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Archive for September, 2012

When it comes to political ideology, it’s difficult picturing 2 people more opposite of each other than Chip Cravaack and Tom Rukavina. Still, they’re on the same side of the federal-state land swap that Gov. Dayton signed into law. This op-ed from State Rep. Ruckavina argues for the land swap from an Iron Range DFL perspective. Here’s the part of Rep. Ruckavina’s op-ed that deserves highlighting:

Next, let’s talk about Mr. Carron’s claim that “Ely area residents…will lose scores of thousands of acres of Superior National Forest land that are now available for hunting, snowmobiling, hiking, snowshoeing, and many other recreational pursuits.” While many of the “old immigrants” from the Ely and Tower area must be thinking that he’s talking about the original Boundary Waters Act, Mr. Carron, let me assure them that this claim about the land exchange is an absolute lie. In fact, Ely and Tower area residents will have an easier time recreating on the new state land. But that’s really why environmentalists oppose this bill— because they know it will be easier to put in a snowmobile trail or cut down a tree on state land than on federal land.

There’s a name for Iron Rangers that vote against making outdoor recreation more difficult. That term is retired. (It’s irrelevant whether it’s a voluntary or involuntary retirement. The important part is that that Ranger is history.) Rep. Rukavina didn’t stop there, though:

Mr. Carron’s letter, to put it in Range-speak, is just a bunch of BS. To imply that any member of the Iron Range delegation is supporting this legislation because we are stoolies for “multinational mining companies” is nuts. I am always going to be on the side of the miners and our mining communities, and not the big companies. But while I am no economic genius, I know that without mining and mining companies, we have no Iron Range.

That last sentence is the Rukavina equivalent of Reagan’s line that you can’t be pro jobs and anti-business.

Rukavina’s closing shows how big the difference there is between Iron Range DFLers and DFL politicians of the Twin Cities:

Here’s Mr. Rukavina’s final strong shot at the Twin Cities enviro-elitists:

Ely, Tower, Winton, Cook Grand Rapids, and the North Shore couldn’t exist without our taconite industry. And the truth is, we are currently mining in the Superior National Forest, and we haven’t harmed it, have we? Minntac, Arcelor Mittal, North Shore Mining, and Mesabi Nugget are all currently operating in the Superior National Forest and it’s their taconite taxes that keep all our communities, including Duluth, alive.

That’s gotta sting people like Alida Rockefeller-Messinger, Dee Long, Tom Horner, Jim Ramstad and Margaret Anderson-Kelliher. They, along with Arne Carlson, Dave Durenberger and Paul Aasen, are the people that should get hurt by Rep. Ruckavina’s op-ed.

I wrote here that Chip Cravaack’s legislation mirrored the bill that Gov. Dayton signed into law. In fact, Chip’s legislation includes this language:

“(7) The Legislature of the State of Minnesota, meeting in its 87th Legislative Session, passed (and on April 27, 2012, the Governor of Minnesota approved) S.F No. 1750 (Chapter 236), section 4 of which adds section 92.80 to the Minnesota Statutes to expedite the exchange of a portion of the State trust lands located within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

(b) LAND EXCHANGE REQUIRED.—The Secretary of Agriculture shall consummate a land exchange with the State of Minnesota pursuant to section 4 of S.F No. 1750 (Chapter 236) of the Legislature of the State of Minnesota (section 92.80 of the Minnesota Statutes) to acquire all right, title, and interest of the State in and to certain State trust lands identified as provided in such section in exchange for all right, title, and interest of the United States in and to National Forest System land in the State for inclusion in the State trust lands.

Tom Rukavina voted for S.F.1750. Chip Cravaack authored legislation that made S.F.1750 federal law.

The only thing stranger than those bedfellows would be seeing Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar pushing Senate Majority Leader Reid to get this bill passed and to have President Obama sign it.

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The police officer in this video makes it exceptionally clear that he was acting on the city attorney’s request:

The video also shows that the Protect My Vote people were respectful, polite and willing to obey the law. That speaks volumes about the character of the Protect My Vote movement.

This article shows that the Bloomington city attorney, Sandra Johnson, doesn’t respect the Constitution, specifically the First Amendment, the way that ordinary citizens respect the rule of law:

St. Paul – Although the Bloomington Police officers could not cite any statute or ordinance to justify their actions, they ordered the ProtectMyVote.com van to leave the City Hall parking lot, Thursday night.

The officer in charge, Sergeant Lewis said he was directed by the city attorney to remove ProtectMyVote.com personnel and supporters from city property and had no knowledge of any ordinance or statute to justify the action. He said he was representing the city attorney.

Earlier in the week, ProtectMyVote.com’s chairman, Dan McGrath took a phone call from the Bloomington city clerk, who explained that there was an active polling place for absentee balloting in City Hall. Knowing that state statute prohibits political signs within 100 feet of a polling place, McGrath assured her that the campaign would observe and respect the 100’ rule, even though the polling place and city hall would be closed by the time the campaign was scheduled to be there. The city clerk wasn’t satisfied. She went on to explain that the city of Bloomington didn’t want the ProtectMyVote.com campaign on city property at all, regardless of the polling place regulations.

McGrath wasn’t looking for a fight. “Not a problem. I’ll let the driver know and we’ll park near City Hall, off the grounds, instead,” he told her. McGrath thought that was the end of it.

First, the 100′ rule prevents electioneering, something the Founding Fathers would’ve frowned on. Second and more importantly, Bloomington’s city attorney, Sandra Johnson, should’ve known that she can’t limit free speech in the way she tried limiting it.

This email from Ms. Johnson bothers me, too:

Thank you for your cooperation. Nonetheless, police have been alerted to make certain that there is no illegal use of City property.

Dan McGrath had just verified that the Protect My Vote volunteer wouldn’t be on city-owned property:

I spoke with the city clerk already and agreed to keep the vehicle off city
property. This email seems like a bit of an overreaction. Surely you (and the mayor and the city council and the chief of police) have better things to do with your time.

Some of your legal rationale doesn’t hold water, but as I said, we aren’t going to be on your precious blacktop, so that’s irrelevant.

The strongest argument against Ms. Johnson comes from the first email she sent to Mr. McGrath:

The dedicated purpose of the Civic Plaza parking lots is to serve
the parking needs of the employees and members of the public using the facility. Any private use of the property that interferes with that purpose can be prohibited.

Based on this description of the facility, the parking lots are used for many things, including, but not limited to, “the parking needs of the employees and members of the public using the facility.” Ms. Johnson’s email indicates that activities that don’t interfere with the theatre’s parking shouldn’t be prohibited.

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CEOs see gloomy GDP growth this quarter:

Four major business groups see gloomy times ahead for the job market and the economy, according to a string of separate surveys and polls released this week that cast fresh doubt on hopes that the economic recovery may have turned the corner.

Top executives and small-business owners polled by the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Federation of Independent Business, and chief financial officers surveyed by the management firm Deloitte pointed to uncertainty posed by new regulations, shaky demand overseas and the “fiscal cliff” facing the federal government as prime reasons keeping companies from investing and hiring at a faster pace.

The Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs from some of the nation’s top companies, on Wednesday dropped its growth expectations for the third quarter to the lowest level since the middle of the Great Recession. The trade group lowered projections for sales, capital spending and hiring in its latest CEO Economic Outlook Survey to their lowest levels since 2009.

I don’t think Vice President Biden got this report. Here’s what he said at the Democrats’ convention:

And folks, because of the decisions he’s made, and the incredible strength of the American people, America has turned a corner. The worst job loss since the Great Depression, we’ve since created 4.5 million private-sector jobs in the last 29 months.

This graph paints a dismal picture, too:

There’s been tons of words thrown at the subject of who should be president. I’ll admit that I’ve thrown a ton of those words at the subject myself. We’ve had 40+ months of watching President Obama take a tough situation and make it worse.

Longterm unemployment is terrible. According to the last jobs report, four times as many people quit looking for work as jobs were created. Median household income has dropped $2,141 since the end of the Bush Recession. That’s because the jobs being created by Obamanomics are hospitality industry or other service industries.

UPDATE: According to this article, median household incomes dropped another 1.1% in August:

In another sign that the economic recovery under President Obama is not producing gains for average Americans, median household incomes fell 1.1% in August to $50,678, according to a report released Tuesday by Sentier Research.

Since the economic recovery started in June 2009, household incomes are down 5.7%, the Sentier data show, and they are down more than 8% since Obama took office.

Gas prices have skyrocketed, going from $1.84 a gallon to $3.85 a gallon today. That’s why groceries are vastly more expensive than when President Obama took office.

This administration’s EPA is implementing anti-mining regulations at a frantic pace in their attempt to kill mining industry jobs and shut down coal-fired power plants.

We’re now starting QE3, which is the Fed’s way of artificially propping up a terrible economy. How many more rounds of quantitative easing will be needed if we don’t change course? Three? Four? Five?

President Obama has essentially told us that his policies are working and that there’s no need to change, which means the economy we have now won’t improve. In fact, when the Bush tax rates end, the economy will likely crash into another major recession.

That’s what we should expect if voters pick the ‘Obama option’. If high unemployment, sinking wages and insolvency sounds inviting, you’re a massochist or a progressive.

If you aspire to a better future, filled with shrinking unemployment, cheaper gas prices, more manufacturing and construction jobs and fewer intrusive regulations, then Mitt Romney is your only option this October and November.

Triggering a robust domestic energy program will lead to cheaper gas prices and energy construction jobs. It will trigger the next round of manufacturing gains, too. That’s the path Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will put us on.

That’s the type of America I want to live in.

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There’s a simple path for Mitt Romney to take to win this election. Win the blue collar vote, win the election. Mitt doesn’t need to act like he’s identified with blue collar voters all his life. He just needs to convince them that he’ll fight to make their lives better.

In Virginia, tell unions that you want to open oil exploration off the Virginia coast. Tell them that you want to get the EPA off the coal industry’s back so new mines can be built. Then watch support jump. Travel to southeast Ohio and tell them that you’ll throw out the EPA regulations that are killing the mining/fracking industries. Tell them that you need their votes to win the election so you can make those changes.

Include the fact that their lives will get worse if President Obama’s regulations stay in place. Ask them if that’s the future they prefer.

Travel everywhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of the Mississippi and tell them that you’ll strip out the regulations that have caused 100 coal-fired power plants to either close or announce that they’re closing. See what type of visceral, positive reaction you’ll get from the crowds with that agenda.

Tell them about this article about what entrepreneurs think about President Obama’s regulatory onslaught. Here’s the part Mitt should specifically emphasize:

Here are the key findings in the poll, as highlighted by NAM:

  • 67 percent say there is too much uncertainty in the market today to expand, grow or hire new workers.
  • 69 percent of small business owners and manufacturers say President Obama’s Executive Branch and regulatory policies have hurt American small businesses and manufacturers.
  • 55 percent say they would not start a business today given what they know now and in the current environment.
  • 54 percent say other countries like China and India are more supportive of their small businesses and manufacturers than the United States.

After reciting these statistics, Mitt should say that there’s no reason to think President Obama will change directions. Then Mitt should ask if workers want a president that creates one roadblock after another to creating jobs or if they’d prefer a president who’s focus on opening up paths to prosperity.

There are lots of blue collar workers who are still undecided in the swing states Mitt needs to win. Focusing on them while firing up his base is a winning message. The great news for Mitt is that the issues that fire up his base will excite undecided blue collar workers, too.

Mitt, it’s time to show people that you’ll fight for them if they elect you. Give them a reason to believe you’ve got an agenda that will cut regulations and grow jobs. Do that and you’ll win with a solid margin.

It’s that simple.

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With all kinds of events happening this week, whether we’re talking about the annual gathering of world leaders for the opening of the UN General Assembly or the scandal that President Obama’s administration knew within the first 24 hours that al-Qa’ida was behind the assassination of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, one of the most-watched stories was whether the NFL could reach agreement with the referees on a new collective bargaining agreement.

According to CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman, a deal is imminent:

CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman reported earlier on Wednesday that the NFL and NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) agreed on a mentoring/training program that would create a larger pool of potential referees to replace struggling guys on the field.

Hopefully, they’ll get this resolved before supper tonight. The ‘replacement’ refs were terrible. This weekend, two high profile games, the Sunday night tilt between Baltimore and the Patriots and the Monday night tilt between Green Bay and Seattle, were wrongly decided.

It was so bad that Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton wrote this scathing op-ed in the WSJ.

Thankfully, it appears as though our brief, but altogether too long, National Football League nightmare will be over.

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Kevin Lindsey, Gov. Dayton’s Human Rights Commissioner, visited the SCSU campus to campaign against the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment:

Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, the top human-rights official in Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration, spoke to St. Cloud State University students at a forum sponsored by a host of university groups.

Like Dayton, an outspoken foe of the voter ID amendment, Lindsey urged students to oppose the measure, which would join the state Constitution if endorsed by voters on Nov. 6. In addition to requiring voters to show photo IDs, the amendment would trigger other changes to voting laws such as the elimination of vouching, in which a voter can sign an oath to vouch for another’s residency.

Lindsey told students the amendment is part of a national push to enact new voting requirements that’s “eerily reminiscent” of past efforts to suppress female and nonwhite voters.

“Voter suppression is not new in our country,” Lindsey said. “We know our history. How can we in good faith support this initiative?”

Consider this part of the DFL’s continuing campaign of fearmongering. If you believed Commissioner Lindsey, which group would have their votes suppressed? Here’s the answer:

Lindsey said he’s especially concerned with a provision in the amendment requiring that all voters be subject to “substantially equivalent identity and eligibility verification” before a ballot is cast or counted. It’s not clear how military members serving overseas could meet the same standards as those voting at a Minnesota polling place, raising the question of how they could meet that requirement, Lindsey said.

I wrote this article to talk specifically about the military vote. There isn’t a question about how they’d meet this requirement. There’s just the DFL’s fearmongering. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, aka UOCAVA, governs military voting rights. This isn’t debatable. This isn’t a situation where we’re waiting to see how a new law will affect voting. UOCAVA was signed by President Reagan in August, 1985.

In short, it’s a pretty sturdy bill. It’s a known quantity.

The DFL is intent on lying through their teeth to prevent this proposed constitutional amendment from passing. They know their only hope to defeat the Photo ID amendment is to frighten enough people with lie after lie after lie.

If that doesn’t work, they’ll have to figure out how they’ll ignore the law without paying a big political price.

The DFL’s other tactic is whining:

Lindsey said an overlooked but key element of the amendment is how it would affect rural voters, through a new provisional voting system that would be created under the amendment. Voters who couldn’t provide identification when voting would be required to cast provisional ballots, then prove their identity within a specified time period after the election in order for their ballot to be counted.

That could create hardships for those in rural areas who vote a long distance from where they live or work, Lindsey said.

Here’s a thought. How about expecting people to take responsibility for meeting the requirements? I know that’s a radical thought for the DFL but it’s a practice that’s worked throughout American history.

Notice that Lindsey didn’t say provisional balloting would prevent people from voting. He said that provisional balloting would “create hardships for those in rural areas.” That assumes that people living in rural areas won’t take responsibility to get state-issued photographic identification.

Also, the new task of administering provisional ballots could require Minnesota counties to incur tens of millions in new costs, Lindsey added.

Commissioner Lindsey, what information are you basing that scare tactic on? A provision in the ballot question? Have counties or municipalities said that they’d incur new costs handling provisional ballots? If they have, what are they basing their worries on? Fear of change? Reality? Or are they just fearmongering, too?

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Barney Frank is coming to Minneapolis to host a fundraiser for Jim Graves. They’ve picked the night of the first presidential debate to hold the fundraiser. Here’s the invitation:

Dear friends,

It’ll be a big night in politics indeed! And, I hope you’ll be there to enjoy the evening with me.

Congressman Barney Frank will be there too. He called last week, asking to host an event simply because he’s joined the legions of people across the nation who support me and my mission to restore sanity to American politics.

For fun, we’re timing his visit with abig-screen viewing of the first presidential debate in Cosmos at the Graves 601. It’ll be a lively evening, with drinks, great food and engaging discussions.

Did I mention that I sincerely hope that you’ll be able to join us?

The race against Michele Bachmann is polling within 2 points. I sincerely believe we’re going to win this thing, but she’s eons ahead of us in fundraising. We need to make sure we can get my message out – because it resonates with the voters!

The invite is below. Please do me a favor and pass it along to any friends and family you think may be interested as well.

If you can join me on October 3rd, simply RSVP to the email address on the invitation. (If you can’t, you’ll be missed but you can still go to [a deleted url] and make a donation).

Your support is deeply appreciated.

The thought that Barney Frank, one of the most unapologetic liberals in Congress the last 20+ years, is hosting a fundraiser for Jim Graves is like manna from heaven for Michele. She’s probably thinking that she just hit a Powerball jackpot.

First, Barney Frank is one of the chief culprits behind the credit/Fannie/Freddie meltdown. Michele voted against it. The odds of her putting an ad together on this topic are 100%.

Next, Barney Frank is one of the most divisive, combative congressmen in recent history. The thought that Frank thinks Jim Graves will “restore sanity to American politics” is laughable. Frank couldn’t find sanity if his life depended on it.

The fact that Graves thinks Frank is a plus for him give us insight into Mr. Graves’ thinking. The fact that he’s hosting the event in Minneapolis indicates he’s targeting the richest liberal fatcats in the state. The people who are likely to attend will have the ability to write checks with lots of zeros in them.

There’s nothing wrong with that. God bless free speech.

It’s just that it’s an indicator that Graves can’t get contributions from the richest liberal fatcats on Tuesday night, then tell Sixth District voters that he’s a centrist who’s bringing people together Wednesday morning.

That dog won’t hunt in the Sixth District.

Seriously, Michele must’ve thought Christmas came early when she heard about Barney Frank hosting a Jim Graves fundraiser.

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A new 501(C)(4) organization named Mined in America was literally created last week. In the weeks ahead, it’s likely that they’ll do something that President Obama can’t afford to have happen. They’re planning on getting the word out that President Obama’s administration have implemented rules that make producing cheap domestic energy almost impossible. This post explains what Mined in America is about:

America is a country of producers, makers and creators. It’s in our nature to work together and help each other grow, that’s just part of what makes our country great. But by now we’ve all seen the news, the American economy is perched in a precarious place, and in order for us to continue to thrive we have to do something to stabilize our economy.

One thing we know for sure is that American manufacturing is key to growing our economy. Despite signs of a manufacturing revival over the past two years the facts are clear: we need to do more to get America back to work.

Mined in America is just what the energy doctor ordered. This organization sounds like they’re determined to fight the EPA. That means challenging this administration in states critical to President Obama’s re-election. A large portion of the economies in battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia come from mining.

Lots of the independent voters in those states don’t care whether President Obama is a Republican or Democrat. They’ll care about whether President Obama supports a robust increase in domestic coal mining.

People don’t need to question whether Mined in America will mix it up. This article ends that speculation:

Barack Obama’s chances of being reelected hinge on winning over blue-collar voters in the Midwest, but those efforts may have hit a hurdle—or run into a mine shaft, more like it—since a new nonprofit in the region started aggressively going after his administration. Mined in America, a 501(c)(4) created by an unlikely alliance of mine workers and mine owners, is running a series of attack ads against the Environmental Protection Agency, accusing the regulator of stifling resourcing mining that could boost the economy.

“Washington doesn’t get it,” reads one ad running across the region. “Remind environmental regulators to make Ohio jobs America’s priority.”

Also planned are calls and mailers to 500,000 voters in swing districts in the swing states of Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan to ask them to push Obama for job growth over more environmental rules. An online and social media campaign has begun as well.

After reading that information, there’s no question whether MIA is willing to push back against President Obama’s EPA.

“It is not about President Obama winning or losing,” says Maurice Daniel, the executive director of the coalition, which includes manufacturers and labor unions. A lifelong Democrat, Daniel was the former political director for Al Gore when Gore was vice president. “We are not advocating for one candidate or another. What we are doing is educating the population about the issues at stake.”

Those issues have to do with the way the EPA implements mine safety rules. Mined in America says the rules are arbitrary and unfair. It points to the Spruce Mine project in West Virginia, which the Army Corps of Engineers approved but whose permit was then revoked by the EPA, and to Pebble Mine in Alaska, where it says the EPA is blocking a permit before one has been officially submitted.

The terms capricious and heavyhanded leap to mind in characterizing the EPA’s politics-driven decisions. MIA is hitting the ground running, with its focus on the right priorities.

What’s happening in those states started happening in Minnesota months ago. Thanks to Chip Cravaack’s willingness to build a coalition between unions and management, this coalition has started confronting the environmentalists. Their concern isn’t whether a politician has a D or R behind their names. Their concern is whether they’re enthusiastic supporters of mining.

Apparently, that movement is picking up steam.

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Prior to this weekend, the NFL’s ‘replacement’ refs were merely an embarrassment to the NFL and Roger Goodell. This weekend, they cost the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots victories.

I won’t call these refs names. I’ll simply say that they’re terrible and they’ve got to go. This week. By tomorrow. Anything less is shameful for a sports league whose teams are essentially guaranteed to make money simply by existing.

If Roger Godell wants to be embarrassed when the Packers and Patriots don’t make the playoffs because replacement referees blew calls that high school refs would’ve gotten right 99% of the time, he’s staring at a golden opportunity right now.

If, however, he wants to be the best commissioner of the best pro sports league in sports history, which is slipping away, he’d better straighten this mess out. ASAP.

Anything less would severely tarnish the NFL’s reputation.