News & Notes July 20, 2011

I spent yesterday morning getting a root canal, a wonderful experience only because it saves a tooth and ends some pain.  Having found a badly infected tooth explains why I was so lethargic the past few weeks.  As I quickly approach the big 6-0 more and more of my body fails me.  Not that I’m complaining since I never expected to see 50 much less 60.

With the state legislature on hiatus the action going on has been in Washington over the debt ceiling vote.  Normally summers are rather quiet on the political front, especially August when they all go on vacation.  I’ll be in New Mexico again traveling to Santa Fe on August 20th and returning September 7th just in time for the Democratic State Committee meeting in Gettysburg.

Amid new reports she suffers from debilitating migraine headaches Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann dodged questions from ABC News reporter Brian Ross.  The candidate’s security shoved him after an event in South Carolina.  He wanted to know if she’d missed votes due to her headaches.  This, obviously, would be an important factor for voters electing someone to such a crucial decision making position.  I think Bachmann needs to release her medical records, something expected of every major presidential contender.

Speaking of Bachmann she has also been mired in controversy for her husband Marcus’ “clinic” where they use religious prayer on clients to “pray the gay away.”  Undercover video showed a therapist equating gays to barbarians.  I think they need therapy for their transference issues.  After the audio received wide coverage Bacmann tried to deny the statement but evidence showed the recording NOT to have been doctored.  The Bachmann clinic in Minnesota is partially funded by the state.

In a 2010 interview with the Christian radio show ‘Point of View,” Bachmann was asked how parents should deal with LGBT teenagers, to which the good doctor replied, “We have to understand: Barbarians need to be educated… They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road.”

While her Tea Party supporters and other morons keep claiming the U.S. has the best health care in the world (we don’t and it isn’t even close) a new report says we now have the second highest newborn death rate in the modern world.  Maybe this is because people like the Koch Brothers and their Tea Party enablers are turning us into a Third World country.  The Paul Ryan Plan and the Cut, Cap and Destroy legislation passed yesterday in the House would gut programs and benefits for children, the elderly and the disabled.  How we treat those most vulnerable among us says what and who we are as a people.  I’m afraid this statement is now very ugly.

The first Wisconsin recall election was held yesterday and Democrat Dave Hansen won.  The showdowns are the result of the anti-labor, anti-middle class warfare raging there earlier this year.

The Senate Judiciary Committee began deliberating a repeal to the Defense of Marriage Act.  The Respect For Marriage Act introduced by Diane Feinstein of California produced no credible arguments from the religious fringe.   Al Franken really tore up Focus on the Family:

Minnesota Supremes Say Franken Won, Coleman Finally Concedes

The Minnesota Supreme Court finally ended Norm Coleman’s quixotic quest to deny Al Franken his election victory back on November 4th.  The sore loser of all sore losers finally conceded the election and Franken can finally take his Senate seat and give the good people of Minnesota their proper representation in Washington.  The seat gives Democrats 60 votes though that magic number is anything but assured.  There’s no way of knowing how Arlen Specter will vote on any issue.

Specter Says Coleman, Not Franken, Should Be Seated

Our new Democratic Senator continues to show his Republican stripes saying Minnesota’s defeated GOP Senator Norm Coleman should be seated in the Senate despite being defeated by Al Franken.  Coleman, the ultimate sore loser, has kept his recount tangled up in courts so as to deny Democrats another vote in the Senate.  As a result Minnesotans have been denied their proper representation in the U. S. Senate.

How on earth can Arlen Specter say Norm Coleman should be seated when it is clear that Al Franken won the election?  No wonder the Senate stripped Snarlin’ Arlen of his seniority yesterday.  He no longer has much to show for 29 years.  Specter stripped himself of any dignity when he switched parties then continued to vote Republican.  The thought that he could continue voting Republican as a Democrat and that Pennsylvania voters will overlook this travesty is frightful.  

We need someone to challenge Specter and bring these issues to a vote a year from now.  Perhaps Specter is simply laying the groundwork so he can maintain his seat even after he loses.  I’m sorry Senator but it doesn’t work that way.  You cannot pull a Lieberman in Pennsylvania.

Arlen Specter’s Impact on Al Franken

{First, a cheap plug for my blog Senate Guru.} Before Arlen Specter’s Party switch announcement yesterday, the Senate’s Democratic caucus stood at 58 members.  Senator-elect Al Franken represented Democrats’ 59th vote toward cloture, still short of reliably ending Republican filibusters.  But now, with Specter joining the Democratic caucus, Senator-elect Franken represents the big 6-0, which is why Republicans will redouble their efforts to delay Senator-elect Franken’s seating – and why we in the netroots must redouble our efforts to send obstructionist Republicans a message and also provide them with adequate disincentive from delaying Senator-elect Franken’s seating any further.

Since the “One Dollar a Day to Make Norm Coleman Go Away” effort started just a couple weeks ago, about $40,000 has been raised to remind the Republicans funding Norm Coleman’s endless appeals that, for every single day that they delay the implementation of the will of Minnesota voters, progressive voters will raise money to use against these Republicans on Election Day 2010.

Your support will strengthen that message!

Norm Coleman and his fellow Republicans recently scored a success in further delaying Senator-elect Franken’s seating, as the trial schedule adopted by the state Supreme Court for Coleman’s appeal is such that oral arguments before the Court won’t begin until June 1st, over a month from now.  Further, although Minnesota election policy dictates that Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty must prepare and sign Senator-elect Franken’s election certificate once the state Supreme Court hands down its decision, Pawlenty has hemmed and hawed as to whether he would follow state election policy accordingly.

With a D next to Arlen Specter’s name, Republicans will go full force to block Senator-elect Franken’s seating.  Please join us in eliminating Republicans’ incentive to delay Senator-elect Franken’s seating any further by taking part in the “One Dollar a Day to Make Norm Coleman Go Away” effort.  At right is video of the segment on MSNBC’s Hardball highlighting the effort.

MN-Sen: Make Norm Coleman Go Away for Just One Dollar a Day

{First, a cheap plug for my blog Senate Guru.}

Even in Pennsylvania, I’m sure you’ve heard plenty about what’s going on with the still-unsettled Senate race in Minnesota.

While Republican Norm Coleman prolongs his endless and pointless appeals, cementing his admission into the Sore Losers Hall of Fame, progressive organizations Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have introduced a new effort:, “A Dollar a Day to Make Norm Go Away.”  Very simply put, commit to contributing just one dollar per day for every day that sore loser Norm Coleman refuses to concede.

This is exactly the correct approach to take in order to provide Republican leadership in Washington with adequate disincentive from continuing to fund Coleman’s endless appeals.  The GOP bigwigs funding Coleman’s appeals see value in putting their money toward keeping progressive Senator-elect Al Franken from being seated.  This grassroots-powered effort will make them think twice by generating many thousands of dollars for progressive candidates for every single day that they fund the Coleman circus.

If you feel so inclined, you can certainly chip in a bit of change directly to the Franken Recount Fund, as well.

Franken Declared Winner

From now on the definition of “sore loser” will show Norm Coleman’s face.  The Minnesota Senate election should finally be final following the state court decision yesterday to declare Al Franken the winner last November.  Coleman, with financial and moral support from Republicans all around the country, has been derailing democracy and denying Minnesotans their proper representation in the Senate with endless legal wrangling.  Their goal, according to Republican Senators, is to deny Democrats their 59th vote.

This is all about politics, not democracy.  They do not believe in Country First, but GOP First.  Screw the people, just hold things up as long as possible.  Ironically every tactic Coleman tries results in more votes for Franken.  It is time to end this farce.  It may be a cold day in hell before another Republican wins in Minnesota.  Those voters will well remember what the GOP denied them.

It is time for Gov. Pawlenty to sign the certification and for the United States Senate to seat Senator Al Franken.  No joke.

Republicans Undermining Democracy in Minnesota

Here we are in mid March and the Senate still contains only 99 people.  The constitution provides TWO Senators to each state but Minnesota has only one.  This is because Republicans have been holding up the election of Democrat Al Franken in order to subvert the President’s agenda in Washington.  John Kyl (R-AZ) has openly stated that this is the purpose of Norm Coleman’s endless legal actions.  No one thinks Coleman was re-elected but by obstructing the certification of Al Franken Republicans are, admittedly, preventing Democrats from having 59 votes.

This is an intentional and unconscionable undermining of democracy.  For people who spent most of this decade screaming about liberal Democrats “hating freedom” the GOP has become crass about the freedoms of Minnesotans.  The residents of that state have been victimized by not getting their proper and proportional representation in the United States Senate.  All of this has been done, openly and admittedly, for partisan political purposes.