling what kind of deal Smokin' Joe may make to keep the GOP in control.

Tuesday might be election day, and we'll have many queries answered. But there will be a slew of new questions with accompanying speculation to keep us bloggers in business for quite a while.


Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hatch "embraces his pugnacious reputation"

There was a point when the MNGOP tried to use Hatch's "pugnacious reputation" against. him. It backfired, and backfired miserably. In today's PiPress profile we find out more about our next Governor, and why he is such a perfect fit for the times ahead:
Running neck and neck with the incumbent, Hatch was delighted that his strategy to get under Pawlenty's skin seemed to be working.

The day before, Pawlenty launched a TV ad criticizing Hatch on an immigration issue. Within hours, Hatch aired his own.

"Ever since he made an issue out of immigration four years ago, we knew he'd do it again," Hatch said. "And we were ready. We've had our ad in the can since last summer."

It was a classic Hatch tactic: Wait for your opponent to throw a punch, then blast him with a counterpunch.

"He's whining; he can't take an upper cut," he chuckled, after hearing about Pawlenty's news conference.
Read the whole thing, and you'll learn more than the fact that ole TPaw can't take a punch.


AG: Swanson Sweeping Up

The PiPress provides the details:
Lori Swanson, the Democratic candidate for Minnesota attorney general, has widened her already significant lead over Republican Jeff Johnson, a new poll shows.

But Swanson and Johnson still are mostly campaigning in obscurity. Only about two-fifths of the registered voters questioned in the poll recognized either candidate's name.

Despite the low name-recognition, Swanson leads Johnson by 18 percentage points — 45 percent to 27 percent — among likely voters.
45% Swanson
27% Johnson

Minnesotans are having no problem at all deciding who will continue the legacy of Mike Hatch and fight for the citizens.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

When to Say When

Like I mentioned below:
parties are marginalized to a point where A) They can't win, but B) they can still effect the outcome of the election by drawing voters away from a more viable candidate.
A commentary in this AM's Strib echoes this thought:
In every voter's life, there comes a time when you just have to buck up and do the right thing. Whether you like it or not. Because the stakes are so high.

Word to Peter Hutchinson supporters: Now is one of those times. The governor's race is deadlocked between Mike Hatch and Tim Pawlenty and your guy is still stuck at about seven percent in the polls. Which means it's over. He fought the good fight.
Hutchinson ran a honorable and respectable campaign. But with only a few days left, he hasn't placed himself in a position to win. The Jesse analogies can now fall to the wayside. See, Jesse started showing up on the radar by now, and a surge of momentum started materializing in the polls. That has not, and will not, happen here.

Mickelson ends with some common sense advice:
So independents or progressive still leaning toward Hutchinson need to ask themselves this: Do you want to continue with Pawlenty's priorities? If you do, vote for him. If you don't, vote for Hatch. Because this ain't a three-way race anymore. Hatch can beat Pawlenty and Peter Hutchinson can't.

I'm voting for Hatch because his record, unlike Pawlenty's, shows that if he has to choose between the common good and the big suits, he'll ferociously go with the common good. The man's a bulldog -- I wouldn't want to mess with him.
This is a two person race to the finish. It's time to choose between the two or risk getting stuck with an alternative you are not comfortable with.


More Numbers

While Bob at Polinaut hints at more bad news for the Governor:
As I've posted here before, my usual antennae do not detect a big problem for Pawlenty. And yet the polls keep showing that he's got a problem and every person I know -- who knows -- says Pawlenty is afraid he's going to lose this election, and he might.
we have some numbers from the St. Cloud Times/SCSU that continues the trend to a better future for Minnesota. The data reads:
the survey finds Democratic Party U.S. Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar leads her Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy, by a 56 percent to 31 percent margin among the 594 likely voters who participated. Independence Party candidate Robert Fitzgerald drew support from 3 percent, while another 7 percent supported other candidates or were undecided.

In the race for governor, DFL Attorney General Mike Hatch leads Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty by a 46 percent to 36 percent margin. Independence Party candidate Peter Hutchinson pulled in 6 percent and another 11 percent said they'd vote for someone else or hadn't decided.
56% Klobuchar
31% Kennedy
03% Fitzgerald
07% Undecided

46% Hatch
36% Pawlenty
06% Hutchinson
11% Undecided

Most interesting in the SC Times article was this comment:
"This could also be the beginning of the end for the Minnesota Independence Party," Wagner said.
I find value in a third (or more) party, but sometimes you reach a point where the fringe parties are marginalized to a point where A) They can't win, but B) they can still effect the outcome of the election by drawing voters away from a more viable candidate. It's time for Independent voters in the state to evaluate what their vote actually means, just like the Republican voters in the 5th.


UPDATE: MPR/PiPress/Mason Dixon poll results:
St. Paul, Minn. — The Mason-Dixon poll conducted for Minnesota Public Radio and the St. Paul Pioneer Press surveyed 625 registered voters from last Thursday through Monday. The results show 44 percent favor Democrat Mike Hatch, while 42 percent support Republican incumbent Tim Pawlenty. Peter Hutchinson, of the Independence Party, had 4 percent. Seven percent were undecided. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
44% Hatch
42% Pawlenty
04% Hutchinson