Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Moonbat of the Week: Christian Sande

Joan Growe-wannabe Christain Sande is perhaps the dumbest candidate ever to run for public office. Check out MDE's post on it. He's supposed to be a lawyer, but makes serious charges based on rumors. I pray that he's on the ticket come 2006.

The intolerant left

Who the hell does RFK Jr. think he is? The guy blames Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour for Hurricane Katrina.

Now we are all learning what it’s like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence which Barbour and his cronies have encouraged. Our destructive addiction has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and--now--Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children.

In 1998, Republican icon Pat Robertson warned that hurricanes were likely to hit communities that offended God. Perhaps it was Barbour’s memo [on globalwarming] that caused Katrina, at the last moment, to spare New Orleans and save its worst flailings for the Mississippi coast.

(Source: Huffington Post)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. should apologize not only to Gov. Barbour, but to all the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I will be sending a check to the Red Cross, and I pray that Mr. Kennedy does as well.

The thoughts and prayers of RM are with the victims of Hurrican Katrina. For information on how you can help, please click here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Pawlenty: Man of the people

Check out this story on Gov. Pawlenty's day at the fair. I doubt Mike Hatch would be out campaigning like this.

Rowley for Senate?

The ever vigilant MDE has a frightening post on Rowley and her ambitions. It's a must read.

Pawlenty: State will win case

A reminder for all the naysayers that Gov. Pawlenty was at one time an aggressive first-year law student. From the Pioneer Press:

Pawlenty says 'fee' will survive legal fight
Tobacco companies say cigarette charge violates agreement
Pioneer Press

Through a spokesman, Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Monday defended the legality of Minnesota's new 75-cents-a-pack charge on cigarettes and predicted the charge will survive a court challenge mounted by three big tobacco companies.

"We believe this case is without merit," said Brian McClung, a spokesman for Pawlenty. "We believe any aggressive first-year law student could win this case."

The tobacco companies argue that the new 75-cent wholesale charge on cigarettes is not allowed under a 1998 court settlement of Minnesota's lawsuit against the tobacco industry. The settlement, which has paid the state more than $1 billion in damages, bars further attempts by the state to recover smoking-related health costs.

In state law the charge is labeled a "health impact fee," and one of its provisions requires the state Human Services commissioner to calculate each year what Minnesota spends providing health care or health insurance for smokers.

Attorney General Mike Hatch — a likely Democratic challenger for Pawlenty's job in 2006 — said Friday that he would defend the state in the litigation by arguing that the charge is really a tax, not a fee.

Pawlenty, who made a 2002 campaign promise to veto any new taxes, has insisted on designating the wholesale charge a "fee."

Pawlenty was unavailable for comment on the litigation Friday. On Monday, he refused to take questions from the Pioneer Press about the case and asked McClung to comment for him.

McClung said the 1998 settlement barred only further anti-smoking litigation by the state, not new charges on cigarettes.

"The idea that the 1998 settlement would allow one type of revenue-raiser and prohibit another type of revenueraiser is simply ludicrous," he said.
(Source: Pioneer Press, August 30, 2005)

My only problem with the article is that Hatch is labeled as a “likely Democratic challenger,” when in reality, Mike Hatch is already telling state fair patrons that he’s in the race.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Yecke round up

News of Dr. Cheri Yecke’s surprise withdrawal from the race to head up Florida’s K-12 education programs has certainly shaken things up in the 6th District.

  • Check out the orginal RM post here, includes campaign press release.
  • Here’s KvM’s take on the race.
  • Andy, KvM contributor, has not one, but two posts (here and here) over at Residual Forces.
  • Northern Alliance member SCSU Scholars tackles the issue from the perspective of a professor in the 6th.
  • The first MSM article finally appears.
  • The First Ringer does the math and finds out that “5-1=6th.” I’m sure Dr. Yecke is very proud of you Ringer.
  • The Star Tribune presents the second MSM article, this time throwing in a little local flavor. I wonder if the editorial board will be having a good bye party.
  • Craig Westover, sometimes Pioneer Press contributor, has a post here.
  • Mitch, fresh from his interview with MDE, has this to say about the race.
  • What round up would be complete without Dump Bachmann to balance things out.
  • Students for Bachmann offers their gloat-free view.
  • The GOP Wingman has good news/bad news for "Russ."
  • Here's the Pioneer Press article.
  • KvM quashes the Bachmann-Yecke rumor.
  • Always Right, Usually Correct takes a look here.
I'm sure there's more coming. Check back often for updates.

RM EXCLUSIVE: Bush to appoint Yecke

I can confirm through multiple sources that Cheri Yecke will be dropping out of the 6th District race within the next few hours.

Although a rumor has been floating around for a few weeks now that she is dropping out, I can tell you that what you’ve been reading on blogs and hearing in smoke filled back rooms is only half true.

Yecke is not dropping out for financial reasons as some would think. Gov. Jeb Bush, a possible 2008 contender, has asked Yecke to be his Chancellor of Education. Yecke, of course, has accepted. While Yecke’s supporters will no doubt miss her in the race, they can take comfort that she will be formulating education policy in Florida over the next few years. As always, Yecke has the potential and is qualified to be the US Secretary of Education when and if the post ever opens in the Bush White House. No word on who, if anyone, Yecke will be endorsing.

While the ramifications for this are not yet know, it is speculated that Dan Nygaard is getting ready to jump in the race. Apparently his op-ed in the Star Tribune a few weeks back was meant to test the waters, and was well received within the 6th. This could be the break that Nygaard needs, with delegates and voters alike disillusioned with the three legislator/candidates, which leaves just Esmay, who has yet to generate a great deal of buzz.

Excuse me as I get my popcorn and watch the four remaining candidates trip over themselves trying to take advantage of one of their fellow candidates dropping out. The one to watch is Michele Bachmann: with her chief advisor rumored to have left the campaign over the weekend, one wonders if Bachmann will be able to woo Yecke's delegates before the other candidates can.

Good luck Dr. Yecke. Here's to hoping that Florida treats you better than Minnesota.

UPDATE: Here's the campaign press release.

Governor Jeb Bush Taps Yecke for Florida K-12 Education Position
Yecke leaves sixth district race

Blaine—Cheri Pierson Yecke today announced that Florida Governor Jeb Bush has invited her to play a lead role on his education team. Yecke will end her Sixth Congressional District bid to help implement Governor Bush’s reform agenda.

“I am honored to have been asked by Governor Jeb Bush to be such a significant part of his education team,” said Yecke. “It is therefore with deep regret that I announce that I will no longer be a candidate for Minnesota’s sixth district Congressional seat.”

“I will be forever grateful to the many people who have given me support in this congressional race. The volunteers and delegates who have worked for me, and the donors who have sent financial support, have served to create a strong and dynamic campaign. However, the opportunity to work for Governor Jeb Bush on an issue for which I am so passionate is an honor I cannot pass up.”

“The accomplishments of Governor Bush’s administration in the area of student achievement hold national significance. For example, since 1999, the percentage of black fourth grade students reading at grade level has increased from 23 percent to 56 percent. It is obvious that the Bush team is making significant progress in the area of academic achievement, and I am looking forward to being a part of that effort.”

“As I leave Minnesota for Florida, I look back on the educational accomplishments of the Pawlenty administration and am honored to have been a part of that effort,” said Dr. Yecke. “Repealing the Profile, creating new, rigorous academic standards, and establishing the state’s first comprehensive system of school accountability is a legacy of which to be proud.”

According to Governor Tim Pawlenty: “Florida is fortunate to have Cheri Pierson Yecke coming on board to lead their K-12 reform efforts. Her leadership in Minnesota provided strong and rigorous academic standards and the first ever statewide accountability system for schools.

“Dr. Yecke has a strong appetite for change and reform and has never been afraid to challenge the status quo. We are confident she’ll do great work in Florida.”

Dr. Yecke concluded: “There are a number of very strong and honorable candidates seeking the endorsement of the Republican Party in the sixth district. I wish each of them well, and am confident that the delegates to the convention will make a good decision to ensure that Congressman Kennedy’s seat remains in Republican hands.”

Yecke will start her new position in Florida in early October.

- 30 -

Keep checking RM for updates.

UPDATE 2: Check out what KvM has to say about risk of spoiling it, they point out that Yecke is close to not one, but multiple 2008 GOP possible nominees.

UPDATE 3: MN Lefty Liberal, the only semi-decent liberal blog out there, has posted a press release from the Steve Kelley for Governor campaign. Kelley may have been able to lead the ouster of Yecke from her MN education post, but looks like Yecke has had her revenge. Kelley’s little claim of a GOP “power grab” will most likely go unnoticed in tomorrow’s papers with news of Yecke leaving the race. I’m sure that somewhere, Dr. Yecke is smiling.

UPDATE 4: Andy, my new favorite blogger, has Michele Bachmann's reaction here. Yes Andy, your lights are better than mine.

UPDATE 5: Check out SCSU Scholar's take on it.

UPDATE 6: First MSM article on Yecke leaving the race.

UPDATE 7: The First Ring takes a look at what this means to the race here.

UPDATE 8: Check out the Star Tribune's article. It goes indepth, unlike the AP article.

Thanks Andy

Andy from KvM and Residual Forces explains the fee. If someone from KvM can see the light, maybe there is hope for mankind yet.

If this weekend is any evidence of the real feelings of those on the ‘right’, I am very troubled. People are threatening to never vote for a Republican again. Throw the bums out. I don’t see how that solves anything. If people ’stay home’ next November over this ‘fee’, they’ll be very sorry. What their little tantrum may result in is a solidly DFL controlled state. They’ll own the Senate, the House, the State Wide Offices, and the Governor.

If you worry-warts think things are bad under Pawlenty, just wait until Hatch resides on Summit Ave. There will be no debate over calling what he will do. He is going to tax the living begeezers out of us.


So, stay home if you like [in November of 2006]. Spend the next few months before November next year, attacking Pawlenty and the Republicans. But in the end, remember that things will be worse under the DFL. Higher taxes. Higher spending. More useless trains. Bye Bye Second Amendment. Bye Bye parental notification. To name a few.

The fractured portion of the right is going to decide the next election, and if they ’stay home’, the Republicans are screwed.

He also says that the fee isn’t a tax because it can be applied to the Native American reservations, something I seem to have overlook before (note: since the reservations are sovereign territory, they can’t be taxed by Minnesota), and he says that Pawlenty needs to do some damage control. I say why not start at the State Fair, it's the perfect place to launch a comeback.

For more info on the fee, please view my very first post, “Love the fee you’re with.” Thanks Andy.

Why we fight

From a Marine in Iraq:

What he's fighting for
As a U.S. Marine currently deployed to Iraq, I would like to respectfully disagree with a fellow Minnesotan who stated that people who protest the war hurt troops' morale ("Letters from readers," Aug. 26).

Public debate and discussion are vital to the health of a democracy. It is a good thing when I see Americans exercising their right of freedom of speech.

Seeing people exercise freedoms that many in other countries don't have is something that we all should be thankful for -- whether you agree with what is being said or not. Semper Fidelis!
James Haugerud,
Camp Blue Diamond,
Ar Ramadi, Iraq.

(Source: Star Tribune, August 29, 2005)

God bless the troops in Iraq, may you accomplish your mission and come home soon and safe.

Minnesota test scores up

Thanks to Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s tireless efforts to improve the quality of education in Minnesota, tests scores are on the rise.

Test scores are up; fewer schools fail
James Walsh

Minnesota's test scores are up, and the number of schools tagged as underperforming is down.

Across the state, school officials breathed a sigh of relief Monday morning as the state released the results of Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments from last spring, as well as the list of schools not meeting their performance goals under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

Overall, 247 schools were tagged as not making adequate yearly progress in 2005, down from 464 in 2004. In addition, all grades showed improvement in math and reading scores. More children scored proficient than last year and more children scored at the top level than last year, officials said.

Officials acknowledged, however, that federal rule changes -- rather than test scores -- allowed some schools to escape the underperforming list. For example, 119 fewer schools were listed as underperforming based on the scores of students learning English. Last year, schools that had 20 or more students tested had to count those scores for No Child Left Behind. This year, only groups that had 40 or more English language students tested were counted.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty says it's good news that there's significant improvement" in standardized test results for Minnesota students.
(Source: Star Tribune, August 29, 2005)

With test scores up, the DFL will have less ammunition against Pawlenty next fall. Meanwhile, Mike Hatch is still trying to recover from weeks of bad publicity due his loss in the Medica trial.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

More troubles for Hatch

Don’t know how I missed this from yesterday’s Star Tribune. It looks like Mike Hatch has more questions to answer to.

Law firm's fees draw scrutiny from GOP
Conrad Defiebre

With Minnesota poised to reap as much as $30 million in a securities fraud settlement with Time Warner Inc., a Republican legislator is questioning the fee due the state's lead attorney in the case, a prominent campaign contributor to DFL Attorney General Mike Hatch.

Samuel Heins of the Minneapolis law firm of Heins Mills & Olson said Friday that the fee for work on the worldwide class-action suit has not yet been set by a federal judge in New York, but that it will be "many millions" of dollars.

A pretrial settlement of the case negotiated by Heins and other lawyers calls for Time Warner and its accountants to pay $2.5 billion to perhaps millions of shareholders in the world's largest communications company, including the Minnesota State Board of Investment. Hatch, who assigned the case to the Heins firm in 2002, estimated the board's share at $25 million to $30 million.

"The deal is done," Heins said. "But it could be years before we get paid or the class gets paid." Several court approvals, time-consuming notification of shareholders and possible appeals by some of them may drag the process out, he said.

The investment board has claimed losses of up to $249 million to the public employee pension funds it manages because of alleged false revenue reporting by Time Warner and a merger partner, AOL.

Reports of the proposed settlement prompted Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, to raise questions with Hatch about Heins' role in the case and his prospective compensation.

"Obviously, he should be paid," Seifert said this week. "But there needs to be some legislative parameters in these kinds of things or you end up enriching a very few people at the expense of something else."

In many ways, the case echoes Minnesota's $6.1 billion fraud settlement with the tobacco industry in 1998, for which a law firm led by DFL activist and contributor Michael Ciresi collected a fee of $440 million. That led to a chorus of Republican protests and unsuccessful legal efforts to strip Ciresi of the money and transfer it to the state.

Heins hinted that his firm's overall fee as lead counsel for the entire class of plaintiffs could rival Ciresi's. Heins noted that the tobacco settlement will be paid over 25 years, while Time Warner's $2.5 billion will be "cash on the barrelhead" that is roughly comparable to $6.1 billion in present value.

Like Ciresi, Heins has been a generous political donor to Hatch and his predecessor as attorney general, Hubert Humphrey III. Since 1996, Heins has given $1,900 to Hatch's campaigns and $3,000 to Humphrey's. Humphrey was the DFL nominee for governor in 1998; Hatch is considered a likely candidate for the job in 2006.

Meanwhile, the Heins firm has kept busy with lawsuits on behalf of the state of Minnesota. In 1999, it won a $3.75 million settlement from Minnesota dairies over alleged price fixing, with the award going in the form of milk to state food banks. The $550,000 fee in that case also was unsuccessfully challenged by Republicans, although the Legislature later outlawed diverting state lawsuit proceeds to charities.

Heins said his firm also has secured more than $200 million in settlements of other securities fraud cases from which the state has benefited.

But Hatch said no political favoritism was extended to Heins because no other law firms were seeking to press any of the cases. Such suits are initiated by proposals from class-action law firms to public entities such as the Board of Investment, which typically lack the resources to conduct them, Hatch said.

"There are very few class-action firms," he said. "They invest tens of millions of dollars in cases like this, usually with lines of credit against all they own. It's a very high-risk business."

Consensus choice

Hatch said he had sole authority to put Heins on the Time Warner case in 2002, but as a courtesy got the approval of all other members of the Board of Investment.

Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, then the only Republican on the board, said Friday that she did not object to Heins' appointment, which was backed by the board's staff.

"We defer to the expertise of the staff and the right of the attorney general to choose," she said. She added that she is "delighted" with the prospective settlement and considers it outside the realm of partisan politics.

Under an agreement signed by Hatch and Heins, the law firm's fee will be set by U.S. District Judge Shirley Wohl Kram, who also designated it as lead counsel because Minnesota's claimed losses were larger than any other plaintiff's.

Several other law firms that assisted in the complex case will also get compensation, Heins said.

"There were 40 or 45 lawyers working on it on any given day," he said, including a dozen that Heins Mills hired just for that purpose. They pored over 13 million documents in Minneapolis and did "a tremendous amount of forensic accounting," Heins said.

The steep costs of that effort, which Heins said was "heavily contested" by top East Coast law firms representing Time Warner, will figure prominently in Heins Mills' fee request to Kram.

"It was an enormously expensive undertaking," Heins said, noting that it got results. "But Mike Hatch has nothing to do with how much we get paid. It's not state money, and the amount will all be public."
(Source: Star Tribune, August 27, 2005)

So Hatch handpicked a strong financial backer to try a case that would undoubtedly being in a lot of money for the attorney. Wonder what other skeletons the man is hiding in his closet? I guess the only people that know are Mike Hatch and Matt Entenza.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Conflict of interest

If you’re anything like me, you rolled out of bed this morning around noon, picked up the paper and saw that Big Tobacco is suing the State of Minnesota over the Health Impact Fee that was passed during the government shutdown as a way to end the gridlock.

Big tobacco companies and several Minnesota distributors are taking their dislike of the state's new 75-cent-per-pack cigarette "health impact fee" to court, saying it violates the multibillion dollar settlement reached with the state seven years ago.

In the 1998 settlement, the state agreed not to seek more money for health care costs associated with tobacco, the companies claim in a motion filed Friday in Ramsey County District Court. The fee, which was key to balancing the state budget after a partial government shutdown, earmarks money for such costs, they said.
(Source: Star Tribune, August 27, 2005)

Being the Attorney General, Mike Hatch, or at least his office, will most likely be the one responsible for defending Minnesota and Gov. Pawlenty in the case.

Hatch, a DFLer and a potential 2006 gubernatorial rival of Pawlenty's, said the state's defense would be that the fee really is a tax.

Plenty of jurisdictions, including New York City, that are also covered by consumer fraud settlements with the industry already have increased taxes on cigarettes, he said.

"The industry acknowledges that if this is a tax, they have to pay," Hatch said.

He added the state will also argue that regardless of whether it is a fee or a tax, it's not covered by the 1998 settlement and it's legal.

"This is a case of a political gimmick screwing up the stability of the state budget," Hatch said, repeatedly blaming Pawlenty for political "gamesmanship."

Hatch downplayed the notion that the legal challenge could blow a hole in the state budget, saying the Legislature and the governor would find a way out of it -- possibly by raising taxes.
(Source: Star Tribune, August 27, 2005)

Hatch’s comments alone warrant removing him and his office away from the case. Instead of attacking Big Tobacco for filing an lawsuit that has no warrant (coincidentally much like Hatch’s Medica case), he attacks his client/political rival Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Whether or not Hatch is going to try the case, I think that there are a few reasonalbe requests that should be made by Pawlenty:

1.) If Hatch has made his decision to run against Pawlenty, he should remove himself from the case.
2.) If Hatch has yet to decide, he should remove himself from the case.
3.) If Hatch has decided to run, he should pass the case off to another attorney from his office, one that is not a political friend of Hatch’s like Lori Swanson (whom Hatch is rumored to be backing for AG).
4.) Promise to treat the court room with respect and not use the case for attacking Pawlenty and grandstanding (this may be difficult for Hatch).
5.) Promise not to describe any of the tobacco attorneys using any double expletive.

The good people of Minnesota elected Mike Hatch to serve their best interests, not use his position as a stepping stone for governor. If Hatch can’t take his job seriously, he must step aside for someone more capable of being non-partisan.

UPDATE: The ever vigilant MDE has a great post on Hatch's tobacco connections.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Nick Coleman: Senile Old Fart

Did Nick Coleman misplace his medication before writing his latest column? My Magic Eight Ball is telling me “all signs point to ‘yes.’” Just read the column (see my initial analysis here). It jumps around more than John Robert’s son at a press conference.

It must be tough to be Nick Coleman. His dad was a force to be reckoned with in the Minnesota Legislature in the 1970’s and his little brother is on his way to be Mayor of St. Paul. Don’t get me wrong; Nick has been somewhat successful, albeit in an old world sort of way. He’s been a columnist for the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune, and also had a radio show until just recently. In spite of these accomplishments, Nick still seems to suffer from an inferiority complex.

This complex became evident as Coleman ramped up his attacks on bloggers, often devoting entire columns as well as segments on his radio show to complain about bloggers attacking him. You know you’ve made it when Nick Coleman has wasted column space on you. The man really is Nixon-esque; “always remember, others may hate you. But those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.” The bloggers have won, which must make Nick Coleman hate them even more.

He may be a senile old fart, but he’s our senile old fart. Without him, blogging wouldn’t be as fun.

Hatch off and running

DFL Governor says that Mike Hatch, wounded by the Medica decision, is telling fairgoers that he is running against Pawlenty.

Say it ain't so Joe

Joe Mayo of the First Ring, who made waves last week exposing what he saw as Kennedy’s Achilles’ heel, says John Kline’s staff may be trying to feel around for a possible Senate campaign.

Nick Coleman on the State Fair

According to Nick Coleman, people at the Great Minnesota Get Together are on edge, fearing a terrorist attack while munching on cheese curds and Pronto Pups.

The State Fair is where we go to catch a glimpse of ourselves, to find out how we're doing, to look in the mirror and check the mood of Minnesota. No one person can take it all in, and not even the combined effort of every newspaper and TV station in town can quite capture the mood. But after a first stroll around the fair Thursday, I say: The mood is not good.

Ever since 9/11, there has been an edge to the fair, a throbbing anxiety that has murmured below the sound of screams and compressed air machines. But this year, it has seeped in a little deeper, becoming an actual undercurrent of discord.
(Source: Star Tribune, August 26, 2005)

Hey Nick, you might want to let Sen. Mark Dayton know so he can close his booth. While you’re doing that, I’m going to call a few friends who will take you to get the help you need.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

And you thought the shutdown was behind us

From the Star Tribune:

Dispute unfolds over governor's shutdown powers
Patricia Lopez
House Republicans, who say the courts never should have been allowed to order funding of essential state functions during the recent partial shutdown, will ask the state Supreme Court to prevent similar action in the future.

In a petition that may be filed as early as next week, House Republican leaders will contend that both the executive branch -- headed by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty -- and the judicial branch overstepped their authority in June.

That's when Pawlenty sought, and a district judge granted, the order that kept government partly afloat while legislators went into overtime to reach a budget deal.

Neither House Speaker Steve Sviggum, R-Kenyon, nor Majority Leader Erik Paulsen, R-Eden Prairie, could be reached for comment Wednesday, but Rep. Paul Kohls, R-Victoria, said they and 10 other House Republicans back the move for a petition that would prevent a replay of what they consider a major encroachment on legislative authority.

"At its core, this is about the separation of powers," said Kohls, who said the group will do some final research before filing next week.

Without the court order, some core functions of government would have shut down on June 30, when the state ended its fiscal year. Because a new two-year budget had not been authorized by the Legislature, some parts of government, including some health services, would have had no funding after that date.

However, Kohls said, that did not give the other two branches the right to subvert the authority of the legislative branch.

"What are the constitutional limits regarding the expenditure of state funds?" he said. "We're looking at five, 10, 20 years down the line. This is an issue that needs to be resolved."

Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, who also supports the petition, said that while it may seem odd for Republican legislators to oppose an action taken by a Republican governor, their move is not about party lines.

"This doesn't have a political shade to it," he said. "It's about the precedent that was set. If a judge can decide for 201 legislators how state money is spent, why do the people of Minnesota send us down here every two years? They want us to make those decisions. That's our job. I would hope the governor's office would not take this personally. It's not directed at the governor."

Lone defendant

Indeed, Pawlenty is not named in the draft petition, only Finance Commissioner Peggy Ingison.

Erick Kaardal, the attorney representing Sviggum and the other House Republicans, said Ingison is being proposed as the sole defendant because "she's the one who signs the checks."

Even though Pawlenty sought the court order, heads the executive branch and appointed Ingison, Kaardal said that "the only person who violated the Constitution was the commissioner of finance. She cut the checks. I don't think the governor is involved."

Brian McClung, Pawlenty's press secretary, said that Ingison was "fully authorized by the court to act in the manner in which she did" and that Pawlenty supported those actions.

"In fact," he said, "Governor Pawlenty petitioned the court himself so that our commissioners could carry out their duties."

McClung said he found the proposed petition a bit bewildering, noting that House Republicans filed no objections at the time the order was sought. "We believe there was opportunity for arguments to be made then," he said. He said the administration was given no warning that such a petition was being contemplated.

"This afternoon was the first time our office, the office of the governor, was apprised of this," he said. "We understand their desire to have legislative oversight when it comes to state appropriations, but they had a chance for their issues to be heard."

McClung said that instead of planning for courses of action in the event of future shutdowns, "we would hope legislators would take all possible steps never to be in that position again. They may not like the fact that we went to court, but that seems to be the way government is set up right now."


Attorney General Mike Hatch said that he considered the shutdown "a huge black mark against the state" and that he was surprised that House Republicans wanted to reopen the issue.

Hatch was drawn into the topic when Kaardal asked him for permission to be appointed as special counsel for the group when they filed their "Writ of Quo Warranto." Hatch advised them in a letter released Wednesday that they did not need his permission but that he considered the action ill-advised and would "aggressively oppose" the writ if it were filed.

"They didn't raise any objections at the time because they didn't dare be seen as opposing funding for core functions," Hatch said of the House Republicans supporting the writ. Hatch recalled that the first request for such funding came from children on ventilators.

But Kaardal said Republicans simply wanted to take their time preparing arguments and allow the court time to consider them -- something, he contends, that couldn't have happened in the heat of the special session.

Zellers said the petition is less about what happened in June than what might happen next time.

"It's about maintaining the integrity of the legislative process," he said. "As ugly as it is at times, we should be allowed to do the job, no matter how long it takes or how contentious it is."
(Source: Star Tribune, August 2, 2005)

It was a nightmare for every politician who seeks to be reelected to run for higher office, now let’s just move on. Instead of looking back, we need to look forward to make sure this doesn't happen again.

I hate spam

Because of all the spambots posting comments on my blog, you now must register to leave comments on my blog.

While I highly value anonymity, I can't stand to see another spam ad.

Please register here.

Ode to Capitol Lounge, a haiku

This was sent to me by a loyal RM reader.

No Miller Lite here
One Last Cap Lounge hangover
Tears in the toilet.

Foccacia Buns
Exposed wires and taco juice
I'll name my daughter Amber.

He plays Journey
She pukes in ghetto bathroom
They smoke in vinyl booths.

He sinks the eight ball
He becomes belligerent
He slurs his speech.

One more for Simon
My short Irish Bartender
My beer tastes like tears.

Hawk and Dove, you suck
Tortilla Coast, Bullfeathers
Just not the same bar.

Wanna do a shot?
I said to Nixon poster
Oh man, I'm that drunk.

All crooked pool cues
Do you have work tommorrow?
Big Amber headache.

Taco Night or Wings
Where did all my cigs get to?
Cat slept in my mouth?

My sentiments exactly.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Washington DC institution burns

The Capitol Lounge burned last night. We here at Republican Minnesota mourn the loss of this fine watering hole. I will try to post a story as it becomes available.

UPDATE: Here's the story.

Bill Amberg, the GOP's secret weapon, part 2

Or the pot calls the kettle black...

Last week, I had a post on how Bill Amberg is the GOP's secret weapon. Llyodletta seemed to disagree. Why a supposed Republican would defend someone lacking any sense of intellegance is beyond me.

Now it's Democrats pulling news story off Web site
Associated Press

The state DFL Party pulled an Associated Press article with an altered headline from its Web site Tuesday, two weeks after Republican Rep. Rep. Mark Kennedy drew criticism for selectively editing news stories posted on his campaign site.

The DFL Party removed the story soon after the AP alerted a party official that it was looking into improper use of the wire service's material. A Star Tribune article was posted in its place.

Ironically, the story at issue deals with the Kennedy flap. Kennedy is running for the U.S. Senate next year and his campaign changed several stories from the AP and other news organizations to remove negative comments about him. The campaign has since changed its posting practices.

The DFL substituted the AP's headline about the Kennedy incident — "Kennedy campaign says it will provide links to full articles'' — with a slanted one — "Mark Kennedy Misleading Minnesotans About His Record.'' The party also used bold and italic type to emphasize parts of the AP's Aug. 10 article.

Bill Amberg, a DFL spokesman, said the party took the AP story from the Star Tribune newspaper's Web site before adding the new headline and emphasis. The Star Tribune's rewrite of AP copy matched the story on the DFL site, with the exception of the headline."

"We're not guilty of the same offense'' as Kennedy, Amberg said. "Obviously, I'm not stupid enough in a story where Kennedy is doing this to do the exact same thing.''

Amberg added, "Why aren't the Republicans and Mark Kennedy working on health care, Iraq and education issues Minnesotans care about rather than surfing Web sites to try to get political revenge?''

Heidi Frederickson, a campaign spokeswoman for Kennedy, didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.

Dave Pyle, the AP's Minnesota bureau chief, said any use of AP stories by a nonsubscriber is unauthorized without the company's permission.

"Even if a political candidate or party were authorized to use AP content, AP would not permit alteration of the content by the site,'' Pyle said.

Pyle turned the matter over to AP's attorneys in Washington after an anonymous blogger, with the help of a Republican operative, brought the matter to the wire service's attention.

(Source: Assoicated Press, August 25, 2005)

How stupid is the guy? He did the exact same thing Kennedy did. To make matters worse, on the article in which the Democrats accuse Kennedy of misdeeds. I hope that DFL Chair Brian Melendez doesn't punish Amberg for this, Republicans need him around for another year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Civil war explodes between DFL elite

Matt Entenza has struck a new low. MDE has yet another exclusive, this time about Entenza hiring someone to dig up dirt on Mike Hatch.

Maybe MDE and I should start a new blog called "Entenza v. Hatch."

Hatch for . . .

"I'm coming very close to a decsion," - Mike Hatch on Midmorning with Keri Miller on whether or not he's made a decision to run against Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2006.

Hatch has been very non-committal about running for higher office in 2006, which begs the question, does he lack the support among the DFL faithful to pull it off?

UPDATE: The decision will be made this fall.

Hatch costs Medica $2.5 million

From the Star Tribune:

Medica's defense cost $2.5 million

by David Phelps

Medica paid a steep price for its slam-dunk courtroom victory over Attorney General Mike Hatch last week.

By Medica's own estimate, the Minnetonka-based insurer and HMO spent more than $2.5 million in its three-year battle against allegations that its administration was unresponsive to members, elusive to oversight and on a rogue journey to self-enrichment, charges that Hennepin County District Judge Lloyd Zimmerman flatly dismissed.

Medica also spent harder-to-quantify internal resources on the lawsuit with a four-person legal team led by general counsel Jim Jacobson that spent part of its time on the case and part on other legal issues in the organization, spokesman Larry Bussey said.

Hatch said his office spent about $100,000 on the lawsuit, which resulted in a five-day nonjury trial earlier this month.

It was a case closely watched by the rest of the health care community in Minnesota, most of which has had legal contact with Hatch over the years, some more painful than others, in his role as regulator of nonprofit organizations. There was private glee, but no public reaction, to last week's verdict from most organizations.

"It was a tremendous drain on personnel inside that company," said Julie Brunner, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. "It was lost time and lost focus on health care policy."

Brunner called on the attorney general to use his "considerable energy" to work with the state's health care organizations to address "mind stumper" issues to make health care more efficient and accessible.

Hatch, who has fought for wider charity-care policies at the state's hospitals, expressed amazement at the size of Medica's legal bill from its outside counsel, the Minneapolis law firm of Dorsey & Whitney with lead attorney Marianne Short.

"I can't believe they're spending $2.5 million in a case like this. That's incredible," Hatch said in an interview Monday. "That would be 10 percent of our [entire office] budget."

Others looked at the legal fee and viewed it as a lost opportunity for spending on health care.

"That strikes me as a lot of money," said health care consultant David Delahanty of Buck Consultants' Minneapolis office. "Unfortunately, based on the judge's decision, a lot of it probably was wasted. It was a witch hunt that didn't find anything."

Since 2000, Hatch has made headlines by focusing on financial abuses and health care shortcomings among the state's HMOs and providers.

One set of findings forced the breakup of hospital and clinic group Allina and Medica in 2001. The trial earlier this month had to do with whether Hatch still had control over members of the Medica board of directors that he appointed that year to stabilize and rebuild the struggling HMO. Zimmerman ruled Hatch did not.

"Now we can do the jobs we were elected to do," said board member Esther Tomljanovich, one of Hatch's appointees subsequently elected as a consumer member to the board. "It was hard to think at the outset that it would cost this much. What a terrible waste."

Other health care providers also have accumulated considerable legal expenses from disputes with Hatch. Allina spent more than $750,000 during the past 18 months on outside legal fees for a couple of recent legal run-ins with the attorney general, including antitrust allegations about the creation of a heart hospital.

No one was willing to predict Monday that the courtroom defeat would dampen Hatch's enthusiasm for going after the health care industry in the state. However, he is not likely to find too many flagrant abuses of the type that was common five years ago, analysts said.

"I'm not saying he shouldn't go after other health plans, but as a result [of Hatch's previous investigations], he's had a sentinel effect on other plans," Delahanty said. "They've cleaned up their acts. He's made them look internally. It's management by WWHD -- 'What Would Hatch Do?' "

Stephen Parente, a health care professor at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, said Hatch should pick future targets carefully.

"He's had a win [Allina] and he's had a big loss [Medica]. Another loss and his long-term reputation is clouded," Parente said.
(Source: Star Tribune, August 23, 2005)

I hope Mike Hatch apologizes to all those who have Medica.

Hatch justifies potty mouth

"I'd do it again" - Mike Hatch when describing his version of using foul language to describe Marianne Short, a former appeals court judge. (Source, Midmorning with Keri Miller, August 23, 2005)

This is unaccecptable. In the next few days, I hope to scrap up enough money to buy the transcipt so I can post it.

Then all of Minnesota can see what a pathetic excuse for a human being Mike Hatch is.

Here's the link to the interview. Thanks Micah!

Hatch on MPR

Mike Hatch is on MPR right now talking about Medica and other issues.

So far, he's been very defensive about the ruling and is not backing down from what he did.

Monday, August 22, 2005

A missed opportunity

While I consider KvM a fairly decent blog (a little too much non-Kennedy material), I was surprised by their decision in which they did not post proof of the DFL editing documents after the Democrats accused Mark Kennedy of doing the same thing. In fact, they sat on the story for more than a week, allowing the DFL attack machine to assume the moral high ground in their relentless attacks on Mark Kennedy.

For the record, KvM does not join the call for the DFL to use the unedited
version. They, like the Kennedy campaign, should use press accounts to portray
themselves as favorably as possible in congruence with “fair use”. We would
simply ask our DFL friends to put down the stones.

You guys do realize there’s still an election ahead of us, right? Hypocrisy of the DFL cannot go unchecked. They unearthed a great scoop but instead of posting the scoop, the KvM crew read documents by John Roberts, which will be instrumental in electing Kennedy to the Senate as well as confirming Judge Roberts.

As of today, I dont feel they deserve the title of "right wing attack blog," which was bestowed on them by Nick Coleman. Instead, the title should go to MDE for his/her relentless attacks on the left.

Technical Difficulties

Due to an error with the Blogger template, RM went down briefly this weekend. I hope to have the template back to my customized form by this evening.

Stand by...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ciresi in?

In a sign that the DFL Senate field just isn’t big enough yet, trial lawyer Mike Ciresi is considering getting into the race.

The field may not yet be complete. Lawyer Mike Ciresi, who led the state to its big financial settlement over tobacco companies and who nearly won DFL endorsement in 2000, appears to be waiting offstage.

A Senate candidacy "remains of great interest to me, and I'll be making my decision very shortly," Ciresi said last week, declining to comment further.
(Source: "State senate hopefuls already on the move," Star Tribune, August 21, 2005)

In a field of without the proverbial "800 pound gorilla", this could be what the DFL needs: another pathetic cast member in The Mark Dayton Wannabes, now playing at a DFL steak fry near you.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Its a beautiful day, unless you are Mike Hatch

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the Star Tribune editorial board has an anti-Hatch piece.

Let's try some quick word association:

"Quixotic"...[Fill in the blank]

Friday, August 19, 2005


The TPL of MN (that's the Tim Pawlenty-haters League) released their scorecard for 2005 to KvM today. Not surprisingly, they call the cigarette fee a "tax." Instead of donating money this year to an organization that rips Republicans for sport, I suggest anyone serious about electing Republicans purchase a "I am MDE" shirt.

Rowley on AM1500

Hat tip to the Kool Aid Report for their in depth look at Rowley on KSTP today.

Republican Party statement on Hatch

Statement by Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Ron Carey in Reaction to Hatch's Recent Loss Against Medica

"This court ruling reveals a colossal misstep on the part of Attorney General Mike Hatch, and deals a serious blow to his ambitions for higher office. The stinging rebuke by the court once again proves that Mike Hatch puts political grandstanding ahead of public policy. Hatch's bullying behavior and temperament in this case raises questions about whether he is fit for higher office.

"Hatch was unconcerned when it was pointed out that four of the seven new Medica board members had previously contributed to him, including the board chairman Ted Deikel, who had a contribution history dating back to Hatch's 1990 run for governor and that Deikel had held a fundraiser for Hatch just two weeks before being named board chair. (Sources: Tom Majeski, "Medica Chief gave to DFL," St. Paul Pioneer Press, August 3, 2001; Patrick Sweeney and David Hanners, "New Allina board shielded from lawsuits," St. Paul Pioneer Press, August 10, 2001)

The Medica Board of Directors declared in court filings that they are independent and asserted Attorney General Mike Hatch has overstepped his bounds and asked to be released from the 2001 agreement that brought its separation from Allina. Medica Board member and former State Supreme Court Justice Esther Tomljanovich asked "The real issues is, 'Does the attorney general have unlimited authority to insert himself into the decision-making process and micromanage the day-to-day operations of an independent, private corporation?" Hatch, for his part, said he doesn't consider the board free of its obligations until he is satisfied that all necessary changes have been made. (Source: Glenn Howatt, "Medica seeks to cut ties to Hatch," Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 8, 2005)

In continued court proceedings between Medica and Hatch over the Attorney General\'s authority, Hatch took the witness stand. There, he was confronted with a recording he had left on Board Chair John Buck\'s voicemail. In it, Hatch is heard saying, "This bonus will undo all that we\'ve accomplished. We would be [expletive] front-page news. It would be a [expletive] scandal. The only thing we can do is lower premiums. I don\'t want another [expletive] scandal on my hands." Later in the testimony, he was questioned about whether he had described Medica attorney Marianne Short with two expletives to a partner in her firm and whether he had threatened to take state business away from the firm. (Source: David Phelps, "Sparks fly as Hatch takes the stand," Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 29, 2005)

But the case "is about whether Medica\'s board acted honorably or illegally in taking Medica from a national scandal in 2001 to the position of being named the No. 1 nonprofit health plan in the country. At the end of the day, good people were unfairly accused. After a fair and impartial trial, their good name is restored to them." (Source: Neil Gendler, "Judge says Hatch can\'t oversee Medica Board," Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 18, 2005)###",1]

The Star Tribune editorial board took issue with Hatch's behavior towards the Medica board: "If Hatch appointed competent and honorable people, then a judge should ask why the attorney general continues to second-guess their judgment. If Hatch appointed directors who are bungling the job, then a judge should be able to ask why the attorney general should be allowed to repeat the experiment." (Source: Editorial, "Hatch vs. Medica." Minneapolis Star Tribune, May 10, 2003)

In continued court proceedings between Medica and Hatch over the Attorney General's authority, Hatch took the witness stand. There, he was confronted with a recording he had left on Board Chair John Buck's voicemail. In it, Hatch is heard saying, "This bonus will undo all that we've accomplished. We would be [expletive] front-page news. It would be a [expletive] scandal. The only thing we can do is lower premiums. I don't want another [expletive] scandal on my hands." Later in the testimony, he was questioned about whether he had described Medica attorney Marianne Short with two expletives to a partner in her firm and whether he had threatened to take state business away from the firm. (Source: David Phelps, "Sparks fly as Hatch takes the stand," Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 29, 2005)

But the case "is about whether Medica's board acted honorably or illegally in taking Medica from a national scandal in 2001 to the position of being named the No. 1 nonprofit health plan in the country. At the end of the day, good people were unfairly accused. After a fair and impartial trial, their good name is restored to them." (Source: Neil Gendler, "Judge says Hatch can't oversee Medica Board," Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 18, 2005)

First Ring on Hatch

The First Ring looks at the Hatch-Medica issue here.

Bill Amberg, the GOP's secret weapon

Bill Amberg, DFL mouthpiece, isn’t exactly the greatest at his job. That’s why I like him so much. His one liners aren’t funny and his arguments are often flawed, not to mention inarticulate. Take this quote from the Star Tribune today:

DFL spokesman Bill Amberg replied: "The state's own demographer, and the state's own economist. Quite the one-two punch."

The quote makes even less sense once you read the entire article.

Mike Hatch makes a career out of failure

More highlights from the Zimmerman ruling.

Page 12 -
“The Attorney General has failed to prove that this board fell short in its mission, or that Medica suffered on its watch”

Page 13 -
“The State’s claim that the entire 2001 board engaged in self-dealing by running for election is unsupported by a balanced analysis of the actual facts.”

Page 14

“...[T]he State has completely failed to rebut the reasonable and sound corporate judgment offered by Medica, to explain why it kept the Attorney General’s hand-picked, ‘blue ribbon’ board in place in 2002.”

I also have been given an insider tip on the two words Mike Hatch used to describe Marianne Short. I will be posting them later today.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

All rats off the sinking ship!

Ken Martin, Hatch's errand boy, must be having second thoughts about Hatch running for Governor in 2006.

Judge Zimmerman's verdict has the potential to destroy Hatch's campaign before it gets off the groud. For as long as I can remember, "Mike Hatch" has been synonomous with "grandstanding," someone who has more ambition than substance.

Now Hatch has wasted taxpayer's dollars for what? Taking over an insurance company. He needs to apologize to Minnesotans today!

Ruling highlights

Here are a few highlights from the ruling on Mike Hatch's folly of a case:

Page 7:

"At the end of the trial, the State implicitly conceded in its closing argument either that much of its case dissolved, or that the it [sic] had decided to rove a different theory of wrongdoing than the one it has alleged in its amended complaint, opening brief, and the evidence presented in trial."

Page 10:

"On the one hand the State concedes that the board consists of good people who did a good job. On the other hand, the State argues that they are deceitful and engaged in self dealing."

Page 11-12:
"Despite the fiery rhetoric in this trial about a 'hijacked board' and a 'stolen election,' when the smoke cleared, the rhetoric could not obscure the six central conclusions which emerged inescapably from the evidence at the trial."

An inconsistant message, doublespeak, and rhetoric, and this man thinks he can be Governor? Fat chance.

Zimmerman ruling

Here is the link to the ruling of Judge Lloyd Zimmerman for the Mike Hatch v. Medica trial.

Later today I will provide highlights.

Mike Hatch"overstepped his bounds"

Minnesota’s Attorney Generalissimo Mike Hatch lost big today.

Judge finds for Medica in control case

In a victory for non-profits, a Hennepin County judge has ruled Attorney General Mike Hatch overstepped his bounds and wrongly accused Medica's board of wrongdoing. The ruling stems from Hatch's attempt to install a new Medica board of directors for the second time in four years.

In a sharply worded opinion, Judge Lloyd Zimmerman said the battle for control over Medica is over. He said the expensive, time-consuming suit against Medica and its board was only supported by overheated rhetoric and accusations of self-dealing. He said Hatch wrongly accused the new Medica's board of directors of wrongdoing. Zimmerman said Hatch's claims obscured the fact that - when the attorney general intervened at Medica in 2001 - it was government at its best protecting the public from waste and corruption. But the judge also said the results show the new board took a company from a national scandal four years ago to the number one non-profit health plan in the country.
(Source: MPR Online, August 18, 2005)

Will Hatch still run for Governor? It’s still unknown at this point, but conventional wisdom would say that Steve Kelley just got a big boost.

UPDATE: Here's the Star Tribune's story.

Judge says Hatch can't oversee Medica's board
Neal Gendler

A four-year battle between Attorney General Mike Hatch and Medica ended Thursday when a Hennepin County judge Thursday stripped Hatch of continuing oversight of the health insurer.

In a written ruling, Judge Lloyd Zimmerman called it "unfortunate" that Medica board members were "unfairly accused" and that the historic government-private partnership in cleaning up financial abuses at Medica had descended into "overheated rhetoric and accusations of self-dealing, deception and hijacking."

Hatch had alleged that he still retained control over Medica's board, eight members of which he'd appointed in 2001 after the health insurer was split from heath-care provider Allina after financial irregularities, including excessive travel, entertainment and consulting fees, were uncovered during an investigation by Hatch's office. He wanted those eight removed, claiming that they hadn't followed state law in involving policy holders in running the insurer.

Medica argued that the board's obligations to Hatch ended in 2002 with adoption of new corporate bylaws and official election of the board.

Zimmerman ruled that the state's allegations "are unproven and without merit," and that court supervision of Medica, and thus Hatch's authority over the board, was ended.

He said: "The attorney general's intervention in 2001 was government at its best -- protecting the public from corruption, waste and abuse." But the case "is about whether Medica's board acted honorably or illegally in taking Medica from a national scandal in 2001 to the position of being named the No. 1 nonprofit health plan in the country. At the end of the day, good people were unfairly accused. After a fair and impartial trial, their good name is restored to them."
(Source: Star Tribune, August 18, 2005)

Check back all day for continuing coverage of this story.

Join MDE, fight corruption at City Hall

MDE wants you to fight corruption at Minneapolis City Hall. The DFL City Chair/City Attorney/Perpetual Liar Lois Conroy has been using Minneapolis computers to work on DFL fundraisers . This of course is blatantly illegal.

Now there is word of a cover up. I urge all RM readers to visit MDE and learn how they can fulfil their civic duty to stem the tide of corruption by Minneapolis DFL insiders.

DFL Chair concedes race to Pawlenty

Man, it is just not a god week for the DFL. First Coleen Rowley announces she is going to Crawford, Texas to support Cindy Sheehan in lieu of her anti-Semitic statements, then Mike Hatch loses face by losing the Medica suit, and now this.

This is from a loyal RM reader:

I don't know if you caught this, but I was listening to MPR's party chair debate this morning. Brian Melendez, when commenting on the lack of civility within Minnesota politics, said he hopes that Gov. Pawlenty will speak more with legislators next time he plans a budget. Since we have a 2-year budget cycle, the next time Gov. Pawlnety will plan the state's budget is 2007. Does this mean Melendez knows they don't have a snowball's chance in hell of winning?

Thank you Chairman Melendez. There’s always 2010.

MPR: Hatch loses Medica suit

MPR has just reported that Attorney General Mike Hatch has lost the Medica suit...developling...

For background on the story, and it's implications, click here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


As many of my loyal readers already know, Republican Minnesota’s favorite punching bag, Coleen Rowley, is headed to Crawford, Texas to protest along side mothers that lost their children in the Iraq war. See the Star Tribune's article here. Of course, this won't be the first time Rowley has campaigned outside of Minnesota's 2nd District, remember her trip to Rochester?

This truly is the single most disgusting act ever in politics. Rowley is trying to gain favor with national Democrats by exploiting the grieving mothers like Cindy Sheehan and State Sen. Becky Lourey. I would hope that all Minnesotans, Republican, Democrat, or independent, see through this charade and call on Rowley stop using Lourey and Sheehan’s tragedy as a tool for political gain. What's next? Michael Moore pitching a tent next to her.

Rowley’s planned field trip caught scorn from Tom Barnard of the KQRS 92 Morning Show this morning around 6:30 AM. Barnard is one of the best DJ in Minnesota and is a good barometer of how the average Minnesotan feels about the issues, not to mention funny as hell. Visit the KQ92 website to download the podcast of the show to listen to Tom in his own words. In short, Rowley is finished.

Update: I didn’t think it was possible, but the Rowley-Crawford issue has become even more sickening. Uber-racist David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the KKK, now stands with Coleen Rowley and Cindy Sheehan because of Sheehan’s stance on Israel. When will Rowley, the Democratic National Committee, and the DFL learn that racism is not tolerated in Minnesota? I renew my call for Minnesotans from all walks of life to demand Rowley cease with any plans to travel to Crawford.

I demand that Rowley answer whether or not she agrees with David Duke on Israel, and whether or not she is anti-Semitic.

Don't forget to check out what the Minnesota Democrat Exposer has to say about this.

Gone but not forgotten

The Star Tribune has a great article on the departure of moonbat Nick Coleman.

It’s always sad to see a crazy radio host leave the air waves, but at least we still have the senile man’s Star Tribune column to look forward to.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

All to easy

Ask any loyal RM reader, and they'll tell you I'm no fan of Coleen Rowley. Now MDE is reporting Rowley is headed to the Lone Star State to protest the Iraq war and President Bush. Count her out of a victory in the red 2nd District.

Is "Blame Israel" the new "Blame America?"

I wanted to stay as far away from the Cindy Sheehan story as possible, letting her grieve her own way and all that, but I think she's taking it too far. Then again, so is the entire liberal movement.

First Ring opens Pandora's Box

Joe Mayo of the First Ring offers his bleak analysis of the Senate race in an effort to strengthen Kennedy's chances of winning. It's a must read for anyone watching the race. Read it here.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Special R-rated edition of the weekly Mike Hatch poll

Tuck the kids into bed early, way early, because here is this week's R-rated edition to the Mike Hatch poll, as promised. For background on the poll, pease click here and here.

What "double expletive" did Mike Hatch use to refer to fellow attorney Marianne Short?
Fucking bitch
Fucking whore
Fucking cunt
Another so extreme, it cannot be printed

Free polls from

Corruption at City Hall

No, this isn't Chicago circa 1925, it's Minneapolis circa last Friday.

Check out MDE's exclusive here.

To win votes, Democrats mull becoming conservative

Sick of losing elections, the Democrats, led by Rep. Jim Obestar from Minnesota, are trying to reinvent the image of their party. What's next, Howard Dean standing with Michele Bachmann against gay marriage?

Democrats seek dialogue on abortion

Kevin Diaz

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Democrats looking for a new voice on abortion are getting help from Rep. Jim Oberstar, an abortion opponent from Minnesota's Iron Range who is pushing to broaden the party's message on the issue.

He is one of several leading Democrats playing a prominent role on Capitol Hill to find common ground between the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democrats for Life of America, which has long felt shunned by the party.

The effort comes as former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, now DNC chairman, tries to respond to last year's election by looking for a more nuanced message on such issues as gay marriage and abortion.

Sensitivities have come into focus in recent weeks as abortion takes center stage in the confirmation battle over Supreme Court nominee John Roberts. Even as liberal groups scrutinize Roberts' position on abortion, some Democrats hope to make the party's campaigns more inclusive and less identified with the issue.

"I just feel that the party needs to be neutral on the subject, or at least welcoming of those who have a different view," Oberstar said.

He, along with representatives from Democrats for Life and more than a dozen other House Democrats opposed to abortion, met recently with Dean and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Nobody is expecting the Democrats to drop their abortion-rights plank, but Dean and other top party officials appear receptive to finding new ways to reach out to socially conservative voters who might otherwise vote Democrat.

"The Democratic Party is a pro-choice party. That has not changed. But we can't afford to write people off," said DNC spokesman Josh Earnest. "We need to reframe the debate."

One Democratic strategy has already emerged since the defeats of 2002 and 2004. It centers on contraception and sex education initiatives.Sen. Hillary Rodham
Clinton, D-N.Y., a potential 2008 presidential candidate, was widely seen as trying to stake out the center in a speech earlier this year in which she talked about the importance of reducing the number of abortions.

Some Democrats also hope that, politically, putting the spotlight on birth control
could isolate some religious conservatives, who some Democrats believe can be portrayed as out of the mainstream in their emphasis on sexual abstinence education.

Shifting ground

Whether such a strategy will neutralize the abortion issue remains to be seen.

"Those who want to keep abortion legal do have to switch the debate, and they're trying to talk about contraceptives and birth control," said Carol Tobias, political director for the National Right to Life Committee, the nation's largest lobby group
against abortion.

"We're not going to get drawn into a debate on contraceptives. That's not the issue."
Tobias noted that Clinton has not in any way backed off her support for abortion rights.The search for middle ground poses other complications for Democrats as well.

The trickiest part, said University of Minnesota political science Prof. Larry Jacobs, is the enormous support Democrats have within the party for their position of keeping abortion legal.

Jacobs said: "What Oberstar is trying to do is a pretty big deal. Even though it's a subtle shift, it's potentially a real flash point."

Leaders in the DNC and their abortion-rights allies tend to minimize the rift.

"There have always been pro-life Democrats and I've served with them," said former Montana legislator Nancy Keenan, now president of NARAL, the nation's leading abortion-rights lobby.

But Keenan said the ground is shifting:

"There's a very broad area that's important to talk about in this country, including preventing unintended pregnancies, access to birth control, emergency contraception, and, of course, accurate sex education. That's where we're all moving."


But not everybody's moving in harmony, said Oberstar, a board member of Democrats for Life.Democrats opposed to abortion are still smarting from their rebuke at the 1992 Democratic Convention, where Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey, who opposed abortion, was not allowed to address the delegates. Casey died in 2000.

"It was an unnecessary poke in the eye," Oberstar said. DNC officials say they have been painted with too broad a brush on abortion.

Earnest notes that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, has a stance against abortion. Dean, who sat on the board of Planned Parenthood in Vermont, is said to be committed to reaching out to social conservatives across the nation, particularly in the South.

Among those the DNC would target, Earnest said, are voters who are personally opposed to abortion, but who favor others' right to make their own decisions.

The message Democratic abortion foes have been taking to Dean and other party leaders is that to win Republican-leaning seats and reclaim control of Congress, Democrats are going to have to run more abortion opponents.

Democrats opposed to abortion are drafting a bill in Congress known as the "95-10 Initiative," a proposal to reduce the number of abortions in America by 95 percent over the next 10 years, primarily by stressing adoption.

"Lots of Democrats I know are committed to reducing abortions and protecting the most vulnerable in our society," said Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., also a member of Democrats for Life.

But in the Democratic Party, Oberstar says, he and Peterson are out of the mainstream, to the detriment of the party.

He estimates that in 1975, his first year in Congress, there were 138 Democrats
opposed to abortion in the House. Now, he believes there are about 38.

"Those other 100 districts haven't stopped sending representatives to Congress," Oberstar said. "They're just not sending Democrats."
(Source: Star Tribune, August 15, 2005)

The Democrats, for better or for worse, have defined themselves as the party of gay marriage and abortion. By trying to distance themselves from the very issues that hold their party together, the Democrats are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of hard working blue color Midwestern voters. Luckily for us, it won’t work. Reps. Peterson and Obestar, if you two are in any way ostracized from your party, you are certainly welcome in ours.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Coming soon...

Please visit Republican Minnesota on Monday for a special R-rated edition of the weekly Mike Hatch poll. It's sure to be fucking awesome.

Kelley to get teacher’s union endorsement

It’s only a prediction, but I’d say it’s a pretty decent one.

DFL gubernatorial candidate Sen. Steve Kelley wrote an op-ed today for the Star Tribune. In it, Kelley begrudgingly accepts Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Q-Comp (performance based pay) initiative, but then backpedals on it.

Steve Kelley: Young teachers should gain most from Q-Comp

The collaborative design of Minnesota's new alternative teacher pay guidelines has the potential to significantly improve the way educators are paid.

Under the legislation, schools can receive more funds if the local teachers' union and the district agree on the scope and design of an alternative teacher professional pay system. A key requirement is that collaboration -- 60 percent of teacher pay increases would be based on performance measures developed and agreed to by teachers.

While the traditional steps-and-lanes pay method, based on seniority and professional education, has worked well, it doesn't always provide teachers with the tools or incentives to try new teaching methods or to give young teachers opportunities to learn from more senior educators.

Educators working together is more important than ever; as our student population has changed, so have the dynamics of the classroom. That means teaching strategies must change, too. We hope that a well-designed alternative compensation system can help head us in the right direction.

Teachers have been concerned that any new pay for performance model could create nonproductive competition among colleagues. That is not the intent of the new incentive. Q-Comp specifically encourages collaborative efforts; one of the defined ways of measuring performance is to look at whole-school achievement gains, rather than individual student or classroom test scores. That will encourage teachers to work in teams.

The emphasis on teacher training will ultimately have the strongest effect on student achievement.

I do not believe that individual teachers will teach harder or better because of so-called performance pay. Most teachers already go the extra mile for their students.

However, the increased pay may encourage teachers into taking on new responsibilities. It will allow teachers to take more time to work with each other to improve their skills and student achievement. This is especially helpful for young teachers who benefit from the experience and success of senior teachers. Retaining young teachers is important now as our schools face a wave of retirements in a few years.

This professional pay plan also encourages districts to use a variety of ways to measure student achievements. Testing will be part of the evaluation but not the only method to assess student progress. I hope teachers and districts will incorporate locally developed assessments to measure student public/debate speaking ability and growth in musical or artistic accomplishment as part of a broad student achievement model.

The success of the alternative pay initiative will depend on flexibility and innovation in how it is implemented. Gov. Tim Pawlenty's commitment to only one model, the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) advocated by the Milken Foundation, could undermine the success of professional pay.

Teachers in Waseca, Minn., who have implemented TAP have expressed concerns that the many teacher evaluations are intrusive and burdensome. Any alternative pay system has to work to the benefit of teachers and students if it is to be successful and sustainable in Minnesota schools.

Implementing alternative pay on a statewide basis cannot happen overnight; that is why the Senate pushed to give districts time to develop plans that would work. A top-down, one-size-fits-all model won't succeed with our diverse school districts and changing student demographics.

I expect Minnesotans to try many different models. Therefore, the Education Department must be flexible enough to permit experimentation.

Our state is about to journey down a new road and it may take a few years to determine the results. Yet as our schools face ever-increasing challenges, our teachers must be prepared and rewarded for their efforts in the best way possible.
(Source: Star Tribune, August 14, 2005)

Steve Kelley’s allegiance to the teacher’s union, not to mention defending the status quo in education, will surely grant him the endorsement of the teacher’s union. This goes to show that Mike “F-ing” Hatch doesn’t quite have the endorsement locked up.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Dan Nygaard: Somebody shut Dayton up

Before the collective "who is this guy," let me tell you that Dan Nygaard is chairman of the 6th District Republicans who once had his name floated as a potential candidate to replace Mark Kennedy.

In today's Star Tribune, Nygaard discusses Sen. Mark Dayton's recent comments over the Second Amendment. It's a fairly good piece, so I suggest you read it here.

Stay tuned for next week's Mike "F-ing" Hatch poll.

Powerline on PETA, Pawlenty

Didn't this happen two weeks ago?

Powerline, crowed king of all blogs by Time, talks about Tim Pawlenty and PETA here.

This isn't the first time Powerline has taken their sweet time for blogging a story.

Is it too early to nominate MDE for "Blog of the Year?"

Friday, August 12, 2005

Ringer gets it wrong

The First Ringer talks about Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his emerging campaign here.

I must respectfully disagree with the First Ringer on this one. Pawlenty doesn't have to apologize for the cigarette fee because it in no way violated his pledge. The more Republicans talk about the, the more they hurt Pawlenty's reelection chances.

Slow news day

How slow of a news day is it? The Chicago Tribune is picking up the Kennedy article non-issue.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bring on the jobs

Because of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Job Opportunity Building Zones (JOBZ) program, 2,500 jobs have been created in Minnesota.

The Minnesota snowmobile company Arctic Cat Inc. announced plans today to build a new manufacturing facility in St. Cloud that will initially employ 50 people.

The 56,000-square foot plant, which will manufacture ATV engines, will be on 15 acres in an area of St. Cloud where city officials have been aggressive about pursuing industrial development. The company also will have a 40-acre vehicle test track nearby.
The expansion for the Thief River Falls company was fueled by incentives that include a 10-year, $500,000 interest free loan and local and state tax exemptions through 2015 through the state's Job Opportunity Building Zones (JOBZ) program.

St. Cloud beat a competing proposal from Wisconsin. Arctic Cat's chief executive, Christopher Twomey, said today that the company would not have located its new facility in Minnesota without the incentives.

The company, which designs, engineers and manufactures snowmobiles and ATVs, could expand its facility to 200,000 square feet and employ up to 150 people, state and company officials said at a morning news conference.

The non-union jobs will pay salaries between $11.50 and $15 an hour, said Twomey, who praised the potential for a skilled St. Cloud workforce that will handle robotics and computer imaging to produce the engines.

The company introduced its own ATV engine last year, according to the annual report, selling 1,000 of the 650 H1 engines in the first three months of this year. Sales should rise to 10,000 for the 2006 fiscal year and 20,000 the following year.

The announcement comes amid a boom in the popular ATV market. ATV sales outpaced snowmobiles for the first time in the company's history in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2004. Snowmobile sales have been hurt in part, Twomey noted, by several consecutive years of poor snow conditions.

Pawlenty has pushed local companies to expand within Minnesota, using economic incentives in his JOBZ initiative to encourage local growth. The governor credits the initiative, begun last year, with bringing jobs to economically depressed communities throughout the state.

At a morning Capitol news conference, Pawlenty and other state officials said the JOBZ program has been successful, resulting in 173 completed agreements and 2,500 new jobs paying an average $11.32 an hour.

Critics of the plan have said it's not clear which expansions would have occurred anyway, with or without the governor's support.

Publicly traded Arctic Cat, based in Thief River Falls, Minn., had net sales of $689 million for the fiscal year that ended March 31. Sales for the previous year were $650 million.

(Source: Star Tribune online, August 11, 2005)