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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Right Wing Blogs and "Blurring" the Truth

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/13/08 12:49, Edited: 04/14/08 14:30

by Dave Mindeman

I usually peruse some of the right wing blogs every day... not because I believe in self mutilation, but because I just like to see what they are up to. And most of the time it is misinformation.

Just as an example, here are some excerpts from posts about the Tax Rally at the Capitol on the 13th -- notice the numbers:

Seeing somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 people show up at the Tax Cut Rally yesterday, in spite of the frigid weather....
--Wright County Republican Blog

Crowd estimates were the same as last year (7,000), surprising given the weather....
--Posted by Lassie at True North

Global Warming???? Not so you could tell in Minnesota today. That still has not stopped several thousand people from showing up on the Capital Mall for the KTLK Tax Cut Rally.
--Ladies Logician Blog

Now, here is the number mentioned at MPR:

Nearly 1,000 people rallied at the State Capitol against higher taxes.
--Minnesota Public Radio (First sentence of story) 4/13/2008


Now, I realize that crowd estimation is not an exact science by any means -- but the difference between 7,000 and less than a thousand is pretty substantial. I also found it interesting that "Lassie" used the phrase "estimates were the same as last year"..... coincidence???

I guess it really doesn't matter how many people were there... even a thousand people makes a point; but the pattern of exaggeration and misinformation is constant and makes it difficult to have a rational discussion about issues.

Here is another case that I came across recently:

The writer of the Ladies Logic blog went into a rant about Coleen Rowley's Huffington Post article about the discussion of police tactics for the Republican Convention on the Chris Baker Show.

I took note of these particular statements:

I invited Coleen Rowley on the show but so far she has not responded.
--Response from Chris Baker via Ladies Logic Blog

I suspect that Chris will be waiting a long, long, long time for Coleen to respond to his invitation. Just call it a hunch.
--Ladies Logic


Now, I know Coleen Rowley and I checked with her about this. She emphatically stated that nobody from the Baker show had tried to contact her at all. So, of course they would be waiting a long time for her to respond....the invitation was never made.

I e-mailed the Ladies Logic blog to inform them of the "misunderstanding" and she responded (cordially, I might add), that she would check again with the Baker people. She sent another response stating that they stood by their story.

This blog you are currently reading, is not a "breaking news" type blog. Personally, I deal with analysis of the news and its political figures. I try to be as accurate about those policy issues as I can -- I sometimes mess up, but I do try to check to make sure the statements made have a factual basis.

We all have agendas we want to promote....blogs don't have to hide that fact; they are not news organizations. But, in a world of conflicting views, it would be nice to trust that the statements made have at least some "truth" behind them.

Right wing blogs blur that line of "truth" too much. It discredits their point and is grossly unfair when they attack individuals with those distortions.

UPDATE: Good discussion of this very topic at the MPR Newscut Blog.

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Student Debt = Problem for Minnesota Business Climate

Category: Education
Posted: 04/12/08 14:08, Edited: 04/12/08 14:16

by Dave Mindeman

One of Minnesota's biggest advantages for attracting businesses has been a well educated work force. Our education system has been highly rated, even in the uncertain budgetary times of the Pawlenty administration.

But there is yet another obstacle in that educational path that has grown steadily worse during the Governor's tenure and that is college affordibility.

Another sobering article in the Star Tribune outlines the issue.

According to nonprofit The Project on Student Debt, 72 percent of students who graduated in 2006 from schools in Minnesota had to borrow to finance their education. They graduated with an average of $23,375 in debt.

That is the 5th highest average total in the nation. And that is just an average. It doesn't tell us how many qualified students have lowered their sites on careers in order to afford the financial burden....or how many have delayed higher education in order to earn enough to get started. And higher skill jobs that may require additional education time or more expensive curricula may simply go unfilled. A high debt burden manifests itself in a number of ways....none of them good for the type of workforce needed.

Minnesota has an outstanding college and university system but tuition costs are a serious problem and right now, our budgetary issues have given them little choice but to raise those rates.

There is always a lot of talk about how Minnesota puts such a heavy tax burden on the business sector, but taxes have taken a back seat to the most immediate issues for business -- Transportation and Education.

Our Governor has focused so much attention on taxes that he has forgotten the two basic needs of a healthy business climate. Namely, the low cost movement of goods and services and a plentiful, well educated work force.

If we don't put more emphasis on those two basic needs, then there won't be any profits to pay taxes on.
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Minnesota's House Agenda: It's Personal for Rep. Sertich

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 04/11/08 21:07, Edited: 04/11/08 21:08

by Dave Mindeman

There is one really ticked off legislator in the Minnesota House and that would be Rep. Tony Sertich. MPR has a story where Rep. Sertich alleges that the Governor's office, via an aide, sent him a not so veiled threat about future negotiations:

"He had a message from the governor to me," Sertich said. "And the direct words were -- it's a hockey analogy. 'Cheap shots are cheap, but they're not free.' That the governor was looking forward to seeing my area's bonding recommendations when they come across his desk. A direct threat to veto the projects in my district, from the governor."

That probably explains Sertich's demeanor on Almanac Friday night. He and Marty Seifert were on the show to discuss the bonding bill. Seifert was strangely conciliatory and Sertich was tight lipped and very assertive. He was very pointed in his criticism of the Governor....and not once did he crack a smile.

If you watched closely after the segment, when the "couch" went dark, Sertich never acknowledged Seifert in any way... unclipped his microphone and briskly walked off the set....leaving Seifert sitting alone.

There is a personal tone developing in the legislature. The Governor and the Legislative leadership are developing a rather large "gulf" between them. I think the only one of the House leaders that is left to communicate with the Governor, may be Speaker Kelliher. And that relationship is tenuous.

I'm not sure what game the Governor is playing here, but he is certainly not making any "friends". Maybe he is counting on that VP slot a little too much????

Whatever is going on makes the budget bill that much tougher to compromise on....not a good sign.
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