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Meanwhile, Back On The Farm

by Bill Prendergast on March 24, 2017 · 0 comments


Script/Layout: Bill Prendergast Art: Caitlin Skaalrud


Juicy Mouthful of Deep-Fried Suckers

by Bill Prendergast on January 25, 2017 · 0 comments



On the Monday, April 6, broadcast of Hardball With Chris Matthews, in a segment called “Get the Message,” Mr. Matthews suggested that many past successful presidential campaigns have had an inspired campaign theme. He cited presidential campaigns going all the way back to JFK.


  • Kennedy 1960: “Get the Country Moving Again.”
  • Nixon 1968: “Vote Like Your Whole World Depended On It.”
  • Carter 1976: “Leaders, For A Change.”
  • Bush 1988: “A Kinder, Gentler America.”
  • Bush 2000: “Compassionate Conservatism.”
  • Obama 2008: “Change We Can Believe In.”

Matthews then asked his panel which candidates would have the best campaign themes in 2016. I found their answers, for the most part, unimaginative and unedifying. So, remembering that we writers and bloggers at Minnesota Progressive Project do indulge from time-to-time in satire and satirical commentary — not to mention supporting fellow journalists in the innovative pursuit of new knowledge — here’s my offering of what will be the Top 10 Campaign Themes of 2016, presented as graphic renderings in alphabetical order.



Bush 2016 Campaign Theme
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Christie 2016 Campaign Theme
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Cruz 2016 Campaign Theme
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Huckabee 2016 Campaign Theme
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Paul 2016 Campaign Theme
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Pence 2016 Campaign Theme
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Perry 2016 Campaign Theme
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Rubio 2016 Campaign Theme
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Santorum 2016 Campaign Theme
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Walker 2016 Campaign Theme
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Another famous New Yorker, Yogi Berra, once said, “We may be lost but we’re making good time.” That pretty much sums up the current state of Rudy Giuliani’s political reality and doesn’t bode well for his future.


When it comes to Rudy Giuliani, I want to be upfront from the start. I’ve lived in New York City most of my adult life and I have greatly benefited from having lived here. I voted for Rudy Giuliani every time he ran for mayor. He used to live around the corner and down the block from where I’ve lived for the past 30 years. I had the misfortune, one weekend evening, of sitting two tables away from the Giuliani family in an Upper Eastside restaurant. I was more than taken aback when the man who had rid the streets of “squeegee pests” along with high and low priced hookers couldn’t control his own children as they ran riot about the dining floor. Giuliani was as oblivious to his children’s behavior as he was to the displeasure they caused the patrons trying to enjoy dinner that evening.


If you’re not a New Yorker of long standing or one who has resided in the greater metropolitan area for a number of years your opinion of Rudy Giuliani is more likely than not a function of your memories of the September 11 terror attack and his response thereto, which was undoubtedly heroic. His performance in the aftermath of 9/11 led many media pundits to portray Giuliani as an “American Churchill”, something my British friends, both liberal and conservative, roundly derided. However’ if you’ve been here awhile you know full well that the day before 9/11/2001 Rudy Giuliani was pretty much a political has been, having sunk to the level of a political afterthought. He was perceived, socially, as a bit of a buffoon. Prior to 9/11, Mayor Giuliani had made a spectacle of himself, in an unflattering way, by openly discussing his failed marriage in public even before he had completely done so privately with his wife. This was an affront to polite society in particular and viewed with disdain by the public generally. Thus in many ways his latest attack on the persona of Barack Obama is best viewed as Giuliani running true to form. In other words, Rudy Giuliani has regressed to his personal political mean.



Is it Time for Rand Paul to Meet Miss Manners?

by SJGulitti on February 4, 2015 · 0 comments

If you happened to be, watching CNBC’s on Monday afternoon and saw the rude performance by Rand Paul in his interview with anchor Kelly Evans than you are more than familiar with this abysmal excuse for public discourse. If you missed it, you will definitely want to see the clip below. That’s especially true if you’re thinking of supporting Paul for president in 2016.


In the course of the interview, Paul completely lost his cool. He talked right over Evans, quibbled with her and interrupted her repeatedly. If you’ve ever watched MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in action, you know just how aggravating that sort of behavior can be. After all, it’s one thing to stridently disagree with someone and another to be boorish and rude in conversation. If you are seriously considering running for president, issues like ill-mannered behavior are of the utmost importance. If Mr. Paul can’t handle some straightforward and fair questions from a CNBC newscaster how will he ever be able to stand up to a Vladimir Putin or some tin horn dictator from the third world.


Perhaps by the time of Paul’s late afternoon interview on CNBC his ill-conceived comments on vaccination had already begun to give him cause for concern. Perhaps he realized that those comments were now public record, which would eventually have to be retracted. Could it be that he felt he was about to be set up on CNBC, who’s parent is the liberal leaning National Broadcasting System?  Maybe Mitt Romney’s sudden exit from the 2016 presidential race upset Paul’s political calculus and he was rattled by the rapidly changing political landscape in front of him. Whatever the case may be Rand Paul’s performance this past Monday afternoon leaves a lot to be desired and it is understood that we expect more from someone who wants to be president.


Now I’m sure that there will be those who will just try to palm this off as yet another attack by the liberal left leaning mainstream media but I’m not buying into that canard for one minute. Paul has come in for more than his fair share of criticism from Dick Cheney and the Neoconservatives for his stance on foreign policy. And while NBC may be a liberal network, CNBC is hardly staffed by a bunch of “bleeding heart lefty do gooders”. If you’ve ever listened to Joe Kernan or Rick Santelli, who literally gave the Tea Party movement its name, you won’t buy into that argument. CNBC’s programming is hardly far to the left. More to the point, sitting on the very panel interviewing Paul was Larry Kudlow a renowned free market, supply-side economist with a track record of unrelenting criticism of the Obama administration. For the record even Kudlow, a friend of Rand Paul, remarked on his poor performance in the interview.


Back in the 1980s and beyond there was a popular syndicated etiquette columnist, Judith Martin, who wrote under the pen name “Miss Manners” Martin was very much concerned by the steady erosion of basic manners in society and mounted a vigorous effort in her column to forestall any further decline in civility. I would suggest that Mr. Paul look her up and failing to find her look to someone else for guidance and mentoring before he gets back in front of a television or open microphone, particularly if he wants to be a viable candidate for the country’s highest office.


Steven J. Gulitti


4 February 2015





Defensive? Sen. Rand Paul on voluntary vaccines;


Rand Paul Walks Back Vaccination Remarks;


As if by magic, the Republican Party has rediscovered most of the rest of us. My neck is still stiff from the political whiplash I sustained when the Grand Old Party radically made its 180-degree course change back to the political middle. Did Reince Priebus or anyone else at the helm of the G.O.P. think to pipe that age-old message that all sailors know so well: “Standby to roll as the ship comes about in heavy weather.”


Mitt Romney is running like hell from his now famous 47% comment. In the days before President Obama’s State of the Union Message Romney said that the last six years have seen poverty expand and the gap between rich and poor widen. Gee, what a novel observation, where have we heard that before. Jeb Bush launched his presidential campaign with a declaration, which said in part, “While the last eight years have been pretty good ones for top earners, they’ve been a lost decade for the rest of America.” Mitch MCConnell suddenly believes that the party must focus on the plight of the middle class. Meanwhile, appearing at the Iowa Freedom Summit, Rick Santorum thundered: “We need to become the party of the worker.”  Even newly minted Republican Senator Joni Ernst mentioned union households in her rebuttle to Obama’s State of the Union Message and said that “Congress is back to work for the American people.” Well thank God for that, the 113th Congress was the least productive in modern times.


Quoting the New York Times on the new course being charted by the G.O.P.: “Just acknowledging a wealth gap represents a significant shift in language for Republicans, who have long held that market forces driving overall economic growth will ultimately yield higher incomes without any help from government.” Central to this rhetorical shift is one elemental fact which the Democrats have failed to fully capitialize over the past six years. Which is that conservatives have venerated the business class and entrepreneurs above everyone else. At times they have spoken as if the middle and working classes hardly existed. Had you listened to the Republican National Convention in 2012 you would have heard a cascade of laudatory speeches about the business class and entrepreneurs but precious little about the people in the street. The plight of average soul seem to have mattered for little, their situation being nothing more than an afterthought. For all the convention rhetoric you would have just assumed that the rest of us had simply been pulled along in the slipstream generated by the soaring 1 percent.



(Updated – 07 August 2014; see below)
Former U.S. Representative Steve LaTourette served 18 years (1995-2013) in Congress as a center-right Republican from Ohio. Yesterday, he had an op/ed in Politico, entitled “The Grifting Wing vs. The Governing Wing”. In it, LaTourette describes the internal civil war facing the GOP, as a party today. Consider two grafs from it:

“The grifting wing of the party promises that you can have ideological purity—that you don’t have to compromise—and, of course, all you have to do is send them money to make it happen. The governing wing of the Republican Party knows that’s a damn lie. Our Founding Fathers set up a system of government that by its very nature excludes the possibility of one party or one ideological wing of one party getting everything it wants. Ted Cruz, who quotes the founders almost every chance he gets, ought to know this.
Even Ronald Reagan—who won in two of the biggest landslides in American history—was forced to compromise. It was President Reagan who cut deals with Democrats to extend the solvency of Social Security and put the federal budget on a sounder footing. It was Reagan who famously said that someone who votes with him 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally. Reagan’s record and rhetoric stands in marked contrast to the grifting win of the party today, even as the grifters invoke his memory in their disingenuous appeals.

That op/ed by LaTourette is exactly what’s happening in next Tuesday’s (12 Aug 14) GOP Primary for State House District 48B. Let’s take a closer look at that graphic, above, which is a screenshot from of Sheila Kihne’s blog (with “Reagan” entered into the search field):


The Central Corridor reach of the Green Line light rail service begins shortly after the Saturday 9 a.m. ceremonial ribbon cutting at Saint Paul’s Union Depot and continues throughout the day with events at various stations.  I am amused that The Current radio station is producing a day-long line up of live music performances in celebration of the opening.  The broadcaster is owned and operated by Minnesota Public Radio which continues to haggle with the Met Council about vibrations caused by LRT trains passing by some of their Cedar Street studios.  The light rail project has paid for sound insulated windows and a special track bed featuring a concrete slab that “floats” on hard rubber pads to reduce vibrations.

An aside:  Me thinks that the MPR board and members should tar and feather the architects and MPR executives who chose to build studios on a street that has long been a candidate for light rail.

The 15.8-mile, southwest half of the Green Line from Target Field to west central Eden Prairie remains in the preliminary planning stage.  It is slated to begin operations in 2019.

The recommended preliminary plan to align light rail and freight rail through the Kenilworth corridor in Minneapolis or (during earlier considerations) routing freight rail through St. Louis Park, has so fascinated the scribes at the StarTribune and MinnPost and local television news assignment desks that Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie have attracted minimal reportorial interest.  Journalistic coverage of southwest suburban light rail issues has only been generated by Sun and Eden Prairie News community weeklies and occasionally by the excellent Finance & Commerce.

That changed somewhat last week when MinnPost and a few other news outlets woke up and realized that the southwest light rail project was also passing through Minnetonka.  The City of Minnetonka held its SWLRT “municipal consent” public hearing on the preliminary route and station location within its boundaries on Monday June 2nd.  Residents and owners of the stately looking Claremont Apartment complex were among those who requested a slight re-route and an LRT station.

The current alignment in their neighborhood cuts along the top of a forested escarpment within earshot of the south side of the rambling apartment complex.  Even though residents and owners have had more than a decade’s worth of SWLRT community meetings to lobby for an alignment and (more recently) a chance to sit on the project’s citizens advisory committee, it seems that few if any of them were dutiful in representing their interests in an ongoing manner to City of Minnetonka and SWLRT planners.

That said, the purpose of the municipal consent hearings in each of the five SWLRT cities is to provide residents and businesses at this early stage of the project another formal opportunity to comment on track alignments and station locations to possibly make them better.  Both elements, of course, are subject to environmental, cost, safety, engineering and political concerns.  Minnetonka Mayor Terry Schneider and his City Council colleagues and staff will seriously consider the Claremont requests but unlike Minneapolis, Minnetonka will not stop the entire light rail project for a local problem that is either unsolvable or could be fixed after the municipal consent votes.

The Strib and Finance & Commerce also reported on the Minnetonka hearing but they and the rest of the regional media ignored the far livelier municipal consent hearing in Eden Prairie on May 22.  The embedded video is my take on that hearing and is featured in the current edition of Democratic Visions, the independent, cable access and Internet program I produce with help from other un-paid volunteers.  (See below for cable schedule.)

I was interested in the tone and content of my hometown’s municipal consent hearing.  With our in-your-face, right wing Republican Party and Tea Party operatives, Eden Prairie politics are edgier than those of our suburban neighbors.  EP right wingers have attacked light rail as vigorously as the anti-light rail, DFL insiders and PBS liberals along the Kenilworth Corridor.   Who would have thunk it? –  Bill Moyers-viewing NIMBY’s in Kenwood and Fox-TV News addicts in Eden Prairie on missions with the same goal – kill light rail.  From reading their respective rants light rail, one can assume that light rail transit would be as sure an end to La Vida Buena Minnesota as an Al Qaeda take over of the Aquatennial.

Municipal consent kinds of public hearings do attract folks who have reasonable requests for change as well as the smug, self-involved, anti-government, Bill O’Reilly populists of our times.  This was the case at the Eden Prairie hearing.  Local bullhorns Sheila Kihne, Donna Azarian, Frank Lorenz and Steve Smith spoke of their disdain for light rail.  Collectively, they were an unintended homage to that academe situated, Groucho Marx warbled tune “What ever it is I’m against it” from the 1932 comedy “Horse Feathers.”

The foursome and their confederates applauded one another after each one’s respective turn at the podium; it is one that faces the officious Eden Prairie City Council bench of department chiefs and electeds including the adept and cordial Mayor, Nancy Tyra-Lukens.  The LRT opponents did generate a few laughs but employed O’Reilly inspired rhetorical tricks.  Bill, however is a highly paid pro.

Attending the hearing too, was a smaller but much more realistic and reasonable crowd of pro-LRT representatives from Eden Prairie’s business and minority communities.  They and a majority of all Eden Prairians (according to a City of EP survey) do want light rail to serve Eden Prairie.


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.

Hopkins, Minnetonka, Edina, Richfield and Eden Prairie – 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.

YouTube’s Democratic Visions Channel boasts nearly 200, finely produced videos

{ 1 comment }

(From November, 2013)
My recent post ” For the Tea Party, Another Election, Another Defeat” has some disputing what I consider the established fact, that the Tea Party is in decline both in terms of overall popularity as well as in the numbers of people who identify as members of the movement. Simply put all one need do is Google “tea party identification” and there are more than ample references, including several from the right wing leaning Rasmussen Reports and Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze”, of what I pointed out is a now established fact. That said, here ya go:


“Tea party identification nationwide. Now 22%, was 32% at time of the 2010 election”.;”


Rasmussen Report of 1/7/13: “Only eight percent (8%) now say they are members of the Tea Party, down from a high of 24% in April 2010″
“Just 8% Now Say They Are Tea Party Members”;


“While polls show Tea Party identification dropping from 24 percent in 2010 to just 8 percent today, there have been key wins.” – “Tea Party Says ‘Don’t Write Our Obit Just Yet”;


Glenn Beck’s The Blaze: “while the Tea Party had once enjoyed 24% popularity, according to a recent Rasmussen poll, only 8% of Americans now identify themselves as members of the Tea Party…While that is the lowest it has been in the three years” – “Why Are Some Conservatives Targeting the Tea Party as a ‘Cancer’;


“Tea Party Identification In Texas” (February 2010 – October 2013);


Does anyone have any evidence that the Tea Party isn’t in decline either in popularity or membership?



(From December, 2013.)
I was scrolling through the various commentaries on offer at yesterday when I spied one written by Newt Gingrich’s daughter Jackie Gingrich Cushman titled “Are We Sick of Him Yet?” Being all too familiar with the anti-liberal, anti-progressive and rabidly anti-Obama venue that TownHall has devolved into I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I opened the article to find just what I had suspected to be contained therein. In this stock and shop worn anti-Obama diatribe Ms. Cushman likens Obama’s decline in popularity of late to a story she once heard about a woman who wanted a divorce from her husband, not for any of the usual reasons, but because she had grown sick of him. So much for family values and the sanctity of marriage among conservatives.


Cushman went on to juxtapose from the marital to the political: “Relationships that begin bright and shiny can fade into dark and gloomy when events occur that change one’s interactions, perceptions and hope for the future. Hope was gone — the relationship could get no better.” She then went on to try to force fit this juxtaposition, derived from her friend’s failed marriage, into a broad brush analysis of Obama’s present public relations predicament: “He has fallen furthest among 18- to 29-year-olds — down 7 points within the last week to 42 percent. More telling than his 40 percent overall approval rating (Gallup), is his disapproval rating, which has reached 53 percent…the 53 percent disapproval rating marks a new high. Simply put: More people than ever before disapprove of the job that Obama is doing…What can’t be determined is if Obama can get back that loving feeling or if it’s just that finally we’re sick of him. Maybe we need a divorce.” Thus reading Ms. Cushman’s piece we are left to conclude that vast swaths of the American people have grown sick of Barack Obama and are desperately in need of relief from this most onerous, if not debilitating relationship. However, short of impeachment, which is thus far unlikely no matter how strong the flights of fancy on the right are about such a thing, there’s no divorcing Obama for the next three years so get over it.


But as novel an approach to dealing with Barack Obama as Ms. Cushman’s might be seen to be, she has stumbled pathetically in her analysis of our collective gastrointestinal maladies by failing to examine the extent to which the American people have grown sick of Obama’s critics on the right. A simple examination of polling numbers from Real Clear Politics or Polling on the public approval of Congress shows that while Obama’s popularity has fallen the popularity of the Republicans on Capitol Hill remains stuck near historic lows at 21% and that 73% disapprove of how they are handling their job. While those numbers are off the absolute lows, its only by a few points and that with all of the problems besetting Obamacare already factored into the latest numbers. These results for Congressional Republicans are consistent throughout all of the recent polling, even that of the right leaning Fox News Network. And when it comes to the popularity of the regularly reliable anti-Obama movement that is the Tea Party the results are pretty much where they’ve been for quite some time, at the historic lows in terms of both popularity with the American people and those who consider themselves members of the movement.