Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Obligatory Summer Respite for Norm Coleman

Ah, after all those long, grueling months of hard work, don’t you look forward to a little R&R time. For most of us, we look forward to time with the spouse, maybe taking the kids to a Twins game or the Zoo … and of course a round of golf with the buddies. Alas, we also must schedule in the Obligatory Trip to visit the in-laws. No disrespect for those wonderful members of my spouse’s family, but the thought of 500 miles on the road to spend a couple of days hearing the same old stories, is a haunting déjà vu experience that I don’t want to do again … but it’s a must do.

Poor Norm Coleman … he must feel the same way.
After months of traveling on Endangered Republican Fundraising Tour (potentially 30 joint fundraising events around the country for the four most vulnerable senators of 2008: Sens. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, Susan Collins of Maine, Gordon Smith of Oregon and John Sununu of New Hampshire) link , Norm needs a little R&R time, too.

But alas, he must first make hit the Minnesota State Fair for the radio interview circuit as his first Obligatory event.
Oh, sure some of the people are “Minnesota Nice”, but then there are always those callers that want to talk about Iraq, the bridge collapse and the floods.
Well, voters, Norm isn’t just going to “talk” about Iraq … he’s “going” to Iraq.

I believe that is another Obligatory Tour Event.

As The New York Times describes these trips are commonplace. A typical trip begins when Senators and Representatives ” boarded a military jet at Andrews Air Force Base. Three flights and a Black Hawk helicopter ride later, they were lunching on asparagus soup and lobster tortellini at the home of Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker in Baghdad.[Snip] Then There is the helicopter ride out of the Green Zone to an open-air market, maybe in Anbar Province, a staple of Congressional tours now that local tribal leaders are cooperating with Americans in the fight against the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. A meeting with sheiks, a local mayor, or perhaps the Kurdish deputy prime minister, Barham Saleh, whose name some cannot seem to remember … [Snip] and the all-important photographs with hometown soldiers to show constituents at election time. Just another day in Baghdad in August, high season for Congressional travel to Iraq.

The impression from Coleman’s comments on the radio, it seems he is just going to reinforce his beliefs.

But does he need to go to get his beliefs reinforced ?
After Gil Gutknecht visited Iraq, his assessment was that a partial withdrawal of some American troops might be wise. How did Gutknecht come to this assessment … no doubt from visiting Iraq … but also from a private meeting with returning National Guard members in the First District. Gutknecht never discussed what was privately said but Coleman should read the August 19, 2007 Op-Ed by seven soldiers who are just finishing their fifteen month tour. And, Coleman should follow Gutknecht’s lead and have a “private” meeting with members of the Minnesota National Guard who have returned in the past few weeks.

The trip could have some value if he also visited other countries in the region.
As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with his own stated commitment to ”the need for an even-handed approach to Middle East peace”, a visit to Syria and Lebanon is a must. Both countries are critical to achieving peace. Iraqi Prime Minister al-Mailiki visited Syria last week to ask Syria to crack down on border crossings by alleged insurgents and Iraq is trying to reopen an oil pipeline that was bombed by U.S. fighters in the 2003 invasion that would connect the two countries economically. While the visit to Lebanon would be to pressure the government to stop allowing the training Shiite fighters from Iraq in advanced guerrilla warfare tactics.

Senator Coleman, if you are going on Obligatory Tours at least visit with people who can really tell you "the other side of the story."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Does Jim Oberstar Know Best ?

Quick, how many of you recall the 50’s television program Father Knows Best ?

Well, not only is that a question but the series was actually based on the question: Does Father really know what is best ? Yes, Jim Anderson could not only lose his temper, but occasionally be wrong.

If Jim Anderson could be wrong, could Jim Oberstar also be wrong ? Not according to Oberstar when it comes to who knows best about transportation funding.

On Sunday, CSPAN Newsmaker program, link , Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), Transportation Committee, Chairman was interviewed by John Hughes, Bloomberg News, Transportation Reporter & Kevin Diaz, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Washington Correspondent.

Diaz had previously reported that Oberstar plans to offer a temporary 5-cent-a-gallon gas tax for a national reconstruction program. Diaz speculates that this could be a campaign issue that some such as freshman Democrat Tim Walz may not want to have to vote on due to the higher taxes. (Personally, I find that speculation unprofessional … either get a quote as Diaz did from Ramsted but don’t take a quote from the executive director Club for Growth and imply that is Walz’s position.)

Oberstar correctly argued that the gas tax is a pure user tax. Yet, Norm (TaxCut and Spend) Coleman says ”I'm not yet prepared to accept a gas tax increase as the solution" and backs Bush’s assertion that it is a matter of priority.

In this case, both Oberstar’s user fee and Coleman’s prioritization makes sense.
Many Republicans embrace the idea of a Consumption-Based Taxes, so is Coleman’s reluctance that he does not want to actually vote for a tax increase … especially in a pre-election year ?
Where Oberstar fails is his impassioned defense of earmarks. He stated that Congress has a better idea on where the monies should be spent than individual state's Department of Transportation. That is a problem. A Congressman should consult with the state’s DOT and ensure that their needs are addressed. When the Congressman and the DOT disagree, there needs to be input from the state Legislature. The SAFETEA-LU 2005 legislation includes funding that Minnesota’s DOT did not rate as a high priority …that’s wrong. The complaints concerning the Alaska Bridge to Nowhere were expressed loud and clear by fiscal conservatives and the Main Stream Media … but they still got in the final bill. But that doesn’t mean that the monies are being spent … just last week officials of Lee County Florida turned down $10million for a project they did not want.

Recent polls indicate that Congressional performance is unsatisfactory in the voters mind. There were a number of reasons why Democrats defeated Republicans in 2006 … and corruption and earmarks were at the top of the list.

Congressman Oberstar, in this instance, you don’t know best. Blindly accepting the earmark system does not make sense. Yes, earmarks can be purposeful. They need to be discussed with state DOT and represent fairness in allocating the monies based on the America’s needs.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Memo to Congress : Time to Re-write that Ethics Bill

My Fellow Americans,
Did you know that Halliburton has announced that they will move their corporate headquarters to Dubai ?
Would you think that it would be appropriate for 21 members of Congress to take a sponsored-paid trip to see Dubai ?
What if all 21 members were Republicans ?
What if the week later 18 Democrats went there ?
What if 16 of these Congressmen were new members ?

Good news, to the best of my knowledge, Halliburton is not paying for Congressional trips to Dubia. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t traveling on someone else’s dime.
Last week, 21 Republicans including four Freshman (Bachmann, Bilirakis, Buchanan, and Fallin) went on a privately funded trip sponsored by the America Israel Education Federation (AIEF) . The visit included meetings with chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayad as well as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Ehud Barak, and other officials, including Bank of Israel chief American immigrant Stanley Fischer.
Today, 18 Democrats including twelve first-term Congressmen are currently on a paid trip to visit the same people.

Now, I do not object that the Congressmen are going. In fact, I think that it is necessary that they visit the region. I have written before about the importance of addressing Syrian-Lebanese situation here , here , and here . These Representatives should also take the time to visit King Abdullah of Jordan and Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president. Those two leaders are highly vested in their areas … especially Jordan which has had an influx of refugees from Iraq.

My objections are fourfold.

Why is it split by political party?
--- Is this part of a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy? Is this designed so that presentations may be slanted one way for one party and another way for the other party? Do they not want one party to hear something ? With all the divisiveness between the parties, why couldn’t this trip be used to generate some positive bonding? Sending so many members together make not be a good security decision. Any attack by terrorists (or even malfunctions of airplanes, etc.) could impact the House severely.

Why are the US taxpayers NOT paying for this trip?
--- Shouldn’t Congress be visiting countries based on OUR agenda and NEEDS and not as ‘paid guests’? The US reputation in the Middle East to many Muslims is anti-Arab and pro-Israel. By accepting paid trips, Congress is reinforcing that opinion.

How should the AIEF, which is the charitable arm of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), be distinguished between its lobbying parent ? AIPAC is recognized as the second most powerful lobby in Washington. AIPAC has a staff of 200 lobbyists, researchers and organizers; a $47 million annual budget; 100,000 grass-roots members; and a recruitment drive on 300 college campuses. AIPAC does not donate monies directly to political campaigns, but advises its members which Congress members ‘support’ Israel. Between the 2000 and the 2004 elections, the 50 members of AIPAC's board donated an average of $72,000 each to campaigns and political action committees --- how much the average member gave is unknown.
In some ways, this sounds to like a “time-share vacation” --- go and hear a sales pitch and enjoy the weekend --- the difference is that after the Congressman comes home, he/she not only got the fun weekend, he/she get political contributions for the next campaign.

Why are there so many Freshman invited ?
When 40% of the attendees are first term Representatives that appears to be an indoctrination session for Israeli / America relations. These new Freshman members will vote on the $30 billion increase in military aid which the Bush administration plans to commit itself over the next 10 years. And AIPAC knows how to play hardball. Just ask Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum who was targeted by AIPAC despite her solid pro-Israel voting record when she had opposed one bill in committee that AIPAC wanted approved.

With the time remaining in George Bush’s presidency, the best chance that he has for a foreign policy success relies on his Roadmap toward a Two State solution. Tony Blair did not undertake this mission without feeling that he could get something accomplished. Our Congress needs to be involved … but on our dime and our terms.

The latest Congressional legislation regarding ethics may have made some steps forward, but these trips indicate that they need to go further.

The members who are scheduled to attend these sessions are :
Republican mission:

Michele Bachmann *(MN), Gresham Barrett (SC), Roscoe Bartlett (MD), Gus Bilirakis *(FL), Vernon Buchanan *(FL), Eric Cantor (VA), Michael Conaway (TX), Geoff Davis (KY), Charlie Dent (PA), Mary Fallin *(OK), Trent Franks (AZ), Louie Gohmert (TX), Bob Goodlatte (VA), Doc Hastings (WA), Jack Kingston (GA), Doug Lamborn (CO), Patrick McHenry (NC), Devin Nunes (CA), Jean Schmidt (OH), Mark Souder (IN), Lynn Westmoreland (GA).

Democratic mission:

Jason Altmire *(PA), Shelley Berkley (NV), Steve Cohen *(TN), Joseph Crowley (NY), Keith Ellison *(MN), Gabrielle Giffords *(AZ), Gene Green (TX), Phil Hare *(IL), Paul Hodes *(NH), Steny Hoyer (MD), Nick Lampson *(TX), Tim Mahoney *(FL), Jerry McNerney *(CA), Patrick Murphy *(PA), Michael Ross (AR), Albio Sires *(NJ), John Tanner (TN), John Yarmuth *(KY).

* indicates Freshman Representatives.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

15,375 Reasons Why the Draft Will Not Be Re-instated

What if we had a war and nobody came ?

That may be the concern of the military as they have stepped up recruiting efforts, increased bonuses (from $6,000 last May to now up to $20,000) in an effort to keep the voluntary military in tact. But now, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, Bush's top military adviser on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said that it "makes sense to certainly consider” reinstating the draft. Lute added
"It would be a major policy shift, not actually a military but a political policy shift, to move to some other course.”.

Ah, and that’s where the 15,375 come in to play.
See it is not a military question, it is a political question.

Currently with a volunteer army fighting a volunteer war, Joe Citizen is not affected. Bush has not asked any sacrifice, nor requested any taxes to pay for this endeavor. Being mum is part of the plan to not have people realize that potentially cost of the Iraq War will reach into the trillions.
[At the end of this fiscal year, the cost of Iraq War is set to reach $456 billion. The dollars include military and non-military spending, such as reconstruction. Spending only includes incremental costs, additional funds that are expended due to the war. For example, soldiers' regular pay is not included, but combat pay is included. Potential future costs, such as future medical care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war, are not included. It is also not clear whether the current funding will cover all military wear and tear. It also does not account for the Iraq War being deficit-financed and that taxpayers will need to make additional interest payments on the national debt due to those deficits.
Nor does it include the mismanagement of this war that results in at least $8.8 billion in cash in Iraq, 190,000 weapons, and 135,000 body armor pieces being called “lost”.
For a listing of the Congressional authorization click here .]

But disguising the Iraq War is only part of the political gamesmanship going on. Raiding Social Security funds to mask other Governmental spending is another example. Any fiscal conservative can point out many examples of a government gone wild.

The scheme is to cut the pie so that you get a piece, but not let you realize how much larger other’s pieces are. The mantra is that low taxes keep the economy going … that may be true, but wouldn’t it be better to have tax fairness for all?

If knowledge is power, then to minimize power, minimize knowledge. Tell the public only what you want them to hear and spin any bad news to deflect the problem as someone else’s problem. That’s how you keep power. That’s how you keep tax cuts. That’s how you get subsidies. That’s how you get regulations written to favor your industry. And on, and on.

To maintain control, you must maintain elected officials. It does not matter how large you win an election, “it’s a mandate” regardless of the size of the victory. The size does not matter, it’s getting your voters to the polls and not the people that oppose you.

For example, why do Republicans hate unions? Because unions discuss the issues, foster their interpretation of the issue, and encourage voters. Since these issues may be at odds with the Republican policy goals, they offer alternative views as promoted by think tanks .

Why did Karl Rove ask religious volunteers across the country to hand over their churches' directories for the Bush-Cheney database and to distribute pro-Bush "voter guides ? Because the those were the voters that they wanted to vote.

And as there are efforts to encourage some voters to participate, there are also efforts to discourage others. Caging and efforts to require voters show identification are all efforts to control who votes.

But efforts to encourage and discourage may not really be necessary unless there is a reason for people to actually participate.
That’s where the Draft and the War comes in to play.
IF there is a draft people will be affected.
Potentially, even Presidential candidate’s sons would be eligible. And just like tax fairness, some may not like “Draft Fairness”.
When Joe Citizen’s sons and daughters are being affected, they will show up on Election Day.
And that’s what has been missing – voter participation.

So what are these 15,375 reasons … those are the voters that did not participate in Minnesota’s most recent election (MN House 28B). On August 7, there were 22,488 voters registered. 3,762 decided to vote for the Republican candidate Drazkowski while 3,333 voted for the Democratic candidate Pheilsticker and 18 voted for other candidates. Thus, there were 15,375 that decided they did not care to participate. This is sad. The margin of victory is small, yet policies will be made that affect all Minnesotans. Not only is this sad on its merits, but also because the voter participation is down. Heck, in the previous election, Steve Swiggum won with 9,677 votes … more than the total number of voters in the Special Election -- and where the total vote cast was over 16,000.

A military draft will encourage voter participation and that sends a chill down the spine of the established and entrenched power brokers. Lute's correct "It would be a major policy shift, not actually a military but a political policy shift, to move to some other course.”.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Iowa Cheers Tom Tancredo in Republican Debate

Paul Krugman wrote in his August 6th column ”Two presidential elections ago, the conventional wisdom said that George W. Bush was a likable, honest fellow. But those of us who actually analyzed what he was saying about policy came to a different conclusion — namely, that he was irresponsible and deeply dishonest. His numbers didn’t add up, and in his speeches he simply lied about the content of his own proposals.”
Krugman essentially is challenging the voters to evaluate the candidates based on policy proposals and not their nuanced, cliché-riddled pep rallies and negative advertising.
No “Compassionate Conservative” jive-talking this time.

If Krugman watched Sunday’s Republican Presidential Candidates debate in Iowa, he would have noticed the crowd reacted with wild applause and approval for Tom Trancredo.
This man was not pulling punches … his words range out as fervent beliefs … there is no doubt that if elected, his Administration would use Executive Power and Vetoes to fulfill His vision for America.

The debate did not even need to hit Tancredo’s strong issues on illegal aliens or to address his foreign policy stance that includes threatening to “attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina.
No, it was his position on Health Care that excited the crowd.
Trancredo said It's not the responsibility of the federal government to provide womb-to-tomb health care for America."

Forget the premise that our country was founded upon that we would commit to the general welfare of all persons, as opposed to protecting the interests of a narrow section or class of the population.
That silly Constitution aside with its Preamble :
``We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.''
And again in the section that defines Congressional responsibilities.
“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Exciese, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”
It should be noted that the Founding Fathers inserted this clause in the powers of Congress, and not among the limitations on those powers. It wanted a federal government that was driven by the people. Government powers are granted by the people, and are to be exercised directly on them, and for their benefit.

Now, the term “Welfare” is not meant to mean public assistance for the poor, but instead as “health, happiness, or prosperity; or essentially, our well-being.” Examples include roads, schools, lighthouses, piers, and even to promote industry. And the Supreme Court has concurred most notably in Helvering v. Davis that Congress was responsible for the General Welfare since the “States and local governments are often lacking in the resources.”

So the question comes to Tancredo, if the Federal Government should not be responsible for health care, should it be responsible for roads, schools and commerce ?
Without roads, there will be no commerce.
Without schools there will be no commerce.
Without commerce there will be no taxes to pay for the Common Defense (or even border security.)

The cheering crowds that embraced Tancredo’s words make me want Tancredo to be the the Republican Party nominee. I want to see him in a general election for the country to decide if His vision is Our vision.

Somehow his words do not mirror the words of Abraham Lincoln who during a time of war stated “our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” and reminded the audience in that same speech that our government is “of the people, by the people, for the people”.

Maybe if Tancredo has time he should read Lewis Gould’s book Grand Old Party: A History of the Republicans which claims the Republican Party was founded on the beliefs of civic virtue, and opposition to aristocracy and corruption.

There's an old expression, "a drunken person says, what a sober person thinks." I don't believe that Tancredo was drunk, but actually quite somber in his thoughts ... the question is "Why were so many Iowans cheering?"

Health care is the #1 domestic policy concern. Ask any business that currently provides health care coverage ... or ask any citizen that provides his own. We know where Tancredo stands ... the rest of the Republican nominees have failed to offer any policy proposals ... just sound bites.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Dams, Bridges and Schools … Don’t Blame Pawlenty … Blame the system.

Our hearts go out to the victims of the I-35 bridge collapse. Blame is easy to dish out … and too often the response is “not me”. And “me” may be right … it’s “our” fault. No, not for this one calamity but instead for accepting the system. A system that allows shortsighted management without a regard for our future. Look at the Federal Deficit, the increasing National Debt, “borrowing” from Social Security reserves to pay current expenditures, funding an Iraq occupation on the next generation’s tax bills, forcing our disabled veterans to go through hoops to get anything they can, and the list goes on.

Why? Because we don’t demand the right things from our elected officials. We elect people for a set term --- two years, four years, or six years. Their focus is then only on that term … not what is best for the future. Too often, they respond to the campaigns of special interests in hopes of getting re-elected. It's bad for the ego, if elected officials get rejected at the polls. (Note to self : we have to find a way to stroke the Ego of politicians.)

In Minnesota, the Metrodome was deemed “antiquated”, an eyesore and financially unfeasible for the tenants who have called it home since 1982. And on the horizon, the Minnesota Vikings lease will expire in 2011. So after much lobbying by the “special interests”, the Governor and State Legislature addressed the issue. First a new University of Minnesota Gopher football stadium, that is budgeted at $289 million which the State Legislature agreed to pay about $136 million, was approved. The Twins will also have a new ballpark … the costs may be more than originally planned at $522 million
with Twins owner Carl Pohlad paying $130 million towards the stadium with the remaining three quarters paid through a a Hennepin County sales tax of .15 percent. The lone remaining tenant, the Minnesota Vikings, have been lobbying for a new stadium with a price tag of $996 million although owner Zygi Wilf has pledged about $250 million.

So, obviously lobbyist’s solution is to triplicate the “antiquated” Metrodome and the elected officials are agreeing.

There are other lobbyists, but maybe not as effective. Jennifer Byers of the MN Chamber of Commerce was recently in New Ulm presenting the issues for the next legislative session. Issues discussed included : Transportation, Education/workforce development, Sales tax reform, and Health care. In discussing Transportation, “No issue is more frustrating for the statewide business community. The last session once again produced zero new dollars for roads, bridges and transit. The continued gridlock presents an opportunity for someone to take the lead, and the Minnesota Chamber is committed to taking the next step by developing consensus for a moderate, balanced, and substantive package that can become law in 2008”

So the business community agrees that roads and bridges need to be addressed, but somehow the “gridlock” has prevented that from happening.

Some may attribute the “gridlock” to mean Governor V … as in Veto Pawlenty. But I disagree, if Pawlenty is the problem its not because he’s “Governor V”, instead it’s because he is “Governor No V” as in Governor No Vision.
Vetoes can be overridden. Governor Pawlenty may have vetoed a gas tax increase, but the veto fell 7 votes short of override … so the blame is shared with the House legislatures.
But it is No Vision Pawlenty that is the problem. The bill that he vetoed essentially allowed a "lights on budget" meaning only enough money to continue projects that are already underway. Further, that means that half of what many, including the State, say is needed to keep up and make progress has been funded.

And regarding the I-35 bridge, when Lieutenant Governor and Transportation Commissioner Carol Molnau was asked whether budget considerations had anything to do with decisions on bridge maintenance, she responded : "We put together a system in this state that addresses the needs that we have within the fiscal restraints we have as well."

So that’s the problem … its fiscal restraints and No Vision.

The Governors vision is only for this session and his term.
“Antiquated” stadiums must be replaced, but bridges that opened in 1967 and that processed virtually a car every two seconds, would work fine until 2015 or 2020 (at least FOUR years after the Vikings lease expires) and long after the next gubernatorial election in 2012.

But its not just roads and bridges that should be a concern.
In Blue Earth County, there has been need for reconstruction of the Rapidan Dam.
State Representative Tony Cornish in discussing money needed for the Rapidan Dam warned "If there's one thing they should know about this governor by now it's that he's not going to raise taxes …" [Point of Explaination : This discussion was in May 2005. On July 26,2007, federal inspectors from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found what they suspect is a hole in the base of the Rapidan Dam resulting in a Blue Earth County campground being evacuated, a reservoir lowered and an observation deck closed.]

Now Pawlenty does not have the same vision as Governor Jesse Ventura. Ventura opposed a new stadium, remarking that the Metrodome is 60 years younger than the Minneapolis building where he attended high school: "When I see a new Roosevelt High School -- which is 77 years old -- then we'll talk about it.''
In my school district, the High School was in need of replacement. I recall talking with my neighbor about this when his daughter was starting kindergarten. I told him that even though we do not have any kids that we would vote for a school referendum. That referendum failed … so did the next one … and so did the next one … until finally, it passed and this winter, a new High School was opened … with his daughter in the first graduating class ! I supported those referendums because it was good public policy, but it can take a long time for these to pass.

So now we understand that stadiums take precedence over bridges, dams and schools.

And the solution is simple. We need elected officials with VISION. In business, when a asset is acquired, a useful life is determined and a responsible business will plan to replace that asset when its useful life is complete. That should be true with schools, dams and bridges. Financially, the State needs to TAX to incur a reserve during the asset’s useful life so that when it has to be replaced, there is not a financial drain. The same system should work for schools, dams and bridges. There won’t be “fiscal restraints” if we incur the tax bill before it becomes an emergency.

Competing with Vision is the current mindset that focuses only on this term. To change that, we need to bribe elected officials. What can the taxpayer’s use to bribe officials … not money - that would be illegal … but instead stroke their Ego with eternal recognition. From now on, for every new school, bridge or dam, name it after the Governor and the local members of the legislature. We’d do it when they were dead, but if it’s done now, they would probably get it done NOW and within cost budgets. President Bush talks about an “Ownership Society” … well, let’s make the elected officials “owners” of the infrastructure … if they own it, they will be more inclined to maintain it. The I-35 bridge is actually “Bridge No. 9340” … that looks more like a street address that no one would want to own. Put a name on it and they’ll take better care of it.

What have we got to lose ? Stroking their Ego just might do it. Think about it. That’s right we won’t be saying “Damn that Pawlenty”, will be saying “Com’n kids, let’s go to Cornish Park at the Pawlenty Dam.”