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Comments offer heavy dose of political opinion

Readers’ recent comments featured a heavy dose of politics in the run-up to Super Tuesday and next week’s Minnesota caucuses, but women’s sports, Peer Gynt and a possible new leader for the Minnesota Monitor also drew attention.

Here are excerpts from Amy Alexander’s comments on Doug Grow’s Wednesday story, “With state caucuses looming, DFL’s Senate candidates ramp up campaigns to challenge Coleman”:

Paul Wellstone can’t be replaced. I am sure he is rolling in his grave that his legacy has been pimped” by the faux progressives.

I have no idea who I want to support, if I even go. And part of me doesn’t really care. I have supported the DFL since I was 16. I didn’t leave the DFL — the DFL left me.

If and when I vote DFL, I am voting for the kitchen-table common sense of old-school DFLers such as Floyd B. Olson or Eugene McCarthy. I would have been Clean for Gene or a Bobby Kennedy supporter if it was 1968. … Today’s DFL does not reflect the workers or the farmers of Minnesota. I encourage the DFL to drop the F and the L from the acronym or encourage rank-and-file union members to run, or just everyday people, not gentrified candidates.

Steve Clemens also weighed in on that story:

MinnPost continues to outshine the Strib, despite all the claims that the staff changes allow it to cover more local news. Thanks for Doug Grow’s fine article on the weekend gathering.

If we are to have a participatory democracy, these voices must be heard, not just those who raise the most campaign cash. Nelson-Pallmeyer’s voice is a refreshing addition to the usual political blather.

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Tom Poe commented on Rob Nelson’s Wednesday post, ” ‘Uncounted’ adds up voting irregularities”:

Both Australia and the U.S. studied the electronic voting systems requirements that might be best for their countries. Australia decided that only one option would protect their voters’ right to vote. Any voting system used by Australia is required to use software that is subject to public scrutiny. They developed their election software, put it on the Internet and made it freely available to anyone to download, modify it for their own use, and use it in their elections.

The U.S. decided that only one option would eliminate the voters’ right to vote. Any voting system used in our elections must be proprietary, and not permit anyone to subject it to public scrutiny. That way, vote counts would be assured of being counted in a secret vote count (that’s what Stalin loved).

When voters stand in line to vote, with, or without paper ballots, the bottom line is, the computer decides what the vote count result is. Anyone who manipulates the vote count is assured they can do so and never be detected. All that’s needed is to manipulate the vote count just enough to avoid hand counts (of course, states make sure it costs a lot of millions to demand a recount).

So, stand in line, look like a fool, pretending to vote, while knowing the vote count will take place in secret. See you at the polls, fool!

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Wy Spano appreciated Britt Robson’s Monday story, “There’s only so much pie: Advocates make their case for a slice of the 2008 bonding bill”:

This piece really captures the spirit of those arduous trips by bonding committees where members try to sort through the many requests they receive. Congratulations to Britt Robson for getting it right. And congrats, too, to the three senators mentioned, Republicans Steve Dille and Paul Koering and the DFL committee chair, Keith Langseth. They are three of the most unpartisan people you can find at the Legislature. Langseth, particularly, deserves credit for keeping bonding bills in Minnesota focused on doing the right thing, as opposed to doing things that are popular, perhaps, but aren’t really necessary.

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Eric Black’s Jan. 25 post, “Obama’s war speech: How much political courage did it take?” drew a number of comments, including this from David Lillehaug:

Excellent analysis by Eric Black. It’s one thing to draw a distinction with another candidate. It’s quite another to claim political courage. I suspect this piece will draw national attention.

Dan Hoxworth added:

The key issue here is that Obama’s judgment was correct and that he took a strong and vocal position against this major mistake. This is in sharp contrast to both of his opponents for the Democratic nomination. Not only has his stand been supported by the execution or lack thereof of the war, but his critique of the consequences is acutely accurate. There is no other candidate in either party who can claim this.

If his “lack of experience” in foreign policy matters means that he has the willingness to question mainstream opinion, seeks out other options and is willing to stand up for them, I’ll take that over those who blindly follow the leader. Senator Wellstone had the courage to stand up against the war. Senator Obama also did so. This judgment warrants strong consideration as to who is best to lead our nation through the aftermath of this trillion-dollar debacle.

Hiram Foster agreed with Eric’s assessment:

My recollection of that period was that it wasn’t very hard to be against the war resolution within the Democratic Party itself. The problem came with politician who needed to go outside the party to attract support from moderates. I am thinking in particular of senators. Also, for people actually in power, it was very difficult to oppose the president in times of national crisis when he said he needed certain powers. This was a difficult position for many in Congress but not so much for folks outside the system.

I think Barack was right to oppose the war resolution, especially in the hindsight not available to our elected representatives at the time. But I don’t think opposition required all that much courage, and he doesn’t seem to have followed it up by becoming involved in some sort of anti-war movement. Maybe that’s why Bill Clinton described Barack’s story as something of a fairy tale.

Bruce Johnson also commented:

This seems to me a strange argument. Perhaps courage is a relative concept. Certainly, compared to Hillary’s triangulation on the issue, Barak’s position is clear and prescient. Why does it diminish his character that others, like Dick Durbin, showed similar courage?

We saluted Paul Wellstone’s very similar speech on the Senate floor at the same time as an act of political courage, especially since he was facing a tough campaign against Norm Coleman and the Karl Rove-driven Senate election campaign. It seems to me at least arguable that Barack, contemplating a similar run against the Republican Snate campaign leadership, faced a similar opportunity to prevaricate on the critical issue and instead took a principled position.

Perhaps especially for someone who aspires to unite the American people across old divisions and party lines, taking a stand against the current opinion polls should be seen as a clear example of leadership.

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Phyllis Stenerson opined on Wednesday’s Community Voices piece, “What’s our progressive message?” by John Van Hecke, director of operations and planning for Minnesota 2020, a St. Paul-based progressive think tank:

Van Hecke says the progressive movement doesn’t have a cohesive message. However, many separate messages are emerging that all point in one direction — progressing forward. Example: The mission of the Minnesota Network of Spiritual Progressives (nspmn.org) is: “Igniting a culture of love, peace and justice in business, government and everyday life.”

Progressives will never march in lock-step with centralized leadership. The progressive grass-roots movement, however, has become wonderfully vibrant. Decentralization allows for the creativity and freedom to envision the kind of world we want to have and work in a broad range of ways to bring it into reality. The Internet facilitates networking to share information, ideas and tactics and maximize synergies across organizations and geography.

Again, using NSPMN as an example, we focus on values at the core of public life from an interfaith/spiritual perspective, which supports other organizations.

You won’t learn about this progressive grass-roots movement from traditional media. Hooray for MinnPost and other alternative media.

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James Rechs was prompted to offer a belated comment this week on a Dec. 12 Community Voices post, “Nelson-Pallmeyer surprisingly is DFL’s best chance to beat Norm Coleman,” by Richard Broderick, co-founder of the Twin Cities Daily Planet site, from which it was reprinted in MinnPost:

Very good points made in this article. I think Minnesota has a history of electing candidates who are willing to step up, state the truth and stand up for what they believe in. It’s how Wellstone got elected, and how Jesse Ventura got elected. The electorate in Minnesota tends to support people with clear and bold ideas, who are willing to speak out for average voters, be themselves and be authentic and are not beholden to the special interests/entrenched power. It’s not about who’s too liberal or too conservative. It’s a clear contrast between Coleman, who seems to follow the national polls and sway in the wind, or Nelson-Pallmeyer who is never, ever afraid to stand up for his principles and support the little guy and the average voter. So Jack truly would have the easiest time beating Coleman.

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On the nonpolitical front, Aaron Landry had this to say about David Brauer’s Monday post, “Steve Perry to take over Minnesota Monitor?”:

If true, this would be very, very interesting. Minnesota Monitor’s been on the way up for a while and Perry on board would make a big impact on pushing them to the next level. As much as I’d like to see The Daily Mole get more legs and grow, jumping on board with Minnesota Monitor might be a running head start.

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Rod Haenke had these suggestions in response to Steve Berg’s Jan. 23 post, “Check out this brand: ‘Minneapolis Saint Paul — More to life’ “

There are only two brands that will work:
1. Minneapolis
2. Twin Cities

The sports teams have done the area a disfavor by calling themselves the Minnesota (blank).

People would better comprehend the area if our teams were called the Minneapolis Twins, Minneapolis Vikings, Minneapolis Timberwolves, or the Twin City Twins, Twin City Vikings, Twin City Timberwolves.

Minnesota Wild is probably OK as is, as hockey is a minor sport and doesn’t affect PR nationally that much.

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Marilyn Cathcart commented on David Hawley’s Jan. 24 story, “Guthrie’s ‘Peer’ of the year still an endurance test”:

I enjoyed “Peer Gynt” thoroughly. Yes, it was ungainly and long at times, but it was a wonderful theatrical experience, witty and inhabiting the thrust stage in a way few of the Guthrie productions have since the move to the new theater. Mark Rylance was fabulous. Thanks to all who gave us this theatrical bonbon.

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Beth Wright liked Pat Borzi’s Jan. 25 story, “Women’s hockey team faces new threat to its future”:

Thanks for writing about the Whitecaps! Please note that they have two more home games this season, Feb. 23 and 24. I appreciate that MinnPost has published two articles about women’s hockey, this one and the one about the Blaine center being used for the Olympic team.

How about more coverage of women’s sports in general? The three-time national champions (consecutive NCAA championships in 2004 and 2005) Gopher women’s hockey team is ranked second in the WCHA and is polling fourth in the nation. The Gopher women’s basketball team continues to showcase great talent.

The local media give tons of coverage to the Wolves, the Twins, the Vikings and the Wild, and minimal attention to women’s sports. For example, the Star Tribune never has a byline on any articles on women’s hockey games, and what they print is no longer than three to five very short paragraphs from “New Services” (basically the University’s athletics department). It would be nice to see MinnPost, as an alternative online news source, fill in the gaping hole that the traditional media have left. Thanks for considering it.

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