Monday, October 31, 2005

More on Alito

The Post has a great piece on Alito.

What does this mean for Minnesota?

Some time in the coming weeks, Wetterling will write a letter to Sen. Coleman or stage an elaborate press conference, calling on him to oppose the nomination. Klobuchar will write a hush-hush release to keep her liberal base happy, while attempting to appeal to the masses. Her release will not be found on her campaign website. But it will somehow make it to the blogsphere.

Alito?

Word is that President Bush will nominate Samuel Altio to the Supreme Court.

He's like Scalia, only nice.

No Limit?

The Star Tribune has an article on the spending in the governor's race.

A no-limit run for governor?

All signs point to big bucks pouring into Minnesota's 2006 gubernatorial race.

For the first time in almost 25 years, several of Minnesota's leading major-party candidates appear likely to decline public campaign subsidies. That would allow them to ignore the spending limits that have made contests for governor and other statewide constitutional offices relatively low-budget affairs.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican who accepted the subsidies and limits in 2002, spending about $2.5 million, by all accounts is raising money at a record clip. He has not yet signed a public financing agreement for 2006, and many observers speculate that he won't.

On the DFL side, millionaire real estate developer Kelly Doran has said that he definitely will not participate in the state subsidy program, and he has already spent well over $500,000 on billboards and TV advertising, more than a year from election day.

This presumably will put Pawlenty's and Doran's publicly financed opponents at a disadvantage, at least temporarily. Attorney General Mike Hatch and state Sen. Steve Kelley have signed the irrevocable agreements to receive funding and abide by the limits. They would be released from those limits because the others are exceeding them and still be allowed to keep the public money -- but not until early September 2006.

Until then, the nonabiders could race far out front in spending on advertising, direct mail, telemarketing and all the other crucial weapons of politics.

"This clearly favors the incumbent and wealthy candidates, and creates a situation where the campaign becomes all about money," said David Schultz, a Hamline University professor and an expert on campaign finance. "It forces all the candidates to rely more on special interest money and to be more responsive to them, and that's already a problem."

A completely different take is offered by a critic of the state's campaign subsidies.

"These limits have caused millions more dollars to be spent by independent groups, on their own and through soft money contributions to parties," said David Strom, president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. "This points up the irony that wealthy people are restricted ... unless they themselves are the candidate."

Strom and other conservative Republicans typically favor throwing out subsidies and limits and requiring more immediate and complete disclosure of campaign finance transactions.

The Minnesota program was installed in the 1970s in an effort to reduce the influence of interest groups and wealthy individuals on the political process. It has been tinkered with and periodically overhauled.

Rich candidate, poor candidate

Noting the emergence of two wealthy DFLers running for state office, state Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, issued a statement last week calling for all candidates to "abide by reasonable 'Minnesota Values' campaign limits." House Minority Leader Rep. Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, who announced his candidacy for attorney general last week, said he hasn't decided yet whether to abide by a spending limit of about $400,000 in that race. Entenza's wife, Lois Quam, is a health care executive and one of the state's highest-paid corporate officers.

Candidates participating in the program say busting the limits is just plain unfair.

"It's not fair to the Minnesota voter, whether in the primary or the general, because it tilts information too strongly to the side that has the most money to spend," said Kelley, one of four leading DFL gubernatorial candidates.

Doran, who has never run for office or been active in DFL politics, says he has to overcome his handicap as an unknown outsider.

"When you are a candidate that is not an incumbent, or any citizen who wants to run for office, you're at a significant disadvantage to an incumbent who gets all kinds of free media coverage," he said.

Perhaps the most disadvantaged party of all is the Independence Party, which is expected to endorse Peter Hutchinson, former Minneapolis school superintendent and public policy expert. The subsidies and limits were crucial in enabling former Gov. Jesse Ventura to compete and win as a third-party candidate in 1998.

"It's a sad state of affairs to come to this point again," said Pam Neary, a former legislator who is Hutchinson's campaign manager. "We were at a point where we didn't allow money to be the loudest voice in the campaign, and unfortunately now the established parties have figured out a way around it."

Minnesota might want to consider raising its spending limits and subsidies considerably in order to restore incentives for abiding, said Bob Stern, director of the Los Angeles-based Center for Government Studies.

Minnesota has "one of the best models in the country for public financing, but it's old and needs to be updated," Stern said. (Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 31, 2005)

Friday, October 28, 2005

SCOTUS Update

Tim Russert this morning on "imus in the Morning" listed off potential SCOTUS nominees, all of whom were women. He mentioned a "woman from Minnesota."

Kathleen Blatz anyone?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Technical Issues

I am having problems with Blogger today. I hope to have them resolved by tonight.

Stand by.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Republicans React: Entenza

Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Ron Carey responds to Matt Entenza throwing his hat into the ring for AG:

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey today responded to Matt Entenza's entry into the Attorney General’s race:

"Last year Matt Entenza tried to buy the Minnesota House of Representatives with a $300,000 donation to the 21st Century Democrats. This shadowy group was penalized with a record fine of over $300,000 from the state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

"This year Matt Entenza is trying to buy the Minnesota Attorney General's Office in spite of an ongoing FEC investigation into the illegal activities of the 21st Century Democrats.

"In addition, Entenza's voting record and leadership of House Democrats is extremely liberal and out of touch with mainstream Minnesotans.

"Matt Entenza needs to come clean today and answer some serious questions. Every Minnesotan deserves to know answers to the following questions:

1.) Will Matt Entenza abide by state spending limits?
2.) What is the precise nature of Matt Entenza's relationship with the 21st Century Democrats?
3.) How did DFL House candidates backed by the 21st Century Democrats benefit from this involvement in their campaigns?
4. )What role will 21st Century Democrats play in Matt Entenza's Attorney General campaign?
(Source: MNGOP Press Release, Oct. 26, 2005)

F*CK

From the Star Tribune:

WASHINGTON - The prosecutor in the CIA leak case was preparing to outline possible charges before the federal grand jury as early as today, even as the FBI conducted last-minute interviews in the high-profile investigation, according to people familiar with the case.

With special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald in Washington, lawyers in the case and some White House officials braced for at least one indictment when the grand jury meets today. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, is said by several people in the case to be a main focus, but not the only one.

In a possible sign that Fitzgerald may seek to charge one or more officials with illegally disclosing Valerie Plame's CIA affiliation, FBI agents as recently as Monday night interviewed at least two people in her D.C. neighborhood. The agents were attempting to determine whether the neighbors knew that Plame worked for the CIA before she was unmasked with the help of senior Bush administration officials. Two neighbors said they told the FBI they had been surprised to learn of her employer.

The interviews suggest that Fitzgerald wants to show that Plame's status was covert, and that there was damage from the revelation that she worked at the CIA.

Underscoring the uncertainty surrounding the probe, two Republican officials said deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove is not sure whether he faces indictment. He was said to be awaiting word from Fitzgerald, even as prosecutors questioned at least one of his former associates about Rove's contacts with reporters before Plame's name was disclosed. The White House expects indictments to come today,according to a senior administration official.

Before a vote on an indictment, prosecutors typically leave the room so jurors can deliberate in private, and ask that the jury alert them when it has reached a decision. Unlike a criminal trial, grand jurors are not weighing proof of guilt or innocence. They must decide whether there is probable cause to charge someone with a crime, and they must agree unanimously to indict. The prosecutor could seek to seal any indictments until he announces the charges. The grand jury's term expires Friday.

The news of the 11th-hour moves came on the same day that Cheney was implicated. In a New York Times report that the White House pointedly did not dispute, Fitzgerald was said to have notes taken by Libby showing that he learned about Plame from Cheney a month before she was identified by syndicated columnist Robert Novak.

There is no indication Cheney did anything illegal or improper, but the report was the first to indicate that he was aware of Plame well before she became a household name.


Fitzgerald's investigation has centered on whether senior administration officials knowingly revealed Plame's identity in an effort to discredit a critic of the Bush administration -- her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson.

On July 6, 2003, he accused the administration in the Post and the Times of using flawed intelligence to justify the war with Iraq. Eight days later, Novak revealed Plame's name and employer.Democrats in Congress and liberal advocacy groups sought Tuesday to turn up the pressure on the White House. The Center for American Progress, a liberal group, sought to focus attention on what Bush knew, saying in an e-mail message to supporters and journalists that the "question that must now be answered is whether Vice President Cheney had any discussions about Valerie Plame with President Bush prior to her outing."

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Bush to assure that any administration officials who are indicted will resign their positions and not to engage in any criticism of Fitzgerald should he bring indictments. (Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 26, 2005)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

UPDATE 2: Sound of Silence

After all the senseless attacks on MDE and private citizen Michael Brodkorb (not to mention wife and kids, if they have any), I think it is time that those behind the comments stop.

Before that can happen, two questions need to be answered:

Are Eva "Publicity Whore" Young and DFLblog.com behind the barrage of comments on MDE?

If not, will they issue a joint statement that condemns the "I hate MDE" comments?

UPDATE: Sound of Silence

It now seems that Toby, seeing my post below, decided to post something about KvM. In his infinite wisdom, he altered the time stamp to read 12:35 pm and posted it several times. Toby, I'd be happy to give you a lesson on Blogger if you need one.

The Sound of Silence

Lloydletta and Toby haven't updated their sites since yesterday. This strikes me as odd because neither of these moonbats have shown the ability, nor the restraint, to shut up.

With out warning, they are silent. Don't think for one second I miss them, but I wonder if they aren't busy posting comments on another blog, or traveling to a St. Paul suburb to describe a certain house, or searching for Dakota County property tax records.

Check out the latest Nihlist Top 11 for more info on this issue.

Dodge, Dip, Duck, Dive, and Dodge

No, these aren’t the fundamentals of dodgeball, it’s how Mike Hatch gives a press conference.

After the speech, Hatch dodged reporters' questions on issues that might have overshadowed his desired message.

He declined to say whether he would increase taxes to pay for his campaign promises, whether he supports a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage or whether he would call a special legislative session to act on proposed baseball and football stadiums.
(Source: Pioneer Press, Oct. 25, 2005)

Inspector Coleman on the case

Sen. Coleman is going after MP George Galloway for his connection with the Oil for Food Scandal.

Monday, October 24, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: ROSA PARKS PASSES WAY

We interrupt Mike Hatch’s daily beating to bring you this special bulletin...

Rosa Parks, a civil rights icon, has passed away.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

Hatch 2006 rundown

Republicans react:

Mike UnHatched: Hatch Breaks his Word to Pursue Fatal Attraction with Governor's Office

After repeatedly vowing not to run for governor a third time, Mike Hatch has broken his word to Minnesotans, joining an already crowded field of Democrat candidates in what promises to be a costly and divisive primary fight.

"Anyone who knows Mike Hatch knew he would break his word. He has a fatal attraction with running for Governor, and he just can't help himself," said Republican Party Chairman Ron Carey.

"Democrats realized a long time ago that to know Mike Hatch is not to like him. Now Minnesotans are going to have a chance to really get to know him."
(Source: Republican Party press release, Oct. 24, 2005)


Other essential reading:

Mike Hatch Issues Scorecard

The Truth About Mike Hatch: DFLers Speak Out

Star Tribune article

Minnesota Public Radio

Coon Rapids Herald

Associated Press

Hatch’s starts campaign with double speak

He’s not even a candidate for a day before he starts giving his trademark cryptic answers:

This time, Hatch said, he will honor the party's endorsement as long as it follows "a decent turnout" at statewide precinct caucuses next March.
(Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 24, 2005)


Hey Hatch, how do you define “decent?”

Hatch in, what’s-his-name out

Mike Hatch has officially announced his candidacy for governor.

Meanwhile, Bud Philbrook, a long shot, is out.

And Kelly Doran’s campaign is so stale that he had to dip in to his own pocket to run ads.

Let the race begin...

This afternoon, Mike Hatch will announce his candidacy for governor.

Republicans and Democrats alike are salivating over the chance to attack the Attorney General.

In case you missed it yesterday morning, Ember Reichgott-Young, a DFLer that Hatch ran against in 1998, attacked Hatch on At Issue during the face-off.

On an interesting side note, Tom Hauser, Reichgott -Young, and Dave Thomson all forgot Kelly Doran when they discussed the gubernatorial candidates.

Steve Kelley on Mike Hatch

Steve Kelley launches in the first salvo in the DFL gubernatorial battle:

When one of the neighbors asked him how he would distinguish himself from Mike Hatch, Kelley joked, "I actually have businesspeople who like me."
(Source: MPR, Oct. 23d, 2005)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

RM EXCLUSIVE: Out on the town

Posting live from Psycho Suzy's

RM is out on the town, roving the bars in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

From my converatsions with bar patrons, Randy Kelly will lose by 30 points.

P.S. Everyone should try the Volcanic Eruption.

P.P.S. I think tonight might be my lucky night.

Mike Hatch: Media Whore

On Thursday, I predicted that Mike Hatch’s office would announce that the Aspiring Governor taking a major case just un time to make headlines all weekend:

Minnesota voters should not be surprised by this disingenuous move on Hatch’s part. I’d expect another attention grabber coming out of Hatch’s office today or Friday.
(Source: RM, Oct. 20, 2005)

Boy was I right.

As MDE posted earlier, Hatch is going to represent victims of a plane crash. There is not doubt in my mind that Hatch didn’t do this out of the goodness of his heart, but for grabbing headlines.

Hatch2006.Org online

Mike Hatch has launched his gubernatorial campaign website. If you’re in need of a good laugh, I suggest you take a peak. The site may be the worst designed campaign website in the short history of the internet.

I wonder if it’s too late for Hatch to get a refund.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Oops

Somebody should’ve told the Star Tribune that Phil Krinkie isn’t from Shoreview…after all, that’s in the 4th District, and Krinkie, a candidate for Congress, lives in the 6th District…right?

Phil Krinkie, R-Shoreview, is chairman of the Minnesota House Taxes Committee.
(Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 29, 2005)

Hatch explains potty mouth

Rather, Hatch makes a weak attempt to explain it away.

Frequent gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch denied calling former state Court of Appeals judge Marriane Short a “bleeping bleep.” Instead, he used one of the expletives as a verb…this is so rediculous that you’ll just have to read it for yourself:

Short, a former state Court of Appeals judge and daughter of the late DFL businessman and politician Bob Short, asked Hatch if he recalled using two expletives in referring to her.

"No, nope, I did not," Hatch replied.

Short: "You did not use that language?

Hatch: "No, absolutely not. I did use the word ..... but not as a noun, as a verb."
(Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 21, 2005)


That’s a Bill Clinton answer if I ever heard one.

The secret is out

Someone should tell Chavez not to worry; the last supposed “war for oil” didn’t exactly lower gas prices.

Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez, says he is in possession of intelligence showing that the United States plans to invade his country.

In a BBC interview, Mr. Chavez said the US was after his nation's oil, much as it had been after Iraq's.
(Source: BBC Online, Oct. 20, 2005)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pawlenty endorses Johnson for AG

Pawlenty’s name added to already impressive list of Johnson supporters.

GOP attorney general hopeful gets Pawlenty’s nod
Conrad deFiebre

State Rep. Jeff Johnson of Plymouth, the only announced Republican candidate for state attorney general next year, added Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Thursday to his long list of GOP endorsers.

"Jeff Johnson will make an excellent attorney general," Pawlenty said in a news release issued by Johnson's campaign. "I worked closely with Jeff in the House and have seen the quality of his work and his character. I know the attorney general's office under his leadership will be focused on the protection and betterment of Minnesotans, not on politics."

With DFLer Mike Hatch, state attorney general since 1999, poised to launch a campaign for governor, the GOP may have its best chance in decades of capturing Minnesota's top legal post. Douglas Head in 1966 was the last Republican to win the job.

Head, who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1970 and then retired from statewide elective politics, is one of more than 100 Republicans the Johnson campaign lists as supporters.

They include 90 legislators, four former GOP state chairs, Republican National Committee members Brian Sullivan and Evie Axdahl, U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad, former Gov. Al Quie and the last three Republican-endorsed candidates for attorney general.The focus of such party unity more than a year before the 2006 election is a 38-year-old lawyer and three-term legislator who grew up in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Johnson practices law with the firm of Wessels & Pautsch and is president of his own company, Midwest Employment Resources, which provides employment law and human resources services to businesses. According to Politics in Minnesota: The Directory, he and his wife, Sondi, both teach Sunday school and lead a Christian family group at Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley.

While Johnson began his campaign on Feb. 15, no DFLer has entered the race for
attorney general yet. House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, is considered the party's most likely candidate to succeed Hatch.
(Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 20, 2005)

Strib and PiPress get duped by Hatch

Mike Hatch uses Office of the Attorney General to get headlines before his Monday announcement.

Minnesota voters should not be surprised by this disingenuous move on Hatch’s part. I’d expect another attention grabber coming out of Hatch’s office today or Friday.

Here are the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune articles.

Hatch's contenders

Dane Smith has a weak article in the Star Tribune today on the field of DFL candidate for governor.

Smith's premise is that Gov. Pawlenty is vulnerable, thus all the DFL candidates. Interesting, but wrong. The real reason for all the DFL candidates is because DFLers hate Mike Hatch. This is a man who has consistently broken promises to DFL activists in a quixotic pursuit of the governorship.

Scramble unfolds in race for governor

Until recently the conventional wisdom surrounding the 2006 gubernatorial election was simple and uncomplicated.

Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, popular, smart and personable, even mentioned occasionally as a 2008 presidential candidate, would be hard to beat. Attorney General Mike Hatch, tenacious consumer champion and one of the biggest vote-getters in state history, would be the only DFLer with the horsepower to challenge Pawlenty, and the party's nomination would be his for the asking.

But now - as Hatch prepares to reveal on Monday the worst-kept secret in Minnesota politics, that he is indeed taking Pawlenty on - the picture has changed considerably. Things don't look so rosy for either Pawlenty or Hatch.

Incumbent Republicans everywhere look more vulnerable as President Bush's approval ratings have plummeted precipitously and economic warning lights flicker.

Lesser-known DFLers see this, and instead of getting a coronation ride, Hatch now may face at least four viable contenders for the party endorsement or the primary election.They include: state Sens. Steve Kelley and Becky Lourey; real estate developer Kelly Doran, and former state Rep. Bud Philbrook. Also running is frequent candidate Ole Savior.

"I think Bush's troubles translate directly into trouble for Republicans, especially in the bluer [more Democratic] states," said Bill Morris, a Minnesota pollster and consultant, and a former Republican Party chairman.

Pawlenty's unfavorable rating percentage has climbed to almost even with his favorable percentage in Morris' recent polling, he said, adding that "History suggests that people do base their state election voting on what's going on in the country as well as the state."

Pawlenty waved off any concerns about Bush, Hatch or other DFLers on Wednesday. "I'd stand with President Bush if his approval rating was 2 percent," Pawlenty said. "I won't abandon my leader just because times are tough."

Hatch, who was ahead of Pawlenty by a few statistically insignificant percentage points in a recent Wall Street Journal/Zogby poll, is declining all interview requests on campaign matters before his announcement Monday.

"[Hatch] wishes everybody well and looks forward to debating the issues that are important to move the state forward," said spokeswoman Leslie Sandberg. Despite the larger field on the DFL side and disenchantment with Hatch among some liberal
activists, Morris thinks Hatch enters the race as a strong favorite to get the party endorsement, and a favorite in the primary election if he fails to get the endorsement.Campaign pace quickens.

The pace in general has begun to quicken. The Republican Party last week launched a website, mikeunhatched.com, with direct attacks on Hatch, focusing on the "flip-flops" in his 25-year career. The site also is reviewing critical things other DFLers have said about Hatch over the years, especially when he twice challenged the party's endorsed candidates for governor in primary elections.

Hatch, who sent out a fundraising letter this week that finally confirmed in writing that he was getting in, clearly is going to face a tougher fight than was previously assumed within his own ranks.

The entrance of neophyte Doran, a first-time candidate whose financial disclosure forms show that he has assets between $58 million and $210 million, has set off quite a buzz in DFL ranks.

Doran, who recently switched from the U.S. Senate race to the governor's contest, already has mounted an expensive billboard campaign. Unlike other candidates who hold office, he's campaigning full time, courting party activists and interest groups, especially labor union leaders. Campaign officials refused to confirm rumors that he's poised to release a barrage of TV or radio ads in the next couple of weeks.

Doran's casting himself as a moderate outsider who won't be part of bitter partisan gridlock. He says voters want a candidate who doesn't have a long career of "personal political ambition. ... There's a huge growing unrest with career politicians. I'm offering fresh ideas and innovative ideas to stop the gridlock and bickering and finger-pointing," he said.

Kelley, a respected senior legislator who was first out of the gate and whose campaign has been underway since last summer, has raised about $130,000 and has a staff of about 10. He enjoys considerable support among the state's powerful teachers' union and other advocates for public schools and he's arguing that he will be the best candidate to appeal to suburban moderates.

He's promised to abide by the party endorsement, meaning that if he fails to get it he won't challenge the winner in the primary election. His low-key manner might be a handicap, but Kelley said he is "trying to help people understand that I'm passionate about issues."

Lourey, who has the experience of a gubernatorial endorsement bid in 2002, is still exploring and has not officially announced. She is a liberal champion for peace and social justice, and her views may be closest to the ideological tradition of the party, although her more moderate opponents are likely to argue that she won't win. She's bound to have a sizable base of support among the activists who confer endorsement, and she's the only woman in the race.

Philbrook, who was a legislator in the 1970s, founded a nonprofit that organizes international volunteers.

Meanwhile, Peter Hutchinson, former Minneapolis school superintendent and a veteran public policy expert, confirmed that he's likely to run as the candidate of the Independence Party, which got about 16 percent of the vote in 2002 under former congressman Tim Penny.

Hutchinson says the winner in a three-way race has to have about 900,000 votes and he's counting on winning over at least a million voters who are either "disgruntled Democrats, Republicans in exile and true independents."

Hutchinson, a former finance commissioner under DFL Gov. Rudy Perpich, said his DFL friends have implored him not to run because the consensus is that he will take many more votes from the DFLer than from Pawlenty, as apparently happened in 1998.

"A huge share of people in Minnesota don't like either party," Hutchinson said. "People are tired of holding their noses" and voting for the lesser of two evils, he added.
(Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 20, 2005)

Hatch letter on the blogs

MDE (via Centrisity) has the Mike Hatch letter, complete with the ugly bumper sticker.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Yes Mr. President, our children is learning

Good news for us education reform advocates (but we need to work even harder to close the gap):

Minority Pupils Boost Reading and Math Scores in U.S. Test

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Black and Hispanic pupils in the U.S. have narrowed their achievement gap with white classmates on standardized reading and math tests, new government data shows.

Reading scores among fourth-graders on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress rose six points from 2000 to 2005, and math scores rose 12 points, led by gains among black and Hispanic pupils. The results of the 500-point benchmark test, known as the ``Nation's Report Card,'' are released every two years.

Pupils in both the fourth and eighth grades had record-high scores on this year's math tests. Average reading scores among fourth-graders tied the 2002 level, while the reading scores of eighth-grade pupils slipped two points below the average in 2002.

``I'm pleased but not satisfied,'' U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said today in a conference call with reporters. ``We clearly have work to do on all fronts in all grade levels for all kids.''

About 64 percent of fourth-grade pupils scored at grade level or higher on reading tests, and about 73 percent of eighth-graders met the basic standards in reading. In math, 80 percent of fourth- graders and 69 percent of eighth-graders met the basic achievement standard on this year's test.

The short-term changes in reading scores between 2003 and 2005 showed ``mixed results'' among different states, according to the report.

The national and state scores released today will be presented to lawmakers to guide suggestions on how individual states can improve their education systems, Spellings said.

The Bush administration, under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, wants to boost standards for reading and math comprehension and hold states accountable for their students' achievement. Most of the resources distributed under this law have been directed so far at kindergarten through third grades, according to Spellings.
(Source: Bloomberg, Oct. 19, 2005)

RM EXCLUSIVE: Dick Day storms out of meeting

Tuesday evening, Senate Minority Leader Dick Day headed into the lion’s den that is the Olmsted County Republican organization to meet with activists about the 2006 state senate races.

Sen. Day has been at odds with these activists since he supported Sen. Sheila Kiscaden, a moderate Independent, over a more conservative Republican candidate in 2002. Kiscaden was later kicked out of the GOP caucus by Day, and joined the DFL caucus, with the entire Olmstea GOP group saying “told you so.”

During an intense Q & A at Tuesday’s meeting, the activists asked Day if he would support the endorsed candidate if there would be a GOP primary (something Day isn’t known for). Day said he would back the endorsed candidate, but then backtracked, just like when he resigned as Minority Leader.

With activists foaming at the mouth, Day bolted out of the meeting faster than you can say Racino.

Thanks to my unimpeachable Rochester source…if you have a tip, feel free to send it to republicanminnesota(a)gmail.com.

Hatch finally hires campaign mouthpiece

MDE and I have often prodded Mike Hatch’s spokesperson Leslie Sandberg for making political statement from her lofty office in the State Capitol.

Now, it would seem that Hatch is fed up with Sandberg’s antics and hired a campaign spokesperson:

Kari Erickson, a spokeswoman for the Hatch Volunteer Committee, on Tuesday confirmed that the letter is legitimate. In addition to the letter, the committee mailed bumper stickers and "Mike Hatch for Governor" brochures to the supporters.
(Source: Pioneer Press, Oct. 19, 2005)


This is really a shame, I was looking forward to making more fun of Sandberg.

Salisbury: Hatch v. Pawlenty

In even bigger news, the Pioneer Press can still get a scoop (I thought that MDE would be the MSM with the letter). This is the letter that Hatch alluded to a few weeks back.

Perpetual gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch has sent a letter to supports saying that Hatch “will announce my candidacy for governor on Oct. 24.”

Mailing confirms Hatch candidacy
Bill Salisbury

For years, Minnesota political insiders have expected Attorney General Mike Hatch to run for governor in 2006.

Now, Hatch finally has confirmed that he will do so.

In a fundraising letter to about 5,000 supporters this week, he wrote, "I will announce my candidacy for governor on Oct. 24, and I ask for your support."

Kari Erickson, a spokeswoman for the Hatch Volunteer Committee, on Tuesday confirmed that the letter is legitimate. In addition to the letter, the committee mailed bumper stickers and "Mike Hatch for Governor" brochures to the supporters.

Hatch was not available for comment. But he long has yearned for the state's top office.

A major player on Minnesota's political stage since he was elected state Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party chairman 25 years ago, Hatch, 56, ran unsuccessfully in the 1990 and 1994 DFL gubernatorial primaries. He has been considered his party's leading contender for governor since 1998, when he was elected attorney general and became the only DFL state constitutional officer. He was re-elected in 2002.

In his letter, Hatch blamed Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty for
a "humiliating government shutdown this year," referring to the eight-day budget
impasse with the Legislature in early July. "I look forward to working with you
and restoring our pride in this great state," he wrote.

The mailing included an invitation to a $50-per-person fundraising reception on Oct. 27 at the Summit Avenue home of Joe Samargia, who served with Hatch, then the state commerce commissioner, in the cabinet of former Gov. Rudy Perpich in the 1980s. Samargia, who said he expects up to 200 guests, confirmed Tuesday that Hatch would be a candidate for governor.

"He is," Samargia said. "I wouldn't be doing this if he weren't announcing."

Hatch will be the fifth DFL candidate to enter the DFL race for governor. The other announced candidates are state Sen. Steve Kelley, real estate developer Kelly Doran, nonprofit founder and former state Rep. Bud Philbrook, and perennial candidate Ole Savior. State Sen. Becky Lourey also has expressed interest.

Although Pawlenty, the first-term governor, has not formally announced his candidacy, he has repeatedly said that he plans to seek a second term next year.

The Minnesota Republican Party didn't wait for Hatch to declare his candidacy before attacking him. Last week, the party launched a new political Web site, www.mikeunhatched.com, to criticize the attorney general's record. Hatch is the only DFL candidate targeted by a GOP Web site, suggesting the party takes hiscandidacy seriously.
(Source: Pioneer Press, Oct. 19, 2005)



There you have it, Hatch is in. This is where the fun begins.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

My evil pan has been foiled

I had planned on getting tickets for this event and attempt live blogging from the speech. Thanks to the liberal students at the U, my plan has been foiled.

Tickets go fast for Clinton speech


Former President Clinton has been out of office for five years but he still draws a crowd.

About 5,000 tickets for his Nov. 5 University of Minnesota lecture became available this morning. At three ticket distribution locations, which opened at 8 a.m., all the tickets were gone before 8:10 a.m. At a fourth location, which opened at 10 a.m., there were enough people waiting in line by 8 a.m. that all the tickets were spoken for.

"We are just overwhelmed by how excited people are to attend this lecture," said Julie Lund, spokeswoman for the U's Humphrey Institute. There will be a rush lineopen at 4 p.m. at Northrop Auditorium on Nov. 5 but Lund said it is entirely possible there will be no tickets available there either.

Those without tickets can still hear Clinton's lecture — the program will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5 on Minnesota Public Radio's 91.1 FM.
(Source: Pioneer Press, Oct. 18, 2005)

Fred Smut bio

Here’s a snippet of Fred Smut…er, Smoot’s bio. Hat tip to the 92 KQRS Morning Show team.

Recipient of the B.J. Blanchard Award in 2004, an award that annually honors the player who best helps the media do their job.
(Source: Minnesota Vikings website)


A “B.J” award for helping the media do their job…now that's funny.

Even more on the Vikings zany antics

Fred Smut…er, Smoot, and his teamates cannot make this story go away. Now the Hennepin County Shriff is looking into the allegations that the strippers were flown in from Atlanta.

Authorities are talking to Atlanta police about cruise

Local authorities have briefed Atlanta police about their investigation into reports that some of the women on board an alleged sex cruise with a group of Minnesota Vikings players may have been paid to fly here from Georgia for the party.

Boat crew members told authorities that several women who had sex with players Oct. 6 on two boats had been flown in from out of state, said two sources with direct knowledge of the investigation. Some women reportedly said they came from Atlanta, but investigators haven't confirmed that, according to an Atlanta police spokeswoman.

Sylvia Abernathy said Monday that the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating the allegations, hasn't asked for her department's assistance and hasn't identified a network or organization that may have supplied women for the event.

"At this point, we've been give a heads-up by stories coming to bear national attention," she said. "Like any law enforcement agency, we would look into any allegations of this nature."

The Sheriff's Office hasn't submitted any reports to the law firm of Tallen and Baertschi, which represents agencies with jurisdiction over Lake Minnetonka and which will determine whether anyone will be charged with a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor. The firm isn't expecting any reports until next week, said attorney Paul Baertschi.

If the Vikings conduct an internal investigation of the incident, it would likely be coordinated by retired FBI agent Dag Sohlberg, recently hired as the team's new interim director of security. Milt Ahlerich, vice president of security for the NFL, said it would be up to team owner Zygi Wilf to determine what role Sohlberg will play with the team.

Sohlberg, who will travel with the team and coordinate security at the Metrodome, also will be working with Wilf to address issues surrounding the boat party, Ahlerich said.

A 'quality performer'
Sohlberg served in the Minneapolis FBI office for more than 20 years. Ahlerich said he selected him to work part time for NFL Security in Minnesota six years ago on the advice of friend and former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Sohlberg worked for the director in a small advisory group of agents.

"He said Dag was a quality performer of impeccable credentials," Ahlerich said.

Most recently, Sohlberg provided NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue with information about the Vikings new ownership "before decisions were made," he said. Sohlberg also helped investigate a case of identity theft involving running back Michael Bennett and did security work at the Pro Bowl.

After discussions with Tagliabue and Vikings officials, Ahlerich was asked by the commissioner to recommend a person to fill the team's security director job, which hadn't existed for several years. Sohlberg was on the top of his list.

Sohlberg will be an independent contractor who works for the Vikings and will no longer report to the NFL. Ahlerich, also a former FBI agent, said the move is very unusual, unlike anything he has seen in 10 years with the NFL.

Other names on the list
Also Monday, the Star Tribune spoke to three more of the 17 players whose names are on a list given to investigators and Vikings team officials by the charter boat company. Crew members identified the players as passengers on the boats. Some allegedly participated in sex acts while others apologized for the behavior of some teammates, according to a lawyer for the boat company.

Defensive end Lance Johnstone and safeties Ken Irvin and Willie Offord refused to comment on whether they were on the boat.

Others on the list who previously declined to comment are quarterback Daunte Culpepper, offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, cornerback Fred Smoot, defensive tackle Kevin Williams, tight end Jermaine Wiggins, running back Moe Williams, wide receivers Nate Burleson, Troy Williamson, Travis Taylor and Koren Robinson, cornerback Ralph Brown and safety Darren Sharper. Running back Mewelde Moore confirmed he was on the cruise but said that he didn't see any sexual activity.
(Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 18, 2005)

Monday, October 17, 2005

Illegal coordination?

Howard Dean recently spoke at the Indigenous Democratic Network List meeting. The group, as you can see below, is a 527, which can’t coordinate with campaigns, like the DNC.

Both Kennedy, who represents the Sixth District, and Kline, in the Second District, are closely aligned with President Bush, whose administration is marked by "incompetence and corruption," Dean said in an interview before he spoke at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake to the inaugural meeting of the Indigenous Democratic Network List, a new 527 political group trying to elect American Indian candidates.
(Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 16, 2005)


Is this illegal coordination, or is it legal because the meeting took place on soverign territory?

Inside Casa de Rove

From the Associated Press:


Karl Rove's Garage Proves to Be Typical
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE

Associated Press
WriterWASHINGTON

He is "the architect" who steered George W. Bush to victory four times, twice as Texas governor and twice as president.

But can Karl Rove organize his own garage? Can the master of Bush's political planning figure out where to put the ladders, paint cans and cardboard boxes?

Rove's wife, Darby, raised the white garage door one morning last week to show journalists outside the million-dollar brick home that the deputy chief of staff, assistant to the president and senior adviser wasn't home. All the interest came on the eve of his testimony Friday before a grand jury investigating who in the White House might have revealed the identity of a CIA operative.

There was no car in the garage. And the stuff left behind turned out not to be much different from what gathers dust inside most American garages.

The inventory, seen from outside:

- Some cardboard file boxes stacked one on top of the other, labeled "Box 6," "Box 4" and what appears to be "Box 7." No sign of boxes 1, 2, 3 and 5.
- What appear to be paint cans stacked alongside a folded, folding chair.
- A rather large wood crate marked "FRAGILE" and painted with arrows indicating which way is up. On top of the crate, two coolers.
- A tall aluminum ladder.
- A snow shovel leaned in front of another cardboard box.
- Wicker baskets inside of wicker baskets on top of a shelf running the length of the rear wall. Transparent plastic storage bins crammed with indiscernible stuff. Another cardboard box.
- In one corner, the rear wheel of a bicycle sticks out, along with what appears to be a helmet.
- Another ladder, this one green, leaning sideways.
(Source: AP, Oct. 17, 2005)


I guess the press is pretty disappointed that Rove doesn't conduct Satanic rituals in the garage.

UPDATE: Here's a picture of the garage, thanks to the AP.

Owens v. Norquist

And you thought Pawlenty had it bad.

Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist are in a turf battle over where to debate the Republican governor's support of what Mr. Norquist calls "the Democrats' massive tax-increase plan," Ralph Z. Hallow of The Washington Times reports.


After Mr. Norquist accepted Mr. Owens' challenge to debate, Mr. Owens wrote a sarcastic letter asking Mr. Norquist to name the time.


"I'm always ready to discuss issues that affect Colorado with my conservative friends who make their homes on the other side of the country," Mr. Owens wrote.


Mr. Norquist had his scheduler write back, inviting the Colorado governor to a duel at the regular Wednesday invitation-only strategy session in Washington that Mr. Norquist leads and that is attended by about 200 anti-tax emissaries from conservative interest groups, Congress, the White House and Republican governorships.


Mr. Owens fired back, expressing "disappointment" that Mr. Norquist wasn't willing to debate in Colorado: "A discussion of the issues more than a thousand miles away from our state in your office would serve no purpose."


Mr. Norquist faxed back a letter calling Mr. Owens "disingenuous" for attempting to pass off the Wednesday gathering as a private meeting in Mr. Norquist's office.


"You yourself know how important this meeting is, as you attended frequently in the past until your pro-tax position ended your national ambition," Mr. Norquist wrote.
(Source: Washington Times, Oct. 17, 2005)



Leave it to a novice like Owens to start a fight with a conservative bomb thrower.

I think I spoke too soon

Refer to my pervious post.

The DeLay indictment, combined with the Frist investigation, and CIA-Rove leak investigation, is certainly painting an ugly picture of Republican leaders.

Former Rep. Vin Weber, still a power broker, is praying that the scandals go away before voters head to the ballot box.

From the LA Times:

"This vague issue of corruption hanging over Republicans is not good, because it is the one thing on which Democrats don't have to have an alternative policy," said former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.). "I don't want that cloud over us going into [next year's] elections."

(Source: Los Angeles Times, Oct. 17, 2005)


My sentiments exactly Mr. Weber.

Every cloud has a silver lining

If there’s any good news coming out of the DeLay indictment, it’s that fiscal conservatives are taking control of the House GOP.

From the Washington Post:

Beginning this week, the House GOP lawmakers will take steps to cut as much as $50 billion from the fiscal 2006 budget for health care for the poor, food stamps and farm supports, as well as considering across-the-board cuts in other programs. Only last month, then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Tex.) and other GOP leaders quashed demands within their party for budget cuts to pay for the soaring cost of hurricane relief.
***

The abrupt shift reflects a changed political dynamic in the House in which a faction of fiscal conservatives -- known as the Republican Study Committee, or RSC -- has gained the upper hand because of DeLay's criminal indictment in Texas, widespread criticism of the Republicans' handling of Hurricane Katrina, and uncertainty over the future of the leadership, according to lawmakers and aides.
(Source: Washington Post, Oct. 17, 2005)

Businesses laud Pawlenty, distrust legislators

From the Fargo Forum:

Businesses skeptical

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce reports its members “are increasingly skeptical about the ability of the Legislature to address the state’s most critical issues.”

A chamber poll showed just 17 percent of respondents think legislators are doing an excellent or good job. Gov. Tim Pawlenty did better, with 55 percent of businesses saying he is doing a good or excellent job.

Businesses were especially pleased with Pawlenty’s stand against higher taxes.

A special budget session that dragged on into the new budget year especially hurt the Legislature, according to John Himle, whose public affairs firm co-sponsored the poll. He said health-care costs are the highest priority among business issues.

The state’s tax burden was the second-most commonly mentioned issue businesses want addressed.
(Source: Fargo Forum, Oct. 17, 2005)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

DNC Dean is dreamin'

From the Star Tribune:

Howard Dean targets 2 state seats Democrats target two Minnesota seats
Rochelle Olson

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Saturday that the party intends to target the seats now held by U.S. Reps. Mark Kennedy and John Kline.

Both Kennedy, who represents the Sixth District, and Kline, in the Second District, are closely aligned with President Bush, whose administration is marked by "incompetence and corruption," Dean said in an interview before he spoke at Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake to the inaugural meeting of the Indigenous Democratic Network List, a new 527 political group trying to elect American Indian candidates.

Dean said recent Republican woes have pushed his prediction of tilting both the House and Senate back to the Democrats from 30 to 45 percent.

He pointed to the problems of White House adviser Karl Rove, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas. DeLay has been indicted on campaign finance law violations.

Rove and Frist are under investigation in unrelated matters.

"The Republican Party is bankrupt of ideas and bankrupt of morality," Dean said, tying in Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty because of the resignation of his campaign treasurer, Ron Esau, whose mortgage company was found to have "misled and deceived" homeowners.

The GOP response

Minnesota Republican Chair Ron Carey said of Dean, "We like having him out there as the face of the Democratic Party" because he makes Minnesotans pause and wonder whether he represents their views.

Dean's criticisms are "the pot calling the kettle black," Carey said. "The Democratic Party is bankrupt of ideas because they can't talk about the issues." Instead, Democrats throw mud, Carey said.

Dean, however, said the Democrats will campaign on the issues of a "real national defense policy" based on truth, job creation tied to renewable energy, health insurance for every American, and strong public education.

He rejected the notion of Minnesota as a state going "red" and into the Republican column. "I don't think there is such a thing," he said.

Later, he told a couple hundred American Indian activists that the Democratic Party needs to do a better job of asking everyone for their vote. "We need to compete in Oklahoma and Mississippi, not just Pennsylvania and Ohio," the former Vermont governor said.

The DNC plans to pay for outreach organizers in every state to reach into minority communities, Dean said. "This is about empowerment," he said. "We are trying to form new partnerships that make the Democratic Party go."

He expressed support for the organization's fledgling effort. "This is no longer about a seat at the table for Indians or anybody else. This is about a seat on the ticket," he said.

Dean also praised former FBI agent Coleen Rowley, who is challenging Kline. "She needs young people. She needs young Native Americans to work on her campaign," he said.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux, which run the casino, are based in Prior Lake, in Kline's Second District. Responding to Dean, Republican Carey asked sarcastically, "Has Coleen Rowley actually found out where the Second District is? She's been globe-trotting all around the country."

Rowley welcomed the boost from Dean in her bid against Kline, the veteran of four congressional campaigns, two of which he lost before winning the seat in 2002.

"I am a complete novice. I will take all the help I can get," she said.

She knows what she faces: a well-funded, savvy and polished incumbent. She has raised $80,000 since entering the contest in July and said she will need $2 million.

The Sixth District's Kennedy is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Mark Dayton who is not to seeking reelection.

Franken weighs in

Rowley picked up one campaign volunteer: comedian and radio host Al Franken, who also spoke to the group. "Coleen is a hero of mine," Franken said.

He said that he remains undecided about whether to challenge U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman in 2008, but that he is likely to move home to Minnesota in January and work for Rowley.

Franken launched into a litany of what he views as Republican sins.

"They're in trouble, the Republicans. They're in trouble for so many reasons, one of which is just corruption," he said.
(Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 16, 2005)


I’d like to ask Dean just how he plans to beat Rep. Kline with Coleen Rowley, seeing that Ms. Daly couldn’t accomplish the feat last year, and she was/is a credible candidate.

Thank God

From Drudge:


LYNNE CHENEY: HUSBAND WON’T BE 2008 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE
Sun Oct 16 2005 13:47:58 ET

New York – Don’t call her the Second Lady. The Vice President’s wife keeps a high profile of her own, as an author of books on U.S. history. Her latest, A Time for Freedom, is a timeline of American history. She sat down with TIME White House correspondent Matthew Cooper at the vice-presidential mansion to discuss her newest work, her husband’s health and why she likes Geena Davis.

Asked about Bob Woodward saying that the Vice President would be the Republican presidential nominee in 2008, she says that’s “Wrong, but interesting.”

She said she’s watched Commander in Chief starring Geena Davis: “Yeah, I watched it last night. Oh, if you worked inside [the White House], you always watch them and think, “Well, it’s not like that.” Part of the enjoyment comes from that, and on the whole it’s a very well done show. She’s got a very commanding air about her.”

Asked what we will say about freedoms that were not yet granted in this era, she says: “You know, we haven’t done enough yet to bring African Americans and women fully into power—though women certainly have come very close. When you think of things like the achievement gap in education that separates African-American youngsters from white youngsters, you know we haven’t done enough yet. When you look at the difference in life-spans, you know we haven’t done enough yet. When you look at income differentials, you know that we need to do more on education, so that we can have a society in which we can say that all people are created equal and really mean it.”

Asked if we have seen the last Cheney running for office, especially considering how public minded her daughters are, she says: “I think they would all be great—and I’m including my granddaughters and my grandson. It’s hard to know where his inclination is. He’s 16 months old.”

Developing...


(Source: Drudge Report, Oct. 16, 2005)

Friday, October 14, 2005

RM EXCLUSIVE: Seperated at birth?

Is it possible that frequent DFL gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch and Minnesota comedian Louie Anderson are related?


BREAKING NEWS: I agree with Strib Ed Board

Couldn’t have said it better myself:

Vikings show disrespect to state

Respect is something that professional athletes say they crave, both on the field and on the street. You hear the word a lot. To have respect is perhaps an NFL player's greatest yearning.

Yet, if the latest allegations are true, the Vikings players who engaged in lewd behavior on two Lake Minnetonka cruise boats last week showed no respect for their teammates, coaches, organization, fans -- or for the citizens of Minnesota who, like it or not, find themselves inextricably linked to the Vikings' national brand.

How do you explain lap dance to an 8-year-old who loves wearing her purple jersey to school? How do you account for nude women mingling in the crowd, then getting sexually occupied with players on the decks? How do you react when your waitress daughter is trapped on a boat, forced to fight off aggressive propositions from hulking, drunken football players? Real respect runs both ways. You don't get it by threatening vulnerable people or urinating on people's lawns.

We are not prudes about this. What consenting people do behind closed doors is their business. But this wasn't like that. The cruise line never expected this kind of party. After only 40 minutes the boats were ordered back to shore not because things happened to get out of hand, but because someone had planned it that way.

Perhaps the NFL should end the pretense that football players are role models, worthy of the adoration that goes with caps, shirts, TV commercials and the other trappings of fandom, and market them simply as violent entertainers, expensive gladiators whose careers could end at any point and, therefore, shouldn't be expected to behave as anything other than arrogant fatalists with no sense of decency or mutual respect.

But we are not that cynical. Instead, we hope that the team sets out to repair not only its image but its reality. Zygi Wilf, who may already regret paying $600 million for this zoo, shouldn't hesitate to clean house if the allegations are true. The new owner may have the opportunity to lead, something coach Mike Tice has failed at.

Wilf should fire any players found to be implicated in misconduct aboard the boats. What happens on the big lake cannot stay on the big lake if the safety and integrity of innocents were jeopardized. After 20 years on the police blotter, it's time to resurrect a team that, we hope, has finally hit rock bottom and whose only remaining path is upward. Football players don't have to be Boy Scouts, just reasonably good citizens.

Most tragic is this disgraceful episode's impact on Minnesota's governor and legislators who wake up every day looking for excuses not to do things.

It's understandable that the Vikings stadium project has now been set back months, perhaps years. It's unfair if the Twins ballpark and University of Minnesota football stadium are tarred by the same brush. What happened on Lake Minnetonka has nothing to do with them. Those teams have earned the respect of Minnesotans. Atonement has not yet arrived for the Vikings.
(Souce: Star Tribune, Oct. 14, 2005)

The scandal that won't die

The Vikings traded Randy Moss for this:

So what the hell are we supposed do with the 17 Vikings that were on the cruise?

In other boat-related news, here are some of the latest developments:

After the boats returned to dock and guests departed, the crew had to clean the boat, he said, finding "used rubbers, K-Y Jelly, Handi Wipes, wrappers for sex toys - it was just incredible how it was left."
(Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 14, 2005)


And those strippers? Well, they aren’t the girls you’d find at the King of Diamonds. From the Pioneer Press:

Strippers flew in for the party. Football players pulled up in limos. As a pair of chartered boats eased onto Lake Minnetonka, booze started flowing and, according to crew members, a sex party began.

Investigators now believe that the strippers from Atlanta, Florida and elsewhere who joined the party apparently work for a high-class escort or call girl service that caters to professional athletes, two law-enforcement officials said.
(Source: Pioneer Press, Oct. 14, 2005)


Stay tuned as this breaks...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

AG’s office still front for Hatch for Governor

MDE posted the following earlier this week when Mike Hatch’s official press secretary began acting as campaign spokeswoman:

Why is Mike Hatch's goverment paid press secretary also serving as his campaign spokewoman?

"But Tuesday Hatch's spokeswoman said the announcement piece is only partly true.'He is making an announcement Oct. 24. That is correct,' spokeswoman Leslie Sandberg said. She would not say if those 'intentions for his political future' include a run for governor.'

She also said he plans to send a letter to about 5,000 supporters about those intentions next week." Source: Pioneer Press, October 12, 2005

Sandberg's salary is paid by the taxpayers and if she wants to work for the campaign, then she needs to quit.
(Source: MDE, Oct. 12, 2005)


Now today, Sandberg responded to questions by the AP :

Hatch spokeswoman Leslie Sandberg expressed disappointment in the site, saying the focus should be on rising gas prices, climbing property taxes and other pressing matters."With all of these important issues we're facing, this Web site is a good example of how the Republican Party, both on the national and state level, would rather focus on political attacks than governing."

(Source: Associated Press, Oct. 13, 2005)


I join MDE in saying that if Sandberg wants to do campaign work, she needs to quit.

Entenza hiring AG campaign staff?

As already reported in the pages of the Pioneer Press and on MDE, Matt Entenza is using his wife’s money to pay DFL-leaning 527s to do his dirty work.

D.C. group to hire for DFL campaigns
Committee helped party win 13 seats

Washington-based campaign committee that last year helped the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party win 13 seats in the Minnesota House and incurred a record fine for failing to properly report donations is seeking to hire one or more field workers to assist DFL-endorsed candidates in this fall's St. Paul city and school board elections, committee officials said Wednesday.

The committee - 21st Century Democrats - has long ties to St. Paul. Former St. Paul Mayor Jim Scheibel is vice chairman of the group's board. Last year, House Minority Leader Matt Entenza, DFL-St. Paul, donated $300,000 to the group, making him the committee's third-largest donor.

In an e-mail sent this week to supporters and contributors, 21st Century Democrats announced it was "currently hiring campaign staff to start IMMEDIATELY in Minnesota." The e-mail sought applicants for jobs as field organizers who would conduct voter canvasses, organize phone banks, conduct "opposition research" on other candidates and supervise summer interns.

Despite the reference to summer interns, Scheibel said Wednesday that 21st Century Democrats has not yet adopted a strategy for next year's state election campaigns. He said he believed the e-mail was seeking to hire one or two field workers to assist St. Paul mayoral candidate Chris Coleman and three DFL-endorsed school board candidates in the remaining four weeks of their campaigns.

Kelly Young, the executive director of the committee, said the e-mail's reference to summer interns was a mistake. She said the committee hoped to hire a single campaign worker who would help conduct a coordinated campaign for Coleman and the school board candidates.

In December 2004, the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board imposed two fines, totaling nearly $318,000, against 21st Century Democrats for "inadvertent" violations of a campaign-finance reporting law. The board concluded that 21st Century Democrats failed to disclose in Minnesota all the donors to the national committee.

In a separate investigation initiated by the Minnesota Republican Party, the campaign finance board cleared 21st Century Democrats, the state Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and three Democratic campaign committees of allegations that they improperly accepted and spent the money donated by Entenza. The Republican complaint did not accuse Entenza of any wrongdoing.

Twenty-first Century Democrats challenged that fine, and Scheibel said Wednesday the committee is negotiating to win a reduction in it.
(Source: Pioneer Press, Oct. 13, 2005)

It is well known among insiders of both parties that Entenza, an attorney, is eyeing the Office of Attorney General as a way to launch a gubernatorial bid, à la Mike Hatch.

In the 2004 elections, Entenza used the 21st Century Democrats as his personal field staff for the House DFL Caucus. Ultimately, the group was fined for their actions.

Daily Vikings Update

Yesterday, the Minnesota Vikings held a press conference to discuss the topic on everyone’s mind: how the Vikes plan to beat da Bears.

The KQRS Morning Show had an audio clip from the press conference. In the clip, Daunte asked the reporters if they had any questions on the Chicago-Minnesota game. This was followed by several seconds of dead air, so Daunte called it quits.

In other Vikings related news, 17 team members were identified as participating in the cruise.

Gil backs Pawlenty ethanol plan

Minnesota’s own Rep. Gil Gutknecht, known as someone who tends to buck the party establishment, has endorsed Gov. Pawlenty’s ethanol initiative.

The United States should follow Minnesota's model of pushing for more use of renewable fuels, said Minnesota Rep. Gil Gutknecht, R-Rochester.

He credits Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Governor's Ethanol Coalition for supporting increased renewable fuels usage, and said their support will be critical as he and other lawmakers push a bill mandating the country use 10 percent renewable fuels by 2010.

"A goal is a dream with a deadline," Gutknecht said. The nation should pass the bill and let entrepreneurs figure it out.

It's kind of like putting a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth, Gutknecht said. He's talked to folks from NASA who had no idea how they'd accomplish President Kennedy's mission, but they did.

"Those who say it can't be done should get out of the way of those that are already doing it," Gutknecht said. "This can be done and it would make a huge difference."

The nation ought to have a goal with a specific deadline, because otherwise it won't get done, much like a smoker who always pledges to quit smoking someday and that someday never comes.
(Source: Rochester Post-Bulletin, Oct. 13, 2005)

Nothing like Mrs. Ventura

From the Star Tribune:

Editorial: Minnesota's first lady shows a lot of heart

Mary Pawlenty has had to tread judiciously as Minnesota's first lady. She's done it well.

Being a district judge, obliged to project partisan neutrality, kept Pawlenty out of sight during much of the 2002 campaign that landed her husband Tim in the governor's office. But being a creative, civic-minded citizen, she was rightfully unwilling to reject public life when the title "first lady" and the opportunity it affords for good works were hers.

Early in the gubernatorial term, she found just the ticket -- nonpartisan, yet high impact -- in supporting the families of Minnesota National Guard troops deployed in Iraq and elsewhere overseas. Her Military Family Care initiative has mobilized volunteers to assist National Guard families with myriad needs, from household repairs to emergency babysitting.

Last week, she added another worthy project to her list: a Heart Health Initiative, aimed at women. It's a project initiated by the nation's first lady, Laura Bush, in 2004, and one Pawlenty has embraced as her own.

The issue needs the attention that their political star power can attract. American women are as vulnerable to heart disease and heart attack as American men, but research has found that they are less likely to be informed about their risk. As a result, they are less likely to accurately assess the early warning signs of trouble, and more likely to postpone treatment -- too often to a dangerous extent.

Women's heart attack symptoms often don't match men's, adding to the propensity for a delayed response. Crushing chest pain is the most common symptom both genders experience. But for women, other signs are also fairly common, including shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

With heart disease and related strokes killing more Minnesota women each year than any other disorder, greater public awareness of the disease's gender-specific variations is much in order. As Pawlenty said when she kicked off her project last week at a symposium in Rochester, "The more women know, the more they're empowered, the more knowledge they have, the more they can do to control their own risk factors of heart attack and stroke."

She invited women who have survived heart attacks to join her in educating others about the risk, and how to minimize it. It's an invitation we hope many will take to heart.
(Source: Star Tribune, Oct. 13, 2005)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mike Unhatched

The Minnesota GOP has officially launched Mike Unhatched, a site devoted to taking down the man who will stop at nothing to be Governor.

Viking player debunks allegations

Here’s what Minnesota Vikings running back Mewelde Moore had to say today:

“Yeah, I was on the boat,” Moore said. “But I don’t know exactly what the problem is because nothing happened.”

Moore said he “didn’t see anything,” including sex acts.

“Sex? What are you talking about?” Moore said. “That’s crazy. Sex? Come on. Look, I’m engaged. So none of that. That will put me in trouble.”
(Source: Star Tribune, Oct, 12, 2005)


There you have it folks. The allegations are obviously made up because no professional athlete would ever cheat on their fiancé or spouse.

U2 not pleased with Clinton or Santorum

From the AP:

Rock giants U2 unhappy to be politicians' cash cow

Rock giants U2 have expressed outrage that US politicians from both main parties, including Hillary Clinton, are using their concerts to fill campaign coffers.

"The U2 concerts are categorically not fundraisers for any politician. They are rock concerts for U2 fans," a statement from the group's publicist said.

Senator Clinton has "invited" 18 people to join her on October 19 in a luxury suite at Washington's MCI Center to see U2 play during their sold-out Vertigo tour, as long as they contribute 2,500 dollars to the Democratic Party.

Luxury suites at the center cost 7,000 dollars and offer a close-up view of the stage.

"We do a meet-and-greet with the senator, and then go in and listen to music," said Ann Lewis, the former first lady's spokeswoman.

Pennsylvania Republican Senator Rick Santorum is holding a 1,000-dollar-a-head fundraiser at U2's show in Philadelphia this weekend.
(Source: AP, Oct. 12, 2005)

KAR: Vikes Theme Song

The guys at the Kool Aid Report have a great theme song for the Minnesota Vikings' forty minute cruise.


Sung to the tune of the Theme from Gilligan's Island

Just sit right back, and you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from a 'Tonka port
Aboard two chartered ships

The organizer was a cornerback
He brought hookers and booze
A football team set sail that day
On a randy sex cruise, a randy sex cruise

The strippers started getting rough
Some got their salad tossed
The defensive line all got hummers that day
At a low low cost, at a low low cost

Afterwards some Vikings pissed on some old lady's lawn
With Fredie Smoot, and Daunte too,
A bunch of millionaires (but not their wives)
Football stars, their posse and some hookers
Here on Freddie Smoot's dime.

Too odd to be true

Yesterday, KvM noted (as did I) that U2 would be doing a fundraiser for Sen. Rick Santorum, the most vulnerable Republican Senator. Perplexed, I did some more digging.

Here’s what I found:

WASHINGTON - (KRT) - Sen. Hillary Clinton, star of the Democratic Party, is holding a $2,500-a-head fundraiser but giving herself second-billing to even bigger stars: U2.

The event is for Clinton's political action committee, Hill PAC, which has "cordially invited" 18 people to catch U2's soldout Vertigo show from a luxury suite in Washington's MCI Center on Oct. 19.

According to the stadium, those 18 backers can expect to rock in comfort with a wet bar, private bathroom and plush chairs in Clinton's suite, which a source said costs $7,000.

"Executive suites offer the ultimate in personalized service, privacy and convenience, combined with a panoramic view," MCI Center says on its Web site.

They're also fine spots for getting donors to pony up the maximum $5,000 annual contribution.

"Our suites are luxury `apartments' that provide a dazzling way to entertain in a captive but relaxed environment," the stadium site says.

Campaign spokeswoman Ann Lewis said a rock show was a "considerably more fun" way to fill the coffers. "We do a meet-and-greet with the senator, and then go in and listen to music," she said.

Clinton's camp isn't the first to book a Bono box.

Her nemesis in the Senate, Pennsylvania's Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, had the same idea. But he's only getting $1,000 a head for U2's show in Philadelphia on Sunday.

U2 was so irked by being linked to fundraisers - particularly media reports that mistakenly said the band was working with Santorum - that their publicist sent out a release Tuesday swearing off any connections.

"Throughout the U2 tour, politicians from both sides have been organizing fundraisers at the venues or around specific shows," the statement said. "The U2 concerts are categorically not fundraisers for any politician - they are rock concerts for U2 fans."

Hill PAC is a "leadership PAC" that also raises money for other candidates and committees.
(Source: NY Daily News, Oct. 12, 2005)


The truth is much less interesting. Both Senators will be having fundraisers in luxury boxes at U2 concerts, not with U2.

You read it here first

Unless of course you read the Argus Leader, MN Lefty Liberal, or MDE.

Hatch tells writer he’ll run for governor
Rachel Stassen-Berger

Is he or isn't he?

Democratic Attorney General Mike Hatch, long assumed to be planning a run for governor next year, told a columnist for the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader that he will make his 2006 run official Oct. 24, according to a story published Tuesday.

But Hatch's spokeswoman said he will simply declare his "intentions for his political future" then — not necessarily officially declare he is running for governor.

Hatch has been publicly coy about whether he would run for governor or try for his third term as attorney general. At the same time, Hatch has seemed to be working to build support for a gubernatorial campaign.

According to the Argus Leader column, Hatch said he "plans to announce Oct. 24 that he will seek the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nomination for governor."

David Kranz, the columnist who interviewed Hatch last week, said the attorney general mentioned the date of the announcement and then "he said, 'Whoops! I hadn't told anybody that, but I guess I let it out of the bag.' "

But Tuesday Hatch's spokeswoman said the announcement piece is only partly true.

"He is making an announcement Oct. 24. That is correct," spokeswoman Leslie Sandberg said. She would not say if those "intentions for his political future" include a run for governor.

She also said he plans to send a letter to about 5,000 supporters about those intentions next week.

Many folks in political circles have been gearing up for a race with Hatch on one side and Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty on the other.

The two have often clashed since Pawlenty took office in 2003. At one point, Hatch accused Pawlenty of deputizing his chief of staff to "gnaw on my toes at two news conferences and then proclaim the offer of a truce."

Publicly, Pawlenty has been more diplomatic in his statements, but he has said Hatch's motives may be questionable because Hatch has his sights set on ousting Pawlenty.
(Source: Pioneer Press, Oct. 12, 2005)


Check back either here or at MDE for the letter Hatch sends to his supporters, as I am sure one of us will get our hands on it.

A Democratic Gingrich?

Today, Terry Neal of the Washington Post, had a column that asked “Do Democrats Need Their Own Gingrich?”

Here’s a bit of the column:
Suddenly, Democrats are optimistic about their political future. But should they be? Back in 1994, when the Republicans took over Congress, not every Republican agreed with every piece of the revolutionary agenda laid out by Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.). The party was riven then with ideological divides just as it is now. But the GOP was able to unite for the sake of political victory around a handful of leaders with a clear, concise vision for the future.

With the midterms a little more than a year away, the questions for Democrats are many. The most pressing question facing Democrats -- and the most tortured internal policy debate -- will be how to deal with Iraq, as well as the broader issue of defense, terrorism and foreign policy.

Yet, is there enough common ground within the party to establish a common, concise vision on Iraq, national security and other issues? Does the party need its version of Gingrich?

Some congressional Democrats are hoping to bolster the party's national security credentials. Last month, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the House minority whip, brought together a group of senior House Democrats to unveil a document entitled " Ensuring America's Strength and Security: A Democratic National Security Strategy for the 21st Century ."
(Source: Washington Post, Oct. 12, 2005)


I wouldn’t say that the Dems need a fat white southerner with a penchant of younger woman...wait, that sounds an awful lot like Bill Clinton. Maybe they do need their own Gingrich after all.

Perpetually wrong

Nick Coleman, who has been right only about once in his entire life, devoted his column to the Vikings today. I’d post it, but the Star Tribune can’t get their act together.

The title is “Vikings lose again, this time on Minnetonka.” Clever title for a senile old fart, but, none the less, wrong.

The reason the Vikes are in trouble is because they were doing an awful lot of scoring on the boat, which is more than I can say about the gridiron.

Hallelujah

As I mentioned last night, the Star Tribune has redesigned both their newspaper and their website, in an attempt to delay the inevitable.

I urge all my readers to head over to http://www.startribune.com to see the new...wait a minute, the website is down. How embarrasing! After advertising it in the pages of the paper and one feature within the website, the new Star Tribune Online is down on it’s big day.

If you’re over 55, you can rush to a newsstand and pick up today’s Star Tribune. Just be careful that you don’t confuse it with the USA Today.

Don't worry loyal readers, despite the new layout, I have been assured that the liberal bias will stay.

UPDATE: The Star Tribune fixed their technical issues at 10 a.m.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Analysis of latest Vikings scandal

I’m sure by now most of you have heard about the wild sex party allegedly thrown by some of our Minnesota Vikings. If not, click here for some background.

Here is what we know:

  • Members of the Minnesota Vikings allegedly urinated on a woman’s yard.

  • After relieving themselves, the group proceeded to the lake with strippers/call girls in tow. While on the boat, lewd sex acts were rumored to have taken place.

  • The team is 1 and 3.

Can someone please tell me why the Vikes deserve a brand new $650 million stadium?

Updated Links

With the Star Tribune set to roll out a new design, we here are RM just couldn't sit on our hands and not add any new content. So, on the right hand side of the page, we have filed select posts under the following categories:

Hatch announcement confirmed

From the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:

Eyes on Minnesota

Democratic Attorney General Mike Hatch became the first Minnesota politician eyeing a major office to venture across the border to campaign in South Dakota.

Hatch, who plans to announce Oct. 24 that he will seek the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party nomination for governor, coupled his trip to Luverne with a trip to Sioux Falls to take advantage of South Dakota’s news media penetration into southwest Minnesota.

At the center of his differences with Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty is the controversial summer government shutdown that led to a special session.

“You can’t allow a government to shut down,” Hatch said. “That is inexcusable.”

As he travels, Hatch says Minnesotans still talk with him about their distaste for the shutdown and ask what he would have done.

A “lights on” resolution to keep government going was necessary, he said.

“You sit down and find the commonality of interest, a process of exchanging views, find the common ground. That is Basic Politics 101,” Hatch said.

Pawlenty, who shared constituent criticism along with the state Legislature, now is debating a possible second special session to deal primarily with a stadium bill.

Pawlenty plans to decide in few days whether that will happen, but Hatch doesn’t support another special session.

“If there is a special session, we had better address other priorities for the state like accessibility and health care costs going off the chart,” he said.He also wants education on the table.

If the Legislature reconvenes and a stadium bill comes to the floor, Hatch would support a facility for the Gophers rather than the Twins or Vikings.
(Source: Argus Leader, Oct. 11, 2005)



Hatch’s candidacy is so stale he needs to campaign in South Dakota. That’s pretty sad (no offense to SoDak).