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Say Anything: Words Matt Entenza Lives By, Apparently

1:22 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Poor Matt Entenza. He thought he could run yet another sleazy and expensive backstabbing of a campaign against a fellow DFLer, only to be tripped up by the fact that many politically-minded Minnesota Democrats have a) long and accurate memories, and b) an ability to find the proofs that confirm the accuracy of those memories.

Matt Entenza, you see, is running against the perfectly suitable two-term DFL incumbent Rebecca Otto for the position of State Auditor. And, following the pattern he set in his two most recent previous runs for statewide office (those for attorney general and governor), he’s doing it in his typically sleazy and self-entitled “Say Anything” manner (h/t Bluestem Prairie):

Yesterday’s decision by the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) panel to dismiss Matt Entenza’s complaint about a comment Rebecca Otto made on her personal Facebook page is ably reported by Abby Simons in Panel rejects Entenza’s voter ID claim in state auditor race:

A state Office of Administrative Hearings panel rejected claims by Matt Entenza that Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto lied when she said she had not voted for legislation requiring voter identification.

In an 11-page order issued Thursday, the three-judge panel rejected the official campaign complaint filed by Entenza, who is challenging Otto in a DFL primary Aug. 12.  Entenza, a former House minority leader, filed for the office in the last moments before deadline, surprising Otto, a former House colleague, and many DFLers.  . . .

In a statement issued by the DFL, Otto’s attorney, Charlie Nauen, called the ruling “a complete victory for Rebecca Otto over Matt Entenza’s misleading claims and distortion of the facts.”

“I have never voted for Voter ID,” Otto said in the statement. “In fact, I campaigned against it.”

“Rebecca Otto had it right,” DFL Party Chair Ken Martin said. “Matt Entenza will say anything to get himself elected.”

Here’s the ruling, wherein the judges dismissed the complaint’s “cramped reading” of campaign law: Entenza Order

Of course, we’re talking about Mister Say Anything Entenza, the California native who’s trying to parlay a few high school years plus summer visits to Grandma’s place into a full-blown Greater Minnesota childhood, as a part of a place-baiting effort to position himself as the Most Rural Candidate Ever.

The pity is that he is doing pretty good work with his Minnesota 2020 outfit. If he’d just stick to that instead of trying for statewide elected office, he might actually he remembered fondly in the end.

Calling All Minnesotans! Whip Your State Senators Re: Minimum Wage Hike

3:29 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

As ably limned for some time now by the incomparable Sally Jo Sorensen of Bluestem Prairie, the Minnesota state legislature has been pondering raising the state’s minimum wage, a long-overdue move. (How overdue? Look at the graphic in this post. All our neighbor states have higher minimum wages than we do.) Right now, there’s a deadlock between the House and Senate conference committees, a deadlock that needs to be broken for the legislation to succeed.

To that end, a whip count’s been created over at Bluestem.

Y’all know what to do. Go to it!


Map of minimum wages in Minnesota and surrounding states, Via MinnPost and Bluestem Prairie, Source: Department of Labor Map image: CC/Wikimedia/Theshibboleth (above)

Professional Homophobe Confuses Minnesota House Session with First-Grade Show and Tell, Brings Friend

5:36 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Honestly, this is the sort of thing that makes one spout glub-glub noises — or post pictures of rabbits with pancakes on their heads.

Once again, it’s Glenn “Gone Wild” Gruenhagen (who many of you have met here before), and once again, Sally Jo Sorensen of Bluestem Prairie documents the cray-cray for posterity:

Just now in the Minnesota House, Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe) introduced his “ex-gay” friend Kevin Petersen who is now married and father of three. This was a point of personal privilege.

Members of the House either clapped or groaned.

Just as the House was about to adjourn, Speaker Thissen ruled that points of personal privilege had gotten out of hand in the past few sessions, declaring that they would no longer be allowed for random shout-outs to personal friends and family members visiting the House.

Thissen’s such a spoilsport.

But that’s not the end of it: Read the rest of this entry →

Big Pushback Against Frac Sand (and Lobbyist Mayor) in Minnesota

9:19 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Dennis Egan's Facebook page, as screenshot by Sally Jo Sorensen on February 5, 2013

The actual act of fracking isn’t the only controversial part of the fracking process. Mining the sand needed for fracking has its own problems, as Red Wing, Minnesota mayor and frac sand mining lobbyist Dennis Egan is discovering.

Many people were outraged at the gross conflict of interest embodied in Egan’s stances. But as Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen noted, instead of immediately and publicly expressing their outrage, they quietly prepared for much more effective action:

As it turns out, the editorial board of the Rochester Post Bulletin aren’t the only ones calling for Egan to step down as lobbyist or resign as mayor. (Read the PB’s call at Our View: Red Wing mayor shouldn’t serve two masters).

Here’s the pdf we downloaded of the citizen’s complaints posted at the Red Wing City Council’s page. Since the city posted the 40-page document without redacting contact information, we’re not altering the file.

09F1 – Mayor’s Role MN Industrial Sand Council – CC 02-11-2013 

If Egan doesn’t step down from one post or the other, a recall effort will likely await him.

It’s not just the Rochester Post-Bulletin and the Red Wing City Council that are against Mayor-Lobbyist Egan over frac sand. The Ho-Chunk Nation, headquartered across the Mississippi River in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, is speaking out as well. And there are signs of greater official scrutiny as well.

(Fun fact: Egan may be the Mayor of Red Wing, Minnesota, but his Facebook page lists him as a resident of Saint Paul. Saint Paul is, of course, the state capital of Minnesota, and the place where a lobbyist would do much if not most of his or her lobbying in the state. How interesting.)

Front-Runner for Minnesota GOP Chair Job: Marjorie Holsten, The Anti-Porn Prom Mom Featured on The Daily Show!

5:51 am in Republican Party by Phoenix Woman

Marjorie Holsten interviewed by The Daily Show

There are ten persons in the running to replace Tony Sutton, the failed taco baron who failed even harder at politics, as the Chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. (Pat Shortridge did step in to serve out the remainder of Sutton’s chair term, but he’s not in the running for a full term.) One of these people is Marjorie Holsten, who you may remember from her appearance on The Daily Show as the outraged woman who objected to local 18-year-old Mike Stone — not her own son, but someone else’s — bringing an actress from adult movies to his high-school prom as his date.

Sally Jo Sorensen, who has another video of Ms. Holsten in action at her website, is rooting for Ms. Holsten to win. So am I.

“80% of the Farm Bill Goes for Food Stamps” and Other Minnesota Conservative Shriekings

3:09 pm in 2012 election by Phoenix Woman

Allen Quist rides off into the sunset, courtesy of Ken Avidor.

Rick Perlstein recently wrote an article for The Baffler titled “The Long Con” that nicely describes the addiction of American conservatives to the realms of untruth: not just blatant lies about ideological matters, but get-rich-quick scams and grifting as well, all of which at one time or another is hidden under a pious mask and often seasoned with bigotry.

I thought of this when I saw Bluestem Prairie’s latest limning of the shambling mound of dishonesty that is Bachmann ally Allen Quist:

In Walz cannot have bill both ways, a letter to the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune, the Norseland farmer writes:

Tim Walz is at it again. He’s again saying we need to pass the farm bill now.

But during the latter part of the recent campaign, he said we needed to control federal spending.

So which is it?

The last farm bill, in 2008, had a price tag of $286 billion. This farm bill’s price tag is almost twice that at $500 billion — half a trillion.

You can’t control federal spending and double spending on the farm bill at the same time, obviously.

And none of that spending increase is for farm programs. The increase is entirely for food stamps — a program run so poorly that we have no way of knowing if the benefits go to people who actually need them.

Actually 80 percent of the spending in the farm bill is for food stamps. It’s not really a farm bill at all. It’s a food stamp bill with a farm bill rider. . . . .

Heard it before from Quist? Of course we all have–again and again, along with nonsense about Food Stamps being an important contributing factor for the nation’s divorce rate.


As Bluestem goes on to point out, the sensible people understand that the actual Farm Bill, and not Quist’s bigotry-tinged Bizarro World caricature of it (because in the Republican version of reality, only urban nonwhites ever use food stamps), is more likely to help lower the nation’s deficit by spending judiciously on things like family nutrition. As we all know, spending on preventive care — and keeping problems from occurring in the first place — is far more cost-effective than dealing with problems once they’ve materialized in full force. Family nutrition programs of the sort that Quist derides are just that sort of preventive care.

Quist’s rantings, which apparently spring from various bits of GOP boilerplate talking points and are by no means original to him, aren’t the only bit of reality denial coming from the starboard side of the North Star State’s political apparatus.
Read the rest of this entry →

Why Has the Director of Minnesota’s Chief Anti-Marriage-Equality Group Suddenly Gone Silent on That Issue?

10:20 pm in 2012 election, LGBT, Politics, Religion, Republican Party by Phoenix Woman

Andy Parrish, as seen by Ken Avidor

There has been a lot of verbiage produced by those who would keep couples of the same gender from marrying, verbiage that all too often is comical and horrifying at the same time — a recent example being former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey’s unbelievable and grotesque statement claiming that anti-gay and anti-marriage-equality persons like himself were victims like Jews in Nazi Germany. (Considering that gays were singled out for especially brutal treatment by the Nazis, something that Lord Carey as an educated person should know better than many, this is particularly vile of him.) [UPDATE: Turns out the quote being bandied about from Lord Carey is only a portion of the full quote, which is in fact anti-bigotry: [Lord Carey] rejected suggestions that the true “bigots” were those who advocated gay marriage and would not listen to legitimate concerns of religious groups who disagreed.

“Let’s have a sensible debate about this, not call people names,” he said. “Let’s remember that the Jews in Nazi Germany, what started it all against them was when they started being called names. That was the first stage towards that totalitarian state.”]

In Minnesota in particular, where the anti-equality forces have got their pet Republican legislators to put an amendment on the ballot that would embed anti-equality laws into the state’s constitution, there has been a lot of verbiage. So much, in fact, that when a key producer of that verbiage suddenly falls silent on that issue, it draws attention.

The director and a key spokesperson for the anti-equality group “Minnesotans for Marriage” is Andy Parrish, a longtime Republican operative with close ties to Michele Bachmann and other persons in the Theocon wing of the Republican Party of Minnesota. He used to use his Twitter account all the time to push M4M and the anti-equality cause. That is, he did until he suddenly stopped nearly two weeks ago. As Bluestem Prairie’s Sally Jo Sorensen notes:

As deputy campaign director of Minnesota for Marriage (M4M), Republican political operative Andy Parrish has never been shy about tweeting and Facebooking about the marriage restriction amendment.

Until October 2.

Since then, his tweets and Facebook page have been nearly all A Stronger Minnesota, the new political committee that’s supposed to be the conservative answer to A Better Minnesota. We count three M4M-related posts out of over fifty tweets and retweets, as well as only A Stronger Minnesota material on his Facebook page.

Sorensen goes on to note that Parrish has also vanished from press accounts of M4M, and apparently even failed to attend a key M4M event hosted last Monday. Yet he is still drawing his director’s pay, as far as anyone knows, to the tune of $5,000 every two weeks, per the 42nd Day report filed with the Minnesota State Campaign Finance Board.

Why the sudden silence on what is currently one of the two hottest political questions in Minnesota politics? As Sorensen points out, it’s hard to imagine that Parrish’s new role at “A Stronger Minnesota” would take up so much time that it would prevent him from being a very vocal M4M director, being that ASM is only involved in four legislative races this cycle.

Other people will no doubt have different takes on this, but the only interpretation that makes sense to me has as its basis the fact that the anti-equality amendment is slipping below 50% in the polls. Being that amendments to the state constitution need at least 50% of the vote to pass, anything less than that is a defeat for the amendment, and speaking strictly for myself, I would presume that a longtime political operative like Andy Parrish would know this — and also know when to stop wasting time on a lost (albeit personally lucrative) cause and start working on something else. If anyone has a better explanation, I’d like to hear it.

Support for Minnesota’s Photo ID Amendment Dropping Dramatically

6:19 pm in 2012 election, Republican Party, Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

I’m sure you’ve all seen polls showing that the general public strongly supports the various ALEC-inspired “voter ID” bills and constitutional amendments being pushed by Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country. That was definitely the case in Minnesota: As recently as May of this year, a Minnesota Poll conducted by the StarTribune showed 80% support for the GOP’s proposed Photo ID ballot amendment to the state constitution.

That was then, this is now:

Slightly more than half of likely voters polled — 52 percent — want the changes built around a photo ID requirement, while 44 percent oppose them and 4 percent are undecided.

That is a far cry from the 80 percent support for photo ID in a May 2011 Minnesota Poll, when the issue was debated as a change in state law. Support among Democrats has cratered during a year marked by court battles, all-night legislative debates and charges that the GOP is attempting to suppress Democratic votes.

Since this is a referendum on changing the constitution, a mere plurality won’t suffice. It must have at least 50% “yes” votes to pass. It had 80% back in May, and it’s dropped to 52% now — and that’s without much in the way of a general campaign on the “vote no” side’s part.

What I find particularly interesting is the indie vote. Independents generally side with the Republicans in favoring this ballot amendment, according to this poll — but I wonder if that will continue to be the case once the word gets out statewide on how much it will cost state and especially local governments, the latter of which are already having a much harder time meeting their budget goals since the state Republicans voted for more austerity.

As I mentioned last week
, I suspect that the cost argument is what, if explained and disseminated widely, will most strongly resonate with many voters. It certainly is the one the state Republicans seem to fear the most.

MN GOP’s Photo ID Amendment Hits Minnesota Counties with Huge Costs Even As GOP Legislature Slashes Local Government Aid

6:40 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

First it was Rice County. Then it was Kittson County. Now, as BSP’s Sally Jo Sorensen notes, yet more parts of greater Minnesota are noticing the huge holes that the state Republicans’ “Photo ID” vote-restriction amendment would blow into their budgets –budgets that the Republicans controlling the state legislature are already hurting by slashing Local Government Aid:

In his September 1 editor’s column, Local silence on amendment issues troubling, St. Cloud Times editor Randy Krebs asks:

Speaking of laws, everyone knows that if the Voter ID amendment passes it is going to require more tax dollars as well as more local resources to conduct elections. Do local elected officials honestly think their state-level peers will pay those bills? Have they not watched how state aid to cities, higher education and other areas has dried up in recent sessions? Amid that trend, it’s obvious local jurisdictions have a huge interest in the outcome. So again, as leaders of the community, at least go public with a position.

Silence isn’t leadership, at least not in this election.

It’s a good point: the Republican caucuses now controlling the Minnesota legislature have been aggressive in cutting Local Government Aid for greater Minnesota.

Over in the northwestern Minnesota city of Detroit Lakes, Nathan Bowe, writing for DLOnline, the online arm of the local daily paper, lists all the hassles and headaches — including provisional balloting and the long lines and bogged-down vote counts that entails — and finishes up by describing the financial burden to the state’s taxpayers:
Read the rest of this entry →

MN GOP’s Voter ID Plan Would Cost Two Rural Counties Nearly $1 Million

9:22 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Minnesota State Fair Seed Art 2012 (photo: Mpls55408 / flickr)

Not only is Minnesota’s Kiffmeyered amendment version of ALEC’s voter restriction (aka “Photo ID”) model bill useless at stopping the sort of voter fraud it’s touted as stopping, it would also be ruinously expensive for state and local governments to enact.

The steep expense of the Photo ID amendment if it passes was first noticed in the case of Rice County, which would be out around $120,000 — a big financial blow for a largely-rural county of less than 65,000 souls. As bad as that is, it’s much worse for Minnesota’s Kittson County, which is even more rural than Rice: The 4,552 residents of Kittson County would, if this Photo ID amendment passes, get socked with a $730,000 bill.

That’s right, folks: The good folk of Kittson County are being asked by the Minnesota Republican Party to shell out $160 for every man, woman and child in the county, and to pay for something that won’t fight fraud but will make it harder for legal voters like shut-ins, veterans, and college kids to vote.

Worst of all: Rice and Kittson are only two of Minnesota’s eighty-seven counties, and not very big in terms of population. Imagine what the other eighty-five counties (and their taxpayers) will be paying.

All so the Republicans can try to screw a few tens of thousands of Minnesotans out of their right to vote.

(Crossposted to Mercury Rising.)