Network News
A Weekly Update from Minnesota Network for Progressive Action

Hi ! It's time for another update from Minnesota Network for Progressive Action (MNPA). We hope you enjoy this edition of Network News. As always there is lots going on and our goal is keep you fully informed and trust that you will decide what to read about and get involved in. If you have events to publicize, let us know. Send your news to Jay Steele at And don't forget to forward this email to all your progressive friends! If you received this Newsletter from a friend and would like to be added to our email list, please click here.

Our January Meeting for tonight has been cancelled due to weather! The DFL State Central Committee Meeting for tomorrow has also been cancelled due to weather.

New web site under construction - coming in early 2005.


January 21, 2005

Tsunami Disaster Relief
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations are leading relief efforts. You can contribute through the American Red Cross at: Red Cross.

Closer to home, Deerwood Elementary School is collecting donations at 1480 Deerwood Drive in Eagan. And all contributions up to $100,000 are being matched by the Shimek Family Foundation and Enjoy! Restaurant. Donations should be received by January 21. For information call the school office at 651-683-6801.

Church World Service has put out an urgent request for Health Kits. This is an easy hands-on project. You can assemble kits and drop them off by Sunday, January 23, at Open Circle Church at 2400 Highland Drive in Burnsville. Instructions for the kits can be found here.

In This Issue

1) Political Hotwire by Dave Mindeman
2) Get Involved
     A) Petitions, Letters, & Calls

          New! Replace Rumsfeld Petition
          New! Act on Alberto Gonzales
          New! Don't Let MN Kids be Left Behind
B) Meetings & Activities
          Peace Vigil at Lockheed (Thursdays)
          DFL Meetups
          DFA Meetups
          MNPA Legislative Watch Volunteers Sought
 New! The DNC Wants to Hear From You
          Twin Cities Youthwork Coalition Forums 1/21/05
Kick-Off Celebration for Coalition of metro-area GSA’s 1/21/05
          DFL State Central Committee Meeting
 New! January IP Meetup 1/24/05
New! SD 37 Meeting 1/26/05
          Progressive Book Club in Eden Prairie 1/30/05
New! Movie About Bayard Rustin 2/1/05
New! Education Discussion at home of Vici Oshiro 2/10/05
          Parliamentary Procedures Class 2/19/05
New! 5th Annual Positive School Climate Forum 3/1/05
          Outfront MN JustFair Lobby Day 4/7/04 (link to Outfront site)

3) Get Informed
New! Letter From Peter Idusogie re. State Director Position
          New! Minnesota Eats Itself By Britt Robson in the City Pages
          New! Democrat or Republican (humor)

1) Political Hotwire by Dave Mindeman

So what is this Progressive Caucus?
You've read about them in our Newsletter.  Perhaps you've even gone to one of their events.  Maybe you're wondering.....  Who are they?  Where did they come from? 
Minnesota Progressive Caucus, like MNPA and the Legacy Project, was born out of the awakening progressive energy, of which we were all a part, during the 2004 election cycle.  The Caucus has deep roots in both the Dean and the Kucinich presidential Campaigns.  On their website , they describe their vision as follows.....
The DFL Progressive Caucus is part of a movement that believes in an interdependent world that respects and upholds human rights, democratic processes, economic justice, peaceful resolutions to conflicts and environmental preservation and protection.

They go on to describe their "Plan" as follows.....

Toward this end, the DFL Progressive Caucus dedicates itself to working within the general framework of the DFL to educate ourselves and our neighbors, to mobilize our fellow voters and to recruit, support and elect progressive candidates.

We will train progressive advocates, conduct teach-ins, register voters, identify progressive party leaders and build coalitions particularly during the lull between election cycles.

Quite obviously, the Progressive Caucus is on the same mission as MNPA, the Legacy Project, and any number of other progressive organizations formed during the last election cycle, out of frustration and anger with the damage being done by the Bush Administration, to our country, our world, and our dreams. 

An important task for all of these new progressive organizations will be to maintain energy from the last cycle, and use it to immediately begin work on the next election.  One way to maintain that energy will be to begin to connect with other progressive organizations.  To that end, MNPA would like to encourage you all to check out the Minnesota Progressive Caucus.  FYI, the Progressive Caucus will be having an informational meeting at Anoka High school tomorrow at 10 am, just before the DFL State Central Committee Meeting.  The meeting description is as follows.....

  • 10:00 AM: "Progressive Priorities in the Minnesota State Legislature this Session"
    Join us for this discussion, featuring Rep. Keith Ellison and Sen. Scott Dibble, regarding progressive priorities for the 2005 legislative session.
  • This meeting is open to everyone, as is the DFL State Central Committee meeting.  If you are looking to be more involved in the 2006 election, this would be a good place to start exploring some of the options. 

    Always remember ....... Stand Up!  Keep Fighting!

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    2) Get Involved

    A) Petitions, Letters, And Calls

    New! Replace Rumsfeld Petition
    Join Senator John Kerry and hundreds of thousands of citizens in urging the President to replace Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Click here to sign the petition.

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    New! Act on Alberto Gonzales
    The U.S. Senate has postponed the confirmation of Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General. There is still time to tell our Senators that we don't want an Attorney General who was responsible for helping President Bush justify the use of torture. Click here to visit the Peace Action website to find out what you can do.

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    New! Don't Let MN Kids Be Left Behind by Legislators
    The DFL is urging us to write letters to the editor urging our Governor and legislators to support education in Minnesota with increased funding. Here is the action alert from the DFL with talking points:

    Today, Governor Tim Pawlenty delivered his State of the State address. On Thursday, President George Bush will be inaugurated in Washington, D.C. Both of them are using the occasion to discuss a variety of issues, including our schools. Take action today by writing a letter to the editor about the underfunding of our schools in your community.

    As DFLers, we know that our kids come first - it was concern for children that fueled much of our activism during this past election year. We know all too well that under the Republican agenda, our public school classrooms have borne the brunt of the Pawlenty budget cuts and George Bush’s under-funding of his own education promises by as much as $28 billion.

    As a result, Minnesota classroom teachers spend more than $29 million of their own money on classroom supplies every school year.

    Take action today and tell Minnesotans that enough is enough! Our kids must come first once again.

    Suggested talking points for your letter to the editor:

    · Under the Republican agenda, Minnesota’s classrooms and kids are being left behind.

    · Governor Pawlenty has cut Minnesota classrooms more than any Governor in recent history - cutting schools in his first two years as Governor by $185 million.

    · George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans (e.g., like Gil Gutknecht, Mark Kennedy, John Kline, and Jim Ramstad) have underfunded the “No Child Left Behind” legislation by $28 billion. []

    · Republican cuts to our schools mean teachers are being laid off, kids are in classes with as many as 40 students, teachers don’t have the supplies they need, and districts are having a hard time even paying their heating bills.

    · Our families are being squeezed by Republicans’ “pass-the-buck” education policies that have forced property taxes to increase $350 million this year alone.

    · Even Republican leaders are growing weary of these devastating cuts to our schools and an over-reliance on property taxes.

    · Minnesota used to be a leader in education… we were the Minnesota Miracle.

    · Under Republican control, Minnesota’s investment in K-12 education has fallen to 27th among states, and our investment in higher education has sunk even further to 35th in the nation.

    · Republicans in power must stop leaving our children behind.

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    B) Meetings & Activities

    Peace Vigil at Lockheed
    Every Thursday, from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. And then every week (day to be chosen Thursday at vigil) Say “NO to war!” 

    The weekly vigil is sponsored by friends south of the river speaking out against war.

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    DFL Meetups
    Meet other Dems and progressives! Find a Meetup near you and sign up! Click here. To see a listing of all Meetups in the metro click here.

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    Democracy for America Meetup
    A local DFA group meets monthly at Bound to be Read in St. Paul.
    Click here to find out more and register to attend.

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    MNPA Legislative Watch Volunteers Sought
    MNPA is retooling its website and is planning to include a legislative watch section. We will be including some of this information in our newsletter as well. We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to track their state and federal legislators. It would involve periodic checking of senators and reps websites, google search of their names, and watching for public interviews and appearances (such as on MPR). If you are interested send an e-mail to Roxanne at

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    New! The DNC Wants to Hear From You

    In February the Democratic National Committee – the governing body that formulates the vision, determines the strategy for delivering our message, and sets the overall tone of the national Democratic Party - will be electing a new Chair to lead the Party. The Chair is responsible for communicating that vision and the collective values of the national Party.  Many of us have ideas about how we would like to be represented, and here is our opportunity to be heard.  In Minnesota we have six voting members of the DNC, and in true Minnesota fashion they want to hear from the grassroots! In an unprecedented event co-sponsored by the MN DFL and the DFL Progressive Caucus, our DNC representatives

    are going on a “Listening Tour” to meet with everyday DFLers to find out where we want our party leadership to take us as we move forward.  Come share your thoughts!

    Please join us for any of the following Listening Meetings:

    Monday, January 24, 2005

    6 PM Progressive Caucus Informational Meeting

    7 PM Listening Session

    American Legion Hall

    217 Minnesota Ave

    Bemidji, MN  56601


    Local contact:  Michael Meuers  218-444-5558


    Friday, January 28, 2005

    6 PM Progressive Caucus Informational Meeting

    7 PM Listening Session

    Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

    2101 14th Street

    Cloquet, MN  55720


    Contact:  Laurie Hilty  320-233-6626


    Saturday, February 5, 2005

    1 PM Progressive Caucus Informational Meeting

    2 PM Listening Session

    Plumbers and Pipefitters Hall

    1470 Industrial Drive NW

    Rochester, MN  55901


    Contact:  Laura Askelin  507-271-2453


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    New! Twin Cities Youthwork Coalition Forums
    TCYC begins the new year by bringing you an age-old way to understand and talk about the dynamics of power and oppression in your work with young people. Learn how the Circle Process can help us partner with youth authentically and more effectively to bring about community change.

    Join all the TCYC forums this year and learn how the Circle Process teaches us to:

    • Engage in civil dialogue as a democratic way to level the power playing field between youth and adults. (January, 2005)
    • Practice our listening skills so that we really hear youth, and each other, as we courageously explore the tough topics of racism and power and oppression. (March and May, 2005)
    • Investigate the institutional and social injustice done to our young people in the name of public education. (Fall, 2005)

    January 21: The Circle Process
    Merrick/East Side Community Center, 1526 E. 6th St., St. Paul, MN 55106

    February 16 : Roundtable follow-up discussion
    Family & Children’s Service, 4123 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, MN

    March 25: Undoing Racism I (Location to be announced)

    May 13: Undoing Racism II (Location to be announced)

    Fall: Public Education and Students of Color (Location and date to be announced)

    To Register: or for more information call Molly Johnston at 612.624.7139.

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    New! Kick-Off Celebration for Coalition of metro-area GSA’s
    January 21, 7:00 p.m.
    Hancock Recreation Center, 1610 Hubbard Ave., St. Paul, (across Snelling from Hamline University)

    Gay-Straight Alliance members from High Schools from all across the Twin Cities metro area will be getting together to kick-off a new network of GSAs. Make sure that you are one of them! Any youth participant of a Gay-Straight Alliance from a Twin Cities area high school, and the adult advisors, are invited to this free event.

    Questions? Send Nathan Gottfried an e-mail to or call 651-523-6328.

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    New! State Central Committee Meeting
    This Meeting has been postponed due to winter weather!
    Details about re-scheduled meeting soon.

    Anoka High School
    More information to follow
    Visitors are welcome at this meetings!

    Among the items on the agenda is a request from the Progressive Caucus to have their charter approved. The Progressive Caucus is meeting before the Central Committee Meeting. The Progressive Caucus also has made recommendations for the position of Director. You can see who they recommend at

    * 10:00 AM: "Progressive Priorities in the Minnesota State Legislature this Session" Join us for this discussion, featuring Rep. Keith Ellison and Sen. Scott Dibble, regarding progressive priorities for the 2005 legislative session.

    * 12:00 Noon: DFL State Central Committee Meeting

    * After the meeting: social gathering at Manzetti's Pizza, 3675 Round Lake Blvd NW, Anoka (map and driving directions) Please join us for a chance to eat and socialize with DFL Central Committee members from around the state, after the adjournment of the Central Committee meeting.

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    New! January IP Meetup
    Monday, January 24
    Kelly Inn, 161 St. Anthony Ave., St. Paul, MN (651-227-8711)

    Join us with a group of legislators and experts to discuss the legislative session and issues they will face. The Meetup will be a non-partisan discussion intended to open minds and get people involved.

    The agenda is:

    • 6:30-7:00pm - Meet and Greet
    • 7:00-8:00pm - Large group discussion on the legislative session
    • 8:00-til people get tired of talking - Breakout sessions in the issues of Healthcare, Education, Transportation and Budget/General Government.

    Scheduled to Attend:

    • Senator Kiscaden, I-Rochester
    • Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina
    • Rep. Joe Atkins, D-Inver Grove Heights
    • Former Congressman Tim Penny
    • Sean Kershaw, President Citizens League
    • Jim Moore, IP State Party Chair
    • Scott Croonquist, Executive Director Association of Metropolitan School Districts
    • Others being confirmed

    This is not a working session or a place to push an agenda. It is a chance to toss out ideas, to get and give feedback. The goal is to bring people from different parties together to find common ground to get the people’s business done and to give people a chance to provide input to the process.

    If you cannot attend the full Meetup, feel free to attend any part. You can go to  Minneapolis Group  St. Paul Group for more details and to RSVP for the event.

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    New! SD 37 Meeting
    January 26, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
    Davanni's Restaurant, 14639 County Road 11, Burnsville

    February 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
    Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley, MN

    March 30, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
    Davanni's Restaurant, 14639 County Road 11, Burnsville

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    Progressive Book Club in Eden Prairie
    Sunday, January 30, 4:00 p.m.

    Bear Rock Cafe, 13300 Technology Drive, Eden Prairie, MN (located in the strip center by the Southwest Metro Transit Station west of 494 just south of Hwy. 5)
    For information talk to Deborah A. Pitzrick at

    Join us for an open discussion of Don't Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff, Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley and founding senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute. Enjoy a reasonably priced snack or beverage at a local hang out! Make new friends while reading and discussing thought-provoking books. This month's theme: framing the message. Help us name the book club and set our future agenda. We hope to see you there.

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    New! Screening Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin
    Tuesday, February 1, 7 p.m.
    First Congregational Church of Minnesota
    500 8th Ave. Southeast, Minneapolis
    this film focuses on the life and work of Bayard Ruston, an African-American civil rights organizer pacifist one-time communist openly gay man and visionary.  The screen is sponsored by
    Minnesota Friendship of Reconciliation.

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    New! Education Discussion at Home of Vici Oshiro
    February 10, 7:00 p.m.
    A dozen of us discussed K-12 education funding last night. Vicki Roy came armed with lots of information and answered many questions about how K-12 education is funded. Tim Pawlenty had held a press conference earlier in the day announcing his ideas.

    Group decided we want to continue the discussion next month, February 10. Bonnie Boberg will have spent the day at the Capitol's media day.
    Please come armed with both questions and any information you've been able to glean about legislative action including lobbying.

    Vici Oshiro

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    New! Parliamentary Procedures Class
    Saturday, February 19, 9:00 a.m.
    The Local 563 Construction and General Laborers' Union
    901 14th Avenue N.E., Minneapolis, MN
    Led by Kim Millman

    For most of us nothing seems less interesting than learning parliamentary procedures. But if you hope to effect any change in the DFL you need to know it, and know it well.

    Expect the class to last 3 to 4 hours.  For those who can afford it, Kim will be asking for a $15.00 donation to defray the costs of the class and materials.  The ultimate goal is to get as many people as possible to be trained in proper procedure.  Feel free to contact her with any questions or concerns at 952-894-3822.

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    New! 5th Annual Positive School Climate Forum
    March 1, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Ramada Inn Thunderbird Convention Center
    2201 E. 78th St., Bloomington, MN
    Registration Required - see below.

    "Every Student Connected: Building a School Climate Where All Students Belong"

    Practical Strategies for Middle and High Schools

    • Find out why school climate and connectedness matter
    • Hear about current efforts to reduce bullying behaviors
    • Learn about lessons others have already learned
    • Gain new approaches and skills for creating a better learning atmosphere

    Topics include:

    • Building strong connections with students from specific cultural populations
    • Identifying low-cost approaches to building positive climate and connectedness
    • Examining one example of district-wide bullying policy and its implementation at a middle school
    • Challenging cyber bullying
    • Using a restorative approach to bullying
    • Getting a conversation on bullying started (Let's Get Real)
    • Reviewing 2004 Minnesota Student Survey Data to determine Hennepin County trends on school climate and connectedness

    Registration required and due by Feb. 17, 2005. Space limited to 150 participants.

    Workshop fee: $30 Individual, $100 Team (four people), $15 Students Prepayment is required

    Sponsored by the Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department; the Initiative for Violence-Free Families, Family & Children's Service; and the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.

    Phone registration or questions: 612-348-5618

    Visit our web site: to take the Domestic Peace Pledge. Also find out more about what men can do to prevent domestic violence.

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    3) Get Informed

    New! Letter from Peter Idusogie regarding State Director Position
    The State Central Committee meets on Saturday, and will be electing Directors. Peter Idousogie, who is well known to us from his run for the DFL endorsement for U.S. Congress in CD2, has asked us to include this letter. (This is not an endorsement from MNPA)

    My name is Peter Idusogie; I was one of the two finalists for the DFL endorsement for Congress in the 2nd Congressional district in the 2004 election. Today I'm one of the candidates running for State Director and I will appreciate your support and your vote for this position that will be voted upon in Anoka on January 22nd at the Central Committee meeting. For more than fifteen years, I have championed, canvassed and advocated publicly for social justice causes drawing supporters beyond the Democratic Party base. Quite frankly, my goal is to take the things we care about, and put a DFL stamp on it and help shape the political agenda in the state for the foreseeable future. We must let people know that we stand for such things as a Teachers bill of rights, healthcare for all our children in Minnesota regardless of economic status and a progressive tax system that strengthens our middle class and my favorite, preserving our environment for future generations. This mark of recognition will ensure that every voter in the state would have heard of it and no one can deny it. Above all, as a member of the DNC, I continue to offer financial support on a national level to the causes that unite us all. My sole purpose for running for the State Director is to continue our recent success in the 2004 State House races and usher in a people driven government in the governor's Mansion and other positions in the near future. As democrats, we have always supported positions that enrich the lives of all Americans. Today, I ask for your vote to get this message beyond our core supporters and broaden our party base. Let's together deliver a message that life after all, is about other people, that when we lift people up, we lift up our State. Your vote for me on Saturday will make you part of the team in ensuring that this simple but powerful message resonates in the hearts and mind of all Minnesotans. I look forward to seeing you all on Saturday in Anoka.

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    New! Minnesota Eats Itself By Britt Robson in the City Pages
    Britt Robson gave us an excellent look at the trouble in are in thanks to Governor Pawlenty's no new taxes pledge:

    Gov. Pawlenty seems poised to keep the same three-point budget strategy he followed in '03: piling on user fees, pushing tax bills the state used to collect down to the local level, and slashing relentlessly at the size and scope of state government.

    I. Stay the Course and Starve the Beast

    In some ways the checkered two-year reign of Tim Pawlenty has looked less like an exercise in governance than a deliberate and increasingly harrowing game of chicken. Since famously signing on to the Taxpayers League of Minnesota's "no new taxes" pledge during his 2002 gubernatorial run--a classic instance of a politician being led in shackles to exactly the spot where he meant to stand all along--Pawlenty has remained steadfast in his commitment to austerity now and forever. His first budget cycle, in 2003, found the state facing a $4.2 billion hole in its finances that Pawlenty himself, as a tax-hawking member of the state legislature, had been instrumental in creating.

    Pawlenty balanced that first biennial budget with a flurry of fiscal derring-do that left many legislators and onlookers alike to sort out later what had actually happened:

    * $2 billion in cuts to state services

    * more than a $1 billion taking of onetime monies, most of it from the tobacco settlement fund

    * the imposition of approximately $400 million in additional user fees

    * the shifting of more than $150 million worth of obligations onto local property taxpayers

    * and the juggling of hundreds of millions more dollars through various accounting shifts and delayed payment arrangements.

    Less than three weeks after the passage of this budget, Moody's Investors Service--"the most thorough of the bond houses, and the one we always paid the most attention to," says former Republican Governor Arne Carlson--downgraded Minnesota's bond rating from AAA to AA1.

    Now another budgeting period is upon us, and though the long recession has passed and this year's deficit figure is smaller, the state is by many measures in worse shape than before. Last year's job creation figures placed Minnesota below the national average, and the Federal Reserve Bank jobs forecast for 2005 is 0.9 percent growth, or less than half the typical rate in the higher-tax days of yore. The public school system, which used to be deemed a cornerstone of the state's prosperity and quality of life, is widely seen to be slipping. A survey released last month in conjunction with a University of Minnesota-sponsored report called The Changing Shape of Minnesota indicated that the plight of the schools is one of the two problems most on Minnesotans' minds, along with getting and keeping health care. Last biennium, Pawlenty took away $185 million from education en route to his $2 billion in budget savings, becoming the first Minnesota governor in modern memory to cut school spending; this year he's putting the state's health care assistance programs on the block. Viewed from this angle, Pawlenty is either a) trumping both those worries with anti-tax, antigovernment rhetoric, or b) flirting with political suicide.

    Click here to read the rest.

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    New! Democrat or Republican
    A woman in a  hot air balloon realized she was lost.  She lowered her altitude and spotted a  man in a field below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I  promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago but I don't know where I  am."

    The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot  air balloon, approximately 30 feet above a ground elevation of 2346  feet above sea level. You are at 41 degrees, 14.97 minutes north  latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

    She  rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a Democrat."

    "I am," replied  the man. "How did you know?"

    "Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to do with your information.   I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to  me."

    The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Republican."

    "I  am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?"

    "Well," said the man, "you don't know  where you are or where you're going.  You've risen to where you are by expending a lot of hot air. You made a promise that you have no idea how  to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same  position you were in before we met but, somehow, now it's all my fault."

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    MNPA Meeting
     Cancelled Tonite!
    We will have details about our next meeting soon!

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