Sunday night ‘Politics and a Pint’ at The Cow

politics-pint.pngThe Contented Cow is launching a regular Sunday night (6pm) event called Policy and a Pint.

It’s clearly an idea stolen from the Policy and a Pint series hosted by the Citizens League and The Current.

Cow manager Julie Bixby-Johnson posted to the Cow’s blog last week:

Come and voice your opinion on a variety of topics. Let us know if you would like to host an evening or if you have a specific topic you would like discussed! Free appetizers!

For the Sunday Dec. 9 session, blogger and Dundas Planning Commissioner Bruce Morlan will be the keynote speaker and will facilitate a discussion on

Elections: should they reflect the will of the people, the will of the electorate, or the will of the people who voted?

Bruce Morlan There was a ‘dry run’ on this topic last week (see Bruce’s blog post on it) but since the turnout was light, TPTB have decided to give it another go.

Update 12/07, 7:15 am: Here’s the video clip of Bruce’s presentation. Click play to watch. 8 min 30 sec.


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    I’m guessing that tonight’s session might get started a bit late if the Vikings game runs a bit late.

    December 9, 2007
  2. Lisa Guidry said:

    It was a light crowd, but I still found it informative & enjoyable. I”d rather be at the Cow tonight, than home in bed sick with the flu. Please give a full update on tonight’s meeting.


    December 9, 2007
  3. Julie Bixby said:

    Norman informed me earlier in the week that we are going to call it “POLITICS & A PINT”. Sorry I didn’t let you know sooner! We don’t want to steal someone else’s name! Let me know if you need anything else from me.

    December 9, 2007
  4. kiffi summa said:

    Hope Norm and Julie will continue this after the first of the year, even if attendance is light now. Jan and Feb is the time when people need to get out of the house so their socks and ears don’t grow moss!
    Come on, I’m only an adopted MMinnesotan…

    Thanks to all: Bruce had an interesting premise, I don’t buy it, although I understand the Math theory. I don’t believe the “emotional” can be taken out of a voter’s choice, and I don’t believe a stratified sampling process can truly predict anything but the resulting mathematical projection.

    But Bruce will always engender a good discussion, and he doesn’t ever demean other, perhaps more “emotional”, rationales.

    December 10, 2007
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    I’ve added the videoclip of Bruce’s presentation from last night to the blog post above.

    December 10, 2007
  6. BruceWMorlan said:

    Thanks Griff, it looks like I did not have too much “camera consciousness”.

    At the end I mentioned a play that sort of spoofs statistics and elections, it’s online at “The Republic Voted“. I wrote it for a writing group I belong to in Northfield (a freelance group, we meet monthly to read and comment on each other’s writings).

    My thanks go out to Norm and Julie at the Contented Cow, this event is apparently modeled on a British custom, and I think it will be great addition to the local culture!

    December 10, 2007
  7. BruceWMorlan said:

    In case you missed it, this whole thing was started because I thought that Northfield voted out of proportion to the rest of the 25B precincts in the 2006 election. As I commented elsewhere (Pawlenty appoints Neuville to Third District Judge seat; Cox to announce plans on Thursday) this turned out to not be the case (which was evident once I had all the numbers). I’ll be trying this again after the Senate race 3 Jan 2008, and hope to put to bed the issue (or throw gasoline on the fire).

    December 10, 2007
  8. Julie Bixby said:

    Thank you Bruce for your information last night. I found the discussion very interesting.
    Thank you Griff for attending, filming and posting it on locally grown.

    We plan to continue these discussions every Sunday eve. I do realize that people are busy this time of year, but I do encourage all who can to join in.

    This Sunday, Dec. 16th at 6pm, Kiffi Summa will facilitate the discussion.

    Kiffi, could you please blog the topic?

    As I have said before, everyone and anyone is welcome to offer a topic to discuss or just join in the discussion. If you have a subject you would like brought to the fore please email me at
    We offer free appetizers! Does that help?

    December 10, 2007
  9. Julie Bixby said:

    This Sunday, Dec. 16th at 6pm The Contented Cow’s POLITICS & A PINT facilitator will be Kiffi Summa. She will give us information on a bill ‘HR1955’ which is an extension of Homeland Security. The intention of this ‘extension’ is to “stop dangerous thoughts before they become violent acts” It has passed the House and will come before the senate soon, as I understand.

    This is quite unnerving to me. How can the government determine “dangerous thoughts”? Does this mean we will no longer be able to voice our opinions regarding our government? If we don’t agree with certain actions the government takes, and voice that, will we be considered dangerous to homeland security?

    Kiffi has much more information to share. I do hope we will get a large crowd to join in this discussion! (Remember, FREE appetizers to all who join in!)


    December 14, 2007
  10. Julie Bixby said:

    Thanks to Kiffi Summa for the interesting (and IMO disturbing) information on the bill HR 1955. There were nine in attendance and we had an interesting discussion.

    Sunday, Dec. 23rd POLITICS & A PINT
    Carleton Professor Bereket Haileab will give a presentation with visuals on “The Ethics of Foreign Aid”.

    Sunday, Dec. 30th our guest speaker will be Democratic Candidate Kevin Dahle.

    December 19, 2007
  11. kiffi summa said:

    Hey Julie … what about a January one, after people have had a chance to see “The Golden Compass” and presuming they may have read the same, a discussion with Bruce Morlan, and a physicist, and an atheist, and a religious believer, on the conflicts of good and evil mixed with quantum physics, that occur in the book/movie?

    December 23, 2007
  12. Lisa Guidry said:

    Kiffi don’t count on everyone watching the Golden Compass, I for one will not be wasting my money. I read enough about it and I will not recommend that people watch it, especially children.

    December 23, 2007
  13. Griff Wigley said:

    Tip-of-the-blogger hat to Kiffi for alerting me to a glitch with the photo… and to Lisa for letting me know that my debugging triggered 3 emails to subscribers. Apologies to all… should now be fixed!

    December 23, 2007
  14. kiffi summa said:

    Well, Griff, thanks for the hat-tip; I’m not sure it makes up for the hate mail directed to the most frequent poster( forgot the initials they used); it must be a conspiracy; several said it at the same time! OOps! slight dose of sarcasm…. actually Griff, you can give me a “by” on that one, cause it’s also a true statement (“several said it at the same time”).

    December 23, 2007
  15. Anne Bretts said:

    Kiffi, I am so sorry you received hate mail, or would that be hate e-mail? I know of many people who disagree with you, but none of us hate you. You and Victor are welcome to come to the party mentioned on the other thread.
    Imagine, garbage strewn on people’s driveways and mean comments directed at Kiffi. It seems we need to remember that we all have to find areas where we agree so the disagreements don’t define our relationships.
    Here’s to a Christmas truce and good wishes to all.
    Griff, take a day off and relax.

    December 24, 2007
  16. BruceWMorlan said:

    While I took a couple of good photos at the 23rd Dec Politics and a Pint, I have not yet loaded them (I promise to do so as soon as I get home tonight). I did post a summary at my site.

    December 24, 2007
  17. BruceWMorlan said:

    Kiffii, I would love to moderate or be part of a panel discussion on cosmology, the quantum physics of consciousness, etc. The article Griff pointed to quotes Pullman (author of The Golden Compass) as saying that the Garden of Eden metaphor is about sexuality. He is wrong, but that is to be expected of someone thinking shallowly in the shadows that come of having been raised “as a choirboy in his grandfather’s rural Anglican parish.“. The real tragedy of eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge is the pain that comes to all self-aware systems, the realization that we are mortal.

    For a peek at what I think like (sorry for the mathematics), try

    QuantumSould – quasi-mathematical, but with some diagrams, fractals, chaos theory, self-organizing systems …

    Soul of Chaos – a Rosetta Stone for a study of consciousness, quantum theory,

    December 24, 2007
  18. Julie Bixby said:

    The Contented Cow is still hosting POLITICS & A PINT Sunday evenings at 6pm.
    Everyone is welcome to join in the discussions, facilitate a particular issue or just listen and enjoy FREE appetizers. (Sorry, I understand there were none last Sunday -I will make up for it this coming Sunday!)

    Thank you to Professor Haileab for his discussion last Sunday, on ‘The Ethics of Foreign Aid. I am sorry I missed it.

    Sunday, Dec. 30th at 6pm our guest(s) will be Democratic Candidate for Senat, Kevin Dahle (confirmed) and hopefully Ray Cox, Republican Candidate and Vance Norgaard, Independent Candidate, will be able to join us. All are formally invited. It will be an interesting evening with questions and answers.
    Kiffi, your idea sounds great! Bruce is on board with it so pick a Sunday that works and I will let people know! (I do want to see the movie “The Golden Compass.”)
    Any other ideas out there? Contact me at

    December 26, 2007
  19. Julie Bixby said:

    FYI-Ray Cox has informed me that he will be able to attend on Sunday, Dec. 30th for POLITICS & A PINT.

    December 27, 2007
  20. Julie Bixby said:

    Thanks to Ray Cox and Kevin Dahl for expressing their views on a variety of topics during last night’s POLITICS & A PINT. Also, thanks to Bruce Morlan for facilitating.
    There were over 30 who attended. It was a great evening.
    Sunday, Jan 6th our keynote speaker will be Nathan Kuhlman. I will blog his topic as soon as I know it.
    Norman & I will continue to host this event Sunday evenings as long as there is interest. So, if anyone has a topic of interest, concern, controversy…please let me know. My email address is

    December 31, 2007
  21. Julie Bixby said:

    Sunday, Jan 6th at 6pm Nathan Kuhlman will speak on…

    “Politics is War Pursued by Other Means:

    Does 50% plus one constitute a mandate to force the victor’s values on their defeated enemy?

    Is it possible to separate the ‘public interest’ from the incompatible cultural agendas of activist groups?

    Do the ‘sides’ have enough interests in common to bother with reconciliation?”

    It will be an interesting discussion. Be sure to come by The Cow!

    January 2, 2008
  22. Julie Bixby said:

    Thanks to Nathan Kulhman for officially announcing his candidacy for the House of Representatives election this fall, during last night’s POLITICS & A PINT at The Contented Cow. He expressed what he stands for politically and we look forward to hearing more of his ideas and concerns regarding our state government.
    There was a nice group that attended. Thanks to all.

    If anyone has a topic they would like to discuss or have discussed please let me know

    As of yet, I have no speaker/topic for this Sunday, Jan. 13th.
    Anyone interested?


    January 7, 2008
  23. BruceWMorlan said:

    Kiffi had suggested we discuss “The Golden Compass”. I have read it, seen the movie and would happily lead a discussion of a couple of components in the “cogito, ergo sum” vein. Although I am well read in the quantum mechanics and can discuss it at a layman’s level, it would be nice if a local professor would like to come and represent that information. Julie, can we take a loose discussion or do we need more structure? Everyone could take in the movie between now and then, or they could read the book, or both.

    January 7, 2008
  24. Julie Bixby said:

    Thanks for adding your post. I especially like the smiley face drinking a beer! (How do you do that?)

    I haven’t seen “The Golden Compass” yet, but will be motivated to do so for this Sunday, Jan. 13th.

    We can certainly have a loose discussion. It might be nice to have a couple specific avenues to start people talking.

    You are certainly welcome to facilitate. You do a great job! Norman and I appreciate your enthusiasm and input.

    The event is growing in popularity. I do hope people will come forward with more topics for the future.

    This is the topic you mentioned awhile back, is it not? Will you be a speaker, also?

    If there is anyone else that would like to join in please do!

    We start at 6pm and have a free appetizer.


    January 7, 2008
  25. Julie Bixby said:

    Happy Friday everyone!


    This Sunday, Jan. 13 our Politics & A Pint discussion will be on what is going on in our fair city. LOTS to talk about. The discussion will be lightly moderated. Join us at 6pm for a F2F opportunity to talk about these important issues.


    January 11, 2008
  26. Anne Bretts said:

    I’m intrigued by this. Given the emotions involved, I’m wondering if there will be a neutral moderator? How will the discussion be structured? Will representatives of the recall effort and the mayor’s supporters be allowed to make formal statements or will the discussion be limited to things we like about Northfield and other topics outside city hall?
    It could be a wonderful test of our civil discussion skills, or an interesting political debate, or an uncomfortable experience. It seems some ground rules would let everyone know what to expect.
    Can anyone help explain how this will work?

    January 13, 2008
  27. Anne. In the old days – before TV, pull tabs, video games on the bar, loud piped music etc – people used to go down to the pub and talk to each other in groups large and small about ordinary, everyday things including politics, local, national and global. And being as we are all adults, young and old, we can manage to do this with emotion yet without brawling, occasionally passionate yet still managing to listen, agreeing and disagreeing yet refraining from falling in love with or disliking each other. We don’t need rules of engagement, moderators or bouncers; speeches are welcome, both official/approved and impromptu as long as they don’t go on interminably. That’s how people used to interact in gathering places like pubs. That’s how the Cow works 7 days a week; Sunday at 6pm being special as we choose a topic and/or a key note speaker. Indulge your intrigue and try it.

    January 14, 2008
  28. BruceWMorlan said:

    Politics and a Pint continues to rock Northfield on Sunday nights. Details are simple, come to Contented Cow, bring your (polite!) opinions and share them. The topic for 3rd Jan 2008 is “Select a candidate“.

    January 30, 2008
  29. Julie Bixby said:

    Thanks Bruce!
    Don’t you mean February 3rd?
    Time flies when you are having fun!


    January 30, 2008
  30. Griff Wigley said:

    I think he does mean Feb. 3, Julie. It’ll be interesting to see how many show up while the Super Bowl is on TV.

    FYI, I’ve replaced the Politics and a Pint image/flyer in the blog post with the one you sent me.


    February 1, 2008
  31. Julie Bixby said:

    Thanks Griff.
    Actually even on super bowl Sunday there were 10!
    Last night there was a small crowd also – even with the frigid MN weather.
    Thanks to all who join in and especially thanks to Bruce Morlan for his organization and moderation!

    February 11, 2008
  32. Julie Bixby said:

    For those of you who may be interested, the topic Sunday evening at The Cow for Politics and a Pint is “Unintended Consequences”. I wish I could tell you more.
    Bruce – Can you explain?

    See you at 6pm Sunday!

    February 15, 2008

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