Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Brodkorb's House Candidate Trys To Distance Self From Brodkorb's Smear Tactics

Since the Minnesota political blogs are abuzz with how several campaigns are now paying Republican blogger Michael Brodkorb, I thought it was timely to offer up this recently videotaped interview with Rep. Lynn Wardlow.

One of the things Mr. Brodkorb doesn't disclose when he launches his attacks is that he is the Republican Party Chair of Senate District 38 in Eagan/Burnsville. Rep. Wardlow is one of the campaigns Mr. Brodkorb oversees. So listen and watch. Is Brodkorb so non-involved in his local races that even his candidates don't know what he really does. Or does Rep. Wardlow not even read the newspaper?

One thing we do know is the SD38 organization that Brodkorb chairs has given Rep. Wardlow $2,750 in the last nine months, which is a significant chunk of (12.6%) of all the money Wardlow has raised this election cycle. For that reason alone, you'd think he'd be a little interested in what Mr. Brodkorb does. (2006 Report Here) (2005 Report Here)

Rep. Wardlow's "no comment" on Brodkorb is also interesting. Hit the play button to watch.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Congratulations To Award Winning Daily Planet

Inside Minnesota Politics is proud to play a small part in the Daily Planet's award winning coverage as one of it's media partners.

*Twin Cities Daily Planet Wins “Wild Card” Knight-Batten Award for Innovations in Journalism*

MINNEAPOLIS— The Twin Cities Daily Planet has won the Wild Card Award at the 2006 Knight-Batten Awards for Innovation in Journalism.

The annual awards, administered by The Institute for Interactive Journalism at the University of Maryland and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, honor news organizations that are pioneering new ways to connect people with news. Winners were formally announced September 18 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“We are delighted and honored to receive such a prestigious award,” said Daily Planet managing editor Craig Cox. “It’s a wonderful way to recognize the hard work of our media partners, our volunteer editors, and our citizen-journalists. And it’s a credit to the vision of those who created the Daily Planet barely a year ago.”

Global Voices Online, a web site about how news affects daily life and conversations in more than 130 countries, won this year's $10,000 Grand Prize. TC Daily Planet and five other organizations - Transparent Newsroom (Spokane, Washington), HealthNewsReview.org (University of Minnesota), IBISEYE.com (Sarasota, Florida), U.S. Congress Votes Database (Washington, D.C.), and the Bakersfield Californian’s Social Media Platform (Bakersfield, California)— all garnered $1,000 awards.

These organizations, said Jan Schaffer of the Institute for Interactive Journalism, go beyond packaging the news to offering a real service to readers. “The hallmark of this year’s entries was the use of basic technology to add value to the process of journalism and not just the packaging,” Schaffer said. “News organizations are getting beyond the veneer of pretty production and are letting citizens into the inner working of news, helping them navigate through it, participate in it and react to it.”

The press release from J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, is available here.

The Twin Cities Daily Planet, a project of the nonprofit Twin Cities Media Alliance, is a community newswire and syndication service showcasing the best work of the neighborhood and community press, as well as work by Twin Cities independent journalists and the voices of engaged citizens.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Masin Shocks Wilkin At 38A Debate (Video)

Podcast video here.
When I first met Sandra Masin I thought she was the quiet, shy, retiring type. Boy was I wrong. She spits fire when it comes to issues. Wednesday, she shocked Republican Rep. Tim Wilkin at the end of debate. Masin, Wilkin's DFL opponent launched into a list of how Wilkin was not honest with how he represents himself and really didn't honor his "no tax increase" pledge.

Hit play and watch as Wilkin shakes his head and looks stunned. Masin hits it right on the head when she describes Wilkin's policies as "thinly veiled extremism".

After the debate ended I asked Wilkin to respond to what Masin had said. He hadn't had a chance to do so during the debate because he gave his closing statement first. Wilkin refused to say anything more.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ramstad spokesperson calls Kline's tracking of constituent blog posts "improper and inappropriate"

A quick survey of the Minnesota US House and Senate delegation shows that Rep. John Kline's tracking blog posts made by constituents is a very uncommon practice.

Spokesperson for Republican Congressman Jim Ramstad’s office Lance Olsen said he was “unaware” of anybody searching and filing information from blogs in Congressman Ramstad’s constituent records. He said such activity would be “improper and inappropriate”. He said Ramstad’s office is respectful of constituents and only keeps correspondence that the constituent initiates.

Ed Skala of Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy’s office says the searching of blogs for posts by individuals is “nothing our office does” Skala said his office keeps records of emails, letters and phone calls from constituents, but does not seek outside information for its records and “can’t imagine” the circumstances when they would do so.

The person who answered the phone at Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson’s office said “I know we don’t do that” referring to searching blogs and recording information. She referred and further comment to Peterson’s Chief of Staff Mark Brownell

Bill Richards of Democratic Congressman Jim Oberstar’s office said the practice “surprises me”. He said “with all of the other things we have to do” such as answering email, phone calls and preparing briefing memos “ we don’t have time to read the blogs”. He said it was not for him to judge if the practice was appropriate.

A spokesperson for Republican Senator Norm Coleman's office Heidi Kraus says Coleman's office does not pull in information from blogs and include them with case files or constituent files. Any information Coleman's office collects is NOT shared with others.

Calls to the staffs of Democrats Sen. Mark Dayton, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep Martin Sabo and Republican Rep Gil Gutknecht have not been returned as of yet.

Representative John Kline's Communication Director Troy Young has not returned any calls about the blog post tracking issue.

Kline's Congressional Office Apparently Maintains An Enemies List

You'd expect your Congressman to keep track of emails and letters you send him. Feedback from constituents is important. But would you expect your Congressman to search and record posts you make on a blog and then file them away for some future use?

That's what has been going on at Congressman John Kline's office. A Government employee has been paid to find blog posts from at least one citizen and then file them away on what appears to be a modern version of a Nixon "enemies list".

The Star Tribune's Kevin Diaz reports that Kline's office had been gathering blog posts from Paul Bartlett, a DFL activist who has written unfavorable things about Kline in the past.

Today Bartlett responded to the revelation:
Kline's staff exposed their dark underbelly during their Diaz interview, revealing that they have maintained "a lengthy file of his e-mails and blog entries." I would expect that they would maintain my e-mails, after all, I was a constituent and had every right to contact my congressman, but to admit that they search the blogs looking for my postings is disturbingly paranoid.

Following the Rove playbook, the Kline campaign has employed a singular strategy: citizen intimidation. Their relentless attack on David Bailey exposed their meanness; their attempt to disrupt the Murtha event showed their desperation; I knew they'd get around to me.

John Kline has joined some fine company: J. Edgar Hoover, Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon. Like them, Kline maintains an "enemies list."
Kline's Communication Director Troy Young has been contacted to verify the Star Tribune story and to find out how many other citizens are being monitored. So far no response.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Rep. Kline calls racial slurs from his District Director "Unacceptable"

John Kline's Congressional District Director Mike Osskopp has issued an apology for a racial slur that he repeatedly used at an event for Kline's DFL opponent, Coleen Rowley. Osskopp's outbursts were captured on video at the Sunday event and then posted on Inside Minnesota Politics. Representative Kline called the use of the slur "unacceptable".

The story in Wednesday's Star Tribune is here

Kline's Director Expected To Apologize For Racial Slurs

According to a Star Tribune reporter, the man Representative John Kline has entrusted to run his Congressional District office is expected to issue an apology soon for shouting racial slurs at a Coleen Rowley campaign event.

Rep. Kline's District Director Mike Osskopp apparently decided to make the apology after being contacted by the Star Tribune's Kevin Diaz about video posted on Inside Minnesota Politics. That video shows Osskopp repeatedly yelling a racial slur at cars entering a VFW parking lot.

Paul Bartlett, who was at the event has filed a complaint with the US Civil Rights Commission. (Osskopp is a Federal employee.) Bartlett's complaint says in part:

Michael Osskopp speaks for a United States congressman. His behavior and language was clearly racist. At a minimum, Mr. Osskopp and Congressman Kline owe our Japanese community an apology, a promise to undergo sensitivity training, and a real effort to eradicate the racial animosity that seems evident in John Kline's office. Politics aside, we expect more from a high level federal employee and his boss, a U.S. Congressman.

Kline's Communication Director Troy Young issued a "no comment" when asked about the incident or apology.

Inside Minnesota Politics has obtained additional video from that same Sunday event that shows Osskopp and others harrassing Rowley volunteers. One man who identified himself only as "David" is pictured here. He was using a megaphone to yell at Rowley volunteers who were helping to direct traffic into the VFW parking lot.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Weirdness in CD2-Kline's Director becomes unhinged (video)

This video is just darn bizarre. It's the Director of John Kline's District, Mike Osskopp, office yelling a racial slur at cars arriving for a Coleen Rowley campaign event. What could be causing such strange and offensive behavior? Could it be that Kline's campaign has been reading the poll numbers?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Poll Shocker: Rowley within striking distance of Kline

Not one, but two polls show that challenger Coleen Rowley has closed to almost "margin of error" distance of Congressman John Kline in Minnesota's 2nd District.

Kline: 48%
Rowley: 42%
Undecided: 13%

The above poll was done by statewide DFL candidates. The numbers here are from Senate District 38 (Eagan/Burnsville) but reportedly the numbers are similar in other SD's across Kline's district.

Another poll, done by the Rowley campaign, reportedly shows a slightly larger lead for Kline, but the difference is still in the single digits. Reportedly the poll shows that a significant number of Republicans who plan to go to the polls will not vote for Kline.

Kline is in trouble, which would explain the glossy attack ads he has been mailing and running in the local newspapers.

A special note: the only SD that has "hard" poll numbers available, SD 38, is the home of Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty. The Republican Party Chair in that district is Michael Brodkorb who runs the blog "Minnesota Democrats Exposed". Brodkorb has devoted considerable time and energy to posting half-truths about candidates in MN 5th Congressional District. His latest attempts to smear Congressional Candidates Keith Ellison and Tim Walz were so lacking in credibility that most media in Minnesota has stopped quoting his blog.

I've heard reports that Republicans in SD 38 have not been happy with Brodkorb's limelight seeking. These latest poll results give them even more reason to be unhappy with Mr. Brodkorb's performance as Republican Party Chair. Perhaps a little more time running the party and a little less time spent mudslinging would be beneficial to the Republican locals.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Primary Election Results

I Voted

Did You?
I know, the day is busy. The traffic is tough. Think of how fragile Democracy is. Isn't a few minutes of your day worth what Democracy brings? Participate. Vote.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sue Jeffers Makes Case Against Pawlenty

Listen to the podcast- runs 40:55
Sue Jeffers used to be a big Tim Pawlenty supporter. She helped him in his campaign to be elected Governor. But since he's been elected, Jeffers says Pawlenty has disappointed her again and again. So much so that she's running against him in the September 12 Republican Primary. The winner will face the winner of the DFL Primary between Mike Hatch and Becky Lourey.

Listen in as Jeffers explains why she was not allowed to speak at the Republican State Convention even though she was the only declared candidate for Governor up until a few days before the convention. Jeffers finds fault with Pawlenty's budget balancing using shifts and ultimately raising the tax burden on property owners while claiming he hasn't raised taxes at all.

She's upset that on Pawlenty's watch Minnesota has spent millions of dollars on light rail, but roads have been allowed to fall apart.

This is one of the more entertaining interviews we've done on Inside Minnesota Politics. No matter what your political leanings, I think you'll enjoy the discussion.