Recent Posts

How is climate change like racism?

by Eric Ferguson on November 26, 2015 · 1 comment

How is climate change like racism? Conservatives don’t want to believe it’s even real.
Sorry if that setup led to an expectation of a funny punchline instead of a literal similarity.
Anyone reading this site is likely familiar with science denial. Pretending the country doesn’t have a racism problem might be called news denial since even if someone doesn’t experience racism in their personal lives, it’s not like examples don’t make the news. Still, some conservatives don’t want to believe it, saying things like, “I Don’t Think There’s Racism” as if they lived in a bubble. “As if”?
Just this week, Donald Trump tweeted a factually wrong — in a racist way — graphic that came from a neo-nazi; blacks participating in a protest against police abuse of black civilians at the 4th police precinct in Minneapolis were shot by white supremacists.
And the Republican Party in Minnesota’s 7th congressional district gained unwanted attention with this posting to its Facebook page (click to enlarge):

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No, Really … Thanks, Mr. President!

by Invenium Viam on November 25, 2015 · 1 comment

Thanks, Obama!There’s a meme — Thanks Obama! — that ironically blames the President for everything that’s gone wrong, or has ever gone wrong.


This Thanksgiving, as I look at the Republican presidential contenders — with their bombast and bravado, their lies and deflections, their twisted ideology and sickening pandering to the extreme right, their unworkable domestic policy and insane foreign policy, their war-mongering, fear-mongering and utter lack of integrity — I feel compelled to give thanks for having as my president a man of compassion, intellect, integrity, courage, vision and dignity.


Thanks, Mr. President. No, really, for my children and grandchildren — thanks.
Comment below fold.

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daudtThis is from a couple of days ago. There’s been no change that I know of.

Gov. Mark Dayton isn’t playing along with House Republicans’ call to link a PolyMet project pledge to a special session for unemployed steelworkers.
Dayton is aiming to call a special session to extend unemployment benefits for miners in northeastern Minnesota. A tide of closures at Iron Range mines mean some those benefits may expire soon as this month. Minnesota’s Legislature isn’t set to return until early March.
House Speaker Kurt Daudt says Dayton should vow not to interfere in the PolyMet mine review and an oil pipeline in planning.
(CBS Minnesota)

That language is finessing the matter pretty flagrantly. What Daudt wants is blanket, no-conditions approval for both PolyMet and Sandpiper, and if he doesn’t get it, miners can become destitute for all he cares. To be precise, what the Kochtopus’s American Legislative Exchange Council wants is Daudt’s agenda, without significant exception.
Well, next election will be a very good time to make him wish that he had cared. We need strong DFL turnout statewide, to take back the House and depose this wretched pr*ck. Moreover, we already have a candidate in Daudt’s district, Sarah Udvig. Check it out here.


Columbia Heights School Board: Hala Asamarai

by gregladen on November 24, 2015 · 0 comments

2355690Full disclosure. I don’t know Dr. Hala Asamarai, but my wife knows her very well. They taught together at Columbia Heights when Hala was just starting out as a student teacher. They worked together for quite some time and have remained friends and colleagues since. Amanda has a very high opinion of Hala, and that’s a very good starting point.
Hala Asamarai is running for the Columbia Heights School Board in a special election that will be held on December 1st, and I’m asking you to support her.
You will recall that a while back a Columbia Heights school board member made inappropriate remarks about Muslims. The board voted on his removal, but that vote has to be unanimous. One of the offending member’s buddies did not vote in favor of his removal, so the board continued with status quo. Later, under increasing pressure, both of these members resigned.
Let me tell you a little story that I should probably not relate publicly, but screw it. Years ago I was at an event in Columbia Heights. The event happened to be attended by a very large proportion of people who were not, shall we say, the typical white resident that Columbia Heights, as a city, formerly consisted primarily of. There were people who had immigrated from countries all around the world to find their way, eventually, to Columbia Heights.
A man at the gathering was talking to another guy, and I happened to overhear. He made mention of the presence of all these people from outside, and noted that, “I suppose we have to get used to this.”
That was actually a fairly positive remark. It was better than, say, white supremacists showing up in North Minneapolis and shooting a bunch of Blacks Lives Matters protestors and supporters. It was better than making a straight on anti-Muslim remark. Could have been worse. On the other hand, the remark, in context, indicated resignation over something undesirable. It was not welcoming. At best, it was less than unwelcoming as it could have been.


I believe the arrest was made this morning.

One suspect has been arrested following a shooting about a block from the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct, where Black Lives Matter and other protesters have been camped out for more than a week following the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark…
Police said Tuesday they have arrested one person – a white 23-year-old male – in connection with the shooting, which happened near 1400 Morgan Avenue North around 10:40 p.m. Monday, a news release says…

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis posted on its Facebook page “white supremacists” were involved in the shooting, saying they “attacked the #4thPrecinctShutdown in an act of domestic terrorism.”
(Bring Me The News)


Time to change our comparative focus on education

by Dan Burns on November 24, 2015 · 0 comments

teachersAnd an additional item.

We conclude that the most important lessons U.S. policymakers can learn about improving education emerge from examining why some U.S. states have made large gains in math and reading and achieve high average test scores. The lessons embedded in how these states increased student achievement in the past two decades are much more relevant to improving student outcomes in other U.S. states than looking to high-scoring countries with social, political, and educational histories that differ markedly from the U.S. experience. No matter how great the differences among U.S. states’ social and educational conditions, they are far smaller than the differences between the United States as a whole and, say, Finland, Poland, Korea, or Singapore. As such, this report starts the process of delving into the rich data available on student academic performance in U.S. states over the past 20 years—and shows that the many major state successes should be our main guide for improving U.S. education.
(Economic Policy Institute)



vetI doubt that will mind if I go ahead and blockquote a big chunk of an email that I got from them.


Earlier this week, “the main arm” of the Koch Brothers’ political network, Freedom Partners, disclosed its political giving for 2014 in their annual tax filing. We thought you’d find this interesting:
They granted $12.7m to Concerned Veterans for America for “General Support.” It was Freedom Partners’ largest gift of the year.
So what are the Koch Brothers’ looking for with their gift to Concerned Veterans of America? It’s simple: The privatization of the veterans’ health care and military retirement plans, organizing for the repeal Obamacare, and dismantling the unions that work within the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Setting up an odious astroturf organization and giving it a name like “Concerned so-and-so” is unfortunately a tried-and-true method for deceiving uninformed and gullible voters who lean conservative, and even some who don’t. Something like “classless” doesn’t fairly describe tactics like that. “Despicable” and “contemptible” are more like it.
The CEO of CVA is Pete Hegseth, who couldn’t even beat Kurt Bills for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Minnesota in 2012. And whose primary public notoriety now comes from nearly literally sticking an axe into a bystander during an ill-advised publicity stunt. Much more about Hegseth, from Developers are Crabgrass, here.

Comment below fold.


Message testing for legislative elections

by Eric Ferguson on November 21, 2015 · 0 comments

pothole signThe state senate district where I’m the DFL chair happens to be deep blue, not one where we have to worry much about holding on to our legislative seats. However, as our incumbent legislators remind local DFLers, they can’t get much done when they’re in the minority. Even their seniority and designation by their caucus as a committee ranking member won’t stop vindictive Republicans from kicking them off said committee. So our safe-seat legislators need more DFLers to win in not-safe seats, which gets to why our district did some message testing when it would appear we really don’t have to — and maybe, doing the minimum, we don’t have to. But we want to win; as in a majority of seats, not just the easy-to-get majority of the votes in our district.
Now when I say “message testing”, I don’t mean some proper bit of research your political science professor would have approved of. We don’t have those sorts of resources, at least with other things we have to do. But we can still do something. We can’t pretend what we did is strong research we could get published in a proper political science journal. But we think we have something useful.
Specifically, we have two issues where we did some testing, one intended for offense and one for defense: the offense being automatic voter registration, and the defense being paying for transportation infrastructure. The forum was the tables we set up at neighborhood events in our district as we do each summer and autumn. Usually we have a passel of candidates to talk about, but most of our district, ironically enough given my plea to pay attention to local elections this year, had no elections, and it happened that was the part of the district with neighborhood events where we could set up. Normally our top priority at these events is voter registration, and next trying to strike up conversations so we can find out what prospective voters are thinking about. If anyone wants some jargon, this is sometimes referred to as an “untargeted canvas”. Generally of course, most people are already registered (though some aren’t, and they would not have shown up in a list of registered voters) and they don’t have an issue to comes to mind right at that moment, so we took advantage of having no candidates to test reaction to messages on those two issues. We had flyers on each issue (which we’re willing to share with other party units) but no one sees those right away, so we’re bringing up whichever issue we bring up and flyers are details and follow-up. Basically it’s verbal communication combined with paper they can take with them.


terroristThe days since the Paris attacks have been as disgracefully vile in American politics and American media as anything I’ve ever seen. A couple of items of particular interest.

It was well documented that during the run-up to the Iraq war there was tremendous pressure coming from the executive suite of the news networks to cheerlead for the administration. Those who resisted were marginalized and fired if they refused to go along. It’s unlikely that the word went forth on Saturday that reporters should get on a war footing and issue demands that the president use “the greatest military in the world” to “take out these bastards.” But they don’t have to say it explicitly do they? Everyone knows the drill.
There is no doubt the Republicans are getting ready to launch a full blown campaign of paranoid bloodlust which, if successful, would have devastating consequences. The media were willing recruits in their cause fifteen years ago. Let’s hope they gather their wits about them before they take us down that dangerous road again.

Billions of dollars have been spent and hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the global war on terror. At every step of the way, Western governments played directly into the hands of Islamic extremists, falling for their ploys and fueling their ambitions. As Osama Bin Laden tauntingly proclaimed back in 2004, “All that we have to do is to send two mujahadin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written Al-Qaeda, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.”
For the handful of ideologues guiding the forever war, those personal and political benefits justified the price of failure. After the latest assault on Paris, it’s not surprising to see them clamoring for more force, more surveillance, more silence from progressives and more airtime for themselves. As they occupy the political center, the grayzone fades to black.

Comment below fold.


Three monkeys
Dem’s on Hillary’s Ties to Wall Street

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 : King James Bible



OK, so I took lot of heat from people who know me about my last post Wall Street Corruption Could Sink both Hillary and the Democrats in 2016. The major complaint seems to be that Hillary’s sins aren’t any darker than a hundred other pols who prefer to be elected when they run, so why get my undies all in a bunch and create discord and rancor where none exists? Like, chill, man … it’s all good.


Maybe I’m just an excitable guy. I think some of the unhappiness comes from the fact that that blog post got cross-linked and added to several progressive blogs around the country that have pulled together a list of scholarly articles about Hillary’s ties to Wall Street. That tends to make some folks a little queasy … like maybe there’s something to really consider about whether Hillary is a bit too cozy with the guys who took your money? About $58,000 on average for middle-class families, by one estimate. Hey, 60 G’s going from your pockets into theirs ain’t nothing to sneeze at, my friend. I’ve known guys who’ve done some serious time over sums like that.


The major thrust of that earlier post was that Hillary needs to get out in front of this issue NOW. The political pundits and opinion leaders are already shaping the perceptions of the electorate as to how this issue should be understood. The mood of the electorate is already shaping the 2016 presidential election as a populist referendum. GOP candidates are climbing all over each other in their zeal to appear as the 2016 GOP Yearbook’s ‘Most Populist to Succeed’ candidate. Meanwhile, Hillary has been side-stepping left and back to center like a 5-year old kid who has to pee real bad, while making some sympathetic populist noises, but so far the BS meter for both voters and the press hasn’t budged off the Red Zone peg.


Remain calm. All is well.And all the while, the DNC is acting like everything is hunky-dory, business as usual, let’s nobody get too excited. They kinda remind me of Kevin Bacon’s character in Animal House, who kept yelling “Remain calm! All is well!”

You can expect the right-wing to use the issue of her Wall Street benefactors to hammer Clinton going into caucus season with the real clear intention of driving a wedge between progressives and moderates among Democrats and with the fondest hopes of handing Sanders the nomination. They’ll be dancing with glee if they can run against Sanders. Meanwhile, they’ll be pumping spine-twisting fear of ISIS and terrorist sleeper cells in every small town and big city neighborhood directly into the leg veins of the uninformed electorate with 500CC syringes, all the while condemning Sanders as an American Stalin in embryo and Clinton as the modern incarnation of Neville Chamberlain or the quisling SoS who let Americans die in Benghazi. Prob’ly maybe a little of both just for good measure …


But it ain’t that bad, people tell me. All is well.


Oh yes? Well let’s take a look, shall we? Just scan over the images below from Open Secrets for the career top contributors to Hillary Clinton thru 2016 and for Bernie Sanders thru 2016. Then tell me who you think is likely capture the votes of a 2016 electorate in a fiery populist mood? And if 2016 plays out as I suspect it will, with the Democrats at both the national and state levels trying to stonewall Sanders and prop-up Clinton despite her many sins and lack of charisma, the mood among Dems could get real ugly, real fast. Wall Street payola could split the party and the national convention could get mean-spirited and ugly in a way we haven’t seen since Chicago ’68.


Hillary needs to get in front of this issue NOW, before the goodwill and solidarity among Dems evaporates and the glacier starts to move.


Bernie's top donors

Bernie’s Top Donors ~ Career

Hillary's top donors

Hillary’s Top Donors ~ Career

Comments below fold.