11:52 AM | Posted in

Last week the House of Representatives passed H.R. 6052, a bill to increase investment in public transportation. Jim Oberstar, the sponsor of the legislation, spoke on the floor in support of increased public transportation.

7:21 PM | Posted in ,
His opposition to gay marriage is widely known and most likely supported by the majority of his district. However, there is more to the marriage agenda of Dan Severson than just keeping gay Minnesotans from being able to marry. This legislative session, Severson also co-authored a bill to make it more difficult for married citizens to get a divorce. Deemed "dissolution prevention", the bill seeks to force married couples into government therapy for a period of time before they can legally have a divorce.

1.15 (b) A dissolution of a marriage shall be granted by a county or district court when
1.16 the court finds that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship,
1.17 except that if the parties have a minor child, a dissolution may only be granted:
1.18 (1) following a period of dissolution prevention as described in section 518.061 and
1.19 after completion of counseling to explore the possibility of preserving the marriage. The
1.20 parties must seek counseling from an individual licensed by the Board of Marriage and
1.21 Family Therapy or by a member of the clergy

Now I am all for couples finding help in working on their marriage difficulties but it doesn't seem like a function of government to force couples to stay with one another and to force them into counseling. In fact, the Severson bill seeks to force couples to continue being married for no less than TWO YEARS before they can finally be divorced.

2.23 Except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, the prevention period required under this
2.24 section begins to run on the date of delivery of the notice under subdivision 2 and must last
2.25 at least two years.

So much for the less government beliefs of the representative from House District 14A.

Cross Posted on St. Cloud Times
10:31 PM | Posted in ,
I took the kids out this evening for the Granite City Days Parade. Rather than simply watch the parade from the sidelines, the kids and I joined the Rob Jacobs Campaign to walk in the parade. The eldest little liberal had a good time handing out candy to the crowds while the middle little liberal decided that riding on the Jacobs bus was more to his liking.

Unfortunately, the rain cut the parade short but we had a good time regardless:

Although, the eldest little liberal was a just a little wet:
This will be the first of a several part series examining some of the organizations and individuals who have decided to contribute to the Michele Bachmann for Congress Campaign. Bachmann is a darling of the ultra-conservative/religious right movement and nothing typifies that support more than the contributions she has received from the ultra right Eagle Forum PAC.

In the past nine months, Bachmann has received a total of $3,500 from the organization led by conservative icon, Phyllis Schlafly. Eagle Forum touts itself as "leading the Pro-Family Movement since 1972". Unfortunately, the actions and rhetoric of the organization and its founder are more anti-immigrant, anti-equality, and anti-education than pro anything.

Take, for example, their continued opposition to a mythical "North American Union".

We oppose opening U.S. northern and southern borders to a North American Community, or Security and Prosperity Partnership, or any kind of economic integration.

Even the Bush Administration, hardly your left wing group, has called the idea "comical".

Can you say today that this is not a prelude to a North American union, similar to a European Union? Are there plans to build some kind of superhighway connecting all three countries? And do you believe all of these theories about a possible erosion of national identity stem from a lack of transparency from this partnership?

PRESIDENT BUSH: We represent three great nations. We each respect each other's sovereignty. You know, there are some who would like to frighten our fellow citizens into believing that relations between us are harmful for our respective peoples. I just believe they're wrong. I believe it's in our interest to trade; I believe it's in our interest to dialogue; I believe it's in our interest to work out common problems for the good of our people.

And I'm amused by some of the speculation, some of the old -- you can call them political scare tactics. If you've been in politics as long as I have, you get used to that kind of technique where you lay out a conspiracy and then force people to try to prove it doesn't exist. That's just the way some people operate. I'm here representing my nation. I feel strongly that the United States is a force for good, and I feel strongly that by working with our neighbors we can a stronger force for good.

So I appreciate that question. I'm amused by the difference between what actually takes place in the meetings and what some are trying to say takes place. It's quite comical, actually, when you realize the difference between reality and what some people are talking on TV about.

Apart from buying into conspiracy theories such as the "North American Union", the leader of Eagle Forum, Phyllis Schlafly has made numerous statements of questionable value:

She has hypothesized that the Virginia Tech shooting was actually a result of the English Department, that married women cannot be raped, and that women are simply too emotional for scientific debate.

The outburst by feminist professors simply confirms the stereotype not only that they are too emotional to handle intellectual or scientific debate, but that they seek to forbid any research that might produce facts they don't want the public to know.

"Women in combat are a hazard to other people around them," she said. "They aren't tall enough to see out of the trucks, they're not strong enough to carry their buddy off the battlefield if he's wounded, and they can't bark out orders loudly enough for everyone to hear."

"By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape," she said.

The relationship between Schlafly and Bachmann is hardly one of simple monetary support. Bachmann will be spending considerable time during the month of July attending conferences either sponsored by Schlafly or where Schlafly is also in attendance. One has to wonder if Bachmann buys into all of the conspiracy theory rhetoric or the idea that women are unfit for military service?

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann & St. Cloud Times
8:42 PM | Posted in ,
Our friends over at Bluestem Prairie exposed some right wing lunacy:

Misreading MarketWatch: would "Bachmann's" bill bring gas down to $2?

We had a good belly laugh today when we read an attempt to use a recent MarketWatch article to defend Congresswoman Bachmann's prize press conference pandering for the "No Excuse for This Energy Act."

Readers may remember that Bachmann claimed that enacting the legislation--not a bill she actually authored or introduced, mind you, just one she decided to co-sponsor in April--would bring down the price of gas to $2 in four years.

We can certainly understand why Mitch Berg at Shot in the Dark ( crossposting to True North) would glom on to an article with this headline:

Gas could fall to $2 if Congress acts, analysts say

to vindicate the widely-ridiculed Mrs. Bachmann. Unfortunately for that reading of the article, the details tell a much different story about what might make gas prices fall. Hint: a different piece of legislation.

The right wing blogosphere in Minnesota is going to try to latch on to any news (even if it tells the opposite story) to try sell their myth that drilling will solve the current state of gas prices. Go to Bluestem for the full story...
7:25 PM | Posted in
I just got back into town after several days at the lake. It's going to take a little time to get back into the swing of things but hopefully you enjoyed the pre-scheduled posts over the last few days. Coming soon I should have more Minnesota House election stuff, more on the 337 Minnesota deniers list, and the usual smattering of Bachmann lunacy.

This is what I was doing:

5:00 PM | Posted in , ,
House District 16B is a ways away from my home district but I have been interested in this contest ever since the arrival of Steve Andrews and an invitation from a friend to meet the candidate that could potentially turn one of the reddest districts in the state blue.

Mr. Andrews essentially blended answers to all three of my questions below into one statement. Below you will find the questions with his statement found in green.

What are the major issues facing education in the state of Minnesota and what are your plans to address those issues?

What, in your mind, is the role the legislature should play in educating our children? What role do educators play? What role do parents play?

Anything else you would like to add about education?

Fair and adequate funding, early childhood education opportunities, parental involvement, and teachers committed to students all contribute to our prominence in education. Unfunded mandates eat away at school budgets resulting in larger class sizes which has caused us to slip in national rankings. Now more than ever we need political leadership, not partisanship, to help educated students. I will work for Minnesota students to ensure that their educational needs are met so they can reach their potential.

Taxpayers will not tolerate wasteful spending in our schools and neither will I. Simply throwing money at a problem is not the answer but at the same time we must adequately fund education so our kids are prepared to compete in a world economy in the 21st century. Results of Minnesota’s educational investments are seen by the presence of world-class companies based here. I will work to make sure Minnesota is where business wants in the future because of our quality workforce.

We can provide both the funding schools need and demand accountability at the same time. The Minnesota Miracle of the 1970’s showed us that Republicans and Democrats could set aside differences and set a common goal of funding quality public education. When partisanship was set aside all Minnesotans won. Now it’s our turn to do the same. We can rebuild the miracle and drive Minnesota education to new heights. I will work tirelessly and across party lines to support Minnesota education.

Communities understand their own educational needs. Local control makes sure the community is an active partner and driving force behind our schools. Parents be involved every step of the way as partners and leaders in education. The more information parents have the better decisions they can make when teaming with educators in the classroom.

Funding needs to be fair. Kids in Sherburne County deserve the same educational opportunities as kids living in Edina and Bloomington. We must provide good education even in tough economic times. Simply shifting funding to local property taxpayers is not leadership. It’s the job of the legislature to ensure good public education. As your representative I’ll do my job and work for our kids and schools.

Unfunded mandates placed on our schools need to be eliminated or fairly funded. If the federal government requires a mandate it should fund it too. We have to either fix and fund or forget No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Teachers, staff and school administrators have a job to do and they need to get fairly paid for doing those jobs well. Professional development opportunities keep raising the bar for educators. Let’s look at options that bring and retain the best teachers possible in classrooms.

Early childhood education gives us a measurable return on our investment and helps our kids hit the ground running as they enter grade school. Investments in early childhood give kids a sound foundation to build on throughout their academic years.

The role of higher education cannot be overstated. Today’s families are hit hard by tuition increases and students are carrying tremendous record high debt after graduating. I will work to slow tuition increases by partnering with higher education institutions for a common goal of help our students reach their potential.

The legislature’s job is to fund education fairly. Representative should gather the facts and listen to the needs of families, educators, students, and business leaders. Gathering the facts means setting aside partisanship, finding common ground, and working hard to solve problems. Many - if not most - of the best legislative solutions dealing with state problems in the past have been the result of good relationships between government and the citizens it serves. History does repeat itself and provide the framework for dealing with today’s challenges not just for education but for all public debate. That framework consists of trust, honest discussion, open-mindedness and getting the facts straight.

As the summer progresses, I hope to send off more questions to the Andrews Campaign on issues ranging from health care to transportation and lots of other issues in between. If you have any suggestions for questions or issues, then please leave your requests in the comments section.
11:00 AM | Posted in ,
Category: ,
9:00 AM | Posted in ,
When visiting the campaign website of any candidate there is a certain level of platitude to be expected on any given issue. You hope to see some sense of the direction the candidate will take on the issue but know that there is unlikely to be a detailed rundown.

Checking out the Dan Severson Issue Page, I was quite disappointed that the representative from House District 14A has summed up his entire view on education into two neat and tidy little sentences.

I believe in a strong education system. I also believe in accountability in education funding and local control through parental involvement.

Really, Mr. Severson? Is there someone out there who believes in a weak education system? One clue, however, is that Severson conveniently leaves out the word 'public' from the education system he wants to be strong. I have to wonder if anybody has ever asked him if he really believes in a strong public education system. Are the folks in 14A aware of the fact that Severson is another legislator in the back pocket of extremist organizations such as Edwatch?

Severson believes in accountability in education funding. He is not specific as to what that accountability might be but it typically means he wants funding tied to some sort of test. So, even though he is opposed to NCLB which does ostensibly the same thing that he is actually in support of, he wants the entire evaluation and funding of your school to be summed up by one assessment given on one day and containing questions that require little, if any, higher order thinking skills.

It becomes very tiresome, as an educator, to be told by people who don't support public education in the first place that they know more about education and educating than people who have been in the classroom doing everything they possibly can to get children excited about learning. I can tell you what doesn't get kids interested in learning and that is studying for a bubble test that they are told will pigeonhole their existence and the existence of their school.

If Severson is brave enough, I challenge him to answer the following questions:

1. Do you support a strong PUBLIC education system and reject the mission of Edwatch to establish a NONPUBLIC education system?

2. What assessments do you believe provide the best accountability for any given school? Please describe those assessments in detail.

3. Describe the best pedagogical methods one can use to achieve success.

4. What role should educators play in the education of our children? Should they be creators of educational policy and standards or merely facilitators of the parent's wishes? If they are to be facilitators, how would you solve the problem of having conflicting parental wishes?

If you have other questions for Mr. Severson regarding his beliefs about public education, leave them in the comments section and I will send them along to see if he is up to the challenge. Perhaps if we are persistent enough we can help Severson build a better issue statement to add to the paltry content he currently has displayed.
2:00 PM | Posted in

In House District 16B, you have what could be a very interesting contest. Incumbent Mark Olson (IR) lost the Republican endorsement to Mary Kiffmeyer which could potentially set up a three way race with Steve Andrews (DFL). If you live in the district, I encourage you to take this poll.

Obviously, everyone is on the honor system to only take the poll if they live within the district and to only take the poll once. The results of this poll will be shared if and when a sufficient number of respondents have taken the poll.
1:00 PM | Posted in
In House District 14A, you have incumbent Dan Severson (R) running against Rob Jacobs (DFL). If you live in the district, I encourage you to take this poll.

District 14A Poll

Obviously, everyone is on the honor system to only take the poll if they live within the district and to only take the poll once. The results of this poll will be shared if and when a sufficient number of respondents have taken the poll.
12:00 PM | Posted in
In House District 15A, you have incumbent Steve Gottwalt (R) running against St. Cloud School Board Member, Joanne Dorsher (DFL). If you live in the district, I encourage you to take this poll.

District 15A Poll

Obviously, everyone is on the honor system to only take the poll if they live within the district and to only take the poll once. The results of this poll will be shared if and when a sufficient number of respondents have taken the poll.
9:00 AM | Posted in ,
In another episode of Michele Bachmann supporting "All of the Above" in our quest to energy independence is a piece of legislation that not only flies in the face of her all of the above claim but also runs counter to the claims she has made recently that this Congress has not tried to provide tax incentives for alternative energies.

H.R. 5351 was passed by the House of Representatives on February 27th of this year:

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for the production of renewable energy and energy conservation.

Once again, Bachmann voted NO on providing tax incentives for renewable energies. Surely, given how truthful she has been on ANWR and Outer Continental Shelf Drilling, she just forgot about voting on these tax incentives given that she is now in favor of "All of the Above".

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
5:00 PM | Posted in , ,
Last week I started a process by which I will be sending off questions to different candidates in the area to get a more detailed examination of their positions on different issues. For this week, I sent off education questions and the first candidate to respond to those questions was House District 14A candidate Rob Jacobs.

I have provided the questions and the answers (in green) without commentary:

What are the major issues facing education in the state of Minnesota and what are your plans to address those issues?

I believe the number one issue in Minnesota public education is the funding of our schools. In 2001, Mn lawmakers adopted a plan to fund K-12 where the quality of education would no longer be determined by the wealth of the school district. The state has not kept it's promise. Under Pawlenty, and my opponent Dan Severson, state aide for schools has dropped, forcing school districts to depend on voter approved property tax increases to pay for education. Under the "no new tax" pledge, the local school districts have had to shoulder the burden of raising our property taxes to pay for educating our children. In effect, schools districts have become the "taxman." I believe that the state should fund education in a way that the quality of education would not be determined by the wealth of the school district.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is another problem. It seems that students are learning more about taking tests than actually learning. This program increases costs and decreases the time that teachers are actually educating students. I would push for the elimination of this program entirely.

The Governors Teacher Quality Compensation Program pours money into a few districts in an effort to change how teachers are paid from years of experience and education levels to pay for the quality of their work. In theory this sounds great but in practice this is very complex. Many school districts have been denied the opportunity to get this money while other districts have sought ways to get the money and get around the compensation issues by paying teachers for extra in-service.

What, in your mind, is the role the legislature should play in educating our children? What role do educators play? What role do parents play?

The legislature should set standards and goals and then get out of the way and let the teachers teach. Mandates stress the finances of school districts, create paperwork for teachers and administrators, and take away from the quality of education. As a legislator I would try to eliminate mandates and let the school districts make the decisions on how to reach the set standards and goals.

Parents play a key role in education. They need to be involved in the schools in the decision making of local policies. Parents need to work with their children early on to influence a life of reading and learning at home, not just at school. Parents need to be partners with the school in the education process.

Anything else you would like to add about education?

Special education puts a big drain on the finances of the school districts. The federal government needs to pay its share of the special education mandates.

As the summer progresses, I hope to send off more questions to the Jacobs Campaign on issues ranging from health care to transportation and lots of other issues in between. If you have any suggestions for questions or issues, then please leave your requests in the comments section.
10:00 AM | Posted in ,
Since its inception as the Maple River Education Coalition in 1998, the organization known today as Edwatch has worked tirelessly to undermine the work of public education and its ultimate mission is to destroy the public education system in Minnesota and the country.


  • Accessible, nonpublic education without government interference is essential to a healthy education system.

  • The most famous legislator working for Edwatch is 6th District Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann. However, here in Central Minnesota there appears to be a new foot soldier for this extremist organization whose sole purpose is to distort everything done in public education in the hopes that people will buy into their privatized education platform.

    In the short time that Steve Gottwalt has been in the state legislature, he has supported nearly every tin foil hat idea offered up to him.

    So, the question is: Who does Gottwalt work for, Edwatch or the people of House District 15A? I suspect that the majority of constituents living in the district do not buy into this type of extremist education agenda.
    8:00 AM | Posted in ,

    Many people (including my father who listens to entirely too much right wing talk radio) have fallen for the right wing propaganda that Michele Obama does not love her country or just recently began loving her country. Now, with rhetoric similar to that from the mouth of John McCain, will the right be equally as outraged that it took so long for him to love America. I wouldn't hold your breath...

    Is Michele Obama patriotic? YES

    Is John McCain patriotic? YES

    Now, can we put this foolishness away and stop questioning the patriotism of everyone.
    6:00 PM | Posted in ,
    Michele Bachmann has been traveling the district claiming that she supports an "All of the Above" strategy for achieving energy independence. Unfortunately, when Bachmann says all of the above what she really means is she demogoguing drilling for oil and the rest of that global warming voodoo technology deserves no attention. Let's be clear, when it comes to energy independence and voting on alternative energies, the record of the Congresswoman from the 6th District is atrocious.

    One of the first orders of business for the 110th Congress was H.R. 6:

    An Act to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, and for other purposes.

    Michele Bachmann had the opportunity early in her term to work for all of the above, but rather than doing that she voted against it. Not only did she vote against this legislation one time, she voted against this legislation to invest in renewable fuels (a hallmark of 'All of the Above') a total of three separate times. This will be the first in a series of posts examining the voting record of what it means to be for "All of the Above".

    Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
    I have written about the realities of drilling in ANWR as well as the realities of drilling in the restricted areas off our shores. A couple days ago, Barack Obama addressed the offshore drilling meme currently being trotted out by the likes of John McCain and our very own Michele Bachmann.

    Of course people are going to support drilling off our shores if they think it is going to yield a dramatic drop in the price they pay in gasoline. Unfortunately, every indicator is that it will NOT have and affect on gas prices.

    Chris Truscott just broke the news that the Independence Party endorsed Elwyn Tinklenberg in Congressional District 6.

    From the Tinklenberg Blog:

    By a strong majority, the Independence Party of Minnesota cross-endorsed El Tinklenberg in the 6th District congressional race.

    Tinklenberg stated that he embraces the Independence Party's support of integrity in the political process and forward-thinking public policy. He also joins the IP in its opposition to extremism and self-interest in politics.

    This cross-endorsement is just the latest example of the growing momentum for El Tinklenberg's cross-partisan coaltion for responsible reform and common-sense government.

    We'll have more on this big news soon!
    4:49 PM | Posted in
    As Michele Bachmann continues to ramp up the rhetoric about drilling the outer continental shelf and in ANWR being the key to bringing gas prices down immediately, the available evidence mounts refuting that claim. A Fact Check article in Newsweek notes that such drilling would be unlikely to have an affect until 2030:

    EIA: The projections in the OCS (Outer Continental Shelf) access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030.

    Something that takes 22 years to deliver significant results hardly qualifies as a "short-term" solution.

    From Politifact there is an article which reaches much the same conclusion:

    Dr. A.F. Alhaji, an associate professor of economics at Ohio Northern University and an international expert on oil markets, said he supports offshore drilling as a long-term way to lower dependence on foreign oil and thereby improve national security.

    However, he said, “I have a problem linking the drilling to current gas prices for political reasons. The reality is there is no correlation between today’s prices and what gasoline will be discovered in the outer shelf.”

    Bachmann would like you to believe that there are over 86 billion barrels of oil locked away off the shores of the United States. In fact, local right wing cheerleader Gary Gross documented the statement just this morning:

    11:45– Citizen asks why Michele is pushing oil drilling instead of biothermal energy, etc. Michele then explains that Congress hasn’t taken action on extending tax credits for alternatives, a clear shot at the do-nothing congress. She then says that only 3% of leased lands have the energy they’re looking for. OCS has 86 billion barrels, ANWR has 10 billion barrels. “We’re for an all of the above policy.” “We have more oil in [mountain west] than in Saudi Arabia.” As expected, she’s drilling the questioner with facts, dispelling the myths out there.

    The reality is that roughly 80% of that 86 billion barrels is located in offshore areas under NO moratorium. Last August, during hearings on the Outer Continental Shelf, the head of the Minerals Management Service indicated that there were only 18 billion barrels of oil found in those areas currently off limits to drilling.

    As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the MMS did an assessment of O&G resources on the OCS (including the 600 million acres under moratorium) and estimated that there remains an additional 86 billion barrels of recoverable oil (bbl) and 420 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas. The area under moratorium accounts for 18 bbl of oil and 76 tcf of natural gas. Cruickshank noted that this estimate is based on data that is over 25 years old and a more detailed assessment is needed to get a more accurate assessment of OCS resources.

    The above figure from an EIA Report indicates that the vast majority of oil currently offshore is available for lease and drilling.

    I would hate to accuse Michele Bachmann of lying about an issue to drum up votes but it is clear she is vastly overstating the case for offshore drilling in an attempt to appear as though she is actually concerned about bringing down the price of gasoline.

    Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
    10:27 PM | Posted in
    The "Little Liberals", my wife the "McCain Supporter", and I took a drive yesterday just for kicks. Yes, I know, with gas prices the way they are why would anyone just go randomly driving around? Gas may be expensive but when it is the only expense it is well worth it. First, we headed down the St. Croix Scenic Byway (which I have to say is not all that scenic). After traveling down to Stillwater crossing over to Wisconsin for my wife's first trip to the state, we came back up and found Interstate State Park where we took a hike that nearly took my life. All in all, a good day with the kids...

    4:30 PM | Posted in ,
    The question is, do you think the Republican Party is TRYING to lose support in Florida or are they just that blind to the fact that even Republicans in Florida don't want this done?
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    3:45 PM | Posted in , ,
    In what can only be described as a vote to ensure that we all have the freedom to choose the primate of our choice, Michele Bachmann stood up to those that believe we probably shouldn't be keeping exotic animals as pets.

    H.R. 2964 makes it illegal to "import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase nonhuman primates (such as monkeys or apes)".

    Unfortunately, ultra-liberal organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association are out there trying to convince people that owning and selling primates isn't the coolest thing in the entire world.

    Between 1995 and 2005, there were 132 injuries or escapes by primates in the United States, according to the coalition. Also, some 80 percent of health and behavioral issues pertaining to primates involve those kept as pets.

    Dr. Golab told subcommittee members that the evidence is clear that primates kept as pets are unsafe. Not only are these animals a physical threat, they may also be a source of the herpes B virus and other zoonotic pathogens. "Make no mistake about it," Dr. Golab, said, "nonhuman primates kept as pets—while cute and often very entertaining—can also pose serious injury risks for their human caretakers and other domestic animals."

    You can't tell me that a few injuries aren't totally worth it to have the freedom to keep and sell primates. The Humane Society chimed in on this one and sent out a press release attacking our poor Representative whose only job is to make sure we have the freedom to choose the primate of our choice.

    Rep. Michele Bachmann Votes Against Protecting Primates, Public Health and Safety

    (June 18, 2008) WASHINGTON — Last night, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) yet again voted against a common-sense animal welfare measure that was overwhelmingly approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. This time, she voted against a bipartisan bill called the Captive Primate Safety Act, an anti-cruelty and public safety measure written to stop the movement of primates for the pet trade. The House of Representatives passed the bill by an overwhelming vote of 302 to 96.

    "Primates belong in the wild, not in our basements and bedrooms," said Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. "Michele Bachmann is out of step with Minnesota citizens who want common-sense animal welfare policies and want their communities protected from dangerous attacks and diseases."

    The bipartisan Captive Primate Safety Act, H.R. 2964, prohibits the interstate and foreign commerce in apes, monkeys and other primates for the exotic pet trade. These animals can inflict serious injuries and spread life-threatening disease, and the average pet owner cannot provide for the animals' basic social, psychological and physical needs in captivity. These highly intelligent and social creatures are often confined in small cages, and their teeth are pulled out to make them less dangerous.

    Twenty states, including Minnesota, already prohibit private possession of these animals as pets, but primates are easily obtained over the Internet and through out-of-state dealers and auctions, making federal legislation necessary to complement the efforts of state law enforcement. The bill has received strong support from a broad range of scientists and organizations, including Dr. Jane Goodall, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.qq

    In Minnesota, a boy pried open a trailer door at a 2004 fair, allowing several monkeys to get loose; a capuchin monkey bit two people before being recaptured.

    The Humane Society Legislative Fund notes that Rep. Bachmann has consistently voted against common-sense humane laws. She has voted to allow the trophy shooting of threatened polar bears, and to allow the commercial sale and slaughter of wild horses and burros from public lands so their meat can be consumed in foreign countries.

    Congratulations, Mrs. Bachmann, on being one of only 96 Representatives to understand that owning primates is totally awesome and should be kept legal. For being one of a brave few to look past the injuries and the diseases and the abuse that these exotic animals are accompanied with.

    Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
    9:53 AM | Posted in ,
    Larry Schumacher from the St. Cloud Times contacted me a couple days ago indicating that he was going to do a story on the Severson video.

    Here is the story:

    Severson defends link to spoof video on campaign site

    By Lawrence Schumacher • lschumacher@stcloudtimes.com • June 20, 2008

    A link on Rep. Dan Severson's campaign Web site directs visitors to a video of a fake car commercial in which a terrorist tries to blow up a cafe, but is foiled by the car's solid construction.

    Listed on the "Family & Fun" page of the Sauk Rapids Republican's www.danseverson.com site since his 2006 race, the link says "Click here to view a funny movie clip." It recently drew the attention of liberal St. Cloud blogger Eric Austin.

    "I was looking through his site for information about his beliefs and issue positions," said Austin, who posted an entry about his discovery earlier this week on his blog, Liberal in the Land of Conservative.

    The video shows a Middle Eastern-appearing man wearing a bomb vest blowing himself up inside his car. Austin said he finds it offensive because it "makes light of a mode of death that has killed a number of our soldiers" and because of its "racially insensitive undercurrents."

    Severson, for his part, called the video a "spoof" that "makes fun of extremists." He said he not only stands by it, but plans to add more links, pictures and videos to his campaign site that "say something about who Dan Severson is."

    "It's an antiterrorism message, and I find it strange that some people would get upset by that," the former Navy aviator said. "It's a clear statement that terrorism has horrific implications, and I stand opposed to terrorism."

    In the video, the car unbelievably contains the explosion without even damaging its windows. The message at the end says that the vehicle is "Small but tough."

    Severson's opponent, Rice DFLer Rob Jacobs, said he's not overly concerned by the clip, but doesn't think it's funny and wouldn't have put it on his campaign site, http://jacobsforhouse.homestead.com.

    "I think they should present who you are, what you believe in and what you want to do for your district," Jacobs said of campaign Web sites.

    "And I don't think at this level, we have much impact on what's going on in Iraq or the Middle East, so I don't see the point."

    Austin acknowledges Severson's right to claim the video as a spoof and satire, but alluded to criticism of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken on similar grounds.

    "(I)n a campaign season where the Republican Party is getting bent out of shape about every spoof and satirical comment of particular candidates, it seems somewhat hypocritical for Severson to use the exact same defense and believe that others aren't going to call him on it," he said.

    Severson said he hasn't updated his Web site for the 2008 election, but plans to add more links and content soon.

    "I've got some other things I want to put on, some fun videos to paint a picture of my campaign," he said.

    Anybody want to suggest some more racially insensitive or in poor taste videos that Severson can add to his "Family & Fun" page to tell us what he believes?

    11:24 AM | Posted in ,
    During this summer campaign season, a season in which Michele Bachmann has yet to update her campaign website, Bachmann will be attending conferences at some of the nation's ultra conservative organizations. Rather than courting the votes of independents in the 6th District, she will be pandering to the far right wing of the Republican Party and not even here in her home district.

    Some time this week, Representative Bachmann will be a speaker at the Young America's Foundation Leadership Conference. I sent an email to the organization to see if I could get some information about the date of her appearance and was told that this was a "private conference". So, rather than holding public appearances for her constituents, Bachmann is currently holding private meetings with folks in Washington DC that have no connection whatsoever to her district.

    What is Young America's Foundation?

    According to Sourcewatch, the foundation is "the principal outreach organization of the Conservative Movement". That sounds innocent enough until you learn that many of the conservative movements most controversial figures are regular guests of the organization. From George Allen of "Macaca" fame to the likes of Anne Coulter and Michele Malkin, Young America's Foundation is catering to the most fringe elements of the Republican Party and the "Conservative Movement".

    So, the next time you hear Michele Bachmann claim she is fighting for the "people of Minnesota" you can be certain that those people she speaks of do not include moderate Republicans or independents and they certainly DO NOT include anyone who even remotely describes themselves as a Democrat. Her main concern, it seems, is gaining the attention of the ultra-conservative elites in Washington DC and elsewhere throughout the country.

    Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann & St. Cloud Times
    5:47 PM | Posted in
    The Draft Ciresi movement has created a Facebook site to try to extend its reach. In addition to this site, there are two names (Sara Shaffer & Tim Halsten) listed as the Administrators. Are these two the founders of this movement? A quick google search provided little information.

    If they are going to start using their real names it certainly will add credibility to a movement that has been suspect since its discovery. In other news, Chris Truscott sent off some questions to Mr. Ciresi and hopefully we will get to see those responses soon.
    3:33 PM | Posted in ,
    On the Dan Severson homepage, you may find a link to his "Family & Fun" page. In amongst pictures of the Severson family you will find what passes for "fun" in the mind of Representative Dan Severson:

    If you click on the link you can download the "funny" movie clip which is actually an illegally made clip. The clip itself is, at best, racially insensitive portrayal of a man of Arab descent getting into a VW car only to blow himself up.

    From the New York Times:

    The spot was sent to the London office of DDB Worldwide, a Volkswagen roster agency, by two people known as Lee and Dan. "We had no part in disseminating it," said Annouchka Behrmann, public relations director at DDB London, part of the DDB Worldwide division of the Omnicom Group. "We think it's absolutely disgusting."

    So, are we to believe that watching Arab men blow themselves up is what puts a smile on Representative Severson's face? One only hopes that there aren't any Arab men living in his district because it is perfectly clear what Severson thinks of them.
    12:59 PM | Posted in
    H/T to Time:

    Open quoteAfter eight years of incompetence, neglect and failure, we need change. Close quote

    Incompetence is the perfect word for the Bush Administration. While some would like to paint them as evil geniuses bent on destroying this country, I believe what we have seen over these past years are a group of individuals who lack so much understanding of the world that their ignorance caused these problems rather than some sort of pre-planned scheme. It is the sort-sighted, black or white, view of the world that blinded them to a whole host of common sense solutions.
    10:04 AM | Posted in
    As others continue to hammer home (Check it out here, here, here, and here) the new propaganda coming from the Bachmann campaign, I thought it was high time we learned about the realities of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Energy Information Administration put out a study of ANWR in May of this year and its conclusion is that drilling in the region will have little affect on world oil prices.

    With respect to the world oil price impact, projected ANWR oil production constitutes between 0.4 and 1.2 percent of total world oil consumption in 2030, based on the low and high resource cases, respectively.17 Consequently, ANWR oil production is not projected to have a large impact on world oil prices.

    Also, one has to wonder where Bachmann gets her magic number of $2 per gallon of gasoline (apart from just being told to repeat it often enough to try make it truth) when the best estimates of the EIA state that ANWR will bring a barrel of oil down a whopping $1.44.

    Additional oil production resulting from the opening of ANWR would be only a small portion of total world oil production, and would likely be offset in part by somewhat lower production outside the United States. The opening of ANWR is projected to have its largest oil price reduction impacts as follows: a reduction in low-sulfur, light crude oil prices of $0.41 per barrel (2006 dollars) in 2026 for the low oil resource case, $0.75 per barrel in 2025 for the mean oil resource case, and $1.44 per barrel in 2027 for the high oil resource case, relative to the reference case.

    Chris Truscott makes an excellent point that we should never cede ground in this fight when our opponents have consistently pandered to the interests of Big Oil. The same people that were in complete power of the law making and law administering branches of this government for roughly 6 years did nothing more than offer their oil buddies government subsidies and allow the oil industry to run our energy policy. To claim now that they can effectively reduce gas prices by half is utter propaganda.
    9:24 AM | Posted in ,
    Every now and again I find people discovering this blog because they are searching for names from the global warming denier petition released about a month ago. However, this morning I discovered that one of the names on this list of global warming deniers, one Allan Kehr, is running for office as a Republican in Minnesota House District 7B.

    From Minnesota Brown:

    Meantime, Allan Kehr is running for the GOP nomination. The DFL index in this district runs 3-1, though, so Kehr has his work cut out for him. He has shown the political instinct (or possesses the dumb luck) to get his name out there the same day as the Jaros retirement announcement, though. Reinert will have a huge advantage if he gets his name out as the first high profile DFL candidate.

    So, the question remains: Is this the same Allan Kehr that lent his name to a petition denying the existence of anthroprogenic global warming?

    Will someone be asking Mr. Kehr about this issue?

    How will this affect his chances in a district that is strong DFL?
    3:53 PM | Posted in

    This is a mural painted on a wall in Belfast. While I don't know that George W. Bush is our GREATEST failure, he certainly has done everything he could to get onto the list. So, I pose the question: Which President has been America's greatest failure? Chat away...

    I am going to have to go with William Henry Harrison.
    12:28 PM | Posted in ,
    Rob Jacobs, DFL candidate for House District 14A, has a refurbished bus that he is bringing to all of his parade appearances.

    If you are interested in helping the Jacobs campaign, try walking in one or more of these parades:

    June 18, Wednesday, Foley Fun Days Parade-6:30 pm
    June 27, Friday, Sauk Rapids, River Days Parade-6 pm
    June 28, Saturday, St Cloud Granite Days Parade 6:30 pm
    July 4, Friday, St Joe Parade 10 am
    July 12, Saturday, Holdingford Daze Parade 10 am
    June 26 Saturday, Gilman Parade
    August 16 Saturday, Rice Parade, 3:00 pm

    Check out the bus:

    11:05 AM | Posted in
    Chris Truscott sent some questions off to the folks over at Draft Ciresi to get some answers to this ongoing mystery. As I have stated before (here, here, and here), I am still cautiously skeptical about this movement. It is not that I wouldn't like to see Mike Ciresi as the candidate to depose Norm Coleman but at this point in the process it seems counter productive.

    Here are his questions:

    1.) Your site was born this week. Why didn't you launch Draft Ciresi before the DFL state convention? It would seem like pre-convention would've been a good time to build up some momentum.

    2.) Why publish anonymously? I routinely criticize Al Franken's campaign under my own name and I've worked for—and collected checks from—other DFL candidates in the past. In my mind, any party that would black-ball dissenters is one I don't want to belong to.

    3.) Is anyone on the Draft Ciresi team a former paid staffer or high-level volunteer for the Ciresi campaign?

    4.) Would anyone on the Draft Ciresi team vote against Al Franken (for Norm Coleman or Jesse Ventura/Dean Barkley)?

    5.) Why Mike Ciresi? His campaign didn't generate a lot of heat during the endorsement race. How can he win a primary? He's 0-for-1 on that front already.

    6.) Has any member of your team been in contact with Mike Ciresi since he dropped out of the endorsement race?

    7.) Anything else people should know about your group?

    I completely agree with Truscott that a pre-convention draft movement would have made the most sense and when I suggested such a movement that is precisely what I meant.

    The thing that disturbs me most about the anonymity is that they are not even willing to reveal themselves to other DFLers. I remain anonymous but am more than willing to sign my name to private emails.

    You can go read their response in its entirety over at Chris Truscott. Also, I am continuing to collect responses to a survey about this race and if you haven't yet taken that survey you do that here (Click Here to take survey). If I can get enough responses it may give us some answers about the effectiveness of a Ciresi re-entry.
    10:37 PM | Posted in
    12:10 PM | Posted in
    Growing up I may not have always appreciated my father but I was always in awe of some of his abilities. I was in awe late at night when the phone would ring and out of a dead sleep I could hear my father explaining how to fix complicated machinery at the plant where he worked. I was in awe when he could tell that I had been down by the river because, in his words, that was river mud on my shoes.

    To this day my father and I don't always agree on everything but it is more out of his need to constantly challenge my thinking than out of any sort of malice. There are few things I enjoy more than having a sit with my father in his obnoxiously large garage and discussing politics and other issues of the day. Now that I have my own children I have tried to instill many of those values in them.

    Now to those considering fatherhood, I have this advice:

    1. Don't be fooled by the first one because your first child is really meant to lull you in to believing that being a parent is easy and that you are naturally good at it. They are all alone so there is no conflict. You will be tempted to teach this one to walk and talk as quickly as possible but keep in mind that once you teach them these skills it is impossible to unteach them. Be careful that you don't make this one too smart for their own good.

    2. The sole purpose of the second child is to demonstrate to you how little you actually do know about raising children. They are no less cute and no less intelligent than the first but powers beyond your control will give them the ability to cut through all those fancy techniques that worked on the first one and force you to rethink everything you thought worked. This one may at times be the infuriating one but they are also the one with the biggest heart.

    3. The last thing I have learned is that adding a third child into the mix forces you to switch from a man-to-man defense to a zone defense. The virtues of a man-to-man defense are such that each child gets individual attention and has little chance of getting into too much trouble. The virtues of a zone defense is that you can cover larger areas but now are at risk of being double teamed.

    Despite days in which you would like to rip your hair out there are also those moments when these three little characters (or however many you have) will make you laugh like you have never laughed before and amaze you with abilities even you do not have.
    5:46 PM | Posted in
    Tim Russert was one of those few political pundits who you looked to for the truth. His personality was such that you couldn't help but believe every word that came out of his mouth. In a media where people are vilified as being left or being right, Russert was one of a very few who never seemed to have that criticism put upon him.

    Here is what others had to say:

    President Bush: "Laura and I are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Tim Russert. Those of us who knew and worked with Tim, his many friends, and the millions of Americans who loyally followed his career on the air will all miss him. As the longest-serving host of the longest-running program in the history of television, he was an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades. Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it. Most important, Tim was a proud son and father, and Laura and I offer our deepest sympathies to his wife Maureen, his son Luke, and the entire Russert family. We will keep them in our prayers."

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.: "I am very saddened by Tim Russert's sudden death. Cindy and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the Russert family as they cope with this shocking loss and remember the life and legacy of a loving father, husband and the preeminent political journalist of his generation. He was truly a great American who loved his family, his friends, his Buffalo Bills, and everything about politics and America. He was just a terrific guy. I was proud to call him a friend, and in the coming days, we will pay tribute to a life whose contributions to us all will long endure."

    Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.: "We all I think have heard the news about Tim Russert. I’ve known Tim Russert since I first spoke at the convention in 2004. He's somebody who overtime I came to consider not only a journalist but a friend. There wasn’t a better interviewer in TV, not a more thoughtful analyst of our politics and he was also one of the finest men I knew. Somebody who cared about America, cared about the issues, cared about family. I am grief stricken with the loss and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. And I hope that even though Tim is irreplaceable that the standard that he set in his professional life and his family life are standards that we all carry with us in our own lives."

    1:43 PM | Posted in
    While the anonymous folks over at Draft Ciresi continue to address the concerns of many DFLers (including myself) that they are little more than an arm of Michael Brodkorb's smear machine or of the larger Republican smear machine I sent off an email to Mike Ciresi. My hope was to get some sort of statement on this new website and on whether or not he was considering re-entering the United States Senate race.

    Here is my email:

    Dear Mr. Ciresi,

    My name is *redacted* and have been a longtime supporter of your candidacy for United States Senate. I am also a blogger in Central Minnesota ("Liberal in the Land of Conservative"). Right now there is a new site up devoted to a "Draft Ciresi" movement and although I would support such a movement I am somewhat concerned that it is little more than a Republican front group. Do you have a response for this new movement/site? Also, I am hoping you could provide me with comment about the likelihood of you re-entering this race.

    Thank You


    In response to this email, Mr. Ciresi indicated to me that he has "no idea who instituted the "Draft Ciresi" website" and that the website is not authorized by him. Also, he indicated that he is keeping his options open and will be making a decision by July 15th.

    I continue to have mixed feelings about this entire situation. When I wrote about a "Draft Ciresi" movement it was before the DFL Convention and my hope was that Ciresi would enter the race at the convention to challenge Franken for the nomination. At this point, I don't know that a Ciresi re-entry would work or be healthy for DFL chances to defeat Coleman.

    I encourage everyone to take the survey I created (Click Here to take survey) so that some hard data could be displayed showing what the effects of a Ciresi campaign would have on the United States Senate race.
    9:39 PM | Posted in ,
    Category: ,
    1:36 PM | Posted in
    The folks over at the Draft Ciresi Blog were quick to respond to my skepticism this morning about their true intentions. While they gave a rundown of their DFL credentials they did not find me trustworthy enough to reveal their identities. Their belief is that revealing their identities will get them black balled from the DFL. I find that a little hard to believe but who am I to question the feelings of others.

    I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt at this point and offer them this advice on building the Draft Ciresi movement:

    1. Make this movement about why we should draft Ciresi rather than about why we shouldn't choose either Coleman or Franken. Certainly, there is room in the process of touting Ciresi to compare him to the two other candidates but a movement such as this must be about positive inspiration rather than negative attacks.

    2. Don't become an unwitting pawn in the games played by one Michael Brodkorb. He and his shock politics have little to do with finding the best candidate and if Ciresi had been the chosen DFL candidate he would be doing exactly the same thing he is attempting to do to Al Franken.

    3. Go after Norm Coleman every bit as hard as you go after Al Franken. While Franken isn't perfect, Coleman isn't anything to celebrate either.

    I have created a very unscientific poll for readers to determine how sensible a Draft Ciresi movement could be:
    Click Here to take survey
    9:30 AM | Posted in
    This morning I opened my inbox to find this link from an anonymous source. The believer in me really wants for this movement to bring Mike Ciresi back to the race to be true and to be growing. However, the cynic in me wonders if this site, operated by some folks who don't reveal their identities, is little more than a Republican creation to attack Al Franken from another angle.

    The site makes the claim that Al Franken is NOT their target:

    However, in reading through the posts that have been written you soon realize that the focus of the site is most definitely not Norm Coleman. While I remain a believer in some sort of Draft Ciresi movement I remain somewhat suspicious of this particular site and its intentions.
    1:11 AM | Posted in

    Yes, Mr. McCain, it is important that we figure out when we can bring our troops home from this fight. You may want to continue this fight for the next 100 years but the rest of us Americans have come to the realization that the Iraqi government has little ability to operate of its own accord and we are tired of propping them up with American lives.
    11:06 PM | Posted in ,
    Last month the unemployment rate in the United States took its largest jump upwards in twenty years going from 5% up to 5.5%. Today in the House of Representatives they voted on extending unemployment benefits by 13 weeks to address the number of people currently running out of such benefits. Unfortunately, under the rules necessary to pass this particular legislation they needed a two-thirds majority and came up just three votes shy of that mark.

    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put out a press release condemning the continued obstruction of House Republicans to solving the current economic slowdown:

    DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen released the following statement after the vote:

    "House Republican efforts to defend the status quo and protect George Bush's and John McCain's failed economic polices have reached a new low. Less than one week after the largest one-month jump in America's unemployment rate in two decades, House Republicans blocked passage of a bill to extend unemployment insurance to workers, who are struggling to find a new job in this slowing economy.

    "This is a firm reminder that Republicans are absolutely comfortable with the status quo and are completely out of touch with the harsh economic realities facing American workers."

    It will come as little surprise that two of those NO votes were Minnesota Republicans Michele Bachmann and John Kline. Now I am fully aware that Michele Bachmann continues to cling to the belief that this Bush economy is the greatest thing since sliced bread and that we should be proud of our "workingest" state but it is no less disheartening to watch as my representation in Congress spits in the eye of our unemployed and tells them that if we extend benefits they will invariably become lazy slobs. So, from the archives I leave you with this all too relevant Michele Bachmann classic:

    Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann & St. Cloud Times