Monday, November 30, 2009

It's sad that this is still relevent in today's world. These are very powerful videos.













Even more sad and appalling is that there are over 4,000 homeless veterans in Minnesota alone. After all they went through fighting wars on foreign soil, they came home to those who didn't understand and didn't care. Our veterans need kindness, housing and medical care. Please elect a governor for Minnesota who cares about veterans and will do everything possible to alleviate their suffering.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

reNEW Minnesota Campaign


I've become involved with the reNEW Minnesota Campaign. It's all about putting forth a new and progressive vision for Minnesota. It's about choosing a gubernatorial candidate who will uphold this vision and bring it forward into the governorship. It's about electing a governor who will work with others to embrace and uphold the vision. The reNEW Minnesota Campaign believes that everyone is deserving. It wants to work with the governor after the election in order to make sure that Minnesota is made more inclusive. It's all about the people of Minnesota working together.

Take a look at the website in which reNEW Minnesota interviews the ten DFL gubernatorial candidates. This is our first step in determining which candidate will best lead Minnesota with the reNEW Minnesota vision. There will be more forums and debates. Then reNEW Minnesota will determine which candidate to endorse.

Here's my impressions of the candidates just from how they responded on these videos.

Margaret Anderson Kelliher - She states that the reNEW Minnesota vision matches very well with how she was brought up on the dairy farm. (Huh?) She claims that she therefore resonates with this vision. She wants the state to be based on a justice model. She says she's a trained organizer who believes strongly in taking this reNew vision and making it a reality. She maintains that her style is one of working together. This is where she starts to sound as though she's saying exactly what she thinks reNEW wants to hear. This is too canned.  I think she's done her research on what reNEW Minnesota wants.

Tom Bakk - Has a good presentation but let's look closer. He keeps talking about his life as a carpenter. He says his childhood was different. He spent summers at summer camp. He says his values were shaped at summer camp. Oh oh. As someone who also went to summer camp once or twice, I know that one can take that statement many different ways. I don't really see that his childhood is any different from that of most people. He does agree that the reNEW Minnesota Campaign goes a long way in breaking down barriers. He says he believes in a progressive tax system.  He thinks that all Minnesotans believe in the reNEW Minnesota Campaign principals. I don't know why he would think that. There's lots of Republicans in Minnesota who wouldn't care much about it.

Mark Dayton - Now here's someone who has been a progressive almost forever. He was progressive before it was even called that. Mark Dayton could arguably be called the Father of Minnesota Progressives. He's been involved in progressive political causes for forty years. He started out protesting the Viet Nam War. (As did I.) He watched television one night and saw his political hero, Bobby Kennedy, assasinated. He saw how Kennedy gave his life for his beliefs. This profoundly and fundamentally changed Dayton's life. He dedicated his life to progressive political causes. He lived with a welfare family in New York City in order to understand how people lived who did not have the privileges that he himself had known. This says a lot about the progressive dedication and the inner strength of character of Mark Dayton, even from an early age.  He's got a long history of helping those less fortunate than himself and fighting for equality for all.

Matt Entenza - Again (and yet again) relates how he grew up poor because his father was an alcoholic who ran off and left them with nothing. His childhood took place in Winona, in a working class farming community. His grandmother took them into her little tiny home. He talks about all the opportunites he was given by the community and now wants to make those same opportunites available to all Minnesotans. He believes that we should have the diversity that Minnesota needs and that we should value education. He believes in health care for everyone. He opposes the idea that some people should be in and some people should be out. Matt seems to grasp the reNEW Minnesota vision very well. I just wish he would quit talking about his sad childhood so much. It almost seems that he wants the voters to feel sorry for him and thus vote for him.

Susan Gaertner - She states that the reNEW Minnesota vision relates to her personal experience in so many ways. Her father was a social worker. He worked with families and kids at risk. Thus she learned from a very early age that  government has a responsibility  to help those who need help. As a prosecutor, she has seen first hand the consequences of what happens when the vision doesn't take place. She thinks opportunities should be open to all across the state and not vary depending on color, gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. She agrees with reNEW Minnesota's vision of fairness and equality and then making it happen. She says this will only happen with all hands on board and not just by the governor and/or the legislators. She reiterates that we are all in this together. This is the best I've ever heard from Susan Gaertner. She obviously understands the reNEW Minnesota vision very well and already embraces it.

Steve Kelley - He says he connects to the reNEW Minnesota vision because he served as the chair of the Senate Education Committee and had an opportunity to create a youth advisory council. He wanted to act out the idea that we govern best when we govern together and engage and empower people to be part of the solution in their own lives. He wants opportunities to be extended to everyone. He likes the reNEW Minnesota vision because it begins with values. He has a good presentation in this video and he's not yelling. This is the tone he should take with the forums and debates. He's not the most progressive of the ten candidates, but he's on board.

John Marty - He says the vision of reNEW Minnesota connects with him because he believes in the inherent worth and dignity of every human being with no exceptions. He has a progressive view of society. He wants to work with people from every corner of the state and of every economic status. He wants to work with everyone from the beginning and not bring them in later as an afterthought. I'm not sure what he means by bringing everyone in. Does he mean representatives of all the people of Minnesota, or does he mean every Minnesotan? He'd sure need a big table. I think Marty understands the reNEW Minnesota vision very well. I wish his voice would sound more sincere, though.

Tom Rukavina - He says he loves this vision because that's how he was raised. His parents were union organizers. He was taught that everyone has to pull together as a community. He's lived that way all his life and that's the way he's been at the capitol as a state representative. He says his past record at the capitol shows that he includes everyone with no exclusions. This is the way he was born and raised. He would include people in his cabinet who have lived an ordinary life and have learned from life experiences. (Hey, that would be me....) I did notice that in this interview Rukavina didn't even crack one joke. He was very serious. That's what I wanted to hear. (Well, one joke might have been okay.) This presentation shows me that Tom Rukavina most likely would be a good governor. Besides, Orrie told me that he might let Dayton be his Lt. Governor. I said or vice versa. What a team! Speaking of Orrie, I couldn't find a picture of him and his wonderful smile on Rukavina's Facebook page. None of the candidates could do all that they're doing without their fantastic campaign staff. I notice that Dayton has lots of pictures of his great staff.

R.T. Rybak - He loves the reNEW Minnesota Campaign because it says that we're not going to allow fear and scarcity to divide Minnesotans. He was a community organizer who was unknown, then got elected as Mayor of Minneapolis. He didn't stop with the election, but kept organizing communities to stand up against violence and to mobilize around the environment. He made sure he didn't just sit behind his desk but got out and mobilized citizens. He believes the reNEW Minnesota vision is about all of us coming together to say that we're bigger than we've been and we can be far better. He plans to do in the governor's office what he did in the mayor's office, where he gets out of the office and goes out into the communities, both in the metro area and in rural Minnesota to bring people into the vision where we can all work together to create jobs, fix our schools, create health care, bring back the environment and manage the budget. He believes that by working together, we can accomplish all these things. Rybak did have a bad double start in the presentation, but he recovered very nicely.

Paul Thissen - He says that the reNEW Minnesota vision is about how he was raised. He was born and raised in Bloomington by two school teachers who sacrificed to give him and his sister educational opportunities. He wants all kids to have health care and wants every Minnesotan to succeed in life. He thinks we should call on the best of Minnesota and think of abundance instead of limitation. He believes that our policies should reflect our values. He wants to make sure we don't have discrimination in our communities. He wants to make sure that all Minnesotans can do better. He wants to make retirement secure. It all comes back to his parents, he says. Paul Thissen is a fresh young idealistic voice. I don't think he is the most profound progressive in the lineup, though.

Now that I've watched the videos of all ten candidates and gave a brief evaluation of each, I've come up with my own top four candidates. You may notice that this list is different than previous lists I've posted. That's because this was a one-on-one interview with each of the candidates. Most of them come across a bit differently than when they're engaged in a forum or debate. Here's my top choices just from the reNEW Minnesota candidate interview videos. These are in order of my preference.

1.  Mark Dayton
2.  Tom Rukavina
3.  R.T. Rybak
4.  Susan Gaertner

Please post your own preferences in the comments section below.

Friday, November 27, 2009

POLITICAL DISCUSSIONS WITH SON AND DAUGHTER-IN-LAW



Yesterday I had Thanksgiving dinner with my son Charles and daughter-in-law Becky. I went to their house that they recently bought in Brooklyn Center. All I had to bring was my special pumpkin pie with a layer of cream cheese. I make this every year.  After 40 years of making Thanksgiving dinner, I finally got to rest while they did all the work. They're fantastic!

They have HD TV and DirecTV on a large screen, so I had fun channel surfing. I found one that was playing segments from the old Dean Martin Variety Show. Everyone I remember from a long, long time ago was on it. Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Carson, Red Skeleton, Bing Crosby, Betty White, Dom DeLuise, Burt Reynolds, Florence Henderson (the Brady Bunch), and the list goes on. I used to watch that show. It ran from 1965 to 1974.

We had a wonderful dinner with turkey, jellied cranberry slices, cranberry bread, vegetable medley with cheese sauce, homemade stuffing (Becky used my recipe that I passed on to her), sweet potatoes with pineapple, baked potatoes and dinner rolls. Even George got a plate. George is their dog. He's ten years old.

Of course we got into a political discussion. Charles is basically a Democrat. Becky says she's an Independent voter. Neither of them have ever voted Republican, though. I raised Charles right!

They both agreed that the only thing they have against Democrats is the education issue. Charles graduated from Irondale High School in 1997. I can't remember if Becky graduated the same year or the following year (my memory is going...). Their biggest gripe is that crappy teachers can't get fired because of tenure and because of the teachers' union. I told them that when I was in high school in the 1960's (White Bear Lake, class of 1968), we didn't have crappy teachers. Minnesota's educational system was among the best in the nation, if not the world. In Minnesota, the White Bear Lake School District was among the best.

What happened? All three of us agreed that it's not that way anymore. Much of it is because of lack of funding, but the other part is that teachers can get away without doing their jobs. Sure, there's still plenty of fine teachers, but there's also a lot who don't enjoy it and aren't good at it. Charles and Becky told of teachers who came in the room, put on a movie for the kids to watch, then left the room or sat there and played solitaire. I remember my youngest son, Marcus, who also graduated from Irondale, had a math teacher who had to keep going next door to ask another teacher how to do a math problem.

Charles pointed out that the Democrats won't do a thing about this because of the teachers' union. Unions mean money for Democrats. What can be done about this? We have got to improve our educational system. We need to put it back to its former standards of excellence. Schools need to provide a broad curriculum again. Many schools no long offer foreign language classes, journalism, creative writing and other classes that make learning fun. Many districts have had to cut a lot of the extracurricular activities as well. This is not acceptable. We live in a global community now. Most of our kids are ill prepared to contribute to it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MARK DAYTON ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS


Mark Dayton has always been a big supporter of prescription drugs for seniors. The following is from a column he wrote when he was Senator.

Providing Affordable Prescription Drug Coverage Should Be Our Top Priority
August 8, 2002
By long-standing tradition, the House and Senate are in "recess" during August. This month, however, the Senate should be in detention, instead! In July, we tried and failed three times to pass legislation providing prescription drug coverage for senior citizens and other Medicare recipients. Then, we adjourned for a recess that we did not deserve. We should have kept on working, instead!
Just before the recess, I wrote Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and urged that we stay in session until we passed a prescription drug coverage bill. Our individual plans for the beginning of August would have been disrupted. Good! I guarantee we would have passed a bill after a couple days of personal inconveniences! And our problems would have been insignificant, compared to the hardships that the lack of prescription drug coverage causes seniors.
Unfortunately, my advice was not followed. That happens a lot, since I am still 100th in seniority! However, I will press the Senate to take up this legislation again, when we reconvene the day after Labor Day.
The House did pass a prescription drug bill before its August recess. It is not a very good bill, because House members were not nearly as generous to seniors as they are to themselves. Under their bill, seniors would receive on average less than half the coverage for prescription drugs that House members get through the Congressional plan. However, at least the House did pass something. Give them the grade of D and a "needs improvement"!
Give the Senate an F and an "incomplete." Neither the Democratic caucus bill nor the Republican caucus bill received enough support to pass the Senate. The bill I favored was the more generous of the two. Yet, it would still have provided seniors on average with only two-thirds of the coverage members of Congress receive under our plan. All but two of the Democratic Senators voted in favor of this bill.
The Senate Republican caucus favored another measure, which would have given seniors on average about half the coverage as members of Congress. After both of these bills failed to receive enough votes to pass, we voted on a compromise plan. It was considered too expensive by some Senators and not generous enough by others; so it, too, went down in defeat. That is when we should have persisted until something else acceptable to both sides passed. Instead, we took a recess.
There is still enough time after Labor Day for the Senate to pass prescription drug coverage legislation, reconcile its differences from the House bill in a Conference Committee, and send that final bill to the President for his signature this year. It is imperative that we do so. I will do everything possible to see that we do.
Source.

The media at the time engaged in irresponsible reporting, twisted the facts and got the story wrong. It was reported that Dayton was an ineffective senator and even gave himself an F. Did they not know the true story, that he gave all the senators an F, not just himself? That makes a huge difference in how we perceive Mark Dayton. Why are journalists not more responsible in reporting the truth? I despise lying and I find journalistic irresponsibility deplorable.

The MN GOP must be scared that Dayton is running for governor. The minute he got the AFSCME endorsement, Tony Sutton appeared on WCCO to talk about it. Obviously Sutton doesn't know the first thing about researching his topic. Either that or he prefers to promote lies and misconceptions. After watching Sutton on The Week's Political Panel (10/09/2009), I can only conclude that he is not the brightest bulb in the pack. Watch the above video to see what he tries to do and how Wy Spano and Dee Long of the Democratic party refute him at every step.

Readers probably know by now that I like to indicate who a particular person reminds me of. Tony Sutton reminds me of Lumpy from Leave it to Beaver .

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

DFL GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE DEBATE, NOVEMBER 24, 2009


I attended a DFL gubernatorial debate tonight. It was in Hopkins at the Center for the Arts. It was a long way for me to drive with a car that is dangerous to take on the freeway. I work downtown St. Paul, so after work I took Grand Avenue to Snelling to Marshall to Lake Street to Excelsior Boulevard. Boy, I thought, this better be worth it.

It was. The audience was alert with high energy. Some were keyed up for their favorite candidate. Others were undecided and willing to listen to all eleven of them and give each one a chance.

The trouble is that most of the candidates agree on most of the issues. There are a few differences. Most of those differences are related to personalities and presentation skills.

The format of this debate was very different that what we're used to. That's because there are eleven candidates. Three came on at a time, then one would leave the stage and be replaced by another. The moderator pulled a question out of a fishbowl and asked one candidate to answer it; then the second candidate and finally the third. Each candidate got a total of two or three minutes per question, although often in increments of 30 seconds, 60 seconds or 90 minutes, with the remaining time used later.

Ole Savior was the first to speak. I'm still not sure why he's running. I've heard that he runs for everything. Apparently he even ran for president. He never has a chance of winning. His biggest goals are to bring a new stadium to Minnesota for the Vikings, to turn the State Fair into an ongoing, daily endeavor and to put back everything that T-Paw took away. He did say that he considers Mark Dayton to be his friend, which surprised me, since he tried to sue Dayton when the latter was running for the U. S. Senate. Ole's biggest crutch word is tsk. He had short answers to all the questions and never took the entire amount of time allotted to him. Again, I'm not sure why he's running. He knows he doesn't have a chance of winning. Sounds like a waste of his time and money.

Susan Gaertner was next. Her crutch words are um, er and ah. Usually too many crutch words draws the audience away from the speaker's message, but Gaertner is interesting enough to make up for it. We now know that she's a karoke singer and a former soccer mom. She also told us that she's running for governor because she now has an empty nest. I can certainly relate to that. Maybe I should run for governor. Gaertner says she has three goals that are her priorities: fixing the education financing system; health care reform; getting results. Too bad she wasn't more specific. All the candidates want to do those things. Gaertner doesn't have any fresh ideas. All she knows is that she can get it done because she got things done as the Ramsey County Attorney. I'm taking her off my top four favorites list. She's a nice lady and I like her style, but she's missing the ingredients necessary for the governorship. Gaertner had better stage presence in her closing statement than she did earlier. She compared this format of the debate to a police lineup. Her mantra was that she can get it done. Gaertner mentioned that she's not well known and she doesn't run in the circles that Mark Dayton does, but she can get things done. What circles that Dayton runs in is she talking about? The wealthy? The upper echelons of political society? It seems to me that people are just people. A good communicator can feel comfortable being around anyone. We're all born the same way and we all die with nothing. I'm not sure what Gaertner's point was.

Mark Dayton was the third speaker. Tonight was the best I've ever heard him other than when he does one-on-one interviews with such media outlets as The Uptake. Usually he doesn't seem as comfortable before larger audiences, especially ones he's not sure of. Tonight, though, he excelled. He was perfect. I couldn't find many crutch words, either. Just an occasional hesitation. And a mike that seemed to have a slight problem. He knew just how to handle it though and got it working right away each of the three times that happened. Dayton was the first candidate tonight who stepped right out from behind the lectern in his opening statement. He appeared confident. Indeed, he seemed confident throughout the entire debate. He spoke with the voice of authority and experience. His goal is to tax the rich in order to restore public services such as education. He says the rich can afford it. He ought to know. Of course his family probably won't vote for him, but Dayton is the kind of person who will put the people of Minnesota before his family's votes. Dayton also said that he will be the education governor for this state. He so obviously knew far more about this topic than any of the other candidates. After all, he taught school in an inner city neighborhood in New York when he was right out of college. I noticed that again tonight several of the other candidates agreed with what Dayton said and referred back to his position on some of the issues. Of the three candidates who stood at the three lecterns for the first set of questions, Mark Dayton definitely won. In his closing statement, he related his experience of living with a welfare family while teaching school in that inner city school. He said the experience profoundly and fundamentally changed his values and his outlook on life. It seems to me that his entire life since then substantiates his claim. Dayton does, however, overuse the phrase profoundly and fundamentally wrong. Try wording it a bit different just for variety. All in all, though, Dayton was in top form tonight. He can easily win this election.

Tom Bakk presented very strongly and firmly. He said that his biggest priority is to restore GAMC. He then went on a tangent about how he was a carpenter. He says this so much, at every forum I've been to, that it suddenly dawned on me that maybe he keeps doing it so we'll think he's like that other carpenter of 2000 years ago. Bakk still talks like he's very angry about something. I'm not sure if he is or if that's just the way he presents himself. On the other hand, there's lots of angry people because of the mess our state is in. In his closing statement, Bakk said that this election will be a lot like when Rudy Perpich got elected during a recession. When the economy is bad, people tend to vote Democratic.

Matt Entenza has a wonderful manner about him. He's got quite the congenial voice. He can add humor but just sprinkles it here and there among his serious statements. Matt's priorities are clean energy. For mass transit, he wants light rail, heavy rail and bus. He reiterated what I've heard him say before...Entenza is Norwegian for governor. Seems like most of the candidates say the same jokes at every forum. It's a new day and a new audience, although there are many who attend all the forums and debates. It's time for the candidates to find new jokes. In Matt's closing statement, he did the "when I was fifteen my dad was an alcoholic and ran off and left our family destitute" routine. He's grateful for the opportunities he was given and now wants to give back to Minnesotans. Perhaps if he could just change the story a bit so it's not exactly the same at each forum. Tell the audience a bit more about what those opportunites were. Matt does have a nice voice to listen to...almost as nice as Dayton's.

Margaret Anderson Kelliher was next. There's nothing humble about her. She makes sure everyone knows what she has accomplished in the legislature. There are those who think it hasn't been all that much. And by the way, she grew up on a farm. Did you know that? Talk about overplay. Tonight she said, "I have a plan for education in Minnesota." She talks in a la la sing song voice. I wanted to take a choir director's baton and direct her. I just can't stand to listen to her for very long. I'm not really sure why, as for all practical purposes she's a very good speaker as far as enunication, volume, vocal variety...she gets all the technicalities right. I think it's her mannerisms that annoy me. Kelliher said she thinks Minnesotans want a governor they can connect with and who understands them. I don't think she's the best person for this. I don't think she could understand anyone outside her own experiences. She keeps boasting of her own endorsements. I don't think they're enough to get her elected. I know there are a lot of women who will vote for her simply because she's a woman and they think it's time Minnesota had its first female governor. I don't think that's a good enough reason to elect someone. Also, Kelliher made a comment that sounded as though she wants to combine MDH and DHS, or at least their resources. What a bad idea. In Kelliher's closing statement, she told an anecdote of a man who thanked her for his job. He said he got his job because of Kelliher's influence in the legislature. Is it true? I don't know; she didn't give any details.

Steve Kelley was way too loud again. It sounded like he was yelling at the audience. Kelley says he can connect with suburban voters the best. He's out to get all the DFL votes of the Southwest Metro as well as the Independent swing votes. He thinks that everyone in America should have access to affordable health care. His reform issue is health care cost. Kelley doesn't really connect with the audience. Tonight he claimed, "I am the best candidate for governor because I'm rooted in the community." (I knew my ears were going bad because I thought he had said, "I'm rude in the community." In his closing statement he said he was going to invite Governor Pawlenty to take his class on budgeting, but Pawlenty didn't have the prerequisites for the course. This got some laughter from the audience.

John Marty is excellent on health care. I wish he would quit yelling about it though. Between him and Steve Kelley, my ears hurt. Marty said again tonight that health care should be like police and fire services; guaranteed access for everyone. He also wants to tackle poverty in Minnesota. I'm sure there are a lot of Minnesotans who would give him theirs. I don't think John Marty can get elected as governor. The audience doesn't like him nearly as much as Dayton, Entenza, Rybak or Thissen. On charter schools, Marty said they have a role to play in Minnesota's educational system, but we shouldn't overdo them. In closing, Marty said he knows we can build a great state. He wants us to know that he is the candidate with courage and vision.

Tom Rukavina is running for governor because he hates the way our state is currently going and he thinks he can fix it. All the candidates think they can fix it, but I think there are only a handful who actually can. Tom's big thing is biofuels and the University's mineral rights. He says he lived a simple life as a blue collar worker and has been an organic farmer for 35 years. Rukavina had the audience laughing hard again tonight. In one segment when he followed Kelley, he said, "Sometimes I just want to go after Kelley, but I won't abandon party principles." The audience howled because Rukavina is only 5'3" while Kelley is well over six feet. He created a humorous visual in the minds of the audience members. He also reiterated that he is a love child between Jesse Ventura and Paul Wellstone. See, he needs a new one-liner. After stating how so many people have to make do with less as a result of the current administration, he quipped, "I'm 5'3". I've been doing more with less all my life." In closing, Rukavina said that he has a record of being innovative. His campaign, he said, is refreshingly honest. He used to say that it was brutally honest, but changed it for PR reasons. When it was time for the moderator to tell Rukavina to leave the stage, he said "I don't want to." The audience cracked up.

R.T. Rybak wants to bring innovation back into the charter schools. He claimed that in Minneapolis, he sold the idea of investing in the public schools to corporations. That sounds like a great idea. Rybak likes to look kids in the eye and give them personal responsibility for their own lives. Another good idea. Rybak's closing was designed to show Minnesotans have core values and that we're all in this together. Again tonight Mayor Rybak gave an excellent presentation with more than viable speaking skills. Rybak will be a tough candidate to beat. He's got positive experience as mayor of Minneapolis plus he's well liked by a lot of people.

Paul Thissen acknowledged that Minnesota has some excellent teachers and that kids are learning amazing things. He then moved on to the challenges that our educational system faces. He wants to close the achievement gaps of the kids. Mostly, he wants to move the old ideas out to make room for new and innovative ideas. It was apparent that he was trying to get people to vote for him, the young fresh idealistic face, rather than someone older like Dayton or Rukavina. Thissen should never underestimate the voice of experience. Thissen says he'll appoint commissioners who have both experience and passion. He's young and idealistic. Give him a few years. In his closing statement he told the audience how he passed in the legislature a moral vision regarding health care for children.

This was an interesting debate. I think a lot of audience members have narrowed down the choices in their own minds. I know I have. Here's my top picks in order of preference:
Mark Dayton
R.T. Rybak
Matt Entenza

I look forward to attending more of these debates and forums. The next one will be on Thursday December 3 from 5:30 to 8:30 at CWA Local 7200 Hall, 3521 East Lake Street in Minneapolis.

Now on with the show...er, I mean campaigns.

Monday, November 23, 2009

THE DAYTON LEGACY


I notice that most of the other DFL gubernatorial candidates talk a lot about their families. I've heard about where they came from, which town they founded or helped found, whether there was an immigrant background, a farm background, a family history in mining and so on. We never hear much about Mark Dayton's family background. Sure, we all know about Dayton's Department Store and the Dayton/Hudson Corporation. That's something Mark Dayton never had a hand in running by his own choice. He wanted to go into public service instead. What about his earlier ancestors? This blog posting should please all the genealogy and history buffs.

The first ancestor to cross the Atlantic was Ralph Dayton. He was born c. 1588 in England. He married Alice Goldhatch Tritton on June 16, 1617 in Ashford Cty, Kent, England. He immigrated to the Colonies c 1639 through Boston Harbor. He settled in New Haven then moved to Long island. After that he founded East Hampton. Ralph is listed as a signer of the Fundamental Agreement and Covenant of Habitancy, the original governing instrument of New Haven.

The line goes like this: Ralph, Samuel, Abraham, Caleb, Josiah, Caleb, Isaac, David, George. This is all from a book called Our Story, by George Draper Dayton. He further writes, "On the 250th anniversary of the founding of East Hampton, the speaker of the day said of the Daytons, 'the family has generally a good record of intelligence, industry, purity and worth. Many have achieved eminence. The family has a long history of service to others.'" (Source)

One ancestor, Caleb Dayton, fought in the Revolutionary War. He is included in A Brief History of St James: 1764 to The Present in Historical Arlington, Vermont.

Mark Dayton comes from a long line of people who were honest and trustworthy and who devoted their lives to public service. As they say, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Our Mark Dayton has a lineage he can truly be proud of, yet there's no evidence that he has ever boasted of it. We can add humble to his growing list of excellent characteristics. It sounds to me like it's Mark Dayton's destiny to be the next governor of Minnesota.

Resources:

A History of the Town of East Hampton, NY (Dayton Family)
DAR Ancestor List
History of New Haven Colony
The Dayton/Deighton Family of Long Island
Ralph Dayton, Immigrant Progenitor
Biography of George Draper Dayton

Sunday, November 22, 2009

ALAN GRAYSON ON HEALTH CARE REFORM - A MUST SEE

UNIVERSAL SOLDIER

Savion Glover at White House with Bill and Hillary Clinton

OBAMA BOOGIES BACK TO TEXAS WITH ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL

POLITICAL OBSERVATION


Those in the political arena don't always have a good view of what the masses are thinking about in any given election. Certainly there is an abundance of educated people who vote on the candidates' responses to the various issues. It should be remembered, though, that there is still a tremendous number of voters who vote on personalities and the way the candidates present themselves.

Jesse Ventura won his governorship primarily because people did not like either of the other two candidates. Voters were sick of both the main parties during that particular election as well as sick of negative campaigns. Many people expected Skip Humphrey to be like Hubert. He wasn't. Everyone was tired of Norm Coleman.

I remember one of the debates between the three. I remember the shocked looks on Coleman's and Humphrey's faces when they knew that Jesse had captured not only the debate but the audience. People were so sick of both the Republican and Democratic parties, with all their fighting back and forth, that they decided to go with Jesse instead. At least this year we have lots of DFL candidates that people actually like.

The best thing a candidate can do is have viable ideas regarding how to solve the issues, a history of being an honest person with integrity, and present him or herself in a favorable way before an audience. Voters look at all of these. They also look at whether a candidate seems a little too slick, a little too glossy. Voters want a governor they can look toward as a leader rather than as a used car salesman. They particularly want someone they can trust. People don't trust politicians much.

Who can we trust in this election? Who has a history and a reputation of having a great character rather than just a catchy personality? Who has the most experience in public service? Who has a habit of carrying out promises? Who is not in this campaign for the money? Who deeply and sincerely cares about Minnesota and its people?

It's time we had a governor who meets all these characteristics. This election that choice can only be a DFL candidate. Which DFL candidate meets every one of the qualities that I've listed above? Mark Dayton. Our next governor.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

NETROOTS MINNESOTA CONFERENCE GUBERNATORIAL FORUM



These are my impressions of the Netroots Minnesota gubernatorial forum last night in St. Paul. Nine of the DFL candidates attended. Not in attendance were Tom Bakk and Ole Savior. (I never know whether to even include Ole as a candidate, but I guess he is officially.)

The moderator was Lori Sturdevant from the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She gave the candidates their questions which had been submitted by posters on Facebook and Twitter and well as from the live audience. A question was asked; then the candidates turn turns answering it. Lori started with one candidate and worked through them all, then went on to the next question in the same manner.

This was the best forum yet because the candidates interacted more with each other. The audience was definitely engaged. The energy in the room was high. People were starting to weed out candidates in their own minds.

Instead of going through each question and answer separately, I'll just give an overall impression of each candidate. You can find the exact questions at a couple of other websites which I'll list at the end of this post.

R.T. Rybak - Great impromptu speaker. He had good ideas based on what he did to accomplish things in Minneapolis. One of the other candidates later said that it wasn't a good comparison of what he could accomplish as governor because Minneapolis has a strong Democratic base. Rybak made it clear that he would endorse and work hard for whoever ended up running on the DFL ticket. All of his answers to the various questions were clear and concise. He's a natural public speaker. His answers all sounded excellent. Rybak pointed out how he has brought jobs to Minneapolis and used specific examples. He talked about microgrants for the cleanup of greenhouse gas emissions. His tax policy will be to fix the broken budget, ease up on property taxes, expand sales taxes, raise income taxes and reduce spending. Rybak's closing statement was excellent. It was at the closing statement that the candidates each stood to address the audience. For the other questions they each remained seated. This was Rybak's shining moment. He enjoys being on stage. He has a great stage presence. He knows how to use his floor space. He's got great voice projection and vocal variety. Rybak is very electable because people like him. He's got an energy and charisma that's missing in many of the other candidates.

Susan Gaertner - Is focused on getting things done. She knows we can't improve education until we fix the budget. In her answer to the first question on making higher education affordable to all, she referred to Tim Pawlenty three times. Why? I'm so sick of hearing about Tim Pawlenty. He's gone. Let's move on and look to a glorious future without him (my words, not hers). On abortion access, Gaertner stated that politics should not get in the way of women's health. Again she referred to Pawlenty, saying that he should do things to help children once they're here instead of opposing abortion and then ignoring the children who need help. On greenhouse gas emissions, Gaertner spoke of the Legacy Amendment. On education, she said that children growing up in rural Minnesota should have the same access to education that city kids enjoy. Gaertner has a forceful way of speaking and has no trouble meeting the issues head on. She said, "Courage is my middle name." She wants to hold both kids and parents responsible for the child's success in school. On bringing jobs to Minnesota, Gaertner took the opportunity to lodge a mini protest on the gubernatorial campaign. On taxes, she wants to look at the entire tax structure and not just part of it. In her closing statement, she said she wants to give Minnesota a fresh start. Her mantra is that we all know what needs to get done, but it doesn't get done. She can get it done. Overall, Gaertner presents herself fairly well to the audience. She uses a few too many crutch words and should work on improving her posture. Her intent is to make the audience believe that she's the one who can get things done, and more so than any of the other candidates. My impression is that she's good on a couple of the issues, but not all of them. I'm not sure that her position as Ramsey County Attorney adequately prepares her for the governorship when Minnesota is in serious crisis.

Tom Rukavina - Is too funny. Seriously. He needs to tone down the humor. He's a very funny guy, but uses too many jokes when the focus is on a very serious subject. It's great to sprinkle speeches with humor, but you have to know when to stop. When answering the question about abortion access Rukavina quipped that if Pawlenty had to give birth, he'd be prochoice too. On higher education, he told the audience how he set up an endowment with the mineral rights that the University of Minnesota has on the Iron Range. The endowment is to go for Minnesota's higher education. On greenhouse gas emissions, he said he has already been working on this issue on the Iron Range. He stated that there are already eighty municipal power plants in Minnesota. When asked the question of how he would bring jobs to Minnesota, he talked about a new taconite nugget that's mostly iron. A new plant is expected to bring in many jobs. In his closing statement, Rukavina stated that he is running for governor because he loves Minnesota and he thinks it's going bad. He says Minnesota needs a governor who knows blue collar workers. Rukavina's strongest and weakest point is his ability to bring humor to his presentation and laughter from the audience. He does need to remember that too much of something is not necessarily a good thing.

Mark Dayton - Here's a man who says what he means and means what he says. If Dayton says he's going to do something, you can bet he's going to do it. (You can all look forward to a book signing for me at the Governor's Mansion...) Dayton promised that he would increase state funding every year that he's governor. He'll do this by raising taxes on the rich. This is where we read his lips. The audience always loves it when he says that. I've noticed that it's a phrase that's showing up on blogs all across the internet. Dayton has humor and knows exactly how and when to use it and when to be serious. On abortion access, Dayton supports reproductive choices. He knows that women should have control over their own bodies. On economic growth in Minnesota, Dayton has three goals: well educated, productive citizens; a good infrastructure; excellent public services. I noticed that Thissen was nodding his head in agreement when Dayton was speaking. Indeed, throughout the forum I noticed that several candidates referred back specifically to what Mark said on several of the issues. I got the impression that they looked to him for his many years of experience in government. We might as well just go to the top and vote for him. On education, Dayton wants schools to remain open from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. so there is access and help available for any student who needs it. The audience seemed to like this idea, for it would provide help for kids who are having trouble at home and at school. Dayton likes kids and sincerely wants to help them have the best life they can. I've seen many pictures of Mark Dayton with kids. You can tell just by looking at the pictures that he has a good time interacting with them. Anyone who loves kids and dogs is top of the line. (I wonder how he feels about cats?) On bringing jobs to Minnesota, Dayton is the best candidate. He learned from Rudy Perpich, who was adept at bringing in jobs. Perpich would talk to anyone or go anywhere to bring in jobs. Dayton definitely knows how to do the same. In his closing statement, he was at his best. He used anecdotes of the days when he taught kids in an inner city school where there were 36 kids in the classroom. He knows the struggles teachers face when classes are overcrowded and underfunded. The audience burst into enthusiastic applause. If the closing statements from the candidates had determined the election, Mark Dayton would have won. This segment was the best I've heard him speak in front of an audience. He's got the passion of Paul Wellstone. He exudes honesty, integrity and compassion. He's got all the qualities necessary for good governorship.

Paul Thissen - He's a new face with a youthful refreshing look. He's gaining a lot of experience and name recognition by running for governor. Keep your eye on him in the future. Thissen is a good speaker and knows how to get his ideas across. He wants to make higher education affordable for all by way of public investment through fair taxes. On greenhouse gas emissions, Thissen says no big power plants. He wants to engage people at individual levels so each person does their part in reducing these emissions. On the question of how he will bring economic growth to Greater Minnesota, Thissen said his focus will be on living in a global economy. He's interested in Angel Investors where small communites pool money together. He says that individuals and businesses in rural communities can shape their own destinies by working together. Thissen's responses to the questions show that he is bright and refreshing. I hope he becomes governor later on down the road after Minnesota is well on the way to recovery and out of crisis. I'm not sure that he has enough experience to handle things as they currently stand. On taxes, Thissen wants more progressive taxes and comprehensive restructuring. One of his main ideas is to get health care costs under control. In his closing statement, Thissen stated that kids' health care is a moral responisbility of society.

John Marty - Reminds me of someone but I couldn't put my finger on it. Tonight it came to me. He reminds me a lot of Richard Thomas (John Boy Walton). Maybe it's the way he presents himself. John Boy was such an upright person and a role model for many. On education, Marty says we as a state must invest in it. Doing so will make our economy thrive. He reminded us that he voted against tax cuts and if he is governor he will undo them. On abortion access, Marty is prochoice but his focus is on preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place. Good luck on that. On greenhouse gas emissions, Marty wants to change the behavior of each Minnesotan. He's outspoken in issues dealing with the protection of our planet. On economic growth, he says that Minnesota's entire economic system is currently unsustainable. John Marty wants to invest in early education. He referred back to what Mark Dayton said regarding expanding the hours that the schools are open. (Another example of the candidates mostly agreeing with Dayton.) In his closing statement, Marty said he wants to build a better state and referred twice to the url of his website. My impression is that Marty is great on health care reform (he wrote the bill that many hope will be made into law). He's got good ideas. I don't think he'll win the election, though.

Steve Kelley - On higher education, Kelly has a clear goal: every Minnesota child will graduate from some kind of institute of higher education, whether it's a four-year college or a technical school. On abortion access, he thinks the question of abortion should be made by the woman, her doctor, and perhaps, if she chooses, her clergy and/or family. On greenhouse gas emissions and a cleaner environment, Kelley advocates weatherizing low income and senior housing. He also mentioned conservation and using waste. On bringing economic growth to Minnesota, he thinks that bringing broadband infrastructure to all of Minnesota is the way to go. He also wants a diverse ecosystem. On the question asked by a member of the audience regarding which of the candidates would have the courage to hold kids and parents accountable in the education system, Kelley disagreed with the premise of the question. He thinks problems in the schools is an indicator of a far bigger social problem. In order to bring more jobs to Minnesota, Kelley advocates the new energy economy. He said that we must strengthen existing manufacturers. He's all for expanding regenerative medicine such as stem cell research. He also likes electronic storage technology. Kelly has good qualifications on these issues. He's currently a senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute as well as the director of the Center for Science, Technology and Public Policy. He teaches a class in Public Budgeting. My impression is that Kelley has the knowledge to tackle the budget crisis but that he's not the most electable candidate. He just doesn't have enough charisma to sway enough voters.

Margaret Anderson Kelliher - Here we go with the "I grew up on a dairy farm" routine. It's getting old. And here we go with the "I have four older brothers." I almost feel the insinuation that if I don't vote for her, she'll send her big brothers after me. I'm not really sure what my problem with Kelliher is. Does she come across as too egotistical? Too intense? Too opinionated? I think it's some combination of all these things. She's an excellent communicator, though. No crutch words here. I couldnt find even one. On abortion access, she agrees with the other candidates that the decision should be made by the woman, her doctor, her family and perhaps her clergy. On greenhouse gas emissions, she told of the bill on this and emphatically stated, "And I'm the one who got it passed!" On bringing economic growth to Greater Minnesota, she reiterated that she grew up on a dairy farm. (Really? Gosh, I did not know that...) She gave an impromtu speech at this point that sounded canned. I think most people try to give a canned speech that sounds impromptu. On health care, she stated that Minnesota needs to address the issues of disease in Minnesota. Doesn't she know that MDH is already doing an excellent job? All kinds of new ideas have arisen out of that agency, including the new Baskets of Care program. In her closing statement, I felt that Kelliher was too loud. Her focus was on investing in children and families. She likes to boast of her endorsements, but as we all know, endorsements don't necessarily cement the election. Besides, it's Mark Dayton who has the powerful Council 5 AFSCME endorsement. Dayton has Eliot Seide and cronies fully behind him. I think Kelliher is in the running, but I don't think she'll win.

Matt Entenza - Has a nice voice and a nice way of talking to the audience. He exudes Minnesota nice. Entenza agrees that the abortion decision should not be made by the government but by women and their doctors. It's a medical issue. On greenhouse gas emissions, clean energy is his top priority. He states that the governor can't focus on every issue at once; therefore you have to pick which ones to focus on. His is a clean energy economy. He sees a need to help deteriorating small communities in rural Minnesota. He wants to move toward organics and claims that farmers can make more money per acre with organics. He thinks that Minnesota can become the Silicon Valley of clean energy. On taxes, Entenza opposes raising sales taxes. He gave some good rhetoric on the issue. In his closing statement, he talked again about his childhood and how his father ran off on the family and left them destitute. He told about the opportunites he was given to pursue his education. He spoke with sincerity. I felt so sad about his childhood. On the other hand, many of us have a story to tell that's much worse than that. I wouldn't use the story as a way to get sympathy from the audience in an attempt to get votes. I like Matt Entenza. I think he'll be a top runner for the governorship. I'm still going with Mark Dayton, though, as the best choice for Governor of Minnesota.

Watch the video of the forum at The Uptake.

Friday, November 20, 2009

TAKING THE BUS



I attended the first ever Netroots Minnesota convention after work today. This is a grassroots organization that is determined to bring progressive leadership back into government. I had a great time and made new friends. There was a breakout session on blogging that I attended that I found quite interesting. There was also a DFL gubernatorial candidate forum.

I'll post about the forum a bit later. First I want to tell you about my bus ride home. If I had remembered about the convention when I left for work this morning, I would have driven. Instead, I took the express bus downtown St. Paul as I usually do. After the conference it was late enough that there were no express buses. So I took the #64.

If anyone wants a real look at another world of people that you don't usually hang out with, take the bus. Not just any bus. To get this kind of education, take the #64 out of downtown St. Paul to Maplewood Mall. Or take the #10 out of downtown Minneapolis to Columbia Heights. Or take the #16 that travels between St. Paul and Minneapolis on University Avenue.

I had just missed the first #64 so had to wait at the bus stop for about twenty minutes. I waited on 6th and Minnesota. This is one of the most interesting bus stops in downtown St. Paul. There are all kinds of unique people from all levels of society who wait for their bus here. Not only at night, but also during the afternoon rush hour.

The bus finally came and up the steps I went. I like to sit on the right side about a fourth of the way back. We rolled on down the street and picked up passengers at various bus stops.

I knew there was going to be a problem when some drunk guys got on. One was old; one was young. I knew a ruckus was about to break out. When two guys, one white and old and one black and young, started shoving each other around, I had my first clue. Then some women got into it with one of the drunk guys. He attacked her with very colorful adjectives and she screamed back at him. The bus driver trucked on down the road.

This looked like a situation that could escalate to something ugly. I wondered who would do something about it. I looked around the bus and didn't see anyone who looked like a leader. Then I thought, "Wait a minute. I'm a Toastmaster Division Governor. I should do something." So I got up and faced the passengers and said, "Hey, let's all get along." They said, "Sit yo ass down, bitch!"

I don't like people telling me what to do, so I remained standing. I said, "How would all of you like to have better lives? How would you like to have a good job and be guaranteed that your kids will have a great education?"

They just looked at me with their mouths hanging open and said, "What yo talkin' bout?"

I started in on my spiel on why Minnesota is in such bad shape. I told of how there are people who have a vision for Minnesota. A vision as great as Martin Luther King had for his people.

They were listening now.

That's when I convinced them that they needed to vote and that their vote would make a difference. Some were listening avidly now. The old drunk had passed out.

I told them how they could get involved to make their communities and the entire state better. Of course I told them why they should vote for my favorite candidate. I just happened to have some campaign buttons and flyers.

I think they felt pretty good when they got off the bus. They were smiling.

By the time the bus hit North St. Paul (yes, folks, it's a long, long ride to get back to Maplewood Mall on the #64), it was fairly quiet. I couldn't help but overhear two young people directly behind me talking about Johnny Cash. What could I do but turn around and say, "Hey, are you Johnny Cash fans too?"

So the bus kept rolling and we talked about Johnny Cash, and I turned them on to Asleep at the Wheel, and about their new album with Willie Nelson called Willie and the Wheel, and they promised to go home and look them up on the web. Since they were into music (the young man had a band), I told them about my son Justin's music career and his current business called Roll Music Systems. They wrote it down.

Of course I then had to tell them why I was taking the bus home and that led to the Netroots Conference and the candidates' forum. The young man said he worked for the Republican Party, but he wasn't really a Republican. This was encouraging. His girlfriend said she was an Independent. She said she couldn't be a Republican because she believed in freedom of choice for a pregnant woman. I said "Oh, you're a Democrat then." No, she was an Independent.

I said, "Have I got a candidate for you." That's when I introduced two more people to the idea of voting for Mark Dayton.

They got off at their stop and I rolled on down the road to the Maplewood Mall Park & Ride. I scraped the frost off my car and drove on home.

Every day can be exciting. It's just a matter of turning negative situations into something positive.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

WHO SHOULD BE MINNESOTA'S NEXT GOVERNOR?



Isn't it about time we had a governor with integrity, honesty, good character and experience? Someone with a sense of humor and a great personality who is kind and compassionate? One who is willing to go out of his way to help others? Someone who cares deeply and sincerely about the people of Minnesota? When's the last time we had a governor with these traits? What would it be like to have such a governor? Minnesota would be a great state, just like it used to be. We'd have a great education system, wonderful roads and bridges, a clean environment and health care for everyone. We'd have an abundance of jobs and no one would be homeless. No one would freeze to death from being without shelter in subzero winter nights. Veterans would get their rightful benefits. No one would die because they didn't have health insurance. No one would have to file bankruptcy because they couldn't afford their high medical bills. Everyone would be treated the same. There would be no elite groups that preyed on the misfortunes of others.

Join me in voting for Mark Dayton for the next Minnesota Governor.

LARRY ANKRUM'S NEW CD: WITHOUT REASONS



Larry Ankrum is an old friend of mine. We were classmates from first grade though high school. In band, he played first chair tenor sax and I played first chair alto sax. He was an excellent sax player even back in those days. We were in pep band, marching band, concert band and jazz band. Larry followed his love for music throughout his life. He played in a band on a cruise ship. He played a lot in New Orleans. He played it all around the world. Now he's got a new cd called Without Reasons. To listen to some excerps from it and/or to buy it, go to CD Baby.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

REPUBLICANS SHOULD BE ASHAMED

The right wingers are now selling t-shirts and bumperstickers that say "Pray for Obama...Psalm 109.8" In part, this verse says "May his days be few. May another take his position. May his children be orphans and his wife a widow."

That is definitely going too far. It shows how low the Republicans will go.They are now beneath notice. Anyone who is a Republican should be deeply ashamed of their party's tactics.

If this keeps up, Election 2010 is going to be a filthy deal. I hope all voters will show their disgust of this type of campaigning by going to the polls and showing their displeasure with the party that engages in this type of abhorrent behavior.

This is an absolute blight on Christianity as well as on the GOP.

For more information, click here.

Here's another website that shows the mentality of these people:
Click Here

The scariest thing is that they think their God approves of this.

Monday, November 16, 2009

POLITICAL MUD SLINGING? AIRING EACH OTHER'S DIRTY LAUNDRY?





Why do political campaigns have to have a negative side to them? Why do candidates feel they have to fling mud at each other and air each other's dirty laundry? Didn't we have enough of this with Franken and Coleman? And with others at almost every election? Voters get sick of it to the point where they don't want to vote for anyone. Except, of course, for those who delight in being trolls.

I really hope that the 2010 election will be clean. No one needs to act like grammar school kids. For once, can we just have an election where everyone loves everyone else? One in which each side shows a compassion for the other? Or is that just not possible?

My Grandmother always said, "If you can't say something good about someone, then don't say anything at all." It's better to remain silent, because if you don't, you can bet that it will escalate until the entire campaign, no matter whose campaign it is, will fall. Even people who are generally kind and caring people can fall into the trap of lashing out. We all need to remember to turn the other cheek. Nonviolent people need to behave in ways that are becoming to their own integrity. When we turn the other cheek it gives us an inner strength and keeps the opposition silent.

We don't need to fling mud on others because generally they do a pretty good job of flinging it on themselves. Voters will notice. They'll also notice who engaged in mud and who kept quiet. He who keeps quiet about their opponents' shortfalls and stupidity is the one who is admired and looked up to for leadership.

Candidates can and should defend themselves from attack, but why go on the offensive? That smells too much like the war policy we've had for far too long. We should all remember that world peace begins within each of us and works its way outward into the macrocosm.

This from an Aries, the sign of war and fire. Must be from my Capricorn Ascendant and Venus in Pisces.

Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now.

HEPATITIS C AWARENESS




Have you been tested? If not, ask your health care provider for the simple test.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

DFL SENIOR CAUCUS AUTUMN GALA

Me and R.T. Rybak



Me and Tom Rukavina


Me and Mark Dayton

I attended the DFL Senior Caucus Autumn Gala this afternoon. What a great bunch of people those DFL Seniors are. I joined the group by paying $8.00 in dues. Not bad at all for an annual membership. I look forward to more interaction with this group.

The DFL gubernatorial candidates were there. It was the same people as were at the Veterans' Caucus yesterday (see previous blog). Today was not a forum, just a gathering, but the candidates were each given 2 - 3 minutes to tell why we should support them. I'll just give a brief comment on each candidate.

Tom Bakk - said pretty much the same thing as he did yesterday. One improvement was that he smiled when he walked away from the podium.

Mark Dayton - seemed a lot more comfortable with the Senior Caucus than at some of the other events. He's the only candidate who's a member of this group. He was at his best today. He seems to speak very effectively when he's sure of his audience. I would suggest holding the microphone about an inch further away from his mouth. (So we can read his lips better?) He used a lot of humor at the beginning of his presentation, then got serious with a Paul Wellstone type of passion in his voice. In talking with many of the Seniors before the event, I found that many were Dayton supporters.

Matt Entenza - was not able to attend today, but he did send a spokeswoman in his place. She was an excellent speaker. Maybe she should run for governor.

Susan Gaertner - was not in attendance today.

Steve Kelley - made all the same mistakes today as he did yesterday. Too loud and likes to point that finger at the audience.

Margaret Anderson Kelliher - She had a better manner of speaking today than she did yesterday. One thing she said that I clearly remember is how well she can relate to Minnesotans because she grew up on a dairy farm. Huh? I don't get it. I think she's obsessively overplaying the farmer's daughter personna. It gets annoying after awhile.

John Marty - same old, same old. Except he stepped away from his health care reform spiel long enough to point out that he's all for gay marriage. Aren't we all?

Tom Rukavina - had the room in stitches today. Gosh, he's funny. I still say he should go into standup. He's great at it. What humor! He said he should get more than three minutes because he had to drive so far to get here. He knows how to work a room, too, just as well as Rybak does, only in a different manner.

R.T. Rybak - is an excellent speaker. No crutch words, great engagement of the audience, very good eye contact, good use of his space, used stories of how he's changed Minneapolis. We want to believe everything he says. He may be glib, but if he is, he's good at it. A regular Joe Girard. I did find out that he got started in speaking before groups in grade school. The more he did it, the better he got at it. He'd make a great Toastmaster.

Paul Thissen - attended today, which was good, because he couldn't make it yesterday. Paul has a fresh way of looking at things and a clean look about him that puts everyone at ease. He's the new kid on the block. I expect we'll see great things from him in the future. Keep your eye on him.

Too bad Rebecca Otto isn't running for governor. She was the best speaker of the whole lot. She even surpassed Rybak. I'd vote for her in a heartbeat.

I had a great time today and had a big grin plastered across my face most of the day. Reminded me of the summer of 1968.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

DFL VETERANS' CAUCUS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE FORUM, MPLS, 11-14-2009


Today I attended the MN DFL Veterans' Caucus in Minneapolis. There was a gubernatorial candidate forum with each candidate answering questions presented to them by the moderator. Here's my impressions of the candidates who attended.

Most of the candidates agreed on what is currently wrong in Minnesota and the things that need to be done to fix it. I'll comment on the presentation skills of the candidates as well as how I feel about their probable success in their candidacy for Minnesota Governor.

The candidates were seated in alphebetical order by last name. That's how I'll list them here.

Tom Bakk - has a strong and powerful voice and good presentation skills. He has a good knowledge of the budget crisis that MN is in and knows that whoever the next governor is will have to work closely with the legislators to accomplish what needs to be done. On the down side, Tom doesn't include any humor when he talks. He's dead serious. I didn't even see a hint of a smile. He sounds angry. Tom needs to lighten up and mellow out. He seemed a bit frightening. I'm not sure he has the personality needed to be governor.

Mark Dayton - definitely has a good sense of humor. He's got a nice voice that would be easy to listen to all day. I heard good voice projection and volume and saw excellent hand gestures. It's obvious that he has the experience necessary to be an effective governor. He understands how state government works because he ran three state agencies over the course of his career. He knows how money works, too, probably more so than any of the other candidates. If anyone can get us out of a budget crisis, it would be Mark Dayton. He's very sincere about wanting to make Minnesota a better state. With his experience, sincerity and deeply caring attitude, he's my top choice for governor. He's also got a lot of supporters all over the state, which makes him very electable. People love the idea of having a governor who actually cares about them.

Matt Entenza - also has a personna of deep sincerity...almost as deep as Dayton's. Matt's a person you can't help but like. He's the boy next door type. He's a good speaker. His ideas are sound. He's knowledgeable about the issues. He's also one of my top four choices. I'm not sure, though, that a prosecuting attorney background would make the best governor. A lot of people have the idea that you can't trust lawyers, so the question arises whether the people of Minnesota would elect one for their governor.

Susan Gaertner - admits that she's tough and not afraid of a fight. I think she'd be able to deal quite well with the job of governor. I like the way she presents herself. On the other hand, I'm not sure she is aware of all the ramifications of all the issues. She's good on crime and good on child support, but the governor has to be good on everything. Again, she's got that prosecuting attorney background. Her presentation was good...much better than it was at the AFSCME endorsement. She should stand up straighter and work on pausing instead of using crutch words. In spite of my reservations, I still have to put her in the top four candidates category.

Steve Kelley - definitely has a loud booming voice. It was so loud that it hurt my ears. He needs to tone down the volume by about half. The sheer loudness was distracting. Steve was good with gestures except for his habit of pointing his finger at the audience. That habit won't get him elected. Steve has good DFL answers for the issues. I didn't really hear anything new. There was nothing shattering to read his lips about. Also, he's got an attorney background. What's with all the lawyers running for governor?

Margaret Anderson Kelliher - is a very good speaker (no pun intended) as far as delivery, enunciation, volume and not using crutch words. So what's missing? Personality, perhaps? She's no nonsense and right to the point, but a governor needs a bit more than that. She seems very opinionated. I'm not sure if she would listen to others and be able to work effectively with both parties at the Capitol. She is not one of my top four choices.

John Marty - is another candidate who sounds good but has something missing. I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe he's just too serious. Can a governor be too serious? Certainly. A governor needs to have as close to a perfect balance as he can get. He or she needs to be serious about the issues and about fixing Minnesota, but also needs to be personable and be able to insert humor now and then. The people of Minnesota need to know that the governor is a real person, not just a political powerhouse. I didn't see that deep sincerity and compassion for others that is so apparent with Dayton and Entenza.

Tom Rukavina - You gotta love Tom Rukavina. He's just adorable. He's got so much humor that he'd be great at standup comedy. He should definitely join Humor Mill Toastmasters...what a great addition he'd be. I don't think he's the best choice for governor, though. Wait a minute...didn't I previously say that these candidates need to have some humor? Well sure, but if there's too much, people won't take you seriously. There's a fine balance. Tom reminds me a lot of Lt. Colombo in mannerisms. I really like Colombo, but not as a governor.

R.T. Rybak - gets the best speaker award. He's a fantastic presenter. He's got energy and charisma, charm and intelligence. He knows how to work a room. He's good looking and fairly young as far as politicians go. Wait a minute, lots of people think Tim Pawlenty has all those things, too, and look what happened to that governorship. Not to worry, Pawlenty is a Republican and Rybak is a Democrat. That should make all the difference, right? One would hope. So I'll say that R.T. is in my top four choices for the next Governor of Minnesota.

There are two other candidates who did not attend the forum. They are Paul Thissen and Ole Savior.

Here's my top four candidates for Minnesota Governor in order of my preference.
1. Mark Dayton
2. R. T. Rybak
3. Matt Entenza
4. Susan Gaertner

I plan to attend other forums and write blogs about my impressions. Check back for updates.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

MINNESOTA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE MARK DAYTON SPEAKS TO THE UPTAKE ABOUT THE ISSUES

Why He's Running for Governor


What's Different about Mark Dayton: His Experience


Mark Dayton on The Economy


Mark Dayton on Energy


Mark Dayton's Goals as Governor of Minnesota


Mark Dayton on Health Care


Mark Dayton's Political Hero


Mark Dayton on Differences Between Democrats and Republicans


Mark Dayton on Veterans' Issues


Mark Dayton's Motivation for Running for Governor

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Music Evokes Emotions

Music can make you feel sad, happy, exuberant, excited or angry. That's why so many institutions use music to evoke emotions. During the War Years, the military used marching band music by band leaders such as John Philip Sousa to arouse patriotism. The Sixties gave us an abundance of protest music in response to the Nixon administration and the Viet Nam War. Folk music sometimes speaks out against politicians who say one thing and mean another. Country music sings about life. Churches consistently use music to shape the emotions of the flock.

Here are some of the songs I'm gravitating toward today, November 11, 2009.

Matchbox: Carl Perkins, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr


Talkin World War III Blues - Bob Dylan (vintage Dylan, rare footage)


Motorcycle Song - Arlo Guthrie


Jambalaya - Hunter Hayes, Hank Williams Jr.

TIRED OF YOUR JOB?



Even those who love their jobs need a vacation every now and then. Here's some of my favorite places to go to relieve stress and relax.

Lutsen Resort, Lutsen MN

Rivertown Inn, Stillwater MN


Vagabond Village Campground, Park Rapids MN


Naniboujou Lodge, Grand Marais MN


Ludlow's Island Resort, Lake Vermillion MN

Sunday, November 8, 2009

OUT WITH TIM (THE DESTROYER) PAWLENTY, IN WITH MARK (THE BUILDER) DAYTON


Mark Dayton is the best candidate for Governor of Minnesota. He's got 34 years of pubic service experience. He previously ran three separate state agencies. He knows how Minnesota government is supposed to work. He has seen it work in the past. He knows how to make it work that way again. He knows how to fix Minnesota after the disaster that a Republican administration has made.

Mark Dayton will get Minnesota back on track. He'll make sure our public school system once again gets the funding they need to educate our children. He'll expand our mass transit system to meet our needs for now and for the future. He'll make sure our environment is as pollution free as possible.

Mark Dayton will create jobs. He knows how to do this, as he worked with former Governor Rudy Perpich and his mantra of "Jobs Jobs Jobs." Our unemployment rate will be virtually nonexistent.

Mark Dayton believes in quality health care for all Minnesotans. He's appalled that there are those who are denied insurance coverage because of preexisting conditions. He's outraged that people are forced into bankruptcy or death because they cannot get health insurance. Mark Dayton feels a deep concern and compassion for those who struggle just to make ends meet.

Mark Dayton is a wonderful friend to senior citizens. Remember how he organized bus rides to Canada so seniors could get prescription drugs far less expensively than here in America? As governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton will continue to work for issues that affect seniors.

Mark Dayton is for green energy. He knows how vital clean energy is. He knows it means a cleaner environment, healthier air and more jobs.

Green for energy and green for AFSCME. Mark Dayton is also the best choice for federal, state, county and municipal employees. He wants to work together to make a better Minnesota.

Mark Dayton is a friend to senior citizens, a friend to farmers, a friend to the poor and middle class, a friend to working Minnesotans, a friend to students and a friend to minorities.

Please join me in voting for Mark Dayton on election day 2010. Mark Dayton is the only viable choice for a Better Minnesota. Mark Dayton cares.