A Look Back At The DNC Convention

On September 30, 2012, in Road Trip 2012, by tommy

The RNC and DNC Conventions were defining of this year’s presidential race. On August 28th – just after the RNC and just before the DNC – Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight Blog at the New York Times had President Obama’s odds of winning at 68.7% and Romney at 31.3%. From that point on, it’s been all Obama; as of September 28, President Obama is at 82.7 with Romney dropping to 17.3%. The RNC’s Convention was a party for the country club while the DNC’s was a party for the country.

Having the advantage of being credentialed media in addition to a National Delegate allowed the opportunity to talk to media from across the country that covered both events, and universally the response was that Charlotte was a much more open event, for the media, delegates, and average citizens alike. Tampa, I was repeatedly told, was a high security, keep people and the press away event – and the further away the better. At Charlotte, the limited protests that actually were present could and did get right downtown into the heart of where the action was. Fundie Westboro types set up literally on the sidewalk in front of the Convention Center – with AMPLIFIERS. And I capitalized that, because they were VERY LOUD. And obnoxious, too.

So there were some clear differences between the Conventions. Here’s some of my observations from Charlotte:

It was a lot of fun to Road Trip to Charlotte with a couple of guys; we met on Friday at DFL HQ on Plato. The crew got to know each other much better AND have some fun on the way down – like seeing the fake lemons outside of Lyin’ Ryan’s office in Janesville, Wisconsin. If I were better and faster with iMovie, I’d have a YouTube made of Cliff’s BS Detector going crazy on I-94, and following it to where fake lemons hung like Christmas ornaments in a tree. Which surprised the three of us; we figured why have fake lemons outside when the real lemon was the congressman inside?

One of the slurs GOPers like to hurl at us on the left side of the aisle is we’re “Big-City Democrats.” So I found it ironic that the GOP held their convention in a big city, while by no stretch of the imagination is Charlotte a “big city.” Nice city, yes. And with local foods to die for. I absolutely had the best fried chicken, ever. Period. End of story. So I applaud the choice of Charlotte for the convention; I think it makes for a great convention to hold it in a smaller city – it was the biggest show in town and everyone was very happy to have it there. A convention, like the RNC did, in Tampa? A drop in the bucket, for a big city. Plus, it takes away a talking point for the GOPers.

Because Charlotte is a smaller city, The Host Committee had to be very creative in where to stage events – such holding the Saturday night pre-convention Media Party at the North Carolina Music Factory.

The Sunday Night Delegation Welcome Parties were split up and held in a variety of venues. The Minnesota Delegation teamed up with delegates from Louisiana, New York, Puerto Rico, D.C., South Dakota and Texas for a party at a science museum – which reminded EVERYONE that we’re Democrats, because GOPers these days simply don’t believe in science. Other states met at at venues such as the National Whitewater Center and the Carolina Raptor Center and, of course, the NASCAR museum. I thought it was really cool to hold these events in the venues that they did, and a lot more fun than just some convention center hall. Note to 2016 Host Committee — just do it!

Monday was a party for the people – CarolinaFest. It was essentially a big party downtown featuring two music stages with James Taylor as headliner; weather wiped out a performance by Jeff Bridges and the Abiders. Other acts were local in nature – which is a good thing. The Host Committee did their best to make sure as much local flavor as possible was in everything the Host Committee did.

The Convention went off well. I’ve seen a LOT of speeches, and I’ve NEVER seen one as amazing as First Lady Michelle Obama’s speech on opening night. When she was speaking, you could hear a pin drop (between applause); everyone wanted to hear every single word. The place was packed to the rafters – and everyone was paying attention. Even in the corridors it was quiet; everyone was crowded by the TV’s on the wall or running back to (non-existent) seats in the arena. It was so good, I’m going to put it up so people can watch it again!

This version, as of this time, has 1,956,737 views.

I knew it was going to be a great speech. Before speakers go on the stage, copies of their speeches are available to the media so they (we!) can start writing/working before the speech starts. For instance, in the photo to the right, taken in the media area, one intrepid media type is pre-loading her tweets. This photo was taken during President Obama’s address – which, while very, Very, VERY good – didn’t measure up to The First Lady’s, IMNSHO. When I picked up the copy of The First Lady’s speech, and read through it, I knew it was going to be a great one. And the First Lady nailed that speech.

That scene, our intrepid media type standing and tweeting, was typical – especially on Day Three. It was supposed to be held in the Football Stadium; weather concerns caused the finale from being held outdoors with 70,000 to inside. And that move caused about 25,000 to be crammed into an arena that holds 15,000. But as they say: “ya know what?” – the job got done and the stories got written.

The DFL Staff, from Marge Hoffa & Ken Martin & Corey Day to Kate & Carlie & Heidi & everyone – did a great job under sometimes difficult conditions. There’s always SNAFU’s at every event; the issue isn’t the SNAFU – it’s how it’s dealt with. The DFL Staff did a fine job.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that The Mayor – R.T. Rybak – seemed to be everywhere. Including delivering a great speech! “Pyromaniacs shouldn’t blame the fire fighter” – gotta love that line!!!

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t thank my host for the Convention, Dusty Trice. Dusty served as the Director of Digital Strategy for The Host Committee, go to that website and you’ll see his name at the bottom of every page.

And I’d also be remiss if I didn’t thank Paul Bengston of Seven Corners Printing – Paul and Seven Corners made that button way at the beginning; I just hauled ‘em down and handed ‘em out to the Minnesota Delegates.

Finally, I’d like to thank the two guys that Road Tripped this event; we’re a little tired but happy for the memories of a lifetime. From finding fake lemons to taking the scenic route through the mountains to to The Pride Party to being there to nominate President Obama for Four More YEARS! – it was quite a trip. While Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight Blog has this race looking very good for a second term, there is still work to be done before the celebration can begin. There’s only five weekends left before election day on November 6th – and lots of phone calls to make and doors to knock to make sure it IS an election night celebration.

From all the Romney Shambles before the conventions, to all of the differences the two conventions pointed out, to Romney’s Libya & Open Mouth, Then Insert Foot fiasco to Romney’s devastating 47% comments at a fundraiser – all that doesn’t matter if there isn’t an end game and folks don’t show up to vote.

As Paul Wellstone said: “The future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard.”

The future is now.

GOTV – Get Out The Vote.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

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Ask any political pro what’s the most important thing in winning votes and they’re more than likely to tell you it’s conversations with voters.

In CD-3, that’s exactly what’s happening. Today the Amy Klobuchar, Brian Barnes, and Denise Bader campaigns joined together and knocked on over 600 doors in Mound. Today, the Brian Barnes and Denise Bader campaigns called over 800 voters on the phone.

This is the kind of cooperation and team work that wins in November. Nothing beats boots on the ground.

To help with Senator Amy Klobuchar’s campaign, link here. To help Brian Barnes knock off a guy that loves to spend your money on himself, link here. To help send Denise Bader to the State House for 33-B, link here. To find the folks in your local DFL Party, link here.

“We all do better when we all do better.” Wellstone said it because it’s true. It’s also true we all do better when we all work together. Today the Klobuchar, Barnes, and Bader campaigns are showing what that means. Get involved, and make a difference – you’ll be glad you did!

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there>

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Yesterday, I covered DFL Endorsed Congressional Candidate Brian Barnes at the 2012 DFL State Convention. Closely! Rode down to Rochester with him; covered him while working the Delegates there – before, during, and after his speech. And it was a really, Really, REALLY good speech – let’s look!

Ladies and Gents – we have an excellent candidate for Congress in MN-03; Brian Barnes.

At the end of the speech, Brian asked:

“If you’re labor, or support labor – stand up!”
“If you support choice, equal pay for women and Planned Parenthood, stand up!”
“If you want to protect social security or are collecting social security, stand up!”
“If you support equality for all, stand up!”
“If you support having the best schools in the world, stand up!”
“Stand up; stand up and be counted!”

And everybody there stood up! Brian had everyone on their feet. For the rest of the day, I saw and heard people walking up to Brian and talking about his speech; I heard people talking to each other about his speech.

This election is going to be about turnout. The bigger the number of people voting the better the DFL Candidate’s chances.

Brian Barnes has been, is, and will continue to work hard to inspire people and Get Out The Vote.

If you want to help Brian beat a guy that thinks taxpayers should pay for his campaign mailers, then you should Link to ActBlue.com and help Brian buy a few stamps. And buttons. And bumper stickers. And yard signs. And all the other things it takes to beat a guy with over a million bucks in his campaign warchest, but can’t help himself from abusing the taxpayers anyway.

So help Brian out, will ya? Stand UP!

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

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The same day – this Saturday – DFL CD3 Delegates gather to endorse the person that’s going to beat Erik Paulsen, R=Bachmann, CD3 GOPers are meeting to re-endorse Postage-Stamp Paulsen. So I took a quick look at the GOP CD3 website, and what did I see?

Let’s look!!!

So, to make sure he’s not primaried by Tea Party Republicans, ol’ Postage Stamp Paulsen (who allegedly really, Really, REALLY hates “gov’t waste!”) has gone all-in on the Ryan Budget.

Which is really rather funny; way back when – when he first ran for the congressional seat Jim Ramstad vacated via retirement – Paulsen claimed he was a “moderate” in the mold of Frenzel and Ramstad. It’s a schtick he recently tried to peddle again last September, at a Town Hall in Mound. It’s a fine-line Paulsen toes; having to go all-in to appease the Right Wing Nut Jobs while trying to convince the electorate he’s really just, well, “not”.

And appease he does! You’ll see posts down the road, comparing Paulsen’s votes to, say, Bachmann – for just one! “Talks like a moderate; votes like a Bachmann!” might just be a common theme!

Back to Paulsen’s post to the RWNJ’s in the GOP’s 3rd CD: What is this noxious and vile Budget Ryan wrote, and Paulsen is all-in on? From National Public Radio:

President Barak Obama: “It is a Trojan horse. Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It is thinly veiled social Darwinism.”

And in Paulsen’s world, that’s just fine.

Here on terra firma? Not so much.

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject; comments welcome there)

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(OK, Strate wrote the post – and directed the YouTube! But hey – I’m in it, so I’m posting it, too!)

by: JeffStrate
Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 13:39:39 PM CDT

DFL Senate District 48, March 24th Convention video with the Junk Yard Democrats watching and reacting to Right Wing World Television. Plus DFL SD 48′s Senate and House endorsements. Eden Prairie and Minnetonka rock!

(direct link to YouTube)

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

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Monday January 16th is Martin Luther King Day. I just got an email in the ol’ in box – let’s look!

“(W)e refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.”

We’ve come a long way since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke those words on a fateful summer day in 1963.

But despite the great strides that have been made over the last half century, there is still work required of us to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity of which King dreamed.

While we are a rich country, too many children attend failing schools.

While many Americans prosper, too many are working too hard for too little.

While bigotry and intolerance are rightly shunned, too many politicians in Washington still quietly seek to perpetuate divisions–based on race, religion, gender and sexuality. They still tell us that those who differ from us are to be feared.

Yes, we’re a better, stronger, more just society than we were in 1963, but there is work left to be done.

So as we honor Dr. King on Monday, let us also take time to renew the calling of his life and make it our own–in this election and beyond.


Brian Barnes


Brian Barnes has announced his candidacy to replace the guy on the “right” – Erik Paulsen. What can I say about Paulsen in just a few words? Well, career-politician Erik Paulsen first door knocked me WAY back, when running for the Minnesota State House – I didn’t like Paulsen’s politics then and I damn sure don’t like them now. Oh – and his voting record closely resembles Michele Bachmann’s. If you believe the 1% needs devoted water carriers in Washington D.C., Paulsen’s just the guy.

Brian Barnes, on the other hand, has been a union member. He’s been active in the Democratic Party (“DFL” here in Minnesota). He’s a graduate of the Coast Guard Merchant Marine Academy, achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserves, is a successful businessman. Oh – and Brian is an Eagle Scout, too.

It’s a clear contrast. And if you support the 1% and Erik Paulsen, you need not do a thing – Wall Street Fat Cats are making sure Paulsen has PLENTY of dough for November’s election. If you support the 99%, Brian can use your help, and you can help out via Brian’s Act Blue page.

It’s fitting Brain Barnes took that quote to honor Martin Luther King Day; that quote is from MLK’s historic “I Have A Dream” speech, which Dr, King delivered on August 28, 1963. As Brain said above, we HAVE come a long way since Dr. King’s speech – and there’s work left to be done. So, let’s DO IT!

To help you get ready for Monday’s Martin Luther King Day, here’s a YouTube of Dr. King’s speech, over music – enjoy!

(the song above – “Spiritual High (Part 3)” – is from the album “Mood Food” by Mood Swings, and is available where I buy my music – The Electric Fetus. If you like Chrissie Hynde, check out “Spiritual High (Part 1)” – Chrissie singing at her best!)

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

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There are two announced DFL candidates to take on GOPer Erik Bachmann Michele Paulsen Erik Paulsen in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District – Sharon Sund of Plymouth and Brian Barnes of Edina.

To help ensure the defeat of Paulsen, who claims he’s a moderate but acts like a teabagger, the DFL’s 3rd CD is hosting a fundraiser & Silent Auction tomorrow, Saturday, in Wayzata! Hey – just $35 gets you in the door – where you can bid on some fabulous items!

Personally, Im going to be bidding on a breakfast with DFL Party Chair Ken Martin.

This is a great chance to meet the candidates and help with that essential campaign resource: money.

If you can’t make it, but want to help, you can donate directly to the candidates via ActBlue. Click here for Sharon Sund and/or click here for Brian Barnes.

Both Sharon and Brian are great people with compelling stories; it’s going to be interesting to see who builds the best campaign.

Visit their campaign websites for more info: SharonSund.com and Barnes.mn.

And hopefully, I’ll see you tomorrow night!

(graphic via the amazing Tild!)

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

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Rep. Steve Simon YouTube Goes Viral

On May 5, 2011, in Justice, Media, Videos, by tommy

“(H)ow many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually wants them around?” — Mn State Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park

That quote by Rep Simon is literally going around the world. As of this posting the following YouTube has gone viral, and been seen 170,938 times.

(Direct link to YouTube)

The best story (IMNSHO) about Rep. Simon’s comments is from a Star Tribune Editorial Writer, John Rash. From it:

With all the action, breaking through the capitol cacophony – let alone the cultural clutter in today’s media – is rare. When it does happen, it’s all too often due to a legislator saying something inflammatory, or inane, or both.

Yet in a measured, calm tone, testimony from Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park, about a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in Minnesota, has made a splash nationally.
Which goes to show that even in today’s showboat society a quietly expressed idea can still make meaningful noise.

Indeed. And once again, from that “noise” –

“(H)ow many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually wants them around?” — Mn State Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-St. Louis Park

(crossposted at MnProgresiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

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Gross Inaccuracies Dept.”

On Saturday, March 12th, there was an explosion at the double-whammied Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Japan. On Sunday, a local RightWingNut Blogger that tells so many whoppers that a fellow progressive blogger created a tag just for him (“Gross Inaccuracies”) ripped Senator Klobuchar with this headline:

Sen. Klobuchar Picking Winners & Losers

Sen. Klobuchar has joined with Tim Johnson to co-sponsor legislation that picks economic winners and losers:

Mr. Gross Inaccuracies finishes his rant with:

Nuclear power plants, oil refineries and new oil rigs won’t get built because organizations like MCEA won’t let them get built.

If Sen. Klobuchar was interested in proven solutions, she needs to ignore these special interest groups when their agenda runs contrary to the needs of We The People.

Here’s what Mr. Gross Inaccuracies forgets: when, in 1957, Congress enacted the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity ActCongress picked nuclear power to be a “winner”.

Yes, that same industry Mr. Gross Inaccuracies is championing now – nuclear power – is only around because over 50 years ago, Congress passed a law saying – in essence – that since nuclear power cannot (at ANY price) obtain liability insurance for it’s operation, if there’s an accident, the kind and generous and good ol’ USofA TaxPayers would pick up the cleanup tab.

No only is Mr. Gross Inaccuracies today’s example of “Those that forget the lessons of history tend to vote GOP” – he’s also a prime example of “Republicans are against federal handouts (except when they’re not).”

Handouts, such as 1957′s Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)

(With news that 2 of 3 (and 3rd might be next) of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Plant in Japan, I thought it might be time to remind people that the only industry that I know of that does NOT have to provide liability insurance is Nuclear. In the case of a meltdown, Taxpayers pick up the cleanup tab. The USS Ronald Reagan is off the Japanese Coast for assistance operations and reportedly just got a dose of radiation; you know – KNOW – who’s going to pay for that. NOT the Nuclear Industry; it’s taxpayers – you and me. The following was originally posted on 26 January 2010)

I saw the link in Politics In Minnesota’s Morning Report; a story written by one of the mutts over at “Freedom Dogs”. Quite certain it was filled with typical republiCon bull(chips), I clicked on the link. I, of course, was correct – complete tripe, and simply another example of “Republicans are against federal handouts (except when they’re not)”

The issue this time, from the mutts, was nuclear power. Let’s look at just one line (I could rip more, but I’m really rather busy to waste too much time on these mutts):

“Nuclear power is safe, efficient, cost-effective, and it’s what the fast growth countries have been doing for years.”

Yeah, “right”. It’s so (cheney)in’ safe, that Xcell Energy mailed out the following calendar to those in the immediate fall-out zone, in 2009:


Those beyond the immediate fall-out zone? Well, if you are it sucks to be you, but: “sucks to be you” really is the mantra in today’s GreedOverPrinciples party so no surprise there!

Here’s the part, that really, Really, REALLY tells me that nukes are safe:

In the unlikely event of a nuclear generating plant accident, how would you be notified?

If the public needs to take shelter or evacuate, warning sirens will sound.
Weather-alert radios will also activate and you will hear a message.
Listen for a steady siren tone lasting 3 minutes. In areas not served by sirens, slow-moving law enforcement vehicles or state helicopters will warn citizens using sirens and loudspeakers.

Now, no one ever accused those mutts at “Freedom Dogs” of bein’ none-too-bright. Lemmings? Yep. Bootlickers? Of course! Flat-out liars? Well, click on the link above, and judge for yourself.

Here’s the kicker: mutts like the Freedom Lemmings “Dogs” love – LOVE – to claim that they’re “free-marketeers” that hate – HATE – “government handouts.”

Folks, the simple fact is, there would be no – NONE – nuclear plants now in operation, had not the nuclear industry been given the federal handout known as the Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act.

In a nutshell, The Price-Anderson Act says that if, as stated in the Excel Calendar above, there’s an “unlikely event of a nuclear generating plant accident” and there’s a whole bunch of damages, Excel isn’t on the hook for the damages – YOU are. Me, too. Well, EVERYONE is. That’s right; nuclear plants don’t have to buy no stinkin’ liability insurance; the nuclear industry instead will stick the taxpayers with the tab if there’s a meltdown.

“Too big to fail” ring a bell?

Here’s why the nuclear industry puts the cost of a (cheney)up meltdown on the American Taxpayers: it’s because no insurance company in their right mind would ever – EVER – insure a nuclear plant for liability. So, to make the buck, the nuclear industry has to put the good ol’ USofA taxpayers on the hook. If they had to buy liability insurance in the open market (“Hello, Allstate?”), and factor that cost into the end price customers paid, other technologies would suddenly look mighty cheap in comparison. You know, like solar? Hydro? Wind? Yada, yada, yada?

Price-Anderson, Gentle Readers, is a Federal Handout – something today’s alleged “conservatives” claim they are against.

Can anybody reading this, tell me one other industry that doesn’t have to provide liability insurance for their operations; one other industry that has to have – HAS TO HAVE – the American Taxpayers on the hook, in order to be economically viable?

As far as I know, nuclear is the only one that fits both of the above.

I’d bet the mutts over at Freedom Dogs never thought of that, before they decided to (once again) play bootlicker for the GOP’s benefactors (this time, the nuclear industry). And I’m certain they never figured out that although they claim (loudly and often) that they want LESS Government, expansion of nuclear power would require MORE government: more regulators/more inspectors/more fire/more police/more emergency responders/more yada, yada, yada.

Unless, of course, they’re advocating MORE nuclear power with LESS government regulations and oversight and evacuation plans, yada, yada, yada.

If they are (and don’t put anything beyond the realm of those mutts), I’m certain they’d have no problemo if said new nuclear plant were built upwind from them by a company run by, say, Ken Lay Jr., or, perhaps, a Charles Keating The Third, or say, the next Tom Petters?

At any rate, the whole sorry saga of alleged “conservatives” advocating for more nuclear power is also another example of:

“Hypocrisy, Thy Party Is GOP”

(cross posted at MnProgressiveProject.com; comments welcome there)