Friday, September 30, 2005

All he got was twenty bucks?

People are scratching their heads over Tom DeLay's PAC's contributions to local Republicans in the last election cycle. Mark Kennedy and John Kline each got, in round numbers, $30,000; Gil Guteneckt got, Spotty recalls, about $6,000. And Jim Ramstad got a measly $20. That's right: twenty bucks. What's that all about? asks Wendy Wilde and others. Spotty will tell you.

That is a highly symbolic $20. Ramstad doesn't need the money, but DeLay wanted to remind him who his real benefactor is for things like Jimbo's seat on the Ways and Means Committee. Just like LBJ used to do little things to remind his colleagues that "he had their peckers in his pocket."

Spot cannot recall an instance of Ramstad crossing DeLay. If he had, Jimbo would never see the light of day in the House.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Rode hard and put up wet . . .

Spotty, just like Katie, has a day in history he wants readers to remember. But not in a good way. Today is the eleventh anniversary of the photo-op signing of the “Contract with America” on the steps of the US Capitol by Congressional Republicans. These were the thrilling days of yesteryear for Sheriff Newton and his faithful deputy Annette Meeks, now of the Center of the American Experiment.

In the rhetorical flourishes that went along with signing this malignant manifesto, the Repubs said they would restore accountability to Congress and end its cycle of scandal and disgrace if they were elected to a majority in the House. That fall, the Republicans got their majority. As Dr. Phil might say, How’s that working’ for ya, America?

Spotty says American has been rode hard and put up wet by the looting, profiteering, and general knavery of the likes of Sheriff Newton, Tom Delay and their corporate buddies in several industries, including financial services (credit cards, especially), pharmaceuticals, energy, and transportation. The recent punitive bankruptcy bill, and the Medicare prescription drug benefit that does more to line the pockets of Big Pharma than it does to provide prescription coverage to seniors, are just a couple examples of how the Republican Congress is more accountable to the citizens and less scandalized and disgraced. Right.

Congress just passed the porkiest transportation bill in its history. It also passed an energy bill giving billions in tax savings to energy companies that are making historic windfall profits at the same time.

There has been a lot written lately about the performance of Congressman Jim Ramstad at the recent town hall meeting in Edina. Those in attendance will remember that the transportation and energy bills were prominent in the things that the Congressman pointed to with pride.

And yes, Jimbo was in attendance that sunny day in September eleven years ago to add his name and solemn pledge to the Contract on America.


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Michele and Michel's kind of place.

Over at Dump Michele Bachmann, there is a link to a story about a child who was expelled from a Christian school because her parents are lesbians.

A 14-year-old student was expelled from a Christian school because her parents are lesbians, the school's superintendent said in a letter.

Shay Clark was expelled from Ontario Christian School on Thursday.

"Your family does not meet the policies of admission," Superintendent Leonard Stob wrote to Tina Clark, the girl's biological mother.
As it says on DMB, that’s Michele Bachmann’s kind of school. And Spotty says it’ll be the kind of school you help to pay for, if legislators like Michele Bachmann and Geoff Michel (two Republican Minnesota state senators who both sit on the Education Committee) have their way. Both are, of course, proponents of school vouchers for private schools in Minnesota.

What do proponents of voucher programs really want? For the most part, they want to send their kids to religious schools. About 70% of students in Milwaukee’s voucher program attend religious schools.

It is apparent from a couple of recent studies in Cleveland and Michigan that public school education is still the gold standard for student achievement. For several articles on the subject, you should check the excellent site here.

Spotty says that no public money should be wasted on providing a sectarian education because it comes at the expense of a quality public education for all kids. As Spotty has written before in Vouchers Smouchers, vouchers violate the Minnesota Constitution.


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Nice try, Brien . . .

Brien Martin is a demagogue and a crummy historian to boot. He wails with outrage that people have the temerity to disagree with Congressman Ramstad – or him, for that matter –in a letter printed in the Edina Sun Current on September 15th. His tut tutting over the recent Edina town hall meeting with the Congressman is laughable.

The Congressman, like most seasoned politicians, is practiced at the art of deflecting questions and of providing non-answers. He was in fine form at the forum Martin mentions. Unlike the preening boobs in the White House Press Corps, however, the attendees weren’t willing to accept the codswallop that Ramstad served up. He was so relentlessly non-committal on the subject of Social Security “reform” that he wouldn’t even engage the audience in a discussion of different proposals or options.

Martin has it exactly backwards. It was Ramstad that didn’t want to engage in a discussion, not the crowd. People only got restive after being stone-walled for most of the hour. Speaking of that, the attendees were first treated to a twenty or twenty-five minute monologue, and then the Congressman made long, rambling responses to questions in an obvious attempt to run out the clock. Kind of like Condoleeza Rice before the 9/11 commission.

The capper was when Ramstad tried to connect 9/11 with the war in Iraq, a notion that is has been so thoroughly discredited that many people were insulted, justifiably so. Here’s Martin’s defense of Ramstad in his letter criticizing an earlier letter by Penny Van Kampen:
As for Penny Van Kampen, who later wrote (Aug. 25) that at the meeting Ramstad was exploiting 9/11, I would like to know if she also believes President Franklin Roosevelt exploited Pearl Harbor? After all Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor, not Germany and so Roosevelt taking the country to war with Germany, according to Van Kampen's logic, must have been illegal and deceptive. With her logic then I suppose President Abraham Lincoln exploited Gettysburg, too?
What a bonehead. Van Kampen replies this week in the Sun Current:
Mr. Brien Martin, vice chairman of the Senate District 41 Republican Executive Committee, is mistaken. I do not think that attacking Germany in 1941 was "illegal or deceptive." His hypothetical of my "logic" has a problem; the facts get in the way. Germany and Japan had been allies since 1940. Prior to Pearl Harbor, the United States had already attacked German submarines. Moreover, Germany declared war on the United States four days after Pearl Harbor.
Brien, liberals are “close-minded and intolerant?” Hysterical laughter. Sorry.

Spot has written a little more about the meeting on his other blog, here.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Hor, Hor, Hor!

Spotty missed International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arggh! And he had a pist in mind, so he did! So heers a beelated pist fer ya.

English is hard enough for a Dalmatian, much less pirate dialect, so Spot will continue in his version of standard English.

Andrew Bourne, a former marine officer and a candidate for Geoff Michel’s senate seat, wrote an op-ed piece for the Minnesota Daily entitled Stadium should honor service. The Daily is, of course, the daily student newspaper at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. Andrew says:
State leaders from both sides of the aisle should call for a naming amendment to any public funding bill for the stadium, so that when the Gophers rally on the gridiron, they do so under a name recognizing the important civic duty of military service. “Soldier’s Field,” “War Memorial Stadium,” or “Veteran’s Field” would be an apt addition to TCF Bank’s moniker. To do so would be a fitting reminder to Minnesotans of the ongoing cost of war in Iraq and elsewhere. It could also be supported by those who have been critical of U.S. handling of the war thus far.
Spotty will go further. The stadium should be named Memorial Stadium. Period. That’s the name of the old and venerable on-campus stadium that was torn down at the behest of downtown business interests to help justify the building of the Metrodome.

It is a shameful piracy of a piece of the University’s soul to name the stadium after a Minneapolis Savings and Loan. This is what a bill championed by Senator Michel proposes to do. Never mind that the S & L is owned by the biggest sugar daddy that the Republican party in Minnesota has ever seen: William Cooper.

Spot says that the University’s stadium comes first, and that the state should provide the money for it. If William Cooper is so hepped up on supporting stadiums, let him finance a new lane on 35W to the proposed Vikings stadium in Blaine. Call is Cooper’s Way, if he wants.

But the University is not for sale.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Check out a post on the Stool . . .

Spotty has a post today about a post on the sd41 gop website here.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Or maybe a bucket of toiletries like soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, and toothbrushes? Or clean usable clothing (or new stuff if you are so inclined) for kids or adults? Or blankets? How about that soccer ball, football, or basketball that has been lying around? Or just about anything that might be of use to someone who fled from home with only the clothes the person was wearing?

On Wednesday evening, Good Samaritan United Methodist Church in Edina is sending a caravan of rented trucks to a refugee center in Arkansas that has taken in a large number of refugees from deadly Katrina. Anything you can contribute will be welcome on the trucks. Just drop the stuff during the day Tuesday or Wednesday until about midafternoon, and it will get there. Directions to the church are in the link above.

If anybody asks how you found out about this, just tell 'em Spotty sent you. If you know of anyone that you think might be able to contribute, please forward this post. If you never forward a post of Spotty's, please forward this one.

If you have been thinking of contributing money but haven't figured out how you want to do that yet, let Spotty suggest UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Methodist churches pay all the administrative expenses of UMCOR through their apportionments, or dues. One hundred percent of your contribution goes to relief of the hurricane victims.

We get reminded once in a while that the family in family values is the family of humankind.

Spot says thanks.