Thursday, March 27, 2008

Freedom: a better idea

Ford Has A Better IdeaThere was a time in this country when we kids grew up learning about American innovators. Ford's Lee Iacocca had "a better idea." He captured the youth market with the Mustang, then when Ford scoffed at his minivan, he took it to Chrysler. Decades later, both products and their imitators are still going strong. The race to the moon inspired us and forever changed our life on Earth. Every year, American inventors earn more patents than inventors from all other countries combined.

Today, nanny-state socialist environmentalists who are pushing the compact florescent lamp (CFL), and the lawmakers and bureaucrats who love them, ironically sweep the dangers of the mercury and lead solder in each of the bulbs under the rug (figuratively speaking). These are some of the same people behind the effort to rid our medicine cabinets of mercury fever thermometers, rid our homes of thermostats with mercury switches, warn against consuming too much mercury-laced tuna, and lobby hospitals and clinics to eliminate vaccines preserved with thimerosol (which contains mercury). They justify other shortcomings of CFLs — high costs of manufacturing, inefficiency in frequent on-off applications, unsuitability in extreme temperatures like home ovens and your Minnesota garage during winter, the wastefulness of the disposable ballast — as a "net positive" in light of claimed reductions in greenhouse gasses, which is a whole 'nother adventure in junk science.

These problems should be discussed (the mass media won't), but they are not the worst thing about Congress banning Thomas Edison's incandescent bulb by 2014.

Just like smoking bans aren't really about public health, gun bans aren't really about public safety, light rail isn't really about relieving traffic congestion, ethanol isn't really about energy independence, the incandescent light bulb ban isn't really about reducing the mythical threat of global warming.

All of these misguided public policies in various ways expand government and reduce our freedoms.

Free markets and the profit motive has solved problems and improved the quality of life for over 200 years in this country. A year ago, Thomas Edison's General Electric announced a new incandescent light bulb technology, the high efficiency incandescent (HEI), that it claims is about as efficient as the CFL, but without the CFL's significant environmental, safety, and health hazards. Edison's successor inventors at GE Global Research are also working on a technology called OLED (organic light emitting diode), another low-cost, high-efficiency, "Earth friendly" lighting alternative.

Government rarely leads the way in innovation (except in the areas of taxation and redistribution of wealth). "Congress tends to jump on whatever the current buzz is in the 24-hour news cycle," said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN6), announcing her "Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act," the necessity of which is a testament to intrusive hand of Big Brother.

Government should let the competition of free markets pick the winners and losers, and let the light bulb symbolize American innovation and know-how again.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Grandma Got Run Over by Obama

"I can no more disown [Jeremiah Wright] than I can my white grandmother — a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe." —Barack Obama

I am one of those (probably rare) persons who purposely listens to those 24/7 Christmas music radio stations, from Thanksgiving to New Year's, and enjoys it. So of course I just can't get this song out of my head...

Grandma Got Run Over by Obama*

Grandma got run over by Obama
Just so Barack could gain on Hillary
You can't believe he'd stoop low for endorsement
But as for me and Grandpa, we believe.

It began with Barack's "change" call
It gave him a big poll boost
Oprah helped him fill each grange hall
Then Reverend Wright's chickens came home to roost.
(Home to roost!)

Suddenly "black" was an issue
A speech on race he had to write
He told a story 'bout his Grandma
And became a politician overnight.

Grandma got run over by Obama
Just so Barack could gain on Hillary
You can't believe he'd stoop low for endorsement
But as for me and Grandpa, we believe.

The Dems know how to divide folks
Men and women, black and white
But what happens when they're both in the same party
And they're on the left instead of on the right?
(On the right!)

Now there's talk of an '08 "dream team"
To make peace 'tween rival groups
But who's on top and who's veep is the question
On the minds of Dem bigwigs and their ground troops.

Grandma got run over by Obama
Just so Barack could gain on Hillary
You can't believe he'd stoop low for endorsement
But as for me and Grandpa, we believe.

*Sung to the tune of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Madia leads Bonoff in delegate count

Ashwin Madia (photo: Ashwin Madia for CongressThe CD-3 campaign of Ashwin Madia for Congress reports that he leads the DFL delegate count with 81.5 delegates, picking up 32 of 49 delegates at Saturday's eleven DFL BPOU conventions.

Minnesota Monitor reports that Madia's rival for the DFL endorsement, state Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka), holds 63 delegates. (By Madia's count, 8 of 18 delegates in Bonoff's home district SD 43 are pledged to Madia.)

Sixty percent of the CD-3 delegates are needed for endorsement at the April 12 DFL Third Congressional District convention. Bonoff reportedly has a wide lead among "superdelegates," incumbent legislators and party officers who live in the district, but as of Saturday, Madia has about 65% of the delegates.

Certainly, Madia's nickname won't be "Ashwin who?" for much longer.

Madia's first-generation immigrant rags-to-riches story, the epitome of the American dream including a stint as a JAG in the United States Marine Corps, is apparently playing well in the Third District. Yet his positions on the issues are the mirror image of his would-be Republican opponent. Whether Madia or Bonoff wins the DFL endorsement, voters will have a clear-cut liberal/conservative choice.

State Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Eden Prairie) is the only Republican running for the party endorsement for the CD-3 seat, which is being vacated by the retiring Rep. Jim Ramstad (R).

UPDATE: Minnesota Campaign Report is maintaining a CD-3 DFL delegate "scoreboard" in its left sidebar.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Money for nothing

The Minnesota Miracle: Money for NothingThanks to classic Twin Cities agitprop like the following, the liberal DFL in the Legislature still believes in the "Minnesota Miracle," a.k.a. Money for Nothing:

"Given how tight money and budgets are these days, it's hard to imagine any county government turning its back on millions of dollars. But on Tuesday, there were indications that Carver and Scott counties would do just that by not partaking of a $100 million pot of money for metro-area counties that implement a recently approved quarter-cent optional sales tax for transit projects." ("Smaller counties not sold on new tax," StarTribune, March 12, 2008)

"Money for Nothing" is an illusion, but this year's session has been an orgy of redistribution of wealth. If you live outstate, vote against the sales tax increase. If you live in the Twin Cities, contact your county commissioner and urge him or her to oppose the sales tax increase. Otherwise, the DFL will keep singing their same old song...

Now look at them yo-yos, that's the way you do it
You raise their taxes for the LRT
That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Money for nothin' and pork for free
Now that ain't workin', that's the way you do it
Lemme tell ya them guys ain't dumb
Maybe get a mention in a right-wing blog
Maybe get a ho-hum from the voters next fall

We gotta get those trains to nowhere
Commuter rail to Saint Cloud
We gotta get those trains to Chi-Town
We gotta get that Central Corridor rail

Raise the sales tax without referendum
Raise the sales tax, the voters they won't care
Raise the sales tax for an open-air ballpark
It's for Pohlad, he's a billionaire!

We gotta get those trains to nowhere
Commuter rail to Saint Cloud
We gotta get those trains to Chi-Town
We gotta get that Central Corridor rail

Borrow money for new college classrooms
Borrow money for the Como Zoo
Get taxes for hockey in Bemidji and Duluth
Man we could have some fun
Pay Big Ag to burn our food for fuel
Metro roads and bridges can wait in line
That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
Get your money for nothin' and your pork for free

I want my
I want my
I want my LRT
I want my
I want my
I want my LRT
Money for nothin'!
Pork for free!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New blood revitalizes SD 43

When it came time on Saturday at Wayzata East Middle School in Plymouth to elect 76 delegates and alternates from SD 43 (Plymouth and northern Minnetonka) to the Third Congressional District and state conventions of the Republican Party of Minnesota, 147 candidates stepped up to the microphone for their fifteen seconds of fame.

The enthusiasm of first-time participants in the BPOU convention, elected at their precinct caucuses on Super Tuesday, February 5, was palpable. There were men and women of various ages, old timers who helped to elect retiring Congressman Jim Ramstad to the Minnesota House, and new parents with babies in tow (including 2006 HD 43B candidate Dave Johnson, and incumbent HD 43A Rep. Sarah Anderson, who were acknowledged by convention chairwoman and 2006 SD 43 candidate Judy Johnson).

Virtually every would-be delegate spoke earnestly of shared conservative values: smaller government, lower taxes, free markets, the culture of life. The mood was a mixture of a relaxed gathering of like-minded friends, combined with a sense of urgency to counter those who believe that government, not the individual, is the solution to our problems.

Former SD 43 senator and gubernatorial chief-of-staff David Gaither gave a stirring call for candidates to challenge incumbent Rep. John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka) this fall. The BPOU will soon be vetting candidates for the endorsement; they were not ready for an endorsement on Saturday.

Sarah Anderson was endorsed by acclamation for re-election to her seat in the House. Her address to the convention revealed a thoughtful, dedicated Republican legislator with conservative values, as her husband listened in the delegate area with their infant son.

Ramstad expressed heartfelt valedictory thank-yous to his hometown BPOU, and honored long-time SD 43 chairman Frank Weir with a Waterford crystal replica of the U.S. Capitol dome. Ramstad's would-be successor, current state Rep. Erik Paulsen, gave a lively stump speech. One of the delegates from my precinct wondered out loud whether Paulsen is a conservative; had I been online I could have reassured him with Paulsen's 91% rating from the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, and 100% from the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman and Hennepin County Commissioner candidate and former representative from HD 43A Jeff Johnson also addressed the convention. I got to shake the hand of another notable member of SD 43, two-term U.S. Sen. Rudy Boschwitz.

There are a lot of conservatives in SD 43 — more than anyone had realized — who are annoyed enough at the tax-raising, invasive government types in the current legislative majority to sacrifice part of a Saturday to show up to a meeting. They showed up on Saturday ready to work for candidates up and down the ticket. I hope that the various Republican party units will have the wherewithal to make the new people feel welcome, reenergize the veteran ground troops, and mobilize Saturday's abundant energy and goodwill during the eight months between now and Election Day.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Faust to challenge Anderson in 43A

The Plymouth Sun Sailor has reported that Clint Faust of Plymouth will seek the DFL endorsement for the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 43A. Republican Sarah Anderson is the first-term incumbent.

According to the report, "
Faust, who has lived in Plymouth for 13 years, is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and financial advisor. He has been involved in the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce and has served on the board of directors of the Business Democrats."

The Sun Sailor reported Faust's potential campaign themes as property tax relief (presumably more local government aid funded by income and sales taxes), controlling health care costs (even more state health insurance), reducing the tax burden on the middle class (tax the rich), funding education adequately (blank check for Education Minnesota) and improving Minnesota's transportation infrastructure (tax for light rail trains instead of roads and bridges, bonding for zoo gorilla exhibits).

The incumbent House member in 43B is John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka). The state Senate is not up for election this year.

Both the DFL and Republican SD 43 BPOU conventions are tomorrow, March 8.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Lewis works to spark conservative reformation

Jason Lewis is building quite the conservative resource website at It is rapidly becoming a hub for conservative activists, with Jason's blog, a calendar of his public appearances, a gathering site for his official interest groups (the Tax Cut Coalition, and "Jason's Juggernauts" women's self-defense group), and a top-notch list of links to information and conservative activist groups.

Tired and frustrated at waiting for conservative leadership elsewhere, Lewis is beginning to lead a conservative reformation in Minnesota politics, but not from where he would be subject to the slings and arrows of elected office. Instead Lewis is working from his bully pulpit of talk radio, the Internet, and a growing network of conservative activists. Overreaching by the DFL in the Legislature this session, and the crumbling of the Pawlenty veto firewall, may be adding fuel to Lewis's fire. Where will it go from here? Stay tuned.