Minnesota State Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) is challenging DFL incumbent Collin Peterson. From his campaign website:
Torrey Westrom is a lifelong conservative with a record of creating rural jobs and ensuring that the government operates within its means.
As a strong supporter of a smaller less intrusive government, Westrom believes there is a need for a balanced budget amendment. He believes that expanding freedom and limiting government’s reach is the best way to inspire Minnesotans and spur job creation. Westrom is also a consistent proponent of simple, straightforward education funding and has been a long-time advocate of rural equity funding for schools.
Peterson has not yet said definitely that he is running again, though it seems likely. As one of the last remaining “Blue Dog” Conservadems, and with a lot of seniority, he has outsized influence, and by all indications he likes that.
Negative Nellie types in the DFL are fond of proclaiming that as soon as Peterson does retire, this seat is a lost cause (unless Minnesota Democrats move toward the “sensible center,” and all that s*it). I happen to believe that a Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN)-type candidate, or even someone a little to the left of that, could hold the seat, actually fairly handily in a decent cycle. People that have been voting for a particular party affiliation for a long time, tend not to change readily.
I suppose that “scuffle” isn’t quite right. I’m not sure exactly how to describe it.
One of the Republicans vying to succeed Rep. Michele Bachmann says he won’t participate in a pair of upcoming candidate forums because they’re not free and open to the public.
Former state Rep. Phil Krinkie said Monday he won’t take part in forums sponsored by Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District Republicans and by Freedom Club, a conservative advocacy group. The 6th District Republicans event is Dec. 14 and the Freedom Club debate is Jan. 13.
Krinkie also suggested one of his opponents in the 6th District race, Tom Emmer, is ducking events that are open to the public and to media.
(St. Cloud Times)
Tom Emmer has said that he’ll abide by any party endorsement. That statement was presumably made based on a confident belief that if there is an endorsement, he’ll get it. I, and many others, think it highly likely that there will be a contested primary. And “contested,” especially in the context of the contemporary Republican party, could be quite a show.
You know, these days, in this country, you might not even get this much agreement on a question like “Is there a God?”
A huge majority of Americans favor aggressive measures to stem the influence of money in politics, according to new poll results. The survey also suggests that framing the issue as an effort to fight corruption could help win even more support for the cause.
The poll, commissioned by the group represent.us and obtained exclusively by msnbc, found that 90% of respondents said they’d support a law that imposes tough new campaign finance laws. When “campaign finance” was changed to “corruption,” that figure rose to 97%, with 72% saying they would strongly support such laws.
There was essentially no partisan difference on the issue: 82% of Democrats and 83% of Republicans said reducing corruption is important.
I’m sorry to have to note, especially with the anniversary of Sandy Hook just days away, that some polls showed majorities almost as overwhelming, favoring elements of gun regulation at the federal level, and that didn’t happen.
I’ve seen rumors, now and then, of either Anthony Kennedy or Antonin Scalia planning to retire from the U.S. Supreme Court, before too much longer. I dare not hope. I suspect that the Court’s current right-wing majority regards itself as a last line of defense in a titanic struggle against agents of evil like our progressive selves.
I got a message, and I’m passing it along, because the issue is as important as can be.
Wednesday, December 4th is a Day of Action to Protect SNAP…Don’t let families, vets, seniors & kids go hungry. Tell Congress #SNAPworks. The National Day of Action to Protect SNAP is collaboration between anti-hunger groups across the country, including No Kid Hungry, Feeding America, FRAC, and Bread for the World.
You can also send e-holiday cards, regarding this, to elected officials, here. Even if you know that your members of Congress are on the correct, progressive side of an issue, messages of support help. And if you’re skeptical that online activism ever accomplishes much – “filibuster reform.”
Trying to force people to go hungry is against all reason and humanity. But “against all reason and humanity” pretty much sums up what congressional Republicans do, these days. Including Rep. John Kline (R-MN) and Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN).
As of drafting this, Farm Bill negotiations, which potentially include food stamp cuts, seem to still be pretty much in stasis.
I’m a white, hetero man: that is, a member of the one group in contemporary American society that isn’t subject to institutionalized discrimination. Nothing fills me with more disgust and loathing than the pack of whimpering, cowardly idiots that is also white and male and claims to be “victims.”
It’s the end of what Kimmel calls “the era of unquestioned and unchallenged male entitlement.” This leads to a particularly bitter form of anger that Kimmel calls “aggrieved entitlement.” Add in a nasty economic downturn and an uncertain recovery and you have the perfect recipe for a backlash. “White men’s anger is ‘real’—that is, it is experienced deeply and sincerely,” Kimmel writes. “But it is not ‘true’—that is, it doesn’t provide an accurate analysis of their situation.” Instead of looking toward what Kimmel sees as the real source of their economic woes—government policies that favor the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us—ordinary white guys have lashed out instead at those below them in the social hierarchy: women and minorities…
Men’s rights activists have latched onto this rhetoric of male victimhood, but unlike Farrell, they have designated feminists as the enemy. The causes they take up—from false rape accusations to male abuse victims—often seem like little more than excuses to bash women in general, but especially feminists. Men’s rights activists don’t organize marches; they don’t build shelters or raise funds for abused men; they don’t organize prostate cancer-awareness events or campaign against prison rape. What they actually do, when they’re not simply carping in comments online, is target and harass women—from feminist writers and professors to activists—in an attempt to silence them. Paul Elam, the founder of the website A Voice for Men and probably the most influential men’s rights activist out there, once wrote to a critic: “Your only real hope is to keep your mouth shut … We are coming for you, and we are coming for all the liars out there that have been ruining people’s lives with impunity.”
(The American Prospect)
There’s a novel by Nelson Algren, called A Walk on the Wild Side, published in 1956. In a discussion of the protagonist’s antecedents – poor southern whites, like himself – Algren includes a line that has stuck with me, “…a feeling of having been cheated.” Algren doesn’t go on and on with all kinds of psychological analysis; he pretty much just leaves it there. Plenty of poor, middle-class, and even rich white men now certainly feel like they’re being victimized by things like immigration policy and greater roles for women, but they’re also aware that most of the women and minorities in their towns are really no better off than they are. There’s more to the ever-present “feeling of having been cheated” than that. They just don’t know quite what, and that confusion makes it all the worse. And vaguely threatening. Many people hate losing the illusion of “control.”
In other words, we could go on about men reacting via groupthink and motivated reasoning and psychological transference, and so on and so forth. That’s all valid and useful, but most of those that identify with anything like the “men’s rights movement” don’t have a clue what we’re talking about, and don’t care. They’re just pissed, and looking for someone to blame, and even target. And that makes them tough to reach, much less persuade.
If you watched any of the Minnesota High School football championship games this past weekend – I did, now and then – you probably noticed that the broadcast was sponsored by PolyMet. That’s the outfit that’s proposing a big copper/nickel mining operation near Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota. You were also subjected to a stream of propaganda about how environmentally responsible and economically promising the proposal is. What a load.
In a great case of anticipatory whining, the PR wizards at PolyMet decided to get out in front of what they figured would be a negative story. And they created an even more negative one on their own…
Yes, sadly, kids, the KARE story might tie the virginal PolyMet to Glencore/Xstrata, the union-busting, earth-despoiling mining behemoth.
This would be a regrettable veering into the truth.
PolyMet already has an agreement with Glencore/Xstrata to purchase the ore mined at Hoyt Lakes, a so called “offtake” agreement. Brad Moore, the executive president of PolyMet, said so in a presentation he made in September of this year at a Canada Minnesota Business Council breakfast (I was there). Moreover, PolyMet has said the same thing in press releases to potential investors…
But this isn’t all of it, by any means. PolyMet mouthpieces like Brad Moore have told the story far and wide (as, for example, at the CMBC breakfast that I mentioned above) that a small copper mine in Wisconsin on the Flambeau River was closed successfully and didn’t pollute, and that it is a perfect exemplar for what PolyMet is going to do. The proposed PolyMet mine(s) are orders of magnitude larger and hardly provide a direct comparison.
But never mind. Brad Moore is flat wrong…
If PolyMet will serially lie about things that are ineffably easy to check, what about when they aren’t? PolyMet obviously cannot be trusted.
If you ever choose to heed one of my suggestions that something needs to be clicked and perused in its entirety, this is the time. It’s a blogging masterpiece.
You probably know that traditionally the U.S. President “pardons” a turkey before Thanksgiving. So do a number of state governors. It’s a fun little exercise, I suppose. This year, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (DFL) threw a changeup, indeed sending a bird to slaughter in order to help provide sustenance for the underprivileged.
Dayton took the opportunity to lambaste Congress’s plan to gut food assistance funding in the overdue Farm Bill.
“They’re taking away from the neediest people in the nation,” the governor said. “These federal cuts are going to be beyond our capability, or any state’s capability to absorb and make up the difference. It’s a very, very difficult time for farmers…as well as food recipients. It’s a cruel way to treat them in the holiday season.”
…Most of these families will have to turn to food pantries and charities, which have struggled to pick up the slack since the recession. Usually, the holiday season brings a flood of donations, but donations are dropping steadily even as need grows. Many providers are looking at empty shelves as Thanksgiving draws near.
Hard to know, for sure, how things will turn out, with the Farm Bill. But apparently those opposed to massive food stamp cuts are holding their ground.
image: Calvin and Hobbes Wiki
Regarding the federal judiciary:
When Obama came into office, Republican appointees held 59.4% of the filled judicial seats. But just this month, Democrats took a one-seat edge and now hold 50.06% of the seats…
But while Dems now hold that paper-thin edge, there are 93 vacancies on the table. (Plus another 18 judges have announced they will vacate their seats in the near future.)…
It’s important to note that the parity Democrats have already achieved is undercut by the role of “senior” judges. As USA Today explains: “…Republican nominees will maintain an outsize influence because of the number of judges over 65 who take senior status and continue to decide cases. While the number of active judges are tied … there are 322 senior judges nominated by Republican presidents — more than half named by Reagan — compared with 233 Democrats.”
However, if Obama can seat another 93 judges on top of the 207 he has already pushed through the Senate, he’ll have 300 judges in line for future senior status, the final blow against Reagan’s attempt to remake the judiciary as a conservative bastion.
(Campaign for America’s Future)
Filling every one of those vacancies with qualified, reasonable jurists will have an immensely positive effect, especially on women’s, workers’, and environmental issues, in both the short and long term. I’m pretty confident that the administration, and Senate leadership, understand that, and will proceed accordingly.
Of course, not every judge appointed by a Democratic president has proved to be solid, from a progressive perspective, once on the bench. But the reverse is true as well, and it seems as though it evens out.
This is good stuff about filibuster reform. I guess that I’m inspired to excerpt it here because of a lot of what I see on social media, especially Facebook. The occasional asterisk in a cuss word was added by me.
But I’ll tell you who didn’t help make this happen: everyone who sat in the comments of every filibuster reform post whining about how “spineless” Democrats were, or how Reid was too “weak” or “bought” to ever make the change. Too many people preferred to sit and whine about the current sad state of affairs, than to engage in the reform effort. And it wasn’t helpful. In fact, it was detrimental. Filibuster reform didn’t happen because of those people, but in spite of them…
Activism isn’t about the present, it’s about what can be. Have Democrats been spineless and weak and bought? Of course! That’s why we’ve been beating the s*it out of them for years! But there’s a constructive way to handle that, like what we did with Joe Lieberman. He was a cancer in our party, and we were never going to change him. But it was our pressure that forced him into early retirement, and his replacement, Sen. Chris Murphy, is now one of the good guys.
Saying “Democrats are spineless” and leaving it at that is not useful. Figuring out why they are spineless, and what we can do about it is. Then we work to change that reality. We are about action, not about throwing our hands up in the air and declaring defeat…
But if you prefer to remain a negative a** by outright dismissing chances of success, then please, just shut the f’ up. Don’t get in the way of people doing good work just because you prefer to s*it on everyone’s efforts (in order) to prove your superior cynicism. It doesn’t reflect (well) on you, and it’s certainly not helpful to those genuinely fighting the good fight.
The United States struck a first-step deal with Iran, regarding the latter’s nuclear program.
The decade-long Neoconservative plot to take the United States to war against Iran appears to have been foiled…
In 2003, the Neocon chickenhawks, most of whom had never worn a uniform or had a parent who did, joked that “everyone wants to go to Baghdad; real men want to go to Tehran.” When people have to talk about being “real men,” it is a pretty good sign that they are 98-pound weaklings.
The “everyone” who wanted to go to Baghdad was actually just the Neocons and their fellow travelers. Most of the latter were hoodwinked by the Neocon/Cheney misinformation campaign blaming Saddam Hussein of Iraq for 9/11. A majority of Democratic representatives in the lower house of Congress voted against the idea of going to war. The Iraq War, trumped up on false pretenses and mainly to protect the militant right wing in Israel from having a credible military rival in the region and to put Iraqi petroleum on the market to weaken Saudi Arabia, cost the United States nearly 5000 troops, hundreds more Veterans working as contractors, and probably $3 or $4 trillion – money we do not have since our economy has collapsed and hasn’t recovered except for wealthy stockholders. Perhaps George W. Bush could paint for us some dollars so that we can remember what they used to look like when we had them in our pockets instead of his billionaire friends (many of them war profiteers) having them in theirs.
(Israeli Prime Minister) Binyamin Netanyahu was a cheerleader for the Iraq War. He is now deeply wounded that the US is making peace with Iran. He seems to see the US as his personal Doberman pinscher, which he is used to siccing on his rivals in the region whenever they complain about his aggressive land thefts.
The other night, I was watching one of those documentary channels, and for a change it wasn’t a “reality” show about rednecks. They sent one of those robot submersibles to the very bottom of the deepest deep-sea canyon. There was a big old pile of whale poop down there, and when they used the sub’s robot arms to move it aside, they uncovered a bunch of neocons. Indeed, the lowest things in existence.
Yet, they continue to get the lion’s share of regular space/face time in corporate media (including, I noticed, this morning‘s top headline in the print edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune). Cowardice and stupidity remain powerful.