While I have been steeped in paperwork and school duties, leaving the blog somewhat neglected (although today has been an amazing and puzzling blip in the number of visitors with over 300 total visitors!), Blue Man has been doing some excellent work in exposing the inadequacies of everyone's favorite "crowned" candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg. Both he and Eric Zaetsch over at Developers are Crabgrass have been doing some great investigation into the lobbying/consulting/whatever you want to call it practices of the Tinklenberg Group.

Elwyn Tinklenberg opened this Pandora's box. He could have come clean early and simply stated, "Yeah, I do some lobby work on Transportation issues with Senator X, Senator Y, and Congresswoman Z, but it's a small portion of what I do", this situation would have been averted.

Regardless if Tinklenberg lobbied Federal Government officials 18% of the time, or 56% of the time, the view of the public will be that he is indeed a lobbyist.

Once again, this exposes one of Tinklenberg's perceived strengths.

Tinklenberg is running on his record at MnDOT and his Transportation/Infrastructure knowledge and his apparent "socially conservative" past as a Methodist minister.

We've seen the evidence that Tinklenberg's MnDOT past is not as rosy as he would describe it.

His lobbying ties are also being called into question and, to put it bluntly, how can a delegate trust a former Methodist minister with a problem with honesty?

I'll be posting a town by town snapshot of Tinklenberg's work as a lobbyist/consultant over the next few days.

For now, the question has been asked...again!

Today, Blue Man analyzed the deeper meaning of Tinklenberg's FEC reports and came to some relevant conclusions.

It's interesting comparing the FEC reports of Elwyn Tinklenberg and Bob Olson.

It's no secret why Tinklenberg's numbers were not released early. They are not that impressive, despite Elwyn's Will Ferrell-esqe persona of "don't tell me your not impressed."

$133,152 may look good from the outside but a more careful analysis points to some problems.

Of the $133,152, $71,500 came from Political Action Committee's.

Almost 54% of Elwyn Tinklenberg's fundraising came from PAC's!

I guess I missed the want ad in the St Cloud Times, "Congressman for Sale". I'd think Larry Schumacher would have pointed that one out.

With just over $96,000 on hand, it must be a disappointment for the Tinklenberg campaign to have relied so heavily on those who lurk the dark Washington DC corridors for money.

Compare to where Bob Olson is at.

Olson has just over $92,000 on hand and has taken ZERO money from Political Action Committee's. Olson has had over 500 individual donors, representing all areas of the 6th CD.

One thing that stood out to me in my first look at Tinklenberg's FEC report.

If Michael Guest is his fundraising director, which he stated publicaly on 12/13/07 as well, where is he on the FEC Report? Is he being paid by the Tinklenberg Group? Hassan Mainstreet LLC? It sure raises some interesting questions in my eyes. Is it an FEC violation to have someone on your campaign working but being paid by another group? Just curious...

It's quite obvious by now, someone is being anointed in the 6th to run against Bachmann. Clearly, by looking at his poast issues at MnDOT, a lob errr, interesting consulting past, and now his recent FEC report display fully the paper tiger in the room.

Are we ready to have OUR Congressional seat bought by those outside the 6th? I'm not naive, I fully understand the fundraising process, but when 54% of your entire campaign funds come from PAC's alone, and the vast remainder outside of the 6th, it shows a lack of grassroots support.

If those that are trying to buy this race are successful through the endorsment, I hope they save the receipt.

Unfortunately, it will be tough to return a bought candidate in August...

Also, today, Blue Man hinted at some big news on its way about Tink and Taconite!

I encourage everyone to check Blue Man out because he has a fantastic ability to expose the weaknesses of the candidate (Elwyn Tinklenberg) in this race that is getting a free ride to nomination from the party bosses and outside interests over those of us living in the district who would like a principled candidate (Bob Olson) with far less baggage and a better message. Beyond these issues of dishonesty, one need only look at the effort these two men have put into this race. Bob Olson is tirelessly putting out his message while we hear little or nothing from the Tinklenberg campaign.
9:44 PM | Posted in ,
A reader of my recent post discussing the United States Senate race here in Minnesota sent me a link to the foundation created by the law firm at which Mike Ciresi is the Chairman of the Executive Board.

This foundation, in its 10 year existence, has given out upwards of $9 million dollars in grants and other donations. What warms my heart is the millions of dollars given to various educational institutions throughout the country.

The mission was to create a permanent endowment, income from which would be distributed primarily in Minnesota and the Twin Cities, and provide support primarily in three areas: K-12 education programs, public health concerns and advocacy for social justice initiatives.

There is no way the reader could have known this, but I am what some would refer to as a theatre (note the proper spelling of the word!) geek. The theatre has been my second love for many years and was the source of many friendships throughout my years in college. So, when I read this,

The Minneapolis Public School District has received over $700,000 for the district's Academic Achievement through the Arts Program

and this,

In 2006, four theatres received grants totaling $500,000 to create innovative strategies for addressing issues of social justice and tolerance through the performing arts to youth.

there was an instant sense of gratitude towards this organization and its founders. A good friend of mine spent a significant number of years working at the Mixed Blood Theatre and its mission of social justice is exactly the message we should all support.

I have always been of the mind that theatre and the arts can be a huge benefit in the life of any child. Many kids, not typically served by sports programs, are able to find their voice and passion within the theatre (whether on stage or behind stage). Having created a theatre program at my school and having directed several shows throughout the years, I can honestly say that students benefit in tremendous ways and I thank Mr. Ciresi and his organization for supporting these crucial programs.
11:41 PM | Posted in ,
Well if that wasn't one of the most non-inspirational speeches in modern history, I don't know what was. From a bitter chastising over congressional earmarks despite having approved every bloated bill the Republicans sent him to threatening a country to end a nuclear program his own NIE already acknowledged has been suspended, George W. Bush was a man without a message and without a clear sense of why so many people are dissatisfied with his leadership. But, I digress...

Bob Olson came out with this response:

Olson on SOTU: Bush 'Failed the Great Test of Leadership'

For Immediate Release

Contact: Christopher Truscott



ANOKA—Bob Olson, a DFL candidate in the 6th Congressional District, released the following statement in response to President George W. Bush's State of the Union address:

"On a day when five troops were killed in Iraq, President Bush failed to deliver the exit plan our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have earned.

"On a day when 9 million children went uninsured, President Bush failed to deliver health care coverage for the most vulnerable among us.

"On a day when millions of working families worried about losing their homes, President Bush failed to deliver a plan to end the agony.

"On a day when his country needed him most, President Bush failed the great test of leadership again."
7:02 PM | Posted in , ,
Blue Man, inspired by the drinking game, has come up with an excellent idea for watching the State of the Union Address tonight.

Bluewoman and I may try this tonight...

One exception though...

Every time the camera shows....your congressman/woman: the site encourages you to pat yourself on the back...

Those of us in the 6th are going to cringe, hoping that they have doubled the secret service presence for the President's grand entrance and exit.

If you want a positive action though, go ahead and send Bob Olson for Congress $10 everytime you see Congresswoman Bachmann tonight, both at the State of the Union and through local news coverage of Bachmann's actions tonight.
To add to the fun I would suggest that each time the President says nucular rather than nuclear, we send an additional $5 to our favorite Presidential candidates!
Bob Olson shared his views on the current politics of economic stimulus reverberating through Washington. The article, appearing on Minnesota Campaign Report, highlights what many of us already understand about this candidate. While he is running as a Democrat he is by no means beholden to narrow party interests and will work for the people before working for the party.

American-Made Energy Offers Chance for Economic Boom

by: Bob Olson for Congress

Sun Jan 27, 2008 at 17:26:26 PM CST

By Bob Olson

Short-term economic stimulus plans in Washington are almost as plentiful as lobbyists. Everyone seems to have at least one: the president, those who want to become president, representatives, senators and probably even a few interns in the White House and on Capitol Hill.

But all of these plans share a critical flaw: they're short-term. Extending unemployment benefits and providing tax rebates/other breaks to middle-income families is fine (and very necessary), but if we want to create the kind of sustainable, long-term recovery America needs we have to look further down the field.

Every great economic boom of the last century has followed some kind of major societal shift or technological advance-like the invention of the automobile at the turn of the 1900s, the migration to the suburbs in the middle of the 20th century or the commercialization of the Internet in the 1990s.

We have to capture that kind of magic again and we can. The answer is right here in Minnesota: renewable energy.

Our business community, farmers, universities, state Legislature and Gov. Tim Pawlenty have been leaders in this critically important area. Now it's time for Congress and the president to follow.

By partnering with entrepreneurs and investing in American-made energy we can dramatically change the way we live for the better, strengthen our national security, clean up our environment and create well-paying American jobs.

Think about it this way: each day we send about $1.3 billion out of our country ($125 million of that to Saudi Arabia alone) for the oil we need to power our cars. At $3 a gallon, it costs more than $30 to gas up a small car and about $100 to fill up a pick-up truck.

Rather than exporting money from our economy and empowering dictators in the Middle East, we can work with farmers in Minnesota and the rest of the Midwest to produce more ethanol, cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel. This way, the money we pay at the pump will help create American jobs and the money we save will re-circulate in other sectors of our economy.

Today Minnesota is one of the leading producers of wind energy. But the turbines we're using to harness the power that blows across our state weren't made here. They're usually imported from Europe and India. For decades we've been watching our manufacturing base erode, but sustainable energy offers us a great chance to put steelworkers and other tradesmen back to work in Minnesota and across America.

Congress had a chance to take a step toward American-made energy when it passed the energy bill last year, but ultimately the provisions that moved us forward were stripped from the legislation after an intense lobbying effort by the oil industry (which stood to lose its huge tax breaks) and a veto threat from President Bush.

Now we have a second chance to get things right.

By implementing the renewable energy technologies available right here in Minnesota, we can dramatically reform our economy, stop poisoning our planet and end our reliance on the dictators in the Middle East who turn a blind-eye to terrorism. But we're not going to make these transformational changes with more of the same stale political leadership that has us still dependent on foreign oil almost 20 years after our first war in the Middle East.

It's time for leaders in Washington to accept that getting America off the oil standard is a challenge we cannot afford to shirk. America is better than that and we deserve a Congress that is, too.

Bob Olson, a St. Cloud resident, is a DFL candidate in the 6th Congressional District.

4:29 PM | Posted in , ,
Yesterday, a politically active conservative friend of mine emailed me to ask about some thoughts I had on the current state of the Presidential race. What I realized from that email is that I haven't been paying much attention to the state of things ever since my preferred candidate dropped out in Iowa.

So, to get back into the swing of things on a national level I have created two polls in the left sidebar to gauge the level of support in both the Republican and Democratic contests here in Minnesota. I will leave the polling open until Monday, February 4th. The only thing I ask is that ONLY people living in Minnesota participate and that you vote only ONCE.

To top it off, I am inviting ALL visitors to participate in the first ever Liberal in the Land of Conservative political chat on February 4th.

How does it work?

1. At 6pm, on February 4th, you can come to this website and click on the big smiley face in the left sidebar to participate in this live discussion. You will not need a log in name or a password and can remain anonymous if you choose.

2. If you would like to expand the chat window, simply click on the button with the four arrows pointing outwards to the four corners. That will allow you to chat in the full screen version of the room.

What will we discuss?

Given that the following day is Super Tuesday, we will discuss the prospects of Democratic and Republican candidates for President. Other topics of discussion may include the Senate race here in Minnesota or simply politics in general.

Disclaimer: As the moderator of this chat room I reserve the right to ban anyone or boot anyone who cannot abide by basic rules of civility. So, let's keep things respectful and perhaps these will become a regular feature!
A letter in the St. Cloud Times today "hopes" for our very own Representative Bachmann to stand up for the middle class and the poor when creating the stimulus package now floating through Congress. To that hope I can only apply the old adage that he can hope in one hand and (bleep) in the other and see which one gets filled first.

From the St. Cloud Times:

Published: January 27. 2008 12:30AM

As we watch a congressional "stimulus package" unfold, I hope Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sens. Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar will stand up for putting the benefits where they can do the most good: with middle- and lower-income Americans who need all the financial help they can get and who will spend the money in ways that will help employment.

People who work hard and yet do not earn enough to actually pay taxes should benefit, too.

Mr. Bradbury, you apparently haven't been paying attention because if you had you would have already been given the answer to the question of whether Bachmann would give financial help to middle and low income Americans. Aside from the obvious pride Bachmann feels about us "workingest" Minnesotans working two jobs, the stimulus she has decided to support (HR 4995) does nothing to stimulate working Americans. What it does is give additional tax breaks to corporations. Corporations that Bachmann hopes will then provide more jobs and this despite the fact that she acknowledges we are already working multiple jobs. I wonder if Bachmann realized that contradiction when deciding to hand out the cash to corporations?

And please, no more tax-breaks for the wealthy. Any suggestion that those irresponsible and, yes, bipartisan gifts to the very rich early in the Bush presidency have helped more than they have contributed to the slow but steady growth in our federal deficit is without merit.

Oops, Mr. Bradbury, perhaps you shouldn't click on that link or read the purpose of the Bachmann stimulus solution given that tax breaks for the wealthy is EXACTLY what Bachmann wants to do. That's not all! Bachmann has been saying all along that she wants to make those magical tax cuts permanent which have given us so much prosperity these many years. As income inequality becomes more severe with even the President acknowledging its severity, Michele Bachmann believes the solution is to allow those very people that hold upwards of 75% of the wealth to gain access to even more.

It takes a long time to build a genuine recession. It started when majority Republicans as well as Democrats gave up on policies of fair taxation and fostered an economic environment in which middle- and lower-class people have seen their earning power and wages fall behind the benefits experienced by those higher on the income scale.

I hope members of Congress will start taking the long view on their actions.

They must mandate genuine oversight of those agencies and authorities who should have been watching the growth of loans to people who simply couldn't afford and/or didn't understand their mortgages.

The loss of homes and equity and nest eggs, which has yet to reach its zenith, composes a great sadness in the lives of millions of people.

It should sadden and concern us all. Someone should have been paying attention. Someone should have spoken up long ago.

... Today, if we truly care about ... our nation, we should all be paying attention.

I applaud your efforts and your "hope" but it is best you don't look to Michele Bachmann for the solution to our economic woes. It was only recently that Michele even acknowledged the economy was anything less than recession proof. Rather than hold out for "hope" you should put your efforts into seeing Michele Bachmann ousted from the United States House of Representatives and that way you needn't (bleep) in your hand waiting for "hope".

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
1:03 AM | Posted in
To go along with the slight change in the look of the blog (it was a nerve racking experience as I entered new code to create a second sidebar!) I thought we needed a little musical interlude to accompany the change.

Zoot Suit Riot


What better way to ring in a new day than a song by a group of anarchist punk rockers!
Between writing about the upcoming 6th District race and the race for the Presidency there has been a glaring lack of attention paid by myself to the upcoming United States Senate race here in Minnesota. After some thought and a little research, here are my early perceptions of this important contest to remove wishy washy Norm Coleman from the seat previously held by Senator Wellstone.

The Candidates:

My initial inclination was to support the big name in this race, Al Franken. However, that was before my two brief encounters with the man. The first being at the 2007 Education Minnesota Representative Convention at which a friend and I approached to speak with him as he worked the room of educators. At the time I didn't think much of the fact that he barely looked at us when we spoke and constantly scanned the room. After all, there were lots of people there and as a candidate he was trying to reach as many as possible. Fast forward to last week at the house party of House District 16B candidate Steve Andrews. I found myself speaking with Franken one on one in a far more intimate setting. Literally, in the middle of our conversation, Franken walked away to speak with someone coming down the stairs. Even during our conversation his body language and mannerisms indicated a lack of interest in anything I had to say. Now I can certainly be a boring person, but having had similar incidences occur on two separate occasions tells me that this behavior was not directed at myself but rather was the modus operandi of a man believing he doesn't have to work very hard in order to win the nomination to face Norm Coleman. Therefore, I can not support Mr. Franken for United States Senate! Despite what Education Minnesota says about Al Franken being a "strong supporter of educators" I have seen little in my interactions with him to indicate that he supports me. In fact, if Franken gets the nomination it may be one of the few times that I find someone other than a Democrat to support come November.

I certainly could see myself supporting the candidacy of Mike Ciresi. After perusing his website for issue statements and video I found several things that indicate a candidate in line with my particular viewpoints. The fact that he understands the need for "a surge in diplomacy" to solve the myriad of problems in Iraq and that he is pragmatic in his vow to
"support a withdrawal plan that gets us our combat troops out within 8 months" and "a plan to redeploy our troops into training functions and on to the borders of Iraq to interdict people who are coming in from either Iran or Syria."

Beyond the issues associated with dealing with Iraq, I am always on the lookout for a candidate who understands education and can effectively voice the concerns of educators to others within the government. This video indicated to me that Mike Ciresi understands the primary complaints educators have with NCLB. While I don't know that the entire program needs to be scrapped because at a basic level it has sound goals, but Ciresi clearly understands what it is about NCLB that doesn't work. I have claimed all along that testing one group and comparing those scores to an entirely different group does little to prove either progress or failure.

Everything that I have seen and heard from Ciresi has been positive and I would have no problem supporting his candidacy.

I heard Jack Nelson Pallmeyer speak last week at the Steve Andrews event and was impressed with this candidate that I had really never heard anything about. To top it off, he has the support of Blue Man and in my book that is a pretty hefty endorsement. He has spoken with each of these candidates far more than I and anyone who was wise enough to throw their support behind Bob Olson is a reputable source in my book. Pallmeyer has a rock solid liberal stance on nearly every issue I care about and appears to have the passion we need to challenge Norm Coleman and more importantly to once again inspire the electorate ala Paul Wellstone.

On the issue of education, Pallmeyer acknowledges that in order to succeed we must invest more resources on books and teachers than we do on guns and tanks.
I support increased state and federal funding for k-12 public education. I support a federally funded universal preschool program for 3-5 year-olds to be paid for with reductions in military spending. I also call for ending tax breaks given by the Bush administration to the richest 1% of US families and redirecting those resources to make college and university education affordable to all students.

This brings up a problem we should all hope to have when choosing our leaders. That problem is choosing between two or more candidates that are both highly qualified to hold the position and inspirational in their message. I cannot honestly say whom I will support on February 5th but between Ciresi and Pallmeyer we have top notch choices. Hopefully people can see past the veneer of stardom surrounding Franken and see fit to choose between these other two candidates.
10:09 PM | Posted in
Martin Luther King Jr., a beacon of hope and a pillar of strength that challenged an entrenched system of injustice wherever he traveled. Who amongst our leaders today could possibly take up the mantle of this man and fight for the downtrodden? Why, Michele Bachmann of course...

Bachmann Authors Column About Martin Luther King Day

Washington, D.C, Jan 21 -

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day

By Congresswoman Michele Bachman

The American declaration of Independence made a bold, historic assertion, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”

I hate to be a quibbler, but shouldn't the author of a column celebrating the Declaration of Independence and Martin Luther King be able to properly honor that document by CAPITALIZING it? My second quibble point is that it appears as though the quote from the Declaration was simply a copy and past job from wikipedia. Now, given that Bachmann is such an ardent patriot, shouldn't she already know by heart one of the most recognizable lines from one of the most influential documents in our history?

With these towering words, the revolution of thirteen American colonies became not simply a battle against the English Monarchy, but a struggle against world history itself – a fight against centuries of political oppression where individual rights and social status were inexorably linked.

But America did not immediately live up to its founding creed. From that glorious July 4th day in 1776 it took almost ninety years to abolish the evil institution of slavery and at the cost of countless lives in the bloodiest war in our history.

Yet almost a century later, the civil rights struggle was far from over, and black Americans still suffered from widespread discrimination, abuse, segregation and worse.

Again, I am curious as to what could be worse than discrimination, abuse, and segregation. Perhaps an introduction to writing course would help Mrs. Bachmann understand that she doesn't need the "and worse" once she has already covered everything.

From another perspective, how dare Michele Bachmann blame America first for the inequities of the past! Doesn't she realize that we must celebrate our greatness and never allow ourselves to dwell upon any "perceived" inadequacies in our past doings or policies.

And more than any other man at this time, one voice would move hearts and minds across the nation, and inspire Americans to live up to our core ideals. This man was the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

King called on every American to recognize the immutable truth that all of God’s children are equal. With undaunted courage he brought millions together and changed the face – and the future – of our nation.

Every third Monday in January Americans unite to honor and celebrate the work, the life, and the legacy of this American hero.

And though his life was tragically cut short by an assassin’s bullet, each of us has the power to ensure that his legacy never dies.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Dr. King proclaimed. While America has made unprecedented gains in civil rights and equality, we must always aspire and fight for the American ideal of liberty and justice for all.

As Americans, we are on a continual march toward freedom. And great men like Dr. King have helped us to take momentous strides. But this mission never ends.

Let us take this time, as we move forward from this important day of commemoration, to renew our commitment to justice and to human rights.

And let us never forget our awesome responsibility as Americans. We are a beacon to the lost, the oppressed, the forgotten. We are a lighthouse – and working together we can illuminate even the darkest corners of the earth.

Renewing our "commitment to justice and to human rights"? This is an audacious statement from the woman who has spent her entire political career trying to deny an entire group of people with whom she disagreed their justice or human rights.

“We are wide open and vulnerable and in all likelihood an activist judge will strike down our Defense of Marriage Act, our state law against gay marriage, this year. And in all likelihood, we will have gay marriage in 2004 in Minnesota , if we don’t get this amendment on the ballot for November.” — Senator Michele Bachmann, appearing as guest on radio program “Prophetic Views Behind The News”, hosted by Jan Markell, KKMS 980-AM, March 20, 2004.

“If you’re involved in the gay and lesbian lifestyle, it’s bondage. It is personal bondage, personal despair and personal enslavement.” — Senator Michele Bachmann, speaking at EdWatch National Education Conference, November 6, 2004.

On her March 2004 rally against same-sex marriage: “And I want to tell you, that was probably the most loving, warm-spirited, most beautiful rally that I have ever seen at the Capitol.” — Senator Michele Bachmann, speaking at EdWatch National Education Conference, November 6, 2004.

You mean this "loving, warm-spirited" display of human rights?

Furthermore, Michele, you really have no business claiming any association with the concepts of justice and human rights with this voting record:

Bachmann 'NO' Votes

Title: To prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Sponsor: Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4] (introduced 9/27/2007) Cosponsors (9)
Related Bills: H.RES.793
Latest Major Action: 11/13/2007 Read the second time. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 479.
House Reports: 110-406 Part 1
Title: To amend title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to clarify that a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice that is unlawful under such Acts occurs each time compensation is paid pursuant to the discriminatory compensation decision or other practice, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Miller, George [CA-7] (introduced 6/22/2007) Cosponsors (93)
Related Bills: H.RES.579
Latest Major Action: 8/2/2007 Read the second time. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 325.
House Reports: 110-237
Title: To invest in innovation through research and development, and to improve the competitiveness of the United States.
Sponsor: Rep Gordon, Bart [TN-6] (introduced 5/10/2007) Cosponsors (21)
Related Bills: H.RES.602, H.R.362, H.R.363, H.R.1068, H.R.1867, H.R.1868, S.761
Latest Major Action: Became Public Law No: 110-69 [GPO: Text, PDF]
Latest Conference Report: 110-289 (in Congressional Record H9414-9465)

Title: Making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Obey, David R. [WI-7] (introduced 7/13/2007) Cosponsors (None)
Related Bills: H.RES.547, H.RES.794, S.1710
Latest Major Action: 11/15/2007 Failed of passage in House over veto. Status: On passage, the objections of the President to the contrary notwithstanding Failed by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 277 - 141 (Roll no. 1122).
House Reports: 110-231; Latest Conference Report: 110-424 (in Congressional Record H12486-12711)
Note: The conference report Division A covered FY2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations and Division B covered FY2008 Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations (previously H.R. 2642). As sent to the President, the bill contained only FY2008 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations. For further action on Labor-HHS-Education appropriations, see H.R. 2764, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008.

Title: To reauthorize the HOPE VI program for revitalization of severely distressed public housing, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Waters, Maxine [CA-35] (introduced 9/11/2007) Cosponsors (8)
Related Bills: H.RES.922, H.R.3126
Latest Major Action: 1/22/2008 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
House Reports: 110-507
Title: Making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Olver, John W. [MA-1] (introduced 7/18/2007) Cosponsors (None)
Related Bills: H.RES.558, H.RES.817, S.1789
Latest Major Action: 11/14/2007 Conference report agreed to in House. Status: On agreeing to the conference report Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 270 - 147 (Roll no. 1102).
House Reports: 110-238; Latest Conference Report: 110-446 (in Congressional Record H13598-13810)
Note: For further action, see H.R. 2764, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008.

And the list goes on and on...

Bachmann can make all the claims she wants about sharing the dream of Martin Luther King Jr. but the reality is that her ideology runs counter to the very things Dr. King fought and died to achieve in this country. Her lip service to the concepts of justice and human rights are contradicted in her message, in her voting record, and in the people that she chooses to associate herself with.

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
Over at Hometown Source, there is an article describing Bob Olson, his candidacy, and his chances for endorsement by the DFL in the 6th District. While the article is peppered with many positive messages that we typically hear from Olson out on the campaign trail, it contains one section which is both confusing and inconsistent with the rest of the article.

The Section:

Olson is Pro Choice

Olson looks to the issue of abortion as separating himself from his DFL rival. “I’m Pro Choice,” he said. “I respect a women’s right to privacy. I just don’t think the government should get involved,” said Olson.

His and Tinklenberg’s views are not the same, Olson maintains.

“No, he’s (Tinklenberg) saying he’s ‘Pro Life,’” said Olson. “Sometimes when you listen to Elwyn, and if you listen closely, you don’t know what he meant,” said Olson.

Olson must be “a little disparate” to suggest that he is Pro Life, said Tinklenberg. “He knows better,” said Tinklenberg.

He’s not interested in seeing Roe v. Wade overturned, nor criminalizing the relationship between a woman and her doctor, said Tinklenberg. Rather, he supports education, prevention, and other tactics to reduce the number of abortions. “I believe that is ‘Pro Life,’” Tinklenberg said.

Really, Mr. Tinklenberg? Desperate? First of all, it was none other than Elwyn Tinklenberg who declared himself a "Pro-Life" Democrat when competing against Patty Wetterling for the nomination in 2006.

Tinklenberg believes his political stances reflect the 6th District.

He declared himself a pro-life Democrat - a different position on abortion than child safety advocate and Democrat Patty Wetterling ran on last election in the district.

"It's (pro life) been my perspective since the early days of my life as a minister," said Tinklenberg.

Second, simply because you have now decided to parse your previous statements in an attempt to assure Democrats in the 6th District that you are acceptable to those of us who are Pro-Choice does NOT make Mr. Olson desperate. It makes us confused Mr. Tinklenberg! It makes us wonder how we could possibly trust you to support our principles when you are so willing to bend them in times of need. What it should do is make us concerned that you will parse any issue to the point that it no longer has any meaning because you are trying to be all things to all people.

The folks over at Minnesota Monitor hosted a liveblog conversation with Bob Olson tonight. Olson did a great job getting his message out and defining why he is the best candidate to defeat Michele Bachmann in November. My only regret is that the event was not more highly publicized but I don't have any information as to why that might have been so I hesitate to lay blame at anyone's feet.

I particularly enjoyed this exchange:

Question: Bob Olson and independent voters

How do you feel your campaign will do amongst independent voters? In what ways would a Bob Olson candidacy appeal to those people in the middle?

by: Political Muse @ Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 6:41:17 PM
[ Reply ]

Good question
Michele Bachmann only received 50.04 percent of the vote in 2006. Hardly a mandate and that was before people outside her old state Senate district knew a lot about her.

I think independent voters are looking for a new direction. This is a change year.

Michele Bachmann has spent the last 8 years trying to scare and divide voters. I've been in the business world working on the big issues affecting our economy -- home ownership, higher education, health care, energy. I think people will see the distinction.

by: Bob Olson for Congress @ Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 6:44:21 PM
[ Parent | Reply ]

John Binkowski maintained that if he weren't running on the IP ticket, he would have been a Republican, and Mark Kennedy held the district with pretty decent majorities in 2002 and 2004. In this campaign, are you finding a need to reach out to more conservative voters, or do you feel a more progressive message is the right way to bring people around to support you?

Joe Bodell also writes Minnesota Campaign Report - now on SoapBlox!

by: Joe Bodell @ Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 6:49:05 PM
[ Parent | Reply ]

Olson later responded to the follow up by Bodell:

Catching up with Joe B. You ask --- John Binkowski maintained that if he weren't running on the IP ticket, he would have been a Republican, and Mark Kennedy held the district with pretty decent majorities in 2002 and 2004. In this campaign, are you finding a need to reach out to more conservative voters, or do you feel a more progressive message is the right way to bring people around to support you?

I think the economy and Iraq are the two biggest issues facing the district and the country. It doesn't matter which candidate you supported in 2006, you're still feeling the impact of the Bush-Bachmann economy, $2.90 a gallon at the gas pump, higher college tuition, health care costs, etc.

by: Bob Olson for Congress @ Thu Jan 24, 2008 at 7:01:36 PM

Keep up the good work Bob!
A new study out finds that there were upwards of 935 "false statements" (here in the world of reality we tend to call those LIES!) were told by this administration.

Study: False statements preceded war

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks.


Named in the study along with Bush were top officials of the administration during the period studied: Vice President Dick Cheney, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and White House press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan.

Bush led with 259 false statements, 231 about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 28 about Iraq's links to al-Qaida, the study found. That was second only to Powell's 244 false statements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and 10 about Iraq and al-Qaida.

Bob Olson put out a press release responding to this lack of honesty and even took his own party to task for not having the guts to stand up and demand real evidence before allowing this administration to rush us into a war.

Olson: Congress Should Have Confronted Bush on 'Cycle of Lies'

For Immediate Release

Contact: Christopher Truscott



ANOKA—Bob Olson, a DFL candidate in the 6th Congressional District, released the following statement in response to a report that the Bush administration made at least 935 inaccurate statements about Iraq in the two years following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"Because too many politicians were unwilling to stand up to this administration and its endless cycle of lies, we've lost 3,931 troops and hundreds of billions of dollars in a war we never should have started.

"I am the only candidate of either party in the 6th District race who opposed this war from the very beginning. To go after Saddam Hussein and Iraq after 9/11 made as much sense to me as attacking India after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This war has been a wasteful distraction in the real war on terrorism.

"As your congressman, I will never cave in the face of unnecessary warmongering by any president, regardless of his or her party. If political courage costs me an election, that's fine. At least I'll be able to sleep at night."

10:54 PM | Posted in ,
In what may be dubbed the "workingest" misstatement of this relatively young year, Michele Bachmann was once again lambasted for her statements in a letter to the editor in the St. Cloud Times. To gauge just how far and wide these comments have spread one need only check out the blog feed from Open Congress.

From The St. Cloud Times:

Letter: Bachmann doesn't really understand Minnesotans
By Kristian Twombly, St. Cloud

Published: January 23. 2008 12:30AM

Recently, Rep. Michele Bachmann joined Virginia Republican Eric Cantor in support of the "Middle Class Job Protection Act." Rather than providing any relief for the middle class, this bill merely provides businesses with a 28 percent tax reduction.

Bachmann, in her infinite wisdom, had this to say about us: "I am so proud to be from the state of Minnesota. We're the workingest state in the country, and the reason why we are, we have more people that are working longer hours, we have people that are working two jobs."

Cantor's plan, intended to create jobs, is supported by Bachmann even though she states that we work longer and have two jobs already. Clearly what we need is a third job, at least according to her logic!

The 6th District continues to be poorly served by Bachmann and it is past time for us to elect a representative who will actually help our district, who understands who Minnesotans really are.

Apparently, the conservative minions on Story Chat are unable to defend Bachmann so have resorted to turning threads into attack someone completely unrelated to the letter threads:

count from countyline
Comment Posted: 1/23/2008 9:24:22 AM

Michele Bachmann has convictions.

I doubt she would vote --"present"---on issues of abortion.

Too bad Obama doesn't have convictions when he voted in the Illinois Senate.

Simon Sez from Northside
Comment Posted: 1/23/2008 9:31:15 AM

Simon Sez, what I find funny is how Barack Hussein Obama is basically daring Sick Willie to tell the truth ! Barack Hussein Obama claims he has been against the Iraq war from the begining. And yet there are plenty of clips to say he has not been.

He plainly said the republicans had all the good ideas in the 90s. Its out there for all to hear. Yet Barack Hussein Obama calls Sick Willie a liar. If Sick Willie calls Barack Hussein Obama a liar blacks will brand sick Willie and Hillary the anti-christ as racists.

Great gig. If you can get it.

Simon Sez from Northside
Comment Posted: 1/23/2008 10:16:31 AM

Category: ,
Bob Olson has been having a fantastic week while Elwyn Tinklenberg has been slow to respond to the latest out of touch statements made by Michele Bachmann. First, he was quick to respond to the statements with a forceful rebuke and even seconded that rebuke with a demand for an apology. Yesterday, he appeared on The Mark Heaney Show and showed perfectly clear why he is the candidate we need to take the fight to Bachmann and her "screw the middle class" agenda.

As the controversy has been slow to die for Bachmann, it has been an opportunity for the Olson campaign to gain more exposure and show the people of the 6th District that he will be quick to respond rather than allow these comments to pass with little notice. His efforts have drawn the attention of mnpACT:

Candidate Olson seems to understand that Minnesotans, who are part of the "workingest" class, are the ones that are handling his job interview. They are the ones who will decide whether Ms. Bachmann gets to continue to work for THEM. And they could very well decide that its time for the "President kisser" to be given an opportunity to hold down a few other jobs of her own.

Ms. Bachmann seems to have adapted to the Washington lifestyle a little too quickly. Working people are just part of the landscape.. they get her to her office, they shuffle her papers, they deliver her groceries, they print her Bibles, and they sell her those black dresses. They are not to be noticed....

Bob Olson gets it. Bachmann doesn't. But where's Elwyn Tinklenberg? I couldn't find any response from him. How would he weigh in? Last time I checked his website, he had no less than 20 different Union endorsements listed. If he truly represents their views, how could he allow Bachmann's swipe at the rank and file go unchallenged?

So, when working families in the 6th District ask, "Who will represent me?"

Bob Olson votes aye.
Michele Bachmann votes nay.
Elwyn Tinklenberg votes "absent".

Here is the unedited interview with pictures added by my self:

Caller Questions
Bob Olson was on the Mark Heaney show tonight discussing a variety of issues. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch all of it given the demands of children and their incessant need to be fed and cleaned.

The campaign put out some of the highlights:

Olson Talks Issues on The Mark Heaney Show

For Immediate Release

Contact: Christopher Truscott



ANOKA—Bob Olson, a DFL candidate in the 6th Congressional District, was a guest on The Mark Heaney Show, where he discussed critical issues facing our country.

(Note: Audio will be provided once it's available.)

On moving to renewable energy:

"(The best thing we can do) for our national security, our economy—which is very important right now—and our environment is break our dependence on foreign oil."

On reproductive rights:

"I'm pro-choice … My opponent says she's pro-family, but she votes against health care for children. … I think supporting health care for children and the poor is the real pro-life position."

On defeating Republican incumbents:

"Our Democratic candidates and representatives in Congress have not been strong enough in opposing (Karl Rove tactics)."

On the economic benefit of American-made energy vs. sending $1.3 billion abroad each day for oil:

"The solution is to keep that money here and build our economy from the grassroots up."

On economic stimulus proposals:

"If we do this, it needs to be going to the working class, the poor, the middle class—not the very, very wealthy."

"The wealthy aren't hurting. The wealthy aren't having their homes foreclosed. They're not worried about health care. We need to take care of the middle class."

"We need someone in Congress who understands these things and has the backbone to stand up to the Dick Cheneys and Karl Roves of the world."

On taxes:

"I understand the tax law and understand the middle class and working class are paying far more on the next dollar earned than someone living off capital gains and dividends. It wasn't like that (before President Bush took office)."

On health care:

"There are a lot of ways to get (to universal coverage), but every American needs health care. It is immoral that we're in this situation."

On Iraq:

"Our forces have done everything asked of them. They've done a good job and now they deserve an exit strategy."

"It made as much sense to go after Iraq and Saddam Hussein after 9/11 as it would have to attack China and India after Pearl Harbor."

Once the audio gets up on the Mark Heaney website or is provided by the Olson campaign I am going to attempt to get it posted on my Youtube page.
8:06 PM | Posted in
Nothing warms the heart and inspires one to action more than an impassioned speech. A speech should stop you in your tracks and literally lock you into a listening position. For those few, that have the ability to use their voice in such a manner, I have the deepest of admiration. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of those figures.

"I Have A Dream"

"The Mountaintop"

We have an obligation, as Dr. King laid out in his "I Have A Dream" speech, to continually strive for the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. For it is more than a founding document but rather a road map to what this country can and should become. A country where ALL men and women are created equal and where we ALL have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There have been immense strides toward that ideal in the two generations since Dr. King walked this Earth but there is still work to be done and we should always be looking back for the inspiration he provided.
2:57 PM | Posted in ,
Bob Olson, a DFL candidate in the 6th Congressional District, will be a guest at 6:30 this evening on the Mark Heaney Show on Air America Minnesota (AM 950).

Please tune in to hear Bob discuss his candidacy and take questions from Mark and his listeners.

12:02 PM | Posted in ,
At the behest of a friend of mine in House District 16B, I traveled out to an event for DFL candidate Steve Andrews. The man I met on my arrival was both humble and passionate about serving the people of the district.

It was a fantastic event with candidates ranging from local House races to 6th District races to nearly all of the Senate candidates. Mr. Andrews made it a point throughout the evening to speak with nearly everyone in the room. I was impressed by his willingness to listen to my concerns for the state even though he knew full well that I would not be able to vote for him. I was impressed by the questions he asked in our discussions in order to dig deeper into the issues. I was impressed by his candor in not wanting his campaign to be about the inequities of the other guy but of the accomplishments and vision he possessed. Finally, I was impressed by his message of "protecting what we have".

Towards the end of the evening he gave a wonderful speech on this theme.

As your representative, I pledge to you that I will work tirelessly to ensure that all of our children have the opportunity to succeed. It’s called protecting what we have.

Together we can rebuild this State we call home!

Together we can accomplish the great things that were once handed down to us by people like my parents and yours.

Together we can protect the investment and legacy that our forefathers worked so hard to hand down to us.

I encourage anyone living in House District 16B to take a close look at Mr. Andrews because I, for one, will be helping out in any way that I am able. Good Luck Mr. Andrews!
Elwyn Tinklenberg has responded to the most recent comments by Michele Bachmann:

For Immediate Release
Contact: John Wodele

Bachmann Economic Plan: Get a Second Job

El Tinklenberg
Candidate for Congress in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District

Blaine--Elwyn Tinklenberg, DFL candidate for the sixth district congressional seat, responded to the comments made by Michelle Bachmann on the "economic stimulus package" she is co-sponsoring with other House Republicans. At the announcement, Bachmann was quoted as saying, "I am so proud to be from the state of Minnesota. We're the workingest state in the country, and the reason why we are, we have more people that are working longer hours, we have people that are working two jobs."

Tinklenberg said, "I am surprised by the announcement of an economic stimulus plan co-sponsored by Bachmann and the congressional Republicans. I am not surprised by what is contained in the plan; it consists primarily of another big tax break for large corporations, which is exactly what anyone could have predicted. What surprised me was the fact that when Bachmann was given a chance to speak, she actually took credit for what she's done to Minnesota's economy.

Years of her extremist policies both in the Minnesota Senate and Congress have resulted in a situation where Minnesotans have to work more hours than residents of any other state in the country, just to make ends meet. Minnesota families are not irresponsible. According to the state's economist, Minnesota is in a recession. Headlines across the state talk about the the rising cost of living in Minnesota and yet Bachmann voted against the minimum wage. Bachmann policies areweighing so heavily on their wallets, families can barely hold on.

What Bachmann doesn't seem to understand is that working 2 or 3 jobs isn't a choice for Minnesotans--its a necessity. If Bachmann would spend more time with the constituents of the 6th district, she would realize that they would rather be at home with their families than spending every evening stuck in traffic trying to get from their first job to their second or third job just to provide a decent life for their family. Certainly, hard work is a cornerstone of the American dream. However, paying the bills should not come at the expense of spending valuable time with our families.

The price of our 'workingest' status is that our children are being raised by other people, our marriages are suffering and our sense of community is becoming an unaffordable luxury. Does Bachmann actually believe working 2-3 jobs best supports family values? Is she so out of touch with her constituents that she doesn't realize that while she's wearing it as a badge of honor, being the 'workingest' people in country is a distressing sign of economic troubles for the people in her district?"

Someone in the Tinklenberg campaign really ought to get a better online response team together if he hopes to reach out to people quickly in the digital world. I had the Olson response within minutes of its release and had spread it across the internet before it was even posted onto his campaign website. Is this yet another sign that Tinklenberg isn't putting in the effort to get support but is hoping to be crowned by the elites.

Update: Blue Man (Check it out for the 2nd Olson Press Release to Tinklenberg's ONE) appears to have had some of the same thoughts on this as I did!

Nice effort, good release. My question is how can the Congressional Campaign seeking to defeat Michele Bachmann, spell her name wrong in a press release going around the District?

On the lead lap of this race, Bob Olson's crew sent out their second press release on Bachmann's demeaning statement.

Olson called upon Congresswoman Bachmann to apologize for her statement.

Bachmann Should Apologize, Olson Says

For Immediate Release
Contact: Christopher Truscott

ANOKA—Bob Olson, a DFL candidate in the 6th Congressional District, wrote to Rep. Michele Bachmann today calling on her to apologize for her offensive and irresponsible remarks about Minnesota's economy.

While the campaign will not be decided in a duel of press releases, it's quite clear who really has command of the issues at hand.

Bob Olson continues to lap the competition, while spelling her name right!