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vote2All progressives in these districts need to get out AND CRUSH THE WINGNUTS!!!!!
Senate District 35 includes Ramsey, Andover, and Anoka. The DFL candidate is Roger Johnson. He’s running against Jim Abeler (R) and Zachary Phelps (Legal Marijuana Now). This is a tough, red district and we need every vote. Frigid, crappy weather should hold down turnout and thereby ripen our upset chances.

House District 50B is in Bloomington. Our candidate is Andrew Carlson. I wrote about this one here.


Because you can’t make up this stuff

by Dog Gone on February 8, 2016 · 0 comments

Donald Trump and the rest of the 2016 cast of clown candidates are all promoting some degree of Islamophobia, to gin up fear among their base in the hopes that will translate into votes.  I have routinely – and accurately – described conservative voters as poorly educated, and as being low information voters, and as being bigots.


Nothing makes that point more clearly than this sad commentary on the lack of geography and history knowledge among United States citizens  (from Public Policy Polling, December 2015):


…41% of his [Donald Trump] supporters would favor
bombing Agrabah to only 9% who are opposed to doing that. Agrabah is the
country from Aladdin. Overall 30% of Republican primary voters say they
support bombing it to 13% who are opposed.

Sadly, the Dems are better, but not by nearly enough of a margin to avoid shame.


We asked the same question
of Democrats, and 36% of them opposed bombing Agrabah to 19% in support.

I can only hope that in the context of polling questions, which often come at inconvenient times while respondents are multi-tasking, that there was some unfortunate confusion with a familiar sounding place name not registering correctly as fiction rather than fact.
To elaborate further on the poll which produced that sad bit of Islamophobia, from Public Policy Polling year-end:


-54% support Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, to only 25% who oppose it.
Among Trump’s own supporters there’s 82/5 support for it. Cruz voters
favor it as well, 57/25. Rubio voters are pretty evenly divided on it
with 39% in favor and 40% opposed, while Bush voters oppose it 21/37.
-46% support a national database of Muslims, to only 37% opposed.
Trump voters support this 66/15 but voters for the other top candidates
are more closely divided- Cruz’s (40/41) and Rubio’s (44/45) narrowly
oppose it while Bush’s (36/49) do by a wider spread.
-36% think thousands of Arabs in New Jersey cheered when the World
Trade Center collapsed to 35% who don’t think that happened. Supporters
of Trump (49/24) and Cruz (47/22) both pretty firmly think that occurred
while Bush (37/51) and Rubio (22/46) voters don’t think it did.
-Only 28% of GOP primary voters go so far as to think mosques in the
United States should be shut down to 47% opposed to that. Trump voters
are on an island on that issue- they support it 45/28 but backers of
Cruz (23/40) and especially Rubio (18/66) and Bush (14/68) are strongly
against it.
-Supporters of most of the major GOP candidates agree with the basic
premise that Islam should be legal in the United States- it’s 59/21 with
Cruz voters, 67/11 with Bush voters, and 77/10 with Rubio voters. Trump
supporters are off on their own on that one too though- just 33% think
Islam should be legal to 42% who think it should be illegal. Overall 53%
of primary voters think Islam should be allowed to just 26% who don’t
think it should be.

To put some of these findings about real modern day issues and Trump
voters in context, 41% of his voters think Japanese internment was a
good thing, to 37% who don’t.

While I expect Trump’s popularity to continue to decline overall, I sadly do not expect the insidious and deep rooted Islamophobia on the right to do so.


The time has come for the big field of Republicans to go away, according to this recent info from the Huff Po:


A majority of likely Republican voters think that every candidate save Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), businessman Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson should drop out. (The survey was conducted in part before Paul and Santorum’s announcements, but finds ample support for the idea of them ending their respective campaigns.)

The other GOP candidates whom voters say they wouldn’t miss much include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.

Even Carson is teetering on the bubble — 43 percent say he should quit the race, compared to the 12 percent or fewer who say the same about Trump, Rubio or Cruz.

According to a poll by, this is what failure looks like:


But when asked who is most likely to win the primary overall, only 27% of Republicans cite Trump, down 30 points from a poll conducted just days before caucus night. 29% now expect Marco Rubio to be the nominee, following the Florida senator’s surprisingly strong finish in Iowa. Last week, only 9% thought Rubio was most likely to win. Expectations for Ted Cruz, at 24%, are slightly behind Cruz and Trump. No other candidate is higher than 2%.

I applaud Ben Carson for his polite skepticism regarding the apology from Ted Cruz, the one where he indicated he would wait to see what the actions of Cruz show about his sincerity.  The reality though is that Carson would likely come in third out of three among the candidates from Florida, Rubio, Bush and Carson. It is not clear that any one of those three could win Florida in a national election, with Florida being an important swing state essential to achieving the presidency.  Carson is an idiot savant, brilliant in his profession, but clearly prone to weird and wandering statements that indicate he lacks the broad, well-rounded education and background necessary for the presidency.  He is unpopular outside of the other crazy evangelical extremists like himself, and losing ground fast.


Serious obstacles for PolyMet

by Dan Burns on February 5, 2016 · 0 comments

stoppolymetAnd I’m a little more confident, these days, that they won’t be overcome.

Paula Maccabee still holds out hope that the state and federal agencies whose permission is needed to open the door to copper–nickel mining in Minnesota will yet come to their senses — but just in case they don’t, she is prepared to sue.
As attorney for WaterLegacy…Maccabee submitted an 80–page comment to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), alleging violations of the federal Clean Water Act…
Now that the “Co–Lead Agencies” (PolyMet, the DNR, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the US Forest Service) have finalized their plans, PolyMet can begin applying for a multitude of federal, state, and local operational permits — and mining critics can begin sharpening their legal arguments to fight back.
Maccabee says the Final Environmental Impact Statement violates Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, which governs the regulation of discharge into American waterways. “In their words, if you want to destroy the waters of the United States, there are specific requirements under the Clean Water Act.”
(Zenith City News)

But righteous people may not even have to go to court.

The announcement late last Wednesday that Glencore had agreed to loan PolyMet another $11 million to pay for an update to its definitive feasibility study, was greeted by some as a piece of good news — that suggests the giant Swiss-based commodities broker still sees potential in the company’s NorthMet copper-nickel mine despite the recent collapse in metals prices.
Yet the terms of the loan, and the likely results of the feasibility update, point to a project that’s teetering on life support. While PolyMet saw a bump in its stock price in November with the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement, investors have grown increasingly pessimistic ever since. As of this week, the company’s stock price had recovered slightly, to 89 cents, but is still down 20-percent since its post-FEIS peak. Savvy investors can’t be unaware that major copper mines around the world are being shuttered by companies like Glencore, Rio Tinto, and others, in a desperate attempt to stem the financial bleeding and the production oversupply that has cut copper prices in half from their peaks in the late 2000s.
The nickel market has been even more brutal, as prices for the metal have fallen by nearly 75 percent from the levels that PolyMet had assumed in its 2008 update of its feasibility study…

Even if an updated financial assessment shows a modest profit, it’s difficult to imagine the scenario under which the massively debt-laden Glencore opts to sink another $650 million into copper-nickel production it needs like a hole in the head.


Rand Paul and Another Libertarian Fizzle

by SJGulitti on February 4, 2016 · 0 comments

If Rand Paul had ever had the juice behind his presidential bid that Donald Trump had and then failed to perform I’d label his departure from the 2016 race a flameout. However in this case, as in many libertarian efforts in the past, it’s really just another fizzle. An analysis of Rand Paul’s political fortunes shows that he has been consistently mired in single digit support levels or low double digits at best. This can be verified by an analysis of the data in RealClear Politics and going back to the beginning of the 2016 presidential campaign, referenced below.
Every time Americans become disillusioned or disenchanted with government, particularly the concept of “big” government, the country’s Libertarians seem to pop up like mushrooms after a spring rain touting their well worn, stock critique about how we currently govern ourselves. Every time this happens more than a few politicians suddenly voice support for Libertarian ideas, say that they are devotees of Ayn Rand or that they subscribe to the ideas of the Mises Institute with its the Austrian school of economics and libertarian political theory. Conservative media  grabs onto the new found enthusiasm for Libertarian ideas with headline stories or an interview of some small band of college Libertarians who, like Pope Urban the Second, proclaim that we are on the verge of a great crusade to free people from the serfdom of modern government, one which will take us back to the realm of the unencumbered “noble savage’ who is free to do as he pleases, the public be damned. And every time, as in the past, this passing flirtation with Libertarianism fades as the dynamics of the American political process plays itself out. What is noteworthy about this latest Libertarian fizzle is that even during a time of great turmoil in the American political life where so many are searching for something new or revolutionary, the ideas of our current Libertarian standard bearer have been trampled underfoot in the melee of the 2016 presidential contest, left to bleed out on the field of political battle and largely ignored.


Minnesota legislative elections news 2/4/16

by Dan Burns on February 4, 2016 · 0 comments

Minnesota-State-CapitolThese updates do not purport to include everything. Not even close.
– In SD52, Sen. Jim Metzen (DFL-South St. Paul) is retiring. Here’s an article about his service from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. One suspects that plenty of DFLers are contemplating a run, as this is one of those seats that, once you have it as a Democrat, it’s likely pretty effortlessly yours for as long as you like. But no one’s made it official yet, that I can find.

– In HD52B, Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) is retiring. Ditto on who might be running.

Liz Olson is running as a DFLer in House 7B (Duluth). That’s the seat being vacated by DFLer Eric Simonson, so he can run in SD7, along with DFLer Sharla Gardner.

– Tiffany Stenglein, who lives in Brainerd, is running for the SD10 seat currently held by Sen. Carrie Ruud (R-Breezy Point).


Minnesota Republicans fiddle while miners suffer

by Dan Burns on February 3, 2016 · 1 comment

imagesqtbnANd9GcRhlLTHok0fDiQpsx_IVQRQg-lVMpygkf1rEyJsns1mZT-bzjRXRemember how the Minnesota GOP was going to be the party on the right side of the “rural/urban divide,” standing up at every opportunity for real Minnesotans vs. those snotty liberals in the metro? Yeah, right.

Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday he’s abandoned plans for a special legislative session to tackle jobless aid for laid-off Iron Rangers after Republicans demanded business tax cuts in exchange for their session support.
In his first public appearance since being released from the hospital Monday after fainting, Dayton struck a pugnacious tone, scolding GOP leaders for being unwilling to meet in special session to extend $29 million in unemployment benefits to out-of-work mine workers on the Range, fix state drivers licenses to meet federal ID standards and address racial economic disparities.

You presumably recall how Republican legislators were similarly responsive to efforts to aid the Mille Lacs Lake area after walleye fishing had to be stopped for a while. And how their priority throughout the 2015 regular session was blowing the whole budget surplus, and then some, on yet more tax cut welfare for the super-rich.

Whether House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) and his pals are coming up with this on their own, or are operating under orders from the American Legislative Exchange Council, doesn’t really matter in practical terms. Either way, they’re unfit to govern, and voters need to know that.

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MN-03: DFLer Tollefson enters race

by Dan Burns on February 1, 2016 · 0 comments

tollefsonGood deal.

After his experience abroad, Jon returned home to Minnesota to advance local economic and health policy issues, working for the Minnesota High Tech Association and now the Minnesota Nurses Association.
Jon Tollefson is running to bring the true values of Minnesotans to Washington: real fiscal responsibility, investments in education and transportation that lead to jobs and economic growth, and affordable access to health care for all. Jon wants to fight to create a better government, one that actually functions for the people it represents.
(Jon Tollefson for Congress)

I and undoubtedly others will have plenty more to say about why the incumbent, Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), very, very badly needs to be the incumbent no longer, as of next January. For now, this:

Reviewing Erik Paulsen’s fourth quarter fundraising report, is very telling … telling that he is the consummate Washington insider … including $405,261 from Political Action Committees and big donors and only $2,133 from small donors.
Yep, that’s right the Medical Device Manufacturers PAC gave more money to his re-election campaign with one check, than all small donors combined !
(MN Political Roundtable)


clown car

Candidate limousine pulls in for tonight’s GOP debate

I’ll be live-blogging the GOP debate tonight. It will be broadcast and webcast on Fox News, and I’ll be watching with you, or listening more likely since I’ll be looking at the form where I write this. I’m not sure if just listening or also watching makes a difference. There was a story from the debate between Richard Nixon and John Kennedy during the 1960 campaign that people who watched on TV thought Kennedy won, but the radio audience thought Nixon won. It sounds like one of those stories that gets passed along as conventional wisdom, but now I’m wondering if the was Nixon campaign spin after he lost, trying to make it sound like if you thought Kennedy won, you’re a shallow person moved by a handsome face with better makeup, and what’s that say about you? Anyway, maybe I’ll have a different take from listening instead of watching.
If you’re new to this live blogging stuff, it’s a bit like live tweeting except you don’t have to keep hunting through Twitter and I can comment in over 140 characters. Just reload this page once in a while to get the latest pithy comment from me. But do your own fact-checking because I’ll mention when I catch a factual error, or think something is just being made up, but I won’t have time to research and link.
The debate starts at 8 central time. Click the “read more” link to, try not to be surprised, read more.

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The Delusions of the MN GOP

by Dog Gone on January 28, 2016 · 0 comments

‘classy’ gold-plated clown car

This morning I heard an interview on MPR with MN GOP chair Keith Downey waxing rhapsodic over the glorious candidates available to conservative voters, including Donald Trump.  Downey was enthused with the diverse attention that candidates like Trump have brought to the 2016 race, viewing it as favorable to his party.


I think Mr. Downey needs to have his head examined for his apparently deliberate confusing of the gawker attention given to train wrecks as distinct from genuine admiration and support.  This Pew analysis of 2012 voting patterns reveals the difference between the crazy fringies who turn out for primaries and caucuses, and those who vote in the general election:

This analysis is based on 1,575 Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters who are part of Pew Research Center’s nationally-representative American Trends Panel, and who could be matched to the national voter file. 1

The GOP primary electorate represented a relatively small share of those who went on to vote in the general election. Of Republicans who were verified to have voted in the general election, only 25% are verified as having voted in Republican primaries or caucuses in 2012; while 75% do not have a record of having voted in the primaries or caucuses that year. 2


No one in their right mind would find anything wonderful in the 2016 cast of characters on the right, stuffed into what is now, at best, a gold-plated clown car (classy!)  I’m sure Mr. Downey is well aware, for example, of the recent Pew Poll from a week ago which examined how the candidates are regarded.
Hillary Clinton had the best result among those polled to be a great president, followed by Donald Trump; however Turmp far and away had the highest percentage of poll respondents who thought he would be a TERRIBLE president. Voting this election, more than recent previous years, may very well be voting AGAINST candidates than for them – a vote Trump would lose for president. I would argue that underlines the difference between “interest” and enthusiastic support.
Fellow extremist Ted Cruz got far fewer views as a great president, but also fewer negatives, while Bernie Sanders came in ahead of Cruz (barely) as a great president.  Cruz, Sanders and Ben Carson all faced problems with respondents even knowing who they were, compared to either Trump or Clinton.


Looking at the same time frame,  Pew Polling indicates Democrats hate Trump more than Republicans hate Clinton.
So while Clinton approval ratings may be declining, it is arguable that opposition to Trump is increasing far faster.  And even among Republicans, the opposition to the extremist crazies, like Trump, Cruz, and/or Carson is high.  Additionally, it’s a pretty safe bet that Jeb hasn’t a prayer of being the presidential candidate (now or ever, I would hazard).


From a Pew Poll the first week of January 2016:
While I expect Keith Downey to try to spin how crazy bad the candidates are on the right, it is presumably what he is paid to do, the numbers are pretty clear.  Donald Trump is not electable, and I would argue neither is Ted Cruz, or Ben Carson who has largely disappeared from popular radar; while the enthusiasm is even far lower for any of the other more sane establishment candidates, it is also less likely that any of them would bring out the voters either — perhaps even less so than with the lack of enthusiasm for Mitt Romney last time around.
Perhaps it is unkind of me to be so skeptical of Downey and the conservative candidates – never more so than when the straw poll this time around will be for real.  Let me point out that the winner of the last presidential election straw poll in Minnesota was Santorum (who also won in the Iowa primary….eventually, with our own crazy-eyes Michele Bachmann winning the Iowa straw poll), while the convention winner for candidate later that summer was Ron Paul.  Somehow all of that irrelevance escaped comment from Mr. Downey, at least in what I heard of his interview.


Given their past track record, I would NOT expect much of what passes for the MN GOP caucus to have any relationship to the actual election in November.  But pop the popcorn and bring on the elephants; the debates make excellent entertainment.


gold plated clown charm