Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Farheen Hakeem's Political Courage

Voters in south Minneapolis district have the right to know where their candidates stand on the issues. Only
Farheen Hakeem has the audacity to stand up for what she believes in and how she will fight for her constituents. This is taken from her Political Courage Test at

Abortion Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding abortion.

a) Abortions should always be illegal.
X b) Abortions should always be legal.

c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.

d) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.

e) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.

f) Abortions should be subject to a mandatory waiting period.

g) Require clinics to give parental notification before performing abortions on minors.

h) Other or expanded principles

Budget and Tax Issues

State Budget: Indicate what state funding levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category, you can use a number more than once.
Slightly Increase a) Education (Higher)
Greatly Increase b) Education (K-12)
Maintain Status c) Emergency preparedness
Greatly Increase d) Environment
Maintain Status e) Health care
Slightly Decrease f) Law enforcement
Maintain Status g) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Greatly Increase h) Welfare
Greatly Increase i) Other or expanded categories
For Health care, I would like to join with other legislators to bring Single Payer Universal Health care to Minnesota.

State Taxes: Indicate what state tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one level per category, you can use a number more than once.

Greatly Increase a) Alcohol taxes
Slightly Increase b) Cigarette taxes
Greatly Increase c) Corporate taxes
Slightly Increase d) Gasoline taxes
Maintain Status e) Income taxes (incomes below $75,000)
Slightly Increase f) Income taxes (incomes above $75,000)
Greatly Decrease g) Property taxes
Maintain Status h) Sales taxes
Slightly Increase i) Vehicle taxes

j) Other or expanded categories
Undecided 1) Should state sales taxes be extended to Internet sales?
Yes 2) Should accounts such as a "rainy day" fund be used to balance the state budget?
No 3) Should fee increases be used to balance the state budget?

4) Other or expanded principles

Campaign Finance and Government Reform Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.
Yes a) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Minnesota governors?
Yes b) Do you support limiting the number of terms for Minnesota state senators and representatives?
c) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates?
Yes 1) Individual
Yes 2) PAC
Yes 3) Corporate
Yes 4) Political Parties
Yes d) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Yes e) Do you support imposing spending limits on state-level political campaigns?
No f) Should Minnesota participate in the federal REAL ID program?
Yes g) Should Minnesota allow homeowners whose mortgage is in foreclosure a one-year deferment on their primary residence?
h) Other or expanded principles
No Answer

Crime Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding crime.

a) Increase state funds for construction of state prisons and hiring of additional prison staff.

b) Establish the death penalty in Minnesota.
X c) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
X d) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
X e) Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

f) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.

g) Support state and local law enforcement officials enforcing federal immigration laws.
X h) Support hate crime legislation.

i) Other or expanded principles

Education Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.
X a) Support state funding of universal pre-K programs.

b) Support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students (No Child Left Behind).
X c) Support state education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students.

d) Support requiring public schools to administer high school exit exams.

e) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any public school.

f) Allow parents to use vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
X g) Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.

h) Support using a merit pay system for teachers.
X i) Provide state funding for tax incentives and financial aid to help make college more affordable.

j) Support allowing illegal immigrant high school graduates of Minnesota to pay in-state tuition at public universities.

k) Other or expanded principles
I support J, but I would term it to be "Support allowing undocumented high school graduates of Minnesota to pay in-state tuition at public universities.

Employment Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.
X a) Increase funding for state job-training programs that re-train displaced workers and teach skills needed in today's job market.

b) Reduce state government regulations on the private sector.

c) Provide low interest loans and tax credits for starting, expanding, or relocating businesses.

d) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for children in low-income working families.
X e) Increase state funds to provide child care for children in low-income working families.
X f) Increase the state minimum wage.
X g) Support laws that prevent employers from dismissing employees at will.

h) Support financial punishments for those who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.

i) Support increased work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients.

j) Increase funding for employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.

k) Other or expanded principles

Environment and Energy Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.
X a) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.

b) Support increased production of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, oil, etc).

c) Support providing financial incentives to farms that produce biofuel crops.
X d) Use state funds to clean up former industrial and commercial sites that are contaminated, unused, or abandoned.

e) Support funding for improvements to Minnesota's power generating and transmission facilities.
X f) Support funding for open space preservation.
X g) Limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases linked to global warming.
X h) Enact environmental regulations even if they are stricter than federal law.

i) Other or expanded principles
I would support increased production of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. I would also support funding for improvements to Minnesota's power generating and transmission facilities if it was to reduce our carbon footprint on the planet.

Gun Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.
Yes a) Should background checks be required on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows?
No b) Should citizens be allowed to carry concealed guns?
Yes c) Should a license be required for gun possession?
Undecided d) Do you support current levels of enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Undecided e) Do you support current state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?

f) Other or expanded principles

Health Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health.

a) Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care through managed care, insurance reforms, or state-funded care where necessary.

b) Guaranteed medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.

c) Limit the amount of damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.

d) Allow patients to sue their HMOs.

e) Require hospitals and labs to release reports on infections that are a risk to public health, while not compromising patient confidentiality.

f) Legalize physician assisted suicide in Minnesota.

g) Support allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.

h) Other or expanded principles
I support single payer universal health care.

Social Issues

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding social issues.
Yes a) Should Minnesota recognize civil unions between same-sex couples?
Yes b) Should same-sex couples be allowed to marry?
Yes c) Should Minnesota provide state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples?
No d) Do you support a moment of silence in public schools?
Undecided e) Do you support voluntary prayer in public schools?
Yes f) Do you support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods?
No g) Do you support abstinence-only sexual education programs?
Yes h) Should the state government consider race and gender in state government contracting and hiring decisions?
Yes i) Do you support affirmative action in public college admissions?
Yes j) Should Minnesota continue affirmative action programs?
Yes k) Do you support state funding of stem cell research?
Yes l) Do you support state funding of embryonic stem cell research?
No m) Do you support allowing pharmacists who conscientiously object to emergency contraception to refuse to dispense it?
n) Other or expanded principles

I am confused to what "e) Do you support voluntary prayer in public schools?" Students should have the right to pray in schools if they choose, but the school administrators should not require students to attend prayer. For example, is a student wished to do Friday Prayers, which happen at lunch time, the school should not stop the student, and meet their needs. Yet, a teacher can not require all of the students in the class to pray along with the student.

Legislative Priorities

Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

The big challenge that I see in the Legislature is to balance the 2
billion dollar deficit without cutting programs and services to the poor.
As your State Representative, I would advocate that housing, jobs, youth
programming, and programs to end poverty are an investment, not an
expense. I will fight to secure general funds to sustain programs for
education and social services, and work beyond party lines to create
solutions to balance the budget, find funding for community programs, and
bring landmark legislation to law.

[ These taken from Farheen's primary opponent has this listed on their site:

Mr. Hayden repeatedly refused to provide any responses to citizens on the issues through the 2008 Political Courage Test when asked to do so by national leaders of the political parties, prominent members of the media, Project Vote Smart President Richard Kimball, and Project Vote Smart staff.

I consider Mr. Hayden's inaction to be yet another sign of local DFL corruption, ineptitude, and not truly standing for anything but getting elected. - KC ]

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Lawsuit seeks $250,000 in damages for police raid

Press Conference:
Friday, October 10, 3pm
Saint Paul City Hall on Kellogg Blvd.

The first lawsuit resulting from the police invasion of a St. Paul home prior to the Republican National Convention will be announced at a press conference October 10. Notice will be served
on the city of Saint Paul that lawyers representing Michael Whalen will seek $250,000 in damages. Whalen’s duplex on Iglehart Avenue was cordoned off by St. Paul police working with the FBI and Homeland Security people. Whalen and his tenants and guests were held at gunpoint for several hours, not allowed to leave – and no one allowed to enter.

It has not been disclosed what prompted the raid. An FBI agent (perhaps Scott Zimmerman) had requested entry an hour earlier. When denied he apparently called the St. Paul authorities
who sent two dozen or so officers into the streets, alleys and entrances of Whalen’s home.

When these officers also were denied entry, they held the premises underarmed guard while police tried to create a legitimate reason for an invasion. After an hour or two, Officer Langfellow
swore that Mr. Whalen had supported Irish Independence some 20 years ago, had co-owned a bookstore for a whole year with Sarah Jane Olsen also 20 years ago, had recently failed to put his address numbers on one half of the duplex and had received heavy boxes by US Mail.

The sworn affidavit, supporting the request for a search warrant, also contained a straight-out falsehood about Whalen’s activities that day. Amazingly, a judge of the District Court
found all this sufficient to issue the warrant – for the wrong address! The items listed in the warrant for seizure did not include Irish literature, letters from Ms Olson, unused address numbers nor the vegan literature in the heavy boxes.

It might be noted that Whalen’s guests included journalists who are part of the growing people’s independent press movement, which documents and web-publishes police abuse around this land of ours. Some of these folks were raided again elsewhere and some were arrested as they documented the new face of St. Paul, formerly the most livable city in America.

Mr. Whalen is represented by attorneys Ted Dooley and Peter Nickitas, both members of the National Lawyers Guild. Dooley will be among the speakers at the press conference.

For further information contact:
Attorney Ted Dooley, 651-292-1515 ;
make polluting corporations own up to their climate impacts

Dear Blog Reader,

Over the course of this campaign, we’ve heard a lot of talk about oil pipelines in Alaska, “drill, baby, drill,” and even an unfortunate embrace of so-called “clean coal” technology, though no form of coal is ever truly “clean.”

With less than one month to go before Election Day, we need to let our candidates know we’re demanding a comprehensive, modern, green energy policy that will put this country back on the right path in more ways than one.

Right now, we can launch a new green energy plan for the US that is intentionally designed to meet five urgent needs at once. We can:

  1. tackle the rising price of fuel, a hardship for many American families,
  2. transition the US away from its dependence on foreign oil,
  3. push back against the perils of climate change, and
  4. reverse rising unemployment rates, which reached a five-year high in September.
  5. create real investment into our economy that will counter the ongoing Wall Street meltdown, and its impact on Main Street.

While Co-op America members have been making green-energy changes in their lives for many, many years, the time is NOW for a major system change.

We’re challenging each of you to come together with us and tell all presidential and congressional candidates that our country is ready for a clean energy infrastructure that makes it easier to live green.

All of our candidates need to be reminded that if we do this – if we implement a comprehensive green energy policy that calls for energy efficiency, cleaner cars, and renewable solar and wind power – we’ll ALL reap the rewards of a cleaner environment, reinvigorated economy, and more secure future.

When you click through to take our action, you’ll be prompted for your ZIP code, which will bring up all congressional and presidential candidates running for office in your area. Then you can add your own personal touch to our editable message, urging all of the candidates to endorse a greener energy platform. Please take this urgent action today.

Send your message to the candidates now »

For background on Co-op America’s clean-energy recommendations, check our latest editorial, in which we debunk the myths that can discourage progress on green energy, and outline the components that any elected leader should have in her or his energy policy. (Please post it widely online, send it to your local paper, and otherwise help us get the word out.)

Then, click through to our action page for more information on what should NOT be included in our energy policy (off-shore drilling, oil-and-gas subsidies, new coal plants, risky nuclear plants), before using our form to send your own message to Congress.

Thanks for joining with us to keep this critical issue at the top of our leaders’ minds, as we push for action now, and under the new administration in 2009.

Here's to all you do,
Alisa (signature)
Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director, Co-op America

P.S. Clean energy news: The solar energy tax credits were extended for eight years as part of legislation signed into law on October 3. You can now get 30% tax credits for solar installed on your home or business – without a cap on the amount of the credit. Thanks to all of our members who joined with us in pushing for these tax credits!

Take Action!

Tell your presidential and congressional candidates
to support a truly green energy policy.

Act now. »

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Co-op America's latest green-energy editorial explains our position on a truly green energy policy for America. We invite you to post it to your own Web site, link to us, or submit it to your local newspaper. (If you do
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Read the editorial »


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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Whose Congress is this?

Anyone who still thinks that either of the two major parties represent the interest of Main Street rather than Wall Street should take a look at how much money the members of the US House of Representatives who voted for the "No Tycoon Left Behind" bailout bill have raked in from the same financial sectors responsible for the whole mess in the first place.

According to The Center for Responsive Politics, lawmakers who voted in favor of the bailout bill have received on average 51% more in campaign contributions from sources in the finance, insurance and real estate industries (FIRE industries) over their congressional careers than those who opposed the emergency legislation.

In this election cycle, the 140 House Democrats who voted for the bailout bill collected 78% more from the FIRE industries than the Democrats who opposed it. The data shows that, over their careers, they collected 88% more. While the gap is smaller on the Republican side, those who voted yes on the bailout bill got an average of 23% more in contributions from the FIRE industries in this election cycle than House Republicans who voted against it. In the long run, they got 53% more.

When it comes to raking in cash, party leadership fares even better. House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank (D-MA) received nearly $800,000 this election cycle from sources in the FIRE industries. Ranking Republican committee member Spencer Bachus (AL) received $822,000 from the FIRE industries this election cycle and $3.7 million since 1989.

Unlike the two corporate parties now running Congress, Green Party candidates accept no corporate contributions. When in office, we will not be owned and bossed by Wall Street fat-cats. Green Officeholders are free to vote for what's best for us, the American people, instead of the Wall Street insiders who now run the show.

But to make your voice heard, we need your support. If your Congressperson voted against the bailout bill, thank them. If they voted for it, tell them how you really feel. Support Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente and other Green Party candidates on the ballot in November; and donate to our future today.
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