Gun Owners of America

Even though I haven’t filed my campaign papers for the FEC the lobbying community has me in their sights. There was a fat letter waiting for me from Gun Owners of America. Apparrently a rival of the NRA, GOA’s website has this to say for itself:

“The GOA Board of Directors brings over 100 years of combined knowledge and experience on guns, legislation and politics. GOA’s Board is not satisfied with the “status quo.” Americans have lost some of our precious gun rights and WE WANT THEM BACK! This is why GOA is considered the “no compromise” gun lobby.”

I heard a story recently that congressional candidates are refusing in ever greater numbers to fill out the many questionaires sent them by special interest groups. For the first time in twelve elections I’ll follow suit. I’ve been telling people that I have more opinions than you can shake a stick. In fact, I’ve got many of them on my website including some information on Gun Control. Here and Here for instance.

Iraq is the best example I can think of of a society where everyone’s ownership of guns affords little of the protection that our founding Fathers envisioned when they wrote the Second Amendment. Back then the cumbersome, single shot hunting rifles owned by our farming population were the backbone of an almost nonexistant military.

The most unfortunate aspect of single interest politics is their no foot in the door attitude. Even when compromise is obviously called for none is tolerated. Gun control is just one example. I told my campaign manager that its fairly obvious that the concealed & carry provisions Minnesota recently adopted hasn’t been the disaster that the anti gun forces predicted. Still, my acquainence who’s sister was blown away by an angry husband should not be ignored.

The GOA seem to think that arming everybody is the personal equivelent of the 1960s policy of Mutually Assured Destruction in which the US and the USSR were guaranteed not to go to war because, since both nations had nuclear weapons, it would mean the total destruction of both nations. By this GOA reasoning the woman who was shot by her husband only had herself to blame for not answering her door with a loaded weapon.

I don’t think so.

Cooling waters

I’ve returned from the hottest weather I’ve ever experienced. Claudia and I drove up to Sonoma with our kids for the day to taste wine. By our second stop the car’s outside thermometer read 113 degrees. We stopped for lunch in Healdsburg at a restaurant where all the air condiditioning seemed to be sucked out with each patron who opened the door.

The Minneapolis airport was 85 Degrees when we returned this afternoon and by the time we drove to the crest of the hill overlooking Lake Superior it had climbed to 91 degrees. It plunged to a temperate 74 by the time we turned up 21st Ave E. It was heaven! Thank you Lake Superior.

Among the several phone calls waiting for me was one from Richard Winger who publishes a newsletter about third parties. He wanted to know if I was in any way tied to Unity08. I called back and told him that while the Unity title was partly inspired by them I was not affiliated. He was from San Francisco which I had just left and it gave me a good occasion to complain about the lousy weather I had just left. What was that that Harry Truman said about the kitchen? Mr. Winger may do a story about me in his newsletter. If he does he’ll send me a copy.

Tomorrow I meet to discuss shooting some video but only after I spend the morning reading the news at Lighthouse for the Blind’s studio. Claudia will leave even earlier than me because she is flying off for business and to pick up her Father from Florida for a visit. It will be his first visit to Duluth in about 16 years. I wonder if there is any heat left for the East Coast what with California hogging it all?

Oberstar supports Bush

As promised, Bush vetoes stem cell bill Having visited my Alzheimers riddled Mother last week, a woman who suffers from one of the dread conditions that plague mankind and for which a stem cell solution might one day provide a cure, I can’t say that I’m impressed.

Its Bush’s first veto. Up to now the President and the Congress have shared the same brain but now Oberstar has joined him at the hips.

San Fran Man II

Yesterday we got out of the car at our hotel in Novato and the temperature was a scorching 107 degrees. The last time and only other time I endured weather like that was when I visited Scottsdale, Arizona as a seventeen year old. That time I tried to play some tennis and learned some important lessons in human limitations.

We took the boat to Alcatraz on our first night in California. It was a very interesting tour and some of us in our party are not easily impressed. We took the last tour of the day and the heat of the day was still, uncharacteristically, in the air as the evening turned dark and the San Fran skyline lit up. A lot of the Rock was off limits in part, I suspect, because of the neglect of the Federal Park budget by the Bush Administration. Still, despite its ongoing crumbling away the stories were fascinating.

Alcatraz was never filled to capacity. Today we are still building more supermaxes for our worst of the worst. Is it something in the air or were those really simpler times?

Yesterday we spent half an hour parking by and beginning the walk across the Golden Gate. It was just enough time to get to the first suspension spire (I can’t think what its really called)from which the cables are suspended. We got to Novato and our hotel and jumped in the pool with the kids. It was probably the first time in ten years that we did this and very likely the last time. The water was warm from the baking temps. Afterwards we mingled with my side of the family at the reunion where the youngest generation puzzled over their connections.

We had a remarriage and a new family start up and the children from both sides were very unclear as to their interrelationships. I woke up at 6:30 well ahead of the rest of my clan and to my delight found that the hotel’s business center didn’t charge for this computer usage. I’d decided not to pack our laptop afterall because we only packed carryon luggage for convenience.

I’ve been able to exchange a couple emails with my campaign manager. He’s beginning to check in the FEC (Federal Elections Commission) rulebook and he’s still recommending me blogs to read. On this our last full day my little group of four is breaking away to travel the wine country and then come back on coast highway. Its supposed to be just as hot. Hope the AC holds up.

San Fran Man

I had a very productive flight out to San Francisco today; wife, son and daughter all in tow. I brought 4 Duluth Tribs to finish and then alternately dozed and woke up to jot down a to-do list which should last me for a month. If I complete it, it will go a long way to making my campaign a very formidible affair indeed. Its interesting how a little quiet time helps one focus.

We met my brother and his family and ate at Fisherman’s Wharf in Allioto’s. It was a wonderful meal with a view of the Golden Gate in the distance. Took a walk to Ghiradelli square. (sorry about the spelling) and had ice cream with hot fudge. Tonight we cruise over to Alcatraz. I was warned that the wind off the bay would be cold so I bought a jacket to keep me warm.

I had an email waiting for me when we checked into the Mark Hopkins. I’ve offered a very capable local journalist the position of being my press chief. The email from the journalist in question suggested that we get together to talk it over when I return next week. It would be very limited work to begin with but if we work something out it would be another coup for my campaign.

My internet clipping service noted that I had gotten a mention in the Hibbing Trib and that Al Franken was heading a fund raiser for Jim Oberstar in Brainerd. The comic is promoting the wrong candidate this year but when I run for reelection that will change.


Blog Spam

I’ve spent the day preparing for a family reunion in California. Because I want to hit the pavement running when I get back on Sunday I’ve been tidying up the accumulation of campaign debris that’s built up in my office.

One chore I’ve been doing today is blocking spam from my blog. Each post has a message box for readers to make comment on. The insidious spam world has discovered that they can jam up the message boxes with tons of links to the websites their promoting; stuff like viagra and downloadable ring tones. It was a tedious several hours but I’ve probably saved myself a lot of work in the future.

A number of intriguing opportunities have arisen in the past two days and I’ve got some important meetings planned for next week which will kick things up a notch. I’ll be taking the laptop with me to Califrnia to check email and the news and update the blog. I’ve subscribed to a new internet clipping service so I’ll know exactly what the opposition is up to as well as see where I’ve been making headlines. I’m still invisible to Minnesota punditry. On an MPR hour of analysis this afternoon they didn’t even mention the 8th District race. Of course, that reflects poorly on Rod Grams too.

At the moment all eyes are on Matt Entenza’s departure from the race for Attorney General. Who killed him? Was it Mike Hatch? Hmmmmm. Well, he’s a well known back stabber and the two didn’t like each other.

No wonder my Mom didn’t want me to go into politics.

The “none of the above” candidate

I’m in ecstasy. There are only three candidates for 8th District Congress. That’s what I’ve been hoping for. Now all disaffected voters will be able to focus their votes on a single candidate.

In 1992 when I also ran as an independent for the same office I had to split this vote (which was ten percent of the total) with Floyd Henspetter. My party was the “Perot Choice” party and his was the “Term Limits” party. I got better than 70 % of the none of the above vote but not all of it. In fact, that’s what I jokingly told folks when I gathered my petition signatures. I told them that I was the “none of the above” candidate.

More than in 1992 none of the above will look good to people who want a little purple put back into an America split into Red and Blue.

Conservative Civil War

Andrew Sullivan tips his hat to fellow Conservative George Will for calmly calling Bill Kristol unhinged for urging America to attack Iran.

For anyone wondering why Iran would enjoy the quagmire George Bush Junior has gotten America stuck in its worth remembering that twenty years ago we urged Saddam Hussein on in a war between Iran and Iraq that bled both nations white and killed a million people.

Seeing America embarassed must be very gratifying to the Persians.

Oberstar the Goliath of the 8th District

I just read the MPR analysis of the titanic James Oberstar and his battles with mighty Republican oponents. I had to laugh.

“He had few serious challenges in his subsequent re-election bids. In 1984, he lost a primary bid for the U.S. Senate.His district is one of the nation’s largest. It stretches north from Chisago and Isanti counties in east-central Minnesota, through Duluth and the Iron Range to the Canadian border. He opposes abortion and is against the death penalty.James Oberstar was elected to the U.S. House in 1974 with 62 percent of the vote. He has been re-elected 14 times, all with ease. Oberstar’s three most recent contests are prime examples. In 1998 he defeated Republican Jerry Shuster with 66 percent of the vote in a race that also featured Stan “The Man” Estes. In the 2000 general election he faced another nicknamed challenger, “Cowboy” Bob Lemen, a native Texan who has settled in Grand Rapids. He beat Lemen with 68 percent of the vote. He outspent Lemen $1 million to $22,000. In 2002, he again beat Lemen by a 69-to-31-percent margin.

In 2004, Oberstar faced Mark Groettum, a Republican, and Van Presley, a member of the Green Party. Oberstar cruised to re-election, capturing 65 percent of the vote in the three-way race, the 5th straight election in which he captured at least 65 percent of the votes cast.”

The operative phrase here is “serious challenges.” I know these challengers. $22,000 for Cowboy Bob Lemon and Oberstar couldn’t do better than 65% of the vote? Back when Oberstar was first elected Democrats routinely pulled 85% of the vote. By the way. I just read that Jim only started this campaign with $300,000 in the bank. What did he do with the other $700,000? Must be payroll. It figures.

186 grand for Grams from Insurance

My son took a call for me yesterday from a Grand Rapids pharmacist. I called him back this morning and he told me a tale of woe; how the insurance industry monopoly was nailing him and his industry to the wall. After I’ve researched the anti-monopoly Fair Trade Act of 1941 and set up a travel itinerary we’ll have coffee to talk about it.

Coincidentally my manager sent me a link to Open Secrets which lists Rod Grams’ major contributors for the years he was in the Senate. Coincidentally, the Insurance industry was number two on the list at $186,000.

I asked the fellow how it happened that he’d heard of me and he told me he’d read about me after picking up a Reader Weekly in Grand Rapids. I had no idea they were distributed that far away.

Press Releases

On July 5th, when I began my petitioning I sent an email press release to all the newspapers, radio and TV stations in the District that I could find. A number of the emails were returned because the address was old or faulty. I sent another release today to the same list as before and once again some bounced back to me.

I just asked my new campaign manager to check out each venue and find out what the best way to send them Press Releases. 14 years ago when I ran I did all the press releases by fax. Before that it was by mail. Email today is so simple but I’m afraid that news editors have email boxes jammed up with newsie stuff. If so they may not give very close scrutiny to all the stuff that passes over their “desk.”

After Chris Grams inquiry about the Lincoln-in-thought t-shirts I added her Little Falls radio stations to the media list because I’d missed them before. I noted that the news of her husband Rod’s filing for office was the first item on the list of news stories even though it was already six days old. Well, there are some advantages to owning your own media.

I also sent a copy of my letter to Mary Kiffmeyer to the big three the Pioneer Press, the Strib and the Duluth News Tribune. After I sent it I noticed a mangled sentence toward the end. Tsk tsk….editing.

Kennedy poll numbers

The Minnesota Poll which is routinely panned by the State GOP shows Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy trailing his DFL opponent, Amy Klobuchar, by a whopping 20%. It should be remembered that the GOP rebuffed Rod Grams as a has-been when he began agitating to regain the seat that was taken from him six years ago by the retiring Mark Dayton. Kennedy was the GOP man on the move but his poor showing is striking and one more sign that the Bush and Delay Republicans have soured Minnesotans. If Kennedy’ the rising star, is falling so short statewide what does this portend for Rod Grams? Perhaps the exSenator’s private polls are more promising but I doubt it. 

The official source for all the blather of the eccentric Harry Welty – Duluth School Board member, off and on, since 1995. He does his best to live up to Mark Twain's assessment: "First God created the idiot. That was for practice. Then he invented the School Board."