Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All about Terri Bonoff

On April 12, at one of the most anticipated DFL endorsing conventions in years, a 30-year-old, ex-Republican, ex-U.S. Marine attorney from Plymouth with a compelling, immigrant American Dream story came out of political nowhere to win the Third Congressional District DFL endorsement after an eight-ballot showdown, over incumbent state Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka), the early-on presumptive nominee with name recognition, union support, and proven fundraising chops. The venue was Wayzata Central Middle School in Plymouth, in the heart of Bonoff's Senate District 43.

Yet curiously, in the post-endorsement issue of the Plymouth newspaper of record Sun Sailor, it was all about Bonoff.

The local weekly ran Bonoff's post-election letter-to-the-editor (in its own box, complete with three-column headline, pull-quote, photo, and prominent by-line), thanking supporters and her opponent, plus a news story of the endorsement. The news story by Joe Keiser covered the endorsement, but from Bonoff's point-of-view, featuring quotes from her but not from the endorsee, illustrated with a second copy of Bonoff's Senate mug shot but no photo of the endorsee.

It's as if the Sun Sailor narrowly avoided its own DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN moment.

I assume that Bonoff's endorsement opponent will eventually get some ink in the Sun Sailor. In the meantime, perhaps Bonoff can give him a few pointers on getting earned media.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Iowa State prof "expelled"

From my friend Dave Eaton:

A few weeks ago a very talented scientist at Iowa State University was denied tenure because he approaches science in the same way as the greatest scientists in history. Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Gregor Mendel, Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo ALL approached science with the assumption that they were studying the works of an intelligent creator, God. Historians have observed that it was exactly this perspective that enabled the start and advancement of modern science.

Today when scientists take that approach to science they are ridiculed and stripped of their careers.

Now for a little history. In the 1500's Copernicous' conclusion that the earth went around the sun was enabled by his Christian approach to study and considered controversial by many. However, few realize that it was Christians who rallied to his side, encouraged his work and financially underwrote the publication of his controversial scientific work.

Today, you can be part of history by helping fund the work of Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, an accomplished scientist that has been "expelled" from the public university system for his Christian approach to studying science. A group of ISU alumni have developed a web site that allows you to learn of Dr. Gonzalez's work and make a donation towards his research. Please go to to learn more.

Note, too that Dr. Gonzalez is one of the persecuted scientists featured in the movie, Expelled, that is opening nationally tonight. You can get more information on the movie at

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sarah's choice

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R) and her husband Todd are the proud parents of their fifth child, Trig, born April 18, 2008, one month before his due date. At birth he weighed six pounds, two ounces.

Although they discovered through prenatal testing that Trig has Down Syndrome, the Palins decided not to abort the pregnancy (80% of such pregnancies are aborted in the United States). The governor's official statement is a remarkable testimony of faith and courage:
Trig is beautiful and already adored by us. We knew through early testing he would face special challenges, and we feel privileged that God would entrust us with this gift and allow us unspeakable joy as he entered our lives. We have faith that every baby is created for good purpose and has potential to make this world a better place. We are truly blessed.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cuba libre

Flag of CubaBoth houses of the Minnesota Legislature have passed a resolution that "supports national efforts to remove all trade, financial, and travel restrictions to Cuba." Unfortunately, this resolution as written is silent on the suffering of the Cuban people and economy under the brutal dictatorship of Fidel Castro, darling of the socialist left. Calling for free trade without quid pro quo expansions of political, legal, and economic freedoms for the Cuban people amounts to not much more than the further exploitation of a people who have suffered too much. It would be like trading with Communist China for goodness sakes. (Er, wait a minute...)

I find it disappointing, but not surprising, that the corporate mass media did not bother to get any reactions from the Cuban expatriate community in Minnesota. A doctor friend of mine fled Cuba in the early 1960s after Castro became prime minister and began "nationalizing (confiscating with the power of armed force without compensation or legal recourse)" private property. We often have conversations about how the liberals in this country love Castro's Cuba so much that they are trying to recreate it in America.

(For a dramatization of what my friend and an entire generation of Cubans experienced during the Cuban Revolution, I recommend the film The Lost City, expat Andy Garcia's love note to his home country. Beautifully written and filmed, it's a Caribbean Casablanca.)

Kudos to reporter Hilary Brueck at the University of Minnesota's student newspaper, the Minnesota Daily, for her concise statement of what's wrong with the Cuban government (even as the rest of her article gives chief author Phyllis Khan (DFL-Minneapolis) a free ride to promote the resolution): "But many still say it will take more than the recent regime change to change U.S. policies on relations with Cuba. A need for free elections, open markets, more human rights, the restoration of political prisoners and property taken during the Fidel Castro regime are just a few of the lingering deal-breakers."

Governor Pawlenty should veto this resolution with apologies to the Cuban people and its expatriate community in Minnesota. As Minnesota Public Radio reported, "House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, questioned the value of spending time on a memorial resolution when the state's budget deficit still isn't resolved." The Legislature should stop wasting time on resolutions outside its purview and get back to the business of the citizens of the State of Minnesota.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Christian nation

Pope Benedict XVI with President George W. Bush and Laura Bush at the White House (photo: The White House)
The United States may not be a nation of all Christians, nevertheless there is still no doubt that we are a Christian nation. This country has a rich Christian heritage that coexists with our traditions of religious tolerance and diversity (which includes atheism). On Wednesday, Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute to this heritage in his remarks to President Bush and the nation. Some excerpts:
From the dawn of the Republic, America's quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation's founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the self-evident truth that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature's God.

The course of American history demonstrates the difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble principles. In that process, which forged the soul of the nation, religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time, too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideas and aspirations.

In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good. Few have understood this as clearly as the late Pope John Paul II. In reflecting on the spiritual victory of freedom over totalitarianism in his native Poland and in Eastern Europe, he reminded us that history shows time and again that "in a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation," and a democracy without values can lose its very soul. Those prophetic words in some sense echo the conviction of President Washington, expressed in his Farewell Address, that religion and morality represent "indispensable supports" of political prosperity.

Democracy can only flourish, as your founding fathers realized, when political leaders and those whom they represent are guided by truth and bring the wisdom born of firm moral principle to decisions affecting the life and future of the nation.

Mr. President, dear friends, as I begin my visit to the United States, I express once more my gratitude for your invitation, my joy to be in your midst, and my fervent prayers that Almighty God will confirm this nation and its people in the ways of justice, prosperity and peace. God bless America.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Grogan to challenge Benson in 43B

Brian Grogan was endorsed by a unanimous voice vote at last night's House District 43B endorsing convention. The two other candidates for the endorsement, Ryan Shore and longtime Senate District 43 activist Paul Franson, both withdrew as candidates and delivered endorsement speeches for Grogan prior to the vote.

The "A" side of SD 43 has in recent years been the "power" side of the district, with David Gaither serving in the state Senate and Governor Pawlenty's office, Jeff Johnson in the state House of Representatives, and Judy Johnson serving on the Plymouth City Council and as mayor. With Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth) defending her HD 43A seat against DFLer Clint Faust, "B" side Republicans now have a candidate to challenge incumbent John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka).

In Brian Grogan, 43B Republicans have endorsed an articulate, well-organized, and committed conservative candidate. He has been vetted by the Senate District, and many if not most in attendance at last night's convention volunteered for his campaign committee. Grogan will file with the State of Minnesota as a candidate today, and then it will be off to the races.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

43B to endorse tonight

Republican delegates from House District 43B (Plymouth-Minnetonka) will convene tonight to endorse a candidate for Minnesota House of Representatives, to run against incumbent John Benson (DFL-Minnetonka).

I am a delegate in this district, which judging from the turnout at our precinct caucuses is still fairly conservative. I have been contacted by two candidates so far, Ryan Shore and Brian Grogan.

Shore, a Minnetonka resident, espouses the right views, but his letter to delegates seems to have been assembled in a hurry, and contains very little background information on the candidate.

Grogan, a Minnetonka resident since 1991, is a financial services advisor. He first contacted me at the SD 43 convention, handing me a resume with a handshake and an introduction. On Saturday, he even dropped by my house to introduce himself again, answer questions, and ask for my vote. I have received a couple of mailings from him, including a well-written letter explaining why he is running and what he stands for:
I pledge my committment to fight for lower taxes, efficiently run government and legislation to address the growing illegal immigrant issue. I want to assure you that your support for me will be rewarded with my deeply held conviction that I will always stand by the Republican leadership and core Republican values. Lastly, I will run with vigor, enthusiasm and stay on message. Benson can be defeated but it will take a candidate with strong communication skills, outgoing personality, a strong message and leadership skills. These are my strong suits.

So Grogan contacted me roughly once a week over the last 30 days, and looked like a candidate while doing so. This tells me that this guy not only wants to represent 43B Republicans in Saint Paul, he just may have the wherewithal to get there. He is also active in the Hopkins public schools, Jaycees, and youth ministry. He is married with three school-age children.

I will be listening closely to the candidate speeches tonight, but unless David Gaither or Brian Sullivan suddenly move into HD 43B, I think I know whom I will be supporting.

House District 43B Endorsing Convention
Minnetonka Community Center
14600 Minnetonka Boulevard
Tonight, Wednesday, April 16, 2008
7:00 p.m. (registration opens at 6:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cross one off Erik Paulsen's to-do list

1. Underestimate Ashwin Madia.

Previously on Minnesota Democrats Exposed, and on prominent lefty blogs, the presumptive DFL endorsee for Third Congressional District Representative, current Minnesota SD 43 Senator Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka), conceded after the eighth ballot to her challenger, one of Bonoff's Plymouth constituents, political newcomer, attorney, USMC veteran, and ex-Republican Ashwin Madia (that's pronounced ASH-win — as in his supporters' chant "Win Ash-win!" — ma-DEE-ah), at the DFL Third Congressional District convention at Wayzata Central Middle School, which incidentially is deep in the heart of Bonoff's SD 43.

State Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Eden Prairie) will stand unopposed for the Republican Third District endorsement on Saturday. Look for both candidates to cement their support with their respective party bases, then run toward the center, while portraying their opponents as being too far to the left or right for the Third District.

If Paulsen runs his campaign like an heir apparent going through the motions against a political newcomer, or if his campaign falls into this mindset, he could become the second candidate to be defeated by Madia. Yet there's not much chance of Paulsen running a lackadaisical campaign. As former state director for Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN3), Paulsen is used to campaigning hard and taking nothing for granted.

While the campaigns, media, and blogs will eagerly enagage in a partisan firefight, Third District independent voters will have little patience for such theatrics. The unique dynamics of the candidates and this race may actually steer things toward the mythical "spirited debate on the issues." We can only hope.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Minnesota majority

Tax cut rally 2008 (photo: North Star Liberty
Thousands of dedicated conservatives braved an icy wind chill to shout their support for lower taxes and smaller, less intrusive government at Saturday's Tax Cut Rally, hosted by Jason Lewis and 100.3 KTLK-FM. The most encouraging thing about this year's annual event was its continuing — you'll pardon the expression — evolution beyond a radio station promotional event to a trade fair of conservative thought and organizations.

I was able to distribute hundreds of True North business cards to spread the word about the online hub of conservative thought in Minnesota. The most prominent fiscal conservative organization in the state, the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, had not one but two booths where signs and information were distributed. Its president Phil Krinkie handed out copies of the Taxpayer League 2007 legislative scorecards. They also had copies of the Derek Brigham-designed "wanted" poster, featuring the mug shots of the six Republican legislators who brought you the largest tax increase in state history.

Minnesota Majority's booth was packed with forty laptop computers for folks to sign their online tax-cut petition, and there were long lines to sign up. (Go to the web site if you missed signing up at the rally.)

Shar in Minneapolis makes a point (photo: North Star Liberty)

Other groups with a presence at the rally:
  • Global Climate Scam - Exposing the truth about global warming hysteria
  • It's My DNA - a project of the Citizens' Council on Health Care opposed to the state of Minnesota's "DNA warehouse"
  • Numbers USA - opposing out-of-control immigration
  • Fair Tax - real tax reform that replaces all payroll and income taxes with a more fair, integrated system
  • Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) - the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus chapter of the national student organization that promotes free market thinking about the environment, economics and policy
  • Twin Cities Republican Association - a dedicated group of Republicans dedicated to preserving (or restoring) conservative values in the Republican Party of Minnesota
  • Minnesotans for Global Warming - "Because it's stupid to politicize the weather"

Speaking of what's hot and what's not: business cards with talking points and a web site address are hot, flyers are not. Business cards are easy to hand out, fairly cheap to produce, they are attractive when printed in color, and you can easily hand out several for redistribution. Flyers are clumsy to hand out and keep (you have to fold them up so they'll fit in your pocket), and they seem to have a more negative connotation. NumbersUSA had a fold-over design with a colorful graph inside showing population and immigration trends (a picture is worth a thousand words).

See True North and for more photos and coverage. Thanks to Jason Lewis, KTLK-FM, Sue Jeffers, and emcee Chris Baker for a festive, successful, and important event. It was fun to see old friends, meet people and connect with groups for the first time. I'm already looking forward to Tax Cut Rally 2009.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Weather to challenge Jason Lewis Tax Cut Coalition

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman." —Thomas Paine

According to Jason Lewis, 100.3 KTLK-FM radio host and driving force of the annual tax cut rallies at the State Capitol, tomorrow conservatives will face a significant test of their resolve and dedication to their core beliefs:

The weather.

It won't be 70 degrees and sunny tomorrow, but it isn't looking like we'll be getting an old-fashioned state high school tournament blizzard either.

Besides the speeches, tomorrow's rally is shaping up into the place to be for independent, movement conservatives. I will be joining my colleagues from True North in distributing business cards with our URL. Conservative organizations will have a presence to network and share information. And a lot of conservative bloggers, politicos, BPOU leaders, and other riff-raff you've only read about will be milling around for some face time with people like you.

Conservatives are generally too busy earning a living, raising kids, taking care of their homes, and volunteering in the community to go to rallies, so allow me to explain: a huge crowd tomorrow in spite of the weather will say a lot about the conservative movement in this state. A small crowd tomorrow will also say a lot, just not the message we might want to send.

Jason Lewis Tax Cut Coalition Rally
Minnesota State Capitol
Saturday, April 12, 2008
12:00 noon
Park-and-ride at Midway Stadium
Further info:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bonoff leaves Grieving Parents Act behind

Sen. Terri Bonoff and Ashwin Madia, who will vie for the DFL endorsement for the Third Congressional District tomorrow, will debate today on Minnesota Public Radio's Midday, at 11:00 am (91.1 KNOW-FM in the Twin Cities).

State Sen. Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka) has removed her name as chief author of the Grieving Parents Act, SF 1739, a very short bill designed to address a simple yet often devastating problem: giving mothers information about burial and cremation options in the case of a miscarriage.

Miscarriage happens, yet parents are often left confused and without a clue about their options, even as they deal with grief and disappointment. Prenatal classes are focused on the birth process and infant care. Sometimes they are informed of their options, sometimes they are not. This bill would ensure that no parents are left in the latter situation. Many hospitals and clinics are likely already in compliance. Minimal effort would be required to bring the rest in line.

The companion bill in the House has been through committee hearings with bipartisan support, gaining co-authors from both parties, and had its second reading in that body. Pro-choice groups are officially neutral on this bill, as they have been on similar bills in other states. So why has the Senate version, with its first reading on March 12, not even had a hearing in committee — with Bonoff, a member of the majority party and until recently the bill's chief author?

Last Saturday, on their "Final Word" radio show on AM 1280 The Patriot, King Banaian and Michael Brodkorb interviewed the two women who are the bill's main citizen advocates: Sandy Maclean and Elizabeth Levang. Brodkorb is covering this developing issue extensively in his blog, Minnesota Democrats Exposed. Although partisan politics is certainly part and parcel of this environment, Maclean and Levang clearly had no partisan agenda by coming forward. They simply want their bill passed and signed into law, thereby at least somewhat easing the pain of other parents dealing with future miscarriages.

Do hospitals and clinics need another regulation? That's a question that should be debated, so why not move the bill into committee hearings so that debate can occur?

Maclean and Levang say that Bonoff basically gave them the brushoff when confronted with the inaction on this bill in the Senate, and when they heard (not from Bonoff) that she was withdrawing her name as chief author. As Minnesota Democrats Exposed reported, Bonoff "told Maclean the bill was 'no longer a priority' for her."

Lefty blogs cover Bonoff's endorsement bid

Bonoff replied to an e-mail request for comment for this story, but follow-up phone calls were not returned. I realize that Bonoff is very busy with the upcoming DFL endorsement vote for Member of Congress in the Third District, tomorrow at Wazyata Central Middle School in Plymouth. Her rival for the endorsement is Ashwin Madia, who was recently endorsed by the controversial Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-5).

The incumbent state senator has faced an uphill battle against the political newcomer Madia, who according to Minnesota Campaign Report has the lead in delegates going into tomorrow's convention. Minnesota Monitor reported on serious doubts by DFL insiders about Bonoff. mnblue said that Madia "communicates what he believes so much better and so much more convincingly," and reported on the increasingly negative campaign by Bonoff against Madia. MNPublius promises extensive coverage of Saturday's endorsing convention, the winner of which will face Republican Erik Paulsen in the general election.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Charlton Heston (1924-2008)

Here are my favorite lines of movie dialogue, from classic to camp, delivered by the great actor and patriot Charlton Heston, who died over the weekend:

"Go, proclaim liberty throughout all the land, and to all the inhabitants thereof." —The Ten Commandments (1956), from Leviticus 25:10; also inscribed on the Liberty Bell

"Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!" —Planet of the Apes (1968)

"Soylent Green is people!" —Soylent Green (1973)

Later in life, Heston was known for his advocacy of gun rights and a clear understanding of the Second Amendment:

"I simply cannot stand by and watch a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States come under attack from those who either can't understand it, don't like the sound of it, or find themselves too philosophically squeamish to see why it remains the first among equals: Because it is the right we turn to when all else fails. That's why the Second Amendment is America's first freedom." —speech to the National Press Club, September 14, 1997

"The Founders' intent in framing the Second Amendment is perfectly clear and undeniable. Thomas Jefferson wrote, 'No man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.' Some anti-gun elitists declare this notion outdated. However, many constitutional scholars from this country's most prestigious universities agree that the Founders' intent is clear and irreversible: To 'keep and bear arms' is a right for all law-abiding citizens." —Letter to the New York Times, May 12, 1998

"There's no such thing as a good gun. There's no such thing as a bad gun. A gun in the hands of a bad man is a very dangerous thing. A gun in the hands of a good person is no danger to anyone except the bad guys." —Repeated by Heston in several venues on various dates

Friday, April 04, 2008

Protesters welcome here, police on their own?

LT. GORMAN: "Look... we can't have any firing in there. I, uh... I want you to collect magazines from everybody."
PVT. FROST: "What the hell are we supposed to use man? Harsh language?"

—from Aliens (1986)

Chris Baker (100.3 KTLK-FM) on his radio show this morning relayed a report from the StarTribune that Twin Cities cops are being told by their politician bosses to show their kinder, gentler side to anarchist vandals and free-speech oppressors to the 2008 Republican Convention to be hosted here this fall.

"Officers have been told that Tasers and chemical sprays will be limited to reduce the risk of abuse," according to the report. "Those on the 'front lines' will be prohibited from wearing helmets and carrying riot shields because such gear would appear 'intimidating.'"

It appears that the mission on the ground has changed from law enforcement to public relations. This is a developing story.

UPDATE: Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Robert Allen told Chris Baker that he has not received the letter mentioned in the Strib, and that officer safety and law enforcement are their top priority. Where did the Strib get this letter?

UPDATE: Baker spoke with Police Federation President John Delmonico, who like Allen was also quoted in the Strib story. Delmonico stands by his serious concerns about MPD administration commitment to officer safety and riot control. Baker is on this story like white on rice. Stay tuned.