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Morbid death songs for Halloween

by Dan Burns on October 31, 2014 · 1 comment

Most people have heard the basics, like “Patches” by Dickey Lee, “Dead Man’s Curve” by Jan and Dean, and Bloodrock’s rather repellent “DOA.” And there is an entire genre called “death metal,’ though in fact the lyrics of the better stuff from that move well away from endless blood and gore. Here’s a selection (not of death metal) that I like.
Publicists and so on liked to invent “feuds” between performers, and sometimes the latter would play into that. Supposedly the Four Seasons and the Beach Boys had mutual disrespect, which led to this parody.

The following is of course not “morbid’ at all. It just sticks in your head, at least in part because of the repeated rhyming of “bumpkin” and “pumpkin.” I believe that it won CMA’s Song of the Year, sometime in the early 1970s.

I saved the real musical greatness for last. I don’t know how many versions Armstrong recorded over the years; I’m using this one because of Earl Hines on piano.


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the stanek waySheriff Stanek is taking credit for the 36% drop in violent crime rate, which is NOT a credible claim. Stanek twitted that “Violent crime is down 36% in Hennepin County since I was first elected Sheriff.” with a campaign video saying the same. Sheriff Stanek’s office direct polices less than 1% of the population. Sheriff Stanek’s office only did 676 arrests of the 45,000 arrests done in Hennepin county in the year 2013. Indeed the challenger Eddie Frizell has more of a claim as an assistant chief in the Minneapolis Police force. The Minneapolis police made about 21,000 arrests of the 45,000 arrests done in Hennepin county. Indeed the crime rate has been falling everywhere in the past 20 years: homicides dropped 51 percent, property thefts dropped 64 percent. Sheriff Stanek could just as credibly claim responsibility for bringing down the crime rate everywhere, not just Hennepin county.


Sheriff Stanek taking credit for other people’s work is not new. Stanek tried to take all the credit for the handling of 35W bridge collapse which involved many agencies. Yet he spent $30,000 on a video to showcase his role. Actually Minneapolis Deputy Chief Rob Allen was the unified incident commander at the site.


Maybe Sherif Stanek should just take credit for what his office actually reports out as Key Results in Hennepin County 2014 Budget Document:


Number of police/fire/medical calls dispatched: 647,679
Number of jail bookings: 35,910 Number of court security escorts : 33,552
Number of crime scene responses: 2,964
Number of mortgage foreclosure sales: 2,596


One can see that the Sheriff’s office is providing support services to policing. The real question is does the contributions that Sheriff Stanek’s office makes – dispatching a phone call, holding someone in jail, escorting a person to court, responding in a crime scene or foreclosing on a mortgage allow Sheriff Stanek to take credit for 36% drop in violent crime rate? This is a contribution, but I think taking the full credit is going too far. It is just like taking all the credit for 35W bridge collapse.


We could look at what Sheriff Stanek has claimed in news coverage for big improvements that his office made in local policing.


On April 23, 2013, the Sun Post reported the purchase of a $400,000 super-armored vehicle. Military-grade armor covered 360 degrees of the vehicle. Do you believe the use of this heavily armored vehicle going through the streets of Hennepin county was a significant contribution to the 36% drop in violent crime rate?


On September 18, 2013, in Star Tribune, Sheriff Stanek claimed that “I have seen firsthand in Hennepin County that there is a direct connection between marijuana and violent crime.” Do you believe that Staneks tough policy on the prosecution of marijuana cases was a significant contribution to the 36% drop in violent crime rate?


Indeed one can question Stanek leadership. when the Hennepin County deputies endorsed Rich Stanek’s opponent, Eddie Frizell, by nearly 8-to-1 margin. Indeed instead of armored car theatrics and being featured on opinion pages, Eddie Frizell offers a working-on-the-streets kind of leadership.


Frizell says “Our County desperately needs leadership that will work in close partnership with local agencies and community leaders. We must have a boots on the ground, community Sheriff that spends time working in the jails, riding in squad cars, patrolling with deputies on our waters, and sitting with 911 dispatchers. Solving the morale crises that Sheriff Stanek has neglected over the past 8 years is the only way we will build the type of organization that attracts the best in law enforcement and continues to reduce crime.”


Two pictures emerge: Stanek’s armored car patrolling streets or Frizell sitting next to a 911 dispatcher.


I believe that a Sheriff that manages people better would be a better choice than a Sheriff who likes to buy expensive toys.


What do you think?
Comments below fold.


State DFL’s GOTV tour visits Hopkins

by JeffStrate on October 31, 2014 · 1 comment

Democratic Visions taped some of the action when the DFL’s Get Out the Vote Tour bus visited its Coordinated Campaign office in Hopkins.  State Party Chief Ken Martin, Lt. Gov. candidate Tina Smith, 3 CD congressional candidate Sharon Sund, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and St. Paul Mayor Chris Colemen pumped up the hard working gathered.  Other notables can be spotted behind the speakers.  From Hopkins, the DFL bus headed to Carleton College, Northfield, then to Eagan, Oakdale, Hmong Village on Saint Paul’s eastside and the DFL Office in Frogtown (St. Paul).   Rather than follow the bus of politicos, electeds and worker bees, Dem Vis retreated to its edit bay to assemble this video.  It runs about 9:30.

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You know the Minnesota GOP is panicking

by Dan Burns on October 31, 2014 · 1 comment

cryingbabyYeah, there’s a decent chance that the MN GOP will take back the state House on Tuesday (for all of two years) and/or win MN-08 (ditto). Maybe they’ll even pick up something else. But there’s also a decent chance that they won’t. And that would be…devastating.
This was supposed to be a great big glorious comeback year for state Republicans, because Obama and MNsure and mining, and “flaky” Governor Dayton and, especially, oh-so-liberal-and-out-of-touch Senator Franken, who is loathed by Minnesota wingnuts above all others and who barring the biggest communal polling fail in history will win in an absolute rout. I even recall seeing, months ago, predictions of another “Minnesota Massacre” like in 1978. Moreover, nothing that happens on Election Day, here or nationally, will do anything to change the long-term outlook for the Republican Party or right-wing conservatism, in any of its manifestations, overall. (Demographics certainly are a factor – more here – but there’s an even bigger issue that is rarely noted even on the left, I suppose because it sounds kind of mean. Thanks to modern education and modern communications, younger voters are more knowledgeable and more able and willing to think rationally than ever before. That is, they are more, in a word, intelligent than their parents and (especially) grandparents, and therefore far less likely to fall for right-wing conservatism – the failed ideology of f*cking idiots.)


So, for any right-wingers reading this, you have two choices, and you might as well start thinking about them right now. You can spend the rest of your days in resentful bitterness, perhaps punctuated by short-lived glee via one or two electoral flukes. Or, why not become progressive? That is, pick up on a smart, humane, reality-based political ideology that’s about working together to make things better for everyone. We’ll tell you who to vote for, if you’re not sure. Just stop by and ask.
(The true point of these remarks, of course, is to remind progressives who may be thinking of skipping out – because it’s not like Mark and Al need my vote, right? – that they can potentially be part of something really sublime: the true beginning of the end for right-wing conservatism as a factor in Minnesota state governance, once and for all. So, please, get to the polls.)

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abandonedschoolThere has been some “discussion” as to just what’s going on with campaign financing in the race for citywide seats on the Minneapolis school board. This really makes things obvious. It’s a press release from ACT for Education. I don’t have a hyperlink, but I do have permission to quote wholesale.


New campaign finance reports out today show that three out-of-state billionaires and a New York millionaire have contributed $248,000 to the Minneapolis Progressive Education Fund (MPEF), and its affiliated groups the 50CAN Action Fund, and the Students for Education Reform Action Network Fund (SFER). 94 percent of the MPEF money comes from billionaire Michael Bloomberg, Connecticut billionaire Jonathan Sackler, California billionaire Arthur Rock, and New York millionaire Adam Cioth.

MPEF has a s*itload of gall, putting “progressive” in its name. You can view the rest of this extremely enlightening document by clicking “READ MORE,” below.
This, from MinnPost, has links to all of the various fundraising reports.

Yes, out-of-state billionaires are trying to smother Minneapolis with the deformer, anti-public schools agenda. Period.
The following sentence is an example of “reasoning from fact.” Privatizing/corporatizing American public education is a terrible concept, and a huge preponderance of evidence bears that out in practice. Again, period.

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HD10B clarity sits next to incoherency

by Eric Ferguson on October 30, 2014 · 1 comment

That headline might sound more cryptic than it really is. Incumbent DFL State Rep. Joe Radinovich sat next to MNGOP challenger Dale Lueck during their recent debate. One question for the candidates was about a proposal to replace our current method of electing judges with retention elections, and that’s the incoherency part. If you can understand Lueck’s answer, you’re a step ahead of the candidate (starting at 14:30):

Leuck seems to be saying he opposes changing to retention elections, but then goes on about all the problems with current system, says we can’t change it because of the constitution, and finishes by saying “we just gotta own up, and get busy on that.” He can’t be entirely unaware of the issue, because he later said Iowa has retention elections, which is correct, and no judge can ever be removed that way, which is remarkably wrong. In 2010, Iowa voters removed three state supreme court justices for overturning Iowa’s same-sex marriage ban. If you’re going to pick a state for an example, wow, bad choice.

Advance the video to 31:42 for the clarity part, when Radinovich gets his turn at answering a question about MNSure and gets to rebut Lueck’s answer. DFL candidates struggling with that should feel free to copy. Radinovich explained the delay the MNSure faced because the Republican majority in the legislature had chosen to delay. He then went on to explain the benefits that have already accrued to the public, like less reliance on emergency rooms, no more denial of insurance for pre-existing conditions, and the large drop in the number of Minnesotans who are uninsured. Lueck had a response that was, well, it was more coherent that his judicial retention answer.

And one little gem later on: Lueck said the issue over transgender kids in high school sports was caused by gay marriage. So there’s your choice 10B. As a general rule, you’re better off with the smart candidate.

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Hey, idiots, MNsure WORKS

by Dan Burns on October 30, 2014 · 1 comment

hospitalBecause if you’re like me, you’ve only been hearing otherwise, from most purportedly legitimate sources. (That’s who I’m calling “idiots.”) That is absolute BS.


MNsure (on August 21) announced that 300,085 Minnesotans have enrolled in comprehensive, affordable health insurance coverage through the state health insurance marketplace…
To date, 180,566 are enrolled in Medical Assistance, 65,749 in MinnesotaCare and 53,770 in a Qualified Health Plan. Between September 30, 2013, and May 1, 2014, the number of uninsured Minnesotans fell by 40.6% to a record low. Open enrollment for 2015 coverage begins November 15, 2014.

In fact, while the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is still just a first step to government-run universal single-payer, it has been a far bigger success than many, including me, expected. Also remarkable is its effect on Medicare costs.


It’s not about right-wing pols attacking MNsure, and Obamacare in general. That’s expected; I don’t exactly go out of my way to present “both sides” when typing up my polite, respectful remarks about conservative candidacies, either.
And it’s not like there’s any indication that all of the MNsure bashing is seriously hurting Democratic pols in the state. Relatively few Minnesotans are directly affected, and for the vast majority of those who are participating (especially regarding the Medicaid expansion), it’s been positive.
It’s that corporate media has been so flagrantly, atrociously one-sided on this from the start, essentially acting as nothing but an amplifier for right-wing attacks. (For example, type something like “Star Tribune MNsure“ into your search engine of choice, and scan what the first few pages look like.) Just, stop paying attention to that crap. There are better alternatives. Like the facts.

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kline3Pretty damn bad. I’m passing along this great article. Rep. John Kline (R-MN) is running for reelection, and his Democratic opponent is Mike Obermueller.


Behind schedule or not, Kline’s stiff-arm comes as no shock. He’s played behind the scenes for most of his career, preferring to quietly legislate away from cameras and microphones.
Besides, it’s just a reporter approaching him, not someone allied with the for-profit college industry. If the latter were the case, Kline would not just have time for lunch. He’d most likely block out the rest of his day to bond over tumblers of moderately priced scotch.
As Kline disappears behind the elevator doors, so goes the biggest obstruction to reforming for-profit colleges in America, an industry grown fat and sweaty on the taxpayers’ dime, while leaving students paralyzed in debt and working part-time at CVS.
(City Pages)

Education and health care are the worst possible places for incompetent greedhead for-profits and “competition.” Anyone who doesn’t get that by now could well be intellectually beyond help, at least on public policy.
Update: Obermueller has announced that if elected he will make dealing with this a priority.

Second district congressional candidate Mike Obermueller announced his proposal to crackdown on the predatory for-profit college industry today. The proposed legislation is geared to ensure schools are as invested in their students’ education as their own bottom line.
“It’s been made clear that the for-profit industry is simply not doing an acceptable job of producing a high quality education,” said Obermueller. “Worse, these schools have been abusively targeting prospective students, using various lies and distortions of the truth to recruit them.”
“To these bad actors, veterans are walking dollar signs,” said Obermueller. “It’s disgusting to think that these schools have been targeting our veterans’ tuition benefits without any intention of providing them with a real education. But unfortunately, current regulation is set up in a way that incentivizes these schools to go after veterans. This is an easy thing to change, and I would expect to find broad bipartisan support for this measure.”

Comments below fold.


In praise of Minnesota House DFL longshots

by Dan Burns on October 29, 2014 · 1 comment

mncapitolDuring the past weeks I’ve blogged a lot about what I’ve considered to be at least somewhat realistic pickup opportunities, in elections for the Minnesota House of Representatives. Loosely, that’s meant races with Republican incumbents in districts with hPVIs of R+7 or less. We have a lot of candidates out there who are running in much more Republican districts. I suggest that they are awesome for doing so, and deserve our admiration.

OK, I admit that I’m not exactly the definitive embodiment of what you’d call a “people person.” But even if I was, to get out there night after night, doorknocking, hitting the events, because you know how important it is that somebody does…that takes something special. That goes for their staffers (if they have any) and volunteers, too.
And there is no such thing as an impossible district. It‘s no secret that the electorate is moving left – too slowly and fitfully, alas!, but moving nonetheless. People in general are progressive on most issues; their voting habits (including whether they vote at all) just all too often haven’t caught up. And there’s ample indication that Minnesota is moving faster than most. (I don’t necessarily buy that Minnesota is the “second most liberal state,” but we are in the progressive vanguard, and nothing that happens or doesn’t happen next Tuesday is going to change that in the longer run. And on the whole, next Tuesday isn‘t looking bad, here.) It’s a long haul, but there’s gold – a better state – at the end. And all of our candidates are a big part of it.
Comments below fold.

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Minnesota DFL Beats Expectations

by Grace Kelly on October 28, 2014 · 0 comments

According to a Yougov/CBS poll The DFL in Minnesota should not be doing as well electorally as it is doing. Note that we are listed in the chart below behind Wisconsin and Michigan in scoring on progressive issues. I think the explanation must be that the DFL does better campaigning. When I personally crunched the numbers given in the spreadsheet to compare Minnesota to an average of all the states, Minnesota did not stand out that much.


Yougov Poll Results


The good news in the governors race first:




Mark Dayton 47%
Jeff Johnson 39%




Mark Dayton 46%
Jeff Johnson 31%


Only 33% indicated that they could change their mind in this race. Of course, this race may be closer because getting Democrats to actually vote is always an issue. In my personal doorknocking experience, Dayton is seen favorably because the Minnesota/Wisconsin comparison is hitting home.


The good news in the senators race next:




Al Franken 47%
Mike McFadden 39%




Al Franken 49%
Mike McFadden 34%


According to the polling, the ads are favoring Al Franken. I especially like the ad where the the guy says look at the place behind me with no jobs. McFadden is getting stuck with being an outsourcing Republican.


More likely to vote for Al Franken 34%
More likely to vote for Mike McFadden 29%
No difference 37%


Strangely even though the Democrats lead, the generic preference is slightly Republican.


19. Which party would you like to see control Congress after the election?


Democrats 43%
Republicans 45%
Don’t care 12%


Issues are also queried in this poll. Only 13% of respondents believe in never having abortions which is good news. People believe that our state economy is better. 41% people oppose the Tea Party compared to the 19% who support them. 61% of people believe that economic system favors the wealthy. 49% want to kick out illegal immigrants. 49% of the people still just want to cut taxes while the rest while 40% most favor a mixture of raising taxes and cutting spending. 52% favor gay marriage.


This poll is weighted toward likely voters and does have more 3% more men that I would expect, so therefore any work that the DFL has done to encourage new voters may not be reflected in the results. This year 15% of voters expect to early vote or absentee vote which should help DFL results. This is the GOTV battleground year.