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Al Franken

MNGOP’s False Equivalence is Demeaning to Women

by Invenium Viam on August 27, 2014 · 0 comments

demeaning to women

Demeaning to women?

“God … God … why did you put so many a**holes in the world at the same time?” Major Santini, The Great Santini

 

The latest cornerstore hoo-hah to issue from the Hivemind of the Glifnards is that Senator Franken somehow demeaned women by briefly holding two traffic cones to his chest as if they were female breasts. This was in apparent response to DFL Chair Ken Martin’s call for congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn to apologize for his very real, repeated, caustic demeaning of women, minorities, and every other non-male, non-WASP group that happened to come to mind.

 

In a 12-second iPhone video, Franken appeared to be clowning for someone off-camera.

 

While it may be Humor Unbecoming of a Comedian of Franken’s stature as a local stand-up (of fond memory) and former comedy writer and skit-player for SNL — humor at about the same comedic level of sophistication as Mr. Whipple squeezing the Charmin — it hardly descends to the level of demeaning women.

 

That is, unless you think that breasts as reproductive organs are dirty and shameful and that that dirtyshamefulness somehow devolves upon their owners and therefore ought not be used for jokes. If that’s the case, it explains a lot, since pointing out that women have breasts and men don’t is almost as clever a revelation as pointing out that human beings like to have sex … noisy, clumsy, sweaty, messy, wet sex … which seems to be a continuing bugaboo for a good many conservative types who need to be in control, man.

 

Without stating what, exactly, is demeaning to women about Franken’s juvenile behavior, several Republican women in the Minnesota legislature — including State Senator Michelle Fischbach and Representatives Marion O’Neill, Joyce Peppin, Cindy Pugh and Peggy Scott — demanded an apology from Franken in a letter drafted by Party Boss Keith Downey to DFL Chair Ken Martin. “I am so offended,” avowed Representative O’Neill, who joined Downey at a news conference, ”not only this, but his pattern of behavior to degrade women and to put women down. We are in 2014. I think it’s time to apologize and it’s time to move forward and it’s time to stop this terrible behavior.”

 

Sound genuine to you? Me neither. Putting the shoe on the other foot, if any of those women stuffed a cucumber down the front of their jeans and proceeded to dick-swagger bow-legged around the room like they had testicles the size of hen’s eggs suspended in their scrotal sac, would I feel demeaned? U-m-m-m-m-m …. Nope!  I’d just feel mildly amused …

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Mike McFadden

 

In his latest television ad, Mike “Nutshot” McFadden attempts to heap scorn on Senator Franken for “missing the mark.” It looks to me like yet more evidence that McFadden’s campaign is Not Ready for Prime Time.

 

The ad portrays a Franken look-a-like replete in suit and tie attempting to back the family boat into the water, failing repeatedly, knocking over garbage cans, while others are waiting impatiently and shaking their heads. The subtext reads contempt: Pity the Fool. Of course, Mighty Mike gets it on the first try. ‘Cuz he’s no fool.

 

Or.Is.He? If the ad’s intended audience is boat-owners, he may be on to something. Minnesota has more boat-owners per capita than any other state in the union. But to my knowledge boat-ownership has never been identified as a persuade-able voter demographic. Maybe I’m wrong …

 

No, I think he actually missed the mark himself. It appears that the ad is appealing to those viewers who dislike Coppertone®-tan Presidents, dislike Obamacare, dislike votes on higher taxes (never mind that the House GOP majority makes those votes moot), and dislike bespectacled Jews in suits trying to back boats.

 

If that’s the demographic he’s appealing to, I’ve got a newsflash for Team McFadden. Those guys are already voting your way. You’re wasting the old man’s money. Why not give the money to me and I’ll pass it on to a worthwhile charity — it’s better spent.

 

Also, I thought McFadden was supposed to be a smart business guy. The smartest move he could make right now would be to six his ad agency and find someone who knows what the hell they’re doing.

 

Mike, you need to widen your message, starting right now, and begin appealing to moderates, or your campaign is DOA on Election Day. Time is short: early voting begins in five weeks.

 

As the ad says, “Here in Min-ne-SO-ta, there’s a right way and a wrong way.” Looks to me like you picked the wrong way. Pity the fool.

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Johnson, Otto, and primary thoughts

by Eric Ferguson on August 15, 2014 · 2 comments

Fresh off his win in the MNGOP gubernatorial primary, Hennepin County commissioner Jeff Johnson has already released his first campaign video:
 

 
Oops, that was Eddie Murphy from “The Distinguished Gentleman”. Sorry, didn’t mean to compare Jeff Johnson to Eddie Murphy. That’s unfair. After all, Murphy is funny on purpose.
 

Here’s Johnson being funny, presumably not on purpose:
 
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McFadden Mittromneys a Highway Fund Increase

by Invenium Viam on August 14, 2014 · 1 comment

Meet the New Boss ... Same as the Old Boss

Meet the New Boss … Same as the Old Boss

Want more evidence that Mike “Nutshot” McFadden’s campaign is Not Ready For Prime Time?

 

Just ask him what his position is on raising the federal gas tax to replenish the Federal Highway Trust Fund.

 

The last time that fund saw an increase, the price of a gallon of gas was $1.10. When initially asked whether he supported an increase in the fund, which hasn’t seen a new capital injection in twenty years — he answered in the affirmative. Minutes later, he changed his mind and answered in the negative.

 

Questioned by a local reporter, McFadden at first said he would support a higher gasoline tax if revenues were cut somewhere else.

 

Per the Strib:

 

He took another question on a different topic and left with a pair of campaign staffers. Seconds later he reappeared and addressed reporters again.

 

“I just want to reiterate that I will not support raising the gas tax,” McFadden said. A reporter then said, “I’m sorry, I thought you said you would as long as there was a corresponding decrease …”

 

“No, I won’t,” McFadden interjected.

 

The reporter then said, “No support? So how would you …”

 

A McFadden staffer jumped in and said, “We gotta go.”

 

Later in the day, McFadden called reporters and said he wanted to clarify his position.

 

“What I didn’t want to do is support an increase in the gas tax because I don’t think that’s the right long-term solution,” he said.

 

Although he wasn’t specific, McFadden reiterated that overhauling the federal tax codes could free up money for transportation projects.

 

Yup, he’s looking more and more like the Mitt Romney Clone he got labeled early on.

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Big McFadden blunder on steel imports

by Dan Burns on August 11, 2014 · 1 comment

The article’s mostly about the public debate at Farmfest. But this found its way in.
 

(Sen. Al) Franken said, though, that he has supported measures to guarantee the pipeline is built with American-made steel. After the debate, (Mike) McFadden said he wouldn’t be a stickler for that requirement, just that any steel, even if it comes from overseas, would need to be acquired through “free and fair trade.”
 
“What I’d love to see is us to use American products where we can, but we’ve got to be cost-competitive where we can. I am a supporter of free and fair trade,” he said. “But I think we’re going off on a tangent right now. What’s real is, we’ve got to get this pipeline built.”
(MinnPost)

The real fun starts at 2:00, though it’s preceded by a rather bizarre little fantasy from Nutshot about a pro-fossil fuels mega-majority in the Senate. This video is from The Uptake.
 

 
Labor leaders in particular are absolutely pounding him.
 

It’s hard to nail down what the plan for the pipe really is. This 2012 report from the National Resources Defense Council noted (on page 3) that a good deal of pipe has already been shipped in from Asia. TransCanada claims that nonetheless most of it would end up being made “in North America.” Me, I always trust what the corporations say. Because I’m as gullible as they make ‘em.
 

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McFadden job claims were false

by Dan Burns on August 7, 2014 · 3 comments

Mike McFaddenSomebody reality-based looked up the numbers, and it turns out that U.S. Senate candidate Mike “Nutshot” McFadden was talking through his hat. The article goes into plenty of detail.
 

What do we learn from this from this analysis? First, the unemployment data do not match Mike McFadden’s description of what is happening in these local economies. Unemployment is not stuck at 10 or 11 percent in areas such as Bemidji or the Iron Range.
 
Second, the data indicate that these areas experienced a sharp recession that was similar to other areas of the country with industries tied to the manufacturing sector (e.g. mining.) Unemployment spiked and returned to its pre-recession level; wages continued to be flat, just as they were before the recession and as they’ve been under Democratic and Republican administrations and Congresses for 40 years; labor participation rates are lower than they’ve been in 30 years for a variety of reasons, none of which are specific to Minnesota’s economy or to current economic policy.
(MinnPost)

The Republican congressional candidate in MN-08, Stewart Mills III, has also talked a lot about joblessness in northern Minnesota, purportedly as a result of Democratic policies – including, presumably, insufficient tax cut welfare for very wealthy people like himself. But it seems that for once he’s shown a bit of sense, if only inadvertently, and has not spouted specific figures that can be factually refuted.
 

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Is Mike McFadden Running to Lose?

by Invenium Viam on July 17, 2014 · 9 comments

snakeyes-born-to-loseErnest Hemingway once said, “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, sh*t detector.”

 

I like to think I’ve got a pretty good functioning unit. It may be old, but it’s pretty reliable.

 

That may be the reason why I’ve struggled with the nagging question whether Mike McFadden’s campaign to unseat Senator Franken is for real, or just for show. Something hasn’t felt quite right, not quite genuine, about what I’ve seen so far. My spidey-senses are all a-tingle.

 

I understand that McFadden is a political newcomer, never having held political office before. So it would be easy to pass off any misgivings about McFadden’s campaign bona fides onto that. While inexperienced he may be, McFadden’s certainly not dumb. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of St. Thomas with a B.A. in Economics. He earned a J.D. from Georgetown. So you know he’s got the raw horsepower upstairs.

 

Presumably, he’s also a skilled business manager. He would know that you don’t try to push your way into a developed niche market against several strong competitors without having a helluva business plan, some ironclad financial backers, and Triple-A core competencies across the board. The risk of failure is just too great — and nobody wants to back a loser, especially the money guys.

 

So it’s telling that, after more than a year on the campaign trail, with less than a month before the primary election and little more than three months remaining before the general, McFadden remains largely unknown to Minnesota voters, his campaign is undistinguished, his messaging is unremarkable, his fundraising is woeful, and his crew seems unfocused and directionless.

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Mike McFadden is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Al Franken (D-MN). He also has to win a primary in August; he’s considered a heavy favorite, there. His most recent TV ads are strange and weird, and call the general competence of his campaign very much into question. (Note that not long ago his staff got a big change.) Maybe he figures he has to try something unusual, all things considered.
 

First, it’s presented as a positive that he cluelessly performed a medical procedure, presumably under septic conditions, on a child.
 

 
Then, apparently there is something cute and/or funny about being sucker-punched, square, in the nuts.
 

 
Keep ‘em coming, Mittclone. Please.
 

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Democrats need to watch their language

by Eric Ferguson on June 30, 2014 · 3 comments

Don’t be linguistically hoist by your own petard.

No, that title doesn’t mean Democrats need to stop swearing. Ever been to a DFL meeting? You could broadcast those without a seven second delay; not with much audience except the five Republicans hoping something stupid will be said, but certainly without fear of FCC fines. I’m referring to our actual verbiage. The way we communicate.

 
Yes, I know, you’ve heard about messaging and framing, and semantics, and your head just swims as the concepts fade from your brain. You don’t need any theoretical understanding as long as you get it empirically; say X and not Y. So my intention here is to look at specific word choices. I’ve been delaying posting as I give time for examples to accumulate, not that I’m not bound to miss a bunch. Feel free to disagree of course, but also feel free to add. You might well have better ones than I came up with.

 
Let’s just dive in. In order basically as they occurred to me, not alphabetical or topical or ranked by importance:
 
“Photo ID”, not “Voter ID”: They’re not the same. We’re playing into the hands of the voter suppressors every time we say “voter ID”. The problem isn’t getting an ID; the problem is getting an ID with a photo on it. We already have voter ID for registering, when you need something with your address on it; bank statements, rental agreements, or utility bills. If a voter could vote with a utility bill, showing ID to vote would still be a pointless step given the scarcity of impersonation, but at least the requirement wouldn’t be disenfranchising. Getting the photo ID is the hard part for many people, especially when what people have is disallowed, like states that sent confirmation cards to registered voters stopped accepting those cards at the polls because they don’t have photos. Saying “voter ID” grossly understates the difficulty many voters have in getting acceptable ID, and the voter fraud invention industry depends on the majority for whom photo ID is no big deal giving it no thought. At least “photo ID” gets us part way to making the point that people do have ID, but new laws won’t accept it. As we learned in Minnesota when we beat back the photo ID constitutional amendment, public support is broad but shallow, and quite amenable to factual arguments (how rarely that happens unfortunately).
 
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McFadden Four-Flushing on Veteran Funding

by Invenium Viam on June 23, 2014 · 9 comments

Mike McFadden

Mike McFadden

Four-flusher‘ is one of those great old slang terms that has fallen into general disuse over the years. Specifically, it means a poker player who likes to bluff having a flush, but only has four cards of the same suit, not five. By extension, it means someone who misrepresents himself to others in a self-serving way. More pejoratively, four-flusher is used as a synonym for a con-man, a phony, or a fake.

 

I’ll leave it to you to decide in which senses of the term Mike McFadden might be a four-flusher.

 

On June 10, McFadden’s campaign issued a press release damning Senator Franken for failing to keep a campaign promise to veterans: ”In 2008, Al Franken promised Minnesotans that he would stop shortchanging our veterans and put an end to wait times at VA clinics. Five years later, we know that Sen. Franken has failed miserably,” said Tom Erickson, spokesman for the McFadden for Senate campaign. “With over 57,000 patients waiting for their first appointment, it’s clear that Sen. Franken’s campaign promises are little more than empty rhetoric from just another politician. Our veterans deserve better.”

 

As a veteran, I have enormous regard for Senator Franken, as do millions of others across the country. With regard to flag-draping, ambitious posers — not so much.

 

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