The Minnesota Grizzly Bear

Roaring about life since 2009

Thursday Roundup, 2/11

I dutifully apologize for my lack of insight and commentary on these important state and national stories.  Too many pressing demands on my time.  :0(

Polls:

Support for Gays in the Military Depends on the Question

Poll: Obama, Economy Doubts Boost GOP

Global Perceptions of U.S. Leadership Improve in 2009 

MN Politics:

Gov. Pawlenty delivers his final State of the State address

Economics:

Larry Summers: Almost All Economists Believe More Taxes Fuels Job Growth

Education:

After Getting Nearly 40% Budget Increase, North Dakota Higher Education Still Raising Tuition Prices

Zero Tolerance for Charter Schools report

Minnesota’s deficit is forcing school cuts

Legal:

The Government Can Monitor Your Location All Day Every Day Without Implicating Your Fourth Amendment Rights

Opinions:

Noemie Emery: Democrats inflicting themselves with wedge issues

Slobs and the American Civilization

Doug Wilder: Obama needs a staff shakeup

The Bubble and Rahm

Have it good,

-Mike

February 11, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Economics, Education, Minnesota, North Dakota, Politics, Republicans, Surveillance | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Republicans are More Knowledgable

Check out this neat little study from the Pew Research Center regarding Republican voter knowledge of issues:

Republicans, on average, answered one more question correctly than Democrats (5.9 vs. 4.9 correct). These differences are partly a reflection of the demographics of the two groups; Republicans tend to be older, well educated and male, which are characteristics associated with political and economic knowledge. Still, even when these factors are held constant, Republicans do somewhat better than Democrats on the knowledge quiz.

Republicans Smarter than Democrats? , and the study itself at Pew Research.

So come on, keep calling us ignorant hicks when it comes to issues, I dare you.  hahaha.  pwned.

Have it good,

-Mike

February 9, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Politics, Republicans | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Democrat announces run for ND Senate Seat

Today ND State Senator Tracy Potter (D) entered the race for the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated by the retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan.  Running against the popular Republican Governor John Hoeven will be interesting even if no other candidates for the Democrats decide to enter the race. 

I’ve always thought North Dakota is a peculiar state for a while now because of the ND State Legislature’s conservative leanings compared to the solidly Democratic delegation they’re sent to Congress for the last decade or two.  Which makes it that much more fun to speculate on who North Dakotans will eventually send to the Senate.  But I don’t think the guy they send to the Senate should be running just for the hell of it, which is the impression I get from this article.

Dems declaring against Hoeven

 

Have it good,

-Mike

February 5, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, North Dakota, Politics, Republicans | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday roundup – 2/5

Here’s a few good stories in the news today, and several relate to the new Minnesota legislative session that began this week. 

Local/Minnesota Politics:

Both of my State Legislators are in the news today, check it out:

Lanning under pressure in bonding bill debate – State Representative Morrie Lanning (R-9A) is apparently being courted by the DFL as potential vote to support the massive bonding bill introduced at the beginning of this legislative session.

Job creation is top priority as Senate unveils capital investment package  – This is State Senator Keith Langseth’s (DFL-09) press release promoting the specifics of the “capital investment package.”  $999.9 million, really?  Just throw in the extra penny and make it a billion, haha.

 

Education News:

Beings that I have been a student for such a large period of my life, education reform has slowly elbowed through the other important issues that I try to keep up to speed on regularly.  As a soon-to-be college graduate entering a recession-sickened job market with a heavy debtload, I’m more than a bit irritated at the current workings of the “education-industrial complex.” 

It’s these concerns that have led me to bone up on and devote a number of posts on a regular basis to K-12, undergraduate and graduate school issues.  Here’s the first few links:

Donations to colleges down 11.9% in 2009 – Well at least Minnesota made the list. 

Outlook bleak for state-funded college financial aid – Maybe the above story will help out us college students given this bleak outlook.  Here’s hoping, heh.

Rulings Leave Online Student Speech Rights Unresolved – Do students have free speech?  Where?  Courts aren’t too sure.

Woodbury’s going back to school – in August – Deals with shifting the duration of the school year, and not necessarily lengthening it.

 

Opinions:

Of big tents and tugs of war – Excellent piece on the direction of the Republican party in 2010

 

And finally, here’s your humor for the day – “How not to design a campaign website

Have it good,

-Mike

February 5, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Law, Minnesota, Politics, Republicans | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Caucus day is here again!

Wow, it’s already the end of January.  That means the Minnesota caucus day of February 2nd is approaching fast, but what does that mean for you?  What is a political caucus, and why are they important?

The caucuses present an opportunity to make your voice heard beyond your single vote on Election Day, they give you a venue for opinion into which candidates will make it to election day for you to vote on. 

A party caucus is where self-identified supporters of a political party get together and talk about the upcoming elections and state of their party, every major political party in Minnesota (Republicans, Democrats, and Independence) has them.  In big election years like 2008 and the Minnesota Governor’s race, party caucuses play an important role in the party endorsement process and are responsible for deciding who the party will officially support come Election Day.  

Who could pass up a chance to meet and engage with like-minded individuals who likely share many of your beliefs?  And if you don’t see eye-to-eye with another caucus-goer, start a dialogue and discuss your divergence on issues.  The caucus is where the party’s platform is solidified and resolutions for change are brought forward and carried to the State convention, so have at it when it comes to issues you disagree with!  

So what’s going to happen when you go to your local precinct caucus?  Here’s what the MN Republican party has to say about caucuses tomorrow;

What Happens at Caucuses? 

  1. Elect the Chair of the Caucus and the Caucus Secretary
  2. Elect Precinct Leaders
  3. Elect Delegates and Alternates to the Local Republican Conventions
  4. Conduct the Gubernatorial Preference Ballot
  5. Pass Resolutions to the Republican Party of Minnesota’s Standing Platform

Why are caucuses important?

For our Party, caucuses serve several important functions:

1. It’s the start of the platform process

The resolutions passed at caucuses are the starting point for changes to our Party’s standing platform, which states our Party’s principles and beliefs.
2. It’s the start of choosing Republican candidates

The process for electing delegates, who will endorse individuals to become our Party’s candidates, starts here

3. It’s where our precinct leaders are elected

Local leaders serve as the backbone of the Party. A commitment to forward Republican principles qualifies you to accept this leadership post tonight.

4. It’s the base of our grassroots efforts

With their experience and knowledge, precinct caucus attendees make great volunteers for our candidates and our Party. Our principles cannot move forward without your involvement.

 

 

Find your party’s caucus date and location here if you live in Moorhead, MN

Clay County caucuses Tuesday: 

  • Republican Party: 7 p.m., Moorhead High School, 2300 4th Ave. S.; the following precincts will meet at Barnesville High School (Alliance, all Barnesville precincts, Comstock, Elkton, Holy Cross, Humbolt, Tansem); the following will meet at Hawley High School (Cromwell, Eglon, Goose Prairie, Hawley, Hawley Township, Highland Grove, Hitterdal, Keene, Parke, Skree).
  • Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party: 7 p.m., Comstock Memorial Union, MSUM, Sixth Avenue and 14th Street
  • Green Party: 6:30 p.m., Moorhead Library, 118 5th St.
  • Independence Party: 7 p.m. This is a remote caucus. Go to www.independenceminnesota.org.
  • For all other caucus locations, go to http://caucusfinder.sos.state.mn.us.

 

Campaigns drive interest in Minnesota caucuses

 

Have fun and remember that “all politics is local.”  Your vote and voice really do count.

Have it good,

-Mike

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Minnesota, Republicans | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

state of the union and responses

Since I took the day off after class to go see “Where the Wild Things Are” with Kayla and her daughter, I don’t have a brilliant and insightful response to President Obama yet, but imma cookin’ somethin’ up.  Until then, here’s a concise and amusing response from Jim Geraghty.

But probably my favorite part was Justice Samuel Alito mouthing “that’s not true” in regards to Obama’s criticism of Citizens United v. FEC.  According to a pundit on Fox News, Justice Alito is this year’s winner of the “Joe Wilson Award.”  Well good for him!

A good, swift kick in the balls every so often lets you remember how much getting kicked in the balls really hurts.

Have it good,

-Mike

January 28, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Obama | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama’s spending freeze

Well isn’t this is a very interesting proposition for Republicans.  Do we go and support the President on an issue we basically agree with and lend him an appearance of bipartisan support and agreement (just in time for the 2010 elections I’m sure) or leave him out to dry and watch the Democrats self-destruct on their own?

The problem I have with President Obama’s intended proposal is that he leaves out so many things that desperately need to be addressed, such as military spending and that other massive elephant in the room called entitlement spending.  Which leads me to believe that this is a half-hearted attempt to look more in-tune with the majority of the country than he actually is. 

So what is the right way to go for conservatives?  How about taking a cautious approach, fully realizing and applauding the high priority and importance of such a spending freeze in these tough economic times, but acknowledging that it is just one step on the long path towards fiscal responsibility.  I agree with this section from HotAir:

Republicans need to make that point very clear and argue that while a freeze is the first step, the next step must be to roll back those federal-budget increases back to at least 2007 levels in order to actually impact the budget deficit, let alone long-term debt.  That will require significant cuts in federal programs that Democrats created or inflated over the last three years while having control of the pursestrings.

Should conservatives get behind Obama’s spending freeze?

That’s right, we don’t just want a freeze, we want a spending freeze followed by a spring spending thaw that will let us drain the proverbial spending lake.  If that’s too confusing a metaphor, all you need to know is that a spending freeze is not the end we’re looking for as fiscal conservatives.  We’re looking for a decrease in government, a rollback, a cut, whatever you want to call it. 

Ok, here’s one – we’re going to prune the frozen tree of spending after the shining Republican victories in 2010.

I just can’t speak in metaphor, can I?  haha.

Have it good,

-Mike

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Economics, Obama | , , , | 1 Comment

Abandon Ship? Follow the leader, guys

Well it’s been roughly a day since Scott Brown’s amazing upset in Massachusetts, so how are North Dakota’s national representatives and senators taking the news?  Discounting the retiring Senator Byron Dorgan of course.

Let’s take a look at the scorecard so far, starting with Representative Earl Pomeroy!  According to this story compiled by HotAir, Rep. Pomeroy is believed to be in the running for CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers.

“Several high-profile Democrats, including North Dakota Rep. Earl Pomeroy and former Sen. Bob Kerrey (Neb.), are said to be in the running to fill former Oklahoma Republican Gov. Frank Keating’s post as CEO and president of the American Council of Life Insurers,” Roll Call (subscription) reports.

Pomeroy looking for a golden parachute into the insurance industry?

And perhaps the most interesting thing about this position at ACLI is that:

Sen. Dorgan’s wife, Kim Dorgan, is senior executive vice president for public policy at the American Council of Life Insurers, its top lobbying position.

Insurance Industry Losing Two Senate Allies

Ready to abandon ship for the private sector, are we?  Isn’t that just sweet?  So we have Dorgan leaving, and with all talk about retiring, maybe Pomeroy will look to his colleague’s wife’s organization and wonder…what if? 

So who does that leave, Senator Kent Conrad?  Maybe it’s time for this bastion of public integrity to catch retirement fever as well, given this outrageous bit of conniving to push Obamacare through:

The Senate Budget Committee Chairman said Wednesday he’s willing to use special rules to force changes to the healthcare legislation through the Senate with a simple majority vote.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) made clear his openness to applying budget reconciliation to healthcare, a position he opposed prior to this week’s special election in Massachusetts, is contingent on the content of the bill.

Conrad opens door to reconciliation for healthcare

Yeah, cute title, but it has nothing to do with what the average person would consider “reconciliation” and absolutely everything to do with strong-arm tactics of utter desperation.  My god, MASSACHUSETTS of all places just sent a REPUBLICAN to the Senate who RAN A CAMPAIGN ON OPPOSING OBAMACARE!  Sorry about the yelling, but maybe this isn’t quite clear to the Democrats who still think passing this monstrosity is a good idea.  Massachusetts.  The left-wing bastion of Ted “make it all free” Kennedy.  Seriously.  No one wants this bill to pass, and by no one I mean roughly 38% of Americans.

With any luck, 2/3 of North Dakota will be red by the end of this year and I’m sure we’ll clean up the remaining third by 2012. 

Have it good,

-Mike

January 21, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Healthcare, North Dakota, Politics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

litigation = the last line of defense?

I’ve been reading more and more about the constitutionality of this massive healthcare reform bill in the news and blogs over the last few weeks, but  it seems like the idea has really taken off in the last few days.  One blogger I’m a big fan of is Josh Blackman, and he’s been blogging on the possible “Constitutional moment” that would occur if the SCOTUS actually decided to hear questions of constitutionality if the healthcare bill passes.  He caught this article from The Hill before I did:

With Democrats in control of the White House and large majorities in the Senate and House, Republicans view the third branch of government as their last, best hope to limit Obama’s ambitious reform agenda.

“Since Democrats cut Republicans out of the healthcare negotiations in Congress, maybe the only way to have any input into the health bill is through litigation,” Bossie added.

Republicans see courts as last line of defense vs. Democrats’ agenda

This story is directly related to my last post about transparency and healthcare, as you can see from the second paragraph I quoted.  The Dems have  totally shut out the Republicans in their secretive efforts to force this bill through to the President, so what else can conservatives do other than win big in the 2010 mid-terms, as it looks like they might do?  Top Democrats head for the exits

My pre-law advisor had us read a very interesting book dealing with whether or not the Courts are actually desirable and effective venues for any meaningful change in public policy, specifically the chapters on Race and Abortion.  I think I might revisit that book briefly, to see if any parallels can be drawn with the HC debate.

Have it good,

-Mike

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Democrats, Healthcare, Law, Obama | , , , | Leave a comment