More Fact Checking

If you don’t have FactCheck.org bookmarked, you should fix that. It’s nonpartisan required reading for anyone interested in how much of what they’re being told/sold is the truth.

They have multiple posts on the recent Republican convention. In part one, “Lieberman and Thompson make misleading claims about Obama on Day Two of the party in St. Paul.” In part two, “Palin trips up on her facts, and Giuliani and Huckabee have their own stumbles on Night 3 of the Republican confab.” McCain’s speech gets its own post, as he “made some flubs in accepting the nomination.”

And since the convention, it just keeps on coming. Well, it does when they actually talk to anyone.

Thanks to Bora for keeping on top of much of this news. While he may be partisan (not a complaint), he should also be required reading for at least the duration.

Primary Tomorrow

If you don’t live in Minneapolis, skip the rest of this post. This is my sample ballot for the local DFL primary.

I put one together every election for me, my husband (who’s busy doing his homework), and anyone else who wants to trust my political judgment. I read the candidates’ statements, look at endorsements, and Google for red flags. This isn’t so important for the statewide elections, but it’s critical for positions like school board and open judges’ seats, which don’t get much coverage.

Here are my votes for tomorrow.

U.S. Senate: Al Franken

Supreme Court Associate Justice, Seat 3: Paul H. Anderson

Supreme Court Associate Justice, Seat 4: Lorie Skjerven Gildea

U.S. House, District 5: Keith Ellison

District Court Judge, 4th District Court, Seat 53: Jane Ranum

Minneapolis School Board (3): Carla Bates, Jill Davis, Lydia Lee

I was all set to provide my reasoning for each pick, but while Googling the District Court candidates, I came across my friend Naomi’s sample ballot. I look at school board position statements before endorsements, using the endorsements only to break a tie, while Naomi looked at endorsements first before confirming her choices using the position statements. Otherwise, she says everything I was going to say. Our ballots are identical.

By the way, if you’re voting Republican, you can use the same sample ballot, although there’s no contest for the House seat. Just substitute Jack Shepard for Al Franken for Senate, and you’re done.

Update: Find out where to vote.

Fair Warning

This blog is new enough that it hasn’t been through an election before (nothing local last year), so those of you who know me only through the blog haven’t seen me in an election season. I get a wee bit obsessive. I have plenty of things I want to say about writing and editing at the moment, but every time I sit down to write them, I have things to say about politics that feel more important to get out.

So if you’re not thrilled with the last week or so of posts, you might want to come back in a couple of months. I’ll miss you, but I’ll understand.

Fact-Checking Palin

CNN reviewed Palin’s speechifying on her own record. Not as much truth as one would hope for from a candidate trying to steal the change issue from Obama.

Wasilla resident Anne Kilkenny has a little more nuance on Palin vetoing spending bills as well.

CNN will also be doing a second piece on Palin’s remarks about Obama. I can’t wait.

Convention Recoverage

I was going to write a long, involved post about the Republican candidates’ speeches, but I don’t have to. Joe Biden said everything that needs to be said, and he did it concisely. Seriously, he does that sometimes. Greg has the short, lovely video. Go look.

Me? I’m going to use the extra time to enjoy having my city back.

Qualifications

I was at my mom’s this weekend to pick apples and roast brats over a bonfire. A thought occurred to me and I looked over at her.

“So, you’ve been a small-town council member and mayor.”

“Yeah.”

“Do you think a year and a half as governor would qualify you to lead the nation?”

She shook her head sadly. “No. I don’t think so.”

“No?” She has more years of city service then Palin had. She served on this committee and that board. She was president of a non-profit. She participated in a sister city program, giving her international experience. Her middle name is even Louise.

“No.” She shrugged. “I’ve never been a beauty queen.”

Bachmann’s Service

When I heard Representative Michele Bachmann was going to speak at the RNC last night, I had two thoughts. “Ew,” and “Huh.” We’ll get to the “ew” part shortly. I want to start with “huh.”

Last Friday, my friend James went to a meeting at the Courts International building in St. Paul. This is where Norm Coleman has his office (in Paul Wellstone’s old office, the unfeeling, opportunistic bastard). James saw and heard a woman talking on her cell phone, not in Coleman’s office but well out in public.

She was whining about “the convention.” She didn’t want to stick to the script. She had some great ideas of her own about what to say.

At the time, we just laughed about the difference between the speeches at the DNC and the heavy scripting that was about to come. I didn’t know at the time that the RNC would be that willing to embrace a fruit bat like Bachmann. But once I found out they had, well, strict scripting suddenly made a lot more sense.

This is the woman who hung out in the capitol bushes to spy on a gay-rights protest. This is the woman who described how she got “hot” for god as a sixteen-year-old. This is the woman who…no, no “ew” yet.

So I sent James some links to pictures. “Yep, that looks like her.”

Unfortunately, she stuck to the script:

Service isn’t a political trait – though some Presidential nominees certainly know more about service than others.

As Republicans, we recognize that service is an innately personal characteristic.

It is best achieved by individuals and community groups, faith-based organizations and charities.

There are some people, however, who believe differently.

They think service is run by Washington bureaucrats, and a growing dependency on government-issued checks.

And they think you should be footing the bill.

I won’t go into detail, for the moment, about just how appalling the script is (“Service is personal, so you don’t have to pay for it even as you pat yourself on the back for knowing one person who gave some”), because I’m just so disappointed that she stuck to it. She still wasn’t happy about it, as you can see from the video hosted at the Dump Michele Bachmann blog, who also has a great comment on her use of the term “Minnesota Nice.”

I’m want to know what it was she never got to say. On this topic in particular, I want her off script. Because unlike Monica Lewinsky, Bachmann has given every indication that in her mind, service is a very public thing.


Ew!

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Uh, hell if I know, actually. I’m surprised it’s September.

There was major construction in there, resulting in so much (expected) damage to the yard that I still have trouble looking at it. I made some friends in unexpected places. There was catsitting. Oh, and blogging. Definitely blogging.

No real vacation, though, and given that, I don’t feel much like submitting to the grind today. Instead, I’ll give you some other folks who are back at school.

Lou is distilling his biology class into an excellent series of blog posts. The one on his termite lab is way cool, particularly as one student gets over the squicks by getting interested in the science. (Ooh. He’s also practicing his best teacher look.)

Samia has a review of her reproductive biochemistry text that should be a must-read for every textbook writer. Think about how students will read these things, would you (although I defy anyone to predict Samia’s reaction in full)?

Greg has already turned in a full book report, on Chris Mooney’s Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming. Topical both meteorologically and politically. Whee!

Zuska isn’t actually back at school, but she’s still learning–from summer vacations past.

More Education Funds Spent to Appease Homophobes

One of the local high schools has a gay-rights student club. Well, probably several of them do, which is a great change since I was in school. The difference for Maple Grove High School’s Straights and Gays for Equality (SAGE) is that the school is trying to force them into their own little student group ghetto and the school board is wiling to spend money to defend the school’s idiocy.

Four times.

Friday’s ruling affirmed a September 2007 decision by U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen, who ruled that Straights and Gays for Equality (SAGE) should be on equal footing with other student groups at Maple Grove High School.

Ericksen ruled that the school violated the Equal Access Act by giving access to the public address system and school bulletin boards to groups such as the Spirit Council, synchronized swimming and Black Achievers while denying access to SAGE.

The school argued that SAGE was different from the other groups because SAGE wasn’t a “curricular group.” That is, it wasn’t connected to what kids are learning in school. You know, unlike the Spirit Council, which “plans school dances and activities.”

Needless to say, the court sees this as discriminatory. But rather than accept that the district court ruling clarifies the legal landscape for schools, the Osseo school district has appealed twice, once against the preliminary injunction and once against the final ruling.

Appeals are not cheap, and the school district is not exactly swimming in cash. In fact, they’re asking the voters to approve additional funding this fall.

The board voted earlier this week to pose two questions to voters on Nov. 4: One will ask for $8 million in additional tax revenues a year for 10 years, and the other will ask for $5 million a year over five years to pay for technology equipment and training.

The Osseo district is still smarting from $16.3 million in cuts in the 2009-10 budget that resulted in the closing of two schools, big program changes in four other schools, and the loss of scores of teachers.

So what is the district doing spending money they don’t have appealing clear and simple legal rulings? I don’t know, but I encourage voters in the school district to find out. Ask the board for their reasoning. Ask the individual members about their priorities in funding education versus court cases.

And ask them now, because they come up for a vote at the same time the funding referendum does.