Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Man With a Plan

I usually don’t agree with most of what William Galston pens in his weekly opinion columns in the WSJ, but his suggestion that we change the way we elect House members definitely has merit. Four-Year House Terms Would End the Gridlock:

When the Founders decided on a two-year term for the House, they could not have anticipated the consequences more than two centuries later. For newly elected members, the "permanent campaign" is the reality of daily life.

They must begin raising funds for their re-election the day they are sworn in. Because their terms are so short, they have no time to demonstrate the long-term merits of decisions that defy the passions of the moment, so every deviation from the sentiments of their constituents—including a modicum of cooperation across party lines—can be fatal.

The modern primary system intensifies the risk. Worst of all, turnout in midterm elections averages 20 points lower than in presidential years, so off-year elections hinge on the intensity of the party faithful, and relatively small changes in the electorate can generate huge swings. This system intensifies polarization and magnifies instability.

The solution is straightforward—four-year House terms synchronized with the presidential election cycle. This is not a new idea. In his memoirs, former president Dwight Eisenhower said that "By the end of four years [in office] . . . . I had become convinced that the term of members of the House of Representatives is too short." In his 1966 State of the Union address, President Lyndon Johnson went further, calling for a constitutional amendment providing a four-year House term that would give newly elected members a chance to learn their craft and allow more time for governing rather than campaigning.

I’m not as concerned as Gallston is with the need to end the gridlock. And I think we might be better off to not have all the House seats contested in the same year as we elect a president. There could a rotating cycle somewhat like what we do with Senate seats. But I do agree that having members serve four year terms would allow them to focus more on the job they were elected to do and less on the next campaign which is always right around the corner.

The only thing I would add is term limits. Two four year terms max per House member. We don’t need seats that reside in the same family for eighty years (and probably counting) like we have with the Dingell Dynasty in Michigan.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Taking Care of Business

A couple of interesting articles appeared recently in Twin Cities Business (TCB).

The first is “The Business of Tom Barnard,” about the radio titan’s move into podcasting.  Of note is that Barnard claims his formerly lucrative career as a commercial voice over talent was largely ended over his being identified as a “right winger”:
Though morning radio has done right by Barnard, it has complicated his personal and business life in ways he hadn’t anticipated. Ways that cost him income, friends and community esteem. Most of it is rooted in his decision, after 9/11, to move his radio show into the realm of politics. 
“It’s probably my biggest regret,” he says. “It was a terrible mistake. Did anyone know Johnny Carson’s politics?”
The way Barnard recalls it, in the passionate times after the 9/11 attacks, as it became clear to colleagues that Tom had strong feelings about the geopolitical situation, he was encouraged to air those feelings on his show.  He recalls longtime program director Dave Hamilton (who did not respond to TCBrequests for an interview) and producer Bryce Crousore pushing him to take the show ideological. The request was not inconsistent with Barnard’s history.
“Tom was brutally honest,” says Steinmetz. “He would take on the establishment, the rich and powerful, he gave a backdoor look into the seamier sides of the music and radio industries.”
… The ratings went up, but at a cost. The notoriety cost Barnard his broad popularity and his lucrative voiceover business. “The things I said and stands I took went on Wikipedia, they went national. Advertisers don’t want to be associated with anything controversial. No one wanted to work with me,” Barnard reveals. 
… It also cost Barnard his reputation as a moderate—which is how he thinks of himself. “I became the local left’s bad guy; still am.” 
… What opportunities remained were snuffed out as Barnard became known for political outbursts. “No one wanted to work with me then,” he says. “I lost Home Depot over that.”

Barnard is more of a populist than a right winger.  On topics like immigration, crime, and taxes he often voiced opinions that happened to be unpopular with certain cultural elites (politicians, journalists, academics, special interest organizers), but which were popular with the people.  Generally, political partisans on the left cannot abide open discussion of these issues, lest the voters connect the dots on who is really representing their interests.  So even though Barnard openly espouses support of liberal social positions like gay marriage and his atheism, he’s a right winger that needs to be silenced.  He was untouchable on the radio, based on his popularity with the people (i.e., ratings), but that apparently didn't prevent him from ending up on a black list for his other show biz related pursuits.

Don Shelby is another Twin Cities media titan, an institution for his decades of reporting and news reading on WCCO-TV.  Despite his reputation for being one of the biggest liberals in Twin Cities media, he apparently never suffered any black listing or other ill effects.  He now cohosts a sports oriented podcast with Barnard.

Barnard grew up on the North Side of Minneapolis, one of seven kids, raised largely by a working-class mom married to a man who suffered from schizophrenia. Despite Barnard’s current association with right-wing politics, “Tom came out of a liberal democratic household,” says Shelby. “I gave him the NBC-Esquire political typology test and he tested left of center.  “Yet friends have disavowed him, people have moved away from him,” Shelby continues.

Shelby’s perspective seems to be that it isn’t so much a tragedy Barnard was black listed or shunned in the first place, it’s that he was blacklisted for illegitimate reasons; Barnard’s not really a Republican, he’s left of center.

Twin Cities Business also ran a cover article entitled “Whose Legacy Is It?” on the consequences of the Minnesota Legacy Amendment.

The article reminds us that this dedicated, special tax added in 2008 transferred $300 million from the people to the state just last year, and is estimated to cost taxpayers a staggering $7.5 billion over its 25-year lifespan.  A revelation to me was who the top private recipient of funds from this tax is:

A generation ago, Pheasants Forever was but a dream of a young newspaper outdoors columnist named Dennis Anderson, who launched the organization to rally outdoorsmen to protect bird habitat from encroaching urbanization and agricultural use. Today, it’s a formidable entity with $43 million in annual revenue and 125,000 members (27,000 of them in Minnesota) in 600 chapters in the United States and Canada. Nearly half of its revenue comes from government sources.
Of late, the White Bear Lake-based nonprofit has taken on a more decisive role—buying hundreds of acres of land each year to keep it perpetually out of the hands of developers and agribusiness. Enabling it to do so is more than $45 million generated through taxes, dollars appropriated each year through Minnesota’s Legacy Amendment since its passage in 2008. In fact, Pheasants Forever receives more Legacy support than any other nonprofit program.
Why, and how, pheasant habitat protection has become the biggest private purpose of an amendment designed to sustain the state’s legacy helps illustrate significant questions and concerns about how the $7.5 billion it is raising is being managed. And it raises the question: Whose legacy will taxpayers really end up supporting?

Ultimately Pheasants Forever donates this land to the DNR or US Fish & Wildlife Service, so at least public dollars aren’t being spent to enable private gain.  But, this use of public dollars, and the shell game of converting it into more public land, has consequences:

Land purchases have become a source of ongoing tension in much of northern Minnesota, where large public holdings limit development and depress property tax revenue. State government owns at least 17 percent of land in Minnesota (some estimates place it as high as 25 percent), ranking fourth among states in total acreage, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Now it is bringing more land under public ownership thanks to Legacy acquisitions. Under the Outdoor Heritage Council’s 25-year plan, as many as 1.5 million acres could be publicly acquired (for all types of preservation and restoration purposes) with Legacy dollars if the fund’s current trajectory is maintained. This translates into about 2,300 square miles, or nearly four-fifths the acreage of the seven-county metro area.

The TCB article includes further details on the other questionable priorities for this Legacy Amendent slush fund.  None of this is a surprise to anyone who was paying attention when this ballot amendment was offered to the voters in 2008, but it’s nice to see at least one mainstream media publication in town hasn’t forgotten about it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sticker Shock Shock

Correction to the Sticker Shock post yesterday.  I stated that 86% of Minnesota Constitutional Amendments have been approved by the voters.  Technically, that is not the case, although it depends on what you approve of as your definition of “approve”. 

The law defining approval of ballot Amendment proposals was changed in 1898, from a simple majority ‘yes’ votes among those voting on that particular amendment, to a majority of ‘yes’ votes among all those casting a ballot in that election (whether or not they bothered to vote on that particular Amendment). 

This may seem like a subtle distinction, but the affect has been dramatic.  Seventy-seven Amendment proposals have been rejected since this law was put into place (staring with those appearing on the ballot in 1900).  Fully 82% of these rejected proposals would have passed under the old standard of a simple majority voting ‘yes’ on that particular question.  Overall, while 86% of amendments have indeed received ‘yes’ votes by a majority of those casting votes for that Amendment, only 56% of these Amendments have actually been “approved” into law due to the higher standard passed in 1898. 

The 1898 change in Amendment law was itself passed by Amendment approval by the voters.  Alas, it would have been rejected if forced to be judged by the very standard it was mandating.  Although a clear mandate of those bothering to vote on this question approved of it (68%, or 69,760 of 102,641), the ‘yes’ votes represent a piddling 27% of all ballots cast in1898 (69,760 of 252,562). 

Only 41% of those voting in 1898 (102,641 of 252,562) bothered to express an opinion on this change in the law which proceeded to radically alter the content of our Constitution for the next century.  Talk about a non-response bias!

Or maybe it’s not.  It’s hard to say how the vote might have been different if all voters had expressed their opinion on this question.  In the absence of compelling evidence that the non-responders materially differed from responders on this variable, the best guess is that they would have been distributed generally the same way on this question.  Since it was a landslide approval among responders, Minnesota is *probably* living under the Amendment law that the majority of its people wished in 1898.  The irony is that since 1898 that is not the case.  

Because of this law, the default assumption is that non-responders are not distributed similarly as responders, who are usually approving.  It is that non-responders are always 100% opposed.  Because of that we’re 60+ Amendments to the Minnesota Constitution light compared to where we’d be otherwise. 

Getting back to Sticker Shock, this does not change my snap conclusion into the overwhelming liberal orientation of amendment proposals themselves.  But it shows how the glorious apathy of Minnesota voters or, stated another way, the failure of Amendment proponents to properly educate and motivate voters on the specifics of their schemes, has been a firewall against liberal policies. 

The more I read through the Amendment database, the more fun facts I uncover, so there is more blogging to come.  In the meantime, if you’d like to read more about the history of Minnesota Constitutional Amendments, check out this excellent report from last year by the research department at the MN House of Representatives.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sticker Shock

The “Wellstone!” bumper sticker is still a common site in the Twin Cities.  Once upon a time, they were advertisements for Paul Wellstone’s political campaigns, for Senate in 1990, 1996, and 2002, and for President in 2000.  But a decade after his death they have become … something else.  To drivers of other cars on the road, this green and white emblem on a vehicle has come to mean:  Warning, lousy driver at the wheel.  Slow, oblivious, imperious, annoying.

For those driving the cars with Wellstone branded bumpers, it means much, much more.  They have no practical purpose any longer, so I’m left to conclude that it is entirely conspicuous partisanship.  They supported the most progressive, controversial, and divisive politician of his generation (Wellstone never exceeded 50% of the vote in Minnesota), and they’re going to tell that to every single person they encounter, every day, to the maximum geographical extent possible.  ‘Attention world, I know you are just trying to get to work on time, but you’re going to have to remove yourself from your own thoughts for a minute because YOU are going to deal with my controversial political preferences!’

During an active campaign, I’ll give a pass to the use of political bumper stickers.  It’s legitimate advertising for a cause or candidate.  But outside of an active campaign, let alone 10 years after that candidate has died, still sporting said bumper sticker is pugnacious.  You’re looking for a fight.  In other words, it’s a jerk move.  If you’re doing it, you’re a jerk, and you’re advertising that fact to everyone.  We might have guessed it from your driving behavior alone (slow, oblivious, imperious, annoying), but now we know for sure. 

You don’t see as many Wellstone bumper stickers as you used to.  For that, I credit not a lessening of the jerk-like ardor of conspicuous partisans.  I blame the practical, tactile difficulties of trying to preserve paper and glue adhered to fiberglass and metal in an outdoor environment.  While it may be feasible to preserve Vladimir Lenin’s body for a century, that type of ingenuity and resource allocation isn’t possible for old Wellstone stickers.  Year by year, day by day, hour by hour, they’re flaking off and blowing in the wind. 

Unfortunately, this has not meant a respite in roadway political hectoring.  Conspicuous partisans have to hector, it’s what they do.  So, Wellstone stickers are incrementally being replaced by fellow travelling candidates.  Over the years, we’ve had our Al Frankens and Barack Obamas and Ford Bells (all conveniently displayed on this Subaru straight from central casting).  But nothing has really galvanized the community organizing community like Wellstone! did. 

That is, until now.

In November of 2012, Minnesota voters were presented with Referendum 1, the Marriage Amendment to the state constitution, which would have enshrined in our foundational document the definition of matrimony as between a man and a woman.  From the opposition arose the ‘Vote No’ sticker, which flocked to the bumpers of Twin Cities’ liberals like so many swallows to Capistrano.   

The Marriage Amendment was defeated.  In Wellstonian fashion, it virtually equally divided the electorate, with 53% opposing and 47% approving.  Then the newly minted Democrat majority in the state legislature took the next step last year by legalizing gay marriage, on virtually a straight party line vote.  And there we have it, a highly controversial issue settled by the barest majorities, with the losers still smarting over the imposition of the brave, new world.  And how did the winners react?  By piling on.  It seems like there are even more “Vote No” stickers out there now than there were during the election of 2012.  They are everywhere on the roadways of the Twin Cities, a badge of honor for all goodthinking Minnesotans. 

Once again, it’s a jerk move of conspicuous partisans.  Minnesota is full of them and we must reconcile to the fact that they will always be with us. 

However, I wonder if this time their antics will come back to bite them?  They have wedded their need for adverse attention not to a candidate or specific cause, but to a commonly used word:  no.  That political sentiment, unhinged from its historical context, and combined with the average citizen’s short attention span, could come to embody anything.  In a political sense, “No” is more conservative than liberal.  To conserve is to maintain the status quo.  The default conservative answer to any new policy prescription would be therefore be, no.  In fact, it’s my theory that the Marriage Amendment failed due to losing a portion of its natural constituency who assumed that voting “no” is the proper response to any request on a ballot. 

Could it be that future ballot requests for progressive hope and change will be rejected, in part, based on the advertising providing by the conspicuous partisans still doing a touchdown dance for defeating the Marriage Amendment?  That answer depends on the theory that most ballot requests are liberal in orientation.  Let’s go to the tape. 

The Minnesota Legislative Reference Library keeps a database of Constitutional Amendments included on the statewide ballot for voter consideration.  From 1858 through 2012, there were a total of 215 Amendments considered, of which data on results is available for 213.  (The other Amendments, both from 1881 and dealing with removing time limitations from sessions of the legislature and regulating compensation of the legislature, have their results listed as “not available”.  I pray these aren’t still embroiled in a dispute over some hanging chads and felons voting from Koochiching County.) 

Of these 213 Amendments, a staggering 86% have been approved by the voters, and only 14% were rejected.  Based on total votes for approve vs. reject across all Amendments, the margin is a somewhat tighter landslide, at 65% approve vs. 35% reject. 

From this we can conclude that the legislators putting these amendments on the ballot have generally been in sync with the people.  But that doesn’t necessarily tell us if the orientation of these amendments were more liberal than conservative, since we cannot assume that the electorate over the past 160 years has been as been consistently oriented toward liberalism as it is today.  So how can we determine that? 

I could laboriously study each of the 213 Amendments, understand the details and the unique political context of each over the past 150 years, and through the use of some advanced analytics develop an index from which I can establish the liberal-conservative orientation of each.  Or I could just breeze through each one and based on the one sentence description provided by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library and make a snap decision on whether I (as the model conservative) would vote to approve or reject each.  

I adopted one of the above strategies for the following conclusion:

Of all 213 Amendments presented to Minnesota voters, 27% were sufficiently conservative and 73% were too liberal in orientation. 

Minnesota Liberals, you’ve been warned.  You sport the “Vote No” sticker at your future peril.  It’s time to take them off before it’s too late.

*For the record, if I did use the snap decision method of analysis, the “when in doubt, reject” strategy would have been in effect.  It sure would make deliberations on the political orientation of Amendments described as, for example, “to authorize levy of water-mains assessments on a frontage basis” a lot easier.  And it may have been remarkably enjoyable to casually dismiss scores of half understood government schemes and plans with a casual, “nah”.  If only reality were so simple.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

HWX, with Victor Davis Hanson

It was a Tuesday night special edition of the Hinderaker Ward Experience (HWX), with John Hinderaker of Power Line and Brian Ward of Fraters Libertas reconvening to discuss the critical issues of our time.  Topics addressed include:

*  the truth behind John’s recent Achilles tendon surgery

*  The White House State Dinner for the President of France

*  The CBO report on Obamacare and its effect on job creation

*  Further Obamacare delays and Banana Republicanism

*  Loon of the Week: NBC, the Olympics, and the pivotal experiment that was genocidal, tyrannical communism

*  This Week in Gatekeeping:  quick hitters from the LA Times

*  Predictions – a musical look back on the insight of John Hinderaker

We were joined by special guest Victor Davis Hanson, who discusses his recent article, A Beat-up, Exhausted, and Terrified Republican Establishment.  VDH explains why Democrats are on the wrong side of all the key issues of the moment, and wonders why Republicans continue to lose elections.  As an accomplished classicist, he also connects the dots between Achilles and what brought down John Hinderaker. 

There are many ways to hear the podcast, including over on the mother ship at Ricochet.  You can be sure to never miss an episode by subscribing via iTunes.  Or you can just use the player embedded in the upper right hand corner of this website.  If all of these fail, send me an email and I'll come to your house and read from a written transcript.  Hope you enjoy.

High and Dry

While pictures of Vladimir Putin raising his glass and offering toasts (likely “to evil”) are easy to find, it turns out that it’s not so simple for visitors in Sochi to whet their whistles. Russia's Ban on Alcohol in Sochi Arenas Leaves Drinkers Flat:

At long last, Morgan Simms thought. Inside the Olympic curling center Tuesday afternoon, the 25-year-old Canadian spotted a welcome sign—Beer.

"I got excited," he said. But like most beer sold inside the Olympic Park, these cans of Russian brew Baltika were nonalcoholic. "They're just playing games with my heart," he said.

Russia, whose most famous export may be vodka, is staging the driest Olympics in memory. For many fans, it is the biggest upset of the Winter Games. A new federal law last year prohibited the sale of alcohol inside sports stadiums and arenas. And a local ordinance last month banned alcohol sales within 50 meters of some sports venues.

The strict approach reflects both the Kremlin's recent efforts to wean Russians from their legendary love of the sauce, and the unpleasant memories of drunken, unruly fans at the last Winter Games in Vancouver.

For the Sochi Games, real beer is a scarce commodity in the Olympic Park, and vodka even rarer. "We were looking for a sports bar or something, but we haven't seen one," said 26-year-old Alyona Minakova of St. Petersburg, walking with her twin sister near the speedskating arena Tuesday. "It seems like there should be one."

In the mountain Olympic venues, which are outdoors and not subject to restrictions, the alcohol flows freely. At the snowboard halfpipe Tuesday, fans drank from cans of alcoholic Baltika and cups of mulled wine.

But at indoor ice venues along the Black Sea, drinking options are limited. The lone restaurant in the Olympic Park has a full bar. And alcoholic beer is sold at two Coca-Cola food stand areas and a larger food court. But with so much nonalcoholic beer on sale, the real thing is hard to find.

I’ve had various versions of the “real” Baltika before and it ain’t all that. I can’t imagine how disappointing the non-alcoholic version would be.

Some of the Olympic events are so exciting and engaging that the lack of beer is just a nuisance. For others however, the impact is more profound.

The sentiment has surprised some foreign visitors, particularly at events where drinking is common in other countries. "Who wants to watch curling sober?" said Scott Simms, the 27-year-old brother of Morgan Simms. "No one. I'll tell you that right now."

I hear you brother. It’s hard to watch curling on television sober.

Some countries have founds ways to ensure that their citizens are supplied with the basic necessities.

Just off the Olympic Park, temporary fan houses offer alcohol to visiting countrymen. The Canada house, for instance, has a refrigerated dispenser of Molson beer, free with a swipe of a Canadian passport. But entry to the houses is often limited to visitors with ties to national Olympic committees.

Free beer for all Canadians in Sochi? You gotta love our neighbors to the north.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Minnesota Ice

Apparently the gridlocked rush hour highways of the Twin Cities didn’t have enough actual carnage this week as the highway warning signage, instead of informing us of specific incidents to avoid, treated us commuters to this demand every few miles:

I suppose that’s reasonable advice for a sub-zero morning with the creeping menace of black ice encroaching from all sides of the road.  But something about the tone just doesn’t sit right with me.  Slow down!  Call me a free thinking, tea drinking anarchist, but I don’t especially like seeing anonymous, angry dictates flashed in my face from the government while I’m driving.  I’m not even sure who this command is from, the state Patrol?  The Governor?  Some crypto fascist dweeb clerk typist at MNDOT?  Short of maybe State Senator Carly Melin, I ain’t in the mood to take orders of any of ya!

Minnesota state government, how about you consider the fact you’re not our masters and offer the advice of slowing down as a polite suggestion?   In the words of Vincent Vega, a “please” would be nice.  It would be Minnesota nice, as a matter of fact.  And you aren't Mr. Wolf, so don't even start with the "get it straight buster, I'm here to tell you what to do" rap.    

And by the way, MNDOT, your hang up with black ice?  We know what you're really getting at, so maybe you better slow down.

Beer of the Week (Vol. CXC)

Another edition of Beer of the Week, sponsored as always by the warm-hearted folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can eagerly help you harvest the beer, wine, or whiskey you need to keep your blood flowing.

When you’re in the midst of a wicked winter with no apparent intent of releasing its icy grips anytime soon you need a beer that’s not afraid to go toe to toe with the old man. A beer from a place that knows winter. A beer from Alaska. Alaskan Brewing Company’s Hopthermia:

This American Double India Pale Ale, or IPA, is as big and bold as the mythical lone brewer himself. Legend has it that he first came up with this beer, with the help of his woodland friends, to fight against the long frigid winter nights endured by all of the pioneers of the Last Frontier.

A four-pack of short 12oz bottles sells for $9.99. Stark black and green label with ice covered hops.



COLOR (0-2): Brown and clear. 2

HEAD (0-2): White color with good volume and lacing. 2

AROMA (0-2): Grapefruit with a little floral sweetness. 2

TASTE (0-5): Flavors of grapefruit and pine resin blend well with mellow malts. It’s surprisingly smooth for a double IPA with no bitter edge. The mouthfeel is on the watery side and it has a medium body. You can’t pick up the heat at all and Hopthermia is quite drinkable. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Pleasantly piney and lasting. 2

OVERALL (0-6): Very well-balanced and nuanced for a double IPA. Delivers delicious hop flavors without pounding you over the head with bitterness. A worthy beer to weather the winter with. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 16

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Hit the Lights?

The potential for an attack that brings down all or part of the US power grid has been a concern of security experts for years. A disturbing story in today’s WSJ explains that we may have already had a dry run for just an attack. Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for Terrorism:

The attack began just before 1 a.m. on April 16 last year, when someone slipped into an underground vault not far from a busy freeway and cut telephone cables.

Within half an hour, snipers opened fire on a nearby electrical substation. Shooting for 19 minutes, they surgically knocked out 17 giant transformers that funnel power to Silicon Valley. A minute before a police car arrived, the shooters disappeared into the night.

To avoid a blackout, electric-grid officials rerouted power around the site and asked power plants in Silicon Valley to produce more electricity. But it took utility workers 27 days to make repairs and bring the substation back to life.

Nobody has been arrested or charged in the attack at PG&E Corp.'s Metcalf transmission substation. It is an incident of which few Americans are aware. But one former federal regulator is calling it a terrorist act that, if it were widely replicated across the country, could take down the U.S. electric grid and black out much of the country.

The article goes on to detail how this attack was not a random act of vandalism, but a carefully planned and executed operation. Concerned now?

Since 9/11, we’ve been fortunate that terrorists haven’t focused their attention and imagination on the plethora of soft targets inside the United States that would be relatively easy to strike and that could cause significant disruptions either locally or even potentially nationally. Knocking out part or all or the power grid would definitely qualify in this category.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Rotten to the Core?

Anne e-mails to weigh in against the Common Core educational standards:

I’m guessing perhaps you’ve heard of Common Core standards. In having a teen and a now two-year-old, we are rapidly seeing the worst of the worst in public education and government takeover.

This includes chartered schools, Catholic schools, Montessori and even the beloved Waldorf schools and most importantly, those families that choose to home school.

That hits very close to home (no pun intended).

I am part of a non-partisan, grassroots organization that is opposed to Common Core standards.

We are in need of getting the word out further, through your webpage or other media contacts that you know would be interested in taking this on.

Please visits our webpage for all the information at:

We are on FB and I am the administrator for Hennepin County Against Common Core (FB only). I work closely with Linda Bell – the woman who started this all just 10 months ago. We do not get paid. We have met with legislators and are meeting with them more and more of them as well as giving speeches and talks to families, legislators & church organizations.

We recently caused a ruckus with the MN Chamber of Commerce as they are hosting the upcoming Education Summit where we discovered many of the organizations & sponsors are backers in Common Core. Target & General Mills were just a few to name and many have recently removed their names from their advertising…but we’re confident not their funding. Clearly, even our legislators are unaware of what Common Core is doing in our schools and how it affects families, teachers, communities and most importantly, its students.

I also have lots of stories from the Minnetonka school district. This is not not just a ‘Minneapolis’ problem. Everyone is affected.

There’s also a video available with more details on the problems with Common Core.

Up to this point, I've been agnostic on the Common Core standards. I haven't spent much time on the matter and what I have read has been a mixed bag on whether they're a step in the right direction or a step backwards. People with solid credentials on education have opined both for and against the standards and it hasn't been clear which view has the better of the argument. Time to dig in further.