Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Name Dropping

Posted by Craig Westover | 3:26 PM |  

While some men take their families to Disney World for a mid-winter vacation, Pioneer Press Opinion Page Associate Editor Mark Yost with offspring George Patton Yost and lovely wife “Boo Boo” are headed to the world of Ralph Kramden and Mrs. Savino, Brooklyn, New York for the weekend, so I’ll be hosting “The Patriot Insider” on AM1280 this Saturday from 9-11am along with “The Patriot“ Program Director Patrick Campion. Tune in for a day of point/counterpoint.

Saturday’s card features an opening bout on the battle shaping up in the state legislature over eminent domain reform. In the black corner wearing the black trunks will be Tom Grundhoefer, General Council for the League of Minnesota Cities. He’ll go mano-a-mano with Rep. Jeff Johnson (R- Plymouth), co-author of the Bakk/Johnson legislation that would limit use of eminent domain to cases of true public use. But, counterpunches the League, Bakk/Johnson also contains language that will hamper municipalities in the legitimate use of its eminent domain authority.

In the 10 o’clock hour, the black corner pugilist is St. Paul City Councilman Dave Thune, who has doggedly pursued and won a total smoking ban in St. Paul. He’ll square off with Hennepin County Commissioner Penny Steele, pound-for-pound the strongest advocate for the small business owners that forced a rollback of the Hennepin County smoking ban. Thune champions the view that secondhand smoke is a serious health risk and government must step in to protect employees in the work place. Steele's tough questioning of persons making that argument in front of the Hennepin County commissioners promises to make this a lively hour.

[Warning, this program may contain debate not suitable for small children or Bob Moffitt.]

Speaking of smoking bans, Sue Jeffers, owner of Stub and Herb’s on the University campus and one of the first and feistiest opponents of smoking bans announced her candidacy for Governor under the banner of the Libertarian Party. Obvious a long-shot to win, Sue does have a great shot at gaining the five-plus percent of the vote needed to get the Libertarian Party major party status. She’s already pickling up frequent mentions on local talk radio and television and has grassroots support, not just among anti-smoking ban folks. Her big challenges are to prove she’s more than just a one-issue candidate, and that she can translate the principles of the Libertarian into viable policy. Her announcement speech was a good start.

And as long as were on politics, yesterday morning I attended a breakfast for local bloggers hosted by GOP State Chairman Ron Carey. It was an informal session, not unlike some of the editorial board meetings I’ve attended at the Pioneer Press -- except the questions were somewhat tougher.

It was clear from Carey’s comments that the GOP is taking bloggers seriously, both as a vehicle for getting out information unfiltered by mainstream media and recognizing the damage blogs can do putting out bad information. Carey made it clear that bloggers have the same access to party sources as MSM journalists and repeatedly made the point that they should use that access to check out rumors and verify facts before posting. Among those attending, Minnesota Democrats Exposed and Peace Like a River have posted their impressions of get-together. Also present from the GOP were Executive Director Ben Golnik, Communications Director Mark Drake and Research Director Gina Countryman.

Following the blogger breakfast, I had another meeting that included Ron Carey, this one in connection with the Minnesota Autism Center on whose board of directors we both sit. Along with some parents of autistic children, we met with Twila Brase of Citizens' Council on Health Care. The topic was the legislative push for Evidenced-Based Health Care and how that might care and treatment of Autism. The issue, however, is much bigger than that.

Twila refers to the legislation that will be before the Minnesota Legislature as “Bureaucrats at the Bedside.” CCHC is an excellent source for more information on this subject, and I’ll be writing about it more in future columns. Suffice it to say, what Minnesotans are looking at is a one-size-fits-all approach to managed health care. While EBM as implemented by law does not require your doctor to strictly adhere to government-issued treatment protocols makes it difficult for him or her not to.

A note on “objective” journalism. I covered The Center for the American Experiment presentation by Peter Schweizer on his book Do As I Say (Not As I Do) : Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy. My bias going in was that this was going to be another one of those conservative outreach programs where conservatives served each other dinner spiced by a little liberal bashing. Well, there was a dinner, some spicy liberal bashing, but Schweizer also provided some insightful observations on hypocrisy -- liberal and conservative -- that provided intellectual substance to the event and made it more than just a pleasant evening. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be writing on Schweizer's observations in my Pionner Press column next week -- salvage a little dignity for the MSM.

And speaking of liberal hypocrisy, I'd like to drop the name of the Carleton College alumni that sent me the postage due letter commenting on last week's Pioneer Press column, but he didn’t have the guts to sign his name. Clearly not an English major, the scary thing is this guy is out there advising people on their investments.
“As an investment banker, only an idiot or a liar will deny the existence of inflation, especially in the medical care arena, and increased labor costs drive up government costs DAILY so no new taxes is impossible in the long run. So which of the two are you, the idiot of the liar?”
He had a few unkind words for Taxpayers League President David Strom as well, putting me in good company.
“I had the misfortune of going to college with David Strom at Carleton College. He was the most unpopular and least impressive student in my dorm. He was rude, crude and scorned by the women, thus explaining his hatred of ‘liberals.’”
Well, the liberals’ loss was certainly David’s gain. His radio patter -- “next to me is my lovely and charming wife, Margaret Martin” -- is not mere hyperbole. It’s not politics of those that scorn you that matters, it’s the quality of she who loves ya baby.

Category: 2006 Elections, Eminent Domain, Local Politics, Taxpayers League, The Patriot