4:26 PM | Posted in
Well, it wasn't actually a clean victory (she tied for first place with Carol Molnau) but Michele Bachmann has attained the title of Worst Political Person in the State. Bachmann worked very hard throughout the year in order to move from 6th worst person in the state to number ONE! In one whole year this woman single handedly molested a President, exposed a secret Iranian plan to divide Iraq, held ZERO public forums or town hall meetings, handed out grant checks which she knowingly opposed, complained about working five whole days in the week, tried to adjourn the House of Representatives before funds could be made available for the I35 Bridge, voted with the Republican Party 92% of the time, and the list goes ever onward. It takes a lot of effort to accomplish so little but provide so much news. Unfortunately, these "victories" for Bachmann represent a significant loss for the very people she purports to represent.

From the 2006 mnpACT results:

#6 -- Michele Bachmann: Where do we begin? I know it is hard to believe that someone who has God's stamp of approval can be on this list, but I'm doing it anyway. Don't pity this "fool" for Christ. She is an armed and dangerous Christian soldier. She has devoted herself to be the last line of defense against "gay marriage" and for the 3 day Congressional work week. Michele plans to take the 110th Congress by storm. Anyone taking bets on how long it will take her to say something truly assinine? Anyone?

To think, it took only 20 days for Mindeman to get his question answered!

From the 2007 mnpACT results:

We have a tie for #1 this year. Couldn't figure out who was worse, so they will share the "honor":

T-1: Michele Bachmann: The evangelical and right wing darling lived up to her unpredictable description in 2007. From the Presidential kiss to the "secret" plan for Iraq from Iran, Bachmann found her way into the news over and over. She has been less controversial lately because she has kept her comments to herself, but she has let her votes do the talking. Votes against SCHIP and for the Iraq War dominate her partisan outlook. But her recent votes against the funding for the I-35 Bridge are the most mystifying. Exactly how does she define representation? Right now it seems to mean -- check the White House talking points and then vote accordingly. Maybe that "star crossed" infatuation with the decider in chief has affected her judgment. Oh well, maybe God will intervene. The Lord can still overrule Bush can't she?

The people of the 6th District have a choice to make over the coming year. Will we continue to take a back seat to the wishes of the Republican Party, George W. Bush, and Freedomworks or will we elect a representative that will put our wishes first?

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
12:50 PM | Posted in ,
A letter in the Forest Lake Times takes Michele to task for her vitriolic radio address given just days before Christmas. My 90 year old grandmother (a loyal Democrat herself) would have taken Michele by the elbow and chastised her soundly for behaving in such a manner this close to a holiday such as Christmas.

From the Forest Lake Times:

Bachmann is Part of the Problem

Will someone please remind Rep. Bachmann what her job is? I just read the transcript of the House weekly radio address delivered on Dec. 20, by Bachmann.

Just what was the point of her holiday season address? To attack the Democrats of course. Well, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you too, Michele.

Check it out here and here. Unfortunately, Mr. Dillon, it is the job of Michele Bachmann and her merry band of obstructionists to spew blame without offering any actual leadership. It is part of her new role in the minority.

In her address she says, “You see, their (Democrats) first year in control of Congress hasn’t exactly gone the way that they would have liked, and with record low approval ratings, a clear lack of accomplishments, and only bitter sound bites to offer, Democrats unfortunately don’t have many political accomplishments to count this holiday season.”

Bitter sound bites indeed...

What Michele conveniently neglects to mention is that it is Congress as a whole that has record low approval numbers. The last time I checked, Bachmann was a member of the same Congress she is criticizing. The inconvenient truth is that Democrats in Congress have higher approval numbers than their Republican colleagues.

It is Michele Bachmann and her Republican colleagues in Congress that are earning those record low approval numbers.

She is right about one thing. There is a clear lack of accomplishments in Congress. That’s because Republicans have set a record for the number of threatened filibusters and blocks that have been used to obstruct the passage of good legislation - 62 times in the first half of a two year session.

That’s on track to be twice the number of any previous Congress in history. It’s almost as if we have a group of railway station saboteurs complaining that the trains aren’t running on time.

And to think it was only a couple of years ago that Republicans in Congress were whining that Democrats were abusing the filibuster to block 10 of Bush’s 229 judicial nominees. The real message to Democrats in Congress appears to be, “do as we say, not as we did.”

Your job, Mrs. Bachmann, is to represent the 6th district in Congress. I doubt that means you should be participating in the obstruction of legislation and then sitting back, sniping at your colleagues and gloating over the fact that nothing gets done.

You are not part of the solution Rep. Bachmann, you’re part of the problem.

Daniel Dillon

Certainly, obstruction of legislation is nothing new and was not invented by the Republican Party. However, they have taken it to new levels this year and it makes them appear petty and small. It is as though they are still so angry and bitter over the loss of Congress that they would rather shut down the whole process in a proverbial snit fit than actually admit that Democrats are in the majority and it is time to work together. Bachmann and her ilk are truly part of a minority in Congress willing to sink the ship if only because they are not the ones in charge anymore. It is an unfortunate state of affairs and is precisely the reason we need to replace Bachmann with someone whose primary goal is not ideological victory for the sake of party.

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
Category: ,
10:54 PM | Posted in ,
No, not THAT West Wing! I am not entirely certain that even the Republicans would like an endorsement from this West Wing. The West Wing I speak of is the television series and the endorsement I speak of is that of Richard Schiff (Toby Ziegler).

On a quick side note, I just picked up another season of this series while I was on Christmas break. If only our President and his advisors behaved in the same manner as those on this fantastic fictional series. I believe a Biden Administration has similar potential to inspire with his knowledge and pragmatic approach to problem solving. Hopefully, given that I get significant traffic from folks searching for Biden news, my opinions will in some way change a mind or two and have an affect on this election season (and again, I expect nothing less for my efforts than a cabinet level post or an ambassadorship if anyone in the Biden campaign is listening).

From the Des Moines Register:

Biden just makes sense, 'West Wing' actor says

Biden was introduced by actor Richard Schiff, who played White House press secretary Toby Ziegler in the NBC series "The West Wing." Schiff will travel with Biden in Iowa through today.

The actor echoed the frustrations of a second-tier candidate - a lack of media attention.

"I don't care what CNN says, I don't care what Fox News says, or the New York Times," Schiff said. "There's one candidate who makes sense, who's going to take over the office, can take action and doesn't have to spend two or three years learning how to be president," he said.

In other news, Biden put out another campaign video:

A letter in the St. Cloud Times today asks whether Representative Bachmann knows the 6th District. Unfortunately, for a large swath of the district, Bachmann doesn't particularly care if she knows you or not. She knows she has a loyal group of lemmings that will follow her over the cliff if need be and that may even be enough to insure her victory but for the rest of her constituents who hold differing viewpoints she has little time or patience.

From the St. Cloud Times:

Letter: Does Bachmann know the district at all?
By Myrna Ohmann, Clearwater

Published: December 28. 2007 12:30AM

A news report in the Sunday St. Cloud Times quoted our congressional leaders on their opinions about the recent congressional session.

I found it interesting that Rep. Michele Bachmann claims that "Republicans kept a steady hand and we held together with the president" when she did exactly the opposite on the energy bill. While not as good as it could have been, the energy bill signed by President Bush does mandate increased fuel efficiency standards and more use of biofuels.

Republicans kept a steady hand in obstructing the entire legislative process this year. They have all but admitted that their only goal for being in the minority is to block anything and then blame Democrats. While it certainly could be said that Democrats goals were a little too lofty in a closely divided Congress or that they didn't fight nearly hard enough for that lofty agenda, it should also be noted that Republicans did everything in their power to stop even the most bipartisan of measures throughout the year. Michele Bachmann represents an even slimmer minority of her party that chose to vote NO on nearly every sensible bill that came before her.

Claiming that it is a "recipe for recession" and that there's "not one watt of new energy produced in this bill," Bachmann voted against it. Thankfully, she was in the minority, but it certainly makes one question her understanding of the energy situation in this country.

There is a candidate for the 6th District who has made it a priority to study alternative energy and its possibilities. He's businessman Bob Olson, and, according to his Web site, he wrote to Bachmann to share some very basic information with her before her vote.

Not only does Olson make it a priority to study alternative energy, he has even created an organization to be a leader in the field of alternative energy. The American Sustainable Energy Council, founded by Bob Olson, seeks to work with the business community to incorporate alternative energy sources. Here is a man working with businesses and in the business world that has essentially called out Bachmann on her empty rhetoric with regards to energy and we need him to continue to show how little Bachmann knows about the areas in which she claims authority.

However, she doesn't seem to want to look at new possibilities and would rather continue our dependence on foreign oil. It seems that bringing good jobs to this area while weaning us off foreign oil would be something folks in the 6th District would be interested in.

Bob Olson knows how to bring that possibility into a reality. Is Michele Bachmann really in tune with the people of her district?

Of course Bachmann would rather continue our dependence on foreign oil. When you receive upwards of $40,000 in contributions from the oil industry you don't bite the hand that feeds you.

4:02 PM | Posted in
A h/t to Larry Schumacher for this story:

It is good to see at least one person in the media is doing their job of honestly reporting the goings on of our representation in Washington. We need more Larry Schumacher's in the media to take the time to research these people rather than simply write puff pieces.

Kuwait : Two US congressional representatives took time to visit with servicemembers on Christmas day at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. US congresswoman Michel Bachmann, Minnesota; and US Congressman Randy Forbes, Virginia, met with servicemembers form their respective states on Dec 25. The Congressional representatives saw first hand how Third Army/US Army Central is made up of not only Soldiers from the regular Army, the Army Reserve and the National Guard, but also Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Department of the Army civilians who accomplish the mission and earn the right to call themselves “Patton’s Own.” Bachmann and Forbes enjoyed a holiday meal of prime rib, ham, turkey and an assortment of desserts with troops from Minnesota and Virginia at the Camp Buehring dining facility.

Later they met with Brig Gen Walter Davis, aassistant chief of staff G3, Third Army/USARCENT and Lt Col Walter Mercer, commander, 2nd Squandron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, Virginia National Guard, and received a brief on Third Army/USARCEN’s mission and the important role the National Guard plays in support of Third Army/USARCENT operations. Bachmann praised the soldiers during their Christmas meal saying: “You all are heroes and it’s tremendous what you’re doing.” During the meal, servicemembers from Minnesota and Virginia were able to talk to their congressional representatives on such subjects as tour lengths, preparing for deployments and civilian life insurance coverage.. Mercer expressed his admiration to Forbes and Bachmann saying: “We appreciate you taking time away from your Family to come visit with our Soldiers during Christmas.”

The question here is, How does one make an honest assessment of the situation in Iraq when ONE ISN'T EVEN IN IRAQ? The other question is whether Bachmann actually listened to the needs of these servicemen and women or if she simply came to the country next door to Iraq to say she had been there and seen the "amazing progress" first hand.

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
2:22 PM | Posted in
Over at Build Our Party, Blue Man put out a list of "Top 7 in 2007" of blogs which deserve more attention for the work they have done over the past year.

I was honored to read this blog took third on that list:

3. Liberal in the Land of Conservative: Political Muse is the newest edition to the Minnesota Liberal Blogophere and his work has been awesome. Whether it's dissecting another vote by Congresswoman Bachmann, opining on the CD 6 race, or his You Tube work, Political Muse is a welcome edition to the blogging scene and his work is excellent. Plus, he's pimping Joe Biden, which instantly gains my respect for not riding the coat tails of the "Top 3".

There are some really great blogs out there and they do some really nice work. It means I and others have to work extra hard to find stories that aren't being covered ad nauseam. The blogs listed are absolutely some of the finest out there and I read each of them regularly. His choice for #1, Bluestem Prairie, is dead on accurate. Ollie Ox does a spectacular job of covering the 1st District and its superstar of a Representative. If only Blue Man and I could say the same for our Representative! Over the next 11 months, I hope to work closely with Blue Man to oust Michele Bachmann and get Bob Olson elected.

Pimping for Joe Biden? I love it! Hopefully all of my pimping will pay some dividends for the Biden campaign so that pragmatism can once again rule the day over ideology.

Thanks, Blue Man!
1:36 PM | Posted in ,
In a wonderfully sarcastic smack down of our 6th District Representative, Rolf Westgaard ponders how one could come away with such a glowing assessment of Iraq in a matter of hours and in the confines of a security zone.

From the St. Cloud Times:

Published: December 27. 2007 12:30AM

The latest batch of congressional warriors being ferried to the carefully protected Iraq Green Zone includes our Michele Bachmann.

A few hours after arrival, she indicated seeing improvements in security in Iraq ("Bachmann says she has seen progress in Iraq," Dec. 23 St. Cloud Times.)

She noted more trust of our troops by the Iraqi people, a remarkable feat by her from within the fortified walls of the Green Zone, whose Iraqis are mainly coalition employees.

She also commented on improvements in "hospitals and elementary schools" and concluded with a positive evaluation of the services from Iraq's electric power grids. All these things represented "incredible developments" since her last visit to the Green Zone in July.

The 6th Congressional District is certainly blessed to have a representative with the amazing ability to grasp so much about so large an area in so short a time. She was apparently unfazed by complex issues that involve so many people in Iraq. More remarkable, the issues that inhabit an area the size of California.

In any other profession, this type of myopic assessment would be looked on as sheer laziness as the assessor couldn't possibly have made an honest attempt at understanding the situation. However, in the world of Michele Bachmann and others like her it is more important to speak the propaganda before actually doing any investigating.
Category: ,
12:53 PM | Posted in ,
Joe Biden continues to build support amongst Iowa voters as the 2008 Caucuses draw ever closer. In a recent American Research Group Poll, Biden is hovering around fourth place with still another 8% of voters still undecided. I certainly have no expectation that Biden will win the Iowa Caucus, but it is increasingly likely he will have a strong showing going into New Hampshire and other early primaries.

A story from the Des Moines Register illustrates the changing winds for Biden in Iowa.

Biden's words, audience sway D.M. man


It wasn't just an impassioned stump speech by Joe Biden that sold Charles Worthington on him.

The reaction from the crowd of about 200 who turned out at Des Moines' Italian-American Cultural Center to listen to the Democratic presidential candidate spoke as loudly to the Des Moines man as Biden's explanation of why he is more viable than his less-experienced competitors.

"One of the reasons I came was to check about viability because this will only be my second caucus," said Worthington, a food stylist. "I learned quickly last time that without some number of supporters, it'll be pointless, especially in my district. I really came to see how many people were out here and what kind of support he was getting."

Worthington, who supported John Edwards in 2004, is confident Biden will have the bodies he needs — including his own — come the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.

Swelling crowds have accompanied what appears to be increased attention to Biden from potential caucusgoers. The 35-year senator is enjoying a slight jump in the polls. The results of a Dec. 20-23 American Research Group poll show Biden in fourth place, at 8 percent, ahead of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, at 5 percent.

"We hear this debate going on, whether is it about experience, or is it about change? And the two candidates with the most money talk about experience and change. I've got more experience than all of them, including the candidate who says she has experience, and I've changed more things than the guy who talks about change," Biden said of Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. "It's about action. You don't have to wonder what crisis the next president's going to have to face. You know what they are now."

Biden weaved into his speech his assertion that his talk about international problems, including Iraq, isn't just lip service.

His much-touted plan for a decentralized federal government in Iraq - a nonbinding resolution attached to a larger bill authorizing defense spending - has been sent to President Bush.

Biden said early Wednesday that he was confident the bill would be approved later in the day, but it still awaited Bush's signature as of late Wednesday.

Authorization from the president would mark success for the bipartisan plan for a weak central government with three separate regions — one each for Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. The plan was endorsed by the Senate in September in a 75-23 vote.

Hopefully, Biden will continue to show the leadership and drive to sustain this current surge in the polls so that we can have a nominee, not of the media's making, but rather of the people's making. I have pointed it out before and I will continue to drive home the point that we need pragmatism over ideology in both our Congress and our White House. It is not with the Clinton's, Edwards's, or even the Obama's that we will get such leadership. It is with Joe Biden who consistently fights for what he believes but at the same time understands that vision for the future and reality of today do not always coincide with one another and a pragmatic approach, while often overlooked in politics today, can yield both vision and realistic change for the future.

In other news, Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated and Biden was quick to comment:

Biden: I urged protection for Bhutto last fall


Sen. Joe Biden said today he twice urged Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to provide a strong security detail for Peoples Party leader Benazir Bhutto in her return to the nation, but stopped short of blaming him or the Pakistani government for Bhutto’s death in a suicide bombing.

In a letter written to Musharraf Oct. 24, Biden, along with Sens. Joe Lieberman and Patrick Leahy, lay out specific security suggestions, including government-provided, bomb-proof vehicles, jamming equipment, and offers of U.S. resources to investigate the first attempt on Bhutto’s life; a suicide bomb attack at a welcoming rally that killed 140 Pakistanis.

“The failure to protect Mrs. Bhutto raises a lot of hard questions for the government and security services that have to be answered,” he said at a hastily-staged press conference at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Des Moines. “And they need to be answered by a transparent and full investigation.”

6:33 PM | Posted in
I know as a liberal I am supposed to be a soldier in the imaginary "War" on Christmas, but I am enjoying the holiday up in the far north of Minnesota with family. A few stories have slipped my grasp as I vacation in this frozen wasteland but never fear, my colleagues at Dump Bachmann and Blue Man in a Red District have it covered if you are trying to stay in the know about Bob Olson, Elwyn Tinklenberg, and our very own Michele Bachmann.

Over at Dump Bachmann:

*It appears Bachmann is on another one of her propaganda missions and surprise surprise, she sees nothing but blue skies ahead.

Over at Blue Man:

*Check him out for all of your Bob Olson vs. Elwyn Tinklenberg news.

I will try to get in some stories throughout the week but the kids and their grandparents have quite the agenda for the week so I may be run ragged. I leave you with some of my favorite Christmas music to help us in our battle to save Christmas from those darned secular progressives:

11:00 PM | Posted in ,
It looks as though Biden is surging toward a possible 3rd place finish in the Iowa Caucuses. I am quite certain that this surge in support is due to my tireless coverage of the honorable Senator from Delaware (I will be expecting a high level cabinet position in a Biden Administration). Obviously I am just joking, but hey, I'll take Secretary of State or Ambassador to Britain if your willing Mr. Biden!

The Associated Press has a story today about the possibility of Biden gaining supporters throughout Iowa.

Biden pushes for 3rd in Iowa caucuses

Associated Press Writer

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Joe Biden's aides call it "Mo-Joe" - a last-minute surge of momentum and good luck they hope could power the Delaware senator into a better-than-expected showing in Iowa's leadoff caucuses.

"There's a fingertip instinct that tells me something is going on. I feel like I'm still in the game," Biden said in a telephone interview as he traveled to a campaign event in Cedar Rapids.

7:00 PM | Posted in ,
Despite all the rhetoric over the past year from conservatives about returning to their roots of smaller government and fiscal responsibility, it appears as though they secretly still long for the pork. A story from the Washington Times (that liberal rag!) lays out the obvious hypocrisies:

The Senate's two biggest sponsors of this year's pet spending projects are Mr. Stevens of Alaska and Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, both Republicans, according to preliminary reviews of fiscal 2008 spending bills by nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense. Two of the House's three biggest claimants of earmarks also are Republicans: C.W. Bill Young of Florida and Jerry Lewis of California, the group found.

Their continued success at steering billions of taxpayer dollars to their constituents is all the more impressive — or arguably hypocritical — because President Bush and other prominent Republicans sharpened their criticisms of earmarks after Democrats took over the House and Senate majorities in January.

Given that these Republicans have been outraged by the "bloated" budgets of the Democratic majority, perhaps they could have sacrificed their 40% of the pork pie so that some of these other priorities (see SCHIP or the Iraq War) could have been more affordable.

Another bit of contention is the constant brow beating of the Democrats by this Republican President:

Congressional leaders "have not made enough progress" in curbing earmarks, Mr. Bush said. He said his budget director will "review options for dealing with the wasteful spending in the omnibus bill."

Democrats this year shed more light on the earmarking process and reduced its overall cost. Still, about 9,000 earmarks costing $7.4 billion are in the final spending measure.

Perhaps, before Bush blasts the Democratic Congress for improper spending, he will also chastise his own party for partaking in pork with every bit the vigor that Democrats partake. Also, he really might want to examine the previous six years in which he signed each and every pork laden spending bill that floated across his desk. It looks pretty petty when you begin to care about pork spending only when the people in charge are of the opposite party persuasion.

Finally, our very own Michele Bachmann delivered the weekly radio address for the Republicans and made this statement:

because Republican reforms brought more transparency to the budget, taxpayers can now see and scrutinize just how their hard to come by money is being spent, even when Democrats put their budgets together in the dead of night earlier this week.

So, either Michele Bachmann doesn't understand the difference between Republican and Democrat or she is lying because any person with a modem and a search engine could show you that it was a bill sponsored by a Democrat which provided the transparency with which we now see the big spenders in the Republican Party.
10:47 PM | Posted in
All right, that was too easy (forgive the secondary pun)! What better way to promote world peace than to advocate for a worldwide romp in the hay. The website, Global Orgasm, is asking us all to do our part for world peace.

The Intention:

In 2006, the first Global Orgasm for Peace focused on the escalation of tensions between the Government of the USA and Iran. One year later, some of those in power still want to declare war and Americans are waiting to be given another manufactured excuse to support it. So we are launching the Second Annual Synchronized GlobalOrgasm for Peace.

This year we are synchronizing on the actual moment of the Solstice (Winter in the northern hemisphere, Summer in the south) for maximum concentrated effect: Solstice Day - Saturday, December 22nd at 06:08 Universal Coordinated Time (GMT), which is 09:08 Baghdad time; 09:38 Tehran time; 01:08 Washington, DC time; 17:08 Sydney time; 14:08 Hong Kong time; 11:38, New Delhi time; 09:08 Moscow time; Friday, December 21st, at 22:08 San Francisco time.

So, set your calenders, find that special someone, and get busy (double entendre) for world peace!
9:56 PM | Posted in
Over at Dump Bachmann, Eva has gotten a hold of a transcript of one of Bachmann's now infamous tele-town meetings. While the young man in question may or may not be a plant, what interests me is the audacity with which she tries to lead him into saying that his teacher's somehow brainwash him with some sort of liberal propaganda.

MB Teleforum Call Transcript
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007
(Recording began with teleforum in progress.)

MB: When you're in school, do you ever bring up a different point of view?

Student: Well, actually sometimes I do.

MB: OK, does that go pretty well?

Student: Oh, sometimes it does. It's just like, teachers, it's a lot of them are just like, they like their idea better. I'm, I'm younger than them and stuff.

MB: Sure. Well, I am so glad, though, that you got on the phone. I actually went to schools in Anoka public school district, and I think Andover is in the Anoka-Hennepin Public School District, if I remember right.

It appears as though Bachmann didn't get the answer she was so obviously fishing to hear. Someone really ought to teach Michele about "leading" questions! Is it any different for her to lead this young man to an answer she desires than some fictitious liberal boogey man teacher leading their students to an answer of their choosing? One can only imagine if this student had taken the bait and claimed a widespread drubbing every time he had the audacity to speak up what Michele would have done. Even without taking the bait, Michele tries to fill this young man with some subtle propaganda of her own:

MB: It is. OK. Well, I don't – when I was there things may have been a little different I graduated from high school a long time ago, back in 1974. And at that time, the one thing I have to say is we didn't get teachers giving their political opinions maybe as freely in the classroom at that time.

Maybe? So what is it Michele, is there a vast liberal conspiracy beginning after 1974 or isn't there? Thank You, though, for questioning both my integrity and the integrity of teachers throughout the United States. Certainly, there are teachers that dishonestly use their pulpit to claim their view as the one and only but I challenge anyone to prove to me that this is an epidemic. For you to make a blanket claim about teachers behaving as such is both dishonest and a slap in the face to the vast majority of educators who take their role very seriously. In my years as a teacher I have taught both United States History and Civics, and I have not ONCE claimed that my particular viewpoint was either the correct one or the only one out there. In fact, in my years, I have been accused of being both a Republican and a Democrat and I take that as a high compliment of the fairness I have displayed in getting students to THINK rather than simply tow the party line as you have shown a propensity for in your career in politics. So, the next time you go leading a young student to believe their teachers are out to get them, perhaps you could remember that it is the same behavior as those whom you claim to be chastising!

They really focused very strongly on, on teachers teaching knowledge, facts, information. And there was an expectation that there would be a body of knowledge that we'd have to learn by the time we left fifth grade, or sixth grade. Or in, in eighth grade, maybe we'd be discussing American government, or maybe cell formation in biology class. So there was an expectation that we were there for one purpose, and that was to learn something, learn a body of information, and be able to understand it by the time we were done.

So, your teachers just filled you full of facts without ever giving you the tools in which to evaluate and question that information? What kind of school did you go to? The wacko school of facts without substance? It really does explain a great deal about you that you put stock in facts without the ability to question what those facts actually mean. If, in your American government class your teacher spent no time making you question why and making you evaluate the very things that you believe in then you, ma'am, were shortchanged. If your teacher didn't automatically take the opposite side of whichever argument you were on so that you would have to defend yourself then you, ma'am, were shortchanged. If the words why and prove me wrong were never uttered by any of your teachers then you, ma'am, were shortchanged.

And when I graduated from Anoka High School, I was so grateful for my teachers, and so grateful for what they had taught me. Because they really did it – they did their job and they did their job really well. And I know that, Bill, I've, I've heard this before, about the bias that sometimes people feel, and I think there's nothing wrong with talking about political subjects in school. But I think really the best teachers are those where you don't – where you certainly have no idea what the teacher's personal political views are. Because after all, the, the reason why we pay for schools – it's so that ch—it, it needs to be all about children, it needs to be about kids, it needs to be about what their needs are, not necessarily what teachers needs are or whatever their personal political agenda is.

Wow! The kid barely claims any bias in his classroom and you still feel the need to fill his head with the idea that this great liberal boogey man is out there and he is coming to get you! Are you really this paranoid?

We need schools because we need to have well-educated kids, and Bill, you sound to me like a really bright young man with a great future, and you're concerned, the fact that you even are taking your time tonight to be on this phone call is pretty impressive to me. I give you a lot of credit, I'm very, very proud of you, and uh, if you'd like to contact me sometime in the future, be sure to do so. We have an office in Woodbury, Minnesota, we also have one up in St. Cloud, Minnesota, back in the district, and then of course the office here in Washington, D.C. And the phone number for the office in Woodbury is 651 – ah, and it's 731-5400, and then of course the St. Cloud office and the one here too, but you can also go to the web site too and get more about contact information. And um, again, it's really an honor to serve you, and I'm really impressed that you got on the phone. I'm Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, thank you so much for being on our live tele--- (tape ends)

Oh, and by the way, if you do call make sure you mention that your teachers are filling you full of lies so that I can be outraged! Also, if you are in any way liberal, DON'T CALL!
10:19 PM | Posted in
To those of you who may not believe Joe Biden is the right man for the job, I offer this video created by someone (not me!) for Youtube:

The Description:
The Iraq war has become one of hidden sacrifice. Flag draped coffins go unseen by the public at large while the burden of sacrifice falls almost entirely on soldiers and their families. This video highlights that sacrifice as well as our moral obligation to take care of our troops by giving them the support and equipment they need, a military strategy that can succeed and aggressive diplomacy to bring about a political solution to end this war. The image compilation in this video was created by PlanetJose. The music is sung by Janis Ian from the CD collection Songs of America. And, the excerpted speech was delivered by Joseph Biden on the floor of the Senate.

Kudos to whomever created this tribute!

If you don't have a tissue, you may want to get one...
4:59 PM | Posted in
What makes a conservative in this country scream the most in nearly incoherent bursts? Why Bill Clinton of course! It is almost laughable how, after nearly eight years, they simply cannot finish any political conversation or debate without trotting out their disgust for our 42nd President.

An opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal wonders what role President Clinton would have in an administration where his wife is the President. He posits that the role for him might be as an associate justice to the Supreme Court. While this is most likely the longest of shots, wouldn't we all like to see it for nothing more than to make conservatives throughout the United States absolutely INSANE?

Think of it for a moment? The bane of the conservative movement given a position for life in which he can help determine the judicial course of an entire generation. Conservatives throughout the country may simultaneously go into cardiac arrest as blood pressures rise just thinking about how the man they could never defeat even when he was getting serviced in the Oval office was now sitting on the highest court in the land. A guy can dream can't he?

From the Wall Street Journal:

Justice Clinton?
President Taft went on to the Supreme Court. Maybe Mrs. Clinton will park her husband there.

Sunday, December 16, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

Hillary Clinton's commanding lead in the polls has diminished, and with Oprah Winfrey stumping for Barack Obama, she's called increasingly on the "star power" of husband Bill. But the ubiquitous presence of the former president on the campaign prompts a question: What will Hillary do with Bill if she is elected?

Of course, one might say Hillary has been wondering what to do with Bill for quite some time. But Mr. Clinton's prominent role in his wife's campaign--whether going head to head with Oprah for airtime or defending Hillary from "swift-boat-like attacks" from rival Democrats--has renewed the question: What exactly will he be doing on Jan. 21, 2009?

Several job ideas have already been floated. He might be appointed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York to serve the remainder of Mrs. Clinton's U.S. Senate term. While there is precedent for former presidents--even a former impeached president (Andrew Johnson) returning to the national legislative body--few close to former President Clinton think being one of 100 would satisfy his boundless persona.

In any event, Gov. Spitzer is already under some considerable pressure to appoint a minority to Sen. Clinton's seat, and even though Mr. Clinton was described by writer Toni Morrison as "the first black president," that won't cut it with the practitioners of identity politics.

Mr. Clinton has also been contemplated for something dubbed "ambassador to the world." But the federal government's anti-nepotism law would likely preclude her naming Bill to her cabinet.

The issue of Mr. Clinton's potential role has a serious side for Democrats already concerned about her persistently high negatives. The notion that Mr. Clinton will be a "shadow president," effectively circumventing the constitutional limitations on presidential service, presents a campaign opportunity for the GOP.

So if neither a Senate nor executive position will do, what does work? While it's probably not something the Hillary campaign would want us to contemplate, we should remember that there are three branches of government, and that it is widely anticipated that there will be one or more vacancies on the Supreme Court during the next presidential term.

Before dismissing the possibility of Justice William Jefferson Clinton, it is worth recalling a bit of history--most notably, the history of another former president who landed on the Supreme Court, William Howard Taft. Taft would come to love his fellow justices and the court so much that he later described them as his ideals "that typify on earth what we shall meet hereafter in heaven under a just God."

That seems a little strong for Bill Clinton, but Taft and Mr. Clinton are not without their similarities. For example, both started out in life as law professors--Taft at the University of Cincinnati and Mr. Clinton at the University of Arkansas. Mr. Clinton also shares with Taft a warm, gregarious personality that is well received at home and abroad.

There are also differences. Taft never had his law license suspended (Mr. Clinton's suspension for "serious misconduct" formally ended in 2006), and Taft had extensive judicial service on lower courts before the presidency. Indeed, Taft always preferred the judiciary over the executive office, assessing his own presidential term as "a very humdrum, uninteresting administration" that failed to "attract the attention or enthusiasm of anybody." President Clinton's service, by no one's calculus, was uninteresting.

The attractiveness of the high bench to Bill Clinton might well increase once he familiarized himself with the details. The former president could not help but admire how Taft personally mapped out a Machiavellian strategy for appointment.

Among other things, Taft as president deliberately chose appointees of advanced age. This was especially true of Edward Douglass White. Taft named him chief justice at the age of 65, passing over Charles Evans Hughes, a far more logical choice and a vibrant 48.

It's too much of a stretch to see either of Mr. Clinton's appointments in the same light, though when Hillary would be in the oval office, both Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be in their 70s and John Paul Stevens pushing 90. It would be untrue and insulting to the integrity of all three to think of them as just biding their time, but back in 1920, it was reasonably clear that Justice White was, in the words of the historians, "keeping the seat warm for Taft."

While Taft did manage to angle the center seat, mercifully that would not appear to be in the cards for Mr. Clinton. Notwithstanding a curious and worrisome summer seizure, Chief Justice John Roberts seems young, vigorous and at the start of a long tenure. So why would Bill Clinton take the lesser job of associate justice?

Well, instead of being one of a 100 he would be one of nine. And like the late Associate Justice William Brennan, he would have the personality to influence outcomes on the court--especially given its currently teetering 5-to-4 composition--disproportionately to his single vote. Moreover, his influence on the bench could extend well beyond "the marble palace." Taft, for instance, reshaped the entire federal judiciary for decades to follow.

Would anyone doubt a Justice Clinton's ability and inclination to remake a federal bench in a manner calculated to erase its current edge of Reagan and Bush appointees? Or that his influence would be limited to chatting up whomever Hillary is thinking of naming as attorney general?

In short, a seat on the Supreme Court solves Sen. Clinton's dilemma of what to do with her husband if she becomes president. It keeps Bill formally out of the White House and structurally out of the executive branch. And lest that dampen Mr. Clinton's interest, he might be reassured by Taft's practice of continuing to advise the president on the substance of legislation and to lobby to sustain various presidential vetoes.

True, some of this activity would be seen as well beyond the precepts of modern judicial ethics, but even if Justice Clinton stayed solely within his judicial role, his impact need hardly be minimal. During Taft's service, the court called the shots in government getting its own building and for the first time winning virtually complete control of its own docket.

How much more opportunity would be knocking for a Justice Clinton with an Iraq-induced, Democrat-controlled Congress? There's no need to take this comparison further at this point. Former President Clinton will no doubt guffaw at the possibility of judicial service, but then, hasn't he already stated, "I will serve in whatever capacity she deems most appropriate"?

William Howard Taft's biographer, Jeffrey B. Morris, writes that no Supreme Court justice "has proven as audacious in conceiving his role, for Taft had treated his job as an American Lord Chancellor--managing a system, framing legislation and putting it through, selecting judges, as well as presiding over a court and deciding cases." No justice that is until perhaps Justice William Jefferson Clinton? Only time will tell.

Mr. Kmiec, assistant attorney general and head of the Office of Legal Counsel to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, is a professor of constitutional law at Pepperdine University and a volunteer legal adviser to Gov. Mitt Romney.

7:36 PM | Posted in , ,
Earlier this month, Michele Bachmann introduced H.R. 4311 which she has dubbed the "School Choice for Foster Kids Act". Her press release, accompanied by photo-op, touts this as a bipartisan piece of legislation. While that may technically be true, given that ONE of the bills 27 co-sponsors is a Democrat, it does not speak highly of her definition of bipartisan.


To authorize States to use funds provided for the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program to provide vouchers to cover tuition costs at private schools, and transportation costs to and from public schools, of foster children of all ages.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `School Choice for Foster Kids Act'.


    Section 477 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 677) is amended--
      (1) in subsection (a)(6), by inserting `and to make available vouchers for tuition costs at private schools and transportation costs to and from public schools, to youths in foster care regardless of their age' before the period;
      (2) in subsection (h)(2), by striking all that follows `vouchers' and inserting `as provided in subsection (i).'; and
      (3) in subsection (i), by redesignating paragraphs (5) and (6) as paragraphs (6) and (7), respectively, and inserting after paragraph (4) the following:
      `(5) Vouchers under the program may be available to youths in foster care, regardless of age, for the cost of tuition at a private school offering elementary or secondary education, or the cost of transportation to and from a public school offering such education.'.
    There are a few issues to examine regarding this bill:

    1. Apart from the obvious backdoor attempt at instituting school vouchers throughout the United States, it appears as though Bachmann is expanding the reach of a program not meant to provide school choice, but rather to help transition older foster children from school to adulthood.

    The John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) offers assistance to help current and former foster care youths achieve self-sufficiency. Grants are offered to States who submit a plan to assist youth in a wide variety of areas designed to support a successful transition to adulthood.

    Bachmann and her group of cosponsors don't seem to understand the purpose of this program and despite their rhetoric about local control are adding a whole new level of government bureaucracy to a program not set up to determine who should get funds to switch schools or to transport. To top it off, the McKinney-Vento Act does ostensibly the same thing that this legislation purports to accomplish. So, a second level of bureaucracy to a program not meant for this purpose with a similar program already in existence? What possible reason would we need such a bill?

    2. The budget for this program is a paltry $140 million per year. Unfortunately, Bachmann has not provided any new funding for this increased role she has carved out for the program. If Bachmann truly wanted to pass this legislation and assist foster children, she would couple this legislation with adequate funding. Is this simply an election year ploy to show her constituents how much she cares about children and their education? It seems that we have another case of lip service over results. If you are going to tout this program as your contribution to the education of foster children, are you also going to tell people you forgot to add the funds to pay for it?

    3. So, what is the agenda? The difference between the McKinney-Vento Act and this one is that Bachmann and her cosponsors have added private schooling to the mix. This appears to be an attempt to give increased parental rights to a group that does not currently have complete parental rights. While I am by no means an expert in the rights of foster parents throughout the country, this bill appears to overstep the bounds of many state laws which restrict the ability of foster parents in choosing where their foster kids are educated.

    So, beyond any argument about school vouchers, Bachmann is expanding a federal government program, forgetting to provide it with the funds to accomplish its new mission, and circumventing the laws of states across the country that restrict the rights of foster parents in making education decisions for their foster child. So much for small government and local control!

    Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
    2:06 PM | Posted in
    It has come to my attention that a certain member of the DFL has all but denounced the efforts of blogs and the blogosphere in providing news about candidates in a manner equal to those of traditional media outlets.

    Considering the antipathy with which this member treated myself and the blogging world at the St. Cloud State DFL debate, it comes as little surprise to me that he would make such statements. When I approached him at the debate to inquire about future events, his message to me was clear when he told me that bloggers would NOT be electing these candidates. This comment was allowed to pass and I moved along to the more important task of covering the debate.

    Did the traditional media?

    Apart from a brief (but much appreciated) write up by Mr. Larry Schumacher of the St. Cloud Times, there was little mention of the event throughout the 6th District. However, here on this blog and on the Dump Bachmann blog, I provided unedited video of the answers given by each of the candidates in this race. There was no editorial discussion by myself on the answers given nor was there the slightest hint of bias in the presentation of those videos as I even made sure to apologize for an error made by myself in filming. These videos have provided a wider audience a chance to evaluate the candidates on their merits. Unfortunately, the traditional media does not have the time or the energy to put that much into one single event. THAT, sir, is the beauty of the blogosphere to which you hold such contempt. I, and many others, are able to devote far more time and attention to a single race or a single candidate because we are not in the business of making money or filling pages with a wide variety of news.

    At no time did I ever claim that I knew the true intentions of the folks at the AFSCME screening and I believe I made that perfectly clear. However, I did not edit in any way the answers given by each of the candidates to the questionnaire. Perhaps you are satisfied with a candidate providing one word answers to nearly half of your questions, but I am far from satisfied with such a performance.

    My final point, sir, is that I am not some distant blogger with no connection to the district for which I write. I am and have been a loyal member of the DFL ever since I cast my first vote. Currently, I am a resident of the 6th District, so YES I will be electing these candidates. If, for one minute, you believe I will kowtow to you simply because of a leadership position you hold, you are sorely mistaken. Not only am I a resident and a loyal DFLer, I am also a loyal union member of Education Minnesota. If Mr. Tinklenberg provides myself and the other candidate screening committee with as little information as he has provided to AFSCME, I will denounce them in much the same fashion I have denounced the AFSCME screening.

    If you want a "firestorm", I am more than willing to provide one!
    Recently, I obtained the question and answer transcripts from the AFSCME candidate screening of Elwyn Tinklenberg and Bob Olson. After reviewing the answers given by both sides, I am increasingly skeptical of the legitimacy of this screening and the thoroughness with which AFSCME made its decision. Tinkllenberg provided one word or one sentence answers for half of the questions while Olson provided paragraph or multi-paragraph answers for each and every question.

    Let's Review:

    1. While many states have reduced their budget gaps over the past two years, almost all states still face daunting challenges generating sufficient revenue to support all the essential services they provide including education, homeland security, transportation, and health care. The bridge collapse in Minneapolis is a tragic example of what can happen if states don’t have the resources to fix or replace unsafe infrastructure. Will you support adequate funding for existing programs, services, and infrastructure, including emergency fiscal relief in programs like Medicaid or for deteriorating roads and bridges, when necessary?

    Bob Olson:
    Yes. Many are quick to blame government when something goes wrong and conclude that the answer is to pass more funding cuts. I think we need to focus on making sure we have the resources necessary to prevent problems from materializing in the first place.

    Elwyn Tinklenberg:

    2. Perhaps the clearest way Congress can help state and local governments is during the annual congressional appropriations process. While the traditional emphasis is on the merits and popularity of specific programs, many of the programs additionally provide funds to state and local governments for necessary public services. Will you work with AFSCME to encourage the various appropriations subcommittees to maintain and, where possible, give real dollar increases to those programs that are most important to funding key state and local government initiatives? How did you vote or how would you have voted on the recent 2006 final passage of the federal budget reconciliation bill?

    Bob Olson:
    Yes. It’s important that Washington supports the work being done in our legislatures and city halls. I would’ve voted against the 2006 budget reconciliation bill because it benefited the super-wealthy at the expense of everyone else. The billions spent on tax breaks for the rich would’ve been put to far better use by investing in infrastructure and our safety net programs and by helping states and communities better serve their residents.

    Elwyn Tinklenberg:
    Yes. I would also have voted "No" on the recent federal budget reconciliation bill.

    3. In order to restore equity in the federal budget and to avoid major reductions in domestic programs and entitlements, it will be necessary to make changes to our nation’s tax policies. Do you support rolling back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Do you oppose extensions of the Bush Administration tax cuts? Do you oppose full repeal of the estate tax for millionaires? Will you support tax increases that close corporate loopholes? Will you oppose any additional tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest Americans?

    Bob Olson:
    I oppose the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. As a tax lawyer and banker, I know from experience that the overwhelming majority of the benefits from the Bush tax cuts went to those who didn’t need the help in the first place.

    I oppose the full repeal of the estate tax for millionaires and will work vigorously to close the loopholes big corporations exploit while working Americans pay more than their fair share.

    As congressman, I won’t even consider so-called “across-the-board” tax cuts until we’ve leveled the playing field for the Middle Class and provided much needed funding for critical programs like SCHIP, Social Security, the prescription drug program, etc.

    Elwyn Tinklenberg:
    I support rolling back the Bush tax cuts-the theory of the Bush administration has always been that the problems stem from the wealthy not having enough money. We know this "trickle-down" theory is flawed and I oppose any expansion of the tax cuts and any additional tax cuts for the wealthy. I will support any tax incentives that value middle class citizens over corporations.

    4. Will you oppose any proposal to amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget?

    Bob Olson:
    Yes. Absolutely.

    The balanced-budget amendment is simply a scheme devised by people like Michele Bachmann, who’s co-sponsoring it in the House. They have no interest in seeing government make much-needed investments in health care, education and our infrastructure. To paraphrase Grover Norquist, they’re trying to shrink government to the point where it can be drowned in a bathtub. Then they have the gall to wonder why it doesn’t work after Hurricane Katrina or the Interstate 35-W bridge collapse.

    Elwyn Tinklenberg:

    5. Our health care system is broken, but some of the prescriptions for reform would just shift cost and responsibility to workers and families. Do you support comprehensive health care reform to ensure affordable coverage for everyone? Would you insist upon a plan that requires fair financing to ensure that everybody, including all employers, contribute to our system? Do you favor mechanisms that spread risk through the largest pools possible? Are you opposed to President Bush’s recent veto of SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) care funding for children?

    Bob Olson:
    I have been an outspoken critic of President Bush’s SCHIP veto, even though I don’t think the legislation passed by Congress went far enough. Today more than 9 million children in America – including 85,000 here in Minnesota – are uninsured. The expanded SCHIP legislation that Michele Bachmann opposed would’ve reduced that number by half. That’s a good start, but we must do better.

    I support universal health care coverage and would ultimately like to see a single-payer system implemented. For the time being, the largest employers, like Wal-Mart, should be required to provide health care for their workers. Smaller employers, the self-employed, unemployed and uninsured should be able to buy health care with tax credits and through coverage pools that help keep costs down (similar to the plans advanced by some Democratic presidential candidates).

    Elwyn Tinklenberg:
    I support universal, comprehensive health care for all children and adults. We absolutely need universal heath care for everyone. Besides being a tremendous public health risk, having individuals who are uninsured also puts our businesses and industry at risk because the cost of insuring workers is too high. We need to have a system that everyone is paying into at a reasonable rate, and a way to prevent people from using our emergency rooms as their primary care facility. I think President Bush's veto of SCHIP was unconscionable. For someone to talk about family values, they need to support legislation that supports and protects families.

    6. Would you support repeal of the Bush Medicare prescription drug benefit passed by Congress and signed into law and replace it with a program that provides real benefits to seniors and clamps down on skyrocketing drug costs, and at the same time gives the federal government the authority to negotiate with drug manufacturers for reduced prices for Medicare beneficiaries?

    Bob Olson:
    Yes. The Bush drug plan has simply roped seniors into a broken system. It’s really a plan for the big pharmaceutical companies rather than the customers. The federal government must absolutely use its purchasing power to negotiate lower prices from the manufacturers.

    Elwyn Tinklenberg:

    7. Defined benefit pensions offer guaranteed pensions to workers in retirement, yet the number of workers with such coverage has declined steadily in recent years. What steps would you take to stop the erosion of guaranteed pension benefits for future retirees?

    Bob Olson:
    As a tax attorney, I have drafted more than a hundred defined-benefit plans, and several hundred defined-contribution plans. I know DB plans are much better public policy. Retirement plans can be difficult to understand, and I think most importantly, employees need to be educated about the differences so they can demand better plans, and in congress, I would be in a unique position to do that.

    Critics cite cost control, but the fact is DB plans are not difficult to budget. The employer must put in the actuarially appropriate amount to produce the defined benefit upon retirement. Critics cite lack of portability, but this can be mitigated. Additionally, many public-sector employees are not covered by Social Security, so their DB plans must be preserved.

    I would encourage all legislation to support DB plans, and would encourage unions and all employees to support these plans as well. I think we can go beyond “stopping the erosion” and that there are things congress can do to tax-incentivize small and large businesses to create DB plans.

    Elwyn Tinklenberg:
    First, I will oppose expansion of defined contribution programs.

    Second, I will work to protect Social Security. It's a promise we have made to the people who have paid into it and the people who will continue to pay into it, that it will be there for them in their retirement. Also, I would work to make sure the federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation is fully funded and that companies are paying their fair share to ensure employee pensions.

    8. Congress has been asked by President Bush to approve legislation which essentially privatizes the Social Security system. Will you stand with us in opposition to efforts to weaken Social Security, including efforts to privatize it?

    Bob Olson:
    By pushing privatization, the Bush administration and Michele Bachmann have tried to change Social Security from a defined-benefit plan to a defined contribution plan, injecting unnecessary risk and instability into the most important retirement plan we have. There is no better defined benefit plan than Social Security and this program must be preserved and strengthened.

    Elwyn Tinklenberg:

    9. During the Bush Administration, outsourcing and contracting-out has soared at the federal level and has been increasingly allowed at the state level in the administration of federally-funded programs, like Food Stamps and welfare benefits. Will you oppose any legislation that would encourage or mandate the contracting out, privatization or off-shoring of public services, and will you support efforts to curtail state and local privatization efforts of federally-funded programs?

    Bob Olson:
    Yes. In an effort to save money, the Bush administration has simply created more problems. Outsourcing/contracting-out leads to inefficiencies and a complete lack of accountability that didn’t exist when government was in full control of administering these programs. Moreover, the wages and benefits provided by public employment make for better public policy.

    Elwyn Tinklenberg:

    10. The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would enhance workers’ ability to make their own choices about whether to have a union by increasing penalties for illegal management interference and allowing “card-check” recognition of unions. Do you support this legislation? Will you publicly support the organizing efforts of workers?

    Bob Olson:
    I strongly support the Employee Free Choice Act and won’t hesitate to stand with workers in their efforts to organize. I will also strongly oppose any legislation that would make it more difficult to organize in the future.

    Elwyn Tinklenberg:
    Yes. I am proud of the support I have from organized labor and I have and will continue to fight for workers' right to organize.

    11. Recent campaign finance reforms have restricted the legitimate activities of unions to conduct grassroots activities that encourage the general public to support endorsed candidates for state and local office. What is your position of this issue and whether unions should be prevented from supporting independent 527 organizations that are active in the political progress?

    Bob Olson:
    The general principles behind campaign finance reform are fine. As we all know, there’s far too much money in the system. But grassroots efforts by labor and related groups have been unfairly targeted. I think we need to review McCain-Feingold, and close the loopholes the corporate interests are exploiting while relaxing restrictions on people-powered efforts.

    Elwyn Tinklenberg:
    I strongly oppose efforts to restrict legitimate political activity by those who stand in opposition to the agenda of organized labor. I support the rights of people to organize around no only their own rights in the workplace, but around political ideas and issues that are central to the welfare of their membership.

    These two candidates have given ostensibly the same answers to nearly every question offered to them. So, what factors made AFSCME choose Tinklenberg over Olson?

    *It certainly couldn't be in the details of their answers as Tinklenberg offered little in the way of details to his answers. In fact, if I were an AFSCME member I would be terribly offended that Tinklenberg took so little time and effort to answer the questions in a comprehensive manner. I am all for being concise, but there is a difference in concise and incomplete. One has to wonder if Tinklenberg knew that this was a forgone conclusion so didn't feel the need to put in any effort.

    *Could it be in their presentation? I was not there, so I cannot speculate on the performance of each candidate in front of the screening committee. However, I am told that while Tinklenberg came alone with his incomplete questionnaire in hand while Olson came with union supporters (including his teamster campaign manager), his thorough questionnaire, and a powerpoint presentation as a means to clarify his message.

    Obviously, this is mere conjecture, but all this evidence points to an organization already having made up its mind and simply going through the motion in the hopes of looking fair to both candidates. If this were my union, I would be absolutely outraged that they did not do a thorough examination of the candidates but simply chose one who apparently thinks so little of the union that he is unwilling to completely answer eleven questions.

    Check out Blue Man for more Tinklenberg inconsistencies...
    11:02 PM | Posted in
    In the land of conservatives, there are only a few ways in which to turn the tide: The first, to convince those conservatives that they are indeed wrong on so many things, the second, to bring in more liberals to the area, and the third, to populate the area with new liberal blood. Well, One year ago today I was welcoming my third little liberal into the land of conservatives! How quickly time flies when you have to switch from a man to man defense with two children to a zone defense with three.

    So, Ella, Happy Birthday to You:

    Here she is in all her Christmas glory:

    9:22 PM | Posted in ,
    You may not like his politics, his verbosity, or even his thinning hair, but there is one thing you have to acknowledge about Joe Biden. He is not going to sugarcoat his beliefs and he is going to tell you what it is that he wants to do in a realistic manner. THAT is what we need in a President. We do not need someone desperately telling us everything that we want to hear or giving us glittering generalities about "staying on offense" or "defending freedom".

    There are some nice personal story articles out there that talk about Biden:

    ABC NEWS: "Who is Joe Biden?"

    This man isn't just blowing smoke when he tells you he understands hardship:

    Tragedy Strikes

    However, Biden's victory celebration was short-lived. Just days before he was set to be sworn in, his wife, Neilia, and their three children got into a car accident. Neilia and their youngest child, 18-month-old Naomi, were killed. His two other sons, ages 4 and 3, were seriously injured.

    Biden got the fateful phone call while at the Senate.

    "I said, 'She's dead, isn't she?' I don't know what the hell made me say that. And I walked out," Biden said. "I was so angry."

    Biden even contemplated suicide as a rational option after the accident.

    "I never went to the bridge," Biden said. "I'd get up in the middle of the night, go out and take out a bottle of Scotch & and I'd sit at the table and I'd try to make myself just lose it. I couldn't bring myself & but the hardest part is you feel guilty when you realize you want to live. If the love was as great and as profound as you believed it to be, why would you still want to live?"

    However, with the help of his friends and family Biden was pressed on and continued in the Senate, with a few alterations to his lifestyle. His sister and family moved in to Biden's home to help with the children.

    "Being a single parent is hard," Biden said. "I couldn't afford to have someone take care of my kids. But I had my mother, my brothers, my sister  I had a family that just took care of me."

    Biden also made the decision to commute daily to Washington from his home in Delaware. To this day, Biden still rides the train every day to work.

    "My being home every day was sort of the touchstone for me. And even though all three of my kids now are out and they're grown up, I still go home every day," Biden said.
    Another from the NY Times: Biden Campaigns With Ease..

    Mr. Biden has survived so much personal and political catastrophe that not much about this race — not his distant standing in the polls nor his own missteps — seems to get him down. It is the last, great ride of his White House ambitions, and this time, unlike 20 years ago, he seems determined to make it right.

    “This has been the easiest campaign I’ve ever run in,” Mr. Biden said cheerfully in an interview in a van at the Iowa City Airport, where he was about to board a four-seat airplane and head off into the icy December blackness for an event at Grinnell College. “I haven’t had to game anything. For real. I know what I believe, I know what I want to do, and I’m just comfortable saying it, and laying it out there.”

    Biden at the Des Moines Register Debate:

    Biden was a debate WINNER!

    Joe Biden: Biden was extraordinary today. Not only did he speak specifically and with authority on issues both foreign and domestic, he was able to tie all of his arguments together under the umbrella of taking action and setting priorities. Biden also beat back the toughest question of the day when moderator Carolyn Ashburn asked him whether his past verbal gaffes in relation to race reflected a level of discomfort with the issue. "I got involved in politics because of the civil rights movement," Biden said with real emotion, adding that his career in the Senate reflected that commitment. When he finished speaking, all of his rivals offered a "huzzah" for his answer. Biden also played to Iowans' vanity by praising them as the foundation of democracy and asserting their right to be first. A complete performance by The Fix's Iowa darkhorse.