Wednesday, November 30, 2011

If he drank alcohol, he could pop the corks right now

The Republican field arrayed against Keith Ellison was on display Tuesday night at the VFW hall at Lake and Lyndale in south Minneapolis. There was a debate among the three candidates, Michael Katch, Lynne Torgerson, and Chris Fields, hosted by SD60 and CD5 Republicans with Bob Davis as moderator. Here's a photo, right in front of the stage, shortly after the candidate debate began at seven P.M.

And here's a brief account of the affair by someone who admittedly had trouble paying attention.

BD: Hello, everybody.

LT: Scary Muslims. Islamists. Cair. Keith Ellison.

MK: The City of Minneapolis wants to inspect my cabs.

CF: If dictators in the Middle East get the job done, we should leave them alone.

LT: Scary people want to hurt us.

MK: Get rid of the Federal Reserve.

CF: Get rid of the minimum wage.

LT: Don't forget the Muslim Brotherhood!

MK: Ron Paul.

CF: Paul Ryan and Newt Gingrich.

LT: Michele Bachmann.

RD: Thanks and good night.

The best part of the evening came at the end when there was a squabble about whether to take a straw poll of the attendees. Most were in favor of it, but one wizened fellow in Buddy Holly glasses with yellow lenses was dead set agin' it, and he told they SD chair that he was going to challenge him to a duel.

You really don't have to be a professor of economics

You really don't have to be a professor of economics to recognize what complete windbags and confidence men the Vikings organization is when it made the "but for" argument about public financing of a stadium in recent days. But it is nice that one did. Joe Kimball recounts the argument at the link; he say this:
A blog post by St. Cloud Times reporter Mark Sommerhauser looks at Banaian's objection to the plan, which the Vikings say would use taxes raised by the team — including state income taxes paid by players and employees, and sales tax from items sold in a new stadium — to pay the state's share of the $1.1 billion stadium.

The new proposal, floated in the Twin Cities newspaper ads last weekend, is called the "but-for" plan, because it would target tax revenues that allegedly wouldn't exist, but for the Vikings existence in the state.
But as Rep. King Banaian -- the economist in question -- points out, it is absurd to assert that if the money wasn't spent on the Vikings it wouldn't be spent at all, and that, therefore, a new Viking stadium is self financing:
The sales and income tax revenues the Vikings generate wouldn't necessarily disappear if the team left the state, Banaian says. He says at least some of what fans now spend at Vikings games likely would be spent elsewhere in the state — and thus, also generate sales-tax revenue — even if the Vikings left.

The claim that the tax revenues would be lost without the Vikings "is pretty clearly an overstatement," Banaian said. "It assumes that the fan who doesn’t have the Vikings to go see, sits in their home and does nothing."
And just throws the money into a hole.

The same argument was made about just the sales tax revenue contributed to the state's coffers by the Vikings. Ed Kohler has been debunking that idea for some time, including in his recent Drinking Liberally appearance.

One has to doubt that even the Vikings believe this creation myth.

Drinking Liberally: Javier Morillo-Alicea

We have a great guest coming to DL tomorrow night, December 1st, Javier Morillo-Alicea; Javier is the president of SEIU Local 26, the union that represents about 6,000 janitors and private security guards. He's active in a number of progressive initiatives: Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, Minnesotans United for all Families, and he's a champion for immigrant rights, too.

Javier is a great spokesman for progressives, and we're lucky to have him as a speaker.

As always, we start gathering around six at the 331 Club; Javier's remarks will begin at seven.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

If Barack Obama is Barney Fife

Strib photo
Who the #$%^&* is Tim Pawlenty?

You've probably seen the comment by Timmy.

One answer comes from GQ, which finds (according to MinnPost) that Tim Pawlenty is the least influential person on planet earth. As Joe Kimball says, that will leave a mark.

But there must be some movie, sitcom or cartoon character that Pawlenty reminds you of. For me, it's pretty easy: Gomer Pyle, overbite and all. Maybe you'd put a plaid cap on Gutshot and call him Elmer Fudd, explaining how the wrabbit escaped wounded.

So offer up your answers, boys and girls:

If Barack Obama is Barney Fife, Tim Pawlenty is [fill in the blank].

And if Timmy isn't your cup of, um, tea -- well, he's nobody's cup of tea -- try it with one of the Republican presidential candidates, maybe Herman Cain, Rick Perry, our own Michele, or -- and here's the really hard one -- Mitt Romney.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Reaching out to Jennifer Rubin

Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post wrote a gushing column on November 27, 2011 about Michele Bachmann's foreign policy knowledge. Many of us in Minnesota know better.

Earlier this fall, the Drinking Liberally Players of the Minneapolis - St. Paul chapter of DL got together to read some of Congresswoman Bachmann's memorable quotes, including some that might not be familiar to a wider audience.

In this quote from a 2007 interview - read by an Iraq war vet - Bachmann describes how Shia Iran intended to partition Iraq and turn the western part - Iran lies to the east of Iraq, remember - into a terrorist safe haven. And never mind that western Iraq is Sunni country.

The other videos in the series can be found by searching "wit and wisdom of Michele Bachmann" on Vimeo.

Update: Some readers (including me) have had trouble getting videos to load and play on mobile devices. If that's you, too, please leave a comment with the type of device and the browser you are using. I cannot figure out if the problem is being caused by Blogger's mobile template, Vimeo's rendering of videos for mobile devices, or something else.

Further update: It seems that it is a Opera mobile browser specific problem.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Let's Blame the Unions!

In yet another ginned-up attempt to create the perception that public employees are overpaid, Sen. Mike Parry says that he'll hold hearings on "excessive vacation and sick time payouts" to retiring state employees. Of course, the usual suspects blame organized labor. But if there's a problem with excessive sick leave payouts to state employees, it is with non-union management, not rank-and-file workers.

Image: Entrea Sumatae
The Pioneer Press noted that between 2008 and June 30, 2011, 5600 state employees received $57 million in payment for unused sick leave. In this same timeframe, over 13,400 Minnesota state employees were separated (left their job or retired.) Only 42% of these former employees (5,600) received any sick leave payout. These payouts are concentrated at the top, and many of the recipients are management, not labor. Their assertion that "most take home $10,000 to $30,000" is misleading and dishonest. And the focus on union contracts belies the reality that it's management that gets the lion's share of this benefit.

According to the Pioneer Press's database, of the top 50 recipients of sick time payouts, 46 were non-union management. Of the top 100 recipients, 75 were non-union management in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system or state agencies.

128 MnSCU managers and administrators received sick time payouts from 2008 to June 2011, totalling just over $4 million, an average of about $31,000. Another 294 managers of other state agencies received sick time payouts totalling $6.37 million. This group of 422 non-union workers got $10.38 million, an average of $24,600 each. And that doesn't even include the $92,000 in unused sick time paid out to retiring MnSCU Chancellor James McCormick.

Compare this to other workers (mostly the unionized workforce,) approximately 5150 employees who received $46.61 million in sick leave payouts over that three year period, an average of around $9,000. AFSCME, corrections workers and clerical employees average $4,000 or less. Many of these workers are covered by contracts that require 20 years of service, and mandate that a portion goes into a health care savings account for post-retirement health care costs. $4,000 in post-retirement health care after twenty years of service sure sounds excessive to me!

This episode is typical of right-wing posturing on public employee compensation. First, they conflate union contracts with non-union management compensation in an attempt to blame labor. Second, they lament the highest payouts while denying responsibility for importing that top-heavy compensation model from the private sector. Third, they target middle-class public workers while ignoring the incredible golden parachute payments provided to private sector management and the increasing inequality of income in America.

Elsewhere, Sen. Parry has said that he wants to scrutinize public employee compensation to bring it more in line with the private sector. This is the root of the problem masquerading as the solution. Six figure payouts to the highest paid managers are typical of the private sector compensation model. Let's hope someone points that out during Parry's dog and pony show.

Follow me on Twitter @aaronklemz

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Michele Bachmann is not a lying ass bitch

She is, however, a practicing fabulist.

You're all familiar with Jimmy Fallon's band's choice of music when Bachmann was on the show this week. And that Fallon and NBC apologized for it.

But courtesy of the Dump Michele Bachmann writers (they have a book coming out; it'll make a great gift!) who found a link to the article, you can read about a tale concocted by Bachmann (in her book) about how her great-great-grandpa won a farm in Kansas from Jesse James. The deconstruction of Bachmann's family fable is up at Truthout.

It's an excellent read; it's too bad it wasn't out before Bachmann released her memoir, Core of Conviction.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The crime scene tape is a nice touch, though

That's from a bulletin this afternoon at the Strib's website. It is hard to imagine a shopper who happened to show up at midnight who was not there to "take advantage" of the store hours. You mean they're not always open this late? Damn, I lucked out!

These people do seem placid compared to the reports of violence around the country. The best headline for the entire sordid, sickening day came from the BBC: US Black Friday marred by shootings, pepper sprayings.

Bradlee Dean and all your holiday favorites!

The store shelves have been stocked with the classic Bradlee Dean and the Junkyard Prophet Christmas album.

Get yours today!

Occupy economics

I like this video for a couple of reasons. First, for the sentiments about the Occupy movement expressed by some academics in the field of economics. Second, because it is so well shot and produced.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shut chur pie hole an' getta work!

The boys and girls who write the editorials for the Strib are really on a roll. First, they wail about the "200 to 300 ineffective" teachers in Minneapolis, entirely without foundation, and now they scold a part-time employee (probably part-time so Target doesn't have to pay for health care or other fringe benefits for him) of Target's in Omaha because he isn't crazy about going to work late in the evening on Thanksgiving Day; he even started an online petition.

Why, this is beyond the pale for the plutocrats' bootlickers on the editorial board, who just tell this fellow -- Anthony Hardwick -- to "Buck up!" "Stop whining!" The ingrate.

This troublemaker has just the kind of attitude that led to the forty hour work week, overtime pay, and paid holidays. And who can forget all the trouble the little malcontents like Anthony have caused with workplace safety rules! Damn shame, too. These are the job creators we're talking about; the fact they have to worry about cutting off arms and legs -- and, I swear to god, fingers and toes, too! -- is what's wrong with this country.

Little Anthony also wants to deprive all the shoppers who love the frenzy of Black Friday: the pushing and shoving, the picks and the blocks, the tugging and the tearing, and all the rest that make the day such a charmer. And for what? Just so that Anthony the backslider can drive 200 miles into the Nebraska countryside to have Thanksgiving dinner with his aged mom and dad, without eating and running back to Omaha. What a pissant.

Okay, I don't really know where Anthony grew up. But there are a lot of people who travel on the Thanksgiving Day weekend. Home. To family. It's why a lot of businesses are closed on the day after. Not to contribute to the pool of febrile shoppers, but to give employees a chance to have a meaningful time with family.

By opening at the crack of Black Friday, Target and the others are going to deny that to a lot of employees.

My Thanksgiving wish for the Strib editorial board: May you all dine on dried out turkey and sour wine!

Update: And may your relatives be disagreeable boors, too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Two or three Strib editorialists are incompetent!

We have it on good authority. We just don't know which ones they are. Oh sure, we could speculate, at least based in this editorial: Reject status quo in Minneapolis schools.

Taking a much-needed break from flakking the sale of some real estate owned by the Strib, the editorial writers turn for relaxation to things like pulling the wings off of flies, and of course, beating up Minneapolis teachers. But if you ever thought that writing an editorial had anything to do with gathering news, this should disabuse you of the notion:
But Bill English, one of the people who signed the Contract for Student Achievement, estimates that 200 to 300 teachers who are known to be ineffective are assigned to classrooms anyway. Dismissing them, he said, would allow the district to use the money spent on their salaries and benefits for programs and teachers offering better results.
Apparently, Bill English knows that 200 to 300 Minneapolis teachers are ineffective. But who the #$%^& is Bill English? The editorial doesn't say. And where did Bill come by this information? The editorial doesn't say that either. But here's a tip for you boys and girls: he doesn't have any education credentials, at least I can't find any. And he's certainly not privy to any inside information about the Minneapolis schools.

If you go to the link in the quote above, you'll see that the people behind this initiative include some of the movers and shakers in the "destroy public education movement," like MinnCAN, (The Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now) and Valley Varro, its executive director, about whom blogger sidekick Rob has written quite a lot.

Reporting bullshit like this is simple yellow journalism. Just as the case of the stadium, the editorial board is whoring for somebody, and it ain't the public.

Update: The link to the Strib editorial mocked herein has been fixed.

So. There.

Where did she get that giant Styrofoam® pointing finger?

On Sunday last, Katherine Kersten turned her Gorgon's gaze on the unsuspecting citizens of Eden Prairie, using the school district and its students to try to make an ideological point, but winding up pointing out her own bigotry instead: trademarked Kersten, in other words.

Kersten offers the departure of the superintendent and defeat of three school board members in the last election as proof that school busing -- well, one kind of school busing -- is bad for children and does not work! The redrawing of school boundaries in Eden Prairie went into effect only this fall, but that doesn't stop -- or even slow -- Kersten from writing it off as a failure already.

Katie is right, in one sense; it was a political failure, but that doesn't mean it is an education failure.

People bus their kids to other schools for a myriad of reasons: a preferred school program in the arts, sports, language, or teaching method. This is true at all levels of K12 education: high school, middle school, and yes, elementary school. Katie's own kids spent a lot of time on the bus. But Kersten reports, without irony, that some Eden Prairie parents are sending their kids to charter or parochial schools (on a bus, no doubt) rather than put up with the tyranny of busing.

Parenthetically, there is a little Providence Academy bus that chugs by the house every day. Where is Providence Academy? Plymouth.

Of course, it's a particular kind of busing that Kersten finds objectionable: "racial busing." That's entirely different! You do need to ask yourself, though, why is "busing" bad only when "racial" is the adjective? The answer is obvious.

People like Professor Myron Orfield and former Federal Reserve economist Art Rolnick will tell you that minority kids need to be exposed to the majority culture long before they are thrown in with the white kids in middle school or high school, as they are in Eden Prairie. (The fact that most kids who come from inner city schools to suburban high schools under open enrollment perform more like the peers they left than their new ones make that pretty obvious.)

People more informed about the Eden Prairie school system than I am have said there was more to the departure of the superintendent than just the busing issue, but it seems clear that the school board, um, turnover was the result of it.

Kersten nevertheless trumpets this as a victory for common sense, rather than a victory for a rather more sinister force. Just as Eric Fromm suggests.

So. There.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jes' watering the flowers!

The strutting policeman walking down the line of students with a canister of pepper spray reminded me of Percy Grainger's "In a Country Garden." A more casual application of cruelty and police misconduct would be hard to imagine.

The iconic John Pike has spawned an internet meme: Casually Pepper Spray Everything.

Update: Here is a post by John Quiggan (Australian economist who writes at Crooked Timber) about the background of U.C. - Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi.

Professor Dale Carpenter on marriage equality

Here are Professor Carpenter's remarks from DL last week. There was a great crowd to hear one of the champions opposing the marriage discrimination amendment.

DL's thanks to Craig Stellemacher for taking the video and putting it up for us to see.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

History hallucinations

In yet another of her history hallucinations, Michele Bachmann said in debate that George Washington had added "so help me God" at the end of his oath of office as the first president of the United States. Um, no. A George Mason professor of history -- and an author of a biography of Washington -- Peter R. Henriques writes that the record demonstrates pretty clearly that he didn't. You need to read the article at the link to see that Henriques case is persuasive, but he ends with this:
Does it make any difference whether he added the words or not? Beyond a historian’s desire to reconstruct the past as accurately as possible, I think the story has pertinence to our current debate over the proper relationship between the national government and religion. Joseph Story in his Commentaries on the Constitution, first published in 1833, explained why the clause banning religious test oaths was included. Its main object, he wrote, was “to cut off forever every pretence of any alliance between church and state in the national government. The framers of the constitution were fully sensible of the dangers from this source.”
A tweet from John Dickerson put me on to the Henriques article.

Congress poised to declare pepper spray a vegetable

This photo was taken on the campus of the University of California at Davis.

Tony Baloney has apparently relocated from New York.

Post title idea is from somebody with the Twitter handle ginalou.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sens. Franken and Klobuchar are sponsors

Both Minnesota senators are sponsors of the Protect IP Act of 2011. Some of you will recall that Bradly Dean Smith -- who calls himself Bradlee Dean -- and his sidekick Jake Macaulay were able to take down audio files of themselves recorded by the authors of Dump Michele Bachmann, although the editing and publishing these clips was clearly fair use.

The Protect IP Act of 2011 would make the censoring of fair use content even easier. Here's a video from Vimeo, the video service that I use, explaining a little about the act.

Fair use is critical to the First Amendment for news reporting, commentary, and parody. Both of our senators have some explaining to do in supporting this further erosion of the guarantees of free speech at the behest of Hollywood special interests. You should go to the first link above and see who's supporting the bill, and as they say, "Follow the money."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Final Call!

For an important Drinking Liberally program TONIGHT. Professor Dale Carpenter will be our guest to talk about the  amendment that is proposed to be added to the Minnesota Constitution to enshrine marriage discrimination against gays and lesbians.

If you want to be ready for your metaphorical Uncle Ralph during the holidays, follow the link and read more about the program. Professor Carpenter's remarks will begin at seven at DL's usual meeting place, the 331 Club in northeast Minneapolis.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

May the force be with you

There is a force in our world. It invades all areas of our life. There is nothing you - or anyone else - can do to stop it.

Some say we can only give in to it. Use its power, because we'll never control it. Primarily left-leaning, these fools think that the only way is to give up our freedoms in its shadow. Others - those on the right - say that using it is the epitome of giving in to it -- a surrender of the highest magnitude. That recognizing it and trying to use its power is a capitulation that by its nature turns us into sniveling worms before it.

This force that we must stop before it stops us (or at least that symbol that defines us all)?


Because air moving on its own is so dangerous.

He writes just like he talks

Jason Lewis, that is. Bombastic and poisonous. Not to mention bullying.

Alas, rarely does anyone take the time to give Jason the wire brushing he deserves. He got a very thorough one yesterday from Eric Black, though.

Here are the opening grafs:
Let’s do Mr. Jason Lewis the kindness of taking seriously his latest Strib op-ed philippic against the evils of liberalism.

The headline “Do you want equality or freedom?” certainly suggests that we can’t want a bit of both, and it also suggests that freedom and equality cannot coexist.

Of course, Lewis didn’t write the headline, but it captures the keys to his argument, and to a bit of semantic bullying in which righties engage often. [ ]
Black then proceeds to cut Lewis a new arsehole with a linoleum knife -- in the very nice Eric Black manner, of course. (I know, I know, a mixed metaphor.)

It's a great read.

I'd been thinking about writing something about the Lewis column, but now I don't have to, except to say that Black identifies the thing that is the most annoying trait that Lewis has: his absolutism. If you're an inch away from a complete eat-what-you-kill solo hunter gatherer, you're a socialist; not that the term "socialist" is anything more than a epithet to Lewis.

Many, maybe most, righties are absolutists. Some of them have sub-specialties. Jason's is economics -- although one needs to be leery about calling his overweening avarice and rapacity "economics." A serious "indisposition" might be a better description.

Katherine Kesten's absolutist sub-specialty is religion. Most of her columns contain some pecksniffery about the moral relativism of the current age and how we need to recover our "timeless values," even if those timeless values happen to include baseless bigory against minorities, women, gays, Muslims, or native peoples.

Between these two, we have a Sunday parade (as opposed to the Sunday Parade, which also comes in the Strib), a two floater showcasing individuals who are, in fact, incapable of making moral judgments.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today in Bullshit

Both Spot and I recently weighed in on Katherine Kersten's column fretting about the safety of those who oppose same-sex marriage. Spot said she was "taking a seat in the pantheon of faux victims" in her outrage over the decision of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board that money spent on the 2012 marriage question must be spent in the light of day. Katie claimed to fear threats and harassment of those who oppose same-sex marriage as underlying the need for this 21st century version of white sheets.

It turns out that such claims are in fact complete balderdash. Rubbish. Nonsense. Bunk. When the National Organization for Marriage - the organization fighting the release of the identity of those who bankroll them - has been required to prove the truth of their claims that "pro-traditional marriage" proponents have been harassed, they consistently come up empty-handed:
In state after state, judges are finding that these sorts of examples do not actually constitute "harassment," and they're rejecting NOM's requests to therefore keep its donors secret and be exempt from campaign finance disclosure laws.

NOM's strategy is essentially reversing the traditional argument -- that gay individuals frequently face harassment -- and arguing instead that gay individuals are the harassers.

But four federal judges and three state boards in seven states -- California, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island and Washington -- have all found NOM's evidence to be lacking. Not a single state has backed up NOM.
In the most recent decision, Judge Morrison England, Jr. from the Eastern District of California, flat-out rejected these allegations of widespread harassment:
While Plaintiffs characterize their evidence as voluminous and comprised of "virtually countless reports of threats, harassment, and reprisals," Plaintiffs' Motion, 4:14-15, they have pointed to relatively few incidents allegedly suffered by persons located across the country who had somehow manifested their support for traditional marriage.

* * *

Accordingly, while Plaintiffs can point to a relatively few unsavory acts committed by extremists or criminals, these acts are so small in number, and in some instances their connection to Plaintiffs' supporters so attenuated, that they do not show a reasonable probability Plaintiffs’ contributors will suffer the same fate.
Protect Marriage v. Bowen, Court file No. 09-0058, November 4, 2011, at 31 and 38.

Yeah, yeah, we know. Kersten's recycling another pile of lies and passing it off as news. Imagine that.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Selling the future for cash now

That's the A1 above-the-fold headline in the Strib paper edition this morning. The paper was on the breakfast table; I glanced at the headline and assumed it was about the sale of tobacco bonds by the state in the latest installment of kick the can down the road. But it wasn't. It was about a vulnerable adult who sold her structured settlement for cash, and not much cash, either.
A victim of childhood lead poisoning, the Minneapolis girl was awarded a $786,000 personal injury settlement that was to pay her $1,255 a month for life, plus periodic lump sum payments of $70,000.

But once she turned 18 and the payments began, Griffith, who is legally a vulnerable adult, nearly lost her entire nest egg to a pair of companies that buy structured settlement payments in exchange for cash upfront.

In two deals, she sold $352,000 of her settlement for just $77,000, and she was trying to sell most of what remained to one of the companies when a judge stopped the transaction in the summer of 2010.
The article wasn't about the tobacco bonds, but if I sat down to write an allegory of the decision to take some cash in exchange for the income stream from the tobacco settlement (intended to help the state defray some of the continuing costs of medical care for smokers), I could not have written a better one.

Here's bullet point number four in a piece in Minnesota Budget Bites from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits:
A number of states have already issued tobacco bonds, and the current outlook isn’t too positive for investors. According to Forbes, “In November 2010 Standard & Poor’s downgraded 51 tobacco bonds in 16 states to junk status, citing decreasing tobacco use.” With that kind of history, Minnesota tobacco bonds would likely need to pay higher interest rates to attract investors, again making the bond sale less profitable.
Moreover, it is a lousy time to try to sell debt because of the turbulence in the financial markets.

Unlike our vulnerable and spendthrift lead paint victim, however, it's unlikely that there will be a judge available to step in and stop the foolishness.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Having that heart-to-heart with Uncle Ralph

Just in time for the Thanksgiving debate!

If you aren't looking forward to the annual Thanksgiving square off on gay marriage with your blowhard right wing relatives, Drinking Liberally has just the program for you. You can come to Drinking Liberally on Thursday, November 17th and get all the ammunition you'll need to counter everything they say, and do it in half the time, too!

Because you see, our guest that evening will be Professor Dale Carpenter, the Earl Larson Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Okay, that's my description of the event. But Professor Carpenter is a nationally-recognized expert on civil rights and the law of sexual orientation. And he is opposed to the marriage discrimination amendment slated for referendum in 2012.

Professor Carpenter's remarks will begin at seven P.M. on Thursday, November 17, 2011 at the 331 Club in northeast Minneapolis. If you want to increase your fluency in the language of this important debate, you'll be there.

Well, it's good THAT'S cleared up then

On The Maddow Blog, there is a post this morning about the threatening posture that the Cain campaign has exhibited about women coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain. Really thuggish. But Cain has his supporters; here's a comment:

Click to enlarge
A later commenter recommended that Larry pick up some Kool-Aid and tinfoil at the WalMart.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A little trivia tonight at Drinking Liberally

Update: We had great fun playing trivia last night. But in a Rick Perry moment I forgot my best question. Using the Jeopardy format, here's the answer:
The equal marginal sacrifice principle of taxation
What is the question?

- o 0 o -

We don't have a guest tonight at Drinking Liberally at the 331 Club, but we are going to play a little political (mostly) trivia, starting around seven PM.

We've got five books, each a different political title, as prizes. Each book will be a different game. The rules will favor good reflexes and mental agility.

As always, we start to get together around six. Come out and show us what you've got.

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world

Ken Avidor
- o 0 o -

Zygi: Is that Amy and Kurt?

Gov. Dayton: No. They're here, but they're hiding in the closet.

- o 0 o -

Gov. Dayton: What was it that Custer said that last morning when he woke up at the Little Big Horn?

Zygi: Damn, that's a lot of Indians.

- o 0 o -

Zygi: Can the state really do this without amending the Constitution?

Gov. Dayton: Eric Magnuson says so.

Zygi: He's not on the Supreme Court anymore.

Gov. Dayton: Nuts! You're right!

- o 0 o -

Okay, boys and girls; you try it. I may append some more later, too.

The last comedian standing

Tea Party former darlings Rick Perry and Herman Cain are having difficult weeks remembering things. For Cain, it's remembering -- all? -- the women he groped and harassed. For Perry, it's failing to remember the third item on a three item list: the federal agencies he would get rid of immediately if he became president. He was gesturing dramatically at the debate tonight, pointing a finger for every agency he would axe. But when he got to finger number three, he was struck dumb.

At this point, of course, Sarah Palin is smacking her forehead with her palm and saying,"I told that dumb sumbitch to write lists on his hand or arm. I should have gotten in this race; these hamsters are complete losers."

So with Perry and Cain in end-stage dementia, what's a bagger to do? Well, Michele, this could be your lucky day in regaining a lead in the non-Romney heat! I mean, who really thinks it might be Newticles, Santorum, or Ron Paul, or -- let's not get really silly here -- John Huntsman.

So, I think it's yours for the taking, girl; amp it up and you're off!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Eve of Destruction

Who doesn't believe he's on the Eve of Destruction?

Herman Cain, that is. In his press conference yesterday, he refuted or denied some things that are laughably easy to verify. I was discussing with my blogger pals last night what happens when that happens. It's pretty obvious, really. William Saletan at Slate laid it out very well today: Cain's campaign becomes a smoking crater.

Saletan makes the point that you can lie about a lot of stuff in a campaign (obviously). But you cannot lie about things that are easily proven. When you do, you have no credibility left on the core issues.

Herman Cain has taken a "he said/she said" situation and proven, out of his own mouth, why no one should believe him.

Absolutely monumental stupidity.

Cain employs the goat defense! II

Cain had a press conference to clear everything up

Part one is here. In it, I said that Herman Cain was using the goat defense to meet the rising, well, chorus of voices claiming that he was guilty of sexual harassment. (I am not going to repeat the goat defense here; you will just have to go to the earlier post to read about it.)

Candidate Cain had a press conference yesterday to clear everything up. In his dreams. Jennifer Rubin -- of all people -- wrote this about the presser in the Washington Post:
There’s really no way to adequately describe how downright weird Herman Cain’s news conference was today. There was Cain referring to “Herman Cain,” a throwback to Bob Dole’s frequent use of self-referential third person. There was the part where he told us that there may be other allegations --- but those will be false. Memorable, too, was his insistence that the claimants are all anonymous, when in fact two women have been identified by name. Then there was the ranting and raving about the media, although Sharon Bialek came forth with no media filter. I sorta liked the part where he conceded that there was no “definitive” — definitive in the sense of “any” — proof that he was the victim of a conspiracy. 
In a way, this was a fitting downfall: The slick ex-talk show host undone by his own rambling. He was no longer charming. He was desperate and entirely unbelievable. Forget the presidency. Forget becoming a conservative icon. Cain succeeded only in leaving the impression that he may be a bit off his rocker.
It is fascinating to watch Herman Cain self destruct. It is even more fascinating to watch the goat defense in action.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

You must maintain bigotry, lest we be called bigots II

Here's the first post about Bishop Salvatore Cordileone's testimony against the repeal of DOMA, given at a recent Senate hearing. There is one sentence in that testimony that I want to pick up on here:
Any non-conforming conduct and even expressions of disagreement [about gay marriage], based simply on support for marriage as understood since time immemorial, are wrongly being treated as if they harmed society, and somehow constituted a form of evil equal to racism.
This guy sounds like Katherine Kersten, doesn't he? Marriage as we know it today is hardly timeless.

Marriage has changed a lot over the centuries. Somehow, the idea that Mr. and Mrs. Cro Magnon are just like a married couple today doesn't ring true for me. And what about the centuries of plural marriage, continuing in some places even today?

Marriages used to be arranged; again, they still are in some places. Or how about the fact that married women used to be unable to own property in their own names and had little or no right to inherit?

You also have to love the Biblical rules that if a guy raped a woman who was "unbetrothed," he paid a bride price of fifty shekels and married her, or that a widow had to marry her brother in law, whether he already had a wife or not. You do love those rules, don't you? Well, maybe not.

Not many of us yearn for the days when a divorce was nearly impossible to get, and domestic abuse didn't exist, either, at least in the law.

So, the bishop is full of doo doo when he paints marriage as this timeless, changeless institution. It has gone through many changes as the culture and scientific knowledge have changed.

It is going through another one right now, and believe me, Bishop, it won't be denied, regardless of what you think.

You must maintain bigotry, lest we be called bigots

If you had any question where the messaging on gay marriage spouted by Katherine Kersten, Maggie Gallagher, and Joel Adkins (each of whom I've written about recently on the topic; put them in the search engine on the site to find those posts, if you're interested) comes from, we can lay it to rest today. It comes from that most democratic of institutions, the Catholic church's HQ. And the message, stripped to its essence is:
Traditional marriage is "natural" (implying that gay marriage is "unnatural"), and if you disagree with us, we're the victims here.
Because, you see, this is the message delivered by Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage to a committee of the U.S. Senate. Here's a little of what he said:
Redefining marriage also threatens the fundamental human right of religious freedom. Those who refuse on moral and religious grounds to accept or accommodate the redefinition of legal marriage are already being wrongly accused of bigotry and hatred, bias and prejudice. They are being stigmatized and marginalized precisely because they are exercising their religious freedom to teach and practice their values.

In places where marriage’s core meaning has been altered through legal action, officials are beginning to target for punishment those believers and churches that refuse to adapt. Any non-conforming conduct and even expressions of disagreement, based simply on support for marriage as understood since time immemorial, are wrongly being treated as if they harmed society, and somehow constituted a form of evil equal to racism. DOMA represents an essential protection against such threats to faith and conscience.
Bishop Cordileone, the man for whom the word sanctimonious must surely have been coined, thinks that gay marriage violates his religious freedom.  Au contraire, mes amis!

There are a lot of churches, including mine, that would perform gay marriages if we could. What about our religious freedom? The Catholic bishops suffer from a big ego boundary problem here: they don't know where they end and the rest of the world begins when it comes to religious freedom.

The bishop wails about pressure (apparently to marry gay partners) from "officials" in jurisdictions where gay marriages are permitted, but he was a little short in specifics. Why any gay couple would want to get married in a Catholic church is beyond me, but I am highly skeptical that anyone has ever pressured a Catholic clergyman (and they're all men, remember) to perform a gay marriage.

I'd like to see that documented; I think that Cordileone is making it up. I can't remember (well, I actually never knew), is lying a cardinal or a venal sin?

The cherry on top of this banana split is the plaintive claim by the bishop that people are treating gay rights and marriage opponents like they were racists or something. As I have tried patiently to describe before, the proper term isn't racism, it's bigotry. Bigotry is a harsh word, too, but no harsher than calling gays and lesbians "abominations."

And it fits the situation perfectly. If you discriminate against somebody based on grounds of culture and tradition alone (which is what you are doing when you rely on Biblical law from pre-science era), that's bigotry.

Although now that you mention it, Bishop, Scarlett O'Hara felt victimized when they took her darkies away, too.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Building Zygi World! part II

Here's part two of Ed Kohler's talk at Drinking Liberally about a new stadium for the Vikings. In this video, Ed talks about the proposal to raid the Cultural Legacy fund for money for the stadium.

Here's part one.

Cumulative job losses for 2007 recession likely to be six times worse than any since WWII

It's common knowledge by now that the current recession is the worst in terms of percentage of jobs lost since World War II. But how much worse? According to Bill  McBride at the blog Calculated Risk, the current recession has both the greatest percentage of jobs lost and the longest duration of those losses. Today he posted a projection of those losses trying to estimate how long it will take until the economy regains only the jobs lost in the recession, not including increases in the workforce over that time. A common rule of thumb is that the economy needs to create 100,000 jobs a month to absorb population growth and new entrants into the workforce, so even when we get back to 2007 job levels we will still have substantial unemployment. The chart with those projections is below:

Measured by area, i.e. the depth of job losses multiplied by length of time required to get back to 2007 job levels the current recession is, by my calculation almost six times worse than any previous post WWII recession, as shown by the chart I've created below:

The two bars furthest to the right represent the area calculated by McBride's two different projections. The first 2007 bar is the area that would be represented if the economy produced 200,000 jobs per month through July 2014. Keep in mind that last month the economy produced only 84,000 new jobs. The bar farthest to the right represents total losses if the economy produced 125,000 new jobs per month through February 2016.

By this measure the total measure of percentage jobs lost multiplied by the time required to gain back those jobs for the 2007 recession is nearly six times greater than the next greatest loss, that of the 2001 recession.


To produce this graph I first took McBride's graph of job losses with projections into Photoshop. I then used clipping paths to to isolate the area contained by each recession's job-loss curve. I exported those plots as jpegs and imported them into a program called ImageJ which I used to measure each recession's area.

Building Zygi World!

Last Thursday, November 3rd, Ed Kohler, the author of The Deets blog, and a close follower of events in the Vikings stadium debate, stopped by Drinking Liberally and spoke to the group. Here are just a few of his remarks. In this video, Ed talks about why the Vikings want to move to Arden Hills; he compares per seat public subsidies for various venues around town, and he explains how electronic pull tabs for the Vikings will poach on existing charitable gambling.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Looking for moral vacuums

Check the mirror, Katie

The moral of Katherine Kersten's current, venomous and cretinous column in the Star Tribune is that bullying is caused by young people growing up in a moral vacuum:
A new book -- "Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood" -- sheds light on why bullying may be on the rise. In 2008, the authors, sociologist Christian Smith and his team, asked 230 young Americans -- 18 to 23 years old -- open-ended questions about how they make moral decisions and think about the meaning of life.

The answers reveal that many of today's young people live in what amounts to a moral vacuum. The vocabulary of right and wrong, of good and evil, has little meaning for them. On the contrary, they are relativists, who view morality as "a personal choice, entirely a matter of individual decision," in the authors' words.

Why should we be surprised, then, if our children have no sense of obligation to others, and fail to act with kindness, respect or empathy? Since they have no moral compass, they base their behavior on their personal feelings-- that is, on whether an act seems to enhance their happiness, pleasure or self-interest.
Here, by the way, is what Amazon says about the author, or one of them, anyway:
Christian Smith is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society, Director of the Notre Dame Center for Social Research, Principal Investigator of the National Study of Youth and Religion, and Principal Investigator of the Science of Generosity Initiative. His books include Souls in Transition (with P. Snell); Moral, Believing Animals; and Soul Searching (with M.L. Denton).
What we have here -- naturally -- is another one of Kersten's book reports. She uses the book to make the point that we need to return to the timeless precepts of religion, rather than relying on law, to handle the bullying issue.

What makes this particular column so utterly offensive is the kind of bullying she uses as an example: the bullying -- literally to death -- of gay teenagers, or even teenagers suspected of being gay, in the Anoka-Hennepin school district. The school district's "neutrality" policy on gay bullying is well known.

The problem is not a moral vacuum in the Anoka-Hennepin district; the problem is a surfeit of moralism about protecting the right of a teenager to tell his classmate that he is going to hell. And all the people who want to keep it that way are part of Kersten's crowd: the Catholic church and evangelicals like Tom Pritchard, the Holy Bully, and the hair-metal preacher, Bradlee Dean, all opponents of comprehensive anti-bully legislation in Minnesota.

The truth of this was recently thrown into sharp relief in Michigan where the Republican-controlled state senate inserted a clause into an anti-bullying bill:
The bill lays out what exactly constitutes bullying, but in one key part it says that the legislation does not prohibit First Amendment rights, and “does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil’s parent or guardian.”
Kersten's exhortation to return to the Bible isn't going to solve anti-gay bullying; it will increase it.

But you see, Kersten believes that the Bible is always the solution, even when it, or certainly a literal interpretation of it, is the problem.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Not the Christianity I know

Rev. James Gertmenian, the senior minister at Plymouth Congregational Church, has a great op-ed published at MinnPost today. Here's the lede:
When I look at our country today, I am astonished and angry that Christianity is invoked so often by those who pervert the teachings of Jesus in order to justify their own privilege and power. This is not the Christianity I know.
Amen, Reverend, Amen.

At least it isn't the one we want to know. If we engage in some painful self-reflection, however, we have to acknowledge that the Christian church has often stood for the status quo, for those with privilege and power against those who don't. From the Apostle Paul, who exorted slaves to shut up and obey their masters, right down to the present. On issues of slavery, women's rights, economic and social equality (read the third verse of the original "All Things Bright and Beautiful"), the divine right of kings, and just about any other cry for equality you can name, there is somebody in the church who is agin' it. The record is nigh on perfect.

Not every Christian can be or needs to be Dietrich Bonhoffer or Martin Luther King, but we do need more of them to be like Rev. Gertmenian, Christians who are willing to call hate and greed what they are, regardless of the cloaks they wear.

Onward, Christian Pharmacists! reprise

I saw this George Carlin quote on Facebook, and it reminded me of a hymn I wrote a few years ago.

Here it is; sung to the tune, of course, of Onward, Christian Soldiers

Onward, Christian Pharmacists, wrapped in piety,
Foisting their morality onto you and me.
Who needs modern chemistry, when they had a vision?
Everyone using birth control should land themselves in prison.

Onward, Christian Pharmacists, wrapped in piety,
Foisting their morality onto you and me.

Keep the torches burning, let not sunlight in,
Let the white hot torches burn out all sin.
Stand behind their counters, dressed in pious white,
Anyone who wants the Pill, they will surely smite.

Onward, Christian Pharmacists, wrapped in piety,
Foisting their morality onto you and me.

They believe the Ancients, not Academie,
Their belief is not in science but rather alchemy.
Rapists should be daddies too, to hell with womens’ needs!
Too bad if we harm a few;' got to save those seeds!

Onward, Christian Pharmacists, wrapped in piety,
Foisting their morality onto you and me.

Once the kid is born, they no longer care,
Just be sure the little tyke's not society’s to bear!
Now the druggist’s job is done, and his conscience clear,
Rest in peace apothecary, angels hover near.

Onward, Christian Pharmacists, wrapped in piety,
Foisting their morality onto you and me.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Cain employs the goat defense!

Steve Sack in the Strib:

Herman Cain's campaign has been caught up in allegations of sexual harassment. Nothing has been proven, and the original Politico story was probably premature. The reactions from the Cain campaign, however, have been interesting, especially since the campaign had, from reports I read, ten days to prepare for it.

One of the ways that law professors use to describe pleading alternative defenses is to use what I call the goat case hypothetical. It is possible, in modern civil procedure, to defend an allegation that your goat ate your neighbors cabbages this way:
1. I don't have a goat.
2. He didn't eat your cabbages.
3. The cabbages were rotten and therefore worthless.
Any one of those is a defensible position. But taken together, they are not, obviously, because they are contradictory. Each destroys the credibility of the other.

And so it is with Herman Cain. He's damned by the conflicting statements coming out of his own mouth, much more than anything Politico wrote.

UPDATE: In a Slate article reporting the the Cain campaign is considering suing Politico over the original story, we get this gem:
Cain’s campaign says that it has had an attorney advising it since Saturday (one day before the story broke) on crisis management.
Worth every penny, that advice, I'd say.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Saving Minnesota from predatory school boards

Wiley E. Coyote
School board member 
The Minnesota House Un-Education chair Pat Garofalo unveiled his plan to make school board levy referenda more "transparent." After everyone was settled in a room at the Capitol and had their pencils poised for the word from Pat, he dropped the bombshell: only hold school board referenda in years that can be divided by two.

Somebody undoubtedly said, I beg your pardon, that's it? We came all the way over here and paid for parking for that? Are you kidding me?

A lot of people, including some DFL legislators, were not amused. Senator Chuck Wiger, a DFLer from Maplewood and a ranking member of the Senate Education Committee, said, "This announcement by Rep. Garofalo is an unbelievable ruse to cover for the mess the GOP majorities created for our schools this past year."

Personally, I don't think it's that good.

Mindy Greiling, DFL House member from Roseville, and the ranking member of the House Education Committee issued a statement that is just too good not to quote in its entirety:
(ST. PAUL) – State Representative Mindy Greiling (DFL-Roseville), the DFL Lead on the House Education Finance Committee, responded to State Representative Pat Garofalo’s proposal to limit and hold all school levy referenda questions in even-year elections.

“Legislative Republicans tied one hand behind the back of school districts with their shifts and gimmicks. Now they want to tie the other hand to prevent districts from compensating for their borrowing which now totals $4,168 per student.

“This proposal is an attack on local control. Minnesota communities should be trusted to make appropriate budget decisions that are best for their schools and children. I have not heard from a single Minnesotan who feels she needs to be protected from her predatory locally-elected school board. Rather, this is a deflection by legislative Republicans who are facing harsh criticism about their misplaced priorities from all corners of the state. Minnesota schools are now owed $3.45 billion and there is no plan in place to pay it back. Parents, students and school districts are fed up that this year’s legislature borrowed unprecedented amounts from our students.

“With continued underfunding of local schools, more school districts are asking voters to renew existing levies as well as fund general operations rather than cut teachers or increase class sizes. Today’s proposal is a distraction from this year’s $2.2 billion shift where Republicans withheld funding from schools in order to dole back a bit of an increase, which districts used to pay interest on their bank loans.

“Today’s announcement has nothing to do with increasing participation. The only transparency I saw today was the crystal clear attempt to defeat local levies.

“The state needs more accountability and transparency from the education chairman. It is not helpful for Representative Garofalo to repeatedly take credit for an education funding increase number with no basis in recognized accounting principles. He’s taking credit for 18,000 more students enrolled in Minnesota schools [in other words, since enrollment is up, per pupil funding is up] and more students in poverty in order to take sole credit for increased school funding. Unfortunately, the only funding increase this year went to pay banks for letting schools borrow to cover cash flow shortages.”
Garofalo could have described his plan in a two-sentence email. The timing of the "announcement" -- I'm being generous here -- just be before the election is a laughable diversionary tactic.

I mean, really, you'd almost think that Garofalo was a member of ALEC. Of course, he is; in fact he's on ALEC's Task Force Stupify.

Update: Here is the ALEC blueprint for schools.

Image from Looney Tunes

Because Mike Parry is not enough of a right wing nut job

Allen Quist says he may enter the Republican race for the chance to get beat by Tim Walz. By all means, run Allen, run. Because this guy is obviously a lefty:

Section 5 of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution

We aren't done rolling back Jim Crow

Rep. Keith Ellison (Fifth District of Minnesota) has introduced two bills to cut down on rampant voter suppression in the United States, suppression aimed at youth and minority voters especially, but also disproportionately affecting elder voters. Here's a short post he wrote at DailyKos to describe the legislation. Here's what they'd do:
[ ] I am introducing two bills today to curb voter suppression. The Same Day Registration Act would require states to provide for same day voter registration for a federal election. The Voter Access Protection Act would make sure election officials cannot require photo identification in order to cast a vote or register to vote.
Can the federal government do that? Why yes, yes it can. In order to ensure due process of law and the equal protection of law, guarateed by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution; Section 5 of the 14th Amendment reads as follows:
The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
It isn't likely to pass this Congress, but Section 5 is a potent weapon against many forms of discrimination.

Cleta Detherage Mitchell

She ain't no Finn from the Range!

She is an Oklahoma lawyer, practicing in D.C., who was retained by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to appear before the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board -- apparently as a lobbyist because she isn't a member of the Minnesota Bar -- to whine about the rules of the board for the disclosure of the identity of contributors to groups advocating a position on ballot referendums.

She is agin' it, of course.

If you follow the second link, it will take you to a story in the Minnesota Independent about how the board has these disclosure rules under current consideration.

NOM wants to use gobs of anonymous money to further its campaign of bigotry, innuendo, and libel against gays and lesbians in the upcoming referendum on gay marriage, or as many of us call it, a referendum on marriage discrimination. And it uses operatives like Cleta Detherage Mitchell to cloak it as a First Amendment issue.

Mitchell gave us an idea of how this works just a couple of weeks ago. She was in town to speak at a lawyers' symposium about the decision in Citizens United v. FEC. She was on a panel with a couple of law professors in what purported to be an academic setting, and at one taking place at the only public law school in the state at the University of Minnesota.

But it became evident that Mitchel had an agenda, an agenda that included pointed criticism of the Campaign Finance and Disclosure Board's aforementioned rules. She offered her remarks without disclosing that she had a "dog in the fight" until pressed with a question from the audience about it. Without the question, many persons in attendance would not have had that important bit of information in evaluating her comments.

Disclosure of contributors is currently a big issue in the the referendum. Katherine Kersten wrote about it recently, and Maggie Gallgher discussed it at length in her remarks at St. Thomas Law School a few weeks.

But as MNO so memorably put it, "If you take away our white sheets, it's our civil rights that will be denied!" The KLAN's white sheets and hoods are different only in degree, not basic kind.

ProPublica's redistricting song

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Drinking Liberally hosts Ed Kohler

This week, on Thursday, November 3rd, our guest will be Ed Kohler, the author and publisher of the popular Minneapolis blog, The Deets. Guests at Drinking Liberally are pretty much left to their own devices to determine what they want to talk about. But odds are, Ed will be talking about Vikings in tutus and other public dollars for a Vikings stadium-related topics.

Ed's knowledge of the stadium issue is widely recognized; he's an engaging writer, and he's sure to make an entertaining and informative presentation.

We start getting together around six PM at the 331 Club in northeast Minneapolis; the program with our guest Ed Kohler will start at seven. Remember, that's Thursday, November 3rd. See you there.

Choose your victims well

So apparently some women are ok to harass, according to Herman Cain:
“I believe I have a good sense for where you cross the line relative to sexual harassment but you have to know the lady, the individual.”
You just have to know which ladies are on one side of the line and which are not. Presumably the two women at the National Restaurant Association were on that other side of the line.

Geoff Michel makes a "broader point"

Another term for making stuff up

Spot's very own feckless state senator, Geoff Michel -- the Deputy -- defends his own prevarication -- we're charitable around here; there are other terms that would apply, too -- about the number of private sector jobs in Minnesota in 2011 vs. 1998.

Just the same number as before, moans the Deputy:
Republican legislators say their big goal for the coming legislative session is to grow jobs by reducing taxes and rolling back regulations, among other things.

To underscore the need for the state Senate Republican's plan to grow jobs, Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel pointed out that the number of private sector jobs in Minnesota has fallen to 1998 levels.
But just as the Deputy was misinformed -- and misinforming -- about how much local government aid Bloomington got, he didn't get this one right, either, according to MPR:
The average number of private sector jobs for the first three quarters of 2011 is about 2.242 million, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. That's using non-seasonally adjusted employment counts.

That's about 78,000 more jobs than the average of 2.164 million in the first three quarters of 1998. To put that figure in perspective, 78,000 jobs is roughly the same number of jobs 3M has worldwide.
But the Deputy's mouthpiece came to the Deputy's defense, manning the broom and pooper scooper detail:
Chris Van Guilder, a spokesman for Michel, pushed back. He said that in the context of the millions of jobs the state supports, the difference of 78,000 jobs over more than a decade isn't significant enough to label his boss' statement false.
He was making a "broader point," after all.

Tell that to 3M.

Or to MPR, which concluded that the Deputy is full of hot air, or maybe something else.