Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hot Mama

If you haven't been reading Meghan McCain's blog from the campaign trail- it's great. Lots of pictures and an insider's view. She posted yesterday about the historic annoucement.

Meghan is sporting some Christian Louboutin's (the red leather soles are the giveaway). But Sarah Palin's shoes are a little more down-to-earth- even though they're 4 inches high! She's all business above the ankle- but a stylish babe below. Red patent peep toe heels- I love this woman!

This is the best picture though: Baby wipes and diapers just after annoucing your acceptance of McCain's invitation to be his Vice President.

The Jerk

I've been saying through this campaign "if John McCain can be as big of a jerk to Democrats as he's been to Republicans in the past then he'll win". He's been a huge jerk to Democrats in the last couple days (and I mean that in the very best sense of the word). He's left the Obama camp saying, "I can't believe he did this to us! I mean, what a jerk!"

No sooner did Obama finish his speech on Thursday night then John McCain ran his classy "respect" ad thanking Obama. The news was done for the day and by early am on Friday the entire news cycle turned to the Republicans-- and it's not turning back anytime soon because the media doesn't know anything about Palin. I'm going to be relishing this Palin choice for a long time.

I was getting my nails done yesterday and CBS News was on--how else would I be watching CBS News? Katie Couric was interviewing Jeff Greenfield and I said out loud "they just don't get it!!" Women in the nail shop just looked at me strangely- I get that a lot.

After giving the rundown between Obama and Palin (even though Palin isn't running for President) and then talking about Palin's appeal to women and disgruntled Hillary voters-Jeff Greenfield-Sr Political Correspondent- had this to say:

"If it's seen as an affirmative action pick, one made mostly because she's a woman, may not be the way to white working mans' hearts" SAY WHAT?

Palin is not going to win many Hillary voters. John McCain is going win Hillary voters. That's OK- because Palin isn't just a "woman's" candidate. She's the MAN'S candidate! Smart men like smart women- they also like attractive women and Palin is both. (Kind of like our very own Michelle Bachmann). She's going to win more men's votes than women's votes-and "white working men" are going to love her- mark my words.

and then Greenfield said this:

"Can you put someone with no connection with the wider world a heartbeat away from the Oval Office with a 72-year-old President?"

Nah-ah- No you DID NOT just say that!

No connection with the wider world? Because she's from Alaska?

Brack Obama was born in Hawaii!! He was basically raised there. Does being from Hawaii somehow give you a greater connection with the wider world?

The liberal media better watch it- they are only going to help Republicans win the West, the South and the Heartland with ridiculous statements like that.

Greenfield's last objection to Palin?

"It's her first time in the ring, unlike McCain, Biden or Obama"

That doesn't even merit a rebuttal.

The common theme of the CBS news report was "a heartbeat away from the Presidency"-- interestingly enough I heard that same argument from a literal "Country Club Republican" last night. Can she handle it? My friend had a fantastic retort- "The woman has five kids, she can handle anything."

Palin is Reaganesque- maybe not in her eloquent speeches, but in her ability to connect with people and to sell our conservative message with a smile on her face. She "plays nice", but isn't afraid to dig-in-her-heels and stand firm in what she believes. So, let her stay "Miss Congeniality" and let McCain take on a familiar role-be "The jerk".

I don't know how to edit videos, but the Greenfield interview is about 11 minutes in.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Friday, August 29, 2008

Alaska Goldmine!

I am THRILLED with the selection of Sarah Palin!!

This was Rush Limbaugh's pick months ago and when I heard him say her name I googled her and did some research. I've been a fan ever since. While fellow Minnesota Republicans tried to sell me on the merits of Tim Pawlenty- I held out hope that Sarah Palin would somehow make it through the process.

This woman challenged her local Republican party when she ran for City Council and Mayor- she cut Property Taxes by 60%. She challenged her state Republican party when she ran for Governor against the longtime Republican incumbent. Like Ronald Reagan she ticked off party leaders in order to bring the party back to the basics. She's a fearless conservative which is so refreshing and inspiring at a time when so many politicians in our party are wringing their hands and apologizing for their views. She's a true feminist- mother of 5 children and the Governor of Alaska. She's a beauty queen and a champion snowmobiler.

Instead of picking a man who said "It looks like we should have listened to President Carter." in regards to Energy Policy (Pawlenty)-- he picked a woman who- like the majority of Alaskans- believes that we should be drilling in ANWR. It provides McCain a much-needed "out" on that issue and it will provide our party with a clear choice to provide voters in November on the Energy Policy gridlock that Washington has given us.

Funny too that I got an email from a local Republican leader that said "Pawlenty is the pick" early in the morning last night. I love that they specifically fed bad info to people who they knew had loud mouths. It was brilliant!

Alaska is as far from Washington DC as you can get-the visual of that is crucial. When Congress has a 9% approval rating and three Senators on the tickets-we needed this pick.

It shows that McCain cares about his base, it shows that he's a true Maverick! Bring on the bumper stickers, sign me up for a phone bank, I'M ON BOARD!
And watching Governor Palin just now, I told my girls- Women can do anything!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This Old House

I love history. It was my favorite subject in school. Minnesota is full of great historical cities and small towns. I love to visit Stillwater and Red Wing and prefer St. Paul to Minneapolis because of it's old soul.

My dad was raised in a 1920's "beach-cottage" along the shore of the East River in the Bronx, NY. Silver Beach used to be a vacation spot for Manhattanites at the turn of the century. In order to hold off development and the encroaching city in the 1950's- the neighborhood essentially incorporated and created a homeowners association that required application in order to buy a home. The original gated neighborhood- my aunt led the plan. Silver Beach today is just as it was almost 100 years ago and I have cousins that still live there with their families. When you visit and see the wooden street signs and hydrangeas along Indian Trail, high above the beach, you'd think you were in New England- not the Bronx. A historic neighborhood preserved by the people who live there- no tax subsidies required.

My grandfather was born and raised at the Cumberland Hotel, Cumberland WI. His dad and grandmother were the owners and Proprietors. It was a beautiful old Victorian (pictured above) with a boat launch onto Beaver Dam Lake. We lost that grand dame in the 1960's-- they couldn't keep up with the insurance for the 4-story fire hazard and they had a good offer to buy the land. I still visit Cumberland and think- "what if". "What if they would have kept it? What if it were a beautiful old B&B today?" I think about a lot of things when I see the corner where the bank is now. But one thing I don't think is: "what if the government had stepped in and bought it?" Alas, it's history.
Eden Prairie has 3 or 4 historic buildings- all are owned by the City. There are some great possibilities for these buildings- for the private businessperson willing to take the risk. Eden Prairie is in desperate need of some non-chain restaurants. We have one of the highest household incomes in the metro area, but we still need to drive downtown for something other than pasta or steak. I think a chef and investor could do very well with a great wine bar with "small plates" and desserts, etc. You could rent out the entire facility as well- relative to the population there's very few places to hold private events in Eden Prairie.

I'm sorry to break the news- but you're not going to make a profit selling cups of coffee when the real estate costs $800,000. I used to do franchise financing- and some of the busiest restaurants in the country didn't have $800,000 in real estate costs to content with. The city needs to sell this property and take a loss at this point.

I'm curious about the original deal with Dunn Brothers and why there appears to be a "sweetheart lease" today. Was the original guarantor Dunn Brother Corporate? If so- who on earth let them off-the-hook for the apparent shortfall in the lease today? Wasn't the lease supposed to pay back the city for the costs of the remodel? It all goes to prove that the City SHOULD NOT be in the business of buying property, fixing it up and then trying to re-coup costs.

I've been doing some research and according to this article which dates to 4/03- the City- at that time- had already spent $1.4 Million on historic preservation efforts with $600,000-$800,000 spent on the Smith-Douglas-More Dunn Brothers....that is absolutely insane. I guess when you believe that Smith-Douglas-More "changed the world" as Ron Case does- it may seem a pittance.

The problem that many past and present council members have- is that they don't seem to understand the basic principle that they're not spending their own money. They need to overlook their own personal values and desires in order to maintain a reasonable budget. Population growth is flat, yet our City Budget isn't even close to flat. Since I moved here only 4 years ago- the City budget has increased by 30% while population growth has been less than 2%. How is that sustainable?

Maple Grove, Lakeville and Woodbury- are all large suburbs with a rural history and few historic buildings. None of them have Historic Preservation Commissions. They may have Historic Societies that are active, but they don't have the same beeline into the City and it's budget process. Ron Case and Sherry Butcher both made their political starts on the Eden Prairie Historic Commission and it's a sure thing that if they are elected it will be a top priority for the Council to spend even more tax money on these types of projects.

Happy Days

There's a really basic way of determining who will win the Presidency. The most likable and the most optimistic candidate wins. It's simple.

Barack Obama should be the most likable and the most optimistic. He's young, good looking and has a beautiful family. He's had every opportunity that this country has to offer. But somehow, someway, in the last six weeks he's accomplished a stunning deed- making John McCain appear to be more likable and more optimistic candidate. John McCain is a lot of things- but warm and fuzzy isn't one of them.

This race is Obama's to lose. He's had Oprah appearances that no Republican could buy with all of the "special interest" money in the world. He had the big money from the get-go that is required to build the apparatus that brings the small donations later. The Obama political machine steamrolled the Clintons. In knowing just a little bit about party politics, I understand that there are people behind Obama that made that possible.

Obama painted a dark view of America and who we are tonight. It was downright depressing and he came off angry. A man who went to Harvard lecturing about the inability of people to attain a college education? It made no sense. Promising the moon to everyone- a tax cut for 95% of families (not mine), government-led health care for everyone, huge government investment into unproved alternative energy sources, promising social security for all, pay raises for all teachers, and a promise for an America which promotes our "mutual responsibility".

I have a great line for a McCain speechwriter- when Obama talks about redistribution of wealth and mutual responsibility during a debate he simply needs to say "Son, you're talking about communism, and I know something about communism".

This is an unsettling election- we have a 9% approval rate for Congress yet we have two Senators to choose from for our President. This speech tonight is good for Republicans and even though I still think it will be difficult to beat Obama, they're sure making it easier every day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Change of Address

I'm curious as to exactly what month Ashwin Madia moved into his Plymouth apartment. I called his Communications office twice this week to ask for his home address and the month and year that he moved to his current residence. They acted like the data was a state secret-- I was initially told "we can't give out that information". Then I was asked repeatedly "Why do you need it?" Of course they took my name and number, but didn't call me back.

I looked up Ashwin on the Secretary of State's site and found his 7-14-08 filing stating his Plymouth Apartment address.

Jigar A. Madia or Ashwin Madia is not listed on the Dex Online Directory and when you look him up in Zabasearch, Intellius or other methods- you only find him at his parents address in Plymouth which means that his current address is recent.

According to this article in The Rake, Mr. Madia didn't start thinking about running in the 3rd until he heard that Congressman Jim Ramstad was retiring. That was announced in mid-September 17, 2007.

When, exactly, did Mr. Madia move to the 3rd Congressional District? And did he move to his parent's house first and then move to his apartment? Has he lived here for less than a year? And is it too much to ask that the person representing me in Congress have paid a Property Tax bill in their lives?

Jackass Watch

It's the first day of school at U of M Morris- what's my favorite bigot- Professor Paul Z. Myers up to today?

Well let's see- he's scheduled to be lecturing BIOL 4181 Developmental Biology
from 2:15-3:20pm

But he posted this lovely little gem under "Humor" at 2:28pm

He's blogged 5 TIMES since 8am today- But fear not dear taxpayers--it's his "personal blog" and he's a "private citizen" according to U of M President Bruininks. He's probably just sitting at home for the first day of school.

And if you're a Catholic student in his class- don't worry at all that your Professor just called you a "zombie" because of the religion you practice-- it's just humor.

More on Hillary

I caught this interview with a Clinton Delegate last night- I thought it was really powerful....I admit I even teared up just a teeny bit at the end. As a fellow political activist who feels so passionate about certain candidates, I "feel her pain". I'm glad for the GOP that she didn't get the nomination, because I believe she'd win in a heartbeat. How on earth have the Clintons managed to elicit sympathy from hard-core Republicans? Brilliant.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Poor Hillary

I just watched Hillary's speech- loved the orange suit. I seriously can't belive that the Obamas are trying to "handle" the Clintons. Telling Bill what he can and can't talk about? That (to Democrats) would be like telling Ronald Reagan what he could talk about in 1988. They are both gifted orators...I don't get it. They are screwing this thing up.

You know it's funny- of my female Democrat friends and acquaintances I've been informally polling them on their vote. I've been asking my family members to do the same. Female Teachers, nurses, social workers-- all like Obama. But any of my liberal friends who have worked in corporate jobs- loved Hillary and they don't plan on voting for Obama. Interesting.

This is all I could think of....

The University of Minnesota stands firmly behind Professor Myers

I got my response from the University of Minnesota today regarding my request for an investigation into the misuse of University resources and violation of University policy by Professor Paul Z. Myers. This was the U of M Morris Biology Professor who asked people to send him consecrated Catholic Eucharist Hosts, drove a rusty nail through one, threw it in the garbage with some coffee grinds, took a picture of it and put it on his "personal blog". (I won't link his blog here- you can google his name). I replied to the original email that I would not be supporting the University unless this Professor was disciplined. Here's what I got back:

Dear Ms. Kihne:

I have reviewed your letter dated August 7, 2008, and have shared with the University of Minnesota Morris, and our Office of the General Counsel the information you sent. They will review the matters you raise.

I truly regret that you have become unwilling to support your alma mater, especially given your close involvement in the past as both a student and alumna. As I explained in my previous e-mail, I do understand your outrage about the actions of University of Minnesota Professor Paul Z. Myers. Many of us do not share Professor Myers’s opinions or agree with his actions, but public employees like him do have a constitutional right to express themselves as private citizens without institutional discipline or restraint. The proper course of action in this matter was to deactivate the link to the professor’s personal blog from a University Web site, as that link was inconsistent with University Web policy, and this has been done.

Please know that I will continue to do everything I can to encourage religious tolerance and acceptance on our campuses and to support open and honest discussion of important issues facing our society. I appreciate your taking the time to write me.

Robert H. Bruininks

First of all- I find humor in the fact that Bruininks thinks that a University Aluma doesn't understand the idea of "free speech"- he needed to explain it to me. It's even more humorous that he did exactly what I said he would and hid behind the academic freedom argument in order to protect a bigot. Hence why I didn't even "go that route". Really, your response is SO predictable Mr. President.

The problem is President Bruininks, this "private citizen" is blogging on his "personal blog" on the University clock, at his University lab, on University Property and using University Networks. I stand by that charge until they can prove somehow that he isn't on campus from 8-5pm on days when he's scheduled to be in class.

As I said previously, the U DOESN'T CARE what Catholic Alumni think. President Bruininks expresses regret that I "have become unwilling" to support the University. I never said I was unwilling to support the University, I said I would not be supporting the U if this professor wasn't disciplined for breaking University policy which clearly states that "Community members are expected to: use University property, equipment, finances, materials, electronic and other systems, and other resources only for legitimate University purposes"

So, President Bruininks acknowledges that Professor Myers is not going to be disciplined by stating that he regrets that I'm "unwilling" to support the U.

The University is MY school and the school of many of my friends and family. Anybody who knows me knows how much I care about the University. My daughters have matching Gopher cheerleading costumes, they have talking Goldy Gophers and know the Rouser. Of all the Alumni at the U, I'd guess no more than 5% know the words and music to "Hail Minnesota!"- I'm one of them. I love the U- but it's (sort of) like how I love my children. I don't reward bad behavior. You can't say that "it's okay" to be a University professor blogging all day long on a personal blog. You can't have a University professor who continually publicizes death-threats he receives- going into a classroom to teach kids. Not now- not today- no way. It's not right.

This Professor has broken University policy- the University knows it.

Here's what Professor Myers said to the Daily Kos in 2006 when asked if University Faculty and Administration knew about his blog:

Yes, my colleagues and administrators know about it. It would be hard not to -- I'm not anonymous, we're a small school, and as traffic climbed I was representing a significant fraction of the total net traffic out to our little town on the prairie. They're supportive. They don't agree with everything I say -- in particular, I suspect my anti-religious stance might give a few of our administrators' ulcers -- but they're also committed to the principles of academic freedom.

Here's what Professor Myers said in 2005 at an L.A. meeting for Professors who blog:

"...I think we academics should feel a duty to disseminate information beyond that small group of people who actually pay us tuition. I don't believe this kind of thing can single-handedly change the world, but if all of us took a little time every week to share and explain some small bit of our specialized knowledge, the world might start becoming a slightly smarter place."

As class at Morris starts tomorrow-I'll be interested to see when Professor Myers is blogging and when he's "disseminating information" to that "small group of people who actually pay tuition".

A lot more to say on this mess....

Jerry Pitzrick speaking with David Shultz Tonight

The "Progressives on the Prairie" are meeting tonight at Davanni's- their invite reads:

Join us for a conversation with Jerry Pitzrick, HD42B DFL Candidate; and "Generational Politics and Electing a Progressive Democratic Majority in 2008" by David Schultz, Professor, Hamline University School of Management.

Sounds like a talk about how the boomers are going to tax us into oblivion by getting more liberals in office- maybe not. Wish I could be there. David Schultz is on the Board for Fair Vote Minnesota- advocacy group for the ridiculous push for Instant Runoff Voting (ie-- get more progressives into office by stacking the ballot). He has a paper on his website called "The Mythological Presidency" where he basically asserts that President Bush is an illegitimate President who used the War on Terror to establish legitimacy. Uh, huh. Sounds like something right off the Daily Kos.

Jerry Pitzrick is speaking with this guy tonight- but don't worry- Jerry's a "Moderate". And I'm Eva Mendes.

At least he says he's "Progressive"

This story from Minnesota Democrats Exposed just cracks me up. Sean Hamilton is the DFL endorsed candidate running in Blaine for the 51-A House Seat. Dude was smoking dope in his car by a playground. Nice.

Shawn Hamilton is endorsed by the same big-money liberal organization that Jerry Pitzrick is- Progressive Majority.

Perhaps they should spend a little less money on their posh downtown office space and a little more on some Intellius background checks.

Monday, August 25, 2008


I just got done watching the first night of the DNC. Biden, Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, the delegates--

I have nothing to say

3rd CD Debate Thoughts

I finally listened to the audio on MPR of the Twin West Debate between Erik Paulsen, Ashwin Madia and David Dillion last Thursday, August 21st. Overall I thought it was mild. The most entertaining part seemed to be when David Dillion talked about our ridiculously complicated tax code by pointing out exemptions differences between concrete trucks and Winnebagos- but even that was mildly entertaining.

Other than that- just lots of buzzwords, lots and lots of buzzwords on healthcare, the environment etc.

I'm a Paulsen supporter- so I have a bias- but I was happy to hear Erik speaking as a strong supporter of keeping the current tax cuts and helping Minnesota businesses stay competitive in a global economy.

The only part of the debate that really grabbed my attention was right at the beginning during the opening statements when Ashwin Madia said strongly, clearly and boldly "We can fight and win this war on terror". He never mentions the word "withdrawal"--only winning in a "smart and targeted way".

"Fight and win". Sounds good to me.

However, he blogged on only one day prior on August 21st:

"I support a strategic and gradual withdrawal from Iraq that is done in a safe and responsible way"

From his web site:

"...our nation cannot continue to indefinitely spend hundreds of billions of dollars on this war. We must change our mission, change our strategy, and most importantly, dramatically reduce our presence."

March 2008:
"...What I am calling for is a responsible withdrawal from Iraq. What I've called for is a responsible withdrawal, a gradual withdrawal scaled over 18-24 months."

SD 42 DFL Convention March 2008
"I want to end this war, I want to do it quickly..."

Letter to Delegates March 2008
"I will work to bring the Iraq War to a quick and responsible conclusion."

In October 2007 Madia said in Minnesota Monitor:
"I will always fund the troops, but the bill that I would support would include milestones, strategies and timelines to get the troops out...."

His facebook page says "Ashwin is running to end the war in Iraq responsibly".

Prior to last Thursday- I can't find the word "win" anywhere next to Ashwin Madia's name and The War on Terror. Ah- but he's talking about The War on Terror NOT The War in Iraq- right? Like Obama- he believes that War on Terror's central front is not and never had been- Iraq. Hmmm. Obama says the central front is now Afghanistan and we should send more troops there.

I'm confused. How do you end the war- and win the war? How does victory look to Madia and what if it required a sustained troop presence in Iraq longer than 24 months? I understand Madia has said he won't accept anybody questioning his positions on the war- because he was a Marine- I'm just seeking clarity.

How do folks on the left feel about Madia calling for us to "fight and win" this war? I like it- but I'm a Republican- which is exactly why he's saying it. He had to call for a strict timeline for withdrawal and not use the word "win" during the endorsement race- because the angry base of the DFL doesn't believe winning is a possibility.

In July 2008, a Washington Post Poll showed that the political winds were shifting a bit and the country is now split evenly between those who support withdrawal timelines (50% of Americans) and those who didn't (49%) and a CNN Poll showed that 52% of Americans believed the surge had worked. Could it be that Madia understands that Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District is still right of center and he's trying to play to the crowd?

If I were in Terri Bonoff's camp right about now- I'd be pretty mad. I can't imagine Terri promising that we would win in Iraq in order to get votes. It's what Obama did to Hillary- move way to the left of her and then run to the center. And like Hillary- there is no doubt that Terri was a tougher candidate. It comes off as arrogant to me that Madia thinks that nobody in his party will notice or care about his new found call for victory in the War on Terror. Madia, like many other Democrats of the 2008 election cycle- seems to be willing to SAY ANYTHING to get elected.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lonely Barn calls out to Butcher: "Sherry where are you?"

Sherry Butcher- a woman who never met a barn that she didn't want to rehab- was suspiciously missing from Tuesday evening's City Council Meeting when two issues- which directly impact historic preservation efforts in Eden Prairie- were debated.
1. The Dunn Brothers Coffee House Lease at the Smith-Douglas-More house

2. The Pioneer Trail Hwy Project and the Goodrich-Ramus Barn study

Ms Butcher's homepage proclaims:

I am running for reelection to the city council so I can continue to work to preserve and protect our community’s parks and open space, environment, infrastructure, public safety and cultural history.

Spending tax money on Historic Preservation is a hallmark of Ms. Buther's- it's her political identity. There's even a picture of the Goodrich-Ramus barn on her website.

She hasn't missed a regular City Council meeting all year- why did she miss this one?
If protecting our cultural history is one of the main planks of your re-election efforts- why would you miss a meeting that was deeply debating the future of two historic properties in Eden Prairie? I await a reasonable explanation.

Eden Prairie home values continue to fall

"According to the latest Zillow Real Estate Market Reports, home values in Eden Prairie decreased 7.00% in the second quarter of 2008, compared to the second quarter of 2007. Nationally, home values have decreased 9.9% during this same period. "

Isn't that wonderful news? I look forward to seeing the rebate on my property taxes.

Professor Myers and Anti-Catholic Bigotry at the U

A couple of weeks ago I sent this letter to my Alma mater, the University of Minnesota.

Read this document on Scribd: U of M Letter 8-08

It requests an investigation into the violation of University policy by one sad, pathetic atheist (and biology professor) Professor Paul Z. Myers. For years, this Professor has posted sophomoric rants against "all things holy" on his "personal" blog. His blog is here. Professor Myers thought it would be entertaining last month to ask people to steal a consecreated Eucharist Host from a Catholic mass and ship it to him so that he could drive a rusty nail through it and dump it in the garbage with some coffee grinds and a banana peel, and take a picture of it. Oh, he also threw in some ripped up pages from a Koran -- he's an "equal opportunity" bigot you know. (One problem, he ripped up an English "copy" of the Koran- which isn't considered sacred unless it's in Arabic).

The story was covered by the Strib (with their usual touch of bias at the end). If you'd like the Catholic viewpoint- read the Archdiocese piece.

I'm Catholic- we believe that the consecrated Host is the actual body of Christ....not some representation of Christ, not some symbol-- His Body. Yeah we do. Transubstantiation baby- it's our thing. When I read that blog entry and saw that picture he took it made me sick to my stomach.

I knew that the University would play the "academic freedom" card and that there was absolutely nothing they were going to do to punish this professor. The University simply DOESN'T CARE what their Professor did to denigrate and ridicule a religion practiced by 25% of Minnesotans. THEY DON'T CARE. Here's the response from the U to my initial email. (This reply took almost three weeks- and a couple of phone calls- to receive).

Dear Ms. Kihne:
Thank you for sharing your concerns. It is important to understand that the views expressed by biology Professor Paul Myers were expressed on his personal blog and do not reflect those of the University of Minnesota, Morris, or the University of Minnesota system. Initially, there was a link to that personal blog from a University Web site. This link was inconsistent with University Web policy, and per that policy, the link was deactivated. We pride ourselves on providing a nurturing environment for students of diverse beliefs, backgrounds, and perspectives. We are firmly committed to ensuring a respectful environment for discourse. I hope you will continue to support the University of Minnesota.

Robert H. BruininksPresident

I remember well the nurturing environment at the U- one person who I know very well- was fired as a Co-Chair for the "New Student Weekend Program" because they made the mistake of saying that their parents thought homosexuality was wrong- when asked about their views on "diversity". I remember the B's I got on papers when I'd try to write from my conservative standpoint and the A's when I adopted a liberal worldview. The "U" is nurturing of diverse beliefs, as long as they aren't mainstream conservative beliefs.

When you're dealing with the likes of President Bruininks- a man who came to school at the U in 1968 and never left- you have to go about it in an "academic" way. So, I carefully studied the Professor's blog and determined that this guy is blogging while on campus, he's blogging from his University lab, he's blogging on University networks, he's blogging while punching the University clock at $59,300 a year not including pension and benefits. He's blogging when he should be working. This is a CLEAR violation of the Board of Regents Code of Conduct. But so far- the University DOESN'T CARE about that either.

Well President Bruininks, Hell hath no fury like a bored housewife and I'm not letting this one go. I'm giving you until September 6 (one full month), to answer my call for an investigation. I still haven't figured out what to do next. But, classes start at Morris next week and I'll be monitoring the prolific postings of Professor Myers during the University workday. Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A visit to Progressive Majority

I've been investigating Progressive Majority for a few months now. They are a Washington D.C.-based PAC who provides comprehensive campaign planning and direct financial support to liberal/"progressive" candidates running for local office. According to this article in "The Nation" Candidates must get 100% on a forty-item questionnaire that tests their positions on issues ranging from “economic justice” to universal health care in order to be supported by the organization. They are involved in over twenty races in Minnesota and also in other states.

I had a Dr's appointment on Tuesday and I had a babysitter so I decided to swing through downtown Minneapolis to visit the office of Progressive Majority Minnesota. Nice digs.

It's located at 126 N 3rd St. -right next door to my favorite restaurant in town- 112 Eatery. Gleaming hardwood floors, bright light, high ceilings. 4-5 nicely sized rooms on the 5th Floor. Nice place to work.

I talked to Gia Vitali, their Political Director. She couldn't have been any nicer and I had talked to her boss (Matt Filner) the previous day to ask if I could take a look at their candidate questionnaire. Matt initially said "we're happy to share the questionnaire with fellow Progressives"- I quickly said "Oh, I'm not a Progressive, I'm a Republican" I let him know that I'm a grassroots activist and was following their organization with interest in Minnesota. After a short conversation in which I asked if he agreed in the concept of open government and mentioned that if I were running a conservative counterpart to his organization I'd have no problem sharing a candidate questionnaire. (I'd be proud of it in fact). He eventually said I couldn't have a copy of the questionnaire, but I was welcome to come in and take a look.

When I stopped by the office on Tuesday, Gia handed me a copy. I perused it for about 10 minutes or so- and took some notes. There was nothing especially shocking about the form since it was coming from an organization whose job is to "bring more Paul Wellstones into office". It had a page-and-a-half fill-in-the-blank section asking the candidate basic questions, it asked what unions they belong to if any, etc. Then there were individual Q&A's broken into categories Reproductive Health, Education, Environment, etc. Each answer consisted of the choices "Support or Oppose" with the correct answer in bold. It wasn't too challenging to figure out what the correct answer (according to the liberal agenda) was.

Public funding of abortion, increasing access for abortions, protection for immigrants in the workplace (no mention if they're legal or not), government funded "age appropriate" sex-ed for all children, government enforcement of "a living wage", comprehensive universal health care coverage, expansion of Medicaid, free government-paid Pre-school for all, opposing any privatization of Social Security, requiring health care providers to provide "culturally competent and language specific resources", government-led regulation of private insurance companies to lower their costs of health care, expansion of public transit, government determined pay equity for women, continued use of race and quotas in hiring employees-both governmental and private sector, on and on.

Some of these are federal issues. Progressive Majority's goal is to win local-level offices and then run this "farm team" for higher office. They need to make sure their candidates are "on board" with their agenda- even if they won't be voting on these issues in the offices they hold.

Before I left I asked Gia about their "direct financial support" to candidates which is mentioned on their web site-she said it was limited to $300-$500 depending on the race and added that most of their support was in the form of in-kind donations to the campaigns for political services. With an office like that (and seven more throughout Minnesota she informed me) and professional staff- it's like your very own "Professional Campaign in a Box". While most local candidates have to rely on their friends, families and themselves to staff their local campaigns. Progressive Majority candidates get full-time political professionals at their fingertips. Nice.

This type of political machine doesn't just fall out of the sky. No- there's some serious money behind Progressive Majority that would make Bill Cooper look like a pauper. They claim "the Wellstone way" Hardly. More on that later.

Jerry Pitzrick has been working with this organization for a year now. He has their full endorsement and support. He had to agree with 100% of their agenda in order to get their support. What exactly is "Moderate" about that?

The Activist Next Door helps the DFL candidate

Since Jerry Pitzrick's website has been up, it's only offered an email way in which to contact him with questions. I'm happy to see that the Pitzrick team took my suggestion- made on Gavin Sullivan's blog earlier this week- to add his phone number. I usually find email communication preferable, but I had to call him that afternoon in order to confirm that he was speaking that night and that I was welcome to come. Etiquette is important when you're a Republican activist.

I had to look up his number in the phonebook in order to reach him, as it wasn't online. I couldn't find his home number, so I called his business number.

I don't expect to see a "thank you" for my suggestion, but I'm happy to see he's following Jenifer Loon's lead by providing his phone number to voters.

Here's the Pitzrick homepage before Tuesday afternoon:

And after Tuesday afternoon:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jerry Pitzrick.....Jerry Lundegaard?

I called Jerry Pitzrick-DFL Candidate for the House 42B seat- yesterday. I let him know that I was an active Republican and I wanted to confirm what someone had posted on Gavin Sullivan's blog- that he would be speaking at a "Progressives on the Prairie" event that evening and that I was welcome to come and ask questions. Jerry let me know that he was scheduled for that event next week. I asked if he was going to have any non-partisan forums. He said they may look at forums in the fall, and offered that he's written several opinions pieces in the papers. I asked him if he'd let me know when his open forum would be held, he said he would.

Then I asked him a question. "I've had some friends and neighbors tell me that you've told them at the door that you're a moderate Democrat. Do you consider yourself a Moderate Democrat?"

Jerry: "Yes, I do.".

Me: "How do you reconcile that with your endorsement from Progressive Majority?"

Jerry: "They endorse a variety of people. I'm not the most progressive candidate they're supporting"

Me: "Well I was at their office downtown today and saw their candidate questionnaire with the correct answers indicated, the affirmative answers certainly don't indicate a moderate point of view- did you fill out that questionnaire?

Jerry: "I don't recall"

Me: "You don't recall if you completed the candidate questionnaire for Progressive Majority?"

Jerry: "No, I don't recall"

Me: "Well I believe you have to complete that questionnaire to gain their endorsement, but you don't remember if you filled it out or not?"

Jerry: "No, I don't recall".

Me: (a la Margie Gunderson) "Well Okay then"

I then phoned Gia Vitali at Progressive Majority whom I had met earlier that day. I asked if candidates needed to fill out the questionnaire that I saw at their office in order to get their support- she said yes. I asked if they'd consider supporting a candidate who didn't fill out their form- she said no. I then said that I spoke with Jerry Pitzrick and that he didn't recall filling out the form. She offered a few excuses- that perhaps he's received so many that he forgot and that they've been working with Jerry for a year now, so perhaps it was too long ago. This is a local House race- these candidates do not get that many questionnaires. She would not provide a copy of his questionnaire to me.

I let her know that he confirmed to me that he's telling voters that he's a moderate and that I thought it was intellectually dishonest based on the questionnaire I saw today since 100% of the answers needed to be "affirmative" of the the Progressive Majority agenda in order to get their support. This methodology was reported in The Nation in 2006.

I asked point blank if they train people to say they're moderates- she said no. She said that she didn't think Jerry was hiding anything as he mentions their endorsement on his website- I said "no he doesn't". Jerry Pitzrick's site mentions NOTHING of his endorsement from Progressive Majority. I asked if they hide their endorsement purposely in a more Republican district like 42B- she said no. So this is not the training from Progressive Majority- it is Jerry Pitzrick's own decision to describe himself as a "Moderate".

Jerry Pitzrick attended the Wellstone campaign school, yet he considers himself a moderate Democrat? What's worse is that when voters are asking him what party he's in- he's saying "I'm a Moderate Democrat"...Why not just say DFL? Why are you couching your reply and saying you're a "Moderate" when you're not? Are you ashamed of the Progressive Agenda?

If he answered affirmatively to ALL of the questions on the Progressive Majority candidate questionnaire that I viewed yesterday- and according to their Political Director they wouldn't have endorsed him if he hadn't completed it- and if according to "The Nation" they wouldn't have endorsed him if he hadn't answered ALL questions correctly- then why is Jerry Pitzrick telling voters he's moderate when he agrees with 100% of the liberal agenda of Progressive Majority?

Jerry calls himself "an independent voice of Eden Prairie". I'll talk more about how "Independent" Progressive Majority is soon.

Here's my campaign tip of the day: If you're a big liberal- BE a big liberal. Live it, breath it, work it, sell it, ship it man. People respect principle. They want to know WHAT you believe, WHO you are. Paul Wellstone wouldn't want it any other way.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sweet home Alabama, Is Madia from Mobil?

Unfortunately I can't make it to the Twin West Chamber debate between Ashwin Madia and Erik Paulsen this Thursday at 7am in Golden Valley. I look forward to seeing some video of the event. I wonder if Ashwin will be talking with his adopted Southern accent.

I know he was raised here in Minnesota. I haven't heard Madia speak until I heard this clip on WCCO and I'm perplexed by his strange clipped speech patterns. I know he was in the military and traveled, but I lived in the South for six years, you don't just pick up an accent like that. So what's up with it? It's almost Clinton-esque at times the way he says "country" "oil" "together" "thinkin" "generation". Really odd.

Update: I just listened to the 3rd CD Debate- Madia was born in Boston and moved to Minnesota in High School and attended College here--so he only lived here for maybe seven years? He moved back to Minnesota just two years ago- so perhaps he did spend time in the South where he acquired the accent heard on this video.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Why, me? Blog?

When I moved back to Minnesota four years ago from Georgia, I did so in a dented up Jeep with a Bush-Cheney sticker in the back. Todd had just finished the 10-years of training required in order to be a full-fledged Radiologist and we were moving into a large house in a nice Western suburb of Minneapolis. We were like George and Louise Jefferson that summer "a movin' on up".

I was 6 months pregnant with twins and although I was sitting out the '04 campaign- after working like a dog in '00- I did the minimum and immediately put up my Bush-Cheney sign in the large green yard. My mom quickly said "Oh Sheila, you just moved into the neighborhood". Worried that I'd be blackballed by the neighbors, Mom is always good about looking out for me and is always wanting to spare me from the lightning-rod life that I continue to lead. I love my mom.

Then a funny thing happened, several neighbors came out to meet me. This is an exceedingly rare occurence in Minnesota where people carefully observe and inspect neighbors for YEARS through the blinds before ever making an approach. They asked me where I got my signs, I pointed to the stack in my garage. They took the signs, put them up and we've been friends ever since.

I went door knocking with my State Senator in '06. At one door I knocked, a neighbor said; "Oh you're that Republican activist". I was stunned, shocked, taken aback. Activist? Activist? Do you see Birkenstocks? Does my hair look like it's dirty to you? I mean, please. Activist? I own a set of pearls for Pete's sake. I simply stammered, "Uh, yeah, I guess", I handed him the candidate's literature and walked away shaking my head.

Sure I had political signs in my yard every election cycle, did that mean I was an activist? I then recalled the door knocking, lit dropping, sign posting, phone calling and rebar installing I had done for Republican candidates over the years. Okay, maybe, I guess you could say I was "active". I thought about the fact that I had eagerly watched every national political Convention on TV from the age of eight. A bit odd-Yes. Politics is definitely a past time for me.

Then I remembered that time when I stood in the rain outside CNN Center in Atlanta in 2000 with a homemade sign shaming Al Gore for not wanting to count Military Votes from overseas. I was screaming like a madwoman that day. Jumping up and down and giving exhuberant "thumbs-up" signs to the honking cars that drove by.

So I thought about it. I'm still thinking about it....and I'm ready...I have a confession to make. My name is Sheila Kihne and I am a Republican Activist.

So why this blog? Because I continue to be amazed at people who "sit out". Who think that simply voting in an election will bring about change. (No Obama, you don't own that word). I think we Republicans could learn a thing or two from the hippy liberals who are protesting, door-knocking, passing petitions, etc. Granted, many of them don't work- or if they do work-they work for the government. But we are Republicans- let's not blame others for what's wrong with our government. Let's not sit back and hope "somebody else will take care of it". Let's get this started. Stop yelling at the TV or radio and get off your duff and DO something. If you're all about "talk, talk, talk" I have no time for you. Write a letter to the editor, plan a neighborhood event, make a donation to a local candidate, go to City Hall and give them a piece of your mind, run for office. Become an educated taxpayer and citizen and fight the power man.

I hope this blog will be an entertaining blend of the things that entertain me. Mostly that means politics. Although I might share some fashion and shopping tips as the mood strikes. My bottom line philosophy is that life is short. It has its ups and downs, but you should try hard to make it full and fun. It's about your good friends, your good family and trying very hard to walk the path you think God wants you to walk. (I didn't want to mention God right off the bat, didn't want to lose any atheists here, but I couldn't help it). He IS "The Man". You should do what you're passionate about, what you think is right and not give a hoot what so-and-so thinks.

There is no place in the world where I'd rather be than in my home state of Minnesota observing politics. We are full of passionate, educated people. We take our civics seriously. And where better to observe the follies of socialism than a place where it's practiced and/or attempted so often?

I welcome liberals or "progressives" or whatever you call yourselves these days to post. If you're logical and funny- you stay. If you're boring or obnoxious, you'll be banned. Oh, I love the power already! Now off we go.
P.S. The first person who can tell me the answers to the following questions gets a free "Nobama" bumper sticker!
What show was "The Jefferson's" a spin-off from? And what was the connection?