Monday, February 28, 2005

Out of Duct Tape

State forecasts will be released today, without any real surprises. Last November, projected deficits were at $700 Million even though a bump in the economy showed Tax revenues trending upwards. But here is where this article states it quite clearly:
the state has been hobbled by earlier budget fixes that can't be repeated and make it difficult for it to climb out of its fiscal hole.
You can't keep shifting line items around without paying the piper. The no new tax pledge could cost the Governor more then his re-election if he maintains his stubbornness on the issue. Of course, he has his own ideas how to raise revenues. But of course, they are user fees, not taxes.

"Hey, Tim! Look up taxes in the dictionary!"


Sunday, February 27, 2005

Sen Johnson 99% no on US Senate Seat

From the STRIB:
Johnson says he's "99 percent sure" that he won't run in 2006 for Sen. Mark Dayton's seat. Dayton announced earlier in the month that he would not seek a second term.
Johnson also hinted he may not run for re-election, but that would only be if he perused higher office.
He wouldn't say which one, but when asked specifically about running for governor he would only say that he needs time before making a decision.
The field begins to become clearer for the US Senate race. The Bench has been updated.


Friday, February 25, 2005

Patty Wetterling Pursues US Senate Seat

from Checks and Balances:

Since Senator Mark Dayton announced he would not seek reelection two weeks ago, a lot of people have urged me to run for the U.S. Senate.

I am extremely flattered to be considered as a potential candidate for such an important position. Up to two weeks ago I had not given a run for Senate much thought because it was my understanding that Senator Dayton would seek reelection.

A United States Senator has the ability to have a profound effect on public policy issues that affect the daily lives and futures of working families. After discussing this development with family, friends, and supporters I have decided to actively explore a run for the U.S. Senate.

In the upcoming weeks I will form an exploratory committee to further look into this option. My focus, as always, is to determine where I can best advocate for children and families, to serve the people of Minnesota most effectively.

Patty Wetterling

More at the STRIB.


Patty to fill us in . . .

Patty Wetterling is expected to fill us in on her political intentions for 2006, today.

Most think she will make another run at the 6th district congressional seat, especially since her nemesis from last year has moved on to higher pursuits. I tend to agree, but I have a hunch she may take the long way, rather then the short cut.

The 6th district is more Red then Purple, without much Blue. Patty did surprisingly well in her first attempt at political office and was able to parlay her strong name recognition and child advocacy into a more then respectable showing. But the demographics of that district haven't changed much, and neither have those of the state.

The State is more Blue then Purple, and a Wetterling run statewide may be more successful. The voters lineup better for her. The Choice issue becomes part of a list of many, instead of one of a few that could splinter support. The GOP Smear machine will have a tough time combating this type of candidate, which makes her Teflon coat look pretty inviting to some on the Left.

So I believe, that Patty Wetterling will announce for the Senate today. I believe she will take advantage of the early campaign season to hone her skills and work towards re-introducing herself to the state. BUT, I don't believe she will get the endorsement, and before it is too late, she will withdraw, and run for the 6th. Although, there are those that think she won't run at all in 2006.

It's Amy's to win or lose, and hopefully the party and left leaning electorate will see that. We need to unite early, and campaign hard. We've seen the playbook of the Right. This will be a hard fought race, and who better to engage the Right, then a tough County Attorney

UPDATE: Seems the folks at Checks and Balances are leaning my way as well. They also mention a poll that was commissioned recently which includes the names of the 4 most talked about Dems in a head to head with Kennedy. The results:

# Wetterling +9
# Klobuchar +2 (This could change easily)
# Ciresi -4 (I doubt this would change much at all)
# McCollum -6 (This could change easily as well)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Tsunami Photos

John and Jackie Knill, from North Vancouver, were vacationing in Thailand when the tsunami hit. They were amongst the missing, and eventually their bodies were identified. Their digital camera had been recovered, albeit no longer in working order. But the photos on the memory card were salvaged.

The Knill family has released some startling photographs showing the tide going out, and the sandy bottom of the ocean revealing itself. In the distance you can see the wave moving in. Here is the final photo recovered:

The rest are here.

Full article at CBC news.


Amy's First

Amy Klobuchar will file papers today with the Federal Election Commission virtually assuring that she will announce her candidacy soon. The Hennepin County attorney states:
"We've had tens of thousands of dollars of contributions come in, many of them unsolicited, and the law says that we have to file when we start to get these contributions in,"
The field may get clogged up soon, but the early filing will gave Klobuchar, one of the favorites going in, a leg up on the rest of the slate.

I will be updating my Bench list, with some adjustments based on various sources. Amy will move into the new DEFINITELY category. Bill Luther has been moved to the Probably Not list.


PS: Did you know that Jim Klobuchar has a blog?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A State Mourns

My heart and prayers go out to the family and friends of: Jason Timmerman, David Day, and Jesse Lhotka along with the rest of the servicemen of Minnesota who have made the ultimate sacrifice

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Federal INSURANCE Contributions Act

FICA, it's that acronym that everyone sees on their paycheck. That little bit that is withheld from our income, and matched by the employer, and sent of to Washington to pay the most recent obligations of the fund.

The Right, the classic linguistic manipulators that they are, are treating this program like an investment portfolio. They are crafting the debate early, so that they can use fancy terms like Personal Accounts, and Return on Investment, yield, and interest. As is consistent with their mentality, it is about calling something what they want you to believe it is, even though that isn't even close to what it really is.

So let me shout this out to all of you so that you understand the game, and not fall for the RNC talking points of the week:


For those with an objective mind, think of the thousands of dollars you pay into health insurance, and hope you never need it. Where's the return on investment there. Think of the stack of money you pay for car insurance, and hope you never need it. Now look at the amount you pay on home owners Insurance, and have only had a few minor claims that no where near compensates you for the premiums paid.

The best Insurance policy I have right now is the money withdrawn from FICA. There is a potential return of premiums. The premiums help support the security of our society. It is more then just a retirement account, it is what helps individuals dig out of awful situations. It helps provide for families when a parent dies prematurely. It assists in providing dignity to those faced with untimely dilemmas that they could not control.

The Right is setting the stage to pander their program, without even acknowledging what the program even is. Sorry folks, ya can't fool me. The Federal INSURANCE Contributions Act withholds premiums from our paycheck, to protect society from insurable events. And the beauty of this program as it is today, is I can recoup those premiums upon retirement, at a guaranteed level . . .well, at least that is how it works now . . .


Monday, February 21, 2005

Term Limits

Much hay has been made about Gil Gutknecht's Flip Flop on not running for a 7th House term. Both the Left and the Right have sent out their hypocrisy brigades. The Right, after pummeling Wellstone for a similar reversal, now say it is OK. The Left, after defending Wellstone during the campaign, now say a Promise is a Promise.

This is the part of politics that drives me batty. People are making decisions not based on honesty, or reality, but simply based on what is best for their guy. The left, had it been wise, would have not centered on the Gil flip flop, but at the flip flop of the MNGOP and their treatment of the issue then, compared to now. The Right should have all but quoted Wellstone's rational for running again and forced the Left back on their heals to sort out individuals who specifically squawked at the Wellstone run.

As for me, self imposed term limits are silly and senseless. Different times bring different needs. No one can predict the future, and to say you aren't going to run again on 'X' date is foolish. Both Wellstone and Gutknecht made that mistake. Reasonable people make new decisions based on fresh information. I didn't have a problem with Paul running again, and I don't have any issue with Gil going for a 7th term. Of course, if he wants to play dead in an already done deal Senate race, that's fine. I am sure the Left will have no problem taking a shot at his Congressional seat.


Friday, February 18, 2005

GOING, GOing, gone

Nick Coleman's latest is on the auctioning off of the Old Schmidt Brewery on West 7th in St. Paul. Even Mitch seemed to toss out an unforced, backhand compliment, so it must be a good read!

I'm an old brewery lover. I have toured many, including both the Schmidt and Grain Belt Breweries here in the Twin Cities. When I lived in LaCrosse, WI, several of us would go down to the Heileman Brewery every week for the Brewery tour. I went on one just a few years ago and it is very sterile in it's delivery. Back in 1980, you could do a walk through of the entire complex, now you spend the majority of the tour watching a video of the walk through, and then a brief peek inside the building itself.

It was awkward walking through the old rathskeller, peering at the ole German tavern from behind a felt rope, as if it were a museum piece. Of course, over 20 years ago I was bellied up to that ole bar top, wobbling on the stool, waiting for the tour to start. Now it is treated like Archie's chair at the Smithsonian.

I miss the old breweries, the wafting of sweet hops floating in the air, and the visit to the water taps free for so long. I also miss my kegerator with a constant flow of beverage pouring into my frosty mug. Will Spring ever get here so I can start the season anew.

Dagnabbit, now I'm thirsty!!

Have a GREAT weekend!


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Fowler's New Toy Box

Reggie Fowler's purchase of the ViQueens for a cool $625 million has again raised the urgency of a new facility, funded in whole, or in part, by public subsidies. Fowler has created his own firestorm since the announcement of the purchase, so it will give me some time to look into the most plausible public financing scenario.

On one hand, I am pretty much against using general fund monies to buy a stadium for a multi million/billionaire. But what if those public funds came for sources we would not see revenue from if the teams wasn't here? How much Income tax revenue does the state take in over, let's say, 20 years, from the players who compete here? Who much sales tax revenue is received via ticket sale and/or concessions sold that would not be received if there was no sports franchise? I'd like to know what that figure is. Is it $10 million, $100 million, $250 million? I don't know, but whatever that figure is, I would support the diversion of those revenues to building a stadium.

I'll be digging around for those figures today, but if someone can point me in the right direction, let me know.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Get Well, Tony!

I'm not a big FOXNews guy. I stick with the print media, local news, and CNN for breaking news.

I had heard Tony Snow over at Fox was having some health issues, and then stumbled on this post over at PowerLine. Regardless of my political persuasion, I don't wish ill will on anyone, so I took the time to jot a quick note.
Mr. Snow:

I can't say that I watch you and I can't say that I am a fan, but I CAN care.

My hopes and prayers go out to you and your family as you travel this difficult road. All my hopes for a quick and speedy recovery.
I thought nothing of it. I was sure he was too preoccupied with his reality to wade through a pile of E-Mails. To my surprise, I received this:
Thanks for the kind e-mail. It means even more to me because you're not a "fan." I have been amazed, but not completely surprised, by the goodness and decency of people I encounter. You fit that mold, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Tony Snow
He just might have picked himself up a new fan. I may not always agree with him, but there is a bright side. Look at all the new material I can gather *grin*

Get Well, Tony!


Centrist Coalition

Looks like there are at least a few level heads in Congress:
As a veteran of Illinois politics, U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson is no stranger to a culture of back-biting, name-calling and cliques pervading the halls of power.

But when the Republican got to Congress, he found out things were even more bloodthirsty.

And that, said Johnson, is why he and another equally flustered colleague, Democrat Steve Israel of New York, are announcing the formation Wednesday of a new centrist caucus dedicated to tempering the win-at-all-cost attitude pervading Congress while preaching the virtue of getting people who disagree to get along.
This may be an uphill battle, seeing they don't have the clout of seniority, but leadership from both sides have made statements.
A Hastert spokesman said the speaker will support efforts to reduce partisanship, but he declined comment on specifics until Johnson and Israel laid out their plans in full.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who rips into Republicans with regularity, has also given her support to the new caucus. Former Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley and former Republican Minority Leader Bob Michel of Illinois, whose leadership harkens back to times when things were more congenial, are also ardent supporters, saying the time has come for a change.
Efforts like this have been tried before, but this times it seems like there is a certain level of sincerity. Whether it is PR smoke and mirrors is yet to be seen.

At least here in the Minnesota Blogosphere, we have learned to play nice together.


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Bench - Updated

No big changes on the 'Bench' this week. The Bench is my grocery list of DFL Senate hopefuls and where they are at with respect to their candidacy.

I added outgoing DFL Chairman Mike Erlandson only because he has been showing up on several other lists. I honestly don't think he will make a run.

The other adjustment is that Buck Humphrey has said 'No' again. He initially said no, then hedged himself in a TV interview, but now has said definitely 'no'.

In other news, the 6th District GOP race is heating up with the predictable entries of State Sen. Michele Bachmann, of Stillwater, and state Rep. Jim Knoblach, of St. Cloud into the race. Both have said they will defer to Kennedy should he not obtain the endorsement.


Here's to your Health

Here was a shocker on the CNN website this AM Binge drinking highest in Midwest. Well, not really a shocker, what else are we going to do trying to ward off cabin fever. I like this part best
The problem was most prevalent in North Dakota, where an estimated 31 percent of residents 12 and older had engaged in binge drinking, according to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
I wonder who will slam who first. Fast Eddie, or 'Shoot from the Hip' Berg. My monies on Mitch, it is more his style!

Minnesota wasn't too far behind, at 28.07. Who's at the bottom of the list? Utah, for obvious reasons

For you insomniacs, the complete study is here.


Monday, February 14, 2005

Ron has passed

Through the generosity of many local bloggers who assisted me in promoting this benefit for Ron Rice, we were able to get the word out to those who wanted to support this worthy cause

I have just learned that Ron lost his battle with cancer last Friday. From the Ron Rice page:
I'm sure most of you have heard the news about Ron by now, I know word carries quickly. I'm sorry to say that it is true. God took him home at 9:20am February 10, 2005.
My heart and prayers go out to the Rice Family.

Thanks to all who assisted in providing comfort to Ron and those around him during these difficult times. More information is at the above site.


No, it's Not Nick!

The Frater's boys stumbled across a site entitled 'Nick Coleman's Blog" I finally had a chance to visit it last Friday, but it was blank with the exception of a few links. The posts were gone, but now they have mysteriously re-appeared.

Speculation raged as to whether this was Nick himself, or some spoofed site. Using my crack investigative skills, I thought 'Hey, why not just ask Nick!". So I did. It's amazing how easy it is to get an answer to a question when you ask it. Nick's response:
The blog is bogus. If I start my own, I'll let people know.
So there ya have it. Another mystery solved by the crack investigative team at Centrisity.


Shocking news in DFL Senate race

Even my son could have predicted this one!
Mondale 'cured' of Senate aspirations

. . . former Vice President Walter Mondale was among the first to take himself off the list of potential Senate candidates. "No one is as cured as I am,"

Mondale flatly ruled out another race. "It's time for new faces," the 77-year-old Minnesota icon said.
I'll be going through my Bench list today to see if there has been any changes.


Friday, February 11, 2005

Win Deep Throat's Money!

Ben Stein has been a name that pops up once in awhile when Deep Throat talk ensues. Stein was a Nixon speechwriter, turned actor, turned game show host, turned college speaker. It brings chuckles during an intense debate on the ID of this journalistic mystery.

But following my post on this John Dean op-ed I received an E-Mail from the author of this piece entitled:
An unorthodox solution to the greatest mystery in American politics.
The research is thorough, and the arguments made are rather convincing. A teaser
Wittgenstein usually applied his ideas on liguistics to philosophical issues, but I think they can be of use in solving this puzzle. Consider the following passage from ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN:

"Deep Throat was already there, smoking a cigarette. He was glad to see Woodward, shook his hand. Woodward told him that he and Bernstein needed help, really needed help on this one. His friendship with Deep Throat was genuine, not cultivated. Long before Watergate, they had spent many evenings talking about Washington, the government, power."

This passage has been the basis for what has been assumed to be the most fundamental clue of the mystery - that Woodward and DT had been friends long before Watergate. But is this clearly stated in the above paragraph? Read it again carefully. Does the word "his" in the fourth sentence refer to Woodward? Could it refer instead to Bernstein, whose name appears in the preceding sentence? Does "they" refer to Woodward and DT? Or to Bernstein and DT? Before answering, consider this: Ben Stein and Carl Bernstein grew up literally next door to each other in Montgomery County, Maryland. Ben's father was an economist and active Republican. Carl's parents were self-professed Communists who went through some difficult years during the 50s and 60s. And yet these two were best friends and remain close today. They certainly spent many evenings talking about "Washington, the government, power" over the years. Many people feel that Deep Throat must be a composite character created by Woodward to protect various sources. Wouldn't it be interesting if the opposite were true - if Woodward disguised himself in ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN by making the readers assume that he had known DT for many years, in effect making himself into a composite character. For years people have been trying to connect Woodward to various Deep Throat suspects by investigating his years at Yale, in the Navy, etc. with no results. I think they've been barking up the wrong tree. And it wouldn't have been the first time that Woodward played tricks like this on his readers. On page 26 of Adrian Havill's DEEP TRUTH he describes a novel Woodward wrote during his college years. It was never published, but the manuscript still seems to be floating around. In the final chapter the reader learns that the four major characters are actually a single individual. Woodward seems to have a taste for these little games.
The linked screed is long, but compelling. I skimmed it for entertainment purposes, as I have always written off Ben as a candidate. I have stayed with the mainstream choices, with L. Patrick Gray being my front runner.

But back to the John Dean Op-Ed. The recent flurry began brewing when Dean posted in an LA Times' article that Deep Throat was ill. Reminiscent of the old Post Office game, by the time the story hit the Main Stream press, Deep Throat's death was imminent, eventhough Dean only used the word 'ill' and never implied the seriousness of the illness. The most popular search hits I have been getting recently have been inquiring of the health of several particulars in this saga. I thought nothing of it, till yesterday. I received another E-Mail from the author. It pointed me to this website stating:
January 11, 2005
Actor, Writer, and Political Commentator Ben Stein to Speak at SLU
Ben Stein's visit to Saint Louis University will be rescheduled due to his continued illness. Keep watching this story for updated event time and location.
All I can say now is . . . Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm *scratching head*

Have a GREAT weekend!


Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Bench

Well, we were barely in the first inning and we are already looking for a long reliever. The DFL bench is large but how deep is it. That will depend on your own personal perception.

There are a lot of quality candidates, from the progressive, the moderate, and the converted. I loved the Sara Janecek quote in this AM's STRIB.
My office manager joked that at least 100 more people are going to bed tonight with U. S. Senate dreams"
Following is a list of names that I have culled from various sources. I have broken them down into three categories; Probably, Maybe, and Probably not. If you have specific information on which column these candidates should be in, please E-Mail me with your information and source (anokaflash -AT- gmail dot com). If I missed anyone you think deserves a mention, let me know as well.


County Attorney Amy Klobuchar -- ``If I can make a difference, I'll do it,'' she said. ``So I'm seriously considering it.'' UPDATE 2/23/05:Amy Klobuchar announces she will file candidacy papers with the FEC.

Patty Wetterling -- Patty's first run for political office was against Mark Kennedy last year, the St. Cloud Times reports she is considering her options "I was very surprised to hear the news today about Senator Dayton, and I will process the information and decide how it affects my plans for the future," UPDATE 2/25/05: Wetterling forms Exploratory Committee


Michael Ciresi -- On Wednesday, Ciresi said he will "very seriously consider" a run. He was a contender in the 2000 race

Jerry Janezich -- The winner of the DFL endorsement in 2000 is mulling over another shot. From the Mesabi Daily News -- "I'm interested. I will be having discussions with family and friends for sure to see what they think,?"

State Senator Steve Kelley (D-Hopkins) -- A state senator from Hopkins. Played a roll in grabbing some of those GOP seats in the last election.

State Rep. Tom Rukavina (D-Virginia) -- From the Duluth News Tribune ""On Wednesday, a handful of DFL lawmakers, including those from the Iron Range, were already sporting campaign buttons reading, "Tom Rukavina U.S. Senate 2006.""" The rest of the article sure has him talking like a candidate. He does come with some baggage, a 2004 DUI conviction. UPDATE 4/1/05: Second thoughts, maybe?!?


Kurt Schiebel -- With absolutely no experience in running for office, and skeletons that would make the GOP glee with joy, it is amazing his name even pops up on this list. A clear vanity candidate who wanted nothing more then to see his name along side this respectable group of public servants. I will He will make an announcement soon, and no one will notice.

Rebecca Yanisch -- Another 2000 Senate candidate who, when asked, would not rule out a potential candidacy

Probably Not

Judi Dutcher -- another moderate choice who came over from the GOP and would have likely attracted a lot of moderate voters.

Matt Entenza -- State House Minority Leader said Wednesday that he's not interested. He has his eye Attorney General

DFL Chairman Mike Erlandson - He's been showing up on some lists. I am reluctant to put him on the Maybe list, but will give him a slot for now. UPDATE 3/8/05:DFL Chair Mike Erlandson, who had been considering a candidacy, said Monday that he would not run. He said that with two young children and his duties as party chair through the end of his term in May, this was not the year to run.

Al Franken - is teasing and will be making some type of announcement today (Thursday). UPDATE: Fortunately, Al just announced he will sit this one out!

Mike Hatch -- State Attorney General. He has his sites set on Pawlenty and made it pretty clear yesterday he was going to stay out of the 06 Senate fray.

Buck Humphrey -- ``Now it's a wide-open game on our side for sure,'' said Buck Humphrey, a leading party activist who says he's not interested in running himself. Buck is now hedging in a KSTP article this AM. I still say he's on the probably not list. UPDATE: " ``I don't think it works on a political level or, most importantly, on a family level,'' he said." So he was out, the in now out . . . I wonder what will happen next week.

Skip Humphrey -- I doubt Skip would make the run. There are a lot of competent and qualified candidates out there. He had his chance.

State Sen. Dean Johnson (D-Wilmar) -- Current Senate Majority leader. A former Republican who switched parties in 2000 has stated it would be awhile before he decides, adding that competition is deep. UPDATE2/27/05: Sen Johnson stated in an interview on Wilmar's KWLM-AM that he is "99 percent sure" that he won't run in 2006 for the vacant US Senate seat.

Dave Lillehaug -- The US Attorney who has had aspirations in the past has said he is not interested.

Bill Luther -- multi term Congressman from the 6th (purple) district. He is my dream candidate with a strong progressive background, moderate voting record, and fundraising prowess that any of these other candidates would love. I contacted Bill yesterday. Although he is just getting used to life on the outside, he is going to think about it over the next few days and see how things shake out. He's not in, but he won't rule it out either.

Rep. Betty McCollum -- 4th District, encompassing most of St. Paul. "I'm not in, I'm not out ... . In other words, I'm exploring every option that's out there."" UPDATE 3/8/05:"After much personal reflection I have decided to continue serving my Fourth District constituents and fighting for Minnesota families in Congress,"

Roger Moe -- Former Senate Majority Leader, lost to Pawlenty in the Governor's race. He all but retired from public office in his concession speech, and with the dearth of other candidates, I would highly doubt his emergence into this race

Ted Mondale -- Son of the former VP and Minnesota Senator. He may be a dark horse candidate, but not likely to actively pursue the endorsement.

Walter Mondale -- He took his one shot and made it clear in his concession speech, that that was it! There's a big difference between a blitzkrieg campaign, and a 2 year artillery barrage UPDATE 2/13/05Mondale flatly ruled out another race. "It's time for new faces," the 77-year-old Minnesota icon said.

Vance Opperman -- attorney and investor.

Alan Page -- Longtime Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and member of the infamous Minnesota defensive line known as the Purple People Eaters. That moniker may take on a whole new meaning if he accepts the nod. An early favorite for many considering his name recognition and strong statewide support. However, the PiPress states he is not interested

Tim Penny -- former DFL Congressman and independent 2002 gubernatorial candidate will NOT run, citing his wife's health problems

Collin Peterson -- Multi term Congressman in a Red northwestern district of the state. He would have broad statewide appeal, but would have an issue with the party faithful during the endorsement process. In an article in the Grand Forks Herald this morning, Peterson shared kind words about Dayton, but did not hint at an interest in the seat. I'd be very surprised if he gave up a very comfortable House seat for a dart toss at the Senate UPDATE:""No, unless somebody walked up to me and gave me a $15 million check, then I might think about it," he said, referring to the cost of a statewide race. "I think I'm in a position now where I can do a lot more for my district, and my state actually, than I could starting over in the Senate.""

James "Jesse Ventura" Janos -- Ventura is not running, said former spokesman John Wodele

Mark Rotenberg -- a lawyer for the University of Minnesota, a newcomer, said Wednesday he was very likely to run. Rotenberg was involved in Joe Lieberman's Minnesota effort. UPDATE 3/8/05: - "University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg announced Monday that he is forming a Senate exploratory committee to further investigate the vacant seat in the 2006 U.S. Senate." UPDATE:4/4/05""The mountain of money necessary to deliver my message is daunting, and I would rather spend my time working on the issues rather than be consumed with the full-time task of fundraising," he said in a written statement."

Wellstone Brothers, Mark and David -- Until I hear otherwise, they have moved to California and are working hard for Wellstone Action. When their father died, they had expressed no interest in a run for public office. I would be surprised if they have changed their mind. (UPDATE-My source confirms that Mark is not interested, and he is 99% sure Dave feels the same way)

= = = =

Jeff, the List King, at the BotML handicaps the race here.

Information cultivated from From here and here along with other various sources.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Dayton Done?!?

From the Strib (thanks Fraters)
Dayton expected to bow out of re-election bid

Greg Gordon, Star Tribune Washington Bureau Correspondent
February 10, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Minnesota Democratic sources said they believe Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., will announce today that he will not seek reelection to a second term in the Senate.

Two knowledgeable Democratic sources said Dayton was believed to have made the decision because of a series of events that darkened his reelection prospects.
A telephone news conference is schedule in just a bit 12:30PM.

Now the speculation begins on who the front runners are for the endorsement. I have already shared my speculation here and here, although I admit it is a dark horse pick.

More thoughts later.

Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., said today that he will not run for re-election in 2006. ''I do not believe that I am the best candidate to lead the DFL Party to victory next year,'' Dayton said in a conference phone call with reporters.

School choice, yes; vouchers, no

The above is the headline of an editorial in Tuesday's PiPress. The guts of which states this:
This newspaper, a strong supporter of public school choice, has opposed previous voucher proposals in Minnesota. The burden for advocates is unchanged in our mind. Neither they nor the record on results from other states demonstrates a positive, provable correlation in the lives of children. The data depend on interpretation and are, at best, mixed. It is more than curious, too, that the push for vouchers comes from suburban conservatives rather than lawmakers from the cities whose kids are supposed to be the beneficiaries of such fund transfers.
If you have been following the exchange at Craig Westover's online home (he also writes for the PiPress) you would think the print screed was drawn from some of the dissenting commentary in the thread.

Regardless, the point made in the editorial is important, and you all should take note.


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

'Mickey' on trial

Frequenters of these scribblings will know I dabble in the latest big trial. Don't expect to find anything on the owner of Neverland here, but I am following the Robert Blake case. Yesterday was somewhat of a blow to the Prosecution:

From ABCNews:
A key prosecution witness in the Robert Blake case backed off of a claim that the actor tried to hire him for murder and admitted he was a heavy user of cocaine who had paranoid delusions.

Retired stuntman Gary McLarty, 64, told jurors Monday he met with Blake a few months before Bonny Lee Bakley was killed, but did not even know the woman's name afterwards and had only "insinuated" that Blake wanted her dead.

"A lot of people want to strangle their wives at times," McLarty said, "and it was possible he was just venting his anger."

At a preliminary hearing, McLarty had testified Blake solicited the killing of his wife.
My record in celebrity trials isn't any better then my political prognostications. I thought OJ was toast, he walks. I didn't think there was any way a jury could convict Peterson, he is on Death Row. So, although I have a feeling on this one, my feelings aren't a very good indicator of which way a jury will go. This trial is far from over. I'll be following it, and sharing the juicy stuff here.


Remedial Linguistics

I need to know, my Right Wing friends, do you have to go to a class or something to understand this President!
From the White House:

President Discusses Strengthening Social Security in Florida

Q -- really understand how is it the new plan is going to fix that problem?

THE PRESIDENT: Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.

Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

Okay, better? I'll keep working on it. (Laughter.)
The indexing issue is one I am actually open to, but he darn near talked me out of it here!

Ya know, if he can't figure it out, how is anyone with any level of intellect suppose to just say OK, sounds good to me.


Monday, February 07, 2005

Deep Throat Dying?!?

In an op-ed this weekend, the infamous John Dean let slip an amazing revelation:
We'll all know one day very soon, however. Bob Woodward, a reporter on the team that covered the Watergate story, has advised his executive editor at the Washington Post that Throat is ill. And Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of the Post and one of the few people to whom Woodward confided his source's identity, has publicly acknowledged that he has written Throat's obituary.
There has been much speculation as to the Identity of this source (or some believe sources, one character in a book that combined the information of many anonymous sources)

Probably the most thorough investigation into the identity of this mystery man was done by Professor Bill Gaines' journalism class at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They concluded that White House lawyer, and first assistant to Dean, Fred Fielding was the aforementioned stooly.

A quick googling of Fielding shows this article on vetting candidates for White House Jobs dated February 6, 2005.
Fred F. Fielding, the White House counsel for Ronald Reagan, who vetted the current President Bush's cabinet nominees during the 2000 transition, heartily agrees. Nominees have to be prepared, he said, honestly to answer the awful questions posed by White House lawyers: Have you ever had an affair? Or used drugs? A yes to either of those questions, Mr. Fielding added, was not necessarily a problem.
There is no way to know when the interview took place, but it would seem that, if this is the same Fielding pointed to in the article, he is probably still in relative good health. (More on Fielding)

Personally, I tended to support the Alexander "I'm in charge here" Haig theory, but his recent appearance on FoxNews would squalsh attempts at convincing me he was near the end of his mortal existence.

Whomever it is, I will be curious until the day the obituary is released.

UPDATE: The Likely Suspects over the years

Some taken from here.

Henry Kissinger - I just watched him on the Sunday talk shows this weekend and he was looking pretty healthy

Alexander Haig - Mentioned above

Cord Meyer - Died March 2001

William E. Colby - Died May 1996

L. Patrick Gray - Hmmmm Born 1916 and nothing about his demise in a google queary

W. Mark Felt - This interview leads me to believe it is not Felt, but he is up there in age, and I can't find anything recent on him. However, he has been of ill health and is over 90. I have read some ancedotal evidence in other blog threads stating that Woodward even visted him recently. UPDATE 5/31/2005 Vanity Fair has released a press statement saying they have an exclusive Interview with Felt where he reveals himself as Deep Throat. My post is here with added links and snippets from the soon to be released VF article:

Charles W. Bates Died in 1999 at 79

Robert Kunkel. - Mann wrote (see article linked below) that Kunkel was not as likely a suspect, as Gray moved him to the St. Louis field office during Watergate.

Here's an article by Lisa Todorovich discussing the FBI Theory. Seems like L. Patrick Gray is the leading candidate at this point and I can't find anything right now on his health.


Happy Anniversary!

While I wish Mitch a Happy 3rd, yesterday I made a brief visit to the Norwegianity 1st Anniversary bash at the Uptown Bar and Cafe. It was long overdue for me to finally meet up with the defenders of truth, and the detractors of the Right

I found Mark sitting at a table with several other individuals. My time was limited, but I did have a chance to finally meet Luke Francl, whom I have exchanged several E-Mails. Luke also assisted in getting my the coveted VIP ticket for the John Kerry visit during the final push of the election. He was there with another member of the New Patriot writing team Carson, from Minnesota Liberal.(OK, Carson states he's not a member of the NP team. I guess it is his frequent commenting that may have confused me). I also bumped elbows with John and Michelle from Yowling from the Fencepost.

I spoke with Tom from Curly Tales who is is as excited about the resurging Minnesota Gopher Men's basketball team as I am.

I wish I could have had more time to meet the others in attendance. It was GREAT to put faces to names, and share beverage with like minded individuals. I even nudged them a bit to suck it up and make a Keagan's visit. I'll keep working on 'em. I think it would be interesting chemistry to finally provide balance in the bar of Keagan's.


Friday, February 04, 2005

Maybe You Can't Take It With You

Under one variation, any funds that remained available under these annuities after death would revert to the government, meaning the money could not be inherited. While that would ensure retirees a monthly check while they live, it also could undercut what polling shows is one of the most persuasive arguments on behalf of private accounts, that they could be inherited.
So if you die prior to retirement, you may be able to pass on your account to your heirs, as the President stated in his speech. But once you retire, and the annuity is set up, there is a possibility that any remaining funds at your death would revert to the Social Security fund.

This is one of the main talking points I have heard when discussing this issue with my Right leaning friends. "It's MY money, I can do what I want with it, and when I die, I can leave it to my heirs" Well, I guess that isn't a guarantee.

Listen, I am a reasonable, objective person. I am open to looking at price indexing over wage indexing, it just seems practical at this stage. I am interested in providing investment incentives that DO NOT effect the current cash flow into the program. I am willing to see a rise in the cap (currently $90,000) but NOT if social security benefits are means tested. EVERYONE who pays in should be allowed to receive benefits back, I don't care how rich they are. It seems only fair.

But I am not comfortable with diverting funds for a secure program to investment environments that can not provide a minimum guaranteed benefit. I will not sit back and listen to a President say that there won't be enough money going into the program to support it, then propose a plan that further siphons off those funds. Ya simply can't have it both ways!


UPDATE from the comments: (Haloscan won't let me comment) Swiftee: I haven't found anything anywhere ensuring inheritance rights post annuity creation, but have found several interpretations where it specifically will restrict those Rights. Please find me some more reading materials so I can educate myself.

I have found quotes for Dean Bartlett of the President's White House staff stating clearly that the President's proposal will do NOTHING to protect Social Security.

This is a classic GOP shell game to call something what it isn't, to get a benefit for the handpicked few.


Thursday, February 03, 2005

Four Beers

Yeap, a four beer speech. I listened to the whole thing. I thought the ink on the finger was pretty tacky. That was a badge of honor for the Iraqi citizens and it seemed insensitive and degrading to have a bunch of GOP members of congress waving their painted fingers. I had heard about the plan earlier, and thought it was a joke. Sorry, classless move.

Social security reform was front and center. The Presidents fear factor tour continuing to frighten us into thinking Social Security will be bankrupt in 13 years. That is even the word McCain used after the speech. I can respect their desire and determination to reform Social Security, but when they resort to bold faced lies and misleading statistics to state their point that makes one skeptical. ALL respected data shows that Social Security is FULLY SOLVENT through 2042 if NOTHING is done at all.

I never heard the President say anywhere how he was going to fund his privatization scheme. He started by complaining about how the current influx of funds would not be sufficient to support the program, and then proposed a way to further restrict that flow of funds. Talk about devil in the details, even some GOP members are leary.

This is huge, folks. Don't let the Rovian machine redefine that which does not exist. They manipulate the English language like it is their own toy. First it was private accounts now it is personal accounts. Study the facts, look at the reality, and make your own decisions.

I have to go to work . . . More later . . . maybe!


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

A Rematch?

Grams considers Senate run against Dayton
Grams said Tuesday that he's had about a dozen conversations with Republicans and former supporters who have asked him to consider a run for the party's nomination, so he intends to begin talking to other activists and party leaders
The GOP hasn't been in the business of running retreads. Their experience with the failed Boschwitz attempt against Wellstone may scare them off. Kennedy is in the driver's seat, and it will be his call. The chance of losing the 6th district to the Blue may be enough for some to encourage Kennedy to stick around in the House.

The field is getting crowded. The best hope for a Dayton re-election is for there to be a bitterly divided GOP endorsement process.

Dream Match-up --> Luther - Grams
Probable Match-up --> Dayton - Kennedy

I'd vote for Bill in a heart beat, Dayton will have to earn my vote.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Hunt is Over

From the PiPress:
The Pioneer Press has confirmed the winners in its annual Treasure Hunt. The medallion was found at St. Paul's Crosby Park just after 3 p.m. Tuesday.

A West St. Paul family (Judy Melville, her son Ryan Melville and her son-in-law Hayward Estepp) followed the tenth clue published in the Pioneer Press to find the medallion under the bark of a large fallen tree branch.
Ya can't win, if ya don't play.


Dialing for Dollars

This was an actual phone call to my home last evening:
Caller: This is a political call from the office of Mark Dayton for Senator

ME: I'm sorry, but I have been very disappointed in the decisions and actions of Senator Dayton lately, and I will be evaluating all candidates before I decide on my support.

Caller : *click*
It will be awhile before the Senate race heats up. I don't see any of the Right Wing candidates interesting me at all, but Dayton will have to make great strides to recapture my support. I hope that there is a challenge to his nomination which will put the Dems in a better position to retain the seat.

Senator Dayton is a sitting duck right now. I don't think there is much he can do to stop the hemorrhaging. We saw what BushCo can do to a qualified and competent candidate like Kerry. With Dayton, it would be like shooting fish in a barrel.