Hurricanes: Teachable moments?

OK, I’m gonna break my rules and get emotional. I own property in Florida, in the 3rd most likely to get hit by a hurricane county in the country. It’s 10 miles inland but only 10 feet above current sea level, and it’s a 28 year old mobile home only rated for 100 MPH winds. I inherited it, and the developers never disclosed that it was likely to get by a major hurricane every 17 years on average. Big oil has yet to disclose to us that their product would cause global warming which causes more and more intense storms. Mom and dad trusted the oil companies and the developers and probably put over a hundred thousand dollars into their Florida retirement home, and a global warming fed hurricane will ultimately turn it into scrap wood and mold…

We were lied to, cheated, swindled, robbed, etc. and there’s no point in denying it.

My cynical side says that an honest politician will never be re-elected, never mind elected in the first place. But while the hurricane survivors deserve all the help we can give them, they deserve honesty too…

We have to rebuild safely way from the flood plains to withstand the strongest winds and then some. We have to stop dumping carbon into our atmosphere, creating a greenhouse that will ultimately be too hot for us to survive. Period.



Political bloggin’ ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…

Been blogging since 2012 on auto, motorcycle, and logistics issues over at my Gearhead Grrrl blog. Cut my teach in political writing over at the old then moved over to Kos for the Dean campaign and have been their ever since. Used to make the “rec page” regularly, but by 2016 the Bernie and Hillary camps and who knows how many troll farms and their ‘bots had hacked the system, and my upgrades to the “rec list” became rare. Since then us indy bloggers have Kos’ own growing staff of writers to compete with too. ‘Bout a year ago I started cranking out a monthly “Outreach Officers Report” about rural democrat’s issues, which succeeded in riling up some big city Democrats despite being appreciated by a few readers. Kicked outa the MN DFL party for supporting the candidate who ultimately got the most votes in the primary my writing was censored. ‘Bout that time I also figured out that I could accomplish more to elect democrats and move the country in a progressive direction from outside the democratic party than within, so I decided not to run for re-election as a party official and start this “Sassy Democrat” blog to bring my “wisdom” to a wider audience.

I had visions of invigorating coverage of the midterms followed by chasing the presidential candidates ’round Iowa and down the campaign trail to the conventions. But the reality has been different- Despite rare new content the “Gearhead Grrrl” blog usually gets more views than “Sassy Democrat”. My political writing ain’t the only one starving for lack of views- Other day a professional writer for a political blog noted the consolidation in the online news industry was about to put him out of a job. He partly blamed Facebook for this, with viral spread of their stories squelched amid Facebook’s crackdown on politics. Even political advertisers seem no longer welcome at Facebook- A friend, definitely a real live human and not a ‘bot, is having difficulty convincing Facebook that she’s a real advertiser with money to spend.

No surprise… I suspect Facebook and other social media at least tolerated politics to attract eyeballs, but now that online ads are passing TV ad spending Facebook can be choosy. And while political ad spending is outa control it”s still only about a percent or three of total ad spending every other year… Facebook can bring in more reliable revenue from car ads with less hassle than dealing with political campaigns. And I have to admit the consumers of my gearhead writings are a better audience… They can understand and appreciate a reasoned and logical discussion, while a political article usually dies if it doesn’t have the issue de jour like Kavanaugh has been for the past weeks in the title.

So with the current level of disinterest I’ll probably let this political blog die after the election and return to writing about old motorcycles and whether anyone is actually in charge at Ford these days. But then again, you readers might change my mind…

Supremes could bar NoDak native voters… Kavanaugh pays back already?

Heidi Heitkamp first won election to the senate in 2012 by a mere 3000 or so vote margin. The three native majority counties in ND cast around 5000 votes for Heidi and sent her to Washington. And if the new republicans on the supreme court have their way many of those native voters won’t get to send¬† Heidi back to Washington again.

For most of it’s century and change history North Dakota required neither voter registration nor voter ID. For a rural state of small towns that worked well, especially so given that North Dakotans tend to live into their 80s and beyond, births weren’t recorded ’til late in World War One, and the passenger rail service was so good that many city dwellers never got drivers licenses. Even if you had an ID it might only list your town, as many towns saw no need for such formalities as street names and numbers until 911 systems brought “fire numbers” so a 911 operator on the other side of the county could direct responders. So for decades North Dakotas blissfully carried on with no addresses, registrations, nor IDs, though the state bank and mill came in handy.

But the GOP had a problem with all that democracy, especially when it allowed thousands of native citizens to vote and send their chosen senator to DC. So they passed a voter ID law with no voter registration… What could go wrong? A whole lot, especially with no registration that would give the local election officials time to sort out voters eligibility before election day. No surprise that those 3 native majority counties turned out a quarter less votes for Hillary than they did for Heidi 4 years earlier.

But that was still too many native votes for the GOP bigots, so they passed even tighter voter ID regulations requiring an ID with a street address to vote. Now remember this is a state where addresses are likely to be range, township, section, and quarter rather than number and street, and that gets even more casual in Indian country. So the GOP bigots passed legislation requiring an exact street address on that ID required to vote.

The Native American rights Fund filed this lawsuit and it’s made it’s way to the Supreme Court just in time for the GOP to get some payback for their investment in Kavanaugh. They’re asking the supreme court to take emergency action to stop these new discriminatory voter ID requirements. But Kavanaugh may pay back the GOP senators that confirmed him within days by denying Heidi Heitkamp the native votes to win another term in the senate.

Pretty quick payback for the GOP’s investment…

Update: From South Dakota’s best dem blogger.

Midterms, 30 days out…

Ya gotta “Plan B”, don’t ya?

Such is the state of Team Blue’s multi year comeback- I just glanced at the deluxe version of 538’s house forecast and it currently shows us leading in exactly 50% +1 of the house races. We are leading the tightest of those races for the 218th seat that will give us a majority by just half a percent in 538’s forecast. Thus 538 is giving us 5 out of 7 odds of retaking the house, about the same as they gave Hillary on election eve… And we know how that went.

The uphill slog into deep red territory that is this midterm’s senate races is at least more certain but in the wrong direction, with 538 forecasting 2 in 9 odds of our taking the senate. 538 estimates that to become our 51st senator Heidi Heitkamp needs to find enough votes to make up the 2.8% she trails her GOP opponent by… That 2.8% is about the difference between the poor native voter turnout that Hillary produced in ’16 and a truly motivated native voter turnout in the Dakotahs that produces democratic wins.

Here in MN7 it’s getting boring, thankfully the GOP shows no interest in mounting much of an attack on democrat Collin Peterson in this R+13 district. GOP held suburban MN2&3 and now rated “likely democrat”, while Democratic Farmer-Labor (DFL) party held MN1&8 have slipped to “leans republican” and “tossup” rankings, with republicans¬† leading in both. The senate and gov races look safe DFL while the state DFL party looks set to blow another chance to become the state house majority by simply failing to back enough candidates in red enough districts. While D-Trip has gotten with the program and is supporting democratic candidates in even R+ double digit districts, the Minnesota DFL leadership seems quite happy to frustrate next governor Walz with a GOP legislature and swap two rural seats for two suburban seats and contribute nothing to Team Blue’s comeback. Fortunately Tim Walz knows better and he’s campaigning hard in those two rural CDs and supporting our rural state house candidates too. And in neighboring states where the state parties aren’t afraid to challenge entrenched republicans in even deep red districts a few congressional seats and governor’s mansions are going blue.

So have that “Plan B” ready, best not be surprised on election night should voter disenfranchisement, GOP attacks, and lax leadership like the MN DFL’s give Trump and his GOP another cycle of absolute power to abuse. But until the polls close and the last recount is over let’s campaign like our lives depend on it… Because they vary well might!





Will Kavanaugh cost democrats the house or republicans the senate?

The GOP could have delayed the Kavanaugh confirmation ’til the lame duck session and the democrats could have just let it pass… Both sides must have thought it to their advantage to make a scorched earth fight of it. Couple days back when Kavanaugh was being grilled a poll showed republican voter intent rallied by that grilling. Then Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota said she’d vote no, and her donation website promptly crashed under the overload. This afternoon Senator Susan Collins announced her yes vote, and a website raising money for her 2020 opponent crashed too… Those surges are significant!

Thanks to gerrymandering a shift of less than 1% would keep the house in republican hands. Kavanaugh, the angry white guys latest martyr,¬† is easy for them to ID with. And while the angry white guy demographic is the republican’s biggest, they’re already pretty motivated so their ain’t a whole lot more of them left to motivate to the polls. Meanwhile survivor Christine Blasey Ford wedges white women- A demographic that favored Trump- To the democrats and galvanizes voting intent in democratic leaning minority women. But the 51st senate seat the democrats need to win is probably Heidi Heitkamp’s in North Dakota, and she’s trailing in the polls and 538 has her down almost 3%.

Then again, a 4% Texas bump would send Beto to the senate, and Mississippi’s “jungle primary” leading to a likely November 27th general election could send another democrat to the senate…

MN GOP Reps rest on somebody’s laurels…

Tonight was the district 16A and 16B candidate debates on Pioneer Public TV, and the GOP incumbent representatives showed us their limited vision. First up was 16A with incumbent GOPer Chris Swedinski trying to take credit for legislation pushed through by DFLers while his DFL challenger Tom Wyatt-Yerka offered fresh ideas. Than came the 16B debate with incumbent GOPer Torkelson unable to manage even that, instead name dropping all the committees he’d accomplished little on.

Southwest Minnesota, if you want more of the same mediocre, vote GOP…