Archive - January 2013




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Monday Morning Quarterback – 1/28/13

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: January 29th, 2013 | 0 Comments

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group: Grassroots Advocacy, Data Driven Marketing, Strategic Communications. Lack of $leep: Lack of sleep for workers is costing employers $63.3 billion on lost productivity. So if you write a newsletter on Sunday nights, have 2 small kids or just lack for sleep you should consider one of the "nap pods" for your office.  The Wall Street Journal takes a look at this serious and growing problem and what people are doing about it.  (Read) What's Your Collar ID: Are you confused about which type of collar your should be wearing?  The Spread, The Four Point, The Button Down?  Check out this great article from the Wall Street Journal that gives some clarity to the great collar debate and helps you choose the collar that is best for your face. (Read)   Also remember once you pick your collar, come and see us at The Foursome Clothing Store.(Web)  A special thanks to all-star lobbyists Sarah Walker and Nancy Hass for reminding me to plug the best men's clothing store in town. GOP Running a 1.0 Digital Ground Game in a 3.0 World: We have discussed at length the data divide between Republicans and Democrats. This is one of the best articles on the subject. As many readers know, The Rouen Group and our technology partner specialize in creating data driven campaigns for our clients and are looking forward to working with many advocacy organizations, parties and candidates.  We have the tools to bridge the gap.  From Politico: "Republicans are running a 1.0 digital ground game operation in a 3.0 world — and they know it. Simply put, the Democratic National Committee has nearly a decade’s jump — and counting — thanks to innovative software for gathering detailed voter information that includes input from Democratic campaigns at every level of the ballot..(Read) Photo of the Day If you are not following Plymouth State Rep. Sarah Anderson's photo of the day, then you should.  You can get an insiders look at the Capitol as well as get a feel for the life of a state Representative during session.  You can get twitter updates by following her @Rep_SAnderson or check out the daily blog (here) Share: If you enjoy the content of the MMQ please take a moment to tell a friend, share on facebook or tweet.   And as always please continue to share your thoughts, ideas and articles for inclusion in the MMQ.  Email me:noah@rouengroup.com 2014 Watch: Democrat Officials Fret over New Obama Nonprofit: From Politico: Some key Democrats worry that President Obama’s new Organizing for Action group will marginalize the traditional party apparatus, cannibalizing dollars and volunteers while making it harder to elect down-ballot candidates. State party leaders grumbled Tuesday at the Democratic National Committee’s meeting in Washington about a lack of detail on how exactly the new tax-exempt advocacy organization will work. “It’s still a big question mark right now,” said Minnesota Democratic chairman Ken Martin. “We were told before the end of this campaign that all of that [the Obama campaign machinery] would fold into state parties. Now we’re being told something different, which is they’re going to set up this 501(c)(4).” (Read) Dayton Ahead of Republican Opponents: So it begins the first polling for the MN Governor's seat in 2014.  It is very early, but Governor Dayton has a lead over likely GOP challengers.  (Read) Senator Franken Leads in Head to Heads: Public Policy Polling also conducted a poll for the 2014 US Senate Race.  Sen. Al Franken has a lead over any of the members of the MN GOP Congressional Delegation.  Read the complete poll (Here) What We Are Reading and Watching: Tax Pyramiding: Finance Professor John Spry takes a look at Governor Dayton's Budget proposal: "Dayton's proposal to tax business services would hurt all Minnesota households by causing the sales tax to apply at several levels of a supply chain. The same non-partisan researchers explain: "The result of this typically would be to pass the tax along in higher prices at the next level of production (e.g., a manufacturer who sells to a wholesaler). The tax burden 'pyramids' or cascades at each level, so that the total burden on the consumer is higher than the statutory or nominal rate."  For example, a 5.5 percent sales tax on auto repair that pyramids twice would result in an 11 percent effective..." (Read) Vikings v Amateur Baseball; The New Stadium Battle: Does 20 feet really matter for a huge new football stadium? If you are one of the over 400 amateur baseball players that play indoor baseball in Minnesota the answer is a resounding yes.  The Star Tribune takes a look at the latest stadium dispute over whether the new stadium will adequately accommodate indoor baseball: "The football team wants its fans closer to the action. The baseball guys simply want a baseball field that's not an embarrassment.  But in the fast-track exercise of designing a new Vikings football stadium, a dispute over 20 feet of baseball foul line has made mixing the two a tricky fit. With the architect's first schematic design only weeks away, Vikings officials and members of the public authority supervising the project are at odds over how to squeeze a baseball field into a stadium designed primarily for football. The impasse not only threatens to delay a nearly-billion-dollar project already facing tight deadlines, but also appears to be an early test of just how accommodating the Vikings will prove in the development of a multipurpose "people's stadium." (More) Sen. Amy Koch Tells All If you missed Sen. Amy Koch's interview with the Star Tribune, a must read before you head to the Capitol this morning, you can read it (Here).  Also, here is a link to her statement following the interview (Here). Did Ravens Linebacker Kill Someone in 2000? As we prepare for the lead up of Superbowl XLVII there will be a lot of talk of Raven's linebacker Ray Lewis playing his final game.  So I was curious, just what did happen in 2000? This piece from NPR takes a look at the legacy of Mr. Lewis; the good and the not so good (Read). Also, this article is a good account of what happened that night in 2000 (Read).

Monday Morning Quarterback – 1/21/13

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: January 22nd, 2013 | 0 Comments

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group: Grassroots Advocacy, Data Driven Marketing, Strategic Communications. Read My Lips: Even if you don't like football this video spoof from Bad Lip Reading is really funny.  It features Vikings Adrian Peterson, Tom Brady and more.  If you didn't get a enough football yesterday, check this out.  (Watch) What I Won't Have on My IPod: I will be driving to Moorhead, MN this week for some client work.  As I load up the IPod, thankfully I came across the list of 10 most dangerous driving songs.  Guess I have to delete The Black Eyed Peas and Marvin Gaye from the playlists.  If you are curious here is the list (Click) Balance As President Barrack Obama is officially sworn in today for his second term as President, let's hope he and the Congress can come together and figure out how to work together.  Maybe before everyone goes to the parties tonight they can stop and take a look at the USA's balance sheet: $2.7 in assets and $18.8 trillion in liabilities. (View). R.I.P. Stan "the Man" Musial Most readers of MMQ know how much I love baseball and if you love baseball you love Stan "The Man".  Stan Musial died on Saturday at the age of 92.  Here is a brief summary of his career stats: .331 lifetime batter, Musial hit .300 or better 16 straight seasons, beginning in 1942. He played on three world championship teams, in 1942, 1944 and 1946, and played in 24 All-Star Games, tying a record. He won three National League Most Valuable Player awards. But, he was much more than a stat guy. Here is a great tribute from the St. Louis Dispatch.(Read) Forward Please: If you enjoy the content of the MMQ please take a moment to tell a friend, share on facebook or tweet.   And as always please continue to share your thoughts, ideas and articles for inclusion in the MMQ.  Email me:noah@rouengroup.com What We Are Reading and Watching: When Spending Exceeds Growth: Disaster The Pioneer Press Editorial Board pens another good editorial on the Minnesota Budget, based on a solid report from our friends at The Minnesota Business Partnership: "Minnesota ranks eighth in the nation in individual income taxes per capita and has one of the highest sales-tax rates. We have the ninth-highest tax rate on top earners, 7.85 percent, and the third-highest corporate income tax rate in the nation, 9.8 percent, the report observes. The world is more competitive, and higher taxes will isolate Minnesota. The Business Partnership argues for measured, reasoned, long-term repairs to our system of taxing and spending. Relying on growth in the economy, rather than increasing the government's take from it, will produce better results..."(Read) Also here is the complete study: Meeting Minnesota's Budget Challenges (Read) $16 Billion: That is that amount of unfunded liabilities in Minnesota's public pension system according a Pioneer Press article: "The current pension problems largely stem from the fact that past assumptions are proving wrong. The two biggest ones: The stock market hasn't yielded investment returns at or above the assumed level for most of the past decade, and people are living longer. When these assumptions are wrong, the plan either ends up with an unfunded liability or the current generation pays more than they need to. More unfunded liability also increases the amount of contributions needed to cover future costs, pushing up the contribution deficiency and creating what can be a vicious cycle...In addition, there are two "specialty" plans -- one for legislators and another for elective state officers -- that are funded solely through appropriations from the state's general fund, without any help from investments. Another plan for judges was funded this way until 1991, and as a result, carries unusually high unfunded liabilities. The legislators' plan is in particularly bad shape because the $4.1 million allocated last year fell far short of the $7.9 million paid out in benefits. "(Read) Prince Plays 6 Shows at The Dakota Bar in Minneapolis: I was fortunate to attend the Wednesday show and all I can say is WOW.   If you missed it, you missed something really special. Here is a Star Tribune story about the shows.  (Read) The New Power Class: Who Will Benefit From Obama's 2nd Term: The NewGeography takes a really interesting look at how our changing economy has created a new political power structure: "When President Obama takes the oath of office for the second time, he will also usher in a new era in American power politics. Whereas the old left-wing definition of “who rules” focused on large corporations, banks, energy companies and agribusinesses, the Obama-era power structure represents a major transformation...Forty years later the outlines of this transformation are clear. Contrary to the conservative claims of Obama’s “socialist” tendencies, the administration is quite comfortable with such capitalist sectors as entertainment, the news media and the software side of the technology industry, particularly social media. The big difference is these firms derive their fortunes not from the soil and locally crafted manufacturers, but from the manipulation of ideas, concepts and images...(More) Superbowl 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh will face his older brother,John, the head coach of the Ravens, in what will become a family affair at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Feb. 3.  (Details)

Monday Morning Quarterback – 1/14/13

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: January 22nd, 2013 | 0 Comments

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group. Helping clients better communicate with their customers, employees and each other. 46 Reason My 3 Year Old is Freaking Out?: I read this list and after I stopped laughing I thought, how does he know so much about my 4 and 2 year old, Connor and Preston?  Here are a couple of my favorites:  His sock is on wrong. He is not allowed in the oven. I gave him the wrong blue crayon.  His shirt has a tag on it. The car seat is weird...(Read) Dumbest Press Release of the week: I hope to never have one of my press releases make a list like this, but as long as this guy is around I am sure I do not have to worry. (Read) Big Data and the Grandma Brigade: We have talked a lot about data collection and micro targeting over the past several months.  This latest MinnPost article on the subject is a must read: "In Minnesota, Democratic volunteers scour their local newspapers each morning for letters to the editor with a political slant. They pay attention to the names of callers on radio shows. They drive through their neighborhoods and jot down the addresses of campaign lawn signs.  Then they feed the information into a state Democratic Party database that includes nearly every voter in Minnesota...(Read) Where Are Your People?: The Rouen Group has been helping many of our clients update their database and match their donors, members, customers, and advocates to their new legislative districts.  If you have not updated your database or would like to learn more about how data driven grassroots can help your advocacy, please contact us. MN 2014 Franken, Political Friends to Gain From New MN Super PAC: Bloomberg News reports: "A Democratic-aligned advocacy group in Minnesota is adding a super-political action committee to prepare for 2014 federal elections in the state. WIN Minnesota, a 501c4 nonprofit, is adding the super-PAC “to explore the option of doing work in federal races,” executive director Adam Duininck said today in an e-mail to Political Capital.  Super-PACs may raise funds in unlimited amounts to independently aid or oppose candidates, usually through paid media. Duininck is listed as the treasurer of the super-PAC, WIN Minnesota Federal PAC, on the papers it filed with the Federal Election Commission. (Read) What We Are Reading and Watching: Revenue's Rising. Restrain Spending to that Amount: The Pioneer Press Editorial Board pens a very common sense look at Minnesota's budget: " First, some numbers: Minnesota's general-fund revenue for the 2014-15 budget cycle is projected at $35.8 billion. That's up 2.4 percent from the current biennium, without any tax increases. Meanwhile, state government spending, if there are no changes, is projected to increase by 4.7 percent to $36.9 billion. That may well be more than the national inflation rate. But here's the problem: Budget discussions always seem to start with the money wedon't have -- in this case, the state's projected 2014-15 budget deficit: the $1.1 billion difference between projected spending and projected revenue. That's backward. They should start with the money we do have -- in this case, the $35.8 billion in projected revenue for 2014-15 -- an increase over the previous period without further tax hikes. Legislators should decide that that's enough, and then focus on productivity...(Read) Humbling Year Ends In Silence for Bachmann: The Star Tribune takes a look at a roller coaster year for Rep. Michele Bachmann: A little more than a year ago, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann was barnstorming across Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, carrying the Tea Party banner in the GOP presidential primaries. Now the Minnesota Republican is hardly heard from anymore, barely uttering a word in public during the simmering build-up to the "fiscal cliff" deal in Congress, which she opposed. Gone are the boisterous rallies opposing Obamacare, the rousing church testimonials and the controversial TV utterances about Islamist moles in government that raised money even as they rained down critical headlines...(Read) Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo's Odd Couple Friendship: Politico takes a look at these two popular and ambitious Governors:  "There may come a time when Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo, two supremely ambitious pols and potential rivals in the 2016 presidential cycle, need some distance. But that moment won’t arrive anytime soon.  Instead of jockeying for advantage, the two Northeastern governors — the Republican from blue-state New Jersey and the Democrat from bluer-state New York — have developed an unexpectedly warm working relationship over the past 18 months, marked by occasional dinners and more frequent cell phone contact, aides say.  Not coincidentally, both also enjoy approval ratings at the 70-percent level, a novel, post-Hurricane Sandy occurrence for Christie and a nearly two-year constant for Cuomo..." (Read) This is Just Cool During the NHL lockout, NBC Hockey announcer kept his skills fresh by doing play by play for a Michigan 12 and under girls hockey game.  What a great memory for those kids... (Watch) On the Move: Congratulations to friend and former colleague Leslie Rosedahl as she takes over as head of public affairs for the Minnesota Senate GOP.

Monday Morning Quarterback – 1/7/13

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: January 7th, 2013 | 0 Comments

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

Brought to you by The Rouen Group. Helping clients better communicate with their customers, employees and each other. Does Size Really Matter?: According to football fans it does.  Here is a chart that compares the size of Jumbotron's at Pro Football stadiums.  Hint, the Vikings size rank is in proportion to the quality of their recent Quarterback play. (View) also here is a cool animated graphic that looks at the rise in public funding of stadiums over time. (Watch) A Few Extra Pound Might Help You Live Longer: Thankfully I found this article just before shopping for appetizers for the Vikings v Packer game on Saturday.  In the name of living longer I bought the meatballs and the little smokies.  This is also a good article for those that have already fallen short of their New Years resolutions. (Read) Event: The Conservative Case For Criminal Justice Reform: How is it “conservative” to spend vast amounts of taxpayer money on a strategy without asking whether it is providing taxpayers with the best public safety return on their investment? Please join MMQ friend Sarah Walker, Right on Crime, the Institute for Justice, the Center of the American Experiment, the Manhattan Institute, the MN Second Chance Coalition, and the Council for Crime and Justice for a forum to discuss the conservative case for criminal justice reform on January 14th, 2013. (Details)
Shift
In the new Congress, white men will be a minority among House Democrats for the first time. (Read) Fiscal Cliff Diving Fiscal Bill Loaded with Rum: To close out the section on the Fiscal Cliff, I thought I would share this article that looks at some of the "pork" loaded into this bill: "Congress might have caught itself from falling over the fiscal cliff Tuesday, but the deal comes with a hefty price tag. Included in the $4 billion bill is an expiration of the payroll tax break, along with tax exemptions for everyone from the rum industry to NASCAR bigwigs. Here are five groups that are high-fiving each other over the breaks they got in the fiscal cliff deal." (More) What We Are Reading and Watching: Women Step Up to Get Conservative Women Elected: Congratulations to friend and MMQ reader Jen DeJournett and her organization, Voices of Conservative Women, on this piece in the Star Tribune: " Nearly hidden in a suburban strip mall in Maple Grove is a small, one-person office that Jennifer DeJournett hopes will birth a movement. Voices of Conservative Women, three years old and with a shoestring budget this year of $40,000, is aiming to set itself up as a conduit for getting fiscally conservative women into office. There is no litmus test on social issues. Instead, the group focuses on candidates who believe in limited government, responsible budgets and free-market principles. So far, Voices is little more than a startup. But in a year that saw dismal results for a state Republican Party that lost control of the House and Senate, Voices could boast a 70 percent success rate for the dozen women they helped launch into office. "In a year when Republicans were getting decimated ... Republican women, they did their job," DeJournett said." (More) Guide to a DFL-led Legislative Session: Lori Sturdavant takes a look at some of the issues and challenges the DFL majorities will have in the Legislative Session that starts this week: "Woodticks" were the willful probusiness DFLers who kept lawmaking interesting for reporters and frustrating for DFL leaders when their party last was fully in charge at the Capitol 23 years ago -- as it will be again when the 2013 Legislature convenes Tuesday. The probusiness faction might adopt a more hip, metro-sounding name this time around, in keeping with the comparative youth and suburban orientation of its adherents. By whatever name, DFLers who aim to stay on the good side of tax-averse businesses will arrive at the Capitol with considerable potential to give their fellow DFLers fits." (More) Apple vs. Amazon vs. Google vs. Facebook The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the four giants in tech and what is ahead for each in 2013. (Read) On the Move: Congratulations to ultimate networker and creator of BePollen.com, Lars Leafblad, on his new position with the Bush Foundation. (Read) The Five Best Races of 2013: This is a good list from the Washington Post of races to watch, but I would selfishly add the Minneapolis Mayoral race to this list: "The 2012 election ended three weeks ago. It’s time to move on. Luckily, we have a full slate of 2013 races to pore over!  (This reminds us that the best thing about elections is that there’s always another election.) Our list of the five best 2013 races is below, and they run the gamut from big city mayoral contests to governor’s races to an expected special election to replace likely second term Obama cabinet pick Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). (Read)
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