Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

This Thanksgiving is a time of remembrance and prayer for those who sacrifice on our behalf and for the gifts of life given by our Creator. Over a dozen years ago my wife and I spent Thanksgiving in New York City. We lived there for a few years during some of my medical training. Being on a limited budget, we would often find the best entertainment and family time with our young son by walking through the city that is home to many historical monuments. One less well-known monument I remember in particular is a statue of William Seward, former Governor of New York, and our Secretary of State during the Civil War. It is located in a small park in Manhattan, Madison Square. A friend recently forwarded me this 'Proclamation of Thanksgiving' signed by President Lincoln and Secretary Seward over 144 years ago. It is worth reading today.

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Washington, D.C.October 3, 1863

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders like this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.
Sarah Josepha Hale, a prominent magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on 28, 1863, urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She wrote, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution." The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise."

According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln's secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary that he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,Secretary of State

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Interview with the Post Bulletin Blog

Ed Felker of the Rochester Post-Bulletin, the Post's Washington correspondent, wrote about an email interview I had with him on the online site 'Political Party'. He also discussed our blog effort in the online and print version of the paper. (corrected 11/21/07 at 3:30 pm)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Five Events in Four Days

# 1: (Saturday, November 10) The last 5 days have been busy for the four of us seeking the Republican endorsement in the 1st District. On Saturday morning, we met with the Winona County Republican Party at 7:30 am sharp in Rollingstone. I arrived on time because I learned in a prior visit that the large orange sign which reads ‘Road Closed’ on Highway 33 to Altura is actually true. A bridge is out north of Highway 14 due to flood damage so a detour through Lewiston is necessary. Around twenty people attended the meeting which included candidate updates and new and old business for the County Party. At the end of the meeting, the BPOU Chair, Dick, who was sitting right next to me made some closing remarks just as everyone was getting ready to leave: ‘I have one last item. I would like to inform you who I am supporting for the candidate for the First District. Since most of you have asked me I thought that I would make this announcement in front of everyone. (Pause and suspense) I will be supporting the endorsed candidate.’ A good sense of humor goes a long way.

#2: Our next stop was La Crescent for a meeting with the Houston County Republican Party. We gave similar campaign updates as in Rollingstone with some variations and then took a few questions. The possibility of a candidate forum was also discussed with each campaign weighing in. Greg Davids and Steve Bissen discussed their campaigns in House District 31B. The view from the home was beautiful with the Mississippi river visible in the distance. Mark gave his speech first and then left early so he could tend his cattle back in Lake Crystal.

No events were scheduled on our campaign for Saturday afternoon so my family and I took a ride in our minivan with an intended destination of the Mall of America. I thought it would be educational and interesting to watch the Senate DFL debate so we stopped on our way to the MOA. I knew from reading IDHA that this meeting was happening and was open to the general public. When we arrived at the Prior Lake High School in Savage, there was parking right up front. We noticed someone’s SUV totally plastered with Al Franken signs. A supporter or competitor? When we walked in to the debate it had already begun. There were plenty of people in the front row filming the candidates and liveblogging the event. There were still plenty of seats available in the back of the hall. Lori and our three daughters sat in the back where there was more room to be rambunctious. My son and I sat up close in the fifth row. A young woman sitting next to me was taking notes for a high school or college project. It was interesting to observe the interplay between the candidates and listen to the questions. I glanced at a front page New York Times article earlier yesterday which included a graph displaying the relative importance of various issues to Democratic and Republican voters in Iowa and New Hampshire. The online version doesn’t appear to have this same graph. It tells a story of different priorities, priorities that will occupy us in the months and years ahead. There was an interesting moment when Al Franken stated ‘I should let you know there is a Republican in the audience.’ This caught my son’s attention and he looked at me. Then Al said, ‘His name is Dr. B…ob Meaders, founder of Operation Helmet.’ My son really got a kick out of this. He thought I behaved as if I knew I was being singled out in the audience. One can still run for public office and remain anonymous though that’s not necessarily the intent.

Towards the end of the debate I noticed a fellow who looked like DJ Danielson of IDHA. If you get your photo on the internet and write about candidates, who knows what can happen - someone might just come up to you at an unexpected moment and say…. hello. I noticed that DJ had a Hubert Humphrey button on his sweater. I recall a story that retired radio announcer Harley Flathers told me about the Senator. Harley met Senator Humphrey once and felt compelled to let him know that he was a Republican. As Harley relates the story, the senator then told him in a slow and deliberate voice, ‘We accept converts.’ I get to hear many interesting stories meeting with donors and party activists. In any event, I suggested to DJ that he could interview me at some point if he wishes since he has taken an interest in the 1st District race and has written some detailed posts about it, at times both humorous and scathing. Harley is still a Republican and one of those ‘unitemized’ donors. I’m hopeful about DJ who has confessed some moderate political leanings. He’s halfway there. I’m just kidding here, but we do continue to look for converts.

After the meeting we made our way to the MOA and had dinner. Our two youngest ones got to ride the Merry Go Round and the two oldest rode the ‘The Mighty Axe’. Even at $3 a gallon it was a worthwhile trip.

On Sunday morning, we went to Church and Sunday School and then went to the Veteran’s Day service written about briefly in one of the preceding posts.

#3: Meet and Greet in St. James: This event was organized by the Watonwan County Republican Party. Klarice and others sponsored this event which occurred in the Legion Hall in downtown St. James. It was a beautiful day for flying once above the clouds surrounding RST. This leg of the journey was courtesy of John and his Bonanza. We left Rochester at 2:15 pm and made it to St. James shortly after 3 pm. I was forewarned by text message to ‘be prepared for media.’ Ryan Gustafson of KEYC Channel 12 in Mankato filmed statements from each of the candidates prior to our talks. After Mark was first to give his speech the audience was given the opportunity to ask questions. No one came forward right away with questions, so one of the other candidates asked him if he got all his cattle in from the preceding day. Each candidate was asked if they would abide by the endorsement. All candidates stated they would. Thanks go to Virgil for picking John and I up at the airport.

#4: Senate District 22 BPOU meeting in Windom (Monday, November 12): We each gave our campaign speeches in the back room of Jade’s Steakhouse. For some reason the music was pretty loud in the adjacent tavern. ‘Simple Man’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd was one of the tunes. It seemed quite appropriate at the time. Among the attendees at this event was the future mayor of Jackson. Tanner is a couple years shy of a driver’s license so he had a family member provide the transportation. This day was the longest. A full tank of gas was used to drive 432 miles from Rochester, to Le Seuer, Bloomington, Windom and back home. Twenty-six miles to the gallon was pretty good mileage.

#5: Mower County Republican Party Candidate Forum (Tuesday, November 13): This event was moderated by Jeff Anderson and attended by several dozen local Republicans. We answered written questions from the audience. Reuben, Klarence, Lew, Lavonne and others did an excellent job organizing this event. A number of these events are planned in December and January leading up to February 5, the caucus date.

Five events in Four Days

....coming soon...

(For those paying close attention we switched our blog settings to Central Standard Time from Pacific Time.)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day at the New Life Worship Center

Over one-thousand gathered today at the New Life Worship Center in Rochester to honor our veterans who have defended and sacrificed for the liberty and security of our nation. Governor Pawlenty was introduced by State Senator Dave Senjem and gave a moving speech. The program was over an hour and was a fitting tribute for our veterans.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Republican Congressional Candidate Forum at the Millville American Legion

On Saturday, October 27, the Wabasha County Republican Party held a candidate forum for congressional candidates in Millville at the American Legion. One of the topics was illegal immigration.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved in organizing this event!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

H.R. 2421 Clean Water ‘Restoration’ Act: Does Congressman Walz have a view?

House Resolution 2421 is a bill moving forward in Congress that is sponsored by Representative Oberstar and 171 Representatives. This bill threatens to greatly expand the Federal Government’s role in water management. Congressman Walz is not among the co-sponsors, yet he doesn't appear to have taken a position on it. On October 15, I attended the American Land Rights Coalition at Cabela’s in Owatonna along with Representative Steve Drazkowski, Senator Day, John Adams and dozens others. State Senator Linda Runbeck led the meeting. Many in attendance, including me, spoke against the bill's passage. Representative Drazkowski has sent a letter to Congressman Walz urging him to vote against this bill.

As a property owner and resident of Minnesota, I strongly oppose this bill as a land grab by the Federal government. This bill usurps States’ rights and interferes with the right to private property.

If you share these concerns, please consider forwarding the correspondence below received from Deb in Steve’s office and posted elsewhere:

Since its enactment, the Clean Water Act of 1972 has led to significant and continued improvement in the quality of the nation’s waters; and,

Whereas, Two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions (SWANCC in 2001, and Rapanos in 2006) favoring local government and landowners ruled that federal agencies exceeded the authority granted them under the federal Clean Water Act; and,

Whereas, As a result of those decisions, legislation is being considered in Congress (H.R. 2421 and S. 1870) that would broaden federal authority under the Clean Water Act by substituting ‘waters of the U.S.’ for ‘navigable waters,’ and by adding ‘activities affecting these waters;’ and,

Whereas, The National Association of Counties and organizations representing forestry, agriculture, mining, and a broad cross-section of other interests are opposed to this legislation; and,

Whereas, Pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act, the Minnesota Legislature has enacted legislation, notably the Wetlands Conservation Act of 1991 and the Clean Water Legacy Act of 2006; and,

Whereas, A new legislative committee called the Subcommittee on Watersheds, Wetlands and Buffers was created in 2007 by the Minnesota House of Representatives to consider watershed management policy; and

Whereas, All water, land and people are located within the boundaries of one
watershed or another; and,

Whereas, The foregoing federal and state legislation and actions by federal and state agencies has led to undue hardship, unfairness, cost and confusion; and,

Whereas, There is a need for public forums providing citizens with an opportunity to testify and give local, state, and federal elected officials information and guidance that will determine the proper course of action of federal and legislative bodies;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that __________ (County, City, Township, Joint
Powers Board) opposes passage of H.R.2421.

Thanks for any efforts that you take in this matter.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween Fundraising: A Great Time to Catch Folks at Home!

The Brian Davis for Congress campaign was recently in Los Angeles at the same time as the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology Oncology (ASTRO) meeting. While I participated in the scientific meeting, some of the activities outside of the event were devoted to our campaign. We had the opportunity to visit with friends and make new ones at our fundraiser organized by Erika and Jennifer held at the Liberty Grill, a fitting name and location for the event. Since ASTRO is a not-for-profit organization, similar in this respect to the Mayo Clinic, it would not be typical for it to endorse or support any candidate. In contrast, ASTRO PAC may provide support as may individuals of the organization, CEOs, Presidents or otherwise.

Regarding funding for the trip, Miles at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) hotline confirmed our suspicions: expenses need to be paid by the campaign. My wife Lori attended the FEC campaign finance school in Virginia in May so that we’d have a better handle on resolving these issues. In a medical lobbying visit to Washington DC during April, physician and medical physicist colleagues indicated their willingness to fund my campaign so this visit also was charged to our campaign after we filed the candidacy in June. This visit also provided the opportunity to meet Mr. Walz in his congressional office.

I returned to Rochester just in time to go trick or treating with some of the little ones and pass out scary literature in the neighborhood:

October 31, 2007

Dear Rochester Neighbor:

Happy Halloween! The reason that I’m writing to you is to introduce you to my campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in our District, the 1st District of Minnesota and to seek your

In the summer after graduating high school a friend and I had a job painting house addresses on the front curb of residences during the day and requesting donations for this service during the evening. It was Paul’s second summer doing this job and my first. Paul had obtained permission from Mayor Sabonjian’s office for this privilege which helped fund a portion of our college education. Since Paul was the experienced one who had set up this job he made an executive decision regarding the division of labor: he would paint and I would collect. I could typically cover about 60 to 80 households an evening, alone or with friends. Last night for Halloween we passed out 70 letters as we traded for sweets. We found some new supporters and also ran into a couple of folks who have a history of supporting the other guys, but it was all very cordial. Minnesota is a great place. We'll work on them.

There have been some recent posts in the blogosphere that attempt to analyze patterns of fundraising among the contenders for the Republican endorsement in the First District. Our friends over at IDHA readily allow posts on their blog where we made some initial comments and indicated that we’d comment further. Here are a few thoughts: 1) It’s good to have friends and colleagues who are willing to provide support. 2) Having receipts greater than expenses is a good way to run a business or a campaign. 3) The FEC reports don’t tell the whole story, particularly as it concerns donations at $200 and below.

Halloween wasn’t really that scary after all, except for our littlest one, Kirsten, when her older brother put on his wicked black mask.