Saturday, December 22, 2007

Ron Paul literature all over my precinct

Yesterday I finished a week-long campaign to deliver Ron Paul literature to every doorstep in my caucus precinct, Minneapolis W-12 P-08, before Christmas, leaving 1800 or so "slim-jim" palmcards, most of them like the one here.

I ran a marathon in 2004 and another in 2005. This is the closest thing to a marathon I've done since. If you'd like to do some Ron Paul marathoning yourself, contact Marianne Stebbins at the Minnesota campaign headquarters. Marianne may prefer that you spread your leafletting run over several precincts, instead of focussing on just one, like I did.

If you do, be sure to pack plenty of water and stay hydrated!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Happy tea party!

I just saw Ron Paul 2008's fourth quarter donation total go over $15 million, nearly $3.5 million of which came in today (so far!) in commemoration of the Boston Tea Party 234 years ago.

Update (Dec 16, 2007): Last night at a celebration in downtown Minneapolis kicking off the Tea Party '07 money bomb, I predicted $6 million. Many others there shared the same estimate or close to it. Well, in the last hour of the tea party, Ron Paul 2008 did it. They have $6 million in donations, and they're still coming in. Wait! I just heard (10:28 Central) on Ron Paul Radio that the Ron Paul 2008 site has crashed in the deluge of hits. So they're now urging people to call in their donations.

Update (Dec 17, 2007, 11:46 pm Central):
According to Ron Paul 2008...
we just passed $18 million - Q4 (so far)

Earlier the Ron Paul Radio guys were quite funny about the websites going down before midnight (Ron Paul 2008, Ron Paul Forums), telling their audience that if they go down, too, well it's been an honor serving them.... :-)

They then played the 1812 Overture, just like in the movie "V for Vendetta", and "We are the Champions" by Queen, from the end of the movie "Revenge of the Nerds".

Update (Dec 17, 2007, 4:25 pm Central):
Ron Paul 2008 reports $6.04 million as the final tally, with an average donation of $102 from a total of 58,407 individual contributors.

Update (Jan 3, 2008, 12:59 am Central):
This great video captures the enthusiasm of the day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Look! Up in the sky... It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a frog.

A frog? No, it's Underdog!

Read about this innovative campaign in Wired.

What does Underdog himself have to say?
Not plane nor bird nor even frog. It's just little old me... [sound of crash off camera] Heh-heh, Underdog.

Ron Paul's Empty Pot and Will Rogers

Ed Felien, editor and publisher of the Southside Pride, recounted this story with flair at a Ron Paul Meetup last night at Powderhorn Park. Wish I had a video. It's the story of the emperor and the empty pot,
The wise, old emperor was keenly aware that he was getting along in years, and he worried about finding a suitable replacement to lead the people. One day, he solicited the young people of his kingdom to gather, and he shocked them by telling them that he would be stepping down and that he would choose one of them to be his successor. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today, a very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!”

One young man named Ling, a son of a farmer, was there that day, and he was certain that he could cultivate that seed better than anyone else. He got a pot, filled it with rich soil and watered it carefully. Day after day, he checked the pot. Weeks passed by, then months, and still nothing had grown. Other youths from the kingdom began to talk about their plants and flowers and trees, but Ling said nothing. He was sure that he somehow had killed the seed.

After a year had passed, all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling’s first inclination was not to attend, but he showed up that day, sick to his stomach. He was amazed at the plants that the others had brought. They were of all different varieties and all so beautiful. Some of the others made fun of Ling’s empty pot and others felt pity for him. Ling stood toward the back of the crowd.

The emperor looked over the vast array and seemed pleased. Then, he spotted Ling standing at the back of the room with his empty pot, and he ordered his guards to bring the young man to the front. Ling was led grudgingly, fearful that he may be punished for his utter failure. The emperor asked his name. “My name is Ling,” he replied. Now, all the youths were laughing and making fun. The emperor then announced to the crowd, “Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!”
The emperor continued,

One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds which would not grow. The rest of you substituted your own seeds for the one I gave you, but Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be your new emperor!

Read the rest at News Long Island...

It reminds me of Will Rogers routine on radio, three-quarters of a century ago, where he builds up to the announcement of his great plan, The Will Rogers Plan, that will solve all the ails of the country,
It kinda looks like a bad day for plans... I'm not going to get discouraged though. In fact, these other failures -- well, they've really given me confidence, you know -- more hope that my plan will be a success... My plan is a plan to end all plans. It's to do away with all plans. That's what it is. This country has been planned to death... There ain't but one place that a plan is any good and that it'll really work, and that's on paper. But the minute you get it off a sheet of paper and get it out in the air... it blows away. ... Plans just don't work. If they're milk and honey to you, they're poison ivy to somebody else... My plan is when a senator or congressman -- or even a man of great ability (we must quit joking about those boys, because they're good guys) ... comes to Washington with a plan, you send 'em to Russia. Yes, sir, send 'em to Russia with the plan. That's the home of all plans, you know. That's the home. Russia, they eat and sleep and drink plans in Russia. That's why there's starvation there, because you just can't digest a plan. It don't eat right. Everything in Russia is run by plans; everything here is run by accident... [The Rogers Plan] is: 'Don't Plan' ... Live haphazard... There's nothing in the world as common as an idea, and there's nothing in the world as hard to carry out as an idea. If the Republicans would forget their main plan which is to get into the White House and the Democrats would forget their main plan which is to stay in there, and the others, all these various third parties, would just look at their history which shows that none of them ever did get in there, why, we'd all recover overnight, you see.

     Will Rogers - Rogers' Plan to End All Plans

Ed Felien has written a front-page article supporting Ron Paul, which should appear soon in our neighborhood edition of the Southside Pride, Ron Paul revolution: Are you ready?.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Non-partisan Caucus Training - Tuesday at 6:30pm

Tomorrow evening at 6:30 pm a non-partisan training session is being held at the Longfellow Community Center, and it's all about the caucus process. I urge you to attend. It's being put together by Peace in the Precincts.
PEACE FIRST! Caucus Training

Host: Peace in the Precincts
Tues Dec 11, 6:30pm to 9pm
Longfellow Community Center
36th Ave S & 35th St E

3435 36th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55406
FFI or 651-917-0383

Our weekly meeting originally scheduled at Chris & Rob's at 7 pm Tuesday is hereby cancelled so that we can attend this training. Hope to see you tomorrow at the Longfellow Community Center!

Update (Dec 11, 2007, 6:25 pm): It looks like Precincts in the Precincts had the wrong address for the Longfellow Community Center. I've corrected it.

Update (Dec 12, 2007, 12;45 am): Great session tonight. Thanks to Pete Simmons of Peace in the Precincts. Lots of good info.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Meeting on proposed Midtown Incinerator - Dec 13

My friends and fellow Standish residents Dan Cooke and Ann Novitske have set up a new blog on the proposed Midtown Minneapolis Incinerator. Dan writes,
Action Alert - MPCA Public Information Meeting

The MPCA [Minnesota Pollution Control Agency] has scheduled a public meeting on the Midtown Eco Energy incinerator's pollution permit application. The meeting will provide information about the proposed new incinerator at 2850 20th Avenue South in Minneapolis -- near the Minneapolis Greenway and the new Greenway Bridge that straddles Hiawatha Avenue. IF YOU LIVE, EXERCISE, WORK OR SHOP WITHIN THREE MILES OF THIS FACILITY AND YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT AIR POLLUTION IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOU ATTEND THIS MEETING. Please come to the meeting to learn more about this project.

MPCA Public Information Meeting on proposed Midtown Incinerator:

Thursday, December 13, 2007
6 - 8:30 p.m.
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
2730 East 31st Street, Minneapolis

No one who attends will be required to speak (although you can ask questions or make comments if you wish). Project developers and people who are concerned about the pollution that would be caused by the project will be in attendance to offer pros and cons. By simply attending you will be letting the MPCA know that you care about the air you breathe and about the planet we live on.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wayward as the Minnehaha

I look out at Minnehaha Creek, as it flows unstoppably towards Minnehaha Falls, and I remember Longfellow's Song of Hiawatha, a tattered copy of which I have from my mother's childhood.

Homeward now went Hiawatha;
Pleasant was the landscape round him,
Pleasant was the air above him,
For the bitterness of anger
Had departed wholly from him,
From his brain the thought of vengeance,
From his heart the burning fever.

Only once his pace he slackened,
Only once he paused or halted,
Paused to purchase heads of arrows
Of the ancient Arrow-maker,
In the land of the Dacotahs,
Where the Falls of Minnehaha
Flash and gleam among the oak-trees,
Laugh and leap into the valley.

There the ancient Arrow-maker
Made his arrow-heads of sandstone,
Arrow-heads of chalcedony,
Arrow-heads of flint and jasper,
Smoothed and sharpened at the edges,
Hard and polished, keen and costly.

With him dwelt his dark-eyed daughter,
Wayward as the Minnehaha,
With her moods of shade and sunshine,
Eyes that smiled and frowned alternate,
Feet as rapid as the river,
Tresses flowing like the water,
And as musical a laughter:
And he named her from the river,
From the water-fall he named her,
Minnehaha, Laughing Water.

Was it then for heads of arrows,
Arrow-heads of chalcedony,
Arrow-heads of flint and jasper,
That my Hiawatha halted
In the land of the Dacotahs?

Was it not to see the maiden,
See the face of Laughing Water
Peeping from behind the curtain,
Hear the rustling of her garments
From behind the waving curtain,
As one sees the Minnehaha
Gleaming, glancing through the branches,
As one hears the Laughing Water
From behind its screen of branches?

Who shall say what thoughts and visions
Fill the fiery brains of young men?
Who shall say what dreams of beauty
Filled the heart of Hiawatha?
All he told to old Nokomis,
When he reached the lodge at sunset,
Was the meeting with his father,
Was his fight with Mudjekeewis;
Not a word he said of arrows,
Not a word of Laughing Water.

How many of you know that the name Minneapolis comes from Minnehaha? We are the city of Minnehaha. I remember reading an article in the vaults of the Minnesota Historical Society which described the naming of the city. There was a Bowman involved (no relation). Originally the name was to be Minnehapolis, combining the word "minnehaha" meaning river-falls with the Greek word "polis" meaning city. The letter 'h' was dropped as the pronunciation proved awkward. In its founding, the waterfalls of the area lent themselves to an economy centered on mills, first used for cutting lumber, and later for the grinding of flour. Unfortunately even the Minnesota Historical Society in some, not all, of its publications makes the error of forgetting the significance of the letter 'a', behind which are the falls.

How many of you know that the very word "caucus" is an American Indian word? Jack Weatherford, professor at Macalaster College just across the Mississippi, has written the book Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World, which chronicles a number of important contributions for which we should all be grateful. We owe important principles in our own Constitution to the Iroquois League, principles that set our Constitution apart from those of the rest of the world, particularly our federalism and our civility in Congress. Let us not forget.

Behind the fictional Hiawatha of Longfellow stood a historic figure (perhaps legendary) named Aiowantha. Aiowantha was said to be inspired by Deganawidah, who said,
When you administer the Law, your skins must be seven thumbs thick. Then the magic darts of your enemies will not penetrate, even if they prod you with their points.

This is to be of strong mind, O chiefs: Carry no anger and hold no grudges. Think not forever of yourselves, O chiefs, nor of your own generation. Think of continuing generations of our families, think of our grandchildren and of those yet unborn, whose faces are coming from beneath the ground.
Paul A. W. Wallace (1986) White Roots of Peace, p. 40.
Now available in a 2nd edition - White Roots of Peace: The Iroquois Book of Life.

For those interested in more of the history,
Although some twentieth-century anthropologists maintain that the Iroquois League was only fully formed after Europeans made landfall in North America, the historical records of Europeans such as Colden contained no hint that the Confederacy was in formation at that time. The consensus of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century writers, who saw the Confederacy in its full flower, was that it had formed sometime before colonization. The oral history of the Iroquois indicated a founding date somewhere between A.D. 1000 and 1450. ...

According to Iroquois oral history, the Confederacy was formed by the Huran prophet Deganawidah (called "the Peacemaker" in oral discourse), who, because he stuttered so badly he could hardly speak, decided to enlist the aid of Aiowantha (sometimes called Hiawatha) in order to spread his vision of a united Haudenosaunee confederacy....

Peace among the formerly antagonistic nations was procured and maintained through the Haudenosaunee's Great Law of Peace {Kaianerekowa}, which was passed from generation to generation by the use of wampum, a form of written communication that outlined a complex system of checks and balances between nations and sexes. Although a complete oral recitation of the Great Law can take several days, encapsulated versions of it have been translated into English for more than a hundred years and provide one reason why the Iroquois are cited so often today in debates regarding the origins of fundamental law in the United States. While many other native confederacies existed along the borders of the british colonies, most records of the specific provisions of their governments have been lost.

... The primary national symbol of the Haudenosaunee was the Great White Pine, which served throughout the Great Law as a metaphor for the Confederacy. Its branches sheltered the people of the Five Nations, and its roots spread to the four directions, inviting other peoples, regardless of race or nationality, to take refuge under the tree....
Donald A. Grinde, Jr., and Bruce E. Johansen (1991) Examplar of Liberty, pp. 22-24.

Just to show how timeless certain issues can be,
The Great Law stipulated that sachems' skins must be seven spans thick, so that they would be able to withstand the criticism of their constitutents. The law pointed out that sachems should take pains not to become angry when people scrutinized their conduct in govermental affairs. Such a point of view pervades the writings of Jefferson and Franklin, although it was not fully codified into United States law until the Supreme Court decision New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), which made it virtually impossible for public officials to sue for libel.

The Great Law also included provisions guaranteeing freedom of religion and the right of redress before the Grand Council. It even forbade unauthorized entry into homes—measures which sound familiar to United States citizens through the Bill of Rights.
Exemplar of Liberty, pp. 24-27

Grinde and Johansen go on to write,
... [T]he Constitution was toasted in 1790 by John Jay, Jefferson, and others as "our tree of peace," which sheltered them "with its branches of union" (see New York Journal, 10 August 1790).
Exemplar of Liberty, p. 307
Attend the caucus. Support Ron Paul in his bid for the presidency and his message, our message, the American message of rights. Network.

Update (Jul 25, 2008): For more on the naming of Minneapolis, see -

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

all Gaul is divided into three parts

All of Standish-Ericsson is divided into 3 caucus precincts.

To the north lie the pastoral highlands of precinct W-9 P-08. Their residents are bravest because they are furthest from the civilization and refinement of the new Caribou and Grand Ole Creamery on Cedar and Minnehaha Parkway :-) To the south, by the great inland sea of Lake Hiawatha, home to beavers in the early 90s, we find the glades and peoples of precinct W-12 P-11, bounded to the south by Minnehaha Creek. Between these two vast regions, there is the third precinct, W-12 P-08, north of rolling green battlefields, once graced by the mighty Tiger Woods.

Below are detailed maps of each precinct, which you can enlarge by clicking on them.

(Comments are welcome if you'd like to add anything to the descriptions.)

It is here that the battle is to be waged on February 5, 2008, for Ron Paul. Will you be there at the caucuses? The world will pass down the legend of what happened here that day. What will you tell your children?

Minneapolis W-9 P-08

Minneapolis W-12 P-08

Minneapolis W-12 P-11

Source for Standish-Ericsson map: Standish-Ericsson Neighborhood Association

Update (Dec 5, 2007): All Gaul is divided into 3 parts? No, four.