Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Congratulations to Senator Allen Franken on his hard fought victory! My best to Senator Norm Coleman on his future endeavors.

In the ruling:
"Affirmed," wrote the Supreme Court, unanimously rejecting Republican Norm Coleman's claims that inconsistent practices by local elections officials and wrong decisions by a lower court had denied him victory.

"Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled [under Minnesota law] to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota," the court wrote.

But the court did not grant Franken's bid to make its ruling effective immediately, possibly leaving a window for an appeal by Coleman before Gov. Tim Pawlenty is required to issue an election certificate.

"The bottom line is that the Court says that Franken is entitled to an election certificate, but there is no direct order to the state's governor to sign one," said Loyola Law School professor Richard Hasen, who has followed the case closely. "We'll see what the governor does, if Coleman does not concede, as he well may at this point."
I am somewhat disappointed the court didn't go further and order the Governor to sign the election certificate immediately, but it does put him in a precarious position. With an unanimous decision from a Right leaning court it is doubtful that anything will change at this point.

I suspect there will be a bunch of constituents knocking on his office door tomorrow.


UPDATE: Senator Coleman takes the high road and concedes, making it moot whether the court order the certificate to be signed or not. With no further roadblock in the way, look for Governor Pawlenty to sign off soon after his return for DC and the seating of Seantor Franken next week when the US Senate return from recess.

CNN has more:
The court's unanimous, unsigned opinion declared that Franken "received the highest number of votes legally cast" and is entitled "to receive the certificate of election as United States senator from the state of Minnesota."

"I just congratulated Al Franken on his victory," Coleman said in a press conference with reporters. "I told him it's the best job he'll ever have representing Minnesota in the United States Senate. The Supreme Court has spoken, I will respect its decision, and abide by its results," Coleman also said.

Sotomayor by Labor Day

In a 5 - 4 ruling the activist wing of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) overturned the decision made by a lower appellate court which simply followed the rule of law.
The Supreme Court was being asked to decide whether there was a continued need for special treatment for minorities, or whether enough progress has been made to make existing laws obsolete, especially in a political atmosphere in which an African-American occupies the White House
This activist wing decided to write new law from the bench. A decision that, can you believe it, is supported by conservatives across the country who have been belly aching for years about, you guessed it, activist judges legislating from the bench.

And to be clear, Justice Souter, the one Sotomayor will be replacing, sided with the nominee and signed on to the dissenting opinion.
In a dissent read from the bench, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg questioned the fairness of the test, which was 60 percent written and 40 percent oral.

"Relying so heavily on pencil-and-paper exams to select firefighters is a dubious practice," Ginsburg said, calling the majority ruling "troubling."

"Congress endeavored to promote equal opportunity in fact, and not simply in form. The damage today's decision does to that objective is untold," she said.
It is no wonder that the Republican party and Conservatives in general are out of control and out of power. They have abandoned some of the basic tenets of their fight and have simply gone with gut instincts. That means we get to find out who they really are. Its no wonder they lost.

Look for confirmation of Nominee Sotomayor by Labor Day!


WIthdrawal Transition

US Troops have left Iraqi cities, and frankly, its about time!
According to the officials, within the past 30 days, 30 U.S. military bases have either been closed down or handed over to Iraqi security forces. A total of 150 bases have been shut down or turned over to Iraqis in the past nine months.

Despite the withdrawal, many U.S. military forces will remain in the cities, embedded with Iraqi forces as advisers. They would also act as liaison officers who would be able to summon a U.S. military rapid reaction force if needed -- or also call in U.S. military air strikes.
Now, to be clear, I have supported the war, including the successful surge, consistently and undeniably. But there needed to be an end game. We are not nation builders we are democracy builders. The people of Iraq need to fend for themselves. And after the wounds have heeled, and the leg mends, the crutches need to be tossed.

This is our moment to shine. To show the world that we are not there to impose our will but to encourage others to take responsibility for themselves. The Iraqis are a new people, and a new nation, with a bright future ahead. Lets hope they take advantage of this opportunity to show the rest of the region that secular violence is not a path to success.

Now, Iranian influence is a major concern, and even thought American troops are withdrawing, that down not mean we are abandoning the region. Or work is not done, and with one eye on Afghanistan, and the other on Iran, we will still be busy. But with the successes on display in Iraq, another baby step has been made, and another opportunity exists to rid ourselves of evil.

Thank you President Bush, for making the difficult decisions necessary to protect the Iraqi people, and make our country safe. Thank you President Obama for recognizing Our work there is almost done. Now it is time for the Iraqis to rally around their new found independence and show the world it was worth every life that was sacrificed.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wedded Bliss

CONGRATULATIONS to Janet Robert, AM 950 owner, and Bill Luther, former congressman and recent 2006 Attorney General candidate, on their nuptials yesterday. A small family ceremony was held followed by a reception at Janet's home.

I wish them both the best!!


Friday, June 26, 2009

The Mortal Trifecta

As horrible as the news was, the curse of threes completed yesterday as celebrities across the world breathed a sigh of relief.

First was Ed, the definition of the sidekick, Mr. Hi-Yooooo and Heeeeere's Johnny. He later went on to host Star Search and give away Publisher Clearing house checks. His later life was mixed with financial tumult and at 86 we hear he didn't have much left. But that does not distract from who he was and the legacy he left.

Farrah Fawcett was every high school kids fantasy. As a punk 16 year old when the iconic poster was released, Farrah become the talk of the classroom. And when she began her stint on Charlie's Angels it had everything a kid looked for in TV back then. Hot girls with a PI twist. Although she is mostly tied to Charlie's Angles, it was only a one year stint. Later her performance in the Burning Bed gave her the critical acclaim she deserved. Even in dying she put herself in the public eye for all to see so they would be more aware of the process.

The King of Pop died in a way that immediately reminded me of Elvis. A mysterious premature passing of a music icon. As was the case with the King of Rock, Jacko's death is being reported as Cardiac arrest. But hints of over medication and drug cocktails is starting to swell:
Jackson apparently collapsed in his home in Los Angeles on Thursday and was taken by ambulance to UCLA Medical Center.

Brian Oxman, Jackson family attorney, told CNN Thursday that Jackson's use of medications had gotten in the way of doing rehearsals.

"His injuries, which he had sustained performing, where he had broken a vertebra and he had broken his leg from a fall on the stage, were getting in the way. I do not know the extent of the medications that he was taking," he said.
Oxman in other interviews warned of the impending consequences of over mediacation ans has vowed 'NOT to be Silent!" should pharmaceutical mixtures become the ultimate cause of death.

Micheal's talent is unquestioned, but his evolution from pop icon to eccentric loner may be his legacy. Regardless, his music will remain, and albums like Thriller are as relevant today as it was almost 27 years ago.

What do they all have in common, a perpetuity or legacy that will carry on for generations. Like Johnny Carson, Marlyn Monroe and Elvis the simple passing of their mortal bodies will not stop those of future generations from knowing and appreciating their talents. Regardless of what we may think of them ourselves, they will be missed by many and still enjoyed by future generations to come.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What Goes Up, Doesn't Come Down

Property values tend to lag the fluctuations of the market. But in times like this it hits you hardest. Folks in Prior Lake are a bit ticked:
Cries of "unbelievable," "grossly overvalued," even "criminal" rang out in the boardroom of the Scott County Courthouse Tuesday night as homeowners fighting the tax values on their homes appealed to their elected representatives to overturn the judgments of their professional staff.

"There are 72 steps from the water to my cabin," said Charles Menking, of Prior Lake. "That's a lot of steps. I don't want the place. ... I want to sell it."

Fourteen people -- only a smidgen more than last year, but far more than in years past -- were listed on the agenda as taking appeals all the way to the county board.
Now I can appreciate their frustration, but there are folks working long hours and hobbling to their dinky apartments facing far greater issues then this, But the one comment that caught my eye was this one.
A matter of perspective

I wake at 0400, put on my uniform, body armor and don my weapon and off to work I go. The sand blasts me in the face, it's going to be another hot day reaching 130 degrees here in Iraq. All in all your problems aren't that bad.
So really, unless these same folks were at an assessor hearing demanding their values be increased when the market was bubbling, I am not very sympathetic to them if they are frustrated with the lagging decreases.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mission Accomplished; Currently #1 in the World

Most recent scores from this weekend:
**** DCA/DCI All-Age Corps - Based on Newest Score ****

01 (02) - 77.375 (1) - Minnesota Brass
02 (01) - 76.438 (3) - Buccaneers
03 (03) - 72.713 (3) - Caballeros
04 (05) - 65.500 (1) - Governaires
05 (04) - 65.375 (3) - Bushwackers
06 (06) - 60.000 (2) - SoCal Dream
07 (07) - 58.650 (3) - Carolina Gold


(1) = 06/22/2009 - Mankato, MN (DCI)
(2) = 06/21/2009 - Riverside, CA (DCI)
(3) = 06/20/2009 - Wildwood, NJ (DCA)
About a third of the All Age corps debuted this weekend, including the defending champion Reading Buccaneers. Although it is difficult to compare numbers across different shows, as the judges themselves are different, the scoring mechanisms is the same so there is at least an argument the corps within a point or two of each other are right in the hunt. Minnesota Brass proved this weekend the rumors were true, and hype hype credible.

I am at work all day, and this evening some much needed R&R, along with a bunch of reading to catch up on. Then, when the Supremes settle our US Senate race there will be much to analyze.

And yes, I need a nap!


Next opportunity to seem quality drum corp in Minnesota:

Aug. 22 - Sounds of Minnesota; South St. Paul
Aug. 23 - Drum Corps EXPO; St. Peter, MN

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Waiting Game

The MN Supreme Court published its ruling at 10:00 am with the MN Contest case in sight. However, Twitter is a buzz, especially this interesting TidBit:
I have a feeling it will be released around 3

Source confirms Supreme Court ruling ready. Favors Franken. Solid giving little room for appeal to us supreme court
Supreme Court Senate '08 Page

Supreme Court Opinions Page

I'm sticking with my leaning yesterday that today is the day! Senator elect Franken will be seated by the end of the week!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Senator 60

I found it humorous to hear talk of a potential filibuster of the current Supreme Court nominee. Senator 60 will should be seated before Nominee Sotomayor's confirmation hearings begin, and most certainly in time for the vote.

Conventional wisdom has put the MN Supreme Court decision on former Senator Coleman's attempt to over turn the election at 30 - 60 days, so says former Justice Gilbert:
"I thought it would take them between 30 and 60 days to do the final opinion," Gilbert said.

On June 1, the date of the hearing, the justices all met immediately afterward in conference, and that's the date that they voted their preference.

"But then the real writing process starts after that," he said. "To draft the opinion and to circulate that and to make sure all the research is done correctly. So it does take a little time."
I don't buy it, this is a slam dunk case that could have been ruled on later that same afternoon. Look for an answer within a week. Generally the court hands down decisions on Tuesday, so the money call would be June 23rd. But I say we may hear something as soon as tomorrow. You heard it here first.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sweeney Tim, the Demon Butcher

Never in my wildest dreams did I think he would be so mean, so cruel, so vicious. Gov. TPaw has made things perfectly clear, today, that he could care less about Minnesota. His Number one priority is his own personal national political standing. He is playing to a national Republican base, not to the constituency he was elected to represent.

He seemed like such a nice guy till the Right wing hate machine got a hold of him.

From the Strib:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty today announced plans to cut $300 million from aids to local governments, $236 million from health and human services programs, $100 million from higher education and to defer nearly $1.8 billion in payments to K-12 schools as he made good his promise to unilaterally slash spending to balance the state’s budget.
People will suffer in the short term, and the Republican party will be dessimanted in the longer term.

Sad, really!


Tild takes it from here:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Riling in Iran

I have been following the tumult in Iran. With Ahmadinejad now preoccupied with the internal reality of his fragile political landscape it will be interesting to see if the Iranian people will recognize who he really is. If anything, it has changed the rhetoric from America is bad. I suspect that he will need to find something soon to rally the people, or find himself out of power.

Something telss me this will get worse before it gets better.

Donklephant has been doing an excellent job of aggregating the events, CNN, not so much.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Catching Up

It was nice taking some time away. The kids are done with school, and mine managed to pass all their classes, keeping them on track to graduation. One is officially a Senior, now, the other a Junior. The stress level had dropped dramatically in the home, now that school work is non existent, and the pressure of expectations gone.

I am in the middle of a major re-image project at work, still. The brief down time between regular and Summer school puts us in a position to sneak in this process. After that, Summer School begins and I am back to normal hours. It won't be till the end of July where a more open ended schedule will present itself, and hopefully a return to Buhl for a get away.

But with Drum Corps roaring, and the first show weekend of the year in less than a week, there is much work to be done This weekend is another cleaning camp, at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids. If you find yourself in the neighborhood around 5:30 Saturday, or 3:30ish Sunday, stop by for a treat. You will see the best Drum and Bugle corps to ever come out of Minnesota, and maybe the best ever all age corps . . in the world!


Monday, June 08, 2009

Two Days Left

Two days left of students, and two days left for the two students I have in the home. It will be a hectic close to the year for all of us, which means what little free time I do find will be spent regrouping, recharging, and rethinking.

A year ago the Presidential nominations were winding down, the State DFL convention was choosing candidates, and there was no time for rest. This off year I am going to take advantage of the lull.

Don't worry, if something comes up, I'll be here to wade through the clutter and point you in the correct direction still.


Friday, June 05, 2009

Elk River Plays for the Title!


- - -

Below is a repost from Green Tea MN. To be fair, I wrote most of that post anyway. Regardless of what happens today, I can't wait to congratulate my niece tomorrow at her open house.

Proud Uncle Flash!

UPDATE: GiGi is in Mankato. The amazing Elk River Elks logged double upsets, yesterday. They first defeated a pesky Mankato West club 1 - 0 and then downed the ranked Hastings team, 2 - 1, behind a stellar outing by Grand Daughter Amy Schiebel. Her 5 hit complete game propelled the Elks to the state championship game this afternoon against a hungry North St. Paul team.

Tomorrow is Amy's Graduation celebration. Regardless of what happens today, it there will be much more to celebrate. But lets cross our fingers for just one more win.

- - - -

My youngest son's, youngest daughter Amy # 21, graduates this year and she has had an awesome year. She loves her fast pitch soft ball and is one of the 2 starters for her High School team. She is being scouted by some of the local colleges and last Thursday she pitched an awesome game helping to send her team to State Finals next week in Mankato Mn.

Can you spell P_R_O_U_D ?

The Elk River Elks won the Region 8AAA championship and are on to state. Pictured is Amy Schiebel.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Gov 2010 - GOP In/Out

With Seifert set to announce, here is a list of contenders cribbed from a PiPress article this AM. I'll be adding my own comments in as the day progresses. Anyone missing?!? Check back for updates.

GOP - Probably In

PAT ANDERSON (ed - OK, not officially in, but how could she NOT run!)
The former state auditor said Tuesday she is interested in running. Anderson, 42, was Eagan mayor and headed the state's Department of Employee Relations under Pawlenty before it was eliminated. "I will make up my mind in the next month or two," she said.

The House minority leader from Marshall is in his seventh term and knows his way around the halls of the Capitol. Seifert, 37, has scheduled an 11 a.m. news conference today and is rumored to be relinquishing his leadership post. Asked whether he would explore a run for governor, Seifert said: "I'm interested."

The 57-year-old assistant minority leader from Eden Prairie is in his second state Senate term and said Tuesday he would decide by the end of the week if he is running. He is an ardent fiscal conservative and advocate of education reform. "I've been encouraged to think about this by a number of people, and I am thinking about it," Hann said.

GOP - Maybe

The 63-year-old moderate ex-congressman might have trouble getting the nomination, but he could make an end run around the party process and put his name in the ring for the primary election. He sounded Tuesday like a man who isn't ruling out a run for governor. "Today is not the day to discuss my future plans. It's a day to praise and thank our great governor for outstanding leadership during these challenging times," he said.

The 59-year-old former St. Paul mayor and U.S. senator has made one run for governor, only to lose to Jesse Ventura. He is still locked in an election recount and court challenge, but one nearing an end. A spokesman did not respond to inquiries about whether he'd be interested in running for governor should the Minnesota Supreme Court rule against him.

The wealthy, conservative party insider lost the endorse-ment to Pawlenty in 2002. His fortune, from building the maker of PUR water filters, gives him an advantage in a race. Sullivan, 47, couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

The executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership is a longtime friend of Pawlenty's, as well as his former chief of staff. At 51 years old, Weaver has also been a prosecutor, served as commissioner of the Department of Public Safety and was a member of the House for 10 years. "It is certainly something that I would consider," Weaver said.

The 45-year-old two-term state senator from Edina was rumored Tuesday to be weighing a run. He is fiscally conservative, having joined an effort during the last legislative session to freeze state pay, but socially moderate and co-sponsored a recent medical marijuana bill that passed the Legislature. He could not be reached Tuesday.

One of the Republicans' young voices, the 35-year-old from Victoria is in his fourth term. A frequent speechmaker who champions conservative principles, he said Tuesday he'd give himself some time to weigh a run.

At 37, the fourth-term representative from New Prague is another young conservative voice. Her floor speeches on taxes, abortion and elections are augmented by frequent "tweets" from her Twitter account, and she has traveled the state on behalf of the party. She sidestepped questions Tuesday about whether she would run.

The 48-year-old third-term House member from Delano is known as much for his policy rants on the House floor as for his conservative principles. When reached Tuesday, Emmer said he wasn't closing the door but didn't sound interested.

GOP - Probably Out

Bachmann, 53, of Stillwater, would be a dream for the conservative base and columnists who delight in her sometimes fact-challenged flights of TV punditry. A fierce campaigner, the congresswoman could be a contender for the GOP nomination, but chief of staff Michelle Marston said Tuesday that Bachmann wasn't interested. "She's happy representing the people of the 6th District," Marston said.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

TPaw making it Official?

The Governor will have a press conference this afternoon to announce his future plans. 'CCO reports:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty will announce that he will not seek re-election in 2010.

The sources confirmed to WCCO-TV political reporter Pat Kessler that the announcement about Pawlenty's future plans will include an announcement that he will not seek a third term.
Of course, this is old news for Centrisity readers:
Of course, TPaw has no interest or desire to seek a third term. It is way to politically risky to his future national aspirations. That's why he is rolling the stubborn 'who cares about the little guy' dice. His only constituency at this point is the far Right base that will be integral in selecting the MNGOP sacrificial lamb ticket of 2012. Why anyone would stand in line for that slaughter confuses me. But that is what it will be.
Let the battle for the bottom begin!


UPDATE: Yeap, Its official. The Governor is NOT seeking a 3rd term and not stating anything about his future.

Grand Rounds Ride

Meant to post my bike route from yesterday. Had the day off following camp. Swapped three days over Spring break for three Mondays in May. Turned out to be a great trade as it was cold and icky all during Spring break and all three of my Mondays have been spectacular.

OK, here it is, a modified Grand Rounds ride I guess:

35+ miles
Just over 3 hours on the bike. 30.4 top speed (Down Marshall hill) half hour break at Rock

Starting near Hamline U
Pascal to Marshall
Marshall down the hill over the Lake street bridge to West River Road
W River Road to MInnehaha Falls then 54th
54th to Lake Nokomis
Half Way around Nokomis to Minnehaha Parkway
Minnehaha Parkway to Lake Harriet
Half Way around Lake Hariet and connect to Lake Calhoun
Half way around Calhoun to Kenwood Parkway
Down to the Walker and then across the street to Loring Park,
Through Loring to LaSalle to 9th and then over to Hennepin.

Rest Stop at Rock after 27 miles (9th and Hennepin) *three waters, two Hefes*

Hennepin to 5th
5th through Dinkytown and by the New Gopher Stadium.
UM Transitway to Energy Park Drive.
Hook up with Hamline Pedestrian Bridge over train track


It's So Over

I was able to watch the majority of the Supreme court hearing yesterday. The MN Supremes had no problem slapping around the Coleman . Eric Black shares:
1. The questions to Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg were significantly more skeptical and more aggressive and covered a wider range of problems with that side of the case. Anyone who had to guess which way the court will rule based on this morning's exchanges would probably say that it looks bad for Coleman.
I would say it looks terminal for Coleman. Even the staunchest Republican on the bench seemed skeptical of Coleman;s arguments:
Dietzen, who also asked questions of both sides, seemed very troubled by technical problems in Coleman's case that could easily be used to reject the appeal without reaching the big constitutional arguments. I'll give a few details on that below. And I repeat my caution above about inferring a judge's lean from the questions he asks. But no one who was watching this morning could help but notice Dietzen's implications about shortcoming's in Coleman's evidence. If Dietzen -- whose pre-judicial career has the strongest Republican flavor -- isn't voting and arguing for Coleman, the former Senator's goose is cooked.
Dietzens seemed kind of ticked off at the lack of adequate attention to detail:
Dietzen seemed skeptical that Coleman had done enough to even try to meet the burden of proof. Dietzen was very critical of the document, called an offer of proof, that Team Coleman submitted in an effort to show that disparities cost Coleman the election:"I’ve never seen an offer of proof like this," he said. It doesn’t say who the witnesses will be. Why is this not inadequate? he asked. We don’t have admissible evidence to show whether you’ve met your burden.
I think this ruling will come down sooner rather than later. Conventional wisdom, with Tuesday being the normal day for the issuance of decisions, is that this Friday well get some kind of signal from the court, Tuesday it will be come official, and within 24 hours of that, Governor Pawlenty will reluctantly sign the Election Certificate..

Can you believe this may almost be over.

Be sure to ready Eric Black's complete take