Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Get Tweeting!

Here is part 3 of my series on how movement conservatives are using Twitter today.

In part 1 of my series, I introduced Twitter, a relatively new text messaging service that combines features of many previously-existing Internet messaging technologies into one new way of connecting and communicating.

In part 2 of my series, I went into more detail about Twitter features, and gave some examples of how Twitter is being used by Hugh Hewitt and other activists.

Conservatives on Twitter

So how do you get started on Twitter? There are nearly as many ways to use Twitter as there are Twitter users. That's what makes it so powerful, but it also makes it difficult to explain to Twitter novices.

First, go to www.twitter.com and create a Twitter account. You can use just about anything for a user name. Use your real name, a brand like a web site or blog, or something completely obscure, depending on how easily you want to be found, and how you will be using Twitter. Learn how to use hashtags (like #hhrs) on search.twitter.com.

Second, use Twitter for a week or two to figure out the basic Twitter commands and functions, and to understand how others are using Twitter. Check out this Twitter 101 Guide by David All Group.

One of the mysterious Twitter-related things you should learn about is TinyURL. TinyURL is one of several URL redirection-abbreviator services that shortens URLs so you can more easily include hyperlinks in your 140-character Tweets. To use TinyURL, visit the site, enter a long URL, and almost immediately you get a TinyURL to copy-paste into your Tweet. This technique is also useful for including hyperlinks in e-mails, which sometimes renders long URLs nonfunctional with line breaks.

Last, find the people with Twitter accounts whom you know and care about, and Follow them. Notice who they are Following. Here is a list to get you started:

Before long, you'll "get" Twitter, and gradually tailor your use of the service to inform, connect, and communicate as you like it. Welcome to the Twitterverse.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Putting Twitter to work

Here is part 2 of my series on how movement conservatives are using Twitter today.

Twitter is basically a text messaging service, but with several refinements that make it more powerful for social networking and as a tool for, pardon the expression, change. I'll explain what makes Twitter different from, and similar to, other online communication tools you've used. Then I'll cite some interesting applications that Hugh Hewitt and others are using right now to connect with others and strengthen the conservative movement.

Conservatives on Twitter

First, with Twitter you can send messages in three different modes:

  • Broadcast, to all Twitter users (the least useful for our purposes)
  • Public chat (Reply), again visible to all subscribers, but also sent directly to a user identified by his or her user name in the format "@username"
  • Direct, one-to-one, sent privately to the user in the format "D username;" just like instant messaging (IM) or SMS text messaging

Second, with Twitter you receive messages as you like them:

  • Every Tweet sent by every user (again, the least useful for our purposes)
  • Friends only, so you only see Tweets from users you are Following
  • Search by hashtag (#tag); see examples below
  • Browse on a user's homepage (http://www.twitter.com/username)
  • Direct one-to-one, exchanging D messages (see above)

And last, you can use Twitter on any combination of mobile and PC platforms:

  • The Twitter.com web site
  • Internet browser plug-in
  • Desktop app
  • IM plug-in (AOL, Yahoo, MSN, etc.)
  • Cell phone SMS (text message)
  • iPhone
  • Blackberry

With this unique combination of features, imaginative Twitter users have cooked up some interesting applications:

Hugh Hewitt has defined a hashtag #hhrs for the Hugh Hewitt Radio Show. Tweets that include #hhrs will show up when users search for it at search.twitter.com. This enables listeners to get lists of show guests before each show, communicate with Hewitt and his producers, discuss the show's topics, and read all of the Tweets posted after the show is over.

This can be easily repeated by other talk radio shows, and has been by Hewitt's protégés on AM 1280 The Patriot: David Strom and Margaret Martin (#davidstrom), John Hinderaker, Chad the Elder, and Brian Ward (#narn), and King Banaian and Michael Brodkorb (#narn2). This practice broadens the participation and interaction in these shows way beyond those who get past the call screeners.

Conservative activists across the country are finding (and Following) each other on the new web site Top Conservatives on Twitter. This idea should spawn regional or local lists like True North Conservatives on Twitter (does not exist yet).

Activists on both sides are following the ballot recount in the U.S. Senate race by seaching on #mnrecount. Attendees and onlookers kept up with the recent Republican National Convention by searching on #rnc08.

News outlets (foxnewspolitics) and web sites (looktruenorth) are publishing their RSS feeds in Twitter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

MPR to LRT: not in our front yard

MPR reports that a fascinating showdown is brewing between the Central Corridor light rail transit (LRT) line, the Met Council, and the City of Saint Paul on one side, versus a group of longtime downtown Saint Paul residents on Cedar Street: two churches and Minnesota Public Radio.

MPR is understandably concerned about the location of the proposed light rail line: twelve feet away from the front door of its broadcast center, where the rolling boondoggle would generate considerable noise and vibration, electromagnetic interference (EMI), and access issues. Central Presbyterian Church and the Church of St. Louis, as well as several concert venues, would also feel the effects of the light rail tracks and its unsightly accoutrements. As MPR reported, lines in the sand are being drawn:
Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell said a study to look at a different route is, in his words, a "Herculean task," that could delay the project by two years. He says MPR's memo to the project office last week has already raised red flags with the Federal Transit Administration.

[Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said:] "Quite frankly, they're threatening the future of downtown St. Paul and the entire city."

In a position statement, MPR says, "MPR continues to support the Central Corridor LRT project." It is asking that an alternate route just one block to the east be considered. This story is developing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why Twitter matters to us now

Twitter is a multi-platform, Internet-based social networking/microblogging service that combines features of instant messaging, chat, blogs, and RSS.

The preceding sentence was provided as a public service to web-savvy individuals unfamiliar with Twitter, who were waiting impatiently for a technically concise definition of this trendy new technology. For the rest of you wanting to know why conservatives are all atwitter, read on.
Conservatives on Twitter

The conservative Twitter train is leaving the station, and Hugh Hewitt is driving it. The self-described "center right" radio talk show host introduced many to the political applications of blogs. He is the godfather of the local Northern Alliance of Blogs, helping to make national media figures out of James Lileks, Power Line, "Captain" Ed Morrissey, and a Saturday radio/Internet stream lineup with other Northern Alliance bloggers on AM 1280 The Patriot and UStream.tv.

Shortly after Election Day, Hewitt joined numerous conservative activists within and outside the Republican party in a postmortem analysis that quickly turned technological. Since then, Hewitt created a Facebook account and began experimenting with various applications of Twitter, while documenting his findings and interviewing new media consultants almost daily on his radio show (tune in today, and catch up with Hugh's podcasts on TownHall.com).

Especially since Thanksgiving, conservatives have started to flock to Twitter, led by Hewitt and web sites like Top Conservatives on Twitter and Rebuild the Party. Conservative commentator and blogger Michelle Malkin reactivated her largely dormant Twitter account, now "Tweeting" (posting in Twitter parlance) several times daily. Some of us (myself included) created our Twitter accounts because Hewitt told us to, and proceeded to experiment and learn right along with him.

Why does Twitter matter to political activists, on a desktop or smart phone already crowded with web sites, blogs, RSS feeds, e-mail accounts, IMs and text messages? The answer is in the unique applications made possible by Twitter's deceptively simple format, open architecture, and the creative minds of its users.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Neighbors help neighbors in trouble with Sleep-Out

On a day like today, when the high temperature in the Twin Cities of Minne-so-cold won't climb above 0 degrees F, I am grateful to be blessed with a warm house, a warm car, and a warm office. I also cannot help but think about those who lack one or more of the these.

According to federal government sources, most of the "poor" in the United States have a higher standard of living than the middle class did just a few generations ago, and than much of the rest of the world today. Yet times are indeed tough. Many are truly struggling with finding housing, child care, transportation, or employment, even in the affluent Twin Cities west metro area.

Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (ICOP) helps 1500 families and individuals every year to move from tough times to better days. They turn away many others. Their clients aren't looking for a "bailout:" according to IOCP, 58% of the families to which they provide housing services need help for only one or two months to stabilize their situation.

For the thirteenth year in a row, folks in the west metro from churches, Boy Scout troops, and other groups (and employees from companies like General Mills and Wells Fargo) have been sleeping outside in subfreezing temperatures in November and December and beyond to raise money for and awareness about the homeless. This year their goal is $2 million, which would prevent 939 families from becoming homeless (and participating in an involuntary Sleep-Out). If you live in the west metro, please join me in supporting this year's Sleep-Out.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A kinder, gentler House Republican caucus?

HometownSource.com has reported that the Minnesota House Republican Caucus may be practicing a kinder, gentler brand of caucus discipline for the session that will be called to order on January 6. ("House Republicans talk about proposal-driven comeback," by T.W. Budig, December 3, 2008):
"I made it very clear when I was re-elected leader that the marginalization of members based on how they voted on an override or anything else was over." —Rep. Marty Seifert (R-Marshall), newly re-elected House Minority Leader
"We now have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that if you marginalize the moderates, there’s not of a whole heck of a lot of legislative seats you can win. On the other hand if you ignore the conservative base you’re going to lose a lot of seats like we did in 2006. The key is for both the very conservative and moderate wings of our party to work together." —Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington)
"I don’t even like the term ‘conservative.’ You’re either a Republican or you’re not." —Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Delano), unsuccessful (conservative) candidate for House Minority Leader
"For our party to prevail we have to ally with people which whom we agree with on five things out of ten — constituents and fellow [caucus] members." —Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) one of two returning "Override Six" members

We in the blogosphere and in our partisan and ideological circles can afford to be pure in our beliefs. But House members have also explained to me over the years that, whether you're casting a vote from your desk in the Capitol, or meeting with two diametrically opposed constituent groups from your desk in the State Office Building, as a legislator you are still expected by the voters to solve all kinds of fiscal and policy problems of the state of Minnesota. I just hope that the Republican caucuses in both the House and Senate, along with Governor Pawlenty, can agree on, and advance, a core set of center-right Republican principles during the 2009-2010 biennium.

Monday, December 01, 2008

There's a reason their baseball team is called the "Brewers"

Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee (photo: North Star Liberty)
"Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!"
—from the opening credits to Laverne & Shirley

On Saturday, the menfolk in our family took advantage of a little free time during a visit to the in-laws in Milwaukee to experience one of the reasons why the locals named their baseball team the Milwaukee Brewers.

We arrived early to reserve a spot in the tour at Lakefront Brewery. It was a good thing we did, because by the time the tour started, the line was out the door waiting for the next tour.

There are a number of reasons why this tour is so popular. One reason may be that the product sampling begins during the wait for the tour to begin (amazing how drinking beer seems to make the time go by faster). Or maybe it's that they refill your sample glass halfway through the tour. Or maybe it's because the sassy tour guide is also sampling their products during the tour!

The $6 price of admission includes four 6 ounce Lakefront Brewery pours of your choice and a real, branded, souvenir pint glass. There are also a few unique sights along the way, including three tanks named Larry, Moe, and Curly, and the chalet and Fiberglas beer mug formerly located in Milwaukee County Stadium.

Lakefront has won dozens of beer festival awards for its unique recipes, including the first beer brewed without malted barley or gluten-containing products, an ale called New Grist; and a 100% certified organic British-style extra special bitter called Organic E.S.B.

On previous visits to Milwaukee, we took in the tour at Sprecher Brewery, Milwaukee's original microbrewery, located in a residential neighborhood of Glendale. This time we just stopped by the gift shop and enjoyed Sprecher's unique mini-museum of local beer memorabilia.

A totally different experience can be had at the Miller Brewery and gift shop, which unfortunately was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. Miller's marketing budget provides a more packaged experience (with a lot more walking across the sprawling facility), complete with multimedia presentation and mammoth gift shop, but the tour of the old caves and stories of Miller's Milwaukee roots should be required for any beer lover's trip to the home of Laverne and Shirley. Even at a corporate "macrobrewery" like Miller, it all boils down to the water, barley, hops, and yeast (gluten-free beers notwithstanding).

Reservations recommended for all tours.

Lakefront Brewery, Inc.
1872 N. Commerce St.
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Tel: 414-372-8800

Sprecher Brewing Co. Inc.
701 W. Glendale Ave.
Glendale, WI 53209
Tel: 414-964-2739

Miller Brewery Tour and Girl-In-The-Moon Gift Shop
4251 West State Street
Milwaukee, WI 53208
Tel: 414-931-BEER

UPDATE: More reviews of the Lakefront Brewery tour can be found on BeerAdvocate.com.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pawlenty to GOP: look in the mirror

We may not always agree with our governor, but he sure tells some of the best self-deprecating jokes in politics — the best of which feature his wife Mary:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, who was very nearly Senator John McCain’s running mate this year, told the decidedly subdued, post-election conference Wednesday about a revelation he had recently while looking into the bathroom mirror at his home in Minnesota.

Mr. Pawlenty said that after wearily returning from the campaign trail, he looked at himself in the mirror and complained about what he saw to his wife, Mary. "I said, ‘Mary, look at me,’" he said. "‘I mean, my hairline’s receding, these crow’s feet and wrinkles are multiplying on my face by the day, I’ve been on the road eating junk food, I’m getting flabby, these love handles are flopping over the side of my belt.’

"I said, ‘Is there anything you can tell me that would give me some hope, some optimism, some encouragement?’" he said. "And she looked at me and she said, ‘Well, there’s nothing wrong with your eyesight.’"

As his fellow governors laughed, he came to the moral of the story: "If we are going to successfully travel the road to improvement, as Republicans, we need to see clearly, and we need to speak to each other candidly about the state of our party."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy birthday, USMC

Semper Fi and OO-RAH to the United States Marine Corps, which turns 233 today, 10 November 2008.

We owe a debt of gratitude to all of our armed services, yet the Marines, "First To Fight," are the elite guardians of our country's freedom. Nowhere on earth is this driven home to civilians more completely than at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in scenic Triangle, Virginia, a short drive south of Washington, D.C. near Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Like the Marine Corps itself, the museum is spartan, high tech, and steeped in tradition, patriotism, and excellence. Civilians will be humbled by the experience and gain a profound appreciation for both Marine veterans and those who wear the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor today. It is well worth a few hours of your time when visiting the D.C area.

Happy birthday, Corps. America thanks you for your service.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Young love

DFL on the march, November 1, 2008 (photo: North Star Liberty)
Click image to view large version, and see if you can find Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak

I have had it with the Republican Party treating voters under 30 as an "outreach" group. I had the not unexpected experience of watching a large DFL contingent march in the annual University of Minnesota Homecoming parade, complete with campaign bus and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak zig-zagging through the parade spectators, shaking hands and posing for pictures — without a corresponding presence from the Minnesota Grand Old Party.

The existing conservative and College Republican groups need the active engagement of the party: funding, candidate and elected official appearances, and accountability for growing their membership.

Besides a physical presence at colleges and universities, skillful use of Internet technologies has replaced phone banks and direct mail as the most effective way to reach this key demographic. This article sums it up well:

...young voters may prove to have been the key to Barack Obama's victory. Young voters preferred Obama over John McCain by 68 percent to 30 percent — the highest share of the youth vote obtained by any candidate since exit polls began reporting results by age in 1976, according to CIRCLE, a non-partisan organization that promotes research on the political engagement of Americans between ages 15 and 25.

Through a steady stream of texts and Twitters, experts agree Obama has managed to excite young voters by meeting them where they live — online.

“This is a group of people who are constantly checking in with everybody else in their circle to make a decision,” says Morley Winograd, the co-author of “Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics” and a former adviser to Vice President Al Gore. He defines Millennials as ages 18 to 26.

“This is a generation that doesn't tend to think about asking experts for opinion," Winograd says. "They tend to ask each other, and then that becomes the truth.”

Winograd says that means no decision is made without dozens of e-mails, texts or Facebook messages to check whether an idea works for the whole group — anything from “Where should we hang out tonight?” to “Who should we vote for?” — which could explain why Millennials so firmly latched onto Obama’s message of unity, he says.

Yes, the McCain campaign had an extensive web site, YouTube ads, Facebook groups, etc., but these initiatives are sorely lacking at the state and BPOU level. "The youth vote" came of age in 2008. The Republican Party at all levels needs to take this demographic seriously if it wants to avoid being marginalized in 2010, 2012, and beyond.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The morning after

Thanks to Minnesota Public Radio, producer Stephanie Curtis, and interactive producer/the world's most 24/7, multitasking, blogging, Twittering, mobile Internet connected, Minnesota Nicest woman Julia Schrenkler for the opportunity to reprise my liveblog role at this year's Election Night Policy and a Pint event (see previous post for a replay). The folks at MPR were very hospitable to me, from the lobby to the fifth floor UBS Forum and everywhere in between. I got to meet MPR on-air personalities Steve Seel and Tom Crann, who hosted the event. I enjoyed Bob Collins's interview and chatting with him afterwords. And political reporter Tom Scheck was even kind enough to flag me down to say "hi" at the Republican Victory Party at the Sheraton Bloomington later that night. Everyone connected with the event thanked me for liveblogging at least twice.

Kudos to MPR for being very committed to their "all of the above," early adopter approach to new media. In some cases, they seem ahead of the curve and ahead of their market (what we in research and development call "the bleeding edge"). They are certainly not waiting around for the future to happen to them; they're inventing it as they go.

I would like to drag other conservative bloggers and pundits into other collaborations with MPR. This would be a great opportunity for bloggers and pundits without a current media gig.

Liberals are really good at getting out there in the public square with the media, with their nonprofits, with their special interest groups, with their fun little events and creative promotions. Conservatives need to get better at this, beyond talk radio and the blogosphere, in order to better make their case with the public — especially in light of yesterday's elections.

Escape From MPR

As in 2006, my MPR liveblog experience was a little like going to Madison to see the Gophers play Wisconsin, and sitting in the middle of the Wisconsin stands — in a luxury skybox, but still on the Wisconsin side.

After McCain's concession speech and right as Obama began his, I left the fifth floor UBS Forum in downtown Saint Paul for the Sheraton Bloomington (formerly the Radisson South). Several differences between the two venues were obvious:
  • All of the video monitors were showing election coverage from Fox News
  • Being a partisan event, there were Republican campaign signs everywhere
  • There was a large media pit and stages for television remote broadcasts
  • A wider range of ages present, with lots of men in suits and ties, and lots of young ladies in heels and cocktail dresses — and campaign staff with their cell phones and BlackBerrys
  • Cash bars and lots of food, once you found the various campaign suites

Even though it was late, I ran into a lot of my cronies from various campaigns. Jeff Johnson was enjoying his election to the Hennepin County Board. The irrepressible Laura from Sue Jeffers's gubernatorial campaign was celebrating one of the Minnesota House victories. I managed to find Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-MN6) campaign party, and wish her well, several minutes before she made her acceptance speech before the die-hard crowd and media, after midnight. I was happy to find a few other of my fellow BPOU campaign volunteers still there. I'm not sure, but I think that I saw Sarah Janecek enter the building as I was leaving, just as Erik Paulsen delivered his acceptance speech for the Third Congressional District race.

Going up to Erik Paulsen's suite on the twentieth floor was deja vu from 2002, when a bunch of us partied in Jim Ramstad's suite (it even might have been the same room). Other than that, I did the usual wandering around looking for friends, partaking of the deli trays, and finding that most had already called it a night. With Paulsen, Bachmann, and Rep. John Kline (R-MN2) all winning, hopes alive for a Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) reelection, and at least an even performance in the Minnesota House, the mood was upbeat despite the McCain-Palin loss.

Michele Bachmann victory speech (Photo: Laura Gatz)Photo by Laura Gatz

The highlight for me was definitely Michele Bachmann's triumphant acceptance speech, very exciting and a vindication for Bachmann, with the requisite TV cameras and bright lights, and supporters waving large campaign signs. One of the handwritten signs held up said "Nice Try, Chris Matthews."

I heard Paulsen's speech on the radio on the way home around 1:40 am. I had to work today.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Night liveblog

I tried something new for this year's election night liveblog. It was powered by Cover it Live. Check out the replay below, live from the UBS Forum at Minnesota Public Radio headquarters in Saint Paul:

I voted

Central Middle School in Plymouth on Election Day morning. (Photo: North Star Liberty)
I was voter #310 at 8:40 am, Plymouth Precinct 14, Central Middle School.

Monday, November 03, 2008

A warm Minneapolis?

Minnesota needs to elect Republican legislators like Brian Grogan (HD 43B, Minnetonka-Hopkins-Plymouth) who understand that big business is not the enemy, and that Minnesota's tax and regulatory policies need to attract and keep businesses instead of driving them away.

An example of one state's success in this area is Nebraska, which recently attracted Yahoo! to the Cornhusker State:
Today Gov. Dave Heineman and corporate officials announced that Yahoo! has selected Nebraska as the home of two new developments. A 150,000 square ft. Yahoo! Data Center will be located in LaVista. A Yahoo! Customer Care Center will be located in Omaha.

“I am excited to welcome Yahoo! to Nebraska,” Gov. Heineman said. “These two projects present an extraordinary opportunity for Nebraska. It leaves no doubt that Nebraska can successfully compete for technology jobs.”

Yahoo! cited the Nebraska Advantage as a major factor in selecting Nebraska. The Nebraska Advantage was updated in the 2008 legislative session allowing Internet web portal companies to qualify for business incentives. Other factors include the availability of job training assistance, abundant fiber optic providers, low-cost utility rates, and a growing information technology-oriented workforce.

To paraphrase Hubert Humphrey, apparently Nebraska is determined not to become a warm Minnesota. We need to elect legislators who can work with Governor Pawlenty to give businesses a compelling reason to locate and stay in Minnesota.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

John Benson fact check

John Benson 'bipartisan' lit piece (photo: North Star Liberty)More batches of campaign literature continue to arrive in mailboxes (and go right into the recycling, as my wife says), including this piece from the reelection campaign of House District 43B incumbent Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka). It seeks to reassure voters that Benson is a "bipartisan" leader by leaving out some key facts from several of its claims. DFL legislators statewide are making this claim. Here's the rest of the story:

  • CLAIM: "The state budget was balanced without raising taxes."

  • FACT: As reported by Jeff Davis on True North, "The budget fix was nothing more than a band-aid and taxes were raised — significantly. Lest we forget, the override of the governor's transportation bill veto cost us a $6.6 billion tax increase on sales, fuel and vehicle registrations...The final budget deal also included a $125 million tax increase on corporations with foreign operations. This was sold to the public as "closing a corporate loophole," as if corporations were doing something underhanded. In reality, this provision was enacted by the state legislature years ago to avoid driving corporations with foreign operations out of Minnesota.

    Senate Minority Leader David Senjem (R - Rochester) cautioned that the fix relied too heavily on tapping the state's “rainy day” reserve fund and not enough on actual spending cuts. Nearly $500 million needed to balance the budget came from the state’s rainy day fund, tapping about 80% of the fund’s reserves. Senjem predicts the result will be a much worse budget problem in 2009."

Another DFL claim that Benson and others have made is the 2008 session's one-year $51 per pupil increase to school districts. This political gimmick is found money that will be characterized as a "cut to school funding" if it is not reappropriated every year.

There are going to be a lot of last-minute claims made in the last 72 hours of this campaign. Fortnately, the Internet makes it easier than ever to check these claims. Please make an informed vote on Tuesday.

Friday, October 31, 2008

You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone

The next time you hear someone say that they will be so glad that campaign season is over, or worse yet that they won't be voting, you might want to remind them that many of our patriots died to protect our free elections and freedom of speech, and that other governments have killed to prevent the same.

I have friends who fled Cuba in the 1960s after Fidel Castro began nationalizing private property and cracking down on political dissent. They will never take voting for granted or forget that freedom is not free.

The last Plymouth campaign sign report

As reported by the Plymouth Police Department:
  • Theft, reported 10-25-2008. Political signs taken from yard. 165xx 39 Ave.

  • Theft reported 10-26-2008. Theft of 5 political signs from their yards overnight. 38xx Glacier Ln N.

  • Theft, reported 10-26-2008. Report of theft of political signs on Fernbrook Ln between 34th Avenue and Rockford Rd.

  • Theft, reported 10-27-2008. Report that sometime overnight unknown person(s) took 3 political signs out of yard. 47xx Upland Ln N.

  • Criminal Damage to Property, reported 10-29-2008. Victim reported her political signs were thrown into the street and her solar light was broken with a brick over night. No dollar damage amount listed. 144xx 19th Ave N.

The Plymouth Police does not publish the political party involved in these reports. Please report campaign sign damage or theft to your local police department.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Smilin' and dialin'

Yesterday I put in a shift at my local Republican Victory Office phone bank, calling identified Republicans to remind them to vote our Republican ticket, from John McCain and Sarah Palin, to Sen. Norm Coleman and Third District Congressional candidate Erik Paulsen, to Brian Grogan for Minnesota House (43B), to John Cooney, the Republican endorsed candidate for the nonpartisan Hennepin County Commissioner in District 6.

Phone bank work is essential, not only to remind Republicans to vote, but also to update party records with current names and phone numbers, which are constantly changing as folks move and get new phone numbers.

We're down to the final week before the general election, and your entire Republican ticket needs your help now. Contact your local Republican Victory Office to find out how you can make a difference.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Vote your values

The Minnesota Family Institute has a comprehensive voter education web site at MNVoter.com. One feature of the web site takes the typical interest group scorecard one step further, by allowing you to print a voter guide that is tailored to the candidates you will see up and down ticket, from President to legislative and judicial races. It has always been particularly difficult to make an informed vote on judges, so this feature alone is well worth your time.

This election isn't just about partisan agendas, it's about the economic, cultural, and political future of our country. Get informed, and vote on November 4.

More Plymouth campaign sign thefts

As reported by the Plymouth Police Department:
  • Theft, Reported: 10-16-2008. A resident reported that his political signs were stolen out of his yard within the last day. 115xx 44th Ave N

  • Theft, Reported: 10-16-2008. Victim reported the theft of political signs from the lawn overnight. 4xx Niagara Ln N

  • Theft, Reported: 10-16-2008. Complainant reported a political sign was stolen from his front yard sometime overnight. Comp reported this is the second time in the last week, his sign was stolen or vandalized. 43xx Deerwood Ln N

  • Theft, Reported: 10-18-2008. R/P called reporting his political yard signs stolen. 8xx Vicksburg Ln

  • Theft, Reported: 10-18-2008. Theft of political sign from the yard sometime overnight. 39xx Arrowwood Ln N

  • Theft, Reported: 10-18-2008. Victim reported that a political sign was taken from her yard sometime during the night. 60xx Annapolis Ln N

  • Theft, Reported: 10-19-2008. Victim reported that 3 of his political signs were stolen from his front yard during the night. 48xx Orchid Ln N

  • Theft, Reported: 10-21-2008. Political sign taken from yard. 110xx 40th Pl N

The Plymouth Police does not publish the political party involved in these reports. Please report campaign sign damage or theft to your local police department.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fiscal restraint needed on Hennepin County board

The MPR story, "Hennepin County commissioners give themselves a pay raise," reveals the apparent hubris gone wild on the Hennepin County board. What else could explain how the commission could vote this way given the current economic situation?
St. Paul, Minn. — Hennepin County commissioners voted 5 to 2 yesterday to give themselves a 3.4 percent pay increase in each of the next two years.

Their salaries will top $100,000 in 2010.

The increases match the maximum raises offered to regular county employees for 2008 and 2009, and property taxes are expected to decrease slightly for many Hennepin County homeowners next year.

But the county is also facing a significant budget shortfall, and may have to make hundreds of layoffs in 2009.

Outgoing commissioner Penny Steele, of Rogers, abstained from the vote. She said she didn't want to vote for a pay increase she would not have to answer to voters for. Steele also said it was a bad time for a raise for elected officials.

"You know, obviously, with the kind of pressures on the people that live in Hennepin County, in terms of job losses in terms of their own property taxes still perhaps going up or not being reduced, and yet the valuations are not where they were a few years ago. I mean, there's a lot of pressure on the people that live in this county," Steele said.

Commissioner Linda Koblick, of Wayzata, voted against the pay raise.

Both Steele and Koblick are retiring from the board. They both heroically opposed the confiscatory taxpayer subsidies granted to the Minnesota Twins professional baseball team and its owner, Carl Pohlad, that enabled the new Twins stadium to be built in a brazen example of public debt financing private profit.

In November, the property taxpayers of Hennepin County desperately need to elect two commissioners that will carry on Steele and Koblick's record of service to the taxpayers. Jeff Johnson is running to succeed Penny Steele in District 7, while John Cooney is running to succeed Linda Koblick in District 6. Both candidates are Republican endorsed, and Johnson is running as a self-proclaimed "taxpayer watchdog."

Monday, October 20, 2008

Grogan on the air

I returned home from a lit drop in time to get some yard work done (it was a beautiful day for either activity) and hear House District 43B candidate Brian Grogan interviewed on Saturday's Northern Alliance Radio Network show, "The Final Word."

Grogan talked with host King Banaian about reducing the number of mandated coverages in Minnesota on health insurance, which increases premiums; repealing the state moratorium on nuclear power plant construction; making the business tax and regulatory environment more attractive to investment and job creation; the incumbent Rep. John Benson's (DFL-Minnetonka) record as a tax-and-spend liberal and his opposition to school choice and parental choice initiatives.

Click the button to hear a replay of the show, courtesy of AM 1280 The Patriot. The Grogan interview begins about 1/3 of the way into the 46-minute segment.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Sid's Discount Liquors (photo: North Star Liberty
Although not jaw-droppingly vast like the selection at U.S. Liquor & Wine in Minnetonka, the selection of beers and hard ciders at Sid's Discount Liquors is surprisingly wide and discerning. Sid's has imports like Moretti Birra Firulana from Italy and Smithwick's from Ireland; the local socially-conscious Finnegans (no apostrophe), brewed by Summit; obscure craft brews like Hobgoblin dark English Ale; and even a novelty brew called Monty Python's Holy Grail Ale ("Tempered over burning witches"). They also have a variety of brews from Milwaukee's Sprecher Brewery and seasonal variety packs from Sam Adams, et al.

A distinctive feature of Sid's is the walk-in, self-serve cooler, which backs up the standard glass-doored refrigerated aisle. It's just the thing when you need a few ice-cold 24-bottle cases for the party (yes, they also have kegs). Buy some Genuine Draft if you must, but treat your more adventurous guests (and yourself) to a choice of craft brews, imports, and ciders.

The Sid Applebaum family operates five Twin Cities locations under the Sid's and Big Top brands.

Sid's Discount Liquor
10200 6th Avenue North
Plymouth, MN 55441

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Plymouth campaign sign thefts

From the Plymouth Police Department:
  • Theft, reported 10-11-2008: Political sign that was nailed to fence was broken off and taken sometime within the last week. 143xx 50th Pl N

  • Theft, reported 10-12-2008: Theft of political sign overnight. 117xx 26th Ave N

  • Theft, reported 10-12-2008: Victim called to report that 2 of his political signs were taken from his yard during the night. 47xx Kingsview Ln N

The Plymouth Police does not publish the political party involved in these reports. Please report campaign sign damage or theft to your local police department.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gorgan would live within our means; Benson, not so much

Brian Grogan, who is challenging Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka) for the seat in House District 43B, recently made a promise "to the citizens of Minnesota to solve the projected 2009 state budget deficit by advocating for reductions in government spending before supporting any tax increases on Minnesota citizens and businesses."

Benson has not signed the Live Within Our Means Commitment, a one-page statement of fiscal restraint. The statement is sponsored by the Minnesota Coalition for Fiscal Responsibility in Government, an informal alliance of organizations established solely for the purpose of administering the Live Within Our Means Commitment process. According to the Live Within Our Means Commitment web site, "Coalition members agree that it would be more responsible for the Minnesota state legislature to seek first to reduce government spending before giving any consideration to increasing taxes for Minnesota families or businesses."

Minnesota is projected to have a $2 billion or greater budget deficit in 2009. Because our state constitution requires a balanced state budget each biennium, the Legislature must cut spending or raise taxes in order to address the budget shortfall.

Over sixty candidates for the House have signed the commitment so far. Visit the Live Within Our Means Commitment web site to see whether the candidates in your area have made this promise of fiscal restraint, and ask them whether they would cut spending before raising taxes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hate mongers

The mainstream media and lefty blogs have focused during the current news cycle about those angry, dare we say "hateful," Republicans at John McCain's last two rallies in Waukesha, Wisconsin and Lakeville, Minnesota.

Polinaut's Tom Scheck titled his blog post on the Lakeville rally, "Out for blood..." At least he exercised some typographic restraint: it could have been OUT FOR BLOOD!!
The crowd at John McCain's townhall meeting in Lakeville was, shall we say, a bit partisan. Some called for McCain to fight Obama at next Wednesday's rally. Another woman said she didn't trust him because he was an Arab. Another said they didn't know if they could live in a country that had Barack Obama as its president.

Helpfully, Sheck also posted the full audio of the town hall, from McCain's entrance to his closing remarks. The audio reveals that the crowd at the suburban Lakeville South High School sounded more like Minnesota Nice than "out for blood." Unreported was the crowd's applause when McCain corrected the ignorant characterization of Obama as an "Arab."

Yet Sheck was mild compared to Bob von Sternberg in the financially troubled Star Tribune. In Sternberg's version of the story, "In Lakeville, McCain tamps down hostility," McCain was "Struggling to contain an emotional fire his own campaign kindled."

Shocking reports of "hate" and "anger" (or even partisanship) were curiously missing from media coverage of anarchist "demonstrations of free speech," in which real damage was done to property and persons peaceably assembled for the Republican National Convention. Pheisty and Michelle Malkin have documented other recent examples of liberal hate speech (viewer discretion advised).

The McCain rally reports hype a few exceptional comments but fail to further understanding about how Midwestern grassroots activists feel about issues like socialism, the economy, and the right to life. Intentionally or not, they serve Obama's campaign by stereotyping conservatives and attempting to demoralize the Republican base. Don't fall for it.

Some of the passion shown at the rallies is directed at the McCain campaign as the game clock winds down with our team down by a field goal. We have the better ideas and the better candidate, so let's score a touchdown and win this game, Senator.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Benson and Grogan to face-off at TwinWest forum

 House candidates in districts 43A and 43B will discuss business-related issues at a forum sponsored by the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce on October 23, from 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm. There will be questions from the chamber and the audience, and opening and closing statements from the candidates.

Invited candidates from HD 43A are incumbent Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth) and challenger Clint Faust (DFL). Invited from HD 43B are incumbent Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka) and challenger Brian Grogan (R). Public registration for the event is open until October 21.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Plymouth campaign sign crime recap

From the Plymouth Police Department:
  • Theft, reported 10-02-2008: Theft of political sign. 123xx 61st Ave

  • Criminal Damage to Property, reported 10-04-2008: Report of political sign in victim’s yard spray painted overnight sometime. 4xx Brockton Ln N

  • Theft, reported 10-07-2008: Theft of political sign off front lawn. 126xx 58th Ave

  • Criminal Damage to Property, reported 10-07-2008: Political sign in lawn was damaged overnight. 45xx Deerwood Lane

The Plymouth Police does not publish the political party involved in these reports. Please report campaign sign damage or theft to your local police department.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Benson: hey, big spender!

Rep. John Benson (photo: Minnesota House of RepresentativesMinnesota Majority reported that Minnesota House District 43B Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka) scored a favorable rating of ZERO out of fourteen tax-and-spending votes tracked by the organization. Benson scored an overall favorable rating of 16% across 43 votes in a wide range of issues.

Benson voted to raise taxes, against tax cuts, and against spending restraint on these occasions (search the House Journal yourself by entering the HJ page number here:
  • Increased Taxes and Government Spending: HF2268 included tax increases, increased local government aid and mandates automatic spending increases. HJ page 7575.

  • Restrict Bonding to Emergency Spending: Amendment to HF886 to reduce a pork-laden $334 million bonding bill to $8 million for emergency spending only. HJ page 2222.

  • Eliminate State Income Tax on Social Security Income: Amendment to HF3149 eliminating state income tax of Social Security income. HJ page 11320.

  • Tax Increase on Compressed Natural Gas: SF3564 imposes a 37% tax increase on compressed natural gas for transportation. HJ page 10737.

  • Omnibus Bonding Bill: Were it not for line-item vetoes, HF 380 would borrow over one billion dollars for mostly "pork barrel" spending projects. HJ page 9689.

  • Property Tax Increase: Omnibus tax bill HF3201 raises property taxes for most Minnesota property owners. HJ page 8103.

  • Limit Tax Increases on Cabins and Recreational Property: Amendment to HF3201 that would have limited property tax increases on recreational property. HJ page 8072.

  • Property Tax Freeze for Seniors: Amendment to HF3201 preventing an increase in the assessed taxable value of homes owned by senior citizens. See HJ page 8099.

  • Override Governor's Veto of Gas and Sales Tax Increases: A vote to override the governor's veto of HF2800 which increased taxes by $6.6 billion. HJ page 7889.

  • Massive Transportation Tax Increase: HF2800 created one of the single largest tax increases in Minnesota's history by raising gas, excise and sales taxes. HJ page 7883.

  • Require Referendum for Sales Tax Hike: Amendment to HF2800 that would require a referendum to raise the sales tax in affected counties. HJ page 7862.

  • Arts/Outdoors Sales Tax Increase: A historic $11 billion sales tax increase for the arts and outdoors to be approved by voters via a constitutional amendment. HJ page 7684.

  • Reduce Income Taxes in all Brackets: An amendment to HF3149 to reduce state income taxes in all brackets by 1/2%. HJ page 11297.

  • Super Majority Required to Raise Taxes: An amendment to the rules of the House requiring a 60% majority to raise taxes. HJ page 586.

This is a long list, but the scorecards from Minnesota Majority and other groups are valuable because they clearly show how each member of the legislature represents his or her district. They are not "cherry picked" votes meant to distort the record; the same votes are tracked for all members. By reviewing these scorecards for the incumbents in your district, you can cast an informed vote on November 4.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Benson and Grogan spar at forum

Brian Grogan (photo: submitted)House District 43B incumbent Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka) and Republican challenger Brian Grogan provided the most confrontational exchanges of Tuesday evening's Wayzata/Plymouth Area League of Women Voters (LWV) forum in the Plymouth City Council chambers. Participating were candidates for seats in House Districts 33A, 33B, 43A, and 43B, and Hennepin County Commissioner District 7. Only thirty minutes or a little less was devoted to each race, so the affair felt a little like a political speed dating session.

Benson used his introductory time to highlight his "friend of education" awards from the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, which lobbies on behalf of Twin Cities school districts, and the Education Minnesota teachers union, the state's largest political lobby.

Benson was president of the Education Minnesota local in Edina and the pre-merger Minnesota Federation of Teachers in the 1990s, and state president of the Minnesota Federation of Teachers from 1987-1995. He taught social studies in the Edina public schools for over thirty years. Benson currently sits on the education policy and education finance committees in the state House, in what must be a very direct route from the union's lips to the Legislature's ear.

Grogan highlighted the state budget deficit, unemployment, and the economy as reasons to reject Benson and vote for Grogan. He questioned the wisdom of bigger government in light of the DFL-controlled Legislature's insatiable appetite for more spending and higher taxes.

The LWV moderator posted questions to each candidate, alternating who answered first. Each candidate only had a minute or so to respond.

Areas of government needing reform: Grogan said that an education system that consumes more and more taxpayer money while delivering poor student performance needs reform, and the welfare system needs further reform to reduce fraud and waste. Benson said that reforms should be made in the areas of teacher recruitment and retention.

Priorities in education policy and funding: Benson said that suburban districts need more state aid to cover higher operating costs. Grogan said that the emphasis needs to be on accountability for the achievement gap between white and ethnic minority students.

Homelessness and affordable housing: Grogan did not respond to this topic, instead challenging Benson's characterization of last session's transportation bill, which passed on an override of Governor Pawlenty's veto, as "bipartisan." He also attacked the new DFL education bill, known as the "Minnesota Miracle II," for dropping the Q Comp alternative compensation program for teachers, which has been successful in the Wayzata school district. Benson responded that he supports Q Comp, but because the governor has not been "helpful" with the bill, Q Comp was dropped to bring him into the negotiations. He said that he expects it to be added back into the final version of the bill.

Transportation: Benson reiterated his claim that the transportation bill was a bipartisan bill because of the six Republicans who voted to override the governor's veto (also known as "The Override Six"). Grogan again challenged the bipartisan nature of the bill, which increased as taxes, license fees, new car taxes, and sales taxes by $6.6 billion. He said that none of the licensing fee increases or sales-and-use tax increases will fund road and bridges, instead they will fund mass transit outside the district.

Aging population: Grogan said that a strong (taxpaying) workforce (implying a friendly business climate) is needed to ensure that the growing Baby Boom generation is properly cared for. Benson said that increased aid to nursing homes will be needed.

Economy: Benson said that government's ability to deal with a downturn is limited. Grogan responded with a laundry list of how businesses in Minnesota are overregulated and overtaxed, and cited several examples of businesses leaving the state or locating new operations out-of-state for more business-friendly states, including Marvin Windows, Northwest Airlines, and Polaris. Benson said that reducing regulation and taxation on businesses is the best way for the state to improve the economy.

Child care for low-income families: Grogan said that in order to better care for low-income families, fraud and waste needs to be eliminated from aid programs. Benson called for increased spending for Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) and all-day kindergarten.

Attendance at the forum was depressed by the coincidental scheduling of the nationally televised second presidential debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. The forum will be rebroadcast on Comcast channel 12 and LMCC channel 21. Channel 12 also has forum archives for viewing on their web site.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Lewis, Bachmann voice conservative angst

On Wednesday's Jason Lewis Show (100.3 KTLK-FM), Lewis, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN6), and several callers expressed their frustration at John McCain's lack of walking the conservative walk.

After pledging as president to veto any bill that contains earmarks, McCain voted (with Barack Obama) in favor of the $800 billion lender bail-out bill, which one caller called "the mother of all earmark bills."

In March, the New York Times reported, "McCain Rejects Broad U.S. Aid on Mortgages." At Tuesday's town-hall debate, McCain proposed a $300 billion government mortgage buyout plan. Even Obama called the plan "costly and out of touch."

Bachmann said that she was almost "breaking pencils" during the debate as McCain passed up several golden opportunities to make the conservative case against Obama's liberal positions.

As McCain runs toward the middle, he is running away from the conservative base of the Republican party — you know, the likely voters who man the phone banks, drop literature, pound lawn signs. When he announced Sarah Palin as his running mate, and Palin made her national debut in Saint Paul last month, McCain enjoyed a post-convention bump in poll numbers, fundraising, and volunteer enthusiasm. Post bail-out, McCain's poll numbers are sagging along with grassroots morale. It will be interesting to see how many show up to McCain's (Palin-less) Lakeville town hall meeting on Friday.

Conservatives are afraid that "change is coming," alright: socialism, regardless of who wins in November.

Lewis urged frustrated conservatives to redouble their efforts to support solid conservatives down-ticket, to rebuild the Republican party from the grassroots up. One caller speculated about a Palin-Bachmann ticket in 2012.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Campaign signs stolen in Plymouth

Here are the most recent campaign sign incidents reported to the Plymouth Police Department. The political party is not specified by the police reports. Please report campaign sign theft and vandalism to the police. And for God's sake, keep your hands off of campaign signs regardless of candidate.
  • Reported: 09-28-2008, 2900 block, Urbandale Ln N. Victim reported a 6' metal pole holding a political sign, and a driveway reflector were stolen from his yard last night.

  • Reported: 09-30-2008, 18000 block, 4th Av. Political sign taken from yard sometime overnight and replaced with opposition sign.

  • Reported: 09-30-2008, 500 block, Alvarado Ln N. Report of a political sign getting stolen from the front yard at the residence.

Monday, September 29, 2008

American graffiti

American graffiti (photo: North Star Liberty
Here is the situation on Vicksburg Lane in Plymouth. Nearby Obama and other Democrat candidate signs were untouched.

American graffiti 2 (photo: North Star Liberty
The taggers missed this one on the same property (no, I don't know where you can buy these signs, but let me know if you find the vendor):

American graffiti 3 (photo: North Star Liberty

Friday, September 26, 2008

Garden Outdoor Party

On Thursday I attended an after-work gathering of a few dozen self-proclaimed (fiscal/social) conservative and moderate (pro-choice) Republicans in a particularly Republican-friendly precinct in Minnetonka (where Republican campaign signs dot the yards like dandelions). The gathering was held at the home of a landscape company owner, whose residential property is a hilly shade garden showcase. Brian Grogan, candidate for Minnesota House of Representatives in HD 43B, and Erik Paulsen, candidate for Congress in the Minnesota Third District, were on hand to meet, greet, and answer questions.

I asked Paulsen about the recent Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) direct mail and TV attack ads on behalf of Paulsen's opponent, Ashwin Madia, that broadly portray Paulsen as "turning his back" on military veterans on the basis of a few cherry-picked votes in 2003. A DCCC TV ad in the campaign was given a grade of "D" on a recent KSTP-TV "Truth Test."

As the KSTP-TV story by Tom Hauser details, Paulsen explained that the 2003 "golf course" vote cited by the DCCC was on an amendment to a bill, which would have sold a golf course in Blaine "on behalf of the Minnesota amateur sports commission" to fund educational materials for National Guard members. It's not even clear if this sale legally could have been made. The amendment was offered only to make a political point, a common legislative tactic. It was defeated on a bipartisan vote of 35 to 96. So where's the beef?

Paulsen showed this neighborhood gathering a passionate commitment to common-sense, conservative values. The Madia campaign tries to peg him as a "career politician," but I disagree. He just seems to me like the guy who has the legislative experience and dedication to help return Congressional Republicans back to their conservative roots (like Reps. John Kline (MN-2) and Michele Bachmann (MN-6)), and to stay connected to his constituents in the style of his mentor and former boss, the incumbent Rep. Jim Ramstad (MN-3).

Gorgan fielded questions about state issues such as taxes, business regulation, spending, corn-based ethanol, and education, clearly showing him to be well-informed and passionate. He refuted claims of his opponent, the incumbent John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka), that portray Benson as a fiscal moderate, and the DFL leadership style at the Legislature as "bipartisan." Grogan seems to have the energy needed to energize Republican voters in November—and champion conservative values in Saint Paul starting in January. He would be a great addition to the House Republican Caucus.

Incidentially, Grogan has added a large new section to his campaign web site, "Benson's Voting Record." Check it out.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A lame attack on Paulsen

DCCC mailer (photo: North Star Liberty)
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) recently sent out an attack mailer against Erik Paulsen, the Minnesota state Representative (R-Eden Prairie) who is running for U.S. Congress in the Third District, currently held by the retiring Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN3).

Fortunately for Paulsen, the attack falls as flat as other paid media by Paulsen's Democrat challenger, Ashwin Madia. The message of the mailer is that the seven-term Rep. Paulsen doesn't support military veterans, as evidenced by a handful of 2003 votes in the state House, conveniently leaving out Paulsen's years of support for legislation to benefit Minnesota veterans (like Madia) in the areas of health care, education, employment, and taxes.

Madia's message in this mailer and his "Running" TV ad is: he was an active duty Marine stationed in Iraq, and he loves his country. Thank you for your service, Mr. Madia, and Semper Fi, but it seems to me that Paulsen's decade-plus record of elected public service in the legislature has better prepared him to represent the Third District in Washington on a wide gamut of issues, including veterans' affairs.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Another Democrat for McCain-Palin

Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter and member of the Democratic National Committee's Platform Committee has joined the long and growing roster of Democrats and independents supporting John McCain for President.

"In an election as important as this, we must choose the candidate who has a proven record of bipartisanship and reforming government, and that's John McCain," Rothschild said in a press release coinciding with the Wednesday announcement from Arlington, Virginia.

"We can't afford a president who lacks experience and judgment and has never crossed party lines to work for meaningful reform," continued Rothschild. "Amid tough economic times and foreign policy concerns, we need someone who is ready to lead. Although I am a Democrat, I recognize that it's more important to put country ahead of party and that's why I support John McCain."

During the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, several other prominent McCain Democrats held a press conference to discuss their reasons for supporting the McCain-Palin ticket, including:
  • John Coale, former fundraiser for President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
  • Jennifer Lee, member of Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in California
  • Silver Salazar, Hispanic community leader and former supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton for president
  • Cynthia Ruccia, former Congressional candidate from Ohio and women's rights activist
  • Brian Golden, former state representative fro Boston and lifelong Democrat
  • Ambassador Mark Erwin, appointed ambassador to OPIC by President Clinton

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Biden bypasses McCain to insult Republicans

The Democrat/liberal/leftist weapon of choice is the ad hominem attack. When they don't have a better idea, they attack the candidate personally. Tina Fey's relatively gentle parody of Sarah Palin on last week's Saturday Night Live ("I can see Russia from my house") is only the beginning.

Democrat vice presidential candidate Joe Biden took this to a whole new level, bypassing John McCain and instead insulting Republicans in general during his speech in Flat Rock, Michigan on Monday:
The Republican party and some of the blogs and others on the far right, are trying very hard to paint a picture of this man [Sen. Barack Obama], they're trying the best as they can to mischaracterize who he is and what he stands for.

All this stuff about how different Barack Obama is, they're not just used to somebody really smart. They're just not used to somebody who’s really well educated. They just don't know quite how to handle it. Cause if he's as smart as Barack is he must not be from my neighborhood.

If I voted for an elite Washington insider who actually thinks like this, I would surely get the government I deserved.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Beer lover's heaven

Oktoberfest (Märzen style) selection at US Liquor (photo: North Star Liberty
In Heaven there is no beer
That's why we drink it here
And when we're all gone from here
Our friends will be drinking all the beer.

On my way home from another long week at work, I stopped by a little liquor store that I heard has a very good selection of beer, US Liquor & Wine in Minnetonka.

"Very good" is an understatement. This is the widest selection of craft and imported beers I have ever seen: five aisles of beer. The manager I spoke to claimed over two thousand varieties of beer in stock. But you'll have to look hard to find any Miller Lite or Budweiser. This is craft beer and imported beer heaven — with a large selection of hard (alcoholic) apple ciders for good measure.

They have four varieties of beer from Sprecher Brewery, a German craft brewer in suburban Milwaukee (which also makes some terrific root beer, ginger ale, and other soft drinks, which I have noticed at Lunds). They carry beers from Cold Spring Brewery, including the one I took home, a refreshing Honey Almond Weiss. They have a huge pile of seasonal Märzen or Oktoberfest style beers, for which I never developed a taste, but the selection impressed me nonetheless.

I had originally intended to pick up a six pack of Samuel Adams Light, but they don't carry it. As the saying goes, if you can't find it here, you can probably get along without it.

US Liquor & Wine
11333 Highway 7
Minnetonka, MN 55305
(952) 912-0293

Friday, September 12, 2008

Why the left isn't right

The far left that has taken over the Democrat party thinks that Jesus was a "community organizer," Barak Obama is the Messiah, global warming is the Gospel, and abortion is a sacrament.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Benson's "Prosperity" record

Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka)The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has a voter information project called The Minnesota Prosperity Project. According to the Chamber, the project's purpose is "to keep all Minnesotans informed and educated on the issues that most affect our state’s jobs and economy. It provides non-partisan information on issues, legislators, candidates and elections. Our voting records represent the most important votes on the issues that impact Minnesota businesses and jobs – they are not intended to endorse or oppose any candidate for office."

How did Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka), House District 43B fare on the Prosperity Project scorecard? In 2007, Benson voted to support the Chamber of Commerce position on only 2 of 12 votes tracked. In 2008, Benson supported the Chamber position on 3 of 15 votes. They include a wide variety of issues including labor/management, education, transportation, energy, health care, fiscal policy, and taxes.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Limousine liberals

Limos at the Democratic National Convention (photo: Declan McCullagh-CNET News)What is a "limousine liberal?" Someone who says, "Green for thee, but not for me." Example: last month's Democratic National Convention (CNET News, "Democrats find 'green' political convention tough to enforce," August 28, 2008):
The Democratic Party has boasted that its convention here will be "the most environmentally-sustainable" gathering in the party's history, complete with a director of sustainability, low-power lighting in some areas, and calculations of carbon footprints.

But reality doesn't always match expectations. Bikes aren't permitted inside the convention's security perimeter, so golf carts and other vehicles are used. The wooden card keys proved buggy, and some were replaced with more-reliable plastic. Fried mini-donuts were prominently on sale inside the Pepsi Center. Party VIPs and celebrities told their decidedly non-green town cars and GMC Yukon XL mega-SUVs--rented from limo provider A Class Above Transportation--to idle, with engines and air conditioning on, in the nearby pickup area. (What self-respecting conference-goer wants to climb into a GMC Yukon when it's a toasty 93 degrees in the shade?)

Plus, a gathering of tens of thousands of people (and perhaps 70,000 for Barack Obama's Thursday acceptance speech) generate a whopping amount of trash. Even if it's sorted, recycling Obama-Biden signs takes energy, as does trucking in what the Journal reported to be 900 volunteers to monitor waste cans and perform the trash-separation, thereby taking them away from tasks that might be more productive.

Let us stipulate that the Democratic Party, perhaps because it was good marketing or perhaps because it was a sound principle, made an effort to promote recycling here. But whopping huge mounds of trash remain unavoidable—and the presence of idling SUVs--show that the concept remains more of a slogan than reality. (Then again, probably the only way to hold a "green" convention is to do it entirely over the Internet.)

Primary colors

"What primary election?"

Tomorrow is Primary Election Day in Minnesota. There are many primary contests in play tomorrow. For the location of your polling place and a printable sample ballot customized to your precinct, visit the Minnesota Secretary of State web site. For the partisan races, you may only vote in the primary election of one party. There is also a nonpartisan ballot (containing mostly judges) on which all voters may vote.

The races I am watching:

Hennepin County Commissioner: in District 7 where I live, the only conservative candidate on the ballot is Jeff Johnson. Johnson is a former HD 43A state representative, a candidate for state attorney general, and the Republican endorsee for this nonpartisan office. With tax increases without voter approval becoming de rigueur for funding unpopular boondoggles, the ocean liner Hennepin County needs a conservative course correction.

State Representative: in HD 33B, Republican endorsee Connie Doepke is my pick for reasons I detailed in an earlier post. Her longtime involvement in education issues at the local and legislative levels makes her highly qualified in this area, which consumes the largest portion of the state budget.

State Senate: most Senate seats are not up for election this year, but there is a special election in SD 16 this year due to the last-minute departure of Betsy Wergin to accept the Public Utilities Commission post. Former state representative Mark Olson received the endorsement, with Republican challenger Alison Krueger running against the endorsee in tomorrow's primary. Olson, a stalwart conservative, earned his local BPOU's endorsement with some statewide controversy due to spousal abuse allegations. Krueger is actively campaigning in the primary election despite signing a pledge to abide by the endorsement.

Please remember to vote in tomorrow's primary election.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Reuters: 37 million watched Palin

Gov. Sarah Palin (photo: 2008 Republican National Convention and Reflections Photography)
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - More than 37 million U.S. TV viewers tuned in to watch Sarah Palin accept the Republican nomination for vice president Wednesday, just shy of the record set last week by Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, Nielsen Media Research reported.

UPDATE: The AP reported on Friday that over 40 million watched Palin's speech: "An audience of 37.2 million people watched Palin on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, Nielsen Media Research said Thursday. PBS estimated its audience at 3.9 million, based on a less reliable sample of several big cities. Nielsen does not count the audience for C-SPAN, which also showed the speech."

The Speech

"Palin made it clear to the condescending media and her Democratic critics that she is no pushover, no cream puff. Her nickname, "Sarah Barracuda," seems a lot more fitting after tonight...Republicans should feel cheered and elated by this event tonight. No matter what happens in this race, we have seen the future of the party, and it looks bright indeed." —Ed Morrissey, "Palin Delivers a Knockout," HotAir.com

"She hit it out of the park! Clearly a star has been born in the United States." —Wolf Blitzer, CNN

"After Sarah Palin's remarkably effective speech, I don't think any pundits or politicians will be able to count on a decisive Democratic enthusiasm edge. Sarah Palin electrified the hall, and from what I can tell from my e-mail inbox that excitement is being replicated in living rooms across the country." —John Fund, "She shoots, she scores," Wall Street Journal Online

"She proved herself in the great arena; that's what counts politically. Nobody could watch that speech and still consider her a joke, no matter how flimsy her credentials and qualifications may seem on paper. The joke, it seems, is on those who'd been laughing at her. Last night the laughing ended -- and the cheering began." —Tom Shales, "She Shoots! She Scores! A Hockey Mom's Moment," Washington Post

"Palin quickly established her credibility as a genuine representative of small-town America in a way few politicians can - and then used it to wheel on Barack Obama as a gasbag and a fraud in a witheringly sarcastic assault." —Rich Lowry, "Barack, Meet Your Nightmare," New York Post

"This speech has turned the election upside down. It was simply stunning...Barack's sidekick Joe Biden looks a dull old dog compared with the ball of fire that is Palin. But most fascinating of all, consider this: If Obama loses, Hillary Clinton will run in 2012. Opposing her is sure to be Sarah Palin. That would guarantee America its first woman president. And my fistful of dollars, having seen both in action here, would be on Palin." —Fergus Shanahan, "Palin Strikes Back at Critics," The Sun (UK)

"Sarah Palin delivered what may have been the most important speech ever by a vice presidential candidate and made it look like she'd been performing on the national political stage for years. And she made John McCain look good for having picked her as his running mate." —Fred Barnes, "The Natural," WeeklyStandard.com

"Palin established herself as a major-league performer, a very effective messenger for the perennial Republican themes of low taxes and strong defense." —Joe Klien, "The Republicans Tonight," Time Magazine

"But anyone who thought her selection marked certain doom for McCain, or a certain win for the Democrats, was proven wrong Wednesday night in Minneapolis." —Stephen Henderson, "Palin rises to her place in history with speech," Detroit Free Press

"...the scene had to be a little frightening for Republicans such as Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, who have ambitions to lead their party someday. They were no doubt watching Palin, and watching the crowd's reaction, and wondering whether their moment had come and gone, because here was its future." —Jay Bookman, "A great Night 3 for Sarah Palin," Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." —Keith Olbermann, MSNBC