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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Cheeseheads win!

I'm sure everybody has heard by now that the rumor is true: how the Washington Redskins do in their last home game before a presidential election has corresponded to the outcome for about 70 years. If the 'skins win, the incumbent party or person wins. If they lose, the challenger wins. Today they played Green Bay at home, and wouldn't you know it, the evil Pack won 28-14.

Not only do the facts not favor Bush, but neither do the Redskins. Pity.

Willful ignorance or stupidity?

A lot of polls (as mentioned in this Boston Globe article) show that Bush supporters and facts just do not mix. A large majority of Bush voters believe that Iraq had WMDs, that Saddam helped al-Qaeda, there were Iraqis among the 9/11, or that Saddam provided help on 9/11. Of course, many, many investigations have shown that not one of these allegations are true, and yet upwards of 70% of Republicans still believe these things.

What does this mean? First, I think this is an indictment of conservative news outlets such as Fox News. For such a large number of people to be so ignorant of reality means that these news outlets, which Republicans seem to love, simply aren't peddling facts. Furthermore, a democracy requires an educated populace. Without one, it simply is not a democracy. How can voters make informed choices when they aren't informed?

By and large, Kerry voters know Kerry's stands and what is going on in the world. Bush voters do not (a majority of Bush supporters believe that Bush supports the Kyoto Protocol and the Land Mine treaty, even though he does not). A large number of people would rather not seek out the truth, it appears, and our country suffers because of it.

Star Tribune: Kerry up by eight

The horribly inaccurate Star Tribune poll shows Kerry up by eight in the state, 49-41. While I don't think the margin will be that high, I do think it will be at least five. Call it 51% Kerry, 46% Bush, 2% Nader, 1% other.

In any case, we'll see in two days.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Even more freeway blogging

On westbound I-94 on the pedestrian bridge just east of Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis, there were some more anti-Bush banners, including an Abu Ghraib one. This gave me something to ponder when I got to downtown and found that 35W was closed down, probably for the Boy King himself.

Friday, October 29, 2004

More on the War on Drugs

User anonymous in comments thinks that loosening drug laws to help with the meth epidemic won't work. I have to disagree. Anonymous says that the goal is no illicit drug use. That will simply never happen, period. It just won't. The question is how we can minimize the negative effects of drug use. The War on Drugs doesn't do this at all. Alcohol kills far, far more people a year than marijuana, but alcohol is socially acceptable while marijuana is an "illicit" drug. Why is that? What sense does that make?

Legalized marijuana would be much cheaper than it is now, so people who are looking for a "cheaper fix" than marijuana would be less likely to turn to meth. Legalizing drugs like marijuana would also probably make it less likely that people would use it, since the aura of "forbidden drug" would be erased. I'm not even sure I would be opposed to legalizing cocaine use; I don't think there would be any more cokeheads than there are now, and besides, if a former cocaine user can be president, how bad can it be?

Drugs certainly do destroy lives, and the biggest destroyer of lives at this point in time is alcohol. It is truly tragic that people have their lives and the lives of others harmed by any drug, but criminalization does not work to prevent the harm. It's a silly response by politicians who need to look like they are doing "something" in response to the problem, much in the same way as mandatory sentencing and some of the pointless security implemented after 9/11. We need intelligent answers to these problems, and continuing the current drug war is not intelligent.

Disgusting anti-voting tactics

Here is what is being distributed in black neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Republicans have done the exact same thing in the past (I think I remember one case in Maryland), so it's likely that some more evil Republicans are behind this.

Here's another example, with Republicans being directly responsible for voter intimidation. It seems that they sent registered mail to voter registrants, and whoever refused the mail the Republicans targeted in order to deny them the vote. Hopefully, the people who are bringing forward these frivolous challenges will be prosecuted.

I've never heard of such tactics from the Minnesota Republican party, to their credit. Sure, there are always accusations of fraud (the Minnesota Politics Discuss board is currently awash with them), but in general those allegations are never substantiated, and Republicans usually don't make a big deal out of trying to keep people from voting. This year may be different, however, as Minnesota is seen as a battleground state that may help decide the election. There is evidence of increased scrutiny from both sides. I sincerely hope that this scrutiny won't lead to voter intimidation.

In general, though, Republicans want to depress voter turnout, while Democrats want to increase it. No matter who a person votes for, I want them to vote.

More freeway blogging

CrispyShot reports today that on I-94 this morning, near Dale Street (probably the same pedestrian bridge that I saw some pro-Bush people from recently), there were some anti-Bush people with a huge sign that had Bush's face and said "Will kill for gas money." I didn't see it myself, but I'm sure it was quite a sight.

Two people were holding up a huge Kerry sign on University Avenue at Highway 280 (near Kerry HQ), and were getting lots of honks and thumbs up.

In general, I've seen much more freeway signs than usual this year, mainly pro-Kerry. We'll see if that translates into votes.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Casino ad

The Republicans are running an ad regarding Indian casinos in Minnesota. In this laughable ad, the Republicans blame those damn Democrats for the monopoly that Native Americans have with regards to casino gambling in this state. Apparently, Republicans are just too happy to bring Las Vegas to Minnesota.

As I have said before, I would not be opposed to expanding gambling in this state. There's no reason, in my mind, to limit it. But if that's what the Republicans really want, they had better be prepared to go in all the way: More gambling regulatory agencies, more compulsive gambling treatment, more crime, and possibly other negative consequences.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Shameless promotion

Go over to xoverboard.com. Go over there every day, in fact. But check out this post. Unfortunately, there haven't been many good Democrats to vote for recently. Take a look at the 2002 elections. Roger Moe? Sorry, not a chance. Buck Humphrey for Secretary of State? Not really. Carol Johnson for Auditor? Who is that?

The only person we have is Attorney General Mike Hatch, and that's not something to be ashamed of, but he's just one person. The Democrats had the chance to nominate Judi Dutcher for governor, a moderate woman who I am sure would have greatly expanded the party and beaten Pawlenty. But for some strange reason, they passed. They also had the chance to go with Greg Gray for auditor, who would have done a great job, but instead the people went with the bland Minnesota-sounding name. It's a pity.

The legislative leaders are very good (Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson and House Minority Leader Matt Entenza). There are also very good up-and-coming DFLers in the legislature too, like Rep. Joe Atkins from Inver Grove Heights and Senator Scott Dibble from Minneapolis, just to name a couple. Hopefully, some of these people will step up and make an impact in some statewide races.

Freeway blogging II

This afternoon on the way home I saw some Republicans doing some sign waving on the pedestrian bridge over I-94 in Saint Paul, west of downtown. One banner said "Pres. Bush=Integrity", which means that the maker was using a dictionary I'm unfamiliar with. A thumbs-down is more than enough for these folks, but I'm sure some people used a more presidential gesture.

Chamber of Commerce supports gas tax hike

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has endorsed a ten cent increase in the state gas tax. Business leaders, realizing that the incredible lack of funding for our transportation infrastructure has real economic impacts, are endorsing something that just has to be done in this state. We are $10 billion short over 20 years in terms of simply maintaining our current traffic levels, to say nothing of improving infrastructure. This plan, a combination of the gas tax increase, an increase in license tab fees, and various other funding sources, is already garnering complaints. But anybody who doesn't see that we are facing a crisis in terms of funding for roads and transit is denying reality.

This makes Governor Pawlenty and his "No new taxes" crew of House Republicans the minority. They have been standing in the way of increasing funding for transportation for a while now, and now that the CoC has come out in favor of a relatively large tax hike, that puts the Republicans at the fringe. Will they see reason and work to increase transportation and transit funding? Unfortunately, far too many will see any tax increase, even an increase to pay for a necessary public good, as evil.

Republicans lose lawsuit

The Minnesota Supreme Court ended the Republican Party's lawsuit to find out the party affiliations of election judges. Big surprise. I will probably never understand the reasons behind this one.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Checks and Balances

Checks and Balances has some predictions for the election in a week. Here are mine:

President: Kerry wins, not even close.
Congress: All incumbents win except Mark Kennedy, who loses to Patty Wetterling. John Kline wins handidly over Teresa Daly.
MN House: The current breakdown is 81 Republican to 53 Democrat. The DFL picks up at least 14 seats. There is an outside chance of gaining the majority, but less than 50/50.
MN Senate: Every incumbent wins! No changes!

Almost three million registered

The Secretary of State's office reports that there are already almost three million voters registered, or 81 percent of the estimated number of people eligible to vote in the state. That doesn't even include those that will vote on election day. I hope we will have a fair and fraud-free election.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Expanding the War on Drugs

Governor Pawlenty wants to expand the War on Drugs, specifically the abuse of meth. His four points include education, stiffer penalties for manufacturers, cleanup, and treatment. I suppose it's not a bad plan, but the devil is in the details, especially the relative importance of these four areas. If treatment and education fall by the wayside, eclipsed by stiffer sentences, then this will be pointless. Stronger penalties have not won the war and never will.

Of all the drugs out there, meth is one of the worst, and it's not something I really want to see more of. On the other hand, the same old "get tough on drug users" nonsense still doesn't work. Perhaps if we loosened the laws on other drugs, people would be less likely to use meth.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Dean Johnson on casinos

Here's Dean Johnson saying pretty much the exact same things I said about the governor's casino plan. Desperate, foolish, a longshot.

The article also mentions Caesar's attempt to build a casino near the Mall of America. This despite the fact that Bloomington leaders do not want a casino. Will this stop pro-gambling Republicans like the governor, who claim to support "local control?" We'll see.

Renaming the VA Medical Center

An attempt to rename the VA Medical Center after Paul Wellstone has been derailed by (here comes a shock) three Minnesota Republicans. Representative John Kline, along with Mark Kennedy and Gil Gutknecht, say that it should be named after a "real war hero." This is despite the fact that veterans themselves want the name changed.

Despite what Republicans think, the country doesn't stop owing a debt of gratitude to veterans once the war is over and the soldiers return home. Senator Wellstone was a tireless advocate for helping veterans in terms of housing and medical care. Far, far too many of our homeless are veterans, and it is sad that the government hasn't done more to help those that protected our country. It is even more sad that Republicans can't get past petty partisan bickering to honor somebody who did stand up for veterans.

Why do Republicans work to depress voter turnout?

Good God, yet another story of the Secretary of State trying to confuse people into not voting. Signs at deputy registrar offices say "It is too late to register for the November 2, 2004, General Election," but neglect to say that people can still register at the polling place on election day. The director of Driver and Vehicle Services, Pat McCormack, said that this information came from the Secretary of State's office.

How hard would be it to have a sign that said, "It is too late to pre-register on your driver's license application, but you can still register at the polls on election day. Mary Kiffmeyer is a disgrace to the office of Secretary of State. Instead of working to get as many people as possible to vote, she has consistently taken steps to deny people the franchise. This seems to be the m.o. of Republicans across the country. How do these people sleep at night?

More truth

We've had Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, POWs for Truth, and today, yet another one.

When will the lies stop?

Friday, October 22, 2004

How the Grinch stole Christmas

Okay, I made fun of Teresa Daly's weird ad. Now, it's John Kline's turn. Tonight I saw his bizarre anti-Daly ad with the Christmas theme. Apparently, Daly voted to raise property taxes when she was on the Burnsville city council. What's worst of all, according to the ad, is that she did it during Christmas season. I think that the Grinch did the exact same thing in the movie!

Man, talk about your sorry candidate. I'm glad that I don't have to be voting in that race.

Indian gaming nonsense

So now Governor Pawlenty wants the tribes to pony up $350 million a year for the privilege of being the only ones allowed to have casinos. I have no idea where this number comes from; it has every appearance of being pulled from his nether regions. Without access to any financial information, it is impossible to know if this number is even realistic.

Poor Pawlenty, hemmed in by his "no new taxes" pledge. State-funded services have already been cut back so severely that even Republicans are grumbling, and it is clear that vowing to cut even more isn't a winner this year. Nevertheless, the governor still has to kowtow to the Minnesota Taxpayers League, which puts him in a bind: where do you find money without raising taxes? Nickel-and-dime fees, which he has already raised, can only go so far, so he has obviously decided to go after an alleged pot of gold he thinks is ripe for the taking: casino money.

He's going to fail, though. The compacts have no expiration date and can only be renegotiated if both sides want it. Why would the casinos voluntarily give up $350 million a year? Threats to open up a competing state-run casino aren't very realistic, so Pawlenty's got The Hammer while the casinos are holding Rockets. Good luck with that.

The Body chooses Kerry

Former governor Jesse "The Body/The Mind" Ventura made a surprise appearance at a press conference to endorse John Kerry for president. Recently, Ventura had stated that he was unimpressed with both candidates (going so far as to say he wouldn't be voting for anybody for president). Thus, this comes as quite a shock.

I didn't vote for Ventura in 1998 and wasn't impressed with him to begin with, but as time went on, and certainly now in retrospect, he wasn't a bad governor. Had he run in 2002 again I would have given serious consideration to voting for him, as he was fiscally sane and wanted the government out of people's private lives, which is essentially what I believe. This endorsement may carry some weight among those fabled "Anoka county" voters. Man, can't Bush get even one break?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

More preznit politics

I couldn't go to the Kerry rally today, but I did go by the Metrodome this afternoon. Lines as long as they were for Edwards in Maple Grove. Everybody had Kerry buttons on, something I have noticed everywhere recently. Supporters seem more excited for Kerry and Edwards than I have ever seen. I'm not old enough to have seen or experienced the rock star popularity of politicians like Bobby Kennedy or Gene McCarthy in their prime, but this has to be close.

I also saw the protesters with huge pictures of fetuses. I really do like them. Way to go, wackos! Keep on pumping those crazy legs!

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '04

This is the week I expected the October Surprise. Two weeks before the election, long enough to have its maximum effect but not so long to come up with a response. Bush had to do something this week, anything, but it looks like his circle around the drain is tightening.

Everything is going badly for Dubya this week. Public disagreements with Pat Robertson over which one is lying. The Nickelodeon youth poll, predicting presidents with 100% accuracy since 1988, went to Kerry. And now Kerry gets the Gonzo vote.

My man Hunter S. would never have gone for such a cheap mindless stooge as Dubya, but he has finally come out and say that he is going for Kerry. You have to real the article yourself to get the full effect, which is par for the course when it comes to HST.

As a sidenote, I fully agree with him that Richard Nixon would be a much better alternative to Dubya. Nixon any myself have a rather strange relationship, but if the election were between him and Bush, I would smilingly pull the lever for Tricky Dick.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Keggers & Guns 4ever!

The City Pages has an article today about the Campus Republicans and college Republicans in general, and it isn't very flattering. Of course, given the subject matter, it would be hard to write this story in any other light.

In the article, we learn that Campus Republicans is dominated by men; women seemed to be turned off by ideas like a plastic fetus Easter hunt, or the group's obsession with guns (and you know what they say about guys who like guns and what they pack personally...) Or, women may just be offended by the fact that conservative guys find this to be the ideal, attractive "woman." I know I would be.

We also see a Republican intellectual tour de force as they explain that Democratic ideas like a smoking ban are social engineering, but Republican social policies like a ban on gay marriage or a ban on abortion are not. Why not? Uhh, because it's not. Right.

The article also mentions Orlando Ochoada, who appears to be a member of the group. This is quite a feat, since Orlando was no longer on campus at the U of M even when I was there, and that is going back a ways. He has got to be in his 30s by now, and yet he still thinks it is great to be a member of a college organization. I'm sure he will be there until they institute some kind of age limit.

The members of the Campus Republicans say that colleges campuses are becoming more conservative. Well, damn. Who wouldn't want to be a member of an all-male student organizations, hanging around with misfits who never seem to be able to leave the group even as they grow old, while talking about fun events like a fetus festival? No wonder they are taking the nation by storm.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Newspaper endorsements

Newspapers have been giving out endorsements for house races. I really don't care. They aren't going to do anything crazy like endorse Arlon Lindner, so it doesn't matter. Newspaper endorsements don't count for much in my book.

Former DFL legislator indicted

These allegations, if true, are extremely troubling. I expect better ethics from Minnesota politicians regardless of party affiliation. Kickbacks and secret deals are part and parcel of Mississippi politics, not Minnesota.

Whatever happens, I hope we discover the truth and that legislators learn that this is not acceptable.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Voter registration

Today there was a story in the Star Tribune that gave evidence that what is happening everywhere in the country is happening right here in Minnesota: Democrats are motivated and registering voters. There are twice as many new voters in Democratic-leaning areas that Republican ones. Despite Republican claims that the DFL is "fat and happy," Democrats are hungrier than ever before this election.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Local campaigning

I went out doorknocking for a candidate for state representative this morning, something I have been doing regularly on weekends. I've noticed big differences this year as opposed to previous years, differences that bode well for the Democrats' chances.

This year, campaigns are far more organized as far as work. In the past, if you went doorknocking, you were given a map and some campaign literature and told to get out there. This year, there are detailed scripts and knockers are using walk sheets to talk down detailed information. And this isn't just one or two campaigns, this is all of them. It's a big improvement, one that is long overdue given the computer technology available.

Another difference is more attributable to the voters than the campaigns. Democrats this year are far more energized than I have ever seen, even in places like Stillwater, where you wouldn't necessarily expect it. There's a real sense of urgency and importance out there, and should it carry through to election day, it could make a big difference.

The final difference won't be clear until election day, but get out the vote efforts also seem to be much stronger. Both the party and independent groups like America Coming Together have huge GOTV plans for election day. If they are fulfilled, liberal turnout should be huge.

There is no defeatism out there this year.

Mary Cheney

Right wingers around the country (including Minnesota Democrat Exposer are all atwitter about John Kerry mentioning Mary Cheney in the last debate. It's depressing to see such hatred and bigotry rear its ugly head, but when it comes to the modern Republican Party, it's hardly unusual.

Dick Cheney is a greedy, contemtible ass, but I really don't doubt that he loves his family, including Mary. I also think that he personally has no problem with homosexuality, considering that his daughter is one. There haven't been any reports of huge blowups between Mary and her parents since her sexuality was made known to them, and for this I commend them.

But it is still disgusting that in order to attract the votes of fundamentalist Christians (read: hateful dumbasses) who think that faggots are evil and trying to recruit their children, Dick Cheney (and even George Bush, whom I also think is not the terribly bigoted type when it comes to gays) are going to pretend talking about homosexuality is wrong. Not only is Mary Cheney a lesbian, but it is her job to be a lesbian: she has worked with GLBT community outreach for Coors Brewery and also for Republicans. Pointing out that Republicans can be loving and accepting of homosexual family members should hardly be scandalous, except that in this case it is the Republican Party line that homosexuals need to be second-class citizens.

In one way, it makes me sad to see that when Kerry says that Mary Cheney can be a Republican, lesbian, and a fine person all at the same time, it is considered to be a stunt. But then it make me angry. Homophobic Republicans are the main reason why homosexual teenagers commit suicide at rates far higher than heterosexual teens. When Lynne Cheney implies that it is wrong to be open and acknowledge her daughter's sexuality, she literally has blood on her hands.

It must be horrible to be both homosexual and part of the fundamentalist community, but there is no reason to believe that the incidence of (unchosen!) homosexuality is any less there than anywhere else. The psychological torture that is being told that homosexuals will be sent to eternal damnation while keeping a secret and knowing that no matter how hard a person wants to stop "sinful" activity, that's who they are....well, it's not pretty. I'm reminded of when I saw some committee testimony earlier this year in the state legislature over the gay marriage amendment: one person testified that he had been "cured" of homosexuality and was now married to a woman. It was clear, however, that he was not cured by any means; his nervousness and neuroticisms showed that he was living a lie, and I thought that it was such a huge damn waste for somebody to be forced to live a lie in order to not be "sinful." How much happier would he be if only he could be who he was born to be, knowing that society accepted him like everybody else?

I'm very glad I was never taught to hate those who are different. Homophobia literally makes no sense to me whatsoever. Who gives a damn whom somebody loves? I make my choices, you make yours, and we'll all be happy. But no. In order to gain power, there are still Republicans like the Cheneys and Bushes who will gladly pander to hatred and bigotry. They will do so even though they know that if their supporters, the fundies, were in power, it would probably have been Mary Cheney that had committed suicide as a teen because she was "different" and "evil." That, in my book, makes them complete and utter bastards.

Freeway blogging

The Freeway Blogger has some pictures of the national freeway free speech day he suggested. Quite a few pictures are from Minneapolis, so check them out.

Friday, October 15, 2004


I'm sorry, but that Theresa Daly ad about how John Kline isn't protecting poor Minnesota families from online porn is just stupid. Congress shouldn't protect us from porn; they should protect us from terrorists, which John Kline isn't doing by supporting the mess that is Iraq.

World likes Americans, doesn't like foreign policy

A big poll shows that people around the world generally like Americans, but don't like Bush or his foreign policy.

This is what I have found in my own travels around the world. Even in the Islamic countries I have visited, the people like America and its freedoms. They want a share of it too. What they don't like is the fact that our foreign policy stinks. When Muslims ask how we can say we support democracy but then support the autocratic Saudi royal family, what can you say to that? It's the truth. Or America's complete support of Israel. Unfortunately, this has been going on for some time; it didn't start with Bush.

What we have done in Iraq only makes this worse. We install expatriates into power, give a fraction of the money for reconstruction to real Iraqis (as opposed to Halliburton), and just police the Oil Ministry. We can get the world's respect again if we move beyond corruption and nepotism and truly support freedom.

Republican shenanigans stopped

Due to the diligence of bloggers.

Does it mean much? Probably not. But let it be known: everybody is watching this election.

Republicans sue for some reason...

According to this report, the state Republican Party is suing over election judges in three counties, saying that in Hennepin and Ramsey counties there are more Democrats that Republicans, and in Olmsted county there are more Republicans.

My serious question is what do they hope to accomplish by this lawsuit? I don't get it. Sure, there are more Democrats than Republicans in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and more Republicans than Democrats in Rochester. Given the dearth of people willing to serve as election judges, turning willing people away because they are of the wrong party may not be the best idea. This lawsuit is asking for information to determine the political allegiance of judges. Then what?

It will be interesting to see where this goes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

More Republican shenanigans

This time, in our own state.

As one person has pointed out, this may be moot, since the deadline for pre-registration for the election has passed. But it is still so blatant that it is ridiculous.

Why can't Republicans play by the rules? Why do they have to shred Democratic voter registration forms or take over public spaces given to them by sympathetic party hacks? What has happened to the GOP?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Pure America-hating

This is outrageous. Republicans are stopping at nothing to steal this election, going so low as to destroy the voter registration forms of Democrats. This is anti-democratic. This is anti-American. This is evil.

Republicans are hitting Senator Dayton for closing his office. This doesn't compare. This needs to get some serious publicity.

Dayton closes down office

Senator Mark Dayton is closing down his Washington office citing security concerns. He does not elaborate on those concerns, only saying that he is the recipient of an intelligence report from Majority Leader Bill Frist. Staff will be working in areas away from Capitol Hill.

What is this? Is this a general threat that only Senator Dayton is publicizing, or is it a threat specifically targeted towards him? Dayton is generally considered to be the most liberal member of the Senate (no, it's not John Kerry), taking up where the late Paul Wellstone left off. It's not inconceivable that some right-wing loonies may be targeting him. Then again, this may be just another example of crying wolf.

A commenter over at Atrios says that rumors are that Dayton will resign shortly for family reasons. I haven't heard these rumors myself, and seeing as how they are from a guy on a website, it could be more nonsense. But it certainly is interesting.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Presidential blogging

This afternoon I took some time to go to the John Edwards rally in Maple Grove. When I arrived there, the line to get in was blocks long, snaking around the parking lot several times. Eventually, thousands of people were able to get into the gymnasium, while thousands more had to wait for Senator Edwards to give them an abbreviated speech after the main event. The speech was very energetic and people were quite into it. I saw many people there, all races, Christians, Jews, Muslims, elderly, teens, young children, parents, veterans...it really was a slice of our state's population.

I found it interesting that President Bush's rally was held on the friendly turf of Chanhassen, while Edwards went to the traditionally Republican stronghold of Maple Grove. I think this is concrete evidence of the fact that Bush is on the defensive and still shoring up his conservative base, while Kerry and Edwards are going for the swing voters. I have no doubt that Kerry will win this state fairly easily.

There were a couple of Bush supporters around after the speech, waving a sign and I guess trying to feel good about themselves. "Good luck trying to elect a liar!" said I. No response back; I mean, what can you say?

Friday, October 08, 2004

Iraq video

This is a frightening video that apparently shows the U.S. bombing a large group of people in Fallujah. Probably the most frightening attribute of modern warfare is how videogame-like these images really are. Compared with wars of old, where you actually had to see the person you were killing, today it literally is "Death From Above" without direct contact. I think this probably encourages more indiscriminate killing.

100 most banned books

This isn't really Minnesota-related, but check out the American Library Association's list of 100 most challenged books of 1990-2000. Huck Finn? Bridge to Terabithia? A Wrinkle in Time? What the fundies are trying to do to this country is truly frightening.

Doing away with the LCMR

Governor Pawlenty wants to eliminate the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources and replace it with a citizen council. It sounds like the governor wants to have a process more easily controlled by him. Considering that the legislature would have to vote to give up their control, this is pretty doubtful.

Senate staffers receive payments

Senate staffers are receiving $1,750 payments due to health care costs that were lower than expected. Republican Minority Leader Dick Day complained, even though the vote was bipartisan.

House employees received these extra payments a year ago for the same reason, leading to hemming and hawing from the public. This despite the fact that senate staffers (and house staffers) have not received pay increases in several years. State worker pay is already below pay in the private sector, and refusing to pay employees what they are worth is hardly good business practice. Isn't the government supposed to act more like a business?

Now we know

Don't vote billboards explained.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

More ignorance

The City Pages today has an interesting article about a teacher who conducted a mock presidential election in her classroom in Eden Prairie. Instead of voting for candidates, however, she had students vote on positions only, without saying who stood for what. Kerry's positions won in a landslide, to the surprise of some students and parents.

This isn't all that unusual. I have heard of similar polls that seek to measure not only what positions voters support, but whether voters even know what candidates stand for. One study that comes to mind showed that out of eight issues, voters preferred Kerry's on five and Bush's on three. What was most depressing, however, was that most voters can not match positions to candidates, so when they preferred Kerry's positions they ascribed them to Bush.

As I said before, ignorance is poison to democracy. No matter what you believe, these statistics aren't good.

People support mass transit to fix problems

A new poll shows that more people support increasing transit options in order to fix our growing problems with congestion. Increasing transit by itself was more popular than increasing transit and building new roads, and it far outstripped building new roads only.

Hopefully, this support will signal the legislature that something needs to be done, and soon. In recent years, Republicans adhering to "no new taxes" pledges have prevented putting any new money into transportation, and as a result our infrastructure continues to fall apart. We need more money, period. Let's get this done.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Ignorance is strength

I usually stick to Minnesota-only posts, but these statistics are just too frightening. Democracy is meaningless if the voters are clueless, and that's what we have.

It's also interesting that a poll shows that the more educated a voter is, the more likely they are to vote for Kerry. One commenter has stated that this is an election not between "Red" and "Blue" states per se, but an election between the knowledgeable and the not-so-knowledgeable. Guess which one is on the right side?

Edit: Here's the poll on education and voter preference.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Springsteen the politician

Lots of people are mad that Bruce Springsteen is being partisan in his upcoming concert (tomorrow at the Xcel Energy Center). These concerts are being put on by MoveOn.org, a liberal group. Republicans, including our own governator, don't think he should be political.

Hello? Bruce Springsteen has always been political. You just have to listen to the words. Born in the USA isn't a flag-waving Toby Keith song if you take the time to listen to it, kiddies. Springsteen believes strongly in social justice, and this is very evident in his songs.

Unfortunately, I won't be going to the concert. But for everybody who does go, have fun!

New voters

There are a lots of new voters registering around the country. This is good news, since the more people are involved in democracy the better it gets, but it is especially good news that lots of new voters are in urban, Democratic areas. Central urban cities vote in numbers far below suburbs, so this is a good sign. Now the task is to get voters to the polls.

Reading these stories makes me glad that I live in a state with same-day registration. Being able to bring new voters to the polls and have them register and vote that day is democracy at its best. It shouldn't be any other way.