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,"

"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,"

"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

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani, and Palin hit it out of the park

I have always been proud to be an American, but I have never been more proud to be a Republican than I am tonight after hearing Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, and Sarah Palin deliver speeches full of conviction and emotion at the Republican National Convention.

Meet the press

My workstation in the Press Filing Center (photo: North Star Liberty)I got a taste of what it's like to be a member of the credentialed press corps at a national political party convention this week. As a blogger at North Star Liberty, I submitted an application to the convention host committee, and was accepted.

I picked up my credentials, attended CivicFest, went to two private parties, blogged next to two foreign journalists (whatever language they were speaking, it was not Latin-based or Asian), and listened to speeches from President and Laura Bush, Sen. Norm Coleman, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Fred Thompson, and Sen. Joe Lieberman from up in the nosebleed section. I learned that it takes me a lot more time to write and post than my fellow bloggers Derek Brigham and Marty Andrade.

I went through airport-like security, saw Secret Service agents in tactical gear, a Coast Guard vessel patrolling the Mississippi River with tripod-mounted machine guns, and spotters on the roof of the Xcel Energy Center with tripod-mounted binoculars. I saw police bicycle and mounted patrols but only saw the anarchists, riot squads, tear gas, and explosions on television.

Kellogg Blvd. and West Seventh Street (photo: North Star Liberty)

I went from too much fabulous free food and open bars to a $4 Rice Crispy Bar and risking dehydration-induced "convention breath" while blogging in the press filing center at the convention venue.

I went to a blogger breakfast hosted by RedState and Google, where Fred Thompson spoke and took questions, and a National Taxpayers Union (NTU) happy hour at The Liffey on West Seventh Street, where Gov. Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) delivered a pro-tax cut, anti-pork barrel spending message. The NTU is the ideological godfather to our own Taxpayers League of Minnesota and other taxpayer groups across the country.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (photo: North Star Liberty)

I ate up the convention edition periodicals from the National Journal, Congressional Quarterly, and Roll Call, and hunted online for late-breaking blog fodder by continually cycling through the official convention web site, The Drudge Report, Fox News, True North, Real Clear Politics, Politico, C-Span, and RedState.

I saw the hair and makeup stations, the computers, telephones, lights, cameras, and other equipment belonging to media from around the world, including Al Jazeera, that crammed the sports spectator luxury suites, turning them into broadcast suites.

If I was younger, single, and childless, I would try to find a full-time job in "politics." After this week, I can begin to imagine dealing with the travel, late nights, weird food, intellectual stimulation, and long BlackBerry-connected days as a lifestyle. It's another world — but what a world.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Breakfast with Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson (photo: North Star Liberty)
This morning, I joined Derek Brigham, Marty Andrade, and eight tables of bloggers at a breakfast with Fred Thompson, atop the Crowne Plaza Hotel, just a few blocks from the Republican National Convention venue, the Xcel Energy Center. We didn't actually break bread with the former U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful, but he graciously delivered brief remarks and took several questions from the bloggers.

On Sarah Palin, Thompson noted that she's without doubt the outside-the-Beltway outsider that other candidates claim to be and mainstream America wants. Palin, Thompson said, understands "what's going on" with average Americans. Thompson noted that you don't experience get national security and foreign policy by just getting elected to the Senate (e.g., Barack Obama), or by serving as governor (former governors who became presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are other examples of this!). He called the press coverage of Palin "abysmal," which he said could result in a public backlash in defense of Palin.

Thompson also introduced his new political action committee, FredPAC, which will support candidates who advocate for our unchanging founding principles such as federalism, separation of powers, and the free market economy.

The brunch was hosted by Red State and Google.

Monday, September 01, 2008

CivicFest brings history to life

Tourists deplane from Air Force One at CivicFest (photo: North Star Liberty)It's a shame that CivicFest will be in town only seven days. There should be a steady stream of K-12 school groups and families seeing this. I strolled through CivicFest on Sunday afternoon, after picking up my press credentials for the Republican National Convention.

CivicFest is a collection of thirty-five museum-quality exhibits of American history and politics, rarely if ever shown outside Washington, D.C. It's an interactive, colorful, and fascinating display, similar to what you might see at the Smithsonian or our own Minnesota History Center. It's well worth a trip to the Minneapolis Convention Center to see it.

A sampling of what to expect:
  • Air Force One - tour a full-scale replica of part of Air Force One, the President's flying command post, and have your picture taken as you exit at the front door.
  • White House - see an incredibly detailed, 60-foot by 20-foot model of the White House, detailed down to the furnishing and lights. Have your picture taken sitting at the presidential desk in the Oval Office.
  • Campaign memorabilia - see delegate credentials, signs, buttons, and more from decades of presidential campaigns
  • Presidential vehicles - see FDR's 1938 Cadillac Secret Service limousine (courtesy of the IRS, it was previously owned by Al Capone) and a prototype of President Ronald Reagan's 1986 Cadillac limo
  • Five exhibits devoted to Minnesota innovation, sports history, outdoors, and more
  • Many other unique and interesting historic artifacts and interactive activities, plus a stage for live music
  • Over 1000 friendly volunteers staffing about 15,000 hours, according to information provided by CivicFest

Reagan memorabilia (photo: North Star Liberty)
Convention credentials (photo: North Star Liberty

There is also a veritable Disneyland of Republican merchandising available, at both the official CivicFest store and the adjacent area with over 100 third-party vendors. There is a ton of every item you could possibly want imprinted with McCain-Palin messages. I have been to my share of trade and collector shows, but the wide variety of inventory in some of these vendor booths made my head spin. There are also generically patriotic and non-political items on sale, but I didn't notice any items glorifying global warming or Fidel Casto.

Merchandise vendor at CivicFest (photo: North Star Liberty

CivicFest runs until Thursday, 9 am - 9:30 pm daily at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Admission ranges from $15 for adults to free for ages 8 and under, $10 for students, seniors (60+) and active-duty military. Group discounts are also available.