• comment on a post DeLay Vulnerable over 9 years ago
    Around the country there are little bitty local attacks on Democrats for "doing what DeLay did" and while they are little bitty -- they could bite.  

    Here in Minnesota they are raising the issue on Jim Oberstar (8th District -- NE Minnesota) and Collin Peterson, (7th District -- most of Western Minnesota -- a Blue Dog DFL'er),  This is a state where Abraoff dug pretty deep into the Tribal Casino Coffers -- and where efforts were made by Republicans (state and national) to start a new war between Sioux and Chippawa.  

    (I suspect Oberstar and Peterson are fine).  

  • comment on a post The Evangelical Noise Machine over 9 years ago
    We need lots of things, but one thing we really need is a Ralph Nader kind of pro-bono law firm that would take some of these issues before the FCC and really fight them out, and do it with lots of publicity.  

    I've done enough driving cross country to know that the claim is correct -- NPR stations or repeaters are frequently drowned out by Christian Preacher Stations.  The only way to "win" is to measure things place by place, and file claims with the FCC.  Eventually you'll establish that the pattern is that NPR is "always" the drown-ed, and the Christian Preacher is the perp.  Pattern leads to "Conspiracy to Drown" -- steal goose from off the common.  But unless you have measurements, you can get nowhere.  

    Sadly, with the political attack on CPB, PBS and NPR currently going on, I don't think we can expect them to defend themselves -- and I think they fear the organization of any kind of popular defense they cannor really control, though that is precisely what is needed now.  In a sense, as  Minnesotian, I am lucky -- two PBS stations, and two NPR stations -- none of the four really dependent on immediate state or federal subsidies to stay on the air.  (and I like my 6 hours per day of BBC News Programing on MPR. -- I like my hour of Canadian News.)  But I also know that all over this country NPR stations are buried in the local library budget and are most vulnerable.  

    Many Liberals and Progressives diss NPR -- and I too can have my arguments with it -- but compared to all the rest, it delivers pretty straight News, and we need to not only defend it, but essentially buy out the opposition.  

    I actually have an economic theory as to how this actually could be done -- I call it "reverse advertising".  What it involves is would be advertisers -- or producers of products or services -- offering consumers "vouchers" that they could turn over to radio stations for product placement statements.  What this would mean is that the current "tax" on producers would not be spent at the whim or political decision of the business owner -- but it would be a "vote" by the consumers.  It might be impossible, but the fight would be worth making the case that a very small "electorate" actually decide how advertising money is spent, and thus which News Sources actually have the Capital to collect and produce Newsprograms.  

  • on a comment on Defining Class over 9 years ago
    The kind of "working class voter" Frank is concerned with is not really the guy who will vote on the issue of minimum wage.  In Kansas, particularly Wichita, "working class" is the lost jobs at Boeing that paid 15-20 per hour with benefits -- and that were lost because TWA went bankrupt and got merged and thus the main base went to Texas, and because we don't really build that many Boeing Bombers any more.  And these days we send the Boeing passenger jets to China for major mechanical work.  

    In otherwords a way of life that is long gone, but no one had proper respect to explain it all to the people most impacted.  Sadly, many of these workers though well experienced and skilled, do not have skills that will allow them to jump into new types of work -- many are High School Grads, maybe a few years in the service -- and then an assembly job that didn't offer transferable skills.  

    The only thing that would make sense is a huge helping of truth -- and then real job training tied to placement in new jobs.  But the most important element of this is to tell the truth -- no promises, just the truth.  

  • on a comment on Senate Round-up over 9 years ago
    They were still telling hin he could not win after he won the Senate Seat.  

    The DLC expected him to go down big time, so they scheduled a big event for the Friday after the 1990 Election day expecting to rub in the salt.  Of course it turned into an extension of the Victory Rally when Wellstone showed up, and changed the DLC agenda.  I've never seen National Level DLC pundit types more disgusted as they were that day at the St. Paul Hotel.  

  • comment on a post Bolton committee vote delayed over 9 years ago
    Keep pushing the mantra that Norm Coleman is just plain dumb -- or any other parallel point you want to make.  In fact, it would be great politics to make the point that he does not measure up to Harold Stassen, whom FDR and then Truman nomanated as delegate to the founding meeting of the UN in San Francisco.  (Harold Stassen is still respected as an honored Republican in Minnesota).  Coleman would not really know how to get himself out of that contradiction if someone presented him with it.

    Anyhow, it will help things in 2008 if Coleman is viewed around the country is just dumb.  

  • on a comment on Senate Round-up over 9 years ago
    The Minnesota DFL nomination and endorsement comes through a caucus-convention system which puts a premium on organization.  The Precinct caucus will be in early March, and then over a series of district and county conventions in the next weeks, the state delegates are selected with the State Convention in late May.  

    Amy has said she will honor the Convention endorsement and not run in a primary -- but there is the potential of another candidate, Mike Ciresi running -- and he may not honor the convention endorsement and force a primary.  (Ciresi is partner in the law firm headed by Sam Kaplan who was a major Wellstone supporter).  Patty Wetterling has not yet said what she would do if she didn't get the convention endorsement.  

    Mike Hatch -- currently Attorney General is probably running for Governor -- and at one point before Mark Dayton decided not to run, Amy was looking at the AG race.  One of the members of Jesse Ventura's administration has announced to run for 6th District House Seate (Mark Kennedy's) as a DFLer.  Word is Jesse is going to support this, and in the 6th, that's good strategy as it is a Ventura stronghold, and this will keep many otherwise Republican votes out of their fold.  

  • on a comment on Senate Round-up over 9 years ago
    Who was Rudy Boschwitz?

    Well he came to Minnesota from NYC about 1960.  He was the founder and owner of Plywood Minnesota which provided the materials to do over your basement as a rec room -- and for years he did his own TV ads showing off his plywood and carpets in his trademark red plaid shirt. He used the family Golden Retriever in his ads. He plastered the state once with billboards demanding a law to "stop bullfighting in Minnesota" -- it was part ad for Plywood, and part political campaign. He also was the sponsor of the first run movies on TV on Saturday night -- for which he also did the Plaid Shirt advertising.  He became the chair of the Republican Party in about 1974, and ran for the Senate in 1978.  

    Boschwitz served two terms.  Recently GWBush appointed him as delegate to the UN Human Rights Commission.  He is one of the heavyweights in the Neo-con group in DC, and while in the Senate he was called the "Rabbi of the Senate".  He was very close to Lieberman, and still is.  He is also the "brains" behind Norm Coleman.  

  • on a comment on Senate Round-up over 9 years ago
    Actually the first post convention poll done for Wellstone (I helped supervise one of the phone banks) placed his name recognition at 27%.  That was mid-June, 1990.  

    I would disagree that at this point only Carleton community members knew who he was -- Wellstone's secret was a network built up over 20 years of organizing in every labor and progressive group in the state, and the first stage of the post convention campaing depended on working from that base to expand support.  

    Minnesota has a September Primary -- and in 1990 the Pro-Life Democrats ran Jim Nickles against Paul in the Primary, and while we didn't appreciate it at the time, fighting that primary was a great warm-up for the General in November.  In that Primary, Wellstone got about 65% of the vote which positioned him well to take on the maon opponent, Rudy Boschwitz.  

    One lesson of the Wellstone 1990 campaign clearly is that you can discount big money -- but hou have to substitute for it tight organization of networks that can be vastly expanded.  That 27% who had heard of him in June, 1990, were people who knew him through DFL politics, through environmental groups, welfare groups, Labor, Farmer's organizations, and many others -- and these people had a personal connection, and many were willing to personally recruit.  He was not someone known through TV or any other virtual medium.  You get lots of potential voters if it is the guy in the coffee break room remebering that he's been on a picket line with Paul -- or at a meeting, and thinks he is a great guy.  And yes, you organize your campaign to ask people to do that -- to get out and vouch in public for the candidate.  But you can't manufacture this kind of campaign -- you have to have the networks in a relationship with the candidate before you even begin.  

    Paul also won because Boschwitz made major league mistakes that year.  He though having 11 million in the bank allowed him to ignore that "upstart" professor.  He stayed in DC and did not come home to campaign.  Voters saw through it.  The second mistake, the one that put Paul over the top was the Jewish Letter in which he told a couple thousand members of the Minnesota Jewish Comminity that Paul was a bad Jew, because his wife was a Baptist.  When that became public a few days before the election, it didn't sit all that well with Minnesota Lutherans and Catholics who make up about 64% of the state population.  The ethnic and religious dimensions of that Boschwitz error are unbelievable.  

  • comment on a post The Vilification of Teachers over 9 years ago
    I agree with the comment that it is the Parents -- and a generalized failure of the adults in family and community to socialize and lay appropriate expectations on K-12 students.  Compared with pre-1966 (base-line data) Children today on average spend about 65% less time with parents, parent or other significant adults.  

    The teacher has been asked to "replace" the socilization functions in childrens lives that used to be in the family, neighborhood, and the like.  Sadly, being a psychologist, social worker, entertainer and all the rest is not the same thing as being a teacher.  One Revolutionary thing Teachers (backed by Unions) could do is refuse to compromise their profession.  

    I've taught in both the University and in High School -- for all practical purposes the same general age group (17-20), and yea, one thing a University Instructor can do (and I've done) is not put up with disruption.  Of course the University students are paying for it -- that makes a huge difference, and my sense was at least half my High School students viewed class as a distuption in social life.  Unless you can focus on those invested in learning, you are not a teacher, you're a glorified cop or babysitter.

    K-12 teachers are organized -- but they have never really empowered themselves -- and if they did they could revolutionize education.  

  • comment on a post FDR Died 60 Years Ago Today over 9 years ago
    I suppose I am confessing my age here -- but I remember FDR's death with precision.  I was learning to peel potatoes, and suddenly I heard my mother scream, and then break down in uncontroable sobbing.  And she was not particularly emotional.  Then all the housewives on our block came out in their yards and cried together, and with little information as to what had killed him and all, But we lived in a neighborhood of little cape cod style houses all built in the last days of the depression under FHA lending rules -- and everyone personally knew people who had spent years out of work during the depression if they had not been out of work themselves.  In Akron Ohio in 1933 when FDR came into office, the town had 40% unemployment, with another 30% working 10 hours a week or less.  The city issued script to schoolteachers and city employees because they could not collect taxes to pay salary.  Our neighborhood had a marnificant new park -- all created by CCC and WPA, Of course everyone was working one and a half shifts in 1945 -- In the Rubber Capitol of the World you could not keep up with the Army's demand for tires. There is simply no way people today can easily understand how profoundly FDR had his stamp on virtually every community and neighborhood.  It was profoundly personal.

    I noticed in the last week some of the TV programs have re-broadcast Edward R. Murrow's radio description of what he found in Buchenwald when he visited the day after liberation.  Historically this is an interesting juxtoposition because what the Liberation of Buchenwald did was confirm the terrible tales and rumors that many people believed, but could not quite prove.  In fact the newspaper the day of FDR's death carried some of the first graphic pictures -- along with the normal maps of "the fronts" in the two "theatres" which we clipped so as to link in a few days odd bits of information about which Division was where -- that was how we kept track of our relatives, friends and neighbors.  

    Local Public Radio had a good program yesterday about Polio, focused on the vaccine, the marvels of the Sister Kenny treatment, and FDR's role in creating the foundation that researched and brought forward the vaccine.  If you put all these topics in a pot, and shake well -- you do get the essence of FDR. -- the man solved real problems.  Unemployment, great parks, moderate income housing, needs for medical research, and yea -- a war for a good cause that everyone understood.  

  • comment on a post Chris Shays and Roll Call Vote 6 over 9 years ago
    I remember watching carefully as the "bad check" campaign developed a few years back, and unwound the electability of not a few Democrats who had used the House Bank as a quick loan office a few too many times.  It was a smart political tactic -- the constant repetition of the line that most "normal" banks don't offer the ordinary Joe that kind of overdraft protection.  

    Let's face the fact that all too many voters don't really know who represents them, what party they represent, or even the meaning of particular votes -- but if a way could be found to reduce the vote on the House Rules Change to something like a "get out of jail free" card -- and it could be repeated across a mug shot of the representative in his or her district over and over again -- then it might work like the bad check frame worked for Republicans.  

  • I'd like to invite the above author to visit rural America sometime.  Wal-Mart has already driven many small town drug stores out of business, to the point that many people have to drive 40-50 miles to a Wal-Mart to buy any prescription drugs.  The assumption that the good old corner druggist is just down the block if Wal-Mart won't serve you is just an indication of shooting off mouth without knowing the country.  

    And it is getting worse -- many small town clinics have arrangements with Greyhound to move prezcriptions from a Wal-Mart to small towns, but Greyhound is now in the process of ending service to all but the largest towns.  

  • One of Senator Paul Wellstone's last votes in the Senate before his tragic death was on the Iraq War Resolution.  In his speech AGAINST that resolution, he detailed the testimony of General Wesley Clark before the Foreign Relations Committee, weaving Clark's objections together with his own.  You can read Wellstone's summary of Clark's positions at Wellstone Action on the Web.  

    I strongly doubt if Paul Wellstone would have offered Clark's views as evidence related to his position in opposition if Clark had actually supported the resolution.  I would also point out that some of the more pointy headed Campaign Types told Paul that opposition was political suicide -- but in the few weeks after his speech, his polls went up by six points.  

    I still think the best description of Wesley Clark is in Holbrooke's book, "To End a War" beginning on page 100 where he quotes at length a piece by Bernard-Henri Levy describing a dinner in Pamala Harriman's "salon" at the American Embassy in Paris.  It was the night of the beginning of the bombing of Serb troops in Bosnia by NATO forces, and admidst the meal and the serious conversation and all, Clark essentially set up his own "war room" -- communications with all the NATO points of command, the White House, DOD, State, etc, Rolled out the maps of Bosnia on Pamala's fine oriental carpets, and asked the President of Bosnia (another guest) to advise him on high points of military geography.  Turned out the President of Bosnia was not an accomplished map reader.  Clark did all his own technical work, was also equal to being a chatty social guest, all the while teaching geography and conducting multi-point phone conferences with all the NATO partners.  

    I supported Clark in 04 for two reasons -- I was a very long time friend of Paul Wellstone's -- and as early as 1993 he told me Clark was the first person he thought might actually want to stop the war in Bosnia instead of just having meetings.  He came to admire him as much as anyone in or around DC.  He suggested I read Clark's book when it came out in 2001 (Winning Modern Wars) and possibly review it.  He considered Clark the closest thing we had today to someone like George Marshall -- that rare combination of Military competence mixed with a deep humanistic philosophy and political sensibility as well as diplomatic skill.  

  • comment on a post Is DeLay done? over 9 years ago
    Whether he goes down or not, we need a list someplace of currently serving House Members who have received campaign money and other considerations from DeLay's Leadership PAC and other RNCC committees he controls as well as 527's he sponsors.  At the very least we need a usable list of the contributors to these entities so we can run searches and use them to question members and candidates in their own district.  It is the best way to "share the guilt" no matter what ultimately happens to DeLay.  
  • comment on a post Women and Blogging over 9 years ago
    I certainly agree that the constant reference to sports language, locker-room style is off-putting to many women readers and bloggers.  But it is so thoroughly mixed with the whole culture, you really just aren't particularly conscious of it, and don't object.  

    It hit home to me once when I was guiding some Danish friends through the Capitol -- the floor debate in the Senate that day centered on a budget issue -- but as I tried to translate I was stuck -- I did not know how to translate American Football into Danish and make it into a Tax Policy matter.  And my Danish is pretty good, particularly in Political Economy.  

    I dislike the Language Police efforts -- language should reflect how you comprehend and construct your culture, but perhaps Women Bloggers could make an impict in this area by putting into the mix more language that reflects Women's world views.  

    I've often thought for example that it would be good to re-name Chris Mathews show.  Instead of "Hardball" perhaps we could call it the "Heavy, well aged, thick with fruit, Fruitcake show."  (I do know how to make one of those)


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