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The Wave – Post Mortem

November 4th, 2010 by Kevin

Election night I was at the MN GOP HQ until 4 AM following the latest results pouring in, absorbing ever rumor and theory, and enjoying the heck out of myself so much that it was a shock when I looked at a clock. I\’ve always found Election Night fun. This year I had obvious reasons for that, with running a campaign and being much more plugged in in general. But also just the novelty of it, that huge numbers of seats can change possession and nobody has to so much as get punched in the head….or at least not out of malice. I know a certain Legislative Assistant whose exuberant celebration darn near caused bodily injury to innocent bystanders. :)

But I\’ve also said that politics is like a soap opera on a massive scale. There is the surface drama even the casual observer sees. Then there are the undercurrents and connecting strategy that political wonks see. And then there are the personality conflicts and caucuses within caucuses within caucuses that political insiders get to see. That last part it\’s a good thing that voters never see or else nobody would even vote again, for fear of encouraging politicians.

End result is you have a fascinating tapestry of events, intention actions, strokes of luck (good or bad) and sheer chance. Which always leaves me with a million threads of thought floating around in my head.

\"\" My US Senate Predictions
Yeah, I was a little off, although the final total will be damn close. Two of my leaners failed to…well lean. Nevada and Colorado. Colorado was darn close and Nevada was….well less close. Whether that was due to casino owners threatening their workers to get them to vote for Reid, it\’s hard to say but end result is the same. Either way, the end result is the same, Democrats hold the Senate but Republicans greatly increase their minority….which is basically what I\’ve been saying all along. And it\’s also what I\’ve said strategically we should hope for, which brings us to….

\"\" The Setup for 2012
The good part is that the bleeding will probably stop…or at least it better (more on that later). Any budgetary legislation has to originate in the House and Republicans now hold a very large majority in the House. And with a large minority in the Senate, cloture because a real obstacle for Democrats. Democrats either have to take a hard right turn to the center or else Congress comes to a standstill for 2 years. Of course that wouldn\’t necessarily be bad.

But it also means not much is likely to improve. We\’ll essentially be in the same place. Obama has made it clear he has no intention of deviating from the course that was overwhelmingly rejected by voters on Tuesday. And it\’s not hyperbole to say \”overwhelmingly\”. We just saw a reversal in electoral results that hasn\’t been in 70 years. Obama likes to claim everything he does is \”historic\”…well this truly was!

So while Republicans may stop the bleeding with their mere presence, as long as Obama plays hardball nothing much happens. Which means we\’re still in the same place in 2012. It also means Obama\’s popularity is not likely to crawl out of the basement. And with Democrats still controlling the Senate and the White House, the overall Democrat brand isn\’t likely to recover much either.

And thanks to their big electoral success in 2006, Democrats hold a large majority of the Senate seats up for grabs in 2012. All told there are 21 Democrats, 10 Republicans and 2 Independents up for election in the Senate. Of those 10 Republicans, only Scott Brown of Massachusetts can be said to be truly vulnerable. Meanwhile Democrats have at least half a dozen seats that are in red or purple states. Those seats alone would give Republicans a majority. Another Republican wave like we just had? You got a cloture-proof majority.

Sounds great right?? Well….

\"\" Don\’t Get Cocky GOP
This probably needs to be said again….Don\’t Get Cocky GOP.

And again….Don\’t Get Cocky GOP.

Actually let\’s make that a habit, because Republicans have been here before, and they\’ve screwed it up before. This election was not a vote FOR Republicans. Rather it was people voting AGAINST the Democrats, specifically their overspending and their focus on every issue other than what\’s most important to people right now….the economy.

Don\’t Get Cocky GOP.

Republicans campaigned against the excesses of the Obama and Democrat agenda and the public ate it up. So by all means follow through on that. Defund ObamaCare. Stop the government take over of private industry. Roll back spending. Reduce Taxes. Recover whatever stimulus funds can be found. By all means beat back the progressive horde.

Don\’t Get Cocky GOP.

But that\’s not enough. The public is also frustrated that when Democrats said they\’d help with the economy they focused on health care, Cash for Clunkers, Cap&Trade, immigration, gays in the military…..everything BUT jobs and the economy. So Republicans also need to find a way to address the economy and do it in a way that Obama and the Democrats are forced to go along with it out of fear of further voter backlash. Either that or Republicans need to do a damn good job of showing an effort because the public is tired of promises and talk.

Don\’t Get Cocky GOP.

Although there are signs that the GOP understand this…and oddly enough it was Michael Steele that framed it best by pointing out Republicans are \”on probation\”. Sure they overwhelmingly put you in power, but your approval ratings are just as low as the Democrats. The public is willing to tolerate your majority for an election cycle. If you screw up a again, you\’re even further in the doghouse.

Don\’t Get Cocky GOP.

Speaking of don\’t get cocky…..

\"\" Tea Party – Practice Had Better Make Perfect
>First of all calm down, this will only hurt for a minute and it\’s for your own good, besides your treat is next.

Tea Party, you need to learn a few lessons from this election. Let\’s call them Exhibits B.itch and C.hristine O\’Donnell. You need to do some better quality control on your candidates (like I said, your praise is coming later). Deleware is a perfect example. It\’s a hard left state, running a hard right candidate is just not going to fly. Trust me, I dislike RINOs just as much as anyone, and sometimes yeah, it\’s worth drawing a line in the sand and beyond this you will not cross.

But dammit, if you\’re going to pick a hill to die upon, may I suggest aiming more for Mt. Everest, or even Mt. Rainer instead of Joe\’s Ant Farm. Was Castle a squish, absolutely, nobody is denying that and nobody wasn\’t annoyed by it. But on the big issues, the ones that REALLY mattered he would have voted with Republicans. In a hard-left state, that\’s all you can ask for.

And in Nevada, make sure your candidates can better articulate their views and positions. Angle was very Obama-like in that while she did good on script, put her in front of a crowd or dealing with non-screened questions and it wasn\’t always pretty. Nevada was looking for someone to replace Reid, and you gave them nothing they could hang their hat on.

Electability matters. And no not at the expense of everything else, there are certain hills worth dying upon. Cap&Trade? Immigration? Taxes?? Spending?? Abortion?? Sure for some people those are hills they are willing to die for. Others not so much. But end result is you need to work on screening your candidates better.

Which isn\’t to say it was all bad…

\"\" Tea Party – Now Who\’s Laughing?
See I told you it would only hurt for a minute.

All that said, the Tea Party actually did a fairly good job overall picking candidates, a few rotten apples aside. Rand Paul in Kentucky, Marco Rubio in Florida, Mike Lee in Utah, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and Scott Brown in Massachusetts. All solid candidates. I was a little concerned about Rand Paul, but while his views may have been more hard-right than his state, he also had the presence and maturity as a candidate to keep them largely in check.

What\’s more you\’ve proven that you\’re not the disorganized rabble of random angry racist hicks the Democrats tried to frame you as. You\’ve a genuine national movement, with a rationale agenda, and with the ability to organize, focus and accomplish a goal, all without a leadership structure of any sort. In fact, that last part is your best feature, rather than a big. It innoculates you against the Alinsky tactics of the left, \”pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it\”. Trying to do that to a diverse group without structure and without a leader, is like trying to kill a swarm of gnats with a rifle.

Now your next goal is to prove you can continue to pursue your agenda without being co-opted by the Republican Party. The Republicans are just as prone to excess and Spineless Syndrome as the Democrats so don\’t get caught up in the system. You\’ve accomplished a real political force here. Don\’t waste it.

Speaking of the system…

\"\" Redistricting
It\’s about to change….drastically. Not only did Republicans make huge progress in the US House and Senate, they also captured 680 seats in state legislatures. Which is darn near un-precedented. That\’s great right!? But why is it important? Well, as you know the 2010 Census is completed which means 2012 brings….redistricting. All those political districts have to be redrawn to account for population changes. And depending on how those lines are drawn determines how easy it is for a Republican or Democrat to win and hold a particular seat. So if you control the process of drawing those lines, you can make it very difficult for the opposition for the next ten years. It\’s called gerrymandering.

So again why is that important?? Well it\’s the state legislatures that do that. And Republicans took over 18 state legislative chambers on Tuesday and gained six governor seats. In fact, for 17 states Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature and the Governor\’s seat, which puts them in complete control of drawing the lines.

And those 17 states represent 196 of the House\’s 435 districts. In comparison, Democrats control all three legs of the government in up to 10 states, which control at most 88 seats, but possibly as few as 26.

Oh it gets better. Six states have nonpartisan redistricting commissions. If you take those 88 seats out, for 196 out of 347 districts, Republican\’s completely control the drawing of the lines.

In the other states, like Minnesota, a mixed legislature means the judicial system is likely to draw the lines.

Speaking of Minnesota…

\"\" DFL\’s Bed Not So Comfy
For the first time since the Minnesota Senate allowed partisan designations, Republicans control the Senate. And the Minnesota House is now also Republican controlled. In both cases, with seats to spare.

The Governor\’s seats is still up for grabs. If it\’s Emmer than Republicans control all three legs and they get run of the board. But even if it\’s Dayton, with Republicans in charge of both Houses, his agenda is a dead stick. But it gets worse for DFL and they have only themselves to blame.

Last session we had the opposite situation, a DFL legislature with a GOP Governor. When the DFL couldn\’t come up with a budget they simply passed an unreasonable one and adjourned and made it Pawlenty\’s problem. Pawlenty in turn used unallotment. Well the DFL collectively wet themselves and through the courts made sure that couldn\’t be done ever again. So now facing a $6 billion deficit, what are Dayton\’s options?? Either he agrees to the Republican\’s version of a budget, thereby pissing off his base and making the right happy. Or he shuts down the government and calls the legislature into a special session, thereby pissing off his base and mildly annoying the right. The Legislature in turn, if they really want to play hardball can just keep passing the same budget until Dayton relents. After all, what is Dayton\’s recourse??? Bitch to the media that the legislature won\’t raise taxes??? Yeah, that\’ll get sympathy from the public.

And so we begin this political drama all over again. I got my chair, I got my popcorn, start the show!


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Posted in 2010 Elections, Minnesota Legislature, The Messiah, True North | No Comments »

Dayton Already Running From His Past

August 11th, 2010 by Kevin

Well the DFL finally figured out who their candidate is for Governor, and they picked Mark Dayton.  Also know as \”The Blunderer\”….seriously, that\’s what Time magazine called him back when he was in the Senate…they also called him the worst Senator in America.  In response to winning the primary, Mark Dayton got so excited he promptly closed his campaign office for a month.

Well the MN GOP promptly released an ad introducing the new DFL nominee to Minnesota.  That shouldn\’t be a surprise, we\’ve been seeing Mark Dayton\’s family spending millions on anti-Emmer ads for weeks now.  But now the MN GOP is finally answering back with an ad that scored an A- on the KSTP Truth Test….unlike the famous anti-Emmer ad by Alliance for a Better Minnesota (aka Dayton family front group) which scored an F.

Of course Dayton is denouncing this as a smear….not sure what part of quoting past news articles about him, he considers smearing.  Sounds like Dayton is already starting a pattern of running from his past.  And when it\’s pretty true that past performance predicts future performance, that\’s not good for Minnesota.


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Posted in 2010 Elections, True North | 2 Comments »

Ten Commandments Of Carrying A Firearm

October 15th, 2009 by Kevin

As many know, I have a carry permit (not conceal&carry) for Minnesota (and other states) and frequently choose to exercise my right to protect myself from harm that hopefully never materializes. I\’ve carried for awhile now but by no means am I an expert, for that you can read the writings of some who are. However, I did feel up to the task of review an article titled 10 Commandments of Concealed Carry, because while it\’s generally a good article, I feel there are some parts that are incorrect, or at the very least need clarification.

First though, I want to address a pet peeve of mine in the very title of the article, although to be fair this pet peeve is very Minnesota-centric. In Minnesota, we do not have a \”Concealed Carry\” permit. We don\’t have a \”Concealed Carry\” law. In fact nowhere in any legislation will you find \”Concealed Carry\”. We simply have the Minnesota Personal Protection Act of 2003, which in summary, gives permitted citizens the right to carry a firearm in public places. No concealment is required, it is purely optional. But it\’s amazing how many people, including some permit holders and even instructors tend to forget that.

Okay that rant aside, on with the article.

If You Carry, Always Carry

Or so says the article…and quite simply I have to passionately disagree.

It\’s a personal choice and it\’s entirely up to the person, and depends on the situation. Quite simply there are some situations where one could make a very informed decision not to carry. For example, during the RNC I mingled with the protesters and kept an eye on their doings, dressed up as a fellow protester. Now was there a chance I could face personal danger, especially if \”outed\”. Certainly. Would a firearm have helped me in a crowd of people? No. Could it have made things worse? Sure. Firearm stayed at home that day.

Now to be fair to the author, Massad Ayoob, do I personally think carrying every day is a good idea? Sure. As he quite rationally states it:

The armed citizen, the intended victim, does not know when or where that attack will come. Therefore, he or she must be constantly prepared and constantly vigilant.

You never know when trouble will find you, even if you do your best to avoid it. Most people if they know they are going to need a firearm if they go someplace, elect to stay at home. So almost by definition, danger will find you in a place you don\’t expect it. Are you ready? If not, remember you are the defenseless sheep depending on the sheepdog.

Don’t Carry If You Aren’t Prepared To Use It

Eh, I\’m sure most of my objections come down to semantics, because in more words I think he does dance around my objection. Nobody goes out looking for a gunfight. Someone who does probably isn\’t going to bother with the hassle of getting a carry permit anyway. And I doubt anyone is truly prepared to use a firearm in a hostile encounter, for normal-minded folk it\’s simply not in our nature to harm others.

I\’d argue don\’t carry if you don\’t think you\’d be able to use it even in the protection of your own life.

And even phrased like that, you shouldn\’t interpret that to mean that you shouldn\’t draw your weapon without firing it. In some 99% of encounters involving a defensive use of a firearm, the situation was resolved without shots being fired. Criminals may be dumb, but they aren\’t stupid. They can weight pros and cons just as well as the rest of us. Faced with potential victim who has just revealed themselves to be armed versus finding a more vulnerable potential victim is not a huge logical hurdle, even for a criminal.

Although again, that doesn\’t mean to draw your firearm at the slightest provocation.

However, I\’d say he\’s spot on with this:

The irony: The person who is prepared to kill if he or she must, is the person who is least likely to have to do so.

Don’t Let The Gun Make You Reckless

Is what he writes wrong? No. But in generally it\’s advice in search of a problem. Gun control advocates thought for sure that permit holders would turn every argument in the OK Corral. Every fender bender would be a gun fight. It hasn\’t happened, ANYWHERE in the United States.

I don\’t know that I\’ve met anyone that considers a carry permit a Junior Police Officer badge. For one, the legal ramifications of using your firearm are financially and legally prohibitive, even if you\’re legitimately defending yourself. Going out looking for trouble isn\’t something any one is going to be done….nor have they.

Instead, the weight on your hip, or wherever you carry, is a constant reminder of the need to be vigilant. Many who carry refer to this as Condition Yellow. I\’ve found rather than being reckless, I\’m more tuned into my surroundings. More aware of others in my vicinity and their behavior. I\’ve taken precautions to avoid even every day mundane situations, because I know that if they were to escalate, my behavior is held to a much higher standard.

Get The License!

Ayoob is completely correctly and while this seems like a \”Well Duh!\”, I know of several people who feel it\’s not the government\’s place to tell them whether they can protect themselves or not. Which means I also know of several people just asking to go to jail.

Do I agree with their rationale? Sure. Do I agree with the logical conclusion to that line of thinking? No. The world isn\’t perfect, neither is our government. Work to improve that, but in the meantime if you\’re going to carry do it legally.

Know What You’re Doing

Well sure, although that\’s good advice any time. In Minnesota, you\’re required to take a class to get your carry permit. Most of the instructors in Minnesota are very good at their job and do an excellent job of explaining how is and what is not allowed, most of them can be found here. That said there are also some not so go instructors such as Joe Penaz and Gary Shade, from whom you will likely receive lots of bad information that may end you up in jail, or worse. So it remains good advice.

Concealed Means Concealed

This is the eternal debate amongst many in the carry community. Whether to open carry or not. First my disclaimer. Do I open carry? No. Do I have any desire to open carry? No. Do I generally think it\’s a good idea? No. Have I opened carried? Yes, at an open carry event.

All that said, do I think Ayoob is wrong here? Yes. Is open carry always a bad idea and something you shouldn\’t do? Absoluteley not. There are reasons both tactically and politically to open carry in certain situations.

Most of Ayoob\’s disagreement is that it freaks people out. Sure but that\’s only because they aren\’t used to seeing normal law-abiding every day Joes openly carrying. How do you fix that? Well if they start seeing people carrying and the street doesn\’t immediatly erupt into a bloodbath, they start to get used to it.

So open carry has it\’s time and place. Some choose to open carry all the time, and that is fine for them. Granted they experience more hassles from the police, although the police are slowly learning. But they also are more likely to engage in conversations with people and have the opportunity to educate them. Nothing wrong with that, admirable even.

But if you do carry concealed, just understand, your style of dress my dictate how you carry. In some cases you may need to slightly modify your style of dress to accomodate concealment.

Maximize Your Firearms Familiarity

Absolutely, although I think this can be summarized as \”Train, Train, Train\”. Waiting until a life threatening situation presents itself is not the time to learn how to use your weapon or fire accurately. Moreover, Ayoob doesn\’t mention, you may not be physically capable of doing so due to the Tachy Psyche Effect, otherwise known as the \”Fight or Flight\” response of the body. Symptoms vary from person to person, but common side-effects are narrowing of vision, loss of dexterity, loss of higher brain functions (such as math), slowing of time, etc.

Now you can minimize all of these effects if you recognize them for what they are, expect them and account for them. Mostly that comes down to training, so that when the adrenaline starts flowing your body already knows what to do, even if your brain is freaking out. You\’ll know how to clear a jam without thinking about it. You\’ll hold the weapon properly right away. Sight alignment will come naturally without conscious effort.

Plus, even in a non-life threatening situation, you\’ll be safer if you know what things like a \”hammer release switch\” is for and how to use it. Or that just because you\’ve ejected the magazine from your semi-auto doesn\’t mean it\’s unloaded (although to be safe no gun is ever unloaded).

Practice with the firearm you intended to carry, and practice often, once a month minimum.

Understand The Fine Points

Yeah, this can\’t be emphasized enough. And very quickly this part will come to either annoy your or intrique you. And it\’s a large part of the reason I stay involved in the carry movement, because even someone who has carried for awhile and has stayed educated on the latest happenings still comes across situations every no and again where the legal action isn\’t immediatly obvious.

For example, can you carry in a store that has one of those silly signs banning firearms?? Sure, until you are asked to leave, although if you\’re carrying concealed what\’s the liklihood they will? Can you carry in public areas at a public university?? If you\’re a non-student sure and they can\’t do much about it. If you\’re a student or staff, the University can put limits on what you can do. Okay what about grade schools? Generally no, but you can in the parking lot. However, if the principal and/or administrator gives you written permission, you can carry in that school. Churches? Sure Bars? Sure, although you\’re limited to a BAC of 0.04, although most firearm owners already know firearms and alcohol don\’t mix.

Already dizzy? Yeah, it\’s only the start, but there are overall themes which eventually you\’ll catch onto. And then you\’ll just scratch your head at the really puzzling ones, like can you carry in church if your church is also a school?? Answer, it depends.

Carry An Adequate Firearm

Hopefully you\’re asking the same question I had, \”What\’s Adequate?\” The answer to that is \”It depends\”.

Is a .50 caliber Desert Eagle adequate? Sure. Is a .22 caliber adequate? It might be. Is an 8-round magazine big enough? Probably.

Let\’s just get this part out of the way, is bigger better? Not necessarily. Shot placement is a lot more important that the size of the hole. If you\’re a petite woman, perhaps a big ass hand cannon is not the best for you, as you may not be able to control it\’s recoil. Even if you\’re a large framed man, some simply can\’t shoot a revolver, but do just fine with a semi-auto, or vice-versa. Is the recoil of a .45 too much? Try a .38. Find something you can shoot accurately.

Part of that can also be the firearm itself. Find something that fits comfortably in your hand. Find something that when you raise it, your natural motion brings the firearm up level. If you don\’t even have to consciously line up the sights that one less thing for you to worry about.

Plus consider that firing this firearm isn\’t going to be it\’s primary or even secondary usage. Most of the time it will be sitting quietly in a holster. It\’ll be heavy. It\’ll be uncomfortable. And it doesn\’t get less heavy or uncomfortable as the day goes on. So if you\’re a thin, slightly built woman are you likely to carry a .50 caliber Desert Eagle more than once? Doubtful. Instead you should consider firearms that you will feel comfortable, both physically and psychologically, carrying on a daily basis if that is your intention.

Caliber in my opinion is way over-rated in the determining factor of choosing a carry weapon. In the end, I choose a .40 because it was a larger caliber that I could still comfortably control, yet it still allowed for a reasonable amount of rounds in a standard magazine. Remember, larger the round, the more space they take up, hence less round in a magazine.

And no you don\’t need a twenty round magazine. You might want to consider two 10-round magazines though. Let\’s be realistic, a gunfight you get into isn\’t going to be a drawn out affair. You don\’t need a packmule to carry a sufficient amount of ammunition. However, you might want to carry a second magazine or a speed loader, especially if you are using a semi-automatic. In a semi-auto if you have a jam, most can be clearly be ejecting the magazine and inserting another one. On the other hand, if you carry jam a revolver, you clear the jam by pulling the trigger again.

All important things to consider.

Use Common Sense

I would argue you\’ve already demonstrated Common Sense by deciding to carry, but I\’m biased. And here I don\’t think I could have phrased it better than Ayoob,

The gun carries with it the power of life and death. That power belongs only in the hands of responsible people who care about consequences, who are respectful of life and limb and human safety. Carrying a gun is a practice that is becoming increasingly common among ordinary American citizens. Common sense must always accompany it.

Well said.


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Posted in This Is My Rifle, This Is My Gun, True North | No Comments »

CD2 Gubernatorial Candidate Debate

September 29th, 2009 by Kevin

Attended CD2\’s Gubernatorial Candidate debate tonite, and while I\’ve met/talked to most of the candidates one-on-one, it was interesting to see how they handled the group format.  While there was nothing wrong with the event and the organizers did a great job, unfortunately at this stage of the game, the group format isn\’t always the most informative.   Let\’s face it, all of them are fairly mainstream conservatives and there aren\’t going to differ on many, if any, of the issues.  This is exactly what happened on many of the questions.  If not for the politician\’s inate ability to turn a one word answer into a 1000 word diatribe, the whole debate would have been over within 15 minutes.

At this stage of the game in order for things to get informative or interesting, discussion has to inevitably fall into one of two categories.

Policy Hell

This is both the most interesting and frequently most boring category.  This is also where an inexperienced candidate gets bogged down in details.  You end up losing most of the audience and the few that are still paying attention are probably more updated on the details than the candidate is.  In the end the discussions drives way off the beaten path into the rhubarb.

Which isn\’t to say it\’s necessarily bad.  For example, the 65461 Minnesotans with carry permits have been very disappointed in the Pawlenty administration, specifically Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion, for their inability to fulfill their promise to uphold the law regarding the reciprocity issue.  So many of those 65K carry permit holders hold a great deal of animosity towards Pawlenty, and by extension Republicans, and have withheld their support.  They\’re going to want to hear that the next Republican isn\’t going to pull the same idiocy.

Now you start that conversation and most of the audience isn\’t going to have a clue what you\’re talking about.  And even if you have a coherent answer, you\’re debating with a guy that lives and breathes this stuff.  On the other hand, if you can pull off having that conversation without losing the rest of the audience, heh, you just convinced 65K voters to vote for you.

Presentation

When the menu is the same at every restaurant, it comes down to presentation (and cost but that doesn\’t work as well in my analogy).  If we all agree on the ideas and changes that need to be made, it comes down to how you get things done.  Which candidate can best present out ideas?  Which candidate can best present them in a way that appeals to the Average Joe.  Which candidate can generate the funds to get that message out in an effective way?

This I think is where most of the discussion of candidates needs to revolve around.  Even if you very generally look at each candidate through this lense, you\’ll find that our nine candidate field, pretty much boils down to four \”serious\” candidates.*  If you don\’t have the ability to raise millions in campaign funds, and then use that money to effectively deliver our message to the masses, you\’re just taking up space.  And by effectively deliver, I mean in a manner other than what we\’ve been doing.

Hopefully future events can stick to these areas of differentiation, rather than engage in a lot of preaching to the choir.

*No I\’m not going to name the four.  I\’m trying to keep it productive rather that get in a pissing match with each candidates supporters.


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Posted in 2010 Elections, True North | 3 Comments »

DFL Breaks Promises To Voters

May 17th, 2009 by Kevin

During the campaign, the DFL pledged to work with members of both parties to help the government live within it\’s means.  Instead, the DFL just took a vote to override the Governor\’s veto so that he can raise your taxes by $992 million!

Our government needs to learn to live within it\’s means, just like every family within Minnesota.  No family can afford to spend more than it makes, and tough decisions need to be made to cut spending.  Most of us simply don\’t have the liberty to simply demand our employer gives us more money, especially in this recession.

The Governor has repeatedly indicated his willingness to work with the legislature.  In fact he\’s made a number of concessions to the legislature, many of them using ideas offered by Democrats.  Instead of accepting those concessions, the DFL rejected them and insisted upon raising taxes.

Our taxes our high enough, and jobs are already threatening to move to lower taxed environments.  It\’s no coincidence that Sioux Falls, SD and it\’s famously low taxes, is one of the fastest grows cities in the region.  And Wisconsin isn\’t far away either.  The DFL, are simply raising taxes that kill jobs for Minnesota.

The DFL, need to learn to control their spending, just like average Minnesotans do.


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Posted in Minnesota Legislature | No Comments »

Happy Tax Freedom Day Minnesota

April 15th, 2009 by Kevin

Today is Tax Freedom Day for Minnesotans.  The day at which you\’ve finally earned enough money to pay off your federal, state and local taxes.  You\’ve been working for the government so far, now you get to work for yourself.

….unless you take the deficit into account, then you\’re gonna have to wait until sometime after Memorial Day.


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Posted in Taxes | No Comments »

Well It\’s Better Than Democrats

March 23rd, 2009 by Kevin

Was pretty busy at work today and I was in our lab which is underground so cell phone reception is awful, so I was a little surprised when I got back to my phone to find that there were quite a few attempted calls from my neighbors.  Uh oh, that can\’t be good.

Give them a call back, half expecting to hear how someone broke into my house, or ANOTHER car went off the road into my front yard, or my garage is on fire, or something.   Instead, they are excitedly telling me how there are wild turkeys using my deck as a roost right now.  They were wanting to make sure I didn\’t try to let my dog out with the turkeys right there.   They have pictures of them, unfortunately only on film (remember those types of cameras?).  By the time I got home all that was left to prove their existence was a deck full of turkey poop.

Squirrels I can understand.  I\’ve even seen the odd possum.  I wouldn\’t be surprised by a raccoon.  But turkeys???  Not one, not two, blah blah blah, but FIVE wild turkeys using my backyard as shelter from the wind and rain.  While I\’m sure they were probably all hens, where there are hens, there has to be a Tom in the area.  And a Tom would probably really mess up my dog.  And not being a big fan of veterinary bills, I\’d like to avoid that.

I live in the suburbs, who would have thought I\’d have turkeys living amongst me??  A couple friends of mine drive way out to rural Minnesota to go turkey hunting in the spring.  They haven\’t had much luck, but I\’d still like to get into it sometime.  But instead of joining them I think I\’ll just spend the spring on my deck with a shotgun…..so pretty much it\’ll be a normal spring.  Except that I\’m pretty sure I\’d have to buy a license.


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Posted in Ecker Exploits | 1 Comment »

E-Verify Not Extended

March 10th, 2009 by Kevin

The amendment for E-Verify did not pass, as Senator Leahy made a motion to table the amendment and that motion passed 50 – 47.  All Republicans voted against tabling the motion and so did seven Democrats, including Senator Klobuchar of Minnesota.  As a result E-Verify will only be extended for six months.

E-Verify is one of the best tools we have for fighting illegal immigration.  It allows employers to quickly, easily and accurately determine the legal status of potential employees.  Thus it helps remove the jobs magnet that draws many illegal immigrants to this country.  And in this period of economic down turn and people losing their jobs, it also ensures that what job openings there are go to Americans and those legally permitted to work here.

There are reasons to keep a positive frame of mind however.  None of the debate was on the faults of E-Verify or anything of that nature.  In fact most of the debate did not involve any criticism of E-Verify at all, even from those that voted against it.  Most of the opponents made statements to the effect that this wasn\’t the time to extend it for five years and this wasn\’t the vehicle to do it with.

Also there is a negative that may actually be a positive.  Initially all Democrats (including Klobuchar) voted for the motion to table the amendment, and thus voted against E-Verify.  Then they huddled with Senator Reid, who once he knew how many Democrats he could control, let some of them change their votes.  More than likely he allowed those that were most in danger of angering their constituents to switch their vote.  Klobuchar is particularely surprising as she has never voted against illegal immigration.  That\’s a plus for Minnesotans that she\’s feeling that sort of pressure.  That should encourage us to lean on her in the future.

A fight to extend E-Verify will return within six months, but until then we need to keep on our Senators and let them know we haven\’t given up on this issue.


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Posted in Immigration | 5 Comments »

Minnesota\’s Own Gun Show Bill

March 4th, 2009 by Kevin

A bill to address the mythical \”gun show loophole\” (HF 953) has been introduced in the House by Rep. Paymar.  It attempts to address a problem that…well doesn\’t exist, except in liberal talking points.  The bill was due to be up for debate this Friday at 10:30.  But then Rep. Paymar, perhaps knowing that the word was out, asked for the hearing of the bill to be rescheduled.  So the committee meeting was cancelled….no doubt because our political masters didn\’t want the serfs getting uppity and voicing their displeasure at the bill.

However, Rep. Paymar makes this an annual crusade and it\’s very likely that this bill will return.  Probably with little warning so it can be slide through the cracks, so it\’s worth learning about this bill now.  Vigilance every day keeps our political \”masters\” away.

Supposedly this bill is mostly to address the \”gun show loophole\”, which I\’ve addressed before.

Secondly, the gun show loophole is a myth.  Essentially what they are bitching about is private property.  At gun shows, Federally Licensed Firearms dealers (FFLs) have to do the same paperwork they would have to in their own shop.  What people are referring to by the “gun show loophole” is things like one private party selling one of his firearms to another private party.  And banning something as simple as a father selling a firearm to his son is a pretty slippery slope as it opens all sorts of doors to infringe upon other private property rights.

According to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms less than 1 in 50 guns acquired by criminals come from gun shows or private resales.  A January 2009 Star-Tribune article says that the Twin Cities’ homicide problem is largely one of uncontrolled gang/drug activity. Anyone who can sell or purchase illegal drugs can acquire a gun in that illegal transaction. This is a black market transaction, not a legitimate sale by law-abiding citizens.  Don\’t be fooled, this bill does NOTHING to prevent the former, but everything to impede the latter.

Minnesota statutes already contain FOUR (4) provisions to cut off “black market” transfers. They are: (1) 609.52 – Theft by the criminal himself, (2) 609; (2) 609.53 – Theft-once-removed by acquisition from a “fence;” (3) 609.66 sibd. 1c – Receipt from an accomplice/strawman; and (4) 624.7141 – Transfer to an ineligible person.

Of course, proponents try to justify all this by claiming the bill will make it illegal to transfer handguns and \”assault weapons\” to criminals.  Of course what they don\’t mention is this is already illegal (Minn. Stat. 609.66 subd. 1f)!  So really all this does is make life difficult for law-abiding citizens.  It does NOTHING to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.  Of course if they had paid attention to studies done on similiar California laws, they\’d already know that!

This bill also wastes valuable law enforcement resources by removing the purchase permit exemption for carry permit holders.   Those that possess a carry permit are already required to undergo rigorous background checks in order to carry a firearm.  So current law takes the common sense approach that they don\’t need to have their local police chief run a new background check just to purchase a firearms, since they\’ve already been checked out to carry.  By removing this exemption you require local police departments to expend valuable resources that essentially duplicate work already done by the county Sheriff.

In addition, this bill effectively creates a gun registration system, and allows those records to be released to all authorities, even for use in \”civil\” cases.  This makes the system ripe for abuse by anti-gun government officials.  This bill is nothing more than official harassment of law-abiding gun owners.

[Crossposted at True North]


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Posted in Minnesota Legislature, This Is My Rifle, This Is My Gun | 2 Comments »

Ending \”Magnet Welfare\”

January 21st, 2009 by Kevin

As most everyone knows, Minnesota is facing a huge deficit crisis and it\’s going to be painful for everyone as cuts will be wide and deep.  Recently I was talking with a legislator about the cuts that will be needed, and what form the legislation is likely to take.  He knows I\’m very fiscally conservative and somewhere to the right of Attila The Hun, but laughed as he decried, \”Kevin the cuts are going to be so big I don\’t think even you would vote for it!\”

So it\’s no exaggeration to say that everyone is going to have to sacrifice this time around and true leadership is going to be necessary.  However, as we\’ve seen, our DFL legislators aren\’t willing to make even the most minor and petty of sacrifices.  Well, just like nature, politics abhores a vacuum and the GOP Caucus is stepping up to offer ideas.

Minnesota House Republicans today proposed a new round of welfare reform to end Minnesota’s reputation as a “welfare magnet” and help balance state government’s $4.8 billion deficit. Under the proposal, anyone who applies for state welfare benefits within one year of moving to Minnesota would be granted no greater level of benefits than the person would have received in their previous place of residence. New recipients would then remain under the rules of their previous state or nation of residence until their benefits run out. House Republican Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, cited an analysis by the Minnesota Department of Human Services of welfare applications showing that 13.9 percent of applicants moved to Minnesota from another state or nation within 12 months of submitting an application.

The most recent DHS estimates show that welfare benefits granted to new residents cost Minnesota taxpayers at least $15,683,608 per year, in addition to another $16,260,585 in federal costs.

House Republicans also said they await the findings of a Legislative Auditor’s investigation into the use of Minnesota EBT cards in other states. Last August, they uncovered data from the Minnesota Department of Human Services showing that 309,717 EBT transactions took place in states other than Minnesota costing taxpayers $10,226,758.

[Details from a House GOP Press Release]

[Crossposted at True North]


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Posted in Local Events, Minnesota Legislature | 1 Comment »

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