Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More Bad News For Minnesota GOP Leaders

An audit of Tim Pawlenty's Department of Transportation found the following:

Sonia Morphew Pitt, the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s former director of the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, caused the state to incur over $11,500 of unauthorized, unreasonable, or inappropriate expenses and charged the state for over $14,500 of work time that should have been recorded as personal leave.

You can read the report for yourself here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Where Do You Stand With The Candidates?

MPR has a great quiz to show where you stand with the Presidental and Minnesota Senate Candidates. Let us know who you scored more with in the comments area.

The quiz is here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sen Lott Is Out After Just Having Been Re-elected

The Rats are Scurrying from the Ship. From RADAR magazine:

Mississippi mudslinger Trent Lott reportedly decided over turkey and stuffing to resign from Congress by the end of the year, creating a vacuum for the minority whip post. Thanks, Trent! Maybe if the sometime-segregationist embarrassed by racially insensitive remarks in support of Strom Thurmond in 2002 had chosen to resign in, say, '81, we wouldn't have all these problems we're having today....

Friday, November 16, 2007

Wolf Blitzer Blows......Debate

Last night's debate on CNN had to be the worst of the non-stop debate tour this primary campaign has become. The best analysis of the debate can be found here.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich got to speak only once in the last hour of the debate and at one point when the entire panel was asked to answer a question Rep. Kucinich was skipped.

These debates have become a farce that do more to advance what the stations believe are good ratings and leave substance behind.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Business People For Higher Taxes

Finally a voice of sanity. Read it here.

A word from a top the Fortune 500 list:

Mr. Buffett said that in the last 20 years, tax laws have allowed the “superrich” to become richer.

Best Quote from a Billionaire Ever:

"Frankly, an economy where my receptionist pays a lot higher tax rate than, than I do does not strike me as a just economy," Buffett told lawmakers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Springtime (Bush is over)

Saw this on Amy Goodman's show Democracy Now last night

Legos Awards Eight-Year-Old $5,000 For Singing "Bush Is Over"

And finally an eight year old from Bethesda Maryland is making headlines this week after winning a $5,000 prize from the toy company Legos. Kelsie Kimberlin was one of 10 children to win Lego's first annual Creativity Awards. In order to win the award she wrote an essay saying that her creativity came through singing songs like "Happy Springtime," a reworking of John Lennon's "Happy Xmas." A video of Kelsie singing the song was also posted on YouTube. In the song her father changed the lyrics to the song from "Happy Christmas (War is Over)" to "Happy Springtime (Bush is Over)." Officials from Legos claim they didn't see the video before awarding Kelsie Kimberlin the prize money. When asked to describe her winning entry, she told the Washington Post: "I don't want kids to lose any parents in the war."

You can watch the youtube here

Further Evidence Torture Doesn't Work

The man who got Saddam Hussein to spill his secrets reveals details about their relationship to the press.

How did he get Hussein to confess to slaughtering 180,000 Kurds and plotting to build a doomsday nuke?

Was it bright lights and loud music that got him to tell it all?

Nope. Instead it was talking about sports and Hussein's pulp novels and chatting "over thick cups of Folger's."

You can read the rest of it here.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Doing the People's Business

Rep. Kucinich reminds us why so many people voted for a change in 06.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Clean For Gene

Editorial: The power of a lone, principled politician
Eugene McCarthy turned war opponents into a political force.
Published: November 08, 2007
Minneapolis Star Tribune

Clean for Gene
"In New Hampshire, McCarthy was the ideal person to lead the vanguard of a generation hoping to define itself by living outside as many norms as possible."
Charles Kaiser, "1968 in America."
Anniversaries are often tinged with mixed emotions. One with many colors will be marked this month. Forty years ago, a principled Minnesota maverick, Sen. Eugene McCarthy, took on the leaders of his own Democratic Party -- including fellow Minnesotan Hubert Humphrey -- with a presidential bid aimed at ending the Vietnam War.
The occasion evokes in Minnesotans past a certain age a complex stew of memories, as they recall how their state -- perhaps more than any other -- became a highly personalized battleground over American policy in Southeast Asia. The anniversary also cries out for comparisons with today's unpopular war and those who are trying to end it.
Opposition to the Vietnam War was rising, but it had not yet fully ripened in Minnesota in the fall of 1967. In launching an intraparty challenge of President Lyndon Johnson that November, McCarthy was stepping far outside the comfort zone most politicians choose to occupy, and inviting his Minnesota allies to join him out in the cold.
Many of those who did were youthful idealists. They cut their hair, became "clean for Gene," and threw themselves into his New Hampshire primary campaign. They clashed with supporters of the Johnson-Humphrey administration's war policy, many of whom were people in their own party, their own communities and their own households.
Today, history judges America's involvement in Vietnam negatively and puts McCarthy's presidential candidacy in a mostly favorable light. It galvanized swelling antiwar sentiment into a political force. The campaign's strong New Hampshire showing is credited for pushing Johnson out of the 1968 presidential race and starting the nation on its long road home from an unwise war.
History must also note the high personal cost of a principled political stand. Relationships torn in 1968 took many years to mend, if they were mended at all. McCarthy was never fully forgiven by Humphrey's DFL. He left office in 1970, moved to Virginia, wrote tart, incisive poetry and commentary, and died in 2005 at age 89.
Those who enter politics to be loved won't see in McCarthy a desirable model. But for those politicians, present and future, who aim to create a stronger America and a more peaceful world, McCarthy is required study. He demonstrated that while standing apart from one's allies for the sake of principle can be a lonely act, it can also be a very effective one.

Bachmann Scandal Breaks

A farm Rep. Michelle Bachmann co-owns collected $47,128 in federal farm subsidies between 2004-2005.

A 949-acre Wisconsin farming operation — in which Bachmann owns up to a quarter-million-dollars interest has collected as much as $127,868 in federal farm subsidies since the partnership was established in 2001.

You can read the rest of it here.

It's not like progressives needed a reason to not like Michelle Bachmann already.
But seriously, she espouses the belief that the closer we are to a total free-market, plutocracy the better. Then she goes off and benefits from a progressive program like farm subsidies.
What a hypocrite.

Voters pass some school levies, elect some labor-endorsed candidates

By Steve Share

MINNEAPOLIS - Election day brought wins and losses for labor-endorsed school board candidates and school levies in the Minneapolis area.
The Minneapolis Central Labor Union Council, AFL-CIO had endorsed school board candidates in two school districts, helping to win three of four races.

read the rest here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ron Paul's amazing fundraising

This proves what dissatisfaction there is with our country and the Republican party. While there are big fundamental differences between Ron Paul's Libertarian politics and those of the Farmer Labor's (Common Good V. The Individual) he should be respected for being principled and honest. His view on the war in Iraq is virtually the same as Kucinich's. How much longer can he go on being ignored by the media?

Press ReleasesRon Paul Campaign Has Top Day in 2008 Election Cycle

November 5, 2007 6:00 pm EST

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA—Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has raised over $3.1 million in the past 19 hours, making today’s the single largest fundraising effort of the 2008 election cycle. At 4:00 pm, the campaign’s $2.7 million broke the record for the largest online presidential primary fundraising effort in a single day, and by 6:30 pm, the campaign broke Mitt Romney’s $3.1 million record for single-day fundraising this year.
Thus far today, approximately 25,000 supporters have contributed to the so-called “money bomb.”

Monday, November 5, 2007

1 Sky

Groups hope to elevate climate change as campaign issue
by Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
November 5, 2007
About 100 students from Minnesota, along with thousands from around the country, are in Washington D.C. Monday to ask their representatives in Congress to sign on to a pledge -- a promise to take three specific steps to respond to global warming.
The grassroots movement -- called 1 Sky -- says it'll be working over the next year to talk to incumbents and their challengers to convince them to take a hard line on climate change.
St. Paul, Minn. — About 50 leaders from around the country have been meeting since April to try to define a policy on global warming they could all agree on.
Michael Noble, from the Minnesota group Fresh Energy, says the participants are coming at it from a lot of different viewpoints.

Allan S. King power plant
"We see religious groups, we see labor groups, we see social justice groups, progressive businesses, investors, entrepreneurs," Noble says. "All different stripes of people are recognizing that we need a really thorough-going energy revolution."
Congress is already considering several bills, and some states, including Minnesota, have set goals to cut down on greenhouse gases. But Noble says it's too easy for politicians to be squishy on climate change.
"The worst thing that can happen now is -- everyone is agreed, global warming is a serious problem, and the politicians' response is, 'Hey, look busy. We're doing something, we're doing something,'" Noble says. "You need to have a clarity as to what constitutes real action."
And this is what the group calls real action: They're drawing a "bright line" on three key ways to address global warming.
"When you start getting into re-engineering a major part of our economy that's going to have big impact on voters, that's when politicians get worried."
- U of M political scientist Larry Jacobs
They want political leaders to promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050, starting right away. They want to create five million new jobs in alternative energy and conservation technologies. And they want to ban any new coal-fired power plants until someone figures out how to capture the carbon they produce.
All of Minnesota's leading candidates for U.S. Senate say they agree in theory with the goals of 1 Sky. The only one willing to sign on to it point-by-point is DFLer Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. He says the urgency of the 1 Sky appeal matches the urgency of the global warming problem.
A spokesman for DFLer Al Franken's campaign says Franken is open to various approaches. He really likes the green jobs idea, but he wouldn't commit to the ban on new coal-fired power plants. He says we should develop technology to capture the greenhouse gas emissions.
DFLer Mike Cerisi also won't support a ban on new coal plants; he says it depends on conditions in each region of the country.
Incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman issued a statement saying he wants to reduce greenhouse gases without losing jobs, and he's co-sponsoring of one of the bills in Congress, the Warner-Lieberman bill, which would cut emissions 70 percent by 2050.

Wind turbines
DFL Candidate Jim Cohen couldn't be reached for comment.
Of course, politicians are under pressure from lots of different groups with different agendas.
Larry Jacobs, who directs the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota, says voters and politicians will find the ideas behind 1 Sky appealing, but he says getting a commitment on the specific priorities will be a challenge.
"When you start getting into re-engineering a major part of our economy that's going to have big-time impact on voters, that's when politicians get worried," Jacobs says. "Because it becomes the ammunition for attack ads, that can point out the dangers, the risks at stake, and the ways in which voters can be hurt."
He says voters will feel pain in the short term, but in the long term, Minnesota is likely to come out a winner in the transformation to a clean-energy world.
One Sky activists promise the candidates will be hearing from them a lot more in the coming year.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sen. Klobuchar Can't Make Up Mind On Torture

A week ago members of the Farmer-Labor action team called the offices of Klobuchar and Coleman to see how they would be voting on the Mukasey nomination.

Today, Klobuchar's office said the Senator hadn't made up her mind but was very concerned about Mukasey's answers and she was waiting on a full response from Mukasey.

A Coleman staffer read a statement saying Coleman WILL VOTE FOR MUKASEY. Not a real shocker that Coleman would be a "yes man" to Bush, but here's the kicker: when asked for a statement that could be emailed to the Farmer-Labor Caucus, the staffer said she was reading Coleman's statement from Eric Black's Blog.

Call your senators and make your voice heard.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar: 202-224-3244
Sen. Norm Coleman: 202-224-5641

Spotlight On A DFLer

Rep. Ken Tschumper 31B
"I remember when state government worked for everyone. We are not going to solve our problems if we keep re-electing the people already in office. We can make health care affordable, improve education, and reform campaign finance laws to benefit every Minnesotan. It's time for a change."

With statements like this one Ken Tschumper took away a seat from the GOP in 31B. By actually running campaign on convictions and not being a wish-washy centrist, Tschumper was able to be a part of the "Blue Wave" of 2006. Tschumper proves you can be a progressive voice and not sacrifice your values to make a difference in Minnesota.

You can visit his campaign website and contribute to him here.

Or you can give him some moral encouragement and email him at

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Faulty Intel Source "Curve Ball" Revealed by 60 Minutes

What is today's lesson? The Bush administration lied about the evidence they had to go to war with Iraq. Rumsfeld used terms like "worldwide insurgency."
And oh yeah, Rumsfeld is on the run for torture crimes.

60 Minutes deals the latest blow to the administration from a 2 year investigation. Something we already knew but lacked a smoking gun on. Read it here.

Best (saddest) quote ever. The reason the guy made up "intellegence" on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? "It was a guy trying to get his green card essentially..."

More Bad News For Rumsfeld

The Washington Post has a new story about how bad things were inside the White House as the war plans were being drawn up. Here's a nugget:

In a series of internal musings and memos to his staff, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld argued that Muslims avoid "physical labor" and wrote of the need to "keep elevating the threat," "link Iraqto Iran" and develop "bumper sticker statements" to rally public support for an increasingly unpopular war.

Seriously "Bumper sticker statements." Wow. Wowee Wow Wow.

But wait there's more:
In one of his longer ruminations, in May 2004, Rumsfeld considered whether to redefine the terrorism fight as a "worldwide insurgency." The goal of the enemy, he wrote, is to "end the state system, using terrorism, to drive the non-radicals from the world." He then advised aides "to test what the results could be" if the war on terrorism were renamed.

Read the rest here.

Bad News For Rumsfeld

Torture suit against Rumsfeld filed in France:

The AP says:

PARIS - American and European rights groups filed a legal complaint in France accusing former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of responsibility for torture in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay.
The complaint was filed with the Paris prosecutor's office as Rumsfeld arrived in France for a visit, according to the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, and two Paris-based groups, the International Federation of Human Rights and the League of Human Rights.
Lawrence Di Rita, former Pentagon spokesman under Rumsfeld, said: "These assertions have no merit, and they have been completely dismissed when made in other jurisdictions."
"Complaints such as this have zero foundation in the truth or the facts as presented in countless investigations," he said.
The rights groups say their complaint could go forward because people suspected of torture can be prosecuted in France if they are on French soil.
The complaint will now be examined by French prosecutors, who will decide whether it is well-founded and should be pursued or whether it should be rejected. The Paris prosecutor's office said on Friday night that it was checking whether Rumsfeld is protected by any sort of diplomatic immunity and whether he was still in France.

Alternet Says:

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fled France today fearing arrest over charges of "ordering and authorizing" torture of detainees at both the American-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the U.S. military's detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, unconfirmed reports coming from Paris suggest.
U.S. embassy officials whisked Rumsfeld away yesterday from a breakfast meeting in Paris organized by the Foreign Policy magazine after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint against the man who spearheaded President George W. Bush's "war on terror" for six years.
Under international law, authorities in France are obliged to open an investigation when a complaint is made while the alleged torturer is on French soil.

Wal-Mart Moves To Seal Public Tax Records

NEW YORK, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, is looking to block public access to certain court documents in a tax dispute with North Carolina state authorities, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
According to the newspaper's online edition, Wal-Mart filed a motion Tuesday with a North Carolina state judge requesting to have a host of future filings in the case sealed. Past filings wouldn't be affected, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Representatives from Wal-Mart were not immediately available to comment.
North Carolina's attorney general is challenging Wal-Mart's tax cutting structure involving real-estate investment trusts, the newspaper said.
The company transferred ownership of its stores a decade ago to various in-house REITs -- according to the Wall Street Journal -- and then reduced the tax bill by claiming deductions for store-rent payments which never left the company.
The newspaper said a Wal-Mart spokesman declined to comment. (Reporting by Justin Grant, editing by Tomasz Janowski)