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I could be wrong. If I’m right, then I have to admire the cleverness of a certain group of Don Samuels’ supporters, even if, as the title implies, there’s something coldblooded about it.


A new organization has sprung up for this election season, the Minneapolis Progressive Education Fund. They put out a mailer promoting the candidacies of Don Samuels and Iris Altamirano for the Minneapolis at-large school board seats. Altamirano is one of the candidates endorsed by the DFL. Samuels is not. The other DFL endorsee is Rebecca Gagnon. Voters might be fooled by the effort MPED is making to hook together Altamirano and Samuels. The images below are a mailer MPED sent Minneapolis voters (click to enlarge). Some voters have received a robocall supporting Samuels and Altamirano while bashing Gagnon. I didn’t receive one myself and don’t know of anyone who caught who made the calls, but the content sounds roughly the same as the MPED web site. The mailer is positive about the supported candidates, but the robocall and web site are pretty negative. The web site tries to tie Gagnon to the unproven rumors about State Sens. Bobby Joe Champion and Jeff Hayden. Pretty nonsensical rumors unless someone believes the senators are politically suicidal (denying funding to the Minneapolis public schools? Remember that saying about extraordinary claims…), but MPED says, “The Star Tribune and MinnPost also have reported on claims…” and yes, someone made claims, those outlets reported that someone made claims, so true as far as it goes. Other than that attack on Gagnon, it’s all generic “every child can learn” sort of stuff said by all school board candidates everywhere.

MPED mailer image 1   MPED mailer image 2

So what’s the strategy? It’s more than knowing the word “progressive” plays well in Minneapolis. The trick is Samuels doesn’t need to beat both endorsees. Since there are two positions, he just needs to beat one. Apparently the strategy is to hook him to one endorsee, giving the impression he’s the other endorsee, while simultaneously hitting the other endorsee with a negative campaign. That may explain why Samuels didn’t seek the DFL endorsement, which he never would have gotten for any public office, but instead attempted the same sort of ambush campaign Matt Entenza tried in the auditor primary: keep quiet until filing so opponents aren’t expecting anything, and then hit hard with a well-funded negative campaign. The brilliance of this strategy is it would have worked equally well whichever candidate MPED chose to support or attack. Whether there was a reason or a coin flip, MPED chose to make it appear Samuels is running with Altamirano, even though they’re not similar candidates, and I’ve yet to hear anyone in Altamirano’s campaign have a good word to say about him.


Attack Ads, Madison High and Jim Meffert

by JeffStrate on October 24, 2014 · 1 comment

Earlier today Dan Burns emerged from exploring the effluent of anti-Nolan ads in Congressional District 8 with an advisory that one of the operatives behind them was the owner of our favorite sh*t eating grin of dental veneers, former St. Paul Mayor and U.S, Senate recount wrestler/litigator Norm Coleman.


Coleman attended James Madison High School in Brooklyn. During my road running days I jogged past his alma mater a few times when training for my mid-pack goals in 10 K and marathon races. That part of Brooklyn can produce scrappy weasels as well as top shelf, pragmatic visionaries. “America’s Senator,” Bernie Sanders (VT), Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Senator Chuck Schumer (NY), former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and 4 Nobel Prize recipients graduated from Madison High in Brooklyn.


You are not worthy Denfield, Eden Prairie, Roosevelt, Saint Paul Central and Centennial Highs. But in terms of the Franken-Coleman re-count results, Blake School in Hopkins, Al’s alma mater, has parity with Madison High.


But I wander. Dan Burns sheds light on the darkness in CD 8 and considers something I haven’t thought much about: The Ventura Effect –  “Whoa! Beer Bong Guy for Congress?” Cool! I’m gonna VOTE!!”


Jim Meffert making a point on Democratic Visions in 2010

Jim Meffert making a point on Democratic Visions in 2010

Now back to negative attack ads.  Former DFL Congressional District 3 candidate Jim Meffert anticipates that attack ads will increase in frequency until November 4.   Meffert tells Eric Black at MinnPost that the negative ads are actually targeted at iffy voters to discourage them from voting for the likes of, say,  Rick Nolan. I don’t recall many if any negative ads during Meffert’s 2010 challenge to then frosh Congressman Eric Paulsen. Meffert had real appeal to we suburban voters but did not garner the big bucks to be competitive. There was little need for the right wing to negatively attack Mr. Meffert at a level now being seen in the CD 8 race.


The Junk Yard Democrats are always game to toss a dark, musical spitball at Mr. Paulsen.  Like Eric, Tommy, Norb and Doug live in Eden Prairie.  Here again is your link to view “He Talks the Line.”   This time around, the Junkers are supporting Sharon Sund.  So am I.

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HD2B Steve Green dislikes both science and law

by Eric Ferguson on October 20, 2014 · 2 comments

State Rep. Steve Green, HD2B
State Rep. Steve Green, R-2B, has authored some interesting bills. By “authored”, I suspect I mean “stuck his name on some special interest’s bill, and who knows if he even read it”. But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he really believes this stuff. Wait, that’s sort of worse. Anyway…
Let’s start with a bit of tentherism. Green is one of those who buys into that doctrine birthed in John C. Calhoun’s black-enslaving heart that states can ignore whatever federal laws they disagree with. That doctrine, originally intended for the defense of slavery, has never entirely died out on the extreme right, which extremity apparently includes Green, trying to apply it to modern issues with just as little understanding of how the law works.
Green coauthored a bill that calls for the arrest of federal officials enforcing federal gun laws. He seems to be fond of arresting federal officials for implementing laws he disagrees with. Green was one of the Republicans who said they would support arresting federal officials implementing Obamacare in Minnesota. No shock I suppose that there is considerable overlap between the Republicans who want to arrest federal officials for one and the other. Each list is like a handy guide to nutjobbery.


(We’re still having a problem with comments uploading correctly. I will manually upload any comments on this, so they will appear, sooner or later. – DB)
Sarah Lahm’s conspiracy piece about “billionaire and TFA” money flooding in to support Don Samuels in the Minneapolis School Board race went national last week. Washington Post columnist Valerie Strauss (a staunch opponent of ed reform) reprinted Lahm’s original piece from “In These Times.”

A few days later, some Minneapolis voters woke up to find Lahm’s article tucked inside their screen doors with this helpful note, “I noticed a Don Samuels lawn sign in your yard. This may be information you need to make a more informed decision.”

Key word here is “informed.”

Which is sort of funny because Lahm’s piece is so loaded with factual errors, omissions and conspiracy theories, I scarcely know where to begin. It mirrors the stuff we progressives roll our eyes about when we hear it coming from Fox News.

Here are four things wrong with her piece:



During Friday’s debate of secretary of state candidates on Almanac, Dan Severson repeated his idea of an express lane for voters showing photo ID. Such voters would get to go through a fast line, pretty much like now, while those without photo ID would have to have a long wait. What they would wait for is never hinted at. What is sure is that since we generally enjoy short waits now in Minnesota, he’s going to have to create some obstacles to extend the wait. Severson is entirely comfortable with inflicting discomfort on others. DFL candidate Rep. Steve Simon pointed out that Severson said he was fine with making people without photo IDs wait out in the cold for two hours. Simon said this at 43:45. Severson immediately denied it, and denied it again at 45:30. I won’t say Severson is lying because he could have forgotten he said it. And somehow no one in his campaign checked out Youtube, where they could have seen the video below from last April, just as Simon said. But lying or forgetful, Severson said it. h/t Bluestem Prairie. Severson says it starting st 53:40:

In the bit right before, Severson is denying that minorities are disenfranchised by requiring photo IDs, claiming that having photo IDs enfranchises them. He’ll enfranchise people by requiring them to produce something they can’t get, without which they won’t be allowed to vote. At least not without standing out in the cold for two hours. He seems not to get that yo can’t enfranchise people who already can vote, nor does he mind disenfranchising them. Maybe he’s just clueless about what “enfranchise” means?

When they’ve done studies on photo ID [no, he gave no indication of who "they" is], it actually empowers the minority communities to say you know what, I am a US citizen. I have the right to vote. This is my ticket to vote. And so in that process, I think we begin to enfranchise, to encourage those people, who meet the criteria, say you know what, you are a US citizen, we’re going to make it easy for you. Now if don’t want to do that, be my guest. You can go over to the side and wait in line, two hours, out in the cold. That’s fine.

Even our most bogged down polling places in 2012 didn’t have two hour waits. He’s going to have to deliberately create the conditions that cause two hour waits. I’d find that laughable, it it wasn’t that Republican election officials in some states have done just that in Democratic precincts.
BTW, if you watch the whole debate, it becomes apparent why Simon put the debate video on his web site.


Comments temporarily missing

by Eric Ferguson on October 19, 2014 · 1 comment

At least we hope it’s temporary. An update on the software that runs the backend has stopped the display of comments. No, we don’t know the cause yet. Comments are still there, but just not showing. You can add new ones, but we can’t now say when they’ll show up.

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Bill Maher in Northfield

by JeffStrate on October 18, 2014 · 1 comment

Bill Maher with new best friends at the Grand Event Center, Northfield on October 7, 2014.

Bill Maher at the Grand Event Center in Northfield on October 7, 2014 to tape his Flip-a-District scheme for his HBO series.

Our colleague Bill Sorem at the Uptake informs me that Bill Maher’s “Flip-a-District” show that was taped in Northfield and premiered on HBO Friday October 17 is available free here for non HBO subscribers.

Click on the link, close the window over the page. Then click on the “Minnesota Town Hall” icon below the SPREAD THE WORD banner. A promo trailer is listed as, “Bill Maher in Northfield.”


This episode of Real Time with Bill Maher was produced at the Grand Event Center in Northfield which elder Carls, Olys and townies knew as the Grand Theater. When I lived in Northfield, The Grand offered respite from the academy with flicks like “Help,” “The Train,” “Ship of Fools,” and “The Sand Pebbles.”


Lefty activists in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District had won Maher’s well-publicized national contest to enlist Maher (television’s smartest liberal comedian working without a platoon of writers) to defeat a deserving-of-defeat Republican congressional troglodyte.  CD 2 lefties won Maher’s challenge because of John Kline’s lock-stepping Republican record and a shrewd and creative pitch using social media and stunts like hiring a plane to tow a “Flip-a-District” banner over exurbia.


Lordy Lordy, would that CD 3 lefties trash their pale picnics, coffees and lets hug one another validation banquets to consider the kinds of events that the farm, suburban and college town libs south of Twin Town are up to.  They deal with Kline, we deal with Paulsen.  DFL endorsed Mike Obermueller may not upset Kline in the Second – he was totally ignored during Maher’s Northfield chat fest – but in a rambling manner the event lightened our heavy brows with wit, nudge-nudge winks, vinegar and sparring. For an hour we were not unlike the British during one of their election seasons. This in a state whose political spirit these days is largely muffled by political correctness snipers, patronizing candidate effluent, unimaginative political party managers, pollsters, strategists and blizzards of pornographic hate mailers.


Maher’s guests were not from the limp, local mainstream media “A” list of, political pundits – no Sarah Janacek, Larry Jacobs or the curiosity that is Ember Reichgott Junge.  Adolescents John Rouleau, executive director of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition and Katie Kieffer who has authored a book about Obama waging war against millennials on Maher’s red panel were anchored by grown-up Steve Sviggum, ex-Speaker of the House and famous Kenyon Norwegian-American and mumbler.  The blue panel counted the Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi; Minneapolis-based Daily Beast writer, Ana Marie Cox; and the mayor of her city, Betsy Hodges.


The blues prompted most of the cheers. Taibbi couldn’t contribute much but the fox that is Miss Cox, has a bite and is most cool.  Hodges has clearly recovered from the shell shock of being mayor and dealing, now as a mayor, with Kenwood NIMBYs, North Side transit equity troops and Met Council suits prior to the pro Municipal Consent vote on SW Light Rail.   I was impressed with her levelheaded, fact-based interjections into Maher’s gab cloud.


The exchanges meandered a bit in front of an overbearing, cheap, vinyl banner screaming: REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER but were good-natured entertainment and understood as such by Mr. Swiggum and the others.  The gambit did raise awareness of the deeds (and lack of them) of cipher John Kline.  Mr. Obermueller, in the HBO presentation, is not mentioned once and can now commiserate with CD3 DFL endorsed congressional candidate Sharon Sund who is not seen or mentioned once on the home page of the DFL CD 3 website.   None-the-less, Flip-a-District will very likely produce more interest in and votes for Mr. Obermueller.   Courage Sir.  And Sharon, you’ve got my vote!

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Artist's conception. Not actually Dan Severson

Artist’s conception. Not actually Dan Severson

Can it be called “full” tin foil hat unless someone is literally wearing a tin foil hat? So OK, Dan Severson’s tin foil hat might be purely metaphorical. How tin foil hatty? In a speech to the West Metro Tea Party last June, he said:

This was my attempt as a sitting State Representative to say you know what there’s fraud going on, this is during the Franken-Coleman recount, and you guys need to pay attention to this. This is relevant, right now. Why do we have Obamacare? Al Franken. Why do we have Al Franken? Voter corruption. Fraud. Why do we have a majority in the House and the Senate right now, and a Governor that are anti-business? They are anti-business. Voter fraud. Because they will go across the state and they will find the seats that are vulnerable. They will find the ones that are within a certain margin and then they will load the buses. And they will stuff the ballots.

His evidence? He believes it. Should we have some schadenfreude with an article of faith in the GOP, recalling the fools they made of themselves in the Franken-Coleman recount? Sure. So, in order to believe that Franken somehow stole the recount, you have to believe Franken pulled this off despite:
— An observer from each campaign watched each ballot being counted, with the right to challenge the decision on any ballots they wanted.
— The canvassing board, including Republican appointed judges, was unanimous on all decisions and all but a few votes.
— The entire proceedings was webstreamed live by The Uptake, so anyone who wanted could see each ballot.
— The election contest court, also webstreamed live, including Republican appointed judges, was unanimous in its decision, and found for Franken on all facts and rulings.
— The state Supreme Court, including Republican appointed judges, unanimously upheld the decision of the election contest court.
— The Coleman campaign, asked by the judges if they were alleging fraud, said “no” every time.
In that classic act of people in denial, in a press conference earlier this week, Severson cited a debunked study. He said Minnesota Majority found 6,000 illegal voters in the 2008 election. They actually sent county attorneys and election officials on thousands of wild goose chases. They found a few former felons who voted or merely registered without voting before their rights were restored, and election officials had already detected most of those. My understanding is even Minnesota Majority doesn’t stand by that report anymore. But conspiracy theorists, including the voter fraud variety, never give up the one bit of evidence they have no matter how false.
But if you can’t convince the fact-based world, then just shoot the people with Obama bumper stickers. From that same speech:

When we were coming in the streets were blocked up on 395, 394 whatever, and I’m thinking ‘what in the world is there an accident up there?’ And sure enough there’s cars blocked across, people are backed up for literally a mile on both sides, and I’m thinking ‘this is Barack Obama’. He’s here in our state tonight and he’s in, and I, and I think you know all those cars that have Obama stickers on the back oughta turn into targets at that point, you know?

Shoot Obama supporters, that’s funny, funnier than still calling himself “Doc”.
Oh, heck no, we’re not done yet. Click the “read more” link.


Three Republican Targets

by JeffStrate on October 17, 2014 · 1 comment

Soutwest suburban Southwest suburban Democrats Yvonne Selcer, Ron Erhardt and Joan Howe-Pullis are watching their backs in their blue-trending MN House districts.

Southwest suburban Democrats Yvonne Selcer, Ron Erhardt and Joan Howe-Pullis are watching their backs in their blue-trending MN House districts.

Three DFL endorsed candidates in three politically purple southwest suburbs define their positions and records on the pre-election edition of Democratic Visions. Moderate Democrat Yvonne Selcer is seeking a second term in House District 48A.  She is being challenged by Republican Kirk Stensrud who held the same southern Minnetonka/northern Eden Prairie seat for a single term prior to narrowly losing the 2012 election to Selcer. Selcer’s team claims that the Republicans have made the former Hopkins School District Board chair their number one MN House target to flip.


My family, which includes two voting age kids, lives in 48A. The Stensrud, MN GOP and uber-conservative PAC pollsters, pitchmen and pornographers are hosing us over the phone and on cable TV, YouTube and Facebook ads and through our mailbox. The “pornographers” (employed here in only a figurative sense) include Pro Jobs Majority, Minnesota Action Project and the Republican Party of Minnesota.  Yvonne Selcer’s comforting, school marm charm and legislative record expose the right wing smears as graffiti, spray-canned by folks in need of anger management intervention.


Edina’s Ron Erhardt is also a target as he seeks his 11th term in the Minnesota House. Nine of those terms were served consecutively when Mr. Erhardt was an independently minded, moderate Republican; he is now an independently minded, moderate Democrat.  Erhardt was bounced out of the Republican Party after he and five other Republican legislators voted to over ride then Governor Pawlenty’s veto of a transportation-funding bill in February 2008.  The lean, chiseled bucaroo did not run in 2010 but found time to entertain the usual suspects at a Drinking Liberally therapy session in NE Minneapolis a few weeks before the election. In 2012, Erhardt-the-Democrat was returned to the MN House by Edina voters.


One of Ron Erhardt’s Edina neighbors, DFL elder Tim O’Brien (our lead host on Democratic Visions), sees Ron as the most effective and knowledgeable transportation advocate in St. Paul.  Blogger Steve Timmer (also of Edina) notes at Left MN  that his fellow villagers are trending blue but do not vote for ideologues blue or red. Explaining, perhaps why Erhardt’s G.O.P. opponent Dario Anselmo says very little.


Eden Prairie’s Joan Howe-Pullis is challenging Republican incumbent Jenifer Loon to represent House District 48B.  Loon was one of the few Republicans who voted for the marriage equality law last year.  She was punished by south Eden Prairie party Republicans and forced into a very expensive summer primary. Although Loon crushed her right wing primary challenger, she now faces a popular community organizer.   DFL endorsed Joan Howe-Pullis helped mobilize Eden Prairie opposition to the 2012 Republican supported ballot question that would have had the State Constitution define marriage as only between a man and a woman. With her votes back then, Jenifer Loon helped put that constitutional amendment question on the ballot.

House District 48B voters rejected the anti-gay, “marriage amendment” by 60%.  Joan Howe-Pullis and her marriage equity colleagues did the hard work in a district where very conservative Republican Senator David Hann also lives.


Joan Howe-Pullis can upset her respected and conservative incumbent on November 4th even as Democrats are supposed to wither into minority status. In southern Eden Prairie, as the song goes, “the times they are a changing.”  Howe-Pullis is well liked, knows her part of town and is an active member of the large, Pax Christie Catholic Community. Jenifer Loon’s overall conservative voting record (she opposed light rail and recent minimum wage hike legislation) may no longer fit her constituents.

All three DFL endorsed candidates need strong get-out-the vote support.


Democratic Visions on YouTube

Yvonne Selcer video segment

Ron Erhardt video segment

Joan Howe-Pullis video segment

Democratic Visions cable TV schedule

Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 – Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. MTN streams the program from its website during cable casts


Minnetonka, Hopkins, Edina, Eden Prairie and Richfield – Comcast Channel 15 – Sundays at 9 p.m., Mondays at 10:00 p.m., and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.

Bloomington – BCAT Cable Channel 16 – Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.; Fridays at 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.

Democratic Visions is independently produced by Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Edina volunteers at the Bloomington Community Access Television studio by arrangement with the Southwest Suburban Cable Commission and Southwest Community Television. Democratic Visions is not endorsed or supported by any political party or political action committee.


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HD17A Miller makes groundless charge of non-residency

by Eric Ferguson on October 17, 2014 · 1 comment

Republican candidate for the seat in HD17A, Tim Miller, made a charge in his debate with DFL incumbent Rep. Andrew Falk that Falk doesn’t actually live in the district. He made the charge in his opening statement, so it was unprompted by a question and presumably planned. He did look at his notes right before making the charge. It was rather sidewise though. Not a direct charge, but rather a “some guy said” charge. Here’s the relevant part, and it’s in the video starting at 7:28:

I have had many people come to me and ask, “Does Andrew Falk even live in this district?” That’s not for me to answer. That’s for him to answer. But it is a fair question because as I have gone throughout this district from Appleton all the way down to Fairfax, I have people sharing with me stories of challenges that they have, and that their representative is not representing them.


“Many people”, huh? So essentially, Miller is challenging Falk’s residency, which is a big deal since being non-resident is a disqualifier for state legislature. If Miller can prove it, he can get Falk removed from the ballot. The evidence Miller is presenting is … Fill in the blank with anything you want, and you’ve put in as much as Miller.

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