Friday, March 31, 2006

Why socialism doesn't work

"Enough generations of socialist policies have now passed for us to judge their effects. They are bleak. Socialism undermines the character of a nation and of its citizens. In simpler words, socialism makes people worse... Socialism teaches its citizens to expect everything, even if they contribute nothing. Socialism teaches its citizens that they have a plethora of rights and few corresponding obligations—except to be taxed.

"And that is why the citizens of less socialist — and more religious — America give more charity per capita and per income than do citizens of socialist countries. That is why Americans volunteer time for the needy so much more than citizens of socialist countries do. That is why citizens of conservative states in America give more charity than citizens of liberal states do. The more Left one identifies oneself on the political spectrum, the more that person is likely to believe that the state, not fellow citizens, should take care of the poor and the needy.

"Under socialism, one is not only liberated from having to take care of oneself; one is also liberated from having to take care of others. The state will take care of me and of everybody else... The socialist idea sounded altruistic to those who began it, and it sounds altruistic to the naive who believe in it today. In practice, however, it creates self-centered individuals and a narcissistic society. So while it may have begun as a way to help others, it has come to mean a way of evading responsibility for oneself and for others."

Dennis Prager

Thursday, March 30, 2006

DFL endorses SD 43 slate

At its convention on March 18, the SD 43 DFL endorsed its candidates for state office:

  • State Senate: Sen. Terri Bonoff (incumbent). Two Republicans will run for the endorsement on April 22 to challenge Bonoff: Plymouth Mayor Judy Johnson and James Seim.

  • State House District 43A: Sandy Hewitt. Hewitt is familiar to many in Plymouth from her service on the Plymouth City Council since 2000. She will face the Republican endorsee, likely the former executive assistant to Speaker Steve Sviggum, Sarah Anderson, for this open seat being vacated by state Attorney General candidate Rep. Jeff Johnson. The Plymouth Sun Sailor quoted Hewitt, "We need to clearly identify our priorities, then work for those priorities in a bipartisan, fiscally responsible way." Sounds like she will try the "uniting the middle" theme that seemed to work for Bonoff, and with which she is familiar as a member of the nonpartisan city council.

  • State House District 43B: John Benson. The long-time incumbent Rep. Ron Abrams will defend his seat for the Republicans.

The Democrat blog Minnesota Campaign Report had this to say about Benson:
He's an interesting candidate - in a district where the incumbent has never faced serious competition in his entire tenure in the house, Benson went out in 2004, pounded the pavement, knocked on doors, put his nose and those of his team to the grindstone, and got 48% of the vote. That happened without the assistance of an accurate voter file for Minnetonka - an impressive result given his inexperience and the cards being stacked against him. I asked what the strategy was for picking up those three percentage points he needs to win in 2006 - his response: "we're going to work harder and smarter and better than we did last time." Short, sweet, and I think he has a great chance to win.

The Bush reelection euphoria at the Minnesota GOP party on election night 2004 was tempered by Benson's surprising performance in the 43B race. It definitely got everyone's attention then, and has SD 43's attention now.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Charmed, I'm sure

Sitting behind the mic yesterday for Sarah Janecek during afternoon drive time over at 100.3 KTLK-FM, FM News Talk, was the lovely Margaret Martin (pronounced mar-TEEN), widely known here in the blogosphere as David Strom's better half, proprietress of Our House blog, and co-host with Strom of Taxpayers League Live, Saturdays noon-2:00 pm on KTLK-FM.

Martin absolutely charmed liberal co-host Brian Lambert, who calls his regular Lambert and Janecek mate "The Volcano" whenever he begins losing an argument to her strongly-presented case. After grilling Martin for some juicy inside information about the Taxpayers League (to no avail), Lambert discovered their mutual interest in the NCAA basketball tournament and filling out the brackets over at Yahoo! (Janecek has little interest in or patience for sports talk.) Disarmed from his usual paranoid-of-the-conservative-cabal schtick, Lambert stood his ground on the weightier topics of the evening but actually relaxed.

Martin, less well-known than her husband, is nonetheless an informed and articulate commentator. In Our House, mixed in with Strom's posts and posts about gardening, parrots, and life in north Minneapolis, Martin, a political science grad of the University of Michigan, makes some terrific political observations.

This show could only be topped by three hours of: Lambert and Strom!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Top Ten Reasons finale: SD 43 precinct caucuses report

David Gaither (Source: North Star Liberty)
The SD 43 Republican Precinct Caucuses took place last night at Wayzata Central Middle School. The school's lunchroom was crowded with activists from Plymouth and Minnetonka, plus many elected officials and campaign representatives.

Former Governor Al Quie was recognized with a standing ovation from the attendees. Rep. Jeff Johnson, (43A), candidate for Minnesota Attorney General, and Rep. Ron Abrams (43B) were recognized. Also recognized were candidates for the SD 43 endorsement for state Senate, Plymouth Mayor Judy Johnson and James Seim.

Plymouth favorite son and former state Senator David Gaither, now chief of staff to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, rallied the assembly with a story about a group of new naturalized citizens, whom he asked, "How many of you plan to attend your precinct caucus?" They all raised their hands.

Gaither also brought along audio greetings from the Governor, which neatly reviewed Republican accomplishments since 2002 and framed the Republican agenda for the 2006 campaigns. You can hear it for yourself at Pawlenty's campaign web site. (You can stream it or download the MP3 for podcasting.)

Caucus attendees also heard greetings from the campaigns of Mark Kennedy for U.S. Senate and Rich Stanek for Hennepin County Sheriff.

After adjourning to the individual precinct rooms, attendees were charged with electing precinct chairpersons and delegates and considering resolutions to the Republican Party platform. Precincts received visits from Johnson (who delivered an enthusiastic kickoff speech for her state Senate campaign), Abrams (who said it's imperative that we reelect Gov. Tim Pawlenty, keep the majority in the House, and take back the majority in the Senate), state Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Eden Prairie), and representatives from other campaigns. This was also an opportunity for anyone to volunteer for a campaign, and plan for the upcoming BPOU, Congressional district, and state conventions, where candidates will be endorsed and platform changes debated.

Resolutions passed by my precinct caucus:
Referendum for local sales tax increases:

Whereas, Minnesota law requires a voter referendum for any local sales tax increase;
Whereas, a special exception to this law has never been granted by the legislature;
Whereas, statewide surveys show 77% and 81% of Minnesota citizens support this referendum requirement;
Now, therefore be it resolved that if any professional sports stadium/ballpark is subsidized by a local sales tax increase, such tax increase shall require a voter referendum, thus being consistent with Minnesota law.

Universal mental health screening:

Whereas: Routine mental health (social & emotional) screening is subjective and inaccurate in children; and
Whereas: Mental health (social & emotional) diagnoses very often reflect simple behavioral issues; and
Whereas: Mental health (social & emotional) labels that result from mental health screening are almost always treated with powerful medications that have serious side effects; and
Whereas: Many children have been seriously harmed or died from the overuse of psychotropic drugs, including children whose parents were forced to use those drugs by the schools.
1. Therefore, be it resolved that we oppose universal mental health screening (sometimes called social and emotional screening) of students in K-12 schools, pre-schools, and in early infancy.
2. Be it further resolved that we oppose social and emotional outcomes being incorporated into the school curricula.

Universal preschool:

Whereas: Claims that half of Minnesota pre-schoolers enter kindergarten not ready to learn are false and based on vague, subjective, and politically correct outcomes; and
Whereas: Taxes required to support universal preschool would force more families into becoming dual earner households; and
Whereas: Universal preschool would financially penalize single wage earner families who choose a full-time parent at home to care for their preschool children; and
Whereas: Current research demonstrates that any beneficial academic effects of preschool programs do not last beyond the third grade,
Therefore, be it resolved that we oppose establishing universal pre-school programs in the state of Minnesota.

International Baccalaureate (IB):

Whereas: IB has formed a partnership with UNESCO, the educational arm of the United Nations, and
Whereas: Both IB and UNESCO promote world citizenship as superior to U.S. citizenship; and
Whereas: IB regards the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights as being superior to our own Bill of Rights, and
Whereas: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that education "shall further the activities of the United Nations"; and
Whereas: The role of American public education is not to promote ìthe activities of the United Nations"; and
Whereas: IB student assessments are scored in Geneva, Switzerland -- not in the local classroom, and parents are not allowed to review the assessments; and
Whereas: IB has signed on as partners to the Earth Charter, an international environmental plan promoting legalized abortion, socialized medicine, Pantheism and global governance;
Therefore, be it resolved that we oppose state and federal support of International Baccalaureate (IB) and the adoption of IB by local school districts.

American Heritage:

Whereas: The Preamble of the Minnesota Constitution gives God thanks for our Religious and Civil Liberties; and
Whereas: Religion played a major role in the lives of Americaís founders; the founding of our Nation and state; and
Whereas: Students are losing a knowledge of the importance of religion due to the censorship of our religious heritage and our founders expressions, documents, and proclamations from current curriculum; and
Whereas: The 2005 legislature passed the American Heritage Education Act, which encourages the teaching of, and discourages the censorship of, Americaís religious heritage; and protects teachers from threat of lawsuit should they include original sources supportive of our religious heritage;
Therefore, be it resolved that we support and encourage school districts and teachers to include original sources showing the important role of religion in our Nationís founding while teaching history.

The SD 43 BPOU Republican convention will be held on Saturday, April 22 at Hopkins North Junior High School.

The Third Congressional District Republican convention will be held at the Medina Ballroom on Saturday, May 6.

The state Republican convention will be held in downtown Minneapolis at the Convention Center (June 1-3).

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

See you at the caucus

Tonight is your prime opportunity to enter the political party process in Minnesota, at your neighborhood precinct caucus. It's also the official kickoff to the 2006 campaign season. See you there.

From the Republican Party of Minnesota:
The 2006 Precinct Caucuses are an opportunity for Republicans from around the state to determine the direction of our Party and plan for the November elections. The importance of attending these caucuses cannot be overstated. Our success in November hinges on our ability to organize, mobilize, and activate volunteers throughout Minnesota. Precinct Caucuses are the first step in this process.

At the caucuses, you will have the opportunity to discuss and propose changes to the Republican Party platform as well as run for and/or vote for delegates to your local district convention. Most importantly, you will be making a statement of support for our President and our Party.

For further info: Republican Party of Minnesota Caucus 2006 page

Check back starting tomorrow for coverage of the Republican precinct caucuses for Senate District 43 (Plymouth) at Wayzata Central Middle School.

The day the music died

"I'm proud to be a part of this academy, proud to be a part of this community and proud to be out of touch." —George Clooney at the 2005 (78th) Academy Awards

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Award for Best Original Song

1935: "Lullaby of Broadway" from Gold Diggers of 1935
1945: "It Might As Well Be Spring" from State Fair
1955: "Love Is a Many-Spendored Thing" from Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing
1965: "The Shadow of Your Smile" from The Sandpiper
1975: "I'm Easy" from Nashville
1985: "Say You, Say Me" from White Nights
1995: "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas
2005: "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from Hustle & Flow

Friday, March 03, 2006

Excuse me, here's your change back

When I pay cash for something in excess of its price, I expect change back.

From the Minnesota GOP:
Minnesota Surplus Growing

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Finance released the February forecast updating the FY 2006-2007 budget.

They reported that the state budget showed an additional $181 million positive balance - on top of the $701 million positive balance reported in November's forecast. With the two positive balances, the state was able to fully repay a temporary accounting shift with $88 million to spare.

The good news about the FY 2006-2007 budget came on top of the FY 2004-2005 budget with a $337 million positive balance. This was the same budget cycle that began with a $4.2 billion deficit back in 2003, which Governor Pawlenty and legislative Republicans resolved without raising taxes.

In total, over two budget cycles Governor Pawlenty tackled $4.855 billion in deficits by setting priorities, spending smarter, and without raising your taxes.
According to the Star Tribune, "Corporate taxes were the biggest driver, with new estimates coming in nearly 10 percent ahead of earlier projections." This is not good news, because those big bad corporations don't actually pay their taxes, you do in the form of higher prices (can you say "rising health care costs?").

Whatever the exact figures, legislators are now salivating over how to spend the 04-05 surplus and the 06-07 projected surplus! The saying, "Hang onto your wallets, the legislature is in session" has never been truer. They need to be reminded whose money it is: yours and mine, not theirs. It's time for the state to issue Jesse Checks again to give us our change back.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The top ten reasons to attend your precinct caucus on March 7, continued

9. Minnesota's precinct caucuses are the topsoil of the grassroots movement.

"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." —Plato

The more visible party convention and candidate campaign process later this year will be weaker if you don't nurture the precinct caucus topsoil with your participation. The precinct caucuses are where your Basic Political Operating Unit (BPOU, mostly state Senate Districts in the metro areas, counties outstate) meets and recruits volunteers, and elects its delegates to the conventions. The precinct caucus is where you can sign up and get information about participating in the political process, like helping on campaigns, registering to vote, and serving as an election judge.

SD 43 caucus attendees will also get information on how to sign up for the BPOU Meetup Group on

8. The precinct caucus is where you can submit changes to the party platform.

The party has a document that lists its core values, called a standing platform. This document forms the basis for legislation and defines the agenda that the party will work to advance. At the precinct caucus, you and your neighbors will have an opportunity to present and vote on platform additions and changes. Successful platform resolutions will advance to the BPOU convention, Congressional district convention, and state convention.

7. The precinct caucus is where you sign up to participate in party endorsing conventions.

At the caucus, your neighbors in your precinct will elect several delegates to represent the precinct at the party conventions. There, delegates will vote on platform resolutions and endorse candidates. This year, the entire Legislature, Governor Tim Pawlenty, State Auditor Pat Anderson, and Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer are up for reelection. Rep. Jeff Johnson (R 43A-Plymouth) is running for Minnesota Attorney General. U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy and Harold Shudlick are running for the endorsement for U.S. Senate, and 3rd District Congressman Jim Ramstad is up for reelection. So there will be many endorsements to vote on.

By participating in BPOU activities, debating the party platform, and endorsing candidates, you make the party stronger and help to advance its agenda.

For further information about Precinct Caucus Night 2006, visit the Minnesota GOP web site or the Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State.