Friday, April 14, 2006 

Slow

Things are slow at the moment. Both the Legislature and Congress are in their Easter recesses. Pres. Bush is still rich, and he says Donald Rumsfeld is "exactly what is needed" despite generals, exactly the people who would know, saying he needs to resign.

There's more and more talk about military action against Iran. If you could be drafted or if you've got friends or kids or neighbors who could be drafted, it's time to get a little bit concerned. It's pretty clear that the U.S. military, already overstretched under the "leadership" of Pres. Bush and Sec. Rumsfeld, would not be able to handle the strain of a third major military campaign. It's just about impossible to imagine a draft making sense either logistically (training time, unwillingness of the current generation to fight) or politically (10% approval ratings?) but much of what this administration has done hasn't made a whole lot of sense. Look for O'Reilly, Matthews, Limbaugh, Coulter, and Malkin to say something along the lines of, "it'll be good training for the young whippersnappers." Right-leaning, draft-eligible pundits will mysteriously manage to avoid being picked.

The only other thing going on is some controversy over Senate Minority Leader Dick Day's hiring of his wife for political work, which has the effect of funneling some campaign money, which is often reimbursed by state money through the Political Contribution Refund program, back into his and his wife's personal accounts. It's probably not illegal, but it certainly raises some ethical questions. It's undoubtedly a bad move politically, as is proven by the fact that it's now a liability for him. On the whole, it's just not a smart move for someone in Day's leadership position even if there's nothing actually wrong with it, and one that he should come clean about and probably stop immediately. If she's really working for only $4 an hour, she should probably find a better-paying job, too.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 

Pawlenty May Not Finish Second Term

Via MRW, we see that our good Gov. Tim Pawlenty won't commit to finishing a second term, if (and it is a big if) he gets re-elected. Gov. Pawlenty's ambitions for higher office are well-known, most likely the Vice-Presidency (with John McCain?) if not the top spot itself, and 2008 would be prime time for him.

Plain and simple, if Tim Pawlenty is running for another office at the same time he's trying to govern Minnesota, his performance in one of those jobs will suffer. I'm not willing to let the opportunity arise for Gov. Pawlenty to choose which role is more important to him.

If Gov. Pawlenty isn't going to put Minnesota first, I don't see why Minnesota should put him in our highest office. We deserve better than a Governor who's already looking ahead to his next job.


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Spending Other Peoples' Money

Republicans are responsible for having spent a whole lot of our money today.

In Minnesota, the House passed a $949 million bonding bill, the whole point of this year's legislative session. This is good news, and it appears to be a pretty good bill. It spends a little less than the Senate's $990 million package, but it's a lot more than Gov. Pawlenty's $845 million proposal. While important, a bonding bill's success isn't a foregone conclusion - in the 2004 session, no bonding bill emerged, leading to a lot of Republican House members losing their seats that November.

Nationally, the federal government's spending in March was the highest in history. $250 billion spent in a single month, $85.5 billion of which was put on the national credit card. The national debt now stands at almost $8.5 trillion dollars, over $28,000 per American.

Remember, folks, your elected Republicans control the Minnesota House, both houses of Congress, and the White House. They're Republicans - fiscal conservatives, deficit hawks, budget fanatics! We elected the best stewards of our money out there. It's all the Democrats - somehow running things from the minority - who are spending all of our hard-earned dough. The only solution is to vote out the rest of the Democrats this November. Don't change horses in the middle of a record-breaking, budget-busting deficit is what I always say.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 

Official CA-50 Results Thread

As of 11:37 PM CDT (9:37 PDT), still only the absentee results have been counted. Apparently, the votes have to be brought to San Diego to be counted, so it could be a while before Election Day results start to be reported.

Election Day returns have begun to come in, albeit slowly. With 7.4% of precincts reporting, Busby's still at about 42%. The ballot still doesn't seem to be hurting her, as the other Democrat, Chris Young, still isn't doing any better than one might expect anyways. At this point, a runoff is nearly guaranteed.

Precincts reporting just took a huge spike. With over two thirds of the results in, Busby has 43.28% of the vote. The combined Democratic percentage is 44.68%. This round of results means that Busby will not win the seat tonight, but it is a good showing and gives her a good shot at the seat in June.

Another round of results has just come in. With almost 94% of the vote in, Busby is sitting at 43.89%, with the total Democratic tally at 45.23%. Congratulations to Francine Busby on a strong showing tonight; it looks like she will be facing Brian Bilbray in June. NSP will, of course, be keeping up with this race as it proceeds to the runoff.


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Election Day...Somewhere Else

It's once again Election Day...but unfortunately, not here. Today, voters in the California 50th are going to the polls to decide who will finish the term of criminally corrupt former Rep. Duke Cunningham. The Democratic candidate, Francine Busby, will almost certainly win a plurality of the vote, but unless she earns 50% (unlikely), the election will go to a run-off on June 6th.

Busby's strength in a Republican district shows how fed up with the GOP many voters are. People want change, and they're going to vote to get it. As this race is a something of a bellwether for Democrats' chances to take back Congress this November, NSP will be keeping track of the race throughout the evening. Polls close at 8 Pacific, 10 Central. Swing State Project has a little more information in the meantime.

UPDATE: If you're interested at all in keeping score yourself, the place to do so is here.

UPDATE: Polls are now closed. Waiting for results.

UPDATE: Results are now coming in. It looks like Busby won about 42% of the absentee vote, which is good but won't be enough to win outright tonight. Fortunately, one concern has been addressed, if the absentee ballot is the same as the normal ballots: the other Democrat in the race, Chris Young, had his name above Busby's on the ballot but doesn't seem to be benefitting much from that. Stay tuned.

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Monday, April 10, 2006 

Sad State of Affairs

This blogger believes that today's Republican Party is a far cry from the then-Grand Old Party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. It's a party that has abandoned and corrupted conservative principles for...what? For George W. Bush, Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, and all that they entail. That's a shame, because voters deserve a real choice when they go to the ballot box, and right now they don't have one. They can choose liberal, progressive, and/or centrist Democrats or they can choose the corrupted ideologies that so many Republicans subscribe to.

Today, those corrupted ideologies have cost the Republican Party a real, honest conservative.

I feel bad for Tony. I can only imagine what it might be like for Teddy Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln in today's Republican Party, in today's politics. There really isn't a place for a conservative, and that isn't good for any of us. Unfortunately, it's worst for a guy like Tony.

I believe that the GOP is going to take a body blow this November because it has driven away the moderates, the independents, and now even the conservatives. It has made taken away the chance for voters to have a real choice, and I say again that it is a shame. I like to see progressive candidates and progressive principles succeed, but this isn't the way it should be. It should be the result of a considered, informed decision, but it won't be that way in November. Instead, it'll be the only decision. Hopefully, the fall it's headed for will help to bring the Republican Party back to its original principles. I just wish I could be more optimistic.

Sunday, April 09, 2006 

The Week that Was

It was a pretty busy week in the world of Minnesota politics.

First, Rep. Jeff Johnson's eminent domain reform bill passed the House, sending it to a conference committee with Sen. Tom Bakk's bill, which passed a couple of weeks ago. The bills greatly tighten the restrictions on government's taking of private property for redevelopment purposes - in other words, it makes it harder for the government to take someone's property to give it to another private owner. It's good that this issue is being addressed - it seems clear that eminent domain abuses are all too common - but it's concerning that opponents say the bill could result in cities being unable to deal with urban ghettos. We'll see how the bill comes out of conference committee, and then how things play out over the long run. Protecting private property is good, but there is a legitimate purpose for eminent domain, and there is a balance that needs to be struck.

The Gopher stadium bill passed the House, 103-30, in a debate that lasted until almost 10 PM. The Senate hasn't taken up the issue yet and it's not clear when it will come to the floor for a vote. Even so, it's pretty likely that this will pass. The futures of the two other stadium proposals are less clear - there wasn't a whole lot of legislative opposition to the Gopher stadium (see the only 30 nay votes) but the Twins and Vikings stadiums will likely engender more. The difficulty in passing those proposals is greatly increased as we see that the Legislature is trying to get done early this year (via MN Politics). As the article says, even more than with the Gopher stadium, fiscal conservatives are going to have a fit.

Barack Obama was in town yesterday for the DFL's Humphrey Day dinner and an event in St. Louis Park. Apparently it went pretty well.

The battle for the Republican nomination in the 6th is getting ugly, mostly between Reps. Knoblach and Krinkie.

The GOP's amendment to ban gay marriage failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

A very small issue with "Molligator" - the only reason I mention this is that the person in question posted a comment on this blog earlier in the week.

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