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Wednesday, December 07, 2005
All He Needs Is the Air that He Breathes

Interesting report from the New York Times on how the Kyoto Protocol on climate change is in growing disrepute around the world and how more and more countries are coming around to the US position. Excerpts:

... there is a growing recognition of the economic costs incurred by signing on to the Kyoto Protocol.

As Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, a proponent of emissions targets, said in a statement on Nov. 1: "The blunt truth about the politics of climate change is that no country will want to sacrifice its economy in order to meet this challenge."

Some veterans of climate diplomacy and science now say that perhaps the entire architecture of the climate treaty process might be flawed.

There are few brave politicians left, still willing to sacrifice their economy in order to enforce a flawed treaty. On Tuesday, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak took a break from his busy singing and stage diving schedule to appear on the Al Franken Show. According to KARE he had this to say about his priorities in running the city:

Ryback spent the bulk of his time at the microphone touting his city's national leadership on environmental issues. Minneapolis was one of the first cities to join others in pledging to enforce the provisions of the Kyoto Accord on greenhouse gases, despite the federal government's decision not to sign the accord.

I have no idea what it means for a municipality to pledge to enforce an international treaty on restricting greenhouse gas emissions. (I suspect RT Rybak doesn't either). But, as the rest of the world is now coming to agree, it can't be good for business. From the NYT article:

Carbon dioxide is generated by activities as varied as surfing the Web, driving a car, burning wood or flying to Montreal. Its production is woven into the fabric of an industrial society, and, for now, economic growth is inconceivable without it.

But, RT Rybak believes he lives in a different world from the rest of us. A world where the laws economic growth and physics don't apply (which might explain the stage diving). His thoughts on Minneapolis enforcing the Kyoto Accords and their relationship to economic growth:

Ryback, who drives a hybrid car himself, argued that building a green and sustainable city actually is a plus for growth and development, "And if you can say, I love the city I live in, name it, but it's becoming more and more congested, the air is getting worse and worse, why don't I move to a place like Minneapolis? It's a growth strategy. It's a good thing."

Minneapolis--come for the impression of cleaner air, but leave your car, computer, furnace, and job at home. Now that's a growth strategy.

Laugh if you will, but it's policies such as this that gave RT Rybak a reelection mandate of 62% of Minneapolis voters. Yes, people get the growth strategies and enforcement of international climate protocols they deserve.

Thanks to a certain electoral temper tantrum/turn over in power in St. Paul last month, we may be seeing more of the same on this side of the river:

[Al Franken's] first guest was Saint Paul's new mayor-elect Chris Coleman, who has pledged to work closely with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback, who is a personal friend.

And when Ryback had his time at the microphone he returned the favor, suggesting the two mayors will cooperate on schools, transportation and even work toward building a light rail transit line between the two cities.

Citizens of St. Paul, welcome to the RT Rybak's world.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005
I Thought Failure Was Supposed To Be An Orphan?

The Pioneer Press revives Walter Mondale from his latest electoral trouncing to help him reassert his significance to American history:

Mondale, 77, a former Minnesota attorney general and U.S. senator, was vice president under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 through 1980. He was the first vice president to have an office in the White House, have access to all presidential information and play a meaningful role in running the country.

Yes, he did play a meaningful role in running the country . . . into the ground!

As I understand it, not only was Mondale the first VP to have an office in the White House, he was also the first to be assigned his very own stapler and post-it note dispenser.

Come on. I've lived in Minnesota all my life, have had teachers and the local media reverently genuflect at the name of Mondale the whole time, but never have I heard that he was a seminal figure in anything. Except perhaps in setting new standards for crushing electoral college defeat.

But there it is, in the Pioneer Press. Walter Mondale was the first Vice President in history to play a meaningful role in running the country. I'll take their word for it and assume that the major accomplishments of the Carter years were meaningfully influenced by our man Fritz. The fall of Iran to religious extremists, American hostages shamefully paraded on an international stage, the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets, domestic economic tribulations, downward spiraling national morale etc. etc. etc. All guided by the invisible, shaky hand of Walter Mondale. I buy that.

But someone needs to get this information out to the wider world. For example, the Wikipedia entry for Mondale says nothing about his transformative role of the office of Vice President. They don't even see fit to cite the fact he was the first Vice President to have an office in the White House. They do mention this fact:

He was the first vice president to reside at the official vice presidential residence, Number One Observatory Circle.

Will the precedents never cease?! What's next, he was the first Vice President to get a locker in the White House steam room? He was the first Vice President to leave the lid up in the Oval Office restroom?

The Wikipedia entry does reminds us of this irrefutable record held by Mondale:

Mondale set a political record of sorts as a result of this loss [2002 Senate vs. Norm Coleman], becoming the only major party candidate in U.S. history to lose statewide elections in all 50 states.

Failing a bid by Jimmy Carter to run for any statewide office in Georgia (Governor, Soil and Water Commissioner, Peanut Czar - I'm sure the rejection would be similarly overwhelming), that's a record that may stand for a thousand years.

And it's that record that we should logically keep in mind when judging the significance of Walter Mondale's pronouncements on public policy matters. Meaning, that when he does deign to open his trap, perhaps some room should be cleared in the newspaper on the comics page or near the horoscope predictions. In the Pioneer Press, content of this kind gets the front page of the metro section treatment. For all I know, a new redesign will soon put the comics and horoscope on this page too. Because where else would you expect to read Walter Mondale level credibility pontification such as:

Cheney's record on the facts leading up to this war is pretty appalling. He's the one who talked about imminent nuclear weapons delivery systems, chemical laboratories, the al-Qaida connection, and the Niger yellowcake and aluminum tubes. We now know he was making most of those points long after the agencies of our own government were saying, "This stuff is not true." But he kept doing it. I think that's outrageous.

This response and other whoppers appear in an "interview" conducted by Bill Salisbury. In it Mondale is allowed to spout off any theories he likes, and no clarifications are asked for, no factual assertions are required. What he charges is all printed obediently without qualification.

Coincidentally, Jay Nordlinger from National Review noticed this exact same phenomenon occurring with another political observer of Mondale level credibility, his old running (limping) mate Jimmy Carter.

Since he left office in 1981, Carter has opined, written, and pontificated, over and over again. But he's pretty much never questioned. He's never challenged. Of course, once in a while he submits to an interview, but it's not really an interview - it's more like a fawn-fest. Carter never faces what my colleague Rick Brookhiser calls "comeback."

Mondale and Carter, politicians whose domestic and foreign policies are the most repudiated in modern American history, now attaining the level of wise old sages, on domestic and foreign policy. Now that's an historical transformation.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005
It's Raining Men

According to sources, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak has a torn meniscus for which he'll be undergoing surgery today. The cause of the injury:

Rybak injured his knee last summer while diving off the Gay Men's Chorus float in the Pride parade, [Press Secretery Jeremy] Hanson said, and it's been bothering him throughout the campaign.

Artist's conception of RT's Gay Men's Chorus leap here.

We're still checking into the veracity of one eye witness account that RT Rybak was actually thrown from the Gay Men's Chorus float for being "not masculine enough."

Breaking updates as events warrant.


Thursday, August 25, 2005
In Search Of...

The Minnesota Democrat Exposer has been on fire of late with his investigations and revelations of all sorts of inside information, rumor, and innuendo about the DFL. As a bonus, some of it even appears to be true. Check out his potential bombshell revelation about the love between two of Minnesota's most powerful Democrats:

Within the past couple of months, House Minority Leader Matt Entenza hired a private investigative firm from Chicago to look into a fellow politician's background...

That politician-- Mike Hatch.

I don't know if that's true or not, MDE's credibilty hangs in the balance. But some folks are getting ansty over this pseudonymous muck racker, now trying to discredit him by revealing his identity to prove some sort of paranoid, daisy chain connection to right wing power brokers. Something called Checks and Balances apparently has the story. I've never heard of that site before, but it appears to be a blog requiring registration (!?!) to read. Not bloody likely!

It seems the all-knowing, all-seeing MDE had a contingency plan ready to defeat this strategy of his opponents. Now you too can proclaim to be the (wo)man by purchasing one of these fine wardrobe enhancements.

The Kool Aid Report has become the clearinghouse for other MDE sightings. For the record, let me state no one at Fraters Libertas is MDE. But at least one of us are swamp gas.

UPDATE: Mitch Berg is promising an interview with MDE tomorrow. The private investigator I have watching Mitch confirms this story as correct.


Thursday, May 26, 2005
Please, Oh Please...

MPR- Fundraising letter indicates Hatch has eye on Pawlenty's job:

Attorney General Mike Hatch has taken another step toward running for governor in 2006. Hatch sent a fundraising letter to DFL contributors, asking them to help him finance a gubernatorial campaign.

< Mr. Burn's Voice >


< /Mr. Burn's Voice >

This would almost be as good for the local right-wing noise machine as having Al Franken run for the Senate.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005
In Saint Paul, They Love The Governor

Last night, we had the good fortune of being invited to a reception at the Governor's Mansion in St. Paul along with a number of other local bloggers and outstate talk radio hosts. The entire Northern Alliance of Blogs was on hand with the notable exception of James Lileks. Apparently he was too mainstream for this particular affair. Other prominent bloggers of note who attended the reception include the triumvirate from Kennedy v. The Machine (Gary, Doug and John), the two fine young gents from the Patriot Blog, and Jerry, who is an outpost of red in a blue district at the SD63 blog (he knows a thing or two about beer as well).

Not since the heyday of Tyrell Ventura had such an eclectic crew been invited inside the residence. For the record, we were much better behaved than Tyrell's cohorts and the taxpayers of Minnesota can rest assured that the dignity and integrity of the stately home (not to mention the rugs, furniture, and fine China) were not compromised in any way by our visit.

The highlight of course was the opportunity to chat with Governor Pawlenty and some of his staff. He proved to be an engaging, affable host who genuinely seemed to enjoy the opportunity to converse with members of the emerging "alternative" media. Or at least he did a damn good job pretending to.

Everyone has their own "pet" issues that they're passionate about and the Governor took the time to indulge us the opportunity to air our concerns on pressing issues of the day that we feel deserve special attention.

Here Governor Pawlenty and the Warrior Monk from SPITBULL shake hands after the Governor agrees to consider WM's request to call out the National Guard and wage brutal and uncompromising war against the insurgent squirrels who keep the WM awake at night.

JB Doubtless and his fiancé made the trip up from Rochester, which gave JB the chance to vividly demonstrate the horror of the recent Springsteen concert in St. Paul to Governor Pawlenty.

When my turn with the Guv came, I began by weighing in the on the possible economic implications for Minnesota if the Chinese government elects to float the renminbi, but that topic was evidently not capturing his imagination. He was obviously interested in more substantive discourse and so I elected to play the tried, but true Ralphie card.

Everybody loves Ralphie and the Governor proved just as susceptible to the little guy's charms. An unfortunate incident on the way to the gala had left Ralphie's head in the rather precarious position of no longer being connected to his body. But the Governor was able to see beyond Ralphie's physical limitations and discover the true spirit within him. It's clear to everyone who knows Ralphie that he's got a good head on (or off) his shoulders, and Governor Pawlenty was no exception.

While Ralphie appealed to his heart, I made a pitch to the Governor's head and asked that he rescind the title of Minnesota Commissioner of Hockey that he bestowed upon Hugh Hewitt a few years back. Governor Pawlenty found my arguments compelling and my logic that Hugh does not adequately represent the interests of hockey in Minnesota to be flawless. He promised to take care of this matter at his earliest available convenience and plans on personally delivering the news to Hugh on his show in the near future.

This may not be the beginning of the end of Hugh's spree of collecting meaningless, ill-deserved titles, but I believe that we can say with confidence that it is the end of the beginning. The rollback is underway.

For more on last night's festivities check out:

Captain's Quarters

Kennedy v. The Machine

Bogus Gold


Shot In The Dark


Thursday, March 24, 2005
Where in the World Was Your Congressional Representation?

As noted on this fine Internet site earlier this week, the House of Representatives vote for supporting the Terri Schiavo appeal was remarkably bi-partisan in nature. 78% (203 of 261) of those voting were in agreement to support the Federal court review of the Schiavo starvation order. This included 46% (47 of 102) of Democrats present to vote. Despite what the relentlessly shrill partisan voices of division in the media are trying to tell you, Democrats and Republicans came together on this one, put their principles above their party ID, and tried to do the right thing.

Those voting "nay" on this bill weren't even the second largest voting bloc on Monday. Those morbid nabobs only mustered 58 votes total. Far outnumbering them was another, more mysterious caucus. Those who didn't even bother to show up.

Fully 174 US Representatives--a staggering 40% of the total--were unable to come to Washington to vote on the Schiavo bill. No doubt different circumstances contributed to this systematic absenteeism. It's likely that the controversial nature of this bill spooked more than a few weather vane politicians who would rather not have to go on record supporting either side in this case. (And if they were forced to come in and vote, I suspect the ratio of Democratic votes in support would have been severely eroded.)

The more common explanation has to do with the Easter recess Congress had already begun (when you're in government you can never start those vacations too early). The story goes, many of our public servants had fled the city and had trouble getting back in time for this previously unscheduled vote.

But, really, how difficult is it for these people schedule a flight with a few days notice in order to do the job they begged us to have? Not very. Unless they had something they'd really rather be doing instead.

Like, for instance, exotic world travel.

That certainly seems to be the case with the missing members of the Minnesota Congressional contingent. Four of our Representatives did vote, Democrat Jim Oberstar and Republicans Mark Kennedy, Jim Ramstad, and John Kline. (It's interesting to note, all four supported the bill, giving MN a perfect clean sweep in support of Terri Schiavo.)

But the other four suspects were no where to be found. At least not around Washington.

Democratic Representative Colin Peterson from the 7th District and Martin Sabo of the 5th were traveling in Europe, according to the Star Tribune, "on Congressional business". It's hard to imagine what Congressional business is more important than a floor vote. But we'll assume a trip to Europe during a vacation period was indeed vital. Although not vital enough to be listed on either of their official Web sites (or anywhere else to the full extent of my Googling abilities.)

Next up is Gil "I Love This Job" Gutknecht, the Republican from Congressional District 1. He was in .... Europe. According to the Star Tribune, Germany "on Congressional business". The nature of this business was not specified in the article, nor is it on his web site. MPR reported last year that Gutknecht has a prior record of German travel obligations:

Rep. Gil Gutknecht, a Republican from Rochester, traveled to Germany twice last year, although one of the trips was a combination of an official and private trip. He flew to Europe on a taxpayer-funded flight to visit U.S. troops in Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo and Germany, and while there, accepted $850 worth of food and lodging to speak to the German Chamber of Commerce.

Gutknecht's spokesman, Bryan Anderson, said the congressman had legitimate business in going to Germany.

"He is the chairman of Congressional Study Group on Germany," Anderson said. "With his interest in prescription drug prices, it fits in with his work."

I'm sure it does. Let's just hope someday his work can fit in with his interest in Germany, so he can make sure to vote when he's supposed to.

Finally, there's 4th District DFLer Betty "I Have a Job That I Love" McCollum. She was too busy to come back due to .... a Congressional junket touring Mexico and Panama. Another nice place to spend a spring break, I must say. No wonder she loves her job so much.

McCollum was good enough to mention her trip on her web site. Her schedule includes this appearance: McCollum will also attend Palm Sunday Mass at the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

In between Church and all that junketing, at least Ms. McCollum did have time to release a statement from beautiful, balmy Panama indicating what she might have done had she the time to come back to work:

Ms. Terri Schiavo deserves the right to human dignity and respect.  Instead, this brain damaged woman and her family are being used as political pawns. Republican Leader Tom Delay has decided it is in his interest to exploit Terri Schiavo's misery and the anguish of her loved ones for political gain. Nothing I have witnessed in Congress has been more cynical or distasteful.

Not that she actually "witnessed" Tom Delay do anything from all the way in Panama, but her hyperbolic attempt at partisan exploitation is well taken.

Let's hope Catholic Betty McCollum had time to say a prayer for some personal guidance during her promoted appearance at the Bascilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Her statements indicate some gaps in her understanding of the Faith, as articulated by this recognized expert in Catholicism, Pope John Paul II:

I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering.

The evaluation of probabilities, founded on waning hopes for recovery when the vegetative state is prolonged beyond a year, cannot ethically justify the cessation or interruption of minimal care for the patient, including nutrition and hydration. Death by starvation or dehydration is, in fact, the only possible outcome as a result of their withdrawal. In this sense it ends up becoming, if done knowingly and willingly, true and proper euthanasia by omission.

... such an act is always "a serious violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person"

No word yet on whether Rep. McCollum believes the Pope is being exploitative, cynical, and distasteful as well. Hopefully she'll have time to comment on that when she gets back from Mexico.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Gotta Serve Somebody

More breaking news on local politicians dropping out of campaigns for higher office. The flirtation of Rep. Betty McCollum (DFL) with the US Senate race is over. Her inspiring words, from the Star Tribune:

After much personal reflection I have decided to continue serving my Fourth District constituents and fighting or Minnesota families in Congress," she said in a statement.

Thanks for sacrificing your ambitions for us Betty, we appreciate it. But if you ever find it all too much of a burden for the meager compensation offered ($162,000 salary, Cadilac medical and pension plans, paid staff, travel and personal expense allowances) feel free not to beg us to keep it (aka, campaign for it) next time.

In the spirit of McCain-Feingold, I'd like to propose the next great advance in circumscribing freedom of speech. Use of the term "service" in regard to one's job is strictly prohibited in cases where you would beg your boss to continue to do it, based on the pay and benefits alone. In those instances, your job is known as a "sweet gig," not a service. Unless you're referring to self service, of course.

But it seems even Betty McCollum has limits to her commitment to those of us in Fourth District

She added: "In the future I will likely explore other political opportunities...

But Betty what if we still need you to serve and fight for us? I guess that's a concern subservient to this motivation:

... but for now I have a job that I love."

We're happy for her. It is hard not love a job that pays $162,000 a year. But, according to people picking up litter on the side of the highway, love is not a prerequisite for performing a service. Ah well, maybe she's just been hanging out with Gil Gutknecht too much. Political careerism is a highly contagious and bi-partisan affliction.


Thursday, February 10, 2005
Back On The Bus?

Local blogs are rife with speculation about who will replace Mark Dayton on the Democratic ticket in the '06 Senate race. Even nationally syndicated shock jocks are getting in on the action.

Laura from Edina has an angle that I've yet to see anywhere else:

I think the bench is thin. Here's my play if I were DFL...what are the Wellstone boys up to? I can see the Green Bus now...raised like Lazarus. Plus their budget for bumper stickers would be cut in half since everyone still has them on their Subaru.

It's almost frightening to imagine how some would react to that scenario.

Although it would be hard to top today's news that Al Franken may throw his hat in the ring. The prospect of a Franken campaign has many of us drooling in anticipation. Some of our readers feel the same way. Rick e-mails with a suggestion:

Seeing as we should be doing all we can to get Franken to run for Senate, Perhaps we should have an Informal contest for the best Al Franken for Senate Slogan and Bumper Sticker. To get this contest rolling, I am submitting the first entry.

The green and white color scheme is a nice touch. Reminds me of someone...

UPDATE: We won't have Al Franken to kick around in 2006. Too bad really. The entries were just starting to flow in. Mike from Clan Keegan submits:

I thought it a little similar to the very successful "I Like Ike" buttons. Could do a spinoff version of Al's Pals.

At least there's still hope for '08.

UPDATE II: Tom Rosen, has a capital idea which he shares in a comment at Shot In The Dark:

I say we try to draft Nick Coleman for Senate! He would be wildly popular (among the DFL), and would have no problem riding the Wellstone bus, since we has a history of riding busses while interviewing the "unfortunate" among us. And both papers could endore him! (Confilict of interest? What's that?)

I'd be kinda cool, too, to have the Senators Coleman.

Talk about too good to be true. Obvious campaign slogan: Nick Coleman-I Know Stuff. The obvious problem is that Coleman, as he reminds us ad naseum during his radio show, is...(must withhold derisive laughter)...non-partisan. Entries in the Draft Nick contest are now being accepted.


Breaking News

Funnyman Al Franken to announce his candidacy for US Senate.

In related news, price of Dayton v. Kennedy blog common stock plummets further. Price of shares in Radio Air America remain steady. At zero.

UPDATE: Franken announces his prospective bid in song, to the tune of George Michael's "Careless Whisper."

UPDATE: Franken's first campaign promise, if elected, all Minnesotans to receive gentle shoulder massages from controversial Brooklyn street preachers.

UPDATE: During his first term, Franken also pledges to "focus like a laser beam" on guys with bald spots.

UPDATE: Franken wrapped up his announcement with the solemn vow: "read my lips .... flaverlooberleebleefullo."

We welcome Al Franken to the race for US Senator from Minnesota and sincerely hope he can establish residency within the state's borders within the constitutionally mandated time frame.


Wednesday, February 09, 2005
The Stupidest Campaign Ever?

The only saving grace to the local conservative blogosphere for losing the Mark Dayton for Senate campaign could be an Al Franken movement. Long time Franken observer Rick writes in with these thoughts:

Al Franken has been musing about challenging Norm Coleman for the "Wellstone Seat", but I think we ought to put the heat on him to run for the seat that Dayton is vacating. I can imagine the debates, Al's opponent challenges him about the Iraq and social security policy. In response, Franken demands his opponent to concede that Stuart Smalley is funny.

As Rick eludes to, that was the strategy last time Franken had to face a Republican heavyweight in the court of public opinion. Although it can't be said to be a wholly successful strategy. Quoth Hinderaker:

I can say without hesitation that it was the stupidest interview I have ever been involved in.

THE ELDER ADDS: Talk about serendipity. I just happened to listen to the Al Franken radio show today for the first time in months. Franken was alleging that Brit Hume and Bill Bennett were playing fast and loose with an FDR quote on Social Security. He accused them both intentionally misstating FDR's views and was outraged that they were getting away their outright lying while Dan Rather was hammered for being guilty of nothing more than "insufficient skepticism."

Yes, we will miss Mark Dayton. But having Franken to kick around for a campaign cycle might just make up for it.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004
They Love That Dirty Water

Soil and water maven Jim Styczinski comments on the strange case of the Hennepin County District 5 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor race. Per usual, his insight raises more questions than answers:

What kind of shenanigans are going on in Hennepin County District 5? I'm positive that my earlier check of the Secretary of State's website showed Jonathan Burris well ahead of Michael Wyatt. In fact, the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts website still shows him as the winner.

What is going on here? Is Mr. Burris the victim of conniving lawyers who want to muscle in on his gay divorce business? Does Mr. Wyatt have the Soil and Water machine behind him? Or do the powerful Republican forces behind Fraters Libertas want to protect a perfect endorsement record?

In any case, it is probably best that I not ask any questions. I know how to keep my mouth shut, I swear.

And this from Tom in Sherburne County:

The Elder may not have made you aware that I wrote you in for all three uncontested races for Sherburne County Soil & Water Commission. The other day, while reading Power Line's entry "Wild Life in the Suburbs" I was given yet another reason why my vote was not wasted and why I will redouble my efforts (such as they were) to get you on the commission next time. If St. Paul were to be my Soil & Water Commissioner, I am certain that we'd have plenty of the right kind of "Wild Turkey" in and around our homestead.

A provocative platform, to say the least. But I'm more of a Bushmills man. And I'm not sure that's enough to turn the tide in Sherburne county, especially against that murderer's row currently serving on the Soil and Water Board. They have what you call, mandates.


Dewey Defeats Truman

Breaking news on the Hennepin County District 5 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor race. Earlier this week we reported gay divorce pioneer, the, Jonathan M. Burris, was victorious over both Fraters Libertas endorsee Michael Wyatt and global hemp supporter Kevin Rodewald.

With the late precincts finally reporting in, we are forced to reverse our call and now report Michael Wyatt is the winner.

Rest assured, we don't take this degree of inaccuracy lightly. Letting a bogus election report hang out there and fester in the minds of our readers for a week after the polls closed does not meet our standards (which require accuracy within 6 days of the event). In the spirit of accountability we're prepared to place the blame precisely where it lies. And that's with Zogby and the Star Tribune, on whom we modeled our exit polling techniques and ethical code.

But, the good news is Wyatt's victory makes a clean sweep for the original slate of Fraters Libertas Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor endorsees. Well done, folks. But we must remind Michael Wyatt that although he received a strong plurality of 39% of the vote, a mandate he has not. And he must look to his vanquished opponents for direction in his governance. To paraphrase the Star Tribune's advice to President Bush:

This [Soil and Water Conservation District] badly needs someone who can appeal to a broad cross-section of the electorate. A uniter takes into account opinions and sensibilities other than his own. In his second term, we hope the people of [Hennepin County District 5] -- all of them -- get that from their [Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor].

That's right Mr. Wyatt. Next time an important soil and/or water conservation issue crosses your desk (or picnic table or floating TV tray or whatever you guys use), we urge you to consider: what would a pioneer gay divorce attorney and a global hemp supporter do at a time like this? John Kerry would do nothing less.


Thursday, November 04, 2004
Don't Drink the Water

Perhaps the man most responsible for Ramsey County's election of a pending felon, Jim Styczinski, writes in with more analysis of the Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor race:

You dismiss the influence of the Fraters endorsement for Jill Wilkinson and attribute the defeat of Marj Ebensteiner to the similarity of her name to Republican State Chairman Ron Eibensteiner. Then how do you explain the 2002 Ramsey County District 4 results?

Mary Jane Reagan received 46,386 votes, defeating an Anderson and even the perfectly named Phil Gravel. You could argue that Ramsey County voters wouldn't expect a Reagan in St. Paul to be related to Ronald Reagan, but would they really be willing to take that risk?

That result is shocking. Not for the victory of Mary Jane Reagan, but for the defeat of Phil Gravel. For the uninformed, name sensitive voter, he sounds like the perfect candidate for Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor. The only possible superior candidate I can think of would be Flo Water.

But I would argue that the name Reagan would not disqualify a candidate in 2002 in St. Paul. "Reagan" did not carry the red hot emotional baggage in 2002 that E(i)bensteiner does in 2004. Most people knew Ronald Reagan didn't have any extra kids running for office in St. Paul. Therefore, the local Democrats had no fear of mistakenly electing an evil conservative by voting for her.

Plus, Mary Jane Reagan (nee Mary Jane Rachner) is a bit of a media celebrity around town. That's primarily due to her status as a perennial candidate, for anything and everything. And she actually did change her name to Reagan for the expressed purpose of getting a sympathetic affiliation with the great man. (Although for her rather interesting career as an author, she retains her original name.)

I suspect many voters in 2002 recalled the name "Mary Jane Reagan" from hearing it mentioned in the media for the past 30 years, but didn't remember the context (i.e., crazy woman runs for office again). In politics, name ID is sometimes all you need. Although don't tell that to Patty Wetterling this week.

If all this sounds too cynical and overly critical of our fellow citizens, I refer you to the Churchill quote on the masthead of this web site. But in defense of the people, let me also say this phenomenon is more common the more obscure the race is. Normal people can't be expected to thoroughly research and get informed on every office state law dictates to appear on the ballot (which the dozens of uncontested, incumbent judges appearing on the back of your ballot Tuesday thank their lucky stars for).

That's why we're here. To tell you how to vote. And the guy that did have time to research these races for us, Jim Styczinski, provides this summary of the results of our efforts:

For many years now the DFL has been the dominant political force in Ramsey County. But for the last few of those years, the barbarians (Fraters Libertas) have been at the gate. With this election the gates have fallen and the county has been sacked. In both Ramsey County Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor races, the Fraters Libertas endorsed candidate defeated the DFL endorsed candidate. In District 2, our Dorothy Waltz edged Gwen Willems by the narrow, but litigation proof, margin of 2175 votes. Even more embarrassing for the DFL, our erstwhile endorsee in District 3, admitted Libertarian embezzler Jill Elizabeth Wilkinson, trounced DFL endorsed incumbent Marjorie Ebensteiner by a whopping 29,960 votes. Although we retracted our endorsement of Ms. Wilkinson, it was still more influential than the DFL's unretracted endorsement of Ms. Ebensteiner. Take that Mike "Emperor Odovacar" Erlandson.

While Ramsey County is firmly under our boot, there are still more counties to conquer. Our endorsee for Hennepin County District 5 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor, Michael Wyatt finished a disappointing third. The winner was "Gay Divorce" pioneer Jonathan M. Burris of The runner up was Kevin W. Rodewald, he of the e-mail address. We made the mistake of endorsing the most qualified candidate - a mistake that cannot be repeated if we are to expand our empire to the shores of Lake Minnetonka.

And succeed we must next time as the status quo is rather sobering. In Ramsey County District 3, the Soil and Water Commissioner is an admitted embezzler, in District 4 a serial candidate and sex book author, and in Hennepin County District 5, a pioneer of the gay divorce movement.

Hang on citizens, help is on the way. But for the next two years, you may want to considering drinking only bottled water.


Anybody But Ebensteiner

It is with some alarm we note the result in the Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor race, where erstwhile Fraters Libertas endorsee Jill Wilkinson surged to victory with 59% of the vote.

As you may recall we were forced to withdraw our endorsement from Ms. Wilkinson when it came to light that she had admitted to embezzling thousands of dollars from the Libertarian Party. Yet she ran away with this race anyway, over a DFL-endorsed opponent no less.

I shudder to think we may have unduly influenced the outcome of this election. But if not us, who? We did boldly endorse the woman, while every mainstream media outlet completely ignored the race (and of course, nobody reads the corrections columns, even on Fraters Libertas). I wonder, could this be another (Pyrrhic) victory for the blogosphere? Behold the power of the new media!

Or, behold the power of the old ignorance. While I'd like to think we had something to do with this outcome, our daily readership level argues against the possibility that Wilkinson's 97,321 supporters in Ramsey County were subject to our influence. Instead, a more likely scenario presents itself. People in Ramsey County weren't voting for Wilkinson, as much as voting against her opponent, on the basis of mistakenly associating her last name with a well-known villain in DFL circles.

Wilkinson's opponent, Marj Ebensteiner, has a last name nearly identical to that of the Minnesota Republican Party Chairman, Ron Eibensteiner. The Chairman is a well known man in this town, in an infamous sort of way (most prominently for yelling "get a job" at a motley crew of professional protesters outside of a Bush fundraiser in St. Paul in 2002). My guess is that most people thought Marj was his wife or daughter or indentured servant or something.

You will note that Ron's Eibensteiner has an extra "i" at the beginning. I suspect most voters did not note that. So every knee jerk Democrat in the county voted against her. And St. Paul is full of knee jerk Democrats. According to the Pioneer Press:

There was no change in St. Paul's all-DFL Minnesota House delegation as a result of Tuesday's elections, an expected result. The city has not sent a Republican to the Legislature in 20 years, and didn't come close to breaking that record this election.

To be specific, the Democrats running for the 8 House seats in St. Paul this year each received 59% or more of the vote (with 7 of the 8 receiving 70% or more). Yet for the Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor race, these same voters (basically) gave the Democrat only 41%. And the Libertarian (or Losertarian as Michael Medved would call her) got 59%? That Libertarian, Wilkinson, to reiterate, has no discernible qualifications for the office and is currently under indictment for stealing thousands of dollars of her party's funds.

For your sin of ignorance, citizens of Ramsey County, it sounds like you got the Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor you deserve. One not named similarly to the Republican Party chairman. Let's hope she doesn't do any damage before she gets sent off to the jug. And next year Ramsey County voters, remember to read some blogs before you vote. (Especially the corrections.)


Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Exercising My Franchise

I just got done voting and boy is my hand tired. Writing in Scott Johnson no less than twenty-two times in various judicial races (and Jim Styczinski for three soil and water conservation posts) was a chore. But the extra time in the booth was well worth it. My voice has been heard. And I wish to remind those surly souls behind me in line giving me the stink-eye for spending a few extra minutes on my numerous write-in choices, that this is what our democracy is all about it. If I want to make a complete mockery of the judicial election process, then by God that's my right as an American, and you better believe that I'm going to enjoy it to the fullest. Anything else would be unpatriotic.

It's a drizzly, gray day here in the Twin Cities so far. I walked the seven blocks to my polling place this morning and pulled up in line at 6:55am (polls open at 7am). By 7:40am I was sporting my spiffy red "I Voted" sticker, the eighty-third voter to pull the lever in my precinct. Turnout appeared to be decent, but not overwhelming. Not many people registering at the polls either, which I take as a good sign.

Best of all, there were no idiots waving signs on the way in, and was notable absent (despite the promise to have reps on hand). Saint Paul will be heartened to hear that I observed no egregious violations of election law other than a couple of folks sporting Kerry buttons inside the polling place.

The question of the day of course is who will be our next president. The national average price for a gallon of gas is $2.02 (although under $2 a gallon here in Minnesota) and the Dow closed at 10,0054 yesterday, which means that according to my pocketbook indicators, the race is a toss up.

Last January, when the entire Northern Alliance gathered with our Dear Leader for lunch, he asked us to make predictions on the election. While my prognosis was not as irrationally exuberant as Hugh's (he even gave California to Bush), I did end up with Bush tallying 340 electoral votes to Kerry's 198, and the GOP gaining three senate seats.

Eleven months later, I'm still giving it to W, although the gap is much narrower. The way I see it now, Bush will collect 281 electoral votes and Kerry 257. The popular vote will go for Bush 51% to 48%. And a net gain of two senate seats for the GOP, one of them being Daschle's (oh will that be a sweet victory). My heart says that Bush will win Minnesota, but my head says turnout in the Twin Cities will keep it in the Democratic column by the narrowest of margins. I'm afraid those of us in the Gopher State face another four years of apologizing. Well, at least we have a lot of practice.

But hey, what do I know? I'm just a loner writing withering social commentary in my underpants. Get out to the polls yourself and see what the fuss is all about. And if you live in Minnesota, remember to write-in Scott Johnson in any and all of those judicial races with only one candidate. Minnesota needs the "Big Trunk of Justice", now more than ever.


Friday, October 29, 2004
The Gang That Couldn't Add Straight

More disturbing news continues to trickle in regarding former Fraters Libertas endorsee for Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor (pant pant) Jill Wilkinson. According to the Pioneer Press:

Libertarian Party officials say they believe criminal charges may be filed soon against their former treasurer, who they say has taken thousands of dollars of party funds.

Jill Wilkinson, 44, of St. Paul also is a candidate for the Ramsey County Soil and Water Conservation Board.

"We're at the point where we have calculated the final tally," state party chairman Ron Helwig said. "It's about $12,000. She was treasurer and actually one of our best workers, and a good volunteer."

Which shows nothing improves the performance of a "volunteer" than 12 grand in compensation, fraudulent though it may have been.

I do have to question the timing of this story, breaking only now in both the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune, a mere week before the election. I wonder, could all of this simply be the October surprise we've been warned that incumbent Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Supervisor Marj Ebensteiner was going to spring? Ebensteiner is DFL endorsed and you know how those people are when it comes to manipulating the press in order to win elections.

This Wilkinson theft story is actually old news. Way, way, way back in late September, the Libertarian Party newsletter already covered this story, with the addition of a few more details:

The theft came to light when the party got an eviction notice from the owner of LP headquarters, who said the rent hadn't been paid in three months, [State Chair Ron] Helwig said.

Treasurer Jill Wilkinson had held the position for a little over a year. Her husband, Colin Wilkinson, was a member of the state executive committee and has also resigned. He showed up at an executive committee meeting Aug. 9 and read his wife's statement in which she admitted her guilt, Helwig said. He also agreed to pay back the money, at $400 per month, and has already paid the $3,000 in past-due rent, so the LP won't be evicted.

... Jill Wilkinson says her daughter and members of a gang have been extorting money from her with threats of violence.

I don't know what's more pathetic, Wilkinson's claim that her fraud was motivated by an extortion attempt by her own daughter. Or that there's a gang in Minnesota hoping to get rich by shaking down the Libertarian Party. What's next for them, muscling in on the lucrative Socialist Equality Party action?


Thursday, October 28, 2004
Endorsement Paralysis

The researcher formerly known as "Ace," Jim Styczinski informs us of a breaking development in the hotly contested Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor race:

The Star Tribune is reporting that our endorsee for Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor, Jill Elizabeth Wilkinson, has admitted to embezzling $10,000 from the Libertarian Party.

I recommend Fraters Libertas withdraw the endorsement, and endorse perennial write-in candidate Bart Simpson. Unless of course you (Saint Paul) live in District 3 (East Side of St. Paul) and are willing to throw your hat in the ring yourself. You could live blog all of the Soil and Water Conservation meetings.

As inviting as that sounds, I do not live on the hard rockin' East side. And since the Payne Reliever closed, I don't have much reason to go over there at all anymore. So I must reject this draft movement. To quote William Tecumseh Sherman, "if nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve."

Or if you prefer a paraphrase of another Sherman quote, "Soil and Water Conservation is hell!" (I won't even bring up this other Sherman quote, made during the Civil War and which I m sure every commander in Iraq can empathize with.)

Since we relied on Jim's research for our endorsements in the first place, and now it appears he's squandered our credibility by advising us to endorsing a criminal, I say let the punishment fit the crime. Vote Jim Styczinski for Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservations Supervisor!

But, I wonder, do we really have to withdraw our endorsement from Ms. Wilkinson? As the liberals like to say about Saddam Hussein, "we know he was a bad guy, but ....".

"But" indeed. Extenuating circumstances may exist to allow us to adopt a relative morality. For John Kerry and the liberals in Congress (don't you love those ads?) some abstract concept of "stability" excused Saddam's mass murder and continuous, egregious violations of his surrender agreement after Gulf War I. In the case of Wilkinson's crimes, can't we find something to rationalize our continued support of her?

The Star Tribune does provide us with one such reason:

"The libertarians run for these smaller offices. They infiltrate and then destroy," [Wilkinson's opponent] said.

Wilkinson acknowledges that her party advocates downsizing government. "We can't abolish all of government," she said. And she said she has no plans to abolish the Ramsey County conservation district. "But if it's proposed, I'll listen," she said.

You hear that? She's got an open mind, people! Sure, it's an open mind about infiltrating and destroying. But an open mind, nonetheless. Who could possibly vote against someone with an open mind?

OK, maybe that's not enough to salvage our endorsement of her. If only there were some guidance we could get on this matter. For instance, if there was a prominent elected official who has been convicted of theft, yet is running for office again. And maybe our local newspapers would have to decide on whether or not that's a disqualifying criteria in their endorsements. That would definitely help us decide what to do. Our brethren in the Main Stream Media could show us the way. If only ....

If only they'd address the strange case of Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis). As you may recall, a few months ago this 32-year veteran of the legislature and member of the Democratic leadership was caught red-handed stealing Republican campaign literature and convicted of theft. Now she's blithely running again, assuming it's no big deal to be involved in election fraud while you're a public servant.

After she pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing campaign fliers from New Hope, Minn., (sic) residents' door steps, Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, said Friday she does not think her conviction will affect the upcoming election.

I'm sure she does think that. With assumed power does go arrogance. But what about the professional journalists composing the institutional voice of the Star Tribune? Are they willing to overlook her brazen attempts to disenfranchise the good people of New Brighton and to subvert the very foundations of our democratic system? I can't tell for sure yet. Both it and the Pioneer Press have been suspiciously silent about this race.

The closest I can find to a professional journalist judgment on the race in 57B is the Minnesota Daily (the student paper of the University of Minnesota, whose main campus lies within Kahn's district). These budding young journalists ran a profile of the candidates, including Phyllis. But for some reason, they didn't see it fit to even mention the fact Representative Kahn was convicted of election fraud. They teach the kids well over at that journalism school, don't they? Keep your eyes out for the reporter, Stephanie Kudrle. With clippings like this in her portfolio, she's a cinch to someday be the new Capitol reporter at the Star Tribune.

She does get a few quotes out of public servant Kahn:

When asked if she ever plans to retire, the Democrat laughed. "I have unfinished business," she said.

Which I guess means she didn't steal every piece of campaign literature she intended to. Look out New Brighton Republicans, she's got unfinished business to do! There's also this:

"No one ever accused me of not having fresh ideas," she said.

No, but someone did accuse (and convict) her of misdemeanor theft, while in the commission of perpetrating election fraud. Which, to be fair, is probably not a fresh idea for the DFL.

Getting back to our deliberation, to withdraw or not withdraw the endorsement of the thief Jill Wilkinson. I think using the model of the mainstream media is the only responsible course of action. They've been at this game a lot longer than we. Plus, they know stuff.

Therefore, Fraters Libertas is proud to announce its endorsement for District 3 Ramsey County Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor is .... Phyllis Kahn.

Congratulations Phyllis and good luck on November 2.


Monday, October 25, 2004
The Endorsements Hit the Dirt

The campaign season is in its final week, which means it is time for the editorial board of Fraters Libertas to momentarily drop its normal standards of fairness and objectivity and reveal our preferences for specific candidates.

Why is Fraters Libertas officially endorsing candidates? Unlike the St. Paul Pioneer Press, we are not endorsing to give our readers a look at how the institution Fraters Libertas might vote if it were to drunkenly stumble into the polling booth. No, we are endorsing so that our sheep-like readers will blindly follow our every dictate, thus increasing our power and influence over every aspect of their lives.

Like real editorial board members, we were too lazy to go out of our way to actually talk to anyone or engage in detailed policy analysis. No, we basically winged it. We did invite all candidates to take part in our candidate interview process. If they didn't happen to see our not entirely obscene, hastily scribbled overture on the men's room wall at Keegan's, that's their problem.

Without further ado, here are our official 2004 endorsements for Soil and Water Conservation Supervisors.

First, some more ado. With the possible exception of air and light rail transit, nothing is more important to our survival than soil and water. Yet the Main Stream Media rarely offers endorsements or even basic information about the non-partisan Soil and Water Conservation races. So once again we, the new media, are forced to fill the information vacuum.

Did you know each county in Minnesota is divided into five Soil and Water Conservation Districts? It's true, and each district is represented by a supervisor elected by, we, the people. The position is unpaid except for per diem. Candidates run in the district in which they reside, but the entire county elects the supervisors in all districts. After all, soil and water conservation does not end at the district boundary. It ends at the county boundary.

(Please note the Soil and Water Conservation Districts are not to be confused with the Board of Minnesota Water and Soil Resources. That's the unelected Star Chamber of jack booted soil and water thugs appointed by the Governor.)

Ramsey County District 2 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor

The candidates for the open Ramsey County District 2 seat are Gwen Willems and Dorothy Waltz. Of the four contenders for the two contested Ramsey County seats, only Dorothy Waltz went to the trouble of filling out her campaign biography. She also has a website devoted to her candidacy. Ms. Waltz holds a Masters Degree from the University of Michigan and spent sixteen years on the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation board.

We are concerned that Ms. Waltz may enjoy the sweet life of a Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor just a little too much. But we have uncovered even more damaging information on her opponent Gwen Willems. She is DFL endorsed.

Fraters Libertas believes that Ms. Waltz is ready to move up from Dakota County to the big time, and therefore endorses Dorothy Waltz for Ramsey County District 2 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor.

Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor

In District 3, incumbent Marjorie Ebensteiner is facing challenger Jill Elizabeth Wilkinson. There have been no major Soil and Water Conservation scandals under Ms. Ebensteiner's watch, and her last name is similar to that of Minnesota Republican State Chairman Ron Eibensteiner (though it is spelled differently). We do not take turning out an incumbent lightly, especially in time of war. But we can't ignore the fact that she is also DFL endorsed.

When we ask ourselves WWKRTUTE*, the clear answer is Jill Elizabeth Wilkinson for Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor.

*Who Would Karl Rove Tell Us to Endorse

Hennepin County District 5 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor

No fewer than four candidates are vying for the hotly contested Hennepin County District 5 seat. They are Gregory J. Bownik, Jonathan M. Burris, Kevin W. Rodewald, and Michael Wyatt. Unfortunately, we could find no DFL endorsements for this seat, so we are forced to exercise actual thought and judgment.

Gregory Bownik has twice run unsuccessfully for Mayor of Rogers, MN. He received 102 votes in 2000 and increased that total to 826 in 2002. We believe that Mr. Bownik was too quick to give up on the Mayor's Office - we prefer to see more persistence in Soil and Water Conservation Supervisors.

Jonathan M. Burris has no identifiable soil or water credentials. But he is a lawyer and a gay activist. The website for his law office,, lists one of Mr. Burris's areas of practice as "Gay Divorce". While we are impressed with the forward thinking on Mr. Burris's part, we prefer to see more persistence in illegal gay marriage covenants.

The domain of candidate Kevin W. Rodewald's e-mail address is While we admire dreamers of any sort, we fear that Mr. Rodewald may have a secret plan to use the bully pulpit of Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor for disseminating propaganda on the benefits of wearing Unisex Hemp Yoga Pants. As you may recall, this was the same criteria we used to withhold our endorsement of Roger Moe in 1998.

Michael Wyatt is a Planner for the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District with ample soil and water conservation experience. Fraters Libertas heaves a sigh of relief and endorses Michael Wyatt for Hennepin County District 5 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor.

You have your marching orders. Now go out and vote properly. If you don't live in Ramsey or Hennepin Counties, find the addresses of those who do, hunt them down, and get them to vouch for you on election day. Thank you.

(Ace researcher Jim Styczinski assisted in the preparation of this of this report. Questions, comments, and subpoenas related to McCain-Feingold violations should be sent directly to his attention.)


Friday, October 08, 2004
To The Barricades!

It's twenty-five days until the election. What are you gonna do to make a difference?

Get involved. If you live in the Twin Cities, go to MN for Bush '04 and find out what you can do to help. If you live elsewhere go to to get information on the campaign in your area.

Get a lawn sign, put a sticker on (or in) your car, knock on some doors, make some phone calls. It ain't all that hard. And it can be fun. On Saturday October 23rd the members of the Northern Alliance Radio Network will be at Bush/Cheney headquarters in St. Paul helping make phone calls from 4pm-6pm. Afterwards we're goin' to lift a few at a local watering hole. C'mon down and join us.

The NARN will also be appearing at free AM-1280 listener event next Wednesday October 13th for the last presidential debate. It will be at the Minneapolis Hilton starting at 7:30pm. Big screen TVs, snacks, cash bar, WI-FI access, and the NARN. What more could you ask for?

It has been a damn long campaign and we're all starting to feel a little burned out. But now it's crunch time. It's time to separate the men from the boys (or the Cheneys from the Edwards if you will). It's a sprint to the finish. It's now or never. There is no tomorrow. It's do or die. (Feel free to insert your own hoary cliché here.)

Sack up, jack up (the troops), and rack up (the votes).


Friday, September 24, 2004
Call Her Ms. Demeanor

The swift hand of justice descended on the top of DFL Rep. Phyllis Kahn's wrist yesterday, with her misdemeanor conviction for theft. The 32 year MN House incumbent from the Minneapolis district encompassing the University of Minnesota campus was fined $200 dollars and promised a dismissal of her conviction if she does not re-offend within the next year.

Because of that sweetheart deal, the clock is ticking on the time we can accurately refer to her as "convicted thief Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis)". That is, assuming she isn't a habitual thief. Sure, this is her first conviction, but how do we know she hasn't done this before and won't do it again? According to reports, she is sorry for her heinous thievery (this time):

... I know it was wrong and I am sorry.

Which is all well and fine. But can we really trust her on this matter? She is, after all, a convicted thief.

Even I must admit, theft probably isn't a fair charge to throw at Rep. Kahn. The object of her larcenous desires was valued at nothing more than a few cents. But that's all the prosecutors were left with, since stealing your opponent's campaign literature isn't in itself illegal in Minnesota. Yes, recall, that's what old Phyllis was up to in New Hope. Helping out her DFL comrade Sandy Peterson, who is attempting to unseat the Republican incumbent from District 45A (squeaky clean Lynn Osterman). Helping her out by stealing the Republican literature from residents' doors and replacing it with that of the DFL opponent.

An act, to repeat, which is not on its own explicitly illegal in Minnesota. A fact which even law enforcement officials weren't aware of immediately following Kahn's apprehension. The chain of prosecution, according to the community newspaper in Kahn's neighborhood:

New Hope City Attorney Steve Sondrall referred the case to the Hennepin County Attorney, where he said he expected charges to be filed under the state's Fair Campaign Practices Act. Citing a conflict of interest, Hennepin County referred the case to the Anoka County Attorney's Office, which saw no campaign law violation and referred the case back to the New Hope City Attorney. Sondrall charged Kahn with misdemeanor theft in Hennepin County District Court.

Suspecting the Anoka County Attorney might be up to some partisan prosecutin' by ignoring her offense, I reviewed the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act, but I'll be damned if I can find any statutes relevant to stealing campaign literature. Sure, there is a law mandating the right of politicians to appear in parades without being gouged on cost by the sponsors. And there is a law protecting politicians from getting gratuitously savaged by citizens writing letters to the editor. But stealing campaign literature apparently is of no concern (I wonder if Phyllis Kahn had anything to do with drafting this legislation?).

Regarding the letter to the editor provision, here is the relevant text:

A person is guilty of a misdemeanor who intentionally participates in the drafting of a letter to the editor with respect to the personal or political character or acts of a candidate, or with respect to the effect of a ballot question, that is designed or tends to elect, injure, promote, or defeat any candidate for nomination or election to a public office or to promote or defeat a ballot question, that is false, and that the person knows is false or communicates to others with reckless disregard of whether it is false.

My interpretation of that gives me the notion to send the Hennepin County Attorney a listing of the letters they print in the Star Tribune. There are dozens of violations of this statute every single week from the left leaning correspondents. Her conviction rate will skyrocket!

But, reading the notes and decisions amendment to this statute (211B.06) reveals the justice strangling loophole:

Extreme and illogical inferences drawn from accurate fact statement was not "false information." Kennedy v. Voss, 304 N.W.2d 299 ( Minn. 1981).

Now there's a plausible defense, Star Tribune letter-to-the-editor writers are not guilty on the grounds they are extreme and illogical.

Getting back to Ms. Kahn, I suppose a 16 term incumbent still wields influence in this town, among the political elite (which includes county and city attorneys). Enough influence to get an absolute minimum charge and sentence, without a broader investigation. How do we know this is the only time she's done this? Given her leadership position within the DFL party, is it plausible that they may be involved in other such activities, in other districts? Is it possible that similar malevolent interference is taking place elsewhere, with the purpose of denying the sacred franchise to the good citizens of Minnesota? (OK, this is starting to sound like a letter to the editor to the Star Tribune. I'll stop now, before I get arrested).

The broader lesson learned is that it may be time for we, the people, to step in and right the wrongs brought on by entrenched power and privilege. First, we need to pressure the legislature to make stealing campaign literature, or defacing/destroying signs, by candidates for office, a felony. We can call it Phyllis's Law.

Next, good people of Minnesota district 59B. Yes, you people, who gave Phyllis Kahn 94.5% of the vote in 2002. For the good of the children, it's time to forget your petty partisan concerns and dispatch her for good. On November 2, Vote Amanda Hutchings! (Isn't she cute.)


Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Lies, Damn Lies, and The Strib Poll

Most of the recent polling done by reputable sources show the race in Minnesota to be neck and neck between Bush and Kerry. Today, the Minneapolis Strar Tribune unveils a new poll which claims that, while Bush has closed the gap, Kerry still leads by nine points:

On the eve of President Bush's bus tour across Minnesota, a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll shows him potentially gaining ground on challenger John Kerry in what has long been a reliably Democratic state in presidential elections.

The poll, conducted Sept. 7-13, found that Kerry has the support of 50 percent of likely voters in Minnesota, while Bush has the support of 41 percent.

Just last week we noted that the Minnesota GOP was calling for the ouster of the Strib's pollster after years of inaccuracy. Our colleagues at Power Line demonstrated the flawed methodology in the Strib's sampling nearly two years ago. And when noted commentator Michael Barone appeared on Hugh Hewitt's radio show at the RNC, he sited the Star Tribune and the LA Times as having the most notoriously poor polls in the nation.

So take the results that you see in today's Strib with a boulder of salt. They are likely not a reliable indicator of the reality on the ground.


Down Goes Bluto

In yesterday's primary election, Scott Wasiluk, the hardest partying State Representative in the history of North St. Paul, and the heir to Betty McCollum's seat in the State House of Representatives, faced the voters for the first time since he was captured on camera by KSTP-TV allegedly boozing it up during a late night House session. For him, the recriminations weren't pretty.

In a race haunted by his embarrassing appearance on a hidden-camera TV exposé of drinking at the State Capitol, Rep. Scott Wasiluk, DFL-Maplewood, became the only legislator to lose a chance for reelection in Tuesday's sparsely attended primary elections.

Out he goes. What the DFL caucus refused to do, the people happily obliged, prematurely ending the dream of the Wasiluk era. God bless democracy. A sentiment Rep. Wasiluk does not appear to share:

Wasiluk, who had the endorsement of the DFL, unions and environmental groups, was subdued in defeat. "I thought people would remember my service to the community," he said.

Don't you love it when politicians describe their privileged positions, which they scratched and fought for because of their ambition for power, as "public service," like they're doing us a favor or something. If he's like most politicians, he wanted to be a government official more than anything else in the world. And now we're supposed to feel beholden to him for 'serving' us? The man deserves to be bounced on the basis of bloated arrogance alone. But voters don't usually think in those terms on election day. And they usually don't remember alleged service to the community. They remember this kind of stuff instead (from the May 27 Star Tribune):

Rep. Scott Wasiluk, DFL-Maplewood, came over to [another legislator's] office while the House was in a late-night session. "I came to raid your whisky," Wasiluk said.

The station showed Wasiluk back on the House floor for a vote on a health care issue, looking sleepy. It also showed him at another point misunderstanding what was taking place on the floor as he monitored the session on TV from Metzen's office.

Now stripped of his title and his power, we hope Rep. Wasiluk can find it within himself to continue to serve his community. And if he spends his spare time reading to blind kids or cleaning up garbage on the side of the highway, nobody will care if he gets soused every night. See, now everybody wins.


Race for the Cure

Regarding the theory of Democratic voter crossover steamrolling fugitive Jack Shepard to election victory in the Republican primary for US Congressional District 4. Never mind.

It's going to be Patrice Bataglia (R) vs. Betty McCollum (DFL) on Nov. 2, 2004.

MN Congressional District 4 has been held by the Democrats for an appalling 56 consecutive years. In 1948 that young whippersnapper Eugene McCarthy upset the one term Republican incumbent Edward Devitt. All those long years ago, St. Paulites were the first to go clean for Gene. And since 2000 they've been Petty for Betty.

But there are signs St. Paul has been drifting ever so slightly to the right over the past few years (vague, hazy signs, but signs, if you're really, really looking). Plus, population flight away from the rotting urban core and into the leafy suburbs has caused Congressional District 4 to metastasize into the frontiers of Republican strongholds Washington and Dakota counties.

Could this be the year St. Paul shocks the world by throwing off the shackles of the Democratic machine once and for all? Probably not. But we can dare to dream. Go Patrice, Go. (Go get a campaign Web site, you're in the big time now).


Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Conspiracy Theory

Today is primary election day in Minnesota and it's remarkably slow. In my little corner of St. Paul we'll be lucky to see a 10% turnout. Some precincts will be lucky to break 5%. On the whole, not a big deal or a crises of democracy. Very few races are even being contested. Both races for the DFL (US Congress and State House) are featuring unopposed incumbents. One of the two Republican races is uncontested as well.

The other Republican race, for US Representative, does feature two candidates. Including Patrice Bataglia, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the MN State Fair. I can personally attest she's a fresh, dynamic and exciting candidate. Endorsed by the GOP, born in St. Paul, now a Dakota County Commissioner, formerly a bar owner, before than a waitress at Mancini's, and currently married to a St. Paul Fireman. All the qualifications of true blue St. Paul girl (who just happens to now reside in Mendota Heights).

She's running against Jack Shepard. He's a former Uptown dentist, currently a fugitive from the law on an arson charge (his office was allegedly torched to destroy evidence of welfare fraud), previously convicted of felony sexual assault and drug possession.

Despite his inability to actually hold office (based on his parolee status) and efforts by the Secretary of State to remove him, Shepard remains on the ballot - thanks to the intervention of Democratic partisan attorneys general of Ramsey, Dakota, and Washington counties.

Obviously, Battaglia is the preferred candidate of the overwhelming majority of Republicans and in a fair election test among the partisans, she'll win in crushing fashion. But the primary election system in Minnesota isn't exactly a fair test of Republican partisan preferences. Anyone can vote in the race - as long as they vote in the Republican races exclusively (for example, one cannot vote for DFL candidates and Republican candidates). This brings up the ugly specter of Democrats crossing over to vote in the Republican race, in order to elect a weaker candidate to run against incumbent Betty McCollum in November.

Although this is always a hypothetical problem in an open primary voting system, practically it doesn't have much chance of success. Most Democratic partisans will want to vote in their own party, to make sure their preferred candidate moves on to the general election. But in this race - where their aren't any contested DFL races on the ballot - there is no reason for DFL'ers to vote within their own party. Those candidates are already going to move on no matter what. Given this, the more advantageous move would be to cripple the opposition instead.

With such a low voter turnout (sub 10%, a few thousand people), it won't take very many crossovers to change the outcome, guarantee McCollum another term, and humiliate the Republican party. With such a low turnout, it guarantees the end result will be close. Hugh Hewitt reminds us of the historic consequences of having a close election when Democrats are involved.

The moral of this story, St. Paul Republicans, get out and vote for Patrice Bataglia. Polls close at 8 PM.


Sunday, September 12, 2004
The Minnesota Compromise

Don't like the idea of the Reagan Memorial Highway? How does Lake Reagan grab ya?

In the spirit of compromise, however, I have decided that perhaps we should choose another landmark that we can all agree could be better named: Lake Calhoun, named after the famously pro-slavery Sen. John C. Calhoun. I think we can all agree that Reagan's contribution to our history is more significant and worthier of honor than that of a South Carolina senator who died in 1850, before Minnesota even became a state.

Lake Reagan: It has a nice ring to it.

Indeed it does.


Friday, September 10, 2004
Jack Booted Thugs...

...In John Ashcroft's Amerika?

I expected this back when I lived in good old lefty Minneapolis that I would have my sign torn out or crushed--happened all the time there.

But this is my first election year in the northwest suburbs. This is no dark out of the way street either. I live on a very main artery, you know the picture, big lawn, lights were on last night. And this peace-loving defender of freedom of speech had the courage and vision to set on fire my Bush yard sign. Then when only a corner of it burned/melted, they waded it up, kicked it over and crushed the sign like one would with newspaper for packaging filler. I know the left are immature and pathetic, I only wish the rat that did it could have seen us the people they were doing it to: a guy in a wheelchair and a woman 9 months pregnant that could not have even chased them. Congratulations lefties. You have destroyed more private property, promoted the idea that you only approve freedom of speech when it suits you and further sealed the opinion of yourselves that you have no class, even well outside your more radical, saturated central location. I will be getting a bigger sign soon.


Friday, August 27, 2004
To Each His Own

Larry e-mails to agrue that this is his favorite Laurie Coleman picture. Not bad, but it's hard to beat the classy look of the cocktail hour pic. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. (In case you're curious, I am not working today and have been sitting around in my boxers surfing the 'net on my laptop all day. God bless America!)


A Tall Drink Of Gin

We gotta figure out how to get invited to cocktail hour at the Coleman's:


Tuesday, August 17, 2004
In The Eyes Of A Child

We here at Fraters HQ were somewhat skeptical when we heard the news that Patty Wetterling, mother of a youth who was abducted near St. Cloud some years ago while riding his bicycle (and never seen again) was going to run for a congressional seat in the Sixth District.

Skeptical, as in we yelled "WTF? What does she know about politics?" When she announced her candidacy, she said she would make a good pol because she, you know, cares more than Republicans about, you know, things.

And the libs love a victim. And who is more victimized than a mother whose son was abducted in broad daylight while he innocently played with his friends?

Yes, we were skeptical. But we did not give her a proper introduction to the sometimes nasty world of amateur political hackery known as blogging. However, upon hearing news from our cigar-chomping, minority-rights-denying friends over at the state GOP that Wetterling has been endorsed by Emily's list, the time has come.

As you know, Emily's list is a group of whacked-out lesbians and other other misfit womyn who have never met an abortion they didn't like. Abortion on demand for twelve-year-olds? Yes! Abortions paid for by the government? Hell yes! Abortions at any time during pregnancy! You betcha! Abortions up to the ninth year of life? Why not?

They actively promote, sanctify and worship abortion. The other day I saw one of them walking around with one of those I HATE BABIES AND ENJOY HEARING OF THEIR VIOLENT DEMISE t-shirts that have grown so fashionable in certain parts of Minneapolis.

So now they have endorsed Wetterling, but she won't come out and tell the good people of Minnesota where she stands on important issues that Emily's List loves like partial-birth (also known as complete-death) abortion and has failed to fill out a survey from the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life detailing her positions.

So we want to know, Patty, why is ripping a kid out of a uterus and killing him so different than ripping a kid off a bike and killing him?

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Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Victory Is in the Eye of the Beholder

As shown below, the list of potential DFL stage mates for John F. Kerry during his future rallies in Minnesota is extremely limited. But the analysis by our reader Richard forgets one other possibility. Because what could be more electrifying for the Democratic faithful than seeing this.

That's right, it's St. Paul City Councilman Jay Benanav, raising the roof as only he can. The slump shouldered, half awake, limp windmilling arms of victory that spell electoral magic in St. Paul's 4th Ward.

What's really funny is that this picture is lifted off of Benanav's official campaign site, which means we're all to believe this is an accurate portrayal of his winning ways. Upon further review, the original picture was taken by the Star Tribune and reused here by MPR (scroll down) on election night 2001. It's a picture of Jay Benanav declaring victory in the mayoral race. Which he lost to Randy Kelly. Maybe not the kind of karma Kerry is looking for after all.


You Have The Stars, But We Have The Power

Richard e-mails with an analysis of the abilities of the Bush and Kerry campaigns to draw on Minnesota notables in the wake of the news that St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly, a Democrat, is endorsing Bush:

My brother in Arizona wrote to ask me if Kelly's endorsement for Bush has created much buzz. That got me thinking about who is going to share the podium with John Kerry or George Bush here in Minnesota.

The Democrats have the following politicians:

Mark Dayton, US Senator:
Poster child for a senate psychiatric screening requirement.

Mike Hatch, MN AG:
His daughters are up for misdemeanor assault charges in Chicago.

Martin Sabo, Betty McCollum, James Oberstar US Reps:
These guys only get elected because their districts are so secure.

Collin Peterson US Rep:
His campaign and official websites are devoid of references to his party affiliation. Can he stump for Kerry without getting unelected? Can he get elected if he doesn't endorse Bush?

RT Rybak, Mayor of Minneapolis: Not particularly popular even in Minneapolis.

Patty Wetterling, Candidate for Congress:
She may bring in the pity vote, but I doubt will be of much benefit.

Walter Mondale: The only democratic candidate to lose an election in all fifty states.

Paul Wellstone's Green Bus: Undoubtedly more charismatic than Mark Dayton.

Tom Harkin: He's up from Iowa stumping for Kerry. That's how bad is it when you have import Democrats from Iowa?

The Dems celebrity line up includes:

Garrison Keillor: I love PHC, but his political oratory seems to come out a different orifice than does his humor.

Al Franken: He lives in New York and is considering running against Coleman for Senate (who does he think he is, Hillary?)

Jessica Lange: There's MN family values for you.

Analysis: Kerry needs Minnesota centrists to win Minnesota, as well as turning out the base, but face it, nobody on this list is going to be able to energize the base without alienating the needed independents. Likewise, the only centrist in the crowd is Collin Peterson, who is likely to leave the state whenever Kerry comes to town. Thus Kerry is going to have to rely on bringing in celebrities from out of state and his and Edwards own star power to keep Minnesota in his column.

Now for the Republican pols we've got:

Gov. Tim Pawlenty: Still popular despite tough politics this last year.

LT. Gov Molnau, Sec Stat Kiffmeyer, Auditor Anderson:
Republican women who hold the rest the statewide offices!

Norm Coleman, US Senator: Somewhat tarnished for his reversal on ANWAR, and the bitter 2002 campaign is still fresh in everyone's minds. He may be a liability, on the other hand he's a genuine centrist on most issues, which may be key.

John Kline, US House: The only retired Marine Officer in Congress

Mark Kennedy, US House: Probable challenger to Mark Dayton

Republican celebrity line up:

None, except maybe,

James Lileks: Were he to give an introduction speech, I think he'd be awesome (though he'd have to stand on a box).

Schwarzenegger: I think he could help shift MN into the red column, even if not in CA.

Analysis: The Bush Team can hitch its wagon to a number of Minnesota electoral successes, none of whom will suffer for the association. While Democrats may try and portray these as extreme right wing, none are at all Quist-ian. Bush is weak on celebrity endorsements, but then he doesn't really need them does he? If Cheney doesn't poll well here, Bush can just leave him in an undisclosed location.

UPDATE- Thorley J. Winston e-mails to add a couple of more names to the MN GOP line-up:

Shouldn't Jim Ramstad and Gil Gutnecht also be added to the list? The Rammer may be a bit mushy on some issues leading to his general perception as a moderate GOPer but he's quite popular. He's also one heck of an orator and brings a tremendous amount of energy to whatever he does. Gil, well Gil can help deliver the 1CD, and despite his proposal to allowing the importation of Canadian price controls, he's generally pretty solid on most issues and a pretty good speaker (generally quick on his feet and has a pretty good command of the facts).

Seems to me that both of our other GOPer Congressmen are an asset for the Bush-Cheney ticket and ought to be included in there as well.

I'd say that Ramstad is more than a bit mushy. But Thorley is right, he is a good speaker and can work a room with the best of 'em.


Monday, August 02, 2004
Will Endorse Bush for Food

I noticed the decision of St. Paul mayor Randy Kelly (DFL) to endorse George Bush made Drudge today. Pretty exciting for us locals. And kind of pathetic to think that the actions of such a low level Democratic functionary can make national news like this. It goes to show you how little bipartisan activity ever occurs in this day and age.

Although I'd like to think Kelly's decision was made on principle (and he makes a plausible case for this in his comments), I wouldn't ever assume principle to be the motivation of a career politician like him. Instead, his motivation is most likely to stay a career politician as long as he can. He correctly reads the political winds in St. Paul as contrary to his future electoral prospects. He knows he won't get the support of the DFL in the 2004 mayoral election, and he needs to motivate as many Republicans and 9/11 Democrats in St. Paul as possible to support him.

It's true that Kelly didn't get much DFL support in his mayoral race in 2001 either. The party's endorsement and financial support went to his challenger, DFL City Councilman Jay Benanav. It turned out to be a very close election, decided by only 400 votes out of 60,000 cast.

But Ol' Jay doesn't figure to be a factor in the race next year. But a more formidable candidate has emerged, former Police Chief William "Corky" Finney. A wildly popular local figure and a man sure to get the support and financial aid of the Democratic party and its activists. My guess is that Kelly knows he can't beat Finney operating within the traditional political machinery of St. Paul, so he needs to reach out to the burgeoning conservative base. He'll run on a perceived record of accomplishment in St Paul and against the radical nature of the St. Paul Democratic establishment.

If that plan sounds familiar to you, you're right. It's the same strategy used by Kelly's predecessor, Senator Norm Coleman. When he realized political advancement wasn't possible in the Minnesota DFL, he switched parties, survived to fight another day, and is now an ascending star on the national GOP scene.

I don't think Kelly has the higher ambitions of Coleman, therefore a party change isn't necessary for him. If he is remaining in St. Paul, he'll need as many Democrats as possible to vote for him. So he'll endorse Bush in an attempt to attract the conservative vote next year and hope that's enough. It's a desperate move for a life long Democrat like Kelly, but not surprising coming from a guy fighting for the only career he's ever known.


Friday, July 30, 2004
Shuddup and eat your pine cone

On Monday of this week, the Star Tribune reported on "Camp Wellstone":

As the Democratic National Convention opens today in Boston, Camp Wellstone is capitalizing on the new political energy on the left. As delegates and hordes of media and lobbyists began overtaking the city Sunday, Camp Wellstone concluded its 34th camp in a downtown hotel, seeking to shape a new generation of politicians and citizen-activists.

Since the camp went national last year, nearly 4,000 people have graduated, including about 50 who, like Pulkrabek, are running for office this year. The camps often have waiting lists, as was the case in Boston.

"We weren't sure if there was going to be a huge demand or market outside of Minnesota," said Jeff Blodgett, Wellstone's former campaign manager and now the executive director of Wellstone Action, which puts on the camps. "We thought it was the right thing to do, and the right way to pay tribute to Paul, but it turns out there was a huge market for this."

Funded by:

Students pay $50 ($35 for those with low incomes) to attend the three-day training camps.

Blodgett said 15 of the camps have been underwritten by America Coming Together (ACT), a pro-Democrat group that's working to defeat President Bush in 17 battleground states. Wellstone Action received $372,500 from ACT and organized camps in several swing states, including Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Around these parts it is not uncommon to see cars sporting bumper stickers asking "What Would Wellstone Do?". The answer apparently is run Camp Wellstone:

He said the camps are not about "worshipping Wellstone," but rather advancing the model of political action that Wellstone taught and practiced.

"I also feel like this is what he would want us to do," he said.

It is impossible for me to read this story and not think of The Simpson's Kamp Krusty. Especially the Kamp Krusty song.

Hail to thee, Kamp Krusty,
By the shores of Big Snake Lake.
Though your swings are rusty,
We know they'll never break.

From your gleaming mess hall,
To our hallowed baseball field,
Your spic-and-span infirmary,
Where all our wounds are healed.

Hail to thee, Kamp Krusty,
Below Mount Avalanche.
We will always love Kamp Krusty,
A registered trademark of the Krusty Corporation,
All rights reserved!

And since we all know how much the Wellstone crowd loves songs, I figured I'd work up one for Camp Wellstone based on the Kamp Krusty ditty:

Hail to thee, Kamp Wellstone,
By the shores of High Tax Lake.
Though Paul's ashes are sown,
The Green Bus has no brake.

From your smoke-free co-op,
To our hallowed children's school,
We follow Paul's true mission,
One world under socialist rule.

Hail to thee, Kamp Wellstone,
Below Mount Airplane Crash.
We will always love Kamp Wellstone,
A never-ending fantasy of the Democratic Party,
Unhinged from reality!

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