Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

I am a superdelegate.

10 Feb

An article is making the rounds on social media with a clickbait headline, “The DNC Just Screwed Over Bernie Sanders and Spit in Voters’ Faces.”

Having apparently slept through the 2008 primary season, the author is shocked to learn that by the rules of the Democratic National Committee there are  a number of delegates to the national convention that are elected federal officeholders, party officers and members of the Democratic National Committee.  In 2008, the very same dynamic was at play. Clinton had many elected officials behind her and there came a point when some feared that it was those superdelegates who would decide the nomination.  Those fears did not come to pass.

DNC-kicking-donkey-logo1Since I was elected a Democratic National Committee member representing Minnesota in 2012, this time I get to experience the fun from the inside! Given that I will not be running for reelection to the DNC, I was really hoping my SUPERdelegate status would mean I was getting wined and dined by our candidates.  Alas, Hillary hasn’t called and all I get from Bernie are emails.  No flowers, cards or Edible Arrangements.  Not so super at all.

What I did get today was two calls from reporters.  As concern grows with some Sanders’ supporters that Clinton will “steal” the nomination through superdelegates, I have been called to be identified as a candidate supporter.  Since I might be listed soon as one of the Council of Elders ruining our democracy, I thought maybe I’d state here what I told them and how I feel about this whole thing:

  • I am a Clinton supporter and expect I will be casting a vote for Clinton at the Democratic National Convention this summer.
  • I support reforming our delegate system to eliminate even the possibility of superdelegates deciding a nomination.
  • I do not believe super delegates will decide the nominee.  They didn’t last time and, if it came to that, the party would be so fractured and the process would be so divisive that it would not be a tenable set-up for a general election win.
  • I will be listed as a  Clinton supporter because I am one (more on that in another post); that said, in the unlikely event of the convention coming down to superdelegates deciding over the will of the voting electorate of primary and caucus goers, I would not participate in that.  What that means, who the heck knows.  It’s a far-fetched hypothetical.

That is all.

Have a super day.


A friend wrote with some math.  There are 4763 total delegates – 712 of those are supers.  That’s 14.9% of the total.  Not exactly an overwhelming and right now about 60% or so remain uncommitted.  So everyone chill, please. 

One of the arguments for having superdelegates is that, if these folks did not have reserved delegate spots they would likely run for national delegate positions and, as party elected officials and leaders, would likely win many of these positions.  So you’d still have a “party elder” problem in the delegate pool. 


The Moth Twin Cities Grand Slam – Jan. 22!

17 Jan

  Friday, January 22nd is The Moth Grand Slam at the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown Saint Paul. I competed in the first Grand Slam, and I am really looking forward to hosting this second Twin Cities best-of storytelling contest. Ten storytellers who have won one of the monthly story slams compete, telling a new story on the theme of “When Worlds Collide.”  If you’ve never been to The Moth in the Twin Cities, here is your chance to experience some of the best storytellers all on one stage. Get your tickets here.

Business Working in Actual Partnership in Minneapolis

9 Nov

This morning’s Star Tribune has a story about an up to now untold story behind the “Working Families Agenda” that has been so controversial in Minneapolis.  The headline, “Target had quiet talks with labor on Minneapolis workplace rules,” does not accurately describe either the contents of the article or what actually happened this past summer when, as part of the preparation for introduction of an ordinance on fair scheduling, earned sick and safe time, and protections from wage theft, advocates from community groups (CTUL, NOC, TakeAction Minnesota, Working America),  and unions met regularly with Target Corporation. Adam Belz writes:

Target Corp., the largest private employer in Minneapolis, worked closely with the backers of the workplace scheduling ordinance that angered many businesses before city leaders dropped it last month.

Target executives helped proponents of workers’ rights craft a rough framework for the ordinance, though one that was less onerous than the proposal that emerged publicly from the City Council, which would have forced businesses to tell workers their schedule 28 days in advance.

The company’s involvement, which until now hasn’t been disclosed, reflects Target’s concern about what shape future scheduling rules will take. While the rule would have affected only a few hundred Target employees — at three regular Target stores and one Target Express in the city — it could have influenced the national discussion on workers’ rights, which affects the retailer because it must deal with the costs of varying work rules across the country.

While the Downtown Council, the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce and others rallied around Working Families Agenda by claiming there was “no problem” to be solved, Target Corp. and many other smaller businesses were engaged with advocates and workers trying to find solutions.Bullseye copy 2

Several of the community groups at the Target table have now had a long history of working with Target, one that stems from years of often tense relationships and friction caused by disagreements we had with the company.  TakeAction Minnesota’s Justice for All Campaign, as the article details, helped move Target to implement “Ban the Box” policies internally and support them as public policy for all busineses as well.  CTUL’s multi-year campaign to raise standards in the retail cleaning industry not only brought Target to the table as one of the most important retailers using subcontracted janitorial companies, but as a result of that campaign the company adopted a Responsible Contractor Policy for its cleaning vendors.

This background  is important as a lesson to advocates.  Target was not at the table simply out of the goodness of their hearts. It was the result of years of hard work.  That said, now that we have what is, in essence, a community bargaining table with a major corporation, I am happy to praise them for not taking the route that so much of the Minneapolis business community has taken when it comes to low wage workers, looking away and claiming there is no problem to be solved.  Target has sat down with workers and advocates to find solutions.

CTUL's multi-year campaign to improve standards in the cleaning industry has included multiple strikes.

CTUL’s multi-year campaign to improve standards in the cleaning industry has included multiple strikes.

Advocates are used to, while working on policy, sitting across the table from elected officials.  If we acknowledge, however, that corporations have enormous amounts of power in our polities, doesn’t it make sense to also mount campaigns aimed at bring those truly powerful folks to the bargaining table as well?

Do we agree on everything while at that table? Of course not. Having a partner willing to talk and problem-solve, however, is invaluable, and that is what is today distinguishes Target from so much of the business community in Minneapolis. While some told low wage workers their problems are imaginary, and while they still plot to ensure those workers do not have access to sick leave, others engage productively. In a progressive city like Minneapolis, this is the model that business should follow.

The Downtown Council and Chamber should dump its consultants who convinced them to wage war against workers and the city and consider there are other paths and models they could follow.

Shorter Hillary: Ladies is pimps, too. #Benghazi

22 Oct
Brush your shoulders off.

Brush your shoulders off.

Can’t Make This Sh*t Up: Mall of America and MIA Hawk Iron(y)-Free Clothing!

8 Jul

Amity Foster, one of the #BlackLivesMatter protesters being prosecuted by the City Attorney of The Mall of America, er, Bloomington, pointed us on Facebook to a cutting edge artistic collaboration between the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the MOA:

In Irony We Trust

In Irony We Trust

You too can have a Limited Edition T-shirt made by contemporary artist Jenny Holzer. Among those to choose from:

This lovely T will go perfectly with an a-line skirt for your next courtroom appearance in front of City Attorney Sandra Johnson:



Or, if you may prefer, try this little number, which we like to call the Jordan Kushner look – in honor of the attorney arguing in court that the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on the Mall of America, as well as the hand-in-glove coordination between the City Attorney of Bloomington and the MOA, should mean this “private” mall should be considered “quasi-governmental” property:

Especially designed for Jordan Kushner, Esq.!

Especially designed for Jordan Kushner, Esq.!

The new designs are super sleek, relaxed cotton that won’t wrinkle! They’re Iron- and Irony-Free!

Surprising No One, Trump Hotel Built By Immigrant Labor

7 Jul

El Donald

El Donald

The Washington Post looks into the reality of workers building the GOP’s Bigot-In-Chief’s new digs:

“It’s something ironic,” said Ivan Arellano, 29, who is from Mexico and obtained legal status through marriage. He now works as a mason laying the stonework for the lobby floor and walls of what will become the Trump International Hotel.

“The majority of us are Hispanics, many who came illegally,” Arellano said in Spanish. “And we’re all here working very hard to build a better life for our families.”

This should surprise no one. When we hear there are around 11 million undocumented persons living in the U.S., I often wonder where people like Mr. Trump think they are. The answer: everywhere. They are integrated into communities and industries. Some industries, like agriculture, would fall apart without their labor.

That’s why I always say: Against Illegal Immigration? Live by your values and Boycott Food.


Pride in a Time of Mourning

26 Jun

Friends, especially those in the LGBT community

As we celebrate this Pride weekend, please take some time to watch President Obama’s eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney of Charleston, South Carolina. Let us not just quote Dr. King’s words that the “arc of the moral universe is long , but it bends toward justice”; let us also acknowledge that our histories are intertwined, and our African-American LGBT brothers and sisters are both celebrating and mourning right now – as we all should be, regardless of race or sexual orientation. Today President Obama celebrated the Supreme Court decision granting equal marriage and then left for South Carolina to deliver this eulogy, his best speech ever I think, to a crowd of mourners.

Celebration and mourning can coexist and, in fact, must.

Amazing Grace, indeed.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 437 other followers