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Dan Burns

gadflyI ran across this cool website with this cool article, which is a must click and read if you’re interested in education policy at all. (There are four candidates for two-at-large seats: Rebecca Gagnon, Ira Jourdain, Don Samuels, and Iris Altamirano. Gagnon is an incumbent; she and Altamirano are DFL-endorsed. Samuels is very much preferred by the corporate “education deformer” movement.)

Now, a distinction must be drawn between this rigorously documented “hard money”, which campaigns raise and spend directly, and the “soft money” independent expenditures made by outside groups that have no limits or reporting requirements. How’s this working out for (Samuels)? Pretty nicely. I’ve written before about the influx of ideologically-driven, out-of-state money into our (formerly local) school board race; this is the post-Citizens United crap that we have to put up with, and it’s troubling that it doesn’t meet Samuels’ definition of “corrupt money”…
No one can be sure exactly how much money these plutocrats are spending in their bid to buy our local election, but Samuels seems to be saying he needs it because of all the money being spent on Altamirano’s behalf. There’s a big difference, though: while Samuels boosters are billionaires and their foundations who evidently view our city as a little terrarium for them to experiment on, Altamirano’s “soft” expenditures are coming from, well, us.
(Don’t Samuels!)

A lot of progressive bloggers, including some whose work I downright admire, tend to repeat the claim that there is no difference between the overall performance of traditional public schools and charters. They don’t seem to be doing their homework on that. For example, a new study shows that charters are substantially worse than public schools in Chicago. Another study has the same general result for the Twin Cities.

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MN-06: A little Tom Emmer history

by Dan Burns on October 21, 2014 · 1 comment

emmer2So this is what too many MN-06 voters may well have decided is fit to represent them in the United States Congress. The candidacy of Tom Emmer is really just another boulder on the gargantuan pile of evidence that conservatism has long since disintegrated into nothing but a massive con.

When I ran for State Representative in 2006 and again in 2008, my opponent was Tom Emmer. During that time several people approached me to tell me how he used his position as an attorney to sue them or bully them out of holding him accountable for paying debts incurred by him and members of his family. As the first major report was coming from a neighbor who happened to be a die-hard Republican, I could not dismiss the information as politically motivated. Whether it was paying for landscaping ordered by his wife, or trees planted on his property, or issues of fairness and equity in dealing with a business partner, the people wanted me to know what they experienced with Emmer.
(Chris Brazelton/Twin Cities Daily Planet)

You may recall that Emmer was a loud and proud opponent of anti-bullying legislation. It’s pretty obvious that that was at least partly personal; as a big, dumb, obnoxious blowhard, he fits the profile of a school bully (and a leader of right-wing conservatives), himself, and it’s not unlikely that he was one. And he’s not the type who would ever change, or even question, his repugnant ways of doing things.
Our candidate is Joe Perske.

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Lynn Schoen for Minnesota House 21A

by Dan Burns on October 21, 2014 · 1 comment

schoenThis is practically a toss-up district. Here’s Schoen’s website. What stands out immediately is that she is taking a righteous, gutsy, activist stand on a key environmental/economic issue.

As a city of Wabasha Councilmember I am very concerned about the negative impact the frac sand industry will have on my community.
This type of large scale intensive strip mining and the truck traffic and transportation issues that come with it are entirely new to Southeast Minnesota. So far this issue has been left primarily to local governments to deal with and towns like Wabasha are struggling. It is critical that our state Legislature act this year to establish some regional standards for this industry to protect the area’s water, air, roads and quality of life.
(Winona Daily News)

As for Rep. Tim Kelly’s position on this issue, it’s exactly as you’d expect.

How far in the bag for the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council is Representative Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing)?
Pretty far, judging by the contrast between the bill he’s introduced in the Minnesota House with the reality of a snarl of environmental review woes facing projects across Southern Minnesota.
(Bluestem Prairie)

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MN-02: Kline screwing veterans on student loans

by Dan Burns on October 20, 2014 · 1 comment

271_19344293946_1831_nFrom a guy who makes an awfully big deal of being a high-profile veteran, himself.

The Star Tribune article points out the problem, but again, John Kline is not mentioned. John Kline is not asked. John Kline is not held accountable.
And why should he be?
Because John Kline gaveled down a possible fix to this problem by adding GI loans to the 90/10 rule for college loan money. The 90/10 rule requires colleges and universities to not exceed 90% of their loan funding from government sources. Currently, GI loans are not counted and thus the For Profit Colleges target veterans into programs that often lead nowhere in regards to getting a job.
The fix was discussed – but John Kline did not EVEN ALLOW DEBATE on the proposal. As committee chair, he, and he alone, was able to gavel this down, at his discretion. A move that directly benefits his For Profit College donors.

This is pretty good:


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millspartying2Because that’s how a guy like him best aggrandizes #1. Like many mildly to moderately stupid people who have nonetheless found themselves in extremely privileged places through sheer accidents of birth and circumstance (George W. Bush is the most prominent contemporary example), Stewart Mills III is probably just plain incapable of really comprehending the potential effects on others of the policies that he supports.
– Along with the warmongering, the general worsening of unequal access to opportunity and resources is the worst result of the absolute political, social, and economic disaster that has been “movement conservatism,” “Reaganism,” or whatever you want to call it. Mills supports more tax cut welfare for the super wealthy like himself.


You can count on Stewart III to ride along as congressional GOP leadership continues to often bluff, and probably sometimes follow through on, government shutdowns, threats to default on the national debt, and whatever other despicable bullsh*t those worthless losers can think of.

And that’s just for starters.
If he somehow squeaks out a fluky, one-term win, entirely due to extremely wrongheaded DFL voter apathy/laziness in the district, Mills will in some ways serve as MN-08’s own Crazy Michele Bachmann – not able to personally do anything like the damage Bachmann has done, because that time has passed, but as an essentially clownish figure. And he certainly won’t get anything more done for his district in Congress than Bachmann has for hers. Not sure why he’d show up, except that he’s a cocky little f*cker (just like W.), and would undoubtedly do plenty of struttin’. Let’s prevent that, shall we? And, let’s prevent the fulsome – indeed, downright sickening – adoration he’d continue to enjoy, from Minnesota, and national, corporate media.

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MN-08: Mills leads in new poll

by Dan Burns on October 17, 2014 · 1 comment

millspartying1I was feeling pretty confident for a while, but not now. A previous poll had Nolan+11, and there have been other indicators that Nolan is comfortably ahead. SUSA has been bouncing around quite a bit this season, for example occasionally showing strong leads for unpopular Gov. Rick Scott in Florida where other pollsters aren’t.

…Republican challenger Stewart Mills leads incumbent Democrat (sic) Congressman Rick Nolan 47 percent to 39 percent. Another 4 percent support Green Party candidate Ray Sandman, and 11 percent are undecided.

Throw in the huge leads for Democrats in Minnesota’s highest-profile races, in addition to what is noted above, and this really does come out of nowhere. But it would be irresponsible to just dismiss it. We’ll see how quickly the Nolan campaign responds.

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Dan Kimmel for Minnesota House 56A

by Dan Burns on October 16, 2014 · 1 comment

kimmelThis is an open seat, and winnable. Tea Party Rep. Pam Myhra (R-Burnsville) signed on as Marty Seifert’s gubernatorial running mate, and so much for her political career in Minnesota. Our excellent candidate is Dan Kimmel. Here’s his Facebook. From his website:

That is why I support comprehensive and affordable health care for all. I support institutional and outpatient mental health programs and services that provide equal access, continuity of care, and protection of patient rights. We need programs that assist displaced veterans, youth and the homeless…
A vigorous and available system of public education is essential to a productive, democratic society. I support a strong system of public education at all levels with stable funding and equal educational opportunities, moderate class sizes and a safe, suitable environment for both students and teachers. We must have a broad curriculum of liberal arts, technology, social issues, vocational, and physical education; high standards for teachers and compensation that reflects the responsibilities society places on them. We need high quality, well-funded post-secondary education.
(Dan Kimmel for State Representative)

The far-from-excellent Republican candidate is Drew Christensen. He’s reality-challenged:

“I think they understand that some of our message is being lost to young people,” said the 2011 Prior Lake High School graduate. “I believe, and they believe, that Republicans have the right message for young people, and we’re the party of opportunity. We’re the party of jobs. At a base level, young people — my peers — want jobs and they want a prosperous future to be able to get married and have a family and settle down. And I think that’s something that’s slipping out of reach in our current economy and in our state.”
(ECM Election 2014)

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scan0001OK, there’s only been one recent poll I’ve seen (Nolan+11), and it could be wrong, and all that. But apparently there are more indicators out there.

Fading Stars…Republicans once talked up Stewart Mills, the Minnesota congressional candidate dubbed “The Brad Pitt of the Republican Party,” but they’re becoming increasingly pessimistic about his prospects.

When a Republican has lost Politico, that is foreboding, indeed. For him, I mean. And recent advertising on Mills’s behalf certainly bears a taint of desperation. The pictured mailer – what with living in MN-08, I get one like it practically every day – is from the Republican Party of Minnesota. What caught my eye, before I launched it into the recycle bag, was that he’s going after Obamacare and taxes, still. Could something personal be going on?
You bet. An underappreciated reason for virulent, unreasoning right-wing hatred of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is that tax increases on the very rich are helping to pay for it. That is in direct contradiction to a basic tenet of Almighty Reagan, and that’s horrifying, and terrifying, from their perspective.

You see, up until Obamacare, the truly wealthy in our society, that passive income crowd that dodged the top tax bracket by getting their compensation in capital gains and such, was EXEMPTED from the Medicare portion of FICA.
This tax (2.9%) went up .9% for incomes over 250k under PPACA. .9%’s not that bad, of course, but for those living on passive income, the hit is much larger.
Until now, this law, they were exempt from that tax.
Now they’re not.
(Daily Kos)

What is the ACA costing Mills? His roughly $500K annual salary is public record, but how much unearned income he draws on his net worth of at least $50M isn’t, as far as I know. But just as very loose speculation, if Stewart III has $2M/year subject to the Obamacare tax, it’s costing him 0.38 x 2M = $76,000. Or something like that; I’m no tax expert. Five figures, anyway. Maybe even six.
Which doesn’t seem like much of a financial blow, in context. But we all know it’s not about the dollar amount. A bunch of liberals, led by the Kenyan Communist who invented Ebola, are costing Mills money – stealing it, as far as he’s concerned. And to take care of the undeserving rabble, who everyone knows don’t really have preexisting conditions. That is an affront. An unforgivable one, if you have the sort of rich right-winger mindset that Stewart Mills III clearly has.


Don Slaten for Minnesota House 54B

by Dan Burns on October 14, 2014 · 1 comment

slatenHere’s his Facebook. From his website:

I will continue to push for fair wage policies to enhance the wellbeing of workers and to secure job growth for all…
A strong educational system is necessary to prepare the next generations to tackle the challenges of the coming age. I support enhanced pre-school education, investment in all levels of schooling, and higher education opportunities for all students regardless of economic ability and without undue debt burden.
(Don Slaten House District 54B)

Rep. Denny McNamara (R-Hastings) is a pretty generic right-winger who like all of his ilk in the House (where he’s been since 2003) is past his discard date, by any rational standard. From his campaign website issues page, which still appears to date from 2012:

For the past ten years, Denny has fought to prioritize state government spending and opposed outlandish tax increase proposals. With a state budget deficit looming, you can bet there will be an outcry from many lawmakers next year to raise taxes in order to increase government spending. And when that happens, you can count on Denny to shoot them down.

I guess that Denny’s not a very good shot. And Minnesota is better off because of it.

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Eric Bergeson for Minnesota House 1B

by Dan Burns on October 13, 2014 · 1 comment

bergesonThis is a swing district and a great pickup opportunity. From Bergeson’s campaign website:

Our rural schools have special needs, but they also have special potential, in particular to prepare students for the jobs which are increasingly present in our area…
Our relatively vigorous economy in Northwestern Minnesota is drawing away valuable caregivers in nursing homes, group homes and other caring professions. Wages for caregiving professions must keep up with prevailing norms.
(Eric Bergeson Minnesota House District 1B)

Here is a website about his writing and speaking. There is a big, very righteous focus in his work on care for the elderly.
The incumbent, Rep. Debra Kiel (R-Crookston), was elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave; she’s a right-wing extremist on social issues as well. Her views, and for that matter her entire level of connectedness to reality, are well-encapsulated via some largely fact-free drivel from her website:

The tax system has a pronounced impact on economic performance. A fresh review of government spending, taxes, reduction of the current debt and a balanced state budget are of paramount importance. Current national policy on the economy and job creation is having a devastating effect on our state…
Public awareness and concern for current business taxes and how those taxes affect our competitiveness, wages, and living standards needs to be addressed. Fundamental tax reform must include tax reduction, which would provide true incentives for growth in our economy…
Increased taxation, wasteful government spending and rising deficits have produced an economic contraction, both nationally and at home.

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