Monthly Archives: April 2010

Campaign Finance and Corporate Personhood

Common Cause Minnesota League of Women Voters Minnesota Press Release:

On Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 Common Cause Minnesota, League of Women Voters along with Representatives Ryan Winkler and Steve Simon came together to address campaign finance reform. Common Cause Minnesota and the League of Women Voters, Minnesota urge legislators to quickly adopt legislation to prevent the chaos that could erupt this election season because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s campaign finance decision, Citizen’s United v FEC. The recent Supreme Court decision opens the door to unlimited political expenditures by corporations and unions. If the legislature fails to act this session, we are likely to see a series of lawsuits that will only further confuse Minnesota’s campaign finance rules. With 18 days left in the legislative session, legislators need to act quickly to not only conform state law to the court’s decision, but also create rules that requiretimely disclore of campaign contribtions and expenditures disclaimers on who is paying for the political materials, and closing the issue ad loophole. Continue Reading →

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GOP Deputy’s Past At Odds With Current GOP Media Policy

Back in 2008 when he was a blogger, Michael Brodkorb told The UpTake how pleased he was that the DFL was giving him access and said that GOP conventions should give all bloggers and members of the opposition parties access. Brodkorb told The UpTake in 2008 “I do believe, and I’ve said this before on my blog that I do believe that conventions should be open to the opposition and political parties. I think Republicans should let Democrat bloggers in and vice versa. From an openness standpoint that’s important to do” 

But now that Brodkorb is GOP State Deputy Chair, his party has taken just the opposite stance.  DFL officials report that they are being refused admission to the GOP party convention scheduled to begin tomorrow in Minneapolis.  GOP Communications Director Mark Drake has even refused press credentials to The UpTake calling the non-partisan nonprofit that has streamed debates, thousands of hours of the legislature and every moment of the Norm Coleman/Al Franken Election Contest trial a “partisan DFL organization”. DFL Communications Director Kristen Sosanie says all media that requested credentials for last week’s DFL convention in Duluth were given them.  That includes the FOX News Network.  However FOX News was asked to share video with one of the local TV stations instead of setting up its own camera and then decided not to attend the convention.  She says “We did not turn anyone away and in fact did everything we could to accommodate even those TV and print journalists who did not RSVP but showed up the day of the convention.” Continue Reading →

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Emmer Announces Meeks as Running Mate

On Tuesday April 27th, 2010 Representative and current GOP Gubernatorial Candidate, Tom Emmer, announced Annette Meeks as his running mate. Annette Meeks is currently a member of the Metropolitan Council and the current CEO and founder of Freedom Foundation of Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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The UpTake To Remain In Capitol Press Room

Live web video of legislature to continue 

 
April 27, 2010 – The State of Minnesota has rescinded its termination of The UpTake’s Capitol press room lease, allowing The UpTake to remain in the Capitol press room and continue to provide nonpartisan live streaming video coverage of the legislature as it has for the last two years. However, the State Administration department is going ahead with its “review” of all media organizations’ leases at the Capitol.  “Just like several other press organizations, we have deep concerns about the ‘review’ the state is doing of all media organizations space at the Capitol,” said The UpTake’s Executive Director Jason Barnett, “We plan to join with the other media to prevent the government from suppressing access which is necessary for all journalists to execute their rights under the First Amendment.” During the review period, the state has suspended doing any new rental agreements with media organizations while they review its policy.  The State Administration made that decision after it had leased The UpTake additional space in the press room.  While the review is underway, The UpTake has agreed to postpone renting that extra space. “We fully expect that if any media organizations are allowed to remain in The Capitol press room, we will be one of those organizations,” said Barnett. “We also expect the state to adhere to its promise to not rent out space while it does this review, so the space we desire will still be available when that policy is complete — and we expect to be able to rent it.” About The UpTake and The UpTake Institute The UpTake is a citizen-fueled video news gathering organization that uses the Internet as its broadcast medium. Since its inception in late 2007, The UpTake has explored the frontier of social media and news gathering. Continue Reading →

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Obama: Love/Hate With Yankees At White House

President Obama welcomes the 2009 baseball world champion New York Yankees to the White House. He notes it has been nine years since the Yankees have won a title. And while that might seem like an eternity for Yankees fans, some other clubs, such as the Cubs, would be be very happy with that.  
Transcript:
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  Everybody have a seat, please.  Hello, everybody, and welcome to the White House.  And congratulations on being World Series champions.  (Applause.)
 
As you can see, we’ve got a few Yankees fans here in the White House — (applause) — who are pretty excited about your visit.  I want to actually start by recognizing Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner, who is here — (applause) — and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.  Now, I understand Ray and Joe went to the same high school -– a few years apart.  (Laughter.)  But they grew up obviously big Yankees fans. 
 
I want to congratulate the Steinbrenner family, Brian Cashman and all the folks who helped to make this team what it is.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank all of the members of the New York congressional delegation.  And I noticed a couple of Connecticut and North Dakota guys showing up here, too — (laughter) — all of whom take credit for the Yankees’ success.  (Laughter.) 
 
Now, it’s been nine years since your last title -– which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans.  I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that.  (Laughter.)  The Cubs, for example.  (Laughter.)  But this is a team that goes down to spring training every year expecting to win it all — and more often than not, you guys get pretty close.  Of course, if I had Rivera, I’d get pretty close, too.  (Laughter.)  My White Sox would get close every year.  That attitude, that success, has always made the Yankees easy to love — and, let’s face it, easy to hate as well.  (Laughter.)  For a White Sox fan like me, it’s painful to watch Mariano’s cutter when it’s against my team, or to see the Yankees wrap up the pennant while the Sox are struggling on the South Side.  Although I do remember 2005, people -– (laughter) — so don’t get too comfortable.  (Laughter.)
 
But for the millions of Yankees fans in New York and around the world who bleed blue, nothing beats that Yankee tradition:  27 World Series titles; 48 Hall of Famers — a couple, I expect, standing behind me right now.  From Ruth to Gehrig, Mantle to DiMaggio, it’s hard to imagine baseball without the long line of legends who’ve worn the pinstripes.  Last season, this team continued that legacy, winning 103 games and leaving no doubt who was the best team in baseball.  
But what people tend to forget -– especially after watching their teams lose -– is that being a Yankee is as much about character as it is about performance; as much about who you are as what you do.  Being successful in New York doesn’t come easy, and it’s not for everybody.  It takes a certain kind of player to thrive in the pressure cooker of Yankee Stadium -– somebody who is poised and professional, and knows what it takes to wear the pinstripes.  It takes somebody who appreciates how lucky he is, and who feels a responsibility for those who are less fortunate. Continue Reading →

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Jim Meffert On The Zen Of Endorsement

It took many ballots for Jim Meffert to win the DFL endorsement for congress. On Saturday at the DFL state convention, Meffert talks with Mike McIntee about the strategy and tactics of what goes on in a tight floor endorsement battle. He also talks about his campaign against Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen. Continue Reading →

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Seeking Safety While Mourning Miners

Key quote from President Obama:
 
I’ve seen it, the strength of that community.  In the days that followed the disaster, emails and letters poured into the White House.  Postmarked from different places across the country, they often began the same way:  “I am proud to be from a family of miners.”  “I am the son of a coal miner.”  “I am proud to be a coal miner’s daughter.”  (Applause.)  They were always proud, and they asked me to keep our miners in my thoughts, in my prayers.  Never forget, they say, miners keep America’s lights on.  (Applause.)  And then in these letters, they make a simple plea:  Don’t let this happen again.  (Applause.)  Don’t let this happen again.  
How can we fail them?  How can a nation that relies on its miners not do everything in its power to protect them?  How can we let anyone in this country put their lives at risk by simply showing up to work; by simply pursuing the American Dream?  
We cannot bring back the 29 men we lost.  They are with the Lord now.  Our task, here on Earth, is to save lives from being lost in another such tragedy; to do what must do, individually and collectively, to assure safe conditions underground — (applause) — to treat our miners like they treat each other — like a family.  (Applause.)  Because we are all family and we are all Americans.  (Applause.)  And we have to lean on one another, and look out for one another, and love one another, and pray for one another. 
 
There’s a psalm that comes to mind today -– a psalm that comes to mind, a psalm we often turn to in times of heartache.  
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
 
God bless our miners.  (Applause.)  God bless their families.  God bless West Virginia.  (Applause.)  And God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.) Continue Reading →

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State Democrats come together to support the Convention Ticket.

This morning began a state wide sweep by the DFL Convention endorsed ticket, Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the DFL endorsed candidate for Governor, Lori Swanson Attorney General; Secretary of State Mark Ritchie; and Auditor Rebecca Otto.  
Rep. Keith Ellison; Rep. Betty McCollum; and Tim Walz; along with Mayors R.T. Rybak and Chris Coleman; Rep. Paul Thissen and Sen. John Marty stood or spoke to support them.  
DFL Chair Brian Melendez, began by thanking the three former opponents that stood behind Anderson-Kelliher–Marty, Thissen, Rybak, along with Rep. Tom Rukavina for uniting behind the endorsed candidate.  
Rep. Paul Thissen said : Margaret is one of my great friends…I think she does understand Minnesota and all its diversity.  
Sen. John Marty said : She is clearly someone who cares about Minnesota, she has a good knack for bringing people together…she will be a great Governor. Continue Reading →

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Karl Rove — Will Obama be reelected?

By Craig Stellmacher
 

I briefly meet Karl Rove at his book signing at the U of M in Minneapolis, and ask him if Obama will be reelected.  He responds :
“It’s too early to tell”
But I press him, and “From today’s perspective?” “…from today’s he wouldn’t, when you’re running one point ahead in the polls with Ron Paul, that’s a problem.”—Karl Rove.   Continue Reading →

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Suing To Elect A Supreme Court Justice

In Minnesota Supreme Court Justices are supposed to be elected. However, Minnesota’s Chief Justice hasn’t been election in the last 10 years. That’s because of the timing of the resignations of the last three Chief Justices. Governor Tim Pawlenty has appointed each of them and each of them resigned before they faced election. There is a court challenge to allowing the Governor to appoint a new Chief Justice in the wake of Chief Justice Eric Magnuson’s resignation effective in June. Continue Reading →

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Governor Pawlenty’s Race To The Top Education Reform Bill

On April 19th, 2010 Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty revealed an education reform bill meant to improve Minnesota’s education system and ensure its spot as a serious contender in round two of Race to the Top The bill includes major areas of reform:1. Teacher Quality and Effectiveness2. Alternative Pathways to Teacher Licensure3. Tiered Licensure for Teachers and Principals4. Statewide Teacher and Principal Evaluation System and Enhanced Q Comp5. Continue Reading →

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Delegates Judge 3 Top DFL Governor Candidates

Take Action Minnesota invited its three “preferred” Governor candidates, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak and Representative Paul Thissen to answer questions from many of its 150 delegates that will be attending the DFL endorsing convention this weekend. Those delegates potentially could vote as a block at the convention. After the three candidates answered questions, they were asked to leave the room and the delegates had a frank discussion of the candidates pros and cons. This is that discussion.  
Here are some of the answers the three candidates gave to questions earlier in the day:
The three leading DFL candidates for Governor answer a question from Take Action Minnesota delegates. Continue Reading →

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Don’t Get Fooled Again By Wall Street, GOP

Transcript:
 
There were many causes of the turmoil that ripped through our economy over the past two years.  But above all, this crisis was caused by failures in the financial industry.  What is clear is that this crisis could have been avoided if Wall Street firms were more accountable, if financial dealings were more transparent, and if consumers and shareholders were given more information and authority to make decisions.  
But that did not happen.  And that’s because special interests have waged a relentless campaign to thwart even basic, common-sense rules – rules to prevent abuse and protect consumers.  In fact, the financial industry and its powerful lobby have opposed modest safeguards against the kinds of reckless risks and bad practices that led to this very crisis. 
 
The consequences of this failure of responsibility – from Wall Street to Washington – are all around us: 8 million jobs lost, trillions in savings erased, countless dreams diminished or denied.  I believe we have to do everything we can to ensure that no crisis like this ever happens again.  That’s why I’m fighting so hard to pass a set of Wall Street reforms and consumer protections.  A plan for reform is currently moving through Congress.  
Here’s what this plan would do.  First, it would enact the strongest consumer financial protections ever.  It would put consumers back in the driver’s seat by forcing big banks and credit card companies to provide clear, understandable information so that Americans can make financial decisions that work best for them. 
 
Next, these reforms would bring new transparency to financial dealings.  Part of what led to this crisis was firms like AIG and others making huge and risky bets – using things like derivatives – without accountability.  Warren Buffett himself once described derivatives bought and sold with little oversight as “financial weapons of mass destruction.”  That’s why through reform we’d help ensure that these kinds of complicated financial transactions take place on an open market.  Because, ultimately, it is a marketplace that is open, free, and fair that will allow our economy to flourish.  
We would also close loopholes to stop the kind of recklessness and irresponsibility we’ve seen.  It’s these loopholes that allowed executives to take risks that not only endangered their companies, but also our entire economy.  And we’re going to put in place new rules so that big banks and financial institutions will pay for the bad decisions they make – not taxpayers.  Simply put, this means no more taxpayer bailouts.  Never again will taxpayers be on the hook because a financial company is deemed “too big to fail.”
 
Finally, these reforms hold Wall Street accountable by giving shareholders new power in the financial system.  They’ll get a say on pay: a vote on the salaries and bonuses awarded to top executives.  And the SEC will ensure that shareholders have more power in corporate elections, so that investors and pension holders have a stronger voice in determining what happens with their life savings.  
Now, unsurprisingly, these reforms have not exactly been welcomed by the people who profit from the status quo – as well their allies in Washington.  This is probably why the special interests have spent a lot of time and money lobbying to kill or weaken the bill.  Just the other day, in fact, the Leader of the Senate Republicans and the Chair of the Republican Senate campaign committee met with two dozen top Wall Street executives to talk about how to block progress on this issue. Continue Reading →

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Obama Threatens Veto On Financial Reform

President Obama told his a meeting of his financial advisers today that he would “veto legislation that doesn’t bring the derivatives market under control”. The President described the risky derivatives market as “millions of dollars exchanging hands in darkness”. The derivatives market and the housing bubble it fueled were at the root of America’s financial collapse in 2008. The President pointed to the Wall Street collapse and government bailout and said “we can’t allow this to repeat itself. Continue Reading →

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Madore: “That decision is for Dan Powers”

This is the concession speech Shelley Madore gave just before the CD2 DFL unanimously endorsed her opponent Dan Powers to run against Congressman John Kline. Less than a week later, Madore announced she would break her pledge to abide by the DFL endorsement and would run against Powers in the August primary. Thank you very much. I appreciate everyone’s effort today. I appreciate everybody putting in the time and energy to make sure that you’re picking the candidate that you’re most comfortable with to challenge John Kline this fall. Continue Reading →

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Madore Breaks Promise To Abide By DFL Endorsement

Former legislator Shelley Madore announced today that she is “getting back into the race against John Kline” and will run against DFL endorsed candidate for Congress Dan Powers. This is exactly opposite of what Madore said she would do when questioned during the CD 2 endorsing process on less than a week ago. In this video she is asked if she will abide by the DFL CD2 endorsement and she says “Yes I will abide by the endorsement.” In an email sent out today, Madore writes “Since my opponent received the DFL endorsement at the Second Congressional District convention, I’ve been inundated with phone calls and e-mails from across the district urging me to continue my race for the primary endorsement on August 10. They believe I’m in the best position to defeat John Kline in November and so do I.” Continue Reading →

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