Archive - April 2013




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Monday Morning Quarterback – 4/29/13

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

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

 The Rouen Group: Grassroots Advocacy, Data Driven Marketing, Strategic Communications. So President Obama is Pretty Funny: I think my invite to the White House correspondence dinner got lost in the mail, so like most people I had to watch online.  Turns out President Obama is pretty funny. (Watch) Sorry Honey If you think politics can't be fun even in the midst of a heated debate, you obviously missed the back and forth with Rep. Kurt Zellers, Mrs. Zellers and Jake Leinenkugel, President of Leinekugel brewing.  Find out what happened and why it can all be settled with a Summer Shandy.  (Read) I Can Finally Get the Clubs From The Garage: For those of us golf enthusiasts it has been a long wait, but its finally golf season.  In honor of the first 80 degree day, here is a link to Minnesota's 18 hole public courses.(Read) Off to the Races Why Dems and GOP Now Think the Public Prefers Female Candidates: The Atlantic takes a look at why political consultants for both parties are trying to find the next generation of women candidates: "Evidence suggests that double standards may have once applied but don’t any longer. Shields and Myers prefer female candidates for a simple reason: voters, they say, tend to assume women are more trustworthy, less corruptible, and more in touch with everyday concerns. In a white-male-dominated political system, women are seen as outsiders. “Voters want change,” Shields said. “A woman candidate personifies change just by being on the ballot...” (Read) White Apathy and Energized Black Voters Doomed Romney in 2012 If you are interested in the demographics of the electoral this is a must read: "America's blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home. Had people voted last November at the same rates they did in 2004, when black turnout was below its current historic levels, Republican Mitt Romney would have won narrowly, according to an analysis conducted for The Associated Press." (Read) Truth About Taxes As the Minnesota House and Senate pass major tax increase bills, here are links to a few studies that look at the impacts of these policies both good and bad.  The Center of the American Experiment released a study on income migration out of Minnesota (Read), the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota released an analysis of Governor Dayton's tax plan (Read), and the Center for Fiscal Excellence (formerly Taxpayers Alliance) released a must read position paper on good tax policy (Read)
WORTH A READ
Here are a few of our favorite articles and commentaries from the past week: DFL is Robbing the People to Pay St. Paul: The Owatana Press has a hard hitting editorial on the DFL tax plan.  It also properly explains the expression "rob Peter to pay Paul."  It is worth a read: (Read)
102 Hours in Pursuit of the Marathon Suspects: The Boston Globe takes a detailed look from the time of the Boston Bombings to the shoot out with police to capturing the final suspect. A fascinating look at 102 hours of history...(Read) A Better Way to Protect Restaurant Jobs: Minnesota Restaurant Association President Dan McElroy engages in some "verbal judo" with AFL-CIO's Shar Knutson in the Grand Forks Herald: "In previous legislative sessions, the Minnesota Restaurant Association supported a tip credit but now is advocating for a better way of protecting good-paying jobs and continuing the viability of table-service restaurants. Our proposal is a tipped employee tier of the minimum wage.  The hourly rate of pay for tipped employees would stay at the current level of $7.25 an hour if their total income with wages and tips is $12 an hour or more during each pay period.  If an employee’s total income doesn’t reach the $12 threshold, they would be paid the current minimum wage plus their tips.This approach doesn’t cut anyone’s pay and doesn’t set a limit on how much our great servers, bartenders and delivery drivers can earn..." (Read) Dayton Draws the Line on Level of Taxes Governor Dayton threatened to veto taxes on the middle class, just as the House and Senate are passing taxes on tobacco, beer, wine, and clothes and that does not include all of the fees that target the hard-working middle class.  This will be a very interesting next 3.5 weeks at the Minnesota Capitol.  (Read) By The Numbers A latest look at the poll numbers:
Direction of the Country
Real Clear Average
Right Direction  31.5% Wrong Track  59.8%
KSTP/Survey USA Poll released late last week: Do you approve or disapprove of the job Mark Dayton is doing as Governor? Asked of 500 Adults 49% Approve 39% Disapprove 13% Not Sure Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 4.5% --- Do you approve or disapprove of the job the state legislature is doing? Asked of 500 Adults 28% Approve 56% Disapprove 17% Not Sure Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 4.4% --- There is a proposal to lower the state sales tax rate, but expand the tax to include many consumer services, like haircuts, golf lessons, and auto repairs. Do you support or oppose this proposal? Asked of 500 Adults 34% Support 57% Oppose 9%  Not Sure Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 4.4% --- Minnesota currently has no sales tax on clothing. Another proposal would extend the sales tax to clothing. Do you support or oppose this proposal? Asked of 500 Adults 23% Support 74% Oppose 3%  Not Sure Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 3.9% --- Another proposal would place a temporary four percent income tax surcharge on income above $500,000. Do you support or oppose this proposal? Asked of 500 Adults 69% Support 26% Oppose 4% Not Sure Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 4.1% --- What do you think is the best way to balance the state's $627 million budget deficit? Mostly through spending cuts? Mostly through tax increases? Or, through an even split of spending cuts and tax increases? Asked of 500 Adults 41% Spending Cuts 9% Tax Increases 47% Even Split 3%  Not Sure Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 4.5% --- Revenue from electronic pulltabs meant to pay the state's portion of a new Vikings stadium is falling far short of projections. To make up the difference, what should be done? A new tax on sports memorabilia? A new tax on luxury seating in the stadium? Slot machines at horse tracks? Or, should the Vikings pay more? Asked of 500 Adults 5% Tax On Sports Memorabilia 19% Tax On Luxury Seating 20% Slot Machines At Horse Tracks 52% Vikings Should Pay More 3% Not Sure Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 4.5% --- There is a proposal to increase alcohol taxes by seven cents per beer; 47 cents per bottle of wine, and $1.58 per bottle of hard liquor. Do you support or oppose this proposal? Asked of 500 Adults 51% Support 45% Oppose 4%  Not Sure Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 4.5% --- Another proposal would increase the pay of state legislators from $31,000 per year to $42,000, which is a 35% increase. Do you support? Or do you oppose? This proposal? Asked of 500 Adults 13% Support 77% Oppose 10% Not Sure Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 3.8% --- Another proposal would increase the pay of the governor from $120,000 per year to $128,000, which is a 7% increase. Do you support? Or do you oppose? This proposal? Asked of 500 Adults 22% Support 71% Oppose 7% Not Sure Margin of Sampling Error for this question = ± 4.1%
Have a great week! To learn more about the how The Rouen Group can help grow your organizations grassroots program please call Noah at 612-419-6909.

Monday Morning Quarterback – 4/22/13

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

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

The Rouen Group: Grassroots Advocacy, Data Driven Marketing, Strategic Communications. A New Standard for The National Anthem: Two days after the Boston Marathon Bombings, the Bruins had a hockey game in Boston.  The crowd response to singing the national anthem is nothing short of amazing. This gave me goose bumps: (Watch) A Chaotic and Unnerving Week in American History Joel Archenbach from the Washington Post has a must read column looking at the events of the week: "It seems that the third week in April has become our time of calamity. The Branch Davidian fire (1993), Oklahoma City (1995),
 Columbine (1999), Virginia Tech (2007), the BP oil spill (2010) and now the Boston Marathon bombings all took place between
 April 15 and April 20. For that matter, the Texas City fertilizer explosion of 1947, America’s worst industrial accident, happened
 on April 16. Pattern?.." (More) Confessions of A One Night Stand in Locked-Down Boston: Sometimes laughter is the best medicine and this article from Esquire about a one-night stand in Boston is quite entertaining.  (Read) Off to the Races Is Justin Amash The New Face of Republicanism? "as Amash undertakes to “tear down the left-right paradigm,” he must consider how the delicate but constructive fusion of libertarians and social conservatives has served Republicans — and the sometimes inverse relationship between being interesting and being electable..." (Read) Ca$h is Coming in for Incumbents in MN Fundraising reports were released last week and it was good news for incumbents.  Find out why: (Read) Join Grover Norquist For Dinner American's for Tax Reform President will be the keynote at this year Taxpayer's Rally at the Capitol on Saturday April 27 from 10am - 1pm.  If you are interested in a special VIP dinner Friday at the St. Paul Grill night please let me know.  There are still a few spots remaining for a special evening with one of America's leading conservative voices. (Details) Kline to Seek Re-election: Ending speculation about a run for Governor or US Senate, Rep. John Kline announced he will seek re-election for Congress in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District. (Read)
WORTH A READ
Here are a few of our favorite articles and commentaries from the past week: 5 Tips for a Good Press Release: Even the "best" PR Pros could benefit from this: "As social channels grow it may be easy for PR pros to lull themselves into thinking that that press release has lost its luster. Yet despite the ongoing proliferation in digital-media channels, press releases have not gone out of style. If anything, the “bite-size” nature of digital content has puts a growing premium on well-written press releases." (Tips)
A Closer Look at The Proposed Beer Tax: The Pioneer Press looked at the math behind the proposed $.07 cent a drink tax. If you like beer, especially local brews, you are not going to like the results: "The House DFL leadership wants to raise the rate of excise tax on beer from $4.60 per barrel to $27.75 per barrel...The "7-cents-a-drink spin is incredibly dangerous because the public is put in a position to believe this is very affordable," Stutrud said, when, in fact, "this proposed legislation not only does not protect small, revered breweries" -- including Summit and Schell Brewing Co. of New Ulm -- it "directly threatens our existence." "It definitely eliminates this brewery's profitability," Stutrud told us. Summit's annual Minnesota excise taxes alone would go from $550,000 to $2.3 million under the proposal..." (Read) The Hidden Impact of Increase Taxes On Cigarettes: An interesting article on how increasing tobacco taxes actually reduces revenue and leads to an increase in black market activity: "A series of hikes in the late 1980s and early 1990s raised the tax to 48 cents by 1992. Not surprisingly, taxed sales fell as smuggling and border-shopping surged. The latest series of hikes, which began in 2005, have pushed the per pack tax to $1.58. A 2009 report commissioned by the Department of Revenue found that the state government loses millions of dollars annually to cigarette tax evasion. These losses do not include those incurred by the private sector, such as those resulting from lost sales and increased thefts..."(More) Good Perspective This note from Washington Post Journalist was published this week.  This offers some good perspective on a tragic week in America: "Chris, here’s my week-in-review, and sorry that it’s not more political – I had to write to the news unfolding this morning. All week, huge stories overtook political news and, except for the demise of the gun bill in the Senate, it was hard to stay focused on Washington. I do have one thought about news coverage. Journalism had a rough week – lots of misinformation passed along by some normally reputable outlets (CNN, for example). If you are a journalist you should remember that the number one goal is to be right. Fast is good; right is better. Don’t get ahead of the facts, be wary of speculation, add a caveat, withhold judgment, be clear about what you know. Those in the opinion business should be open minded and intellectually generous rather than sanctimonious and arrogant and hateful. I’d argue that these rules extend to all citizens, not just people who sling words for a living. Civility is a virtue, particularly in moments of crisis." By The Numbers A latest look at the numbers:
Number of Days Above 50 Degrees as of April 21 2013:  4 2012:  41 Generic Congressional Ballot Republican 38.3% Democrat   43.7% Direction of the Country
Real Clear Average
Right Direction  32.7% Wrong Track  59.0%
Have a great week! To learn more about the how The Rouen Group can help grow your organizations grassroots program please call Noah at 612-419-6909.

Monday Morning Quarterback – 4/15/13

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: April 15th, 2013 | 0 Comments

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

 The Rouen Group: Grassroots Advocacy, Data Driven Marketing, Strategic Communications. 24 Tax Facts That Will Blow Your Mind: In honor of Tax Day I thought I would share 24 outrageous tax facts that really make you think it might be time to redo the 3.8 million word tax code:  Did you know there have been 4,428 changes to the tax code in the last decade?  Or that 75 years ago the 1040 form was 2 pages, today it is 180 pages.  How about this: Exxon/Mobile paid $15 billion in taxes last year, but not one dime went to the federal government. (Find out more) SNL Pokes Fun at the "Gun Deal" in Washignton Saturday Night Live has a good time with the Toomey-Manchin gun control compromise: “Is this bill what we wanted? No. No. Is it what the NRA wanted? No. But does it at least help in some small way? No.” — West Virginia Sen. “Joe Manchin” (Watch) Dry-Aged Steak: I figure if I post an article about grilling maybe spring will come.  Here is a must read for all steak lovers (Adam Chose): How to dry-age a steak at home and why you should.  Thanks to Blois Olson for tweeting: (Read) Off to the Races 15 Gubernatorial Races to Watch The Washington Post looks at the top 15 Governor's Races in 2014.  Is Minnesota on the  list?  (Find out) Business Groups Launch Ad Campaign: A coalition comprising many Minnesota business groups has launched a statewide ad campaign criticizing tax increases that have been proposed by Governor Mark Dayton and Democratic lawmakers. Read more about the campaign and watch the ad: (Here) 30 Days of Waste If you haven't visited the GOP caucuses 30 Days of Government Waste, which chronicals some of the most wasteful government programs, it is worth a look:(Facebook)(Twitter),
WORTH A READ
Here are a few of our favorite articles and commentaries from the past week: Winners and Loser in the Obama Budget: From the Washington Post: "Every federal budget is an exercise in trade-offs — especially budgets that aim to shrink the deficit. Some programs get pared back. Others get protected or even expanded. Some taxpayers end up paying more, others pay less. So here’s a quick rundown of the biggest policy winners and losers in the White House’s $3.78 trillion budget for 2014, which would cut $1 trillion in spending and raise $800 billion in new revenue over the next ten years. It’s a good way of identifying where President Obama’s priorities are." (Read)
Why I Should Have Gone to Law School: According to the Wall Street Journal: The number of lawyers billing $1,150-plus an hour has more than doubled since a year ago. (Read) Rand Paul on Race and the GOP: Sen. Rand Paul gave a speech at Howard University last week, signaling an attempt to broaden the tent of the GOP.  As Sen. Paul said, "is that my trip will be a success if the Hilltop will simply print that a Republican came to Howard but he came in peace..." The speech is worth a read: (read) DFL Still A Long Way From A Budget Deal: From The Star Tribune: "DFL legislative leaders are trying to convey a sense of calm and harmony, but beneath the surface they are scrambling to piece together a budget deal, sort out a funding shortfall for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium and avoid chasing off Mayo Clinic, the state’s largest private employer..."(Read) By The Numbers A latest look at the numbers:
Generic Congressional Ballot Republican 38.3% Democrat   43.3% Direction of the Country
Real Clear Average
Right Direction  33.5% Wrong Track  60.3%
Have a great week! To learn more about the how The Rouen Group can help grow your organizations grassroots program please call Noah at 612-419-6909.

Monday Morning Quarterback – 4/8/13

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: April 9th, 2013 | 0 Comments

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

 The Rouen Group: Grassroots Advocacy, Data Driven Marketing, Strategic Communications. 38 Things Minnesotans Are Too Nice To Brag About: Ok this was just too good not to include this week.  You may laugh, you may get embarrassed and you just might learn something about Minnesota.  I did.  (Read) Please Join Me In Having a Beer with Hall of Famer Paul Molitor and WCCO's Mark Rosen: It's Tix for Tots annual Twins Season Kick Off event at Target Field on April 10th. I have been proud to be on the board of directors of Tix for Tots for the last several years.  Together since 2002, we've provided over 150,000 opportunities for kids to experience the excitement of Twins baseball (often for the first time).  As we celebrate another fantastic year in our exciting partnership, we are delighted to offer this unique and exclusive opportunity! (Join Me) Is The MN DFL Delivering Minnesota the Next Scott Walker?: MMQ favorite, Freedom Foundation CEO, Annette Meeks,  penned a great commentary piece last week, that both Republicans and Democrats should read: "Much as we hate to admit it during football season, Minnesota and Wisconsin are similar states in many ways.  It wasn’t too long ago when Democrats controlled Wisconsin state government, including majorities in the legislature and Governor Jim Doyle.  During Doyle’s tenure as governor, Wisconsin, like Minnesota, faced numerous budget deficits. Doyle finally proposed a host of tax increases including a one percent hike in income tax rates, an expanded sales tax, and a whopping cigarette tax increase. His tax and spending overreach was so dramatic that the once-popular Doyle saw his public approval plummet. In 2010, Scott Walker was elected as Wisconsin’s 45th governor. Walker also swept into office Republican majorities in the legislature..."(More)  Join the 2013 Masters Pool There are still a few spots left in the 2013 Masters Pool this year.  Pick your team of 10 golfers and the team with most prize money wins.  This is a fun way to make golfs greatest tournament even better.  If you are interested, email me: (Email) GOP's FUTURE The GOP's Brand Problem The Washington Post dives into a recent Gallup poll on views of the Republican party.  The results themselves are not surprising, but the challenge to fix them is: "Asked to name the single thing that they disliked the most about the Republican party, one in five people in a new Gallup poll said the GOP was “inflexible” or “unwilling to compromise.”  The second, and more important data point, is that the second most-mentioned critique of the party — 14 percent named it — by self-identified GOPers is that they “don’t stand up for their positions” and “give in too easily.” And, when asked the things they like about their party, the three most-mentioned traits are “better fiscal management/budget cuts/less debt”, “conservative views” and “favor smaller government.”  Rock, meet hard place." (more) Outside Groups Picking Up Where MNGOP Falls Short: Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Scheck takes a look at the rise of outside groups in Minnesota taking on work usually done by the state party. (Read) With New Party Chair Where Does The MNGOP Go From Here? The Star Tribune's Rachel Stassen-Berger takes a look at the future of the MNGOP now that they overwhelmingly elected a new party chairman, Keith Downey, and have the finances under control. (Read)
WORTH A READ
Here are a few of our favorite articles and commentaries from the past week: Want a New Job? Invent It: Thanks to Nate Garvis of Naked Civics for sharing this article: “because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate — the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life — and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge. As one executive told me, ‘We can teach new hires the content, and we will have to because it continues to change, but we can’t teach them how to think — to ask the right questions — and to take initiative.’ ” (More)
The Golf Shot Heard Round the Academic World: This is a fascinating story that starts with "what did the Wall Street type say to the college president on the golf course?" and ends with a scathing review of one of the most prominent liberal arts colleges in America.  Both the story and the politics make this a must read.  (Read) The Co$t of Doing Business in Minnesota Finance and Commerce writer Chris Newmaker has a good column called "Co$t of Business" that dives into the economic numbers and costs of doing business in Minnesota.  It is a good read.  This week he looked at the increasing roll "temporary" jobs are playing in the recovery.  (Read) Jimmy Fallon: The New King Of Late Night: GQ's Jeanne Marie Laskas talks with Jimmy Fallon about his rise to host of "Late Night" and what lies ahead. (Read) By The Numbers A latest look at the numbers:
Generic Congressional Ballot Republican 38% Democrat   44% Direction of the Country
Real Clear Average
Right Direction  34.7% Wrong Track  59.3%
Have a great week! To learn more about the how The Rouen Group can help grow your organizations grassroots program please call Noah at 612-419-6909.

Monday Morning Quarterback – 4/1/13

Posted by: Andrew Schmitt | Posted on: April 2nd, 2013 | 0 Comments

Rouen Group's Monday Morning Quarterback

The Rouen Group: Grassroots Advocacy, Data Driven Marketing, Strategic Communications. 7 Reasons The 2013 Twins are Better Than The Late 90's Teams: If you are looking for a little optimism on the Twins Opening Day here are a couple items to look forward to.  Of course a better stadium and better beer are on the list.  (Read) Governor Dayton Hears From The People: Showing up and having your voice heard at town hall meetings makes a difference.  Last week in a series of town hall meetings, Dayton heard criticism about his plans to raise tobacco taxes, increase the minimum wage and lack of movement on gun control legislation.  Was your issue heard? Was your association represented?  The Rouen Group clients had their issues front and center. Here is one example. (Read) Join Me, Paul Molitor, Mark Rosen and Hundreds of Others: Tix for Tots will once again host it's annual Twins Season Kick Off event at Target Field on April 10th. Enjoy a panel discussion with Twins insiders, a wine tasting and silent auction. I have been proud to be on the board of directors of Tix for Tots for the last several years.  Together since 2002, we've provided over 150,000 opportunities for kids to experience the excitement of Twins baseball (often for the first time).  As we celebrate another fantastic year in our exciting partnership, we are delighted to offer this unique and exclusive opportunity! (Register) A Solution to Minimum Wage?: This past Tuesday, the Minnesota Restaurant Association (Client) issued a press release with results from a survey of MRA members regarding the minimum wage. From the AP: "The Minnesota Restaurant Association says most employees who collect tips make much more than the state's current minimum wage of $6.15 an hour.  State lawmakers are considering a bill that would hike the state's minimum wage to $9.95 an hour by 2015, after which it would increase annually based on inflation. The restaurant group wants to keep servers’ base wages at $7.25 an hour if they make $12 an hour after tips are factored in..." (More) 2014 Will Governor Dayton Run in 2014? Pat Condon of the Associated Press sits down with Governor Dayton to talk about a tough legislative session and his plans for 2014. (Read) Who will the GOP Candidate for Governor be in 2014? Minnpost's Cindy Brucato takes a look at how the GOP field could shape up in the next few months. (Read)
WORTH A READ
Here are a few of our favorite articles and commentaries from the past week:21 Ways Rich People Think Differently Than Average People: Steve Siebold, author of “How Rich People Think,” spent nearly three decades interviewing millionaires around the world to find out what separates them from everyone else.  It had little to do with money itself, he told Business Insider. It was about their mentality. (Read)
Proud to be a Pawn American This past week Pawn America CEO Brad Rixmann (Client) and over 20 of his store managers took part in an amazing event at the Boys and Girls Clubs in St. Paul.  The event was part of the Kids Feeding Kids program that the company helped start in 2007.  Now that program provides nutritious meals to over 150,000 kids across Minnesota each year.  Check out the WCCO story on the event. (Watch) Could Google Tilt a Close Election Interesting article about the power of Google but also the power of the internet in elections: “They have a tool far more powerful than an endorsement or a donation to affect the outcome,” Epstein said. “You have a tool for shaping government. . . . It’s a huge effect that’s basically undetectable...” (Read) The Power of Facebook If you logged into Facebook last week you saw a lot of people changing their profile picture in support of gay marriage.  More interesting is how quickly this campaign spread. "For a long time, when people stood up for a cause and weren’t all physically standing shoulder to shoulder, the size of their impact wasn’t immediately apparent,” Facebook data researcher Eytan Bakshy wrote. “But today, we can see the spread of an idea online in greater detail than ever before. That’s data well worth finding.” See the map of which areas of the US had greatest participation. (Look) Opening Day! Need to get in the mood for Opening Day Baseball?  Here are the ten greatest baseball movies of all time:(Watch) By The Numbers A latest look at the numbers:
Generic Congressional Ballot Republican 38% Democrat   43%Direction of the Country
Real Clear Average
Right Direction  33.8% Wrong Track  59.0%
Have a great week! To learn more about the how The Rouen Group can help grow your organizations grassroots program please call Noah at 612-419-6909.
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