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Carrie W1The Ramsey Conservation District (RCD) is commonly called the water board. The board protects the quality of lakes and drinking water from storm runoff. Controlling water runoff also conserves our good top soil. The board encourages people to have rain gardens that trap rain and redirect back into building back up our water table. Since water is our most critical resource, the people who serve on this board are unnoticed heroes.

 

Carrie Wasley is running for re-election. She received the Public Service Award from Friends of the Parks and Trails of St. Paul and Ramsey County! Here are her answers to our standard questions:

 

1) What is your background? How does this background make you the better choice for the office you are running for?

 

I have done extensive non-profit and government board work and work well with others on an individual board’s agenda. The Ramsey Conservation District (RCD) Board of Supervisors have established a team approach to our responsibilities. Over the last four years we have regained financial stability and we are now recognized as a knowledgeable and effective county asset. The RCD staff are dedicated technicians and policy experts. Together the Supervisors and staff work well back and forth on critical issues.

 

2) What are the three main issues or values that are key to your campaign?

 

The three main values or issues that are key to my campaign are accessibility, teamwork and energy.

 

Accessibility – The mission statement of the RCD is to be the bridge between conservation agencies and Ramsey County citizens and local governments to sustain our natural resources through partnerships, technical services and education. It is inherent for the RCD’s purpose to be accessible.

 

Teamwork – It is critically important that citizens and other conservation staff people feel that they are treated with respect, without doubletalk and effectively. This has not always been the case with the RCD but starting about four years ago the Supervisors decided to think first about the citizens and what we were trying to give them in education and effective programs instead of obfuscation and condescension. The past four years have seen a turn-around in teamwork and outreach into the community.

 

Energy – Each year the RCD grows larger and larger with dedicated staff promulgated on successful grant funding. This is because there is an energy both technically but also in interacting with professional people across the county. This energy is a critical factor in the success of the RCD over the past four years.

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McFadden Plans to Burn Workers Under Age 55

by Invenium Viam on September 23, 2014 · 1 comment

money-burningSo far, GOP Senate candidate Mike “Nutshot” McFadden has managed to keep his policy positions on Social Security and Medicare well under wraps. To my knowledge, the only definitive statement he has made about either is to support raising the age of Medicare eligibility.

 

Eric Black at MinnPost managed to wrestle that small admission out of McFadden in an interview published way back in July, but that’s about all he got.  McFadden’s dodging and twisting to avoid directly answering Black’s questions approached the comical, almost to the level of a ‘Who’s on first?’ exchange, as Black pointed out in his article and generously posted the full exchange on-line for all to enjoy.  McFadden has had very little more to offer the press since then.

 

That in itself is telling. The simple truth is that McFadden doesn’t want Minnesota voters to know what his policy positions are on Social Security and Medicare because he knows they’ll be unpopular. He prefers to lie by omission rather than risk creating tomorrow’s film-at-10 soundbite or self-damning black’n'white advert snippet.

 

There stands a paragon of moral courage.

 

This is where a little reading between the lines and connecting the dots becomes useful. In normal circumstances, I’d avoid both as a weak foundation for offering criticism. But you can’t divide by zero, and you can’t prove a negative, and you can’t criticize a policy position not taken, so reading between the lines and connecting the dots is about all we’ve got to go on.

 

We’ll start with McFadden’s published position on Social Security, which may yet turn out to be a stinking, maggot-infested political albatross around his neck.

 protecting-seniors

Parsing the language here is important to a clear understanding of where McFadden truly stands on the issue. Disregarding for now the fact that Social Security and Medicare are promises made to all workers, not just “today’s seniors,” McFadden is only offering “… to fight to keep the promise …” of preserving social safety nets in their present form for “… today’s seniors …”  and “… our parents and grandparents …”.  In other words, he’s only willing to support continuing benefits under the current program for those workers at or near retirement.

 

He doubled-down on that position in his MinnPost interview with Eric Black. “What I wouldn’t support is anything that would change the benefits for people that are nearing retirement,” he told Black. “And by that I mean 10, 12 years from retirement.”

 

Current law provides full benefits at age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Backing up 12 years means that McFadden only supports continuing Social Security benefits per the plan’s current embodiment for those persons who are now 55 or older. By inference, then, McFadden must support a different plan for those workers younger than 55.

 

The question then becomes: What kind of different plan?

 

More Below the Fold

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Too fun to pass up. State Rep. Carly Melin in HD6A was a clear favorite for reelection anyway, but any remaining worries just got harder to justify.
 

A Minnesota House candidate is being sued in civil court after cutting his neighbor’s garage in half in a property dispute.
 
A lawsuit filed by Mark Besemann, of Iron, against Roger Weber, a Nashwauk Republican, asks for $20,000 in damages to the garage and $20,000 in punitive damages, as well as a small portion of Weber’s land.
 
The case was to be heard this week in Itasca County District Court. But, Besemann’s attorney, Jaclyn Corradi Simon, said the case has been delayed to Dec. 15. Simon says Besemann found himself in the middle of a family dispute.
 
Weber’s sister sold the garage, house and 1 acre to Besemann while Weber owned the 39 acres around it. Weber says half the garage was on his property. Weber’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Or maybe Weber is just trying to show that unlike most Republicans, he’s willing to split the difference.

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I am deeply proud that Minnesota has a great secretary of state in Mark Ritchie, and that an equally pro-voter replacement for him is in the wings to succeed him in Democratic candidate Steve Simon.  Ritchie and Simon stand in stark contrast to the worst Secretary of State in the nation, Kansas SOS Kris Kobach, tea partier.

 

Minnesota has had the highest voter turnout many years, and elections that are considered a model for fair, honest and efficient.

 

If you are one of those voters who is not yet registered — do it TODAY, National Voter Registration Day.  You can do it Online, and if you are reading this, you are already on line, so no excuses!

from the Owatonna People’s Press:

Thousands of Minnesotans have used the new online voter registration program, according to a release from the secretary of state.
Of the 8,092 people who took part, 2,938 were new registrants. The rest were voters updating their information. Waiting to be approved are 598 additional applications.
That’s good news for state Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-Hopkins, who authored the House bill that kept the system in place.
“What I would love to know — because this data didn’t break it down — is age ranges,” said Simon, who is running for secretary of state this fall. “One real possibility for online voter registration is that young people in particular will take to it.”
But Simon’s bill wasn’t the first introduction of online voter registration to the state. The figures released on Thursday represent the total since September 2013. That’s when the program started up a rocky path to state law.
It was originally implemented by current Secretary of State Mark Ritchie without a legislative vote. A lawsuit was later brought against Ritchie with claims that he overstepped his authority by creating the system.
In April, a Ramsey County District Judge John Guthmann ruled that the online registration system would have to be shut down. A day later the state Legislature passed the bill to keep it going, and the service continued without skipping a beat.
The bill had bipartisan support, and received “yes” votes from the legislators who represent Steele County in both chambers.
Another new election law this year allows for “no-excuse absentee ballots,” which Simon also authored. Before, requests had to be coupled with an explanation for missing Election Day.

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Peter Perovich for Minnesota House 35A

by Dan Burns on September 23, 2014 · 1 comment

perovichThis is an open seat, because Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) made this his last term, in order to run for the U.S. Senate. R+6, open seat, solid DFL year, crazy GOPer make it winnable.
 
Our candidate is Peter Perovich. Here’s his Facebook.
 

I am running for Minnesota House to fight for our families and local businesses. The needs of our communities match those of similar communities around the state, yet we struggle to find solid ground for growth and sustainable prosperity. I will use my experience to help build consensus and find real solutions to our State problems. I know that your family deserves better and I will always put people before politics.
 
We need to address the inequities that are brought upon our area; I will dedicate myself to make sure we are treated fairly, build upon existing cooperative efforts, and strengthen our communities so we rank amongst the best places to live in Minnesota. We do not want to go back to the gridlock that made Minnesota look like Washington D.C. As your State Representative, I will continue the fight for our families and businesses so that we can keep moving Minnesota forward.
(Peter Perovich for Minnesota House)

The Republican candidate is Abigail Whelan.
 

But – and those images show it – wanting to screw over the ultra-poor, the full time laborers suffering under an outdated and inadequate minimum wage; that is bad policy and uncharitable to boot. (It is her “firm and unwavering position on” that issue; per Cato rhetoric — pie charts, and all.)
 
No matter what biased “think tank” rationalizations and propaganda points the lady musters, she clearly dumps on raising the minimum wage to help working folks in the district and that’s not my cup bag of tea…
 
A quick online background search suggests Whelan is not a privileged Republican of the Mitt Romney mould; but more a Michele Bachmann clone, one or two generations younger. And — that’s scary.
(Developers Are Crabgrass)

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From their web site:
Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

 

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported. The 10 most challenged titles of 2013 were:

Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Check out the frequently challenged books section to explore the issues and controversies around book challenges and book banning. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

 

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; the Freedom to Read Foundation; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; National Association of College Stores; PEN American Center and and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

 

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Check out the frequently challenged books section to explore the issues and controversies around book challenges and book banning. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

 
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; the Freedom to Read Foundation; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; National Association of College Stores; PEN American Center and and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

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Last Thursday, Kris Kobach, the radical right wing extremists Secretary of State for Kansas, lost a state Supreme Court battle regarding the 2014 ballot in that state.  Kobach tried to keep the Democratic candidate from withdrawing from the election.  The state Supreme Court voted unanimously,regardless of political preference or affiliation,  that Kobach did NOT have that ‘discretion’ to treat the Democratic candidate differently from other candidates.

from the Powerline blog:

The cited statute provides:
Any person who has been nominated by any means for any national, state, county or township office who declares that they [sic] are incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected may cause such person’s name to be withdrawn from nomination by a request in writing, signed by the person and acknowledged before an officer qualified to take acknowledgments of deeds.

Taylor having made no acknowledgment of incapability to serve, Kobach ruled that Taylor would stay on the ballot as the Democratic nominee this November. This point of the whole Democratic charade being to get Taylor off the ballot and get Democrats behind Orman, Taylor followed up with an appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court. Having made his withdrawal “pursuant to” the statute, Taylor argued that he incorporated the statutory requirement of incapability by reference. This week the Kansas Supreme Court unanimously agreed:

We conclude the plain meaning of “pursuant to K.S.A. 25-306b(b)” contained in Taylor’s letter effectively declares he is incapable of fulfilling the duties of office if elected. Simply put, the phrase operates as an incorporation by reference of this particular requirement.

 

Powerline blog, a conservative site, doesn’t like the court decision, never mind that it treats all candidates alike rather than different, rather than giving preference to one political party over another.

 

What has been largely absent from the media coverage is that Kobach quietly skulked away with his tail between his legs on Saturday, and complied with federal and state law:
From Politico:

 

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has directed county election officials to start mailing ballots to voters overseas Saturday without having a Democratic nominee listed for the U.S. Senate.
The Democrat dropped out of the race against three-term Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, pushed out by some party leaders who wanted to improve the chances that independent candidate Greg Orman would defeat Roberts.

Kobach spokeswoman Samantha Poetter confirmed Friday that the secretary of state had decided against delaying the mailing of ballots to military personnel and other U.S. citizens overseas. He had said Thursday that the deadline for starting the mailings would be pushed back to Sept. 27.

 

Why was that an attempt to cheat by Kobach and the Republicans?

 

That would be because the incumbent Republican is losing, but is losing by LESS if the vote is split three ways rather than two.

 
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12376938I wrote here about how Stewart Mills III, the GOP candidate for Rep. Rick Nolan’s (D-MN) place in Congress, implied that voters in the district just don’t much care about what’s going on elsewhere on the globe. (Specifically, I titled it “Mills calls district voters a bunch of dumb rubes.”) I don’t mean to say that his campaign is paying any attention to me, I don’t see why they would, but there does appear to have been an effort to upgrade his public standing on this.
 

After Nolan’s ‘no’ vote, his Republican challenger’s camp was quick to issue a statement:
 
“Rick Nolan’s vote tonight against the bipartisan agreement to equip and train Syrian rebels was deeply disappointing,” said Chloe Rockow, communications director for the Stewart Mills campaign in a statement. “The solution was a responsible way to fight ISIS without putting any American troops on the ground, but Rick Nolan continued his trend of voting against what’s best for our troops and veterans. He wants to ignore the gathering threat of ISIS for philosophical reasons, but once again, his vote was wrong for the 8th Congressional District.”
 
Nolan’s camp fired back Wednesday night:
 
“It’s surprising that Stewart Mills III has awoken to this issue, despite telling the Duluth News Tribune that voters aren’t concerned with foreign policy. Rep. Nolan opposes spending taxpayer dollars on another costly war. Instead he believes we should reinvest in America, rebuild our middle class, and support veterans by tackling the backlog of VA benefits claims, increasing access to mental health services, and ensuring veterans living in rural areas can visit their local doctor. Rep. Nolan will continue to oppose wars of choice abroad and do everything he can to support our veterans here at home,” Nolan’s communication director, Sacha Haworth, said in a statement.
(WDIO)

Or there hasn‘t been such an effort. There seem to be internal communication issues.
 
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The Mimics Who Live Off the Real

by Grace Kelly on September 21, 2014 · 0 comments

mimics

In nature, defense is hard word. One type of snake develops venom, it is effective but it is also a great investment in resources. So the snake develops a color pattern, a distinctive brand to save all the effort of actually having to use the venom. The mimic snake develops the same color pattern as the original snake, essentially being protected by the hard work of the venomous snakes. In very hard times, the mimic snake will live because it does not have the extra hard work of producing the venom. Mimics are cheats and freeloaders. Mimics also force the original snakes to have to use their venom more often because the mimics are teaching the world threat of the color pattern is not a real threat.

 

In business, we constantly have good quality services and goods being mimicked by cheap knock offs. That is why branding is protected. It so much cheaper to pretend to be something than to really be that something. Marketing became the science of lying. The consumer is constantly sifting through the real and unreal. Indeed business has a hard time rewarding the true value of work.

 

In the world of ideas, there is real original content and the mimicry which is noise. Remember when journalism was a reporter writing about first hand experiences. Then the AP service came along, where newspaper basically became repeaters of information. The more that noise enters a process, the more the original content providers lose. Original blogs were high content. When content became good enough, newspapers mimicked blogging. Then sales sites mimicked blogging. It became difficult to find the original content and original blogs are dying. Facebook is going through the same evolution from useful to clogged with the useless. “Monetize” is a way of turning real content to noise.

 
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Freeway roofs and wine

by Eric Ferguson on September 19, 2014 · 0 comments

Following up on a couple recent posts, with the definition of “recent” being arguable in one case:
 
Minneapolis_skyline_51In a recent post on the two charter amendments on the ballot in Minneapolis, I spent most of the post on the increase in election filing fees because I understood that issue, but had to leave readers with just the text of the food requirements for wine licenses because it was Greek to me. Or French or Californian, I don’t know what kind of wine it was. Minnpost has an article explaining it. Essentially, the city council and the charter commission felt that the rules for restaurants that serve wine or beer don’t make any sense given changes in the restaurant industry, especially as regards craft beers. The council passed a replacement ordinance unanimously, and removed an archaic ordinance, but some rules are in the city charter and thus the need for a charter amendment. It probably seems ironic if you’re a conservative that this liberal city coucil is acting to simplify and modernize regulations to encourage business development. I’m going to vote “yes” just to watch some conservative heads explode. Feel free to drown your sorrows in a craft beer at a Minneapolis neighborhood restaurant.
 
OK, I’m actually going to vote “yes” because it seems like it should be good for the city. The metaphorical explosion of conservative heads is just a happy side effect.
 
The post of arguable recency but deserving of an update was my suggestion that we should put a roof over our freeways. Crazy idea. What was I thinking?
 
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