Star Tribune Voter’s guide

I just checked out the Strib’s voter’s guide. They have an old photo of me with considerably less grey in my beard and none of my replies to the questions they sent me. It is still probably in the early stages and they are not yet drawing attention to it. That’s just as well because I noticed they had a link to a contribution site for Oberstar and they didn’t for me. Since people could contribute to my campaign:   I’ll want to make sure the Strib includes this link as well although I doubt many Strib voter’s guide will take advantage of it any time soon.

(update from 8-6-06) It turns out that this is not the official Strib voter’s guide. It was lifted from their site from the 2004 election cycle and modified for this year by someone else.

Grams is calm

Here’s an extensive story on Rod Gram’s campaign. He’s taken to the road with an RV and is prepared for some tough shots about his personal past. Not from me he won’t get them. We all have clay feet. Its when we have clay heads that I get worried.

I’ve got some shots for him but only about his part in the souring of the Republican revolution. Rod’s dismissiveness about lobbying in the face of the K-Street project is laughable. That’s the clay head.

The Internet rescues me from Dog days of August

Its hot. The election is four months away. No one is paying any attention to politics. And I’ve got lots of distractions keeping me from doing what I need. In short for the first time in the five months I’ve been building up to this campaign I was feeling a little down.

Not any more. The promise of the Internet that I’ve been counting on kicked in a little. My campaign got two mentions here and here. Thre will be more, many more.

Mark Kennedy’s “Great” ad

Last fall, before I decided to become a Democrat and challenge Oberstar, I thought seriously about running as a Republican against Mark Kennedy for the Senate. That would have been a futile campaign but that’s how unhappy I was. Kennedy is generally a good guy but he’s been a clone of every other Republican in Congress. If the Party was still a reasonable party it would be easy to support him for the Senate but the Party is not a reasonable party. Minnesotans seem to realize this as lags behind Amy Klobuchar in the polls.

My campaign manager found these two ads for Mark on his campaign website. The first is short and humorous and will soon be on the airwaves. The other is long, tedious and full of BS.

I wasted last night trying to make a video putting down the longer ad. If I had any doubts about how ba my video turned out my son made it clear. “Let me put it this way,” he told me after helping me shoot it, “If I saw that I wouldn’t vote for you.”

In the interest of exposing Kennedy’s BS I’m posting his ads dialogue with the portentous announcer’s words made bold, Kennedy’s words tabbed in and my jibes in italics:

There’s a new day dawning – and a new leader emerging.

I’m Mark Kennedy
He comes from humble beginnings where he learned the value of faith family and hard work.

My passion is the American Dream. Because I’ve really had an opportunity to live the American dream and my parents taught me that America never promises us success but it gives us a chance. The rest is up to us.

He’s a fourth-generation Minnesotan the first of all those generations to go to college.
When I was in college I was an accounting major. I hated accounting I wanted to switch to being a history major. My Mother said if you can tell me a job that you want that you can do as a history major then you can change, otherwise you can’t. She sat all seven of us kids on the living room and read us newspaper clippings so that we knew how to apply the values that she and my Father taught us to the world around us. I’m a history teacher – that’s a job!
He’s an independent thinker He did what his Mother told him

How do you change Washington? you change Washington by saying I want to work with you on solutions that you that are important to families back home. I don’t want to work with you on solutions that are important to your party or your President. I want to do what’s important for families. That’s how you change Washington.

He’s a leader but not a politician He trashed Patty Wetterling – Wasn’t that political?
Spend money as its yours because that’s the way I was when I grew up.
He’s a CPA who strives for fiscal responsibility. Ten trillion $ deficit He’ll make sure you keep more of your own money so we can grow jobs.

Growing jobs keeping the American dream alive requires us to reward hard work, innovation, risk taking. We need to make sure that we keep that American work ethic alive. In China!

He’ll fight to cut government spending and finally give us the line item veto.

It means keeping spending under control so that we don’t have to raise taxes. Ten trillion $ deficit

Take tax credits back from oil companies Mark hates Texans and develop alternative energy resources like ethanol. Wave corn cob (don’t ask me why but I had a plastic corn cob)

When I was running for Congress six years ago I set out a goal of doubling ethanol production we have doubled ethanol production and we passed an energy bill that sets a goal to double it again.
He’ll make sure patients and doctors are in charge of health care not government and insurance companies. 46 million uninsured Americans
He’ll keep us safe by securing our borders and protecting the homeland Wall off Canada
He’ll defend local control of our schools. Thanks for No child left behind Mark!
He’ll protect the values that make Minnesota Great
Improving the quality of education for our children is all about setting high standards expecting a lot from our students and making sure that we’re rewarding those that are doing an excellent job of delivering that great education. Mark for school board
And he’ll bring the right kind of change Washington needs.
People expect you to face the tough issues head on and vote based on your principles not part of your president or special interests that are moving you in one way one direction or another I want to be a leader that all Minnesotans can look to.
Kennedy votes 90% with Bush
Mark Kennedy the next Senator from the great state of Minnesota

100 words for the Strib

The Strib asked me to tell them in 100 words or less what I would do about the one issue that is most important to me. This is what I told them in 99 words:

“Congress has been so busy waging partisan warefare that it has allowed the national deficit to spin out of control. At ten trillion dollars it will put a monstrous burden on our children just when they have to face competition with the dynamic economies of China and India. This burden is just one of many accumulating for the next generation including lost health insurance, abandoned pension plans, and a shaky social security system. As a member of the Duluth School Board I devoted myself to keeping our district’s spending in line. I would do the same as a congressman.” 

Ad ing it up till 1:30

Since there was no one to be bothered at home I stayed up till 1:30 AM. I puttered around with an idea for an ad for my campaign.

My campaign manager saw the link to Micah and then watched the fun claymation ads that he made for me. Chris thought they might do the trick this time. I emailed back and told him: “been there done that.”

Still, the idea of a tongue-in-cheeck ad again was tempting. I quickly imagined a new claymation ad and then thought about how I might go about getting it made without Micah who, considering his imminent marriage, obviously has other things on his mind now. 

Before heading to bed I also filled out a candidate questionaire that the Minneapolis Tribune sent me which and they will be posting on the Internet. I also took a few pictures of myself at their request to upload to their site. When its up I’ll direct your attention to it.

More on Highway 53

From today’s Strib (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Some Highlights

“the Minnesota Department of Transportation says it can’t use most of that windfall until 2012, because the agency is so short of money it can’t fix roads that are far busier and congested.”

“Labeled pork by critics, congressional earmarking has mushroomed in recent years. Last year’s $286 billion transportation bill contained $24 billion for more than 6,000 named projects. A similar bill in the mid-1980s contained 102 earmarks.”


Six years ago I ran another guerilla campaign against another entrenched politician, Doug Johnson. When I saw a story about a creative young fellow who at 13 was filming wonderful little claymation movies I got a brilliant idea. I asked him to make a couple of 30 second claymation spots for me. They were a hoot.

Micah was able to develop these skills in part because he was home schooled. His parents are devout Christians yet despite my liberal reputation Micah was allowed to have at it.

Micah’s commercials were very much on my mind because I just had lunch with the same production studio that worked with Micah to put the final touches on his claymation videos. Imagine my surprise to stop after lunch and pick up a Reader Weekly and find that 19-year-old Micah had contributed a column. Micah wisely observes that the conservative church’s phobia about all things sexual is frequently counter productive. What a wise young man.

When Oberstar’s Power just doesn’t cut it

About the time that Jim Oberstar said that the quarter billion dollars designated for the Bridge to Nowhere” was Alaska’s he was getting $50 million for the widening of Highway 53 to International Falls.

Because of Governor Pawlenty’s determination not to raise taxes leaving Minnesota befeft of the state money to match Oberstar’s project its not going to be built any time soon. The State Highway Dept doesn’t consider it a priority because the rest of our roads are falling apart and in need of much less glamorous maintenence.

With Jim’s ten trillion dollar deficit a lot of road maintenence is likely to be deferred in the years to come. So much for his power. Pothole anybody?

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?

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."