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Name: MainStreetMN
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  1. The fine mess that Enbridge Line 3 has become

    ICYMI …
    Enbridge Fined for Failing to Fully Inspect Pipelines After Kalamazoo Oil Spill

    The Canadian oil pipeline company responsible for one of the largest inland oil spills on record has agreed to pay a $1.8 million fine for failing to thoroughly inspect its pipelines for weaknesses as required under a 2016 agreement.

    Federal officials say Enbridge, Inc., did not carry out timely and thorough inspections on one of its pipeline systems, as it had agreed to do as part of a consent decree reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice.

    More than 1 million gallons of tar sands oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River near the town of Marshall when a 6-foot rupture opened in Enbridge pipeline 6B. Despite warnings of trouble, oil flowed for 17 hours before Enbridge shut down the pipeline. Ultimately, the oil pushed nearly 40 miles downriver, fouling 4,435 acres of land near the river’s banks. It triggered a massive cleanup effort that cost the company $1.2 billion and kept the river closed for nearly two years.

    As part of a sweeping, $177 million settlement, Enbridge promised to look for cracks and corrosion on its Lakehead pipeline system, a nearly 2,000-mile grid of pipelines that brings oil from Canada into the United States.

    In a document filed in a Michigan federal court on Tuesday, the government alleges that Enbridge failed to properly conduct six inspections.

    Although the company agreed to pay the fine, it nevertheless denied that it violated the terms of the consent decree and said it had properly inspected the pipelines.

    My concern ….
    The spill took place in 2010 under the Obama Administration and it is taking this long for all the legal actions to be resolved … what if a similar event happened today ?
    What actions — if any — would the Trump Administration led by Scott Pruitt take ?
    How would a Republican Minnesota governor react ?
    How would Republicans in Congress react — Pete Stauber, Jim Hagedorn, Jason Lewis, Erik Paulsen, Karin Housley and of course, Tom Emmer.

    Elections matter … our world took a drastic turn with the empowerment of Donald Trump and his cronies.

  2. Abortion rights stuff nationally and in Minnesota

    Another bill under consideration was introduced by Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R-Stillwater) and Sen. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka), HF 2998 / SF 2644 would require the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to create “Choose Life” license plates, with proceeds going to Positive Alternative to Abortion grantees (i.e. crisis pregnancy centers). At least 11 states give grants of public money to pregnancy centers or have done so in recent years. “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” aka CPC – have been known to provide false and misleading information. There is a bill in Congress to address this problem — H.R.2566 – Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women’s Healthcare Services Act — and has been sponsored by Betty McCollum.

    On an unrelated but related subject, did you read that the Trump Administration has issued new exemptions to the ACA requirement that people maintain a qualified health insurance plan or pay a penalty. (Ya probably know that the Tax Reform and Jobs Act provides for elimination of that penalty, but that does not go into effect until 2019.)
    The new exemption, called “hardship exemptions”, provides an exemption if they can’t find a marketplace plan that meets not only their coverage needs but also reflects their view if they are opposed to abortion. In the various news reports, there is no mention if the “insured” needs to be able to give birth — raising the question could men get an exemption?

  3. Does anyone know Trump's goal in Syria?

    Please add to your list of questions,
    Where are ISIS fighters and how many are presently based in Syria ?
    And if they have left Syria, where are they ?

    As Members of Congress should know, the liberation of Mosul and Raqqa are major victories for anti-ISIS forces, but the terrorist group is far from defeated, even in the region. Many jihadis not killed on the battlefield have chosen to hide, rearm, and recuperate-going underground for a period before reemerging to fight the next
    phase of the insurgency. Reports about the current location of remaining ISIS fighters vary. While there is evidence that some fighters are returning to their home countries, other reports indicate that fighters moved into Syria’s Idlib province … but where are they now?

    Regarding the Trump suggestion, which you cited — to have other countries in the region offer support … leads to a question that should tell you how informed the candidate is : Not “what’s the difference between Sunni and Shiite” but “Should there be any concern who supports Jaysh al-Islam (Saudi Arabia) or Ahrar al-Sham (Turkey) ?”
    Now Trump may not have a Syria strategy, but Assad had made the reconquest of Eastern Ghouta a strategic goal. The Jaysh al-Islam rebel group was in control of Douma in Eastern Ghouta.
    FYI : At the start of the year Eastern Ghouta was a sprawling semi-rural area just east of Damascus, home to almost 400,000 inhabitants. The Syrian government backed by Russian forces launched a massive assault on February 18 to retake the area, which had been out of regime control since 2012.
    The intense bombardment killed some 1,700 civilians according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, and pulverized the area, reducing many neighborhoods to rubble.

    On April 15th, an Syrian Arab Army spokesman said “Areas of Eastern Ghouta in rural Damascus have been fully cleansed of terrorism,” as the rebels of Jaish Al-Islam moved into Jarablus in northern Syria in a deal with government.

    IMO, the war is over … the Russians and Assad have won the civil war … and ya gotta give credit to Trump … after all, it was reported in July 2017 that Trump decided to halt a covert CIA program to arm and train rebels fighting al-Assad’s regime in Syria, a move Russia has long pushed for it, and reported discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 7. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted: “If this is true, a big loss for: 1) Syrians who have been relentlessly attacked by Assad 2) Our Arab partners 3) US standing in the Middle East.”
    Yep, give Trump credit … the “dealmaker”, capitulated to Vladimir Putin, providing complete surrender to Russian interests.

    Trump never has had a Syria plan … but the threat is really from the ISIS fighters … and we don’t know where they are mobilizing … and Trump doesn’t have a clue.

  4. Panic, on the part of the MN GOP? Or what?

    Hmmm … “one of Tim Pawlenty’s “legacies” as governor was slashing LGA” means that voters need to take a walk down memory lane …. to his 2009 State of the State address and what he was advocating for (as this commentary noted that Minnesota’s infrastructure is aging and needing upgrades … in Backus, Biwabik, Chisholm, Duluth, Eveleth, Gilbert, Hamburg, Hibbing, Mora, North Branch, Vernon Center, Waldorf, Willmar or any of the more than 30 communities that submitted requests for funding through the bonding proposal for the 2010 legislative session.)

    Fast forward to today … do you think that Rod Hamilton who represents HD22B hears about the need to increase the state’s share of the costs for wastewater infrastructure from residents in Lakefield ? Lakefield, a small city with a population of 1,691, is also bracing for potentially massive rate increases to pay for a $22 million upgrade to its wastewater system. The city’s average residential water and sewer rates would have to nearly double to $190 a month to cover this cost without financial assistance from the state. The potential increases are so high that there is concern people won’t want to live there.
    The 2010 question is being repeated today — “How do they expect our small cities to survive?”

    It isn’t just Lakefield, but the city of Glencoe (18B is represented by Glenn Gruenhagen) is facing $22.3 million in costs to replace portions of its facility that are more than 50 years old … Albert Lea (represented by another Republican, Peggy Bennett HD27A) needs to undergo a project that is estimated to cost $72.5 million. Without state help, the city’s wastewater rates would have to nearly triple to an average of $1,082 a year.

    A side note to this problem is that many communities are surrounded by farms — and while the federal government should do something with infrastructure, Trump is waging a tariff war … with the first victim being the farmer (who needs to know that he will have a customer for his soybeans). Property taxes are a fixed cost to the family farm … and they will not want to see their taxes go up because their community has to upgrade its water infrastructure.

    So should it be a surprise that the Republicans in the state legislature want to show some level of understanding of the need for state funding ?
    And there answer …. $30 million.
    Really ?

  5. "Right-to-work" is a disaster for Wisconsin's workers

    Great point.
    The 2018 elections will determine who controls the governorship and state legislature. With MNGOP control of the current legislature and a recognizable name in Tim Pawlenty, their chances are more than good.
    And the consequences are scary.
    The 2020 census will create reapportion of the districts, but the next governor will select judges and fill commissions.
    The lesson from 2016 should be the impact that Trump has had … the undoing of regulations by the executive branch and judges confirmed has been under-reported … but will be felt for decades.

    For example, the Senate has now confirmed John Ring to the National Labor Relations Board … by a 50-48 vote. Previously, they had confirmed Bill Emanuel so there are now more Republicans on the NLRB than Democrats.
    And who is angry about these selections ???
    The National Right To Work Committee is worried that, between Emanuel and Ring, the Republican majority would recuse itself out of opportunities to reverse Obama-era precedents … because there would be a conflict of interest owing to previous employment at management-side law firms who represent companies before the NRLB.
    The National Right to Work just wanted a lackey who could act immediately on all cases and not have to recuse from any.

    There is a lot more at stake than ever.

  6. Minnesota soybean farmers could get crushed by Trump trade war

    Isn’t the logical thought that Trump’s actions would cause stress for American farmers ?

    Well, Tom Emmer must have anticipated this since he authored Stemming the Tide of Rural Economic Stress and Suicide (STRESS) Act (H.R. 5259) to make mental health treatment more available to farmers.

    Sound good doesn’t it ?

    Well, don’t be fooled by this re-election ploy … the bill has ZERO dollars in it … in fact, the provision for it was included in prior farm bills but the Republican-controlled House has never funded it.
    Why should anyone think that it would when Emmer voted against the most recent government funding bill ?

  7. Intriguing recent polling of rural voters

    Your readers might appreciate the MPR story on Cass County where Trump won 62% of the vote with Clinton getting 31% and independents getting 7%. The Trump voters still support him but do not like the Republicans plans to cut Medicaid.

    Here’s the interesting sidenote …. in 2016 Cass County, Trump (9982) outperformed Mills (9407) with others getting 1068 votes while Nolan (6287) outperformed Clinton (4949). Voters side with the MN-GOP candidates in the state Minnesota 9709 versus 5666 and the state House contests 9710-5560.

    Compare that to 2012 Cass County, Romney won 8957 to Obama 6858 with 210 votes going to others. In the House, Cravaack won 8086 to Nolan 7199.

    Strictly looking at Cass County, my assessment is the county will always tend to vote for the GOP candidate … and the best argument is that with the legislature being controlled by the Republicans (in Congress as well as in Minnesota), that if you want to protect yourself from Republican policy views, ya better vote for the opposition.

  8. Regarding that poll about Republicans and college

    How do you factor in the cost of college ?
    And the argument that colleges may not prepare you for today’s jobs ?

    Let me put on my GOP cap — and ignoring the chatter that universities are home to brainwashing liberals (except of course, Liberty, George Mason, Pepperdine, Rice, etc.), and I read that student debt is crippling recent graduates, state colleges are asking for more money, there are no jobs for many graduates because they do not have the right skills.
    Then I get a mass mailing from my Republican Congressman telling me how he is working to change the “Skills gap” to create jobs for our kids.
    Of course the mass mailing never mentions the student debt related to For-Profit schools — University of Phoenix, Capella University, DeVry University, National American University, etc … and that those schools who stress you will get a job have such low job placement rates as well as low graduation rates.
    It becomes easy to blame colleges.

    And once again the Republicans win the message contest.

  9. Intriguing recent polling of rural voters

    “The right wing had a good election in Minnesota in 2016 because rural DFLers skipped this one and rural swing voters went for Trump. That’s bad.”

    Tony offers some very good analysis … although, my impression is that if he included the mid-term years, he would find that it is even more apparent that the MN-GOP consistently gets its voters to participate (look to when the MN-GOP retook the House in 2014,what was the MinnPost headline — “With big assist from rural voters, GOP retakes House”.

    Let us remember that Mark Dayton topped Republican Tom Emmer by roughly 9000 votes in 2010 but Dayton won big in 2014 against Jeff Johnson by over 109,000.
    The total number of votes in 2010 was 2,106,979.
    The total number of votes in 2014 was 1,975,406.
    So why was able to Dayton able to squeak by in 2010 but blow out the GOP challenger when less people voted ?
    The answer is in the strength of the third-party … to provide a reason for people to go to the polls to cast a “Anybody but” vote. In 2010, Tom Horner lead the third-party challengers with over 250,000 while all the third-party challengers in 2014 didn’t even tally over 110,000.

    Now, when you look at Trump’s almost win, you see how much more likely it could have been when you consider the votes that Evan McMullin and Gary Johnson tallied more than 166,000 votes … easily more than enough to have overcome Clinton’s roughly 44,000 margin.

    Also, let’s not forget that the Lewis-Craig contested was impacted by the 7.8% of the votes that went to Independent Party challenger Overby.

    IMO, the MN-GOP promotes (fear mongers) the issues (abortion, guns, regulations, government overreach, immigrants taking jobs, taxes, etc.) that drives people to participate … and on Election Night, they prove that fear wins.

  10. Re-Post: CHOICE ~ Giving the Big Banks a Dirty Bomb

    FYI : CHOICE stands for Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs

    Doesn’t that say it all “Hope investors send us campaign donaitons”

    Tom Emmer was the lone Minnesotan to sponsor #HR10 but was joined by Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis in voting for the legislation (all Democrats voted NO.)

    It should be pointed out that the one Republican who voted NO issued a statement explaining why — it would be harmful to veterans. Why this was not a concern for Representatives Emmer, Lewis and Paulsen is something worthy of an election question.

    Actually, there were a number of organizations that voiced concern (see the MN Political Roundtable review of Erik Paulsen’s claims of why this legislation was necessary — yep, they are outrageous.)

  11. How this nightmare came to be, Part 4: Voter suppression and propaganda

    On the overall subject of gerrymandering and the apathy that follows, your readers may appreciate this article reviewing all the states and the impact of “partisan selection”.

    Just makes you know how important the 2018 and 2020 state legislative elections are.

  12. Trump looks to screw veterans

    Screwing veterans is not reserved just for the Trump White House as Tom Emmer sponsored while Jason Lewis and Erik Paulsen enthusiastically voted in support of HR10 the Financial CHOICE Act.
    The Financial CHOICE Act removes the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s ability to regulate small-dollar loans, like payday loans, despite evidence of pervasive predatory practices focused on service members. This alarmed numerous national veterans and active duty service organizations, prompting the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) to recommend a NO vote on the Emmer/Lewis/Paulsen bill.

  13. Trump looks to screw veterans

    Some good news … and I gotta give some thanks to Collin Peterson and the 56 other bipartisan Members who wrote to VA Secretary Shulkin about proposed budget cuts to end Individual Unemployment program which provides unemployment benefits to more than 200,000 disabled senior veterans with a 60 to 100 percent disability rating.

    Today, the word is that the White House is backing off that cut … what is still not certain is if they will still push to “round down” any COLA adjustments for veterans — that could save $20 million in 2018.

  14. A couple of positive political trends, hopefully

    If you have heard my story of the CUB cashier before, just skip this paragraph.
    While waiting in line for the cashier to get a price check, she noticed my hat — a John Kerry for President cap. It was 2004, the Iraq situation was a big issue but that did not seem to be her issue when she said to me “So you’re a Kerry guy … I’m just not sure about him … he’s gonna raise my taxes.” Not sure what her wage was, but said “No, Bush tax cuts have helped the wealthy … shifting tax burden to workers and increased our national debt while Kerry just wants to roll back the tax cuts on the wealthy.” She responded “yeah, but I still don’t trust him.”

    Trump understood the CUB cashier … who saw people paying for groceries with food stamps while she worked … and saw that incursion of automated checkout lines — eliminating cashiers.

    So, Trump could be getting some erosion of support … but those voters may still be afraid of the Dems.

    The question is will the CUB cashier bother to vote ?

    Let’s look at Minnesota’s Second District … and compare the Presidential election years
    2012 … 90.1% of the registered voters participated and Kline got 54% of the vote and Obermueller got 46%.
    2014 … while the total number of registered voters increased by over 26,000 only just over 12,000 actually voted … reducing the participation rate to 87.4%. MNGOP Lewis won with 47%, DFLer Craig got 45% and IP Overby got 8%.
    Beyond that, we know that there are an estimated 49,000 people who are not registered.

    That is really the challenge … how do you get people to vote. And some may have felt obligated to vote for Congress and just decided that neither Lewis or Craig was their choice, so they simply “wasted” their vote on Overby. (BTW … consider that TrumpCare was passed with one vote to spare, shouldn’t there be a lot of anger at the inability to excite the voters with Craig’s candidacy … heck, she barely beat Obermueller’s total (she only moved the DFL tally up 2,977) … so why is she being mentioned again this cycle?)
    While, this is easily seen as a problem in MN02. consider how the Minnesota legislature has been taken over by the MNGOP, and you gotta be concerned. Look at Walz-Hagedorn race in MN01 … Walz had money to burn and was an incumbent, yet the contest was very close (close enough that Norm Coleman has already sent money to Hagedorn for his 2018 campaign.)

    Yeah … there may be some positive trends … but let’s remember that Montana just elected another Republican millionaire in a Special Election (as they did in Kansas) … their margins may have been closer, but they still won.

    Dems have to have a better message … not just bashing Trump and Russia … why aren’t they asking “Where’s Trump’s infrastructure bill ?”

  15. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 46

    Good story of the changing view of Trump supporters can be illustrated by Kraig Moss. “He promised me, in honor of my son, that he was going to combat the ongoing heroin epidemic. He got me hook, line and sinker.”

    Moss, an amateur musician, quickly sold enough possessions to fund a months-long tour of more than 40 Trump rallies, where he serenaded voters with pro-Trump songs. His guitar, and the ashes of his late 24-year-old son, Rob, were always close by.

    Now, the Trump Budget is out and the White House is proposing cutting the budget for the Office of National Drug Control Policy by 95 percent—a reduction in funds akin to effective elimination.

    The ONDCP runs two programs that form the backbone of many of the opioid-related efforts at the local level—the Drug-Free Communities Support Program and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program. These initiatives provide funding, resources and guidance to local government entities on a wide range of drug-related issues.

    So, the programs still are needed … but it may be the States that will be forced to fund them.

    That is in essence the GOP / Trump strategy … not eliminate programs just reduce the federal funds … most likely by using “block grants” and let the individual State decide … that’s the RyanCare plan for healthcare … and the DeVos plan for education.

    IMO, Democrats should ignore the Russia stories and focus on the Trump budget … especially when Jason Lewis so proudly praises Budget chief Mulvaney (who readers should know that during Senate hearings stated that the HouseGOP target of cutting $800 billion in Medicaid through AHCA, is just one step as the TrumpBudget is looking at total Medicaid cuts up to $1.4 Trillion.

  16. The same old crap: Republicans look to suppress Minnesota votes

    There is good reasons that Kiffmeyer’s bill should not be approved — even by Republicans who must realize that their personal information will be available for anyone to review.

    But isn’t the real problem that people just don’t vote … even with the system is easier today with the “no excuse early voting”.

    The big vote last week in the House was the approval of TrumpCare … and Minnesota played a key role in that outcome.
    It was approved with one vote to spare … meaning that Erik Paulsen was exposed.

    Paulsen and others would have gotten even more pressure if Jason Lewis wasn’t there protecting them.
    Should Jason Lewis have been there … did people realize that when they decided to cast their vote that their healthcare would be changed … his campaign was based on repealing Obamacare, so no one should have been surprised … yet would they vote today, if they knew what they know now ?
    Lewis beat Angie Craig by 6,655 but 29,229 voted for someone else while 53,531 were registered but didn’t vote. Reports are that there were another 49K that are not registered.

    America has an apathy problem … the challenge for all politicians is how to get more people to participate … Kiffmeyer’s bill will not help.

  17. Fighting Enbridge disasters-waiting-to-happen oil pipelines

    FYI : Did you know that Republicans Dave Trott (MI-11) and Jack Bergman (MI-01) along with Democrat Debbie Dingell (MI-12) have introduced H.R.458 – Preserve Our Lakes and Keep Our Environment Safe Act.
    Don’t be shocked that Minnesotans Emmer, Lewis and Paulsen have ignored their bill.

    The Enbridge pipeline that passes through Wisconsin – Michigan has had at least 29 leaks in its 64-year history—spilling more than 1 million gallons of oil and gas liquids and even Enbridge acknowledged that where the pipeline crosses under the Straits of Mackinac, there are 18 points that have “delaminated,” meaning an outer casing has fallen off.

    Read more here.

  18. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 34

    Suggested reading retail job losses … the list does not include Gander Mountain which is closing 32 stores including 3 in Minnesota … plus in some deep red states like Alabama and Texas.
    What does it say when selling guns and ammo isn’t enough to keep these stores open ?
    In a report published earlier this month, Credit Suisse analysts said the big four sportsman superstore operators together have lost steam. Credit Suisse forecast growth of below 10 percent this year. That follows several years when the superstore chains posted growth rates of more than 20 percent.

    These job losses will make workers uneasy … which should be a major concern for Erik Paulsen/Jason Lewis as many of the job losses will impact women (BLS reports that 75% of clothing stores and 60% of department store workers are women) … they will see their healthcare costs going up with TrumpCare.
    It will be interesting to see how Lewis explains the change in the number of workers participating in the workforce … he has complained last year that a 62.9% labor force participation rate of 62.9% had to be corrected … the first months under Trump has barely moved it to 63.0%.

    Funny thing is that today, I heard two commercials on the radio calling for job fairs … the one was from a local precision parts manufacturer — hiring second shift with wages starting at $15 for a physical job … the other was for Wal*Mart’s distribution center — starting wages at $17.

    The retail industry is going through major changes … with more online-shopping purchases being delivered directly to your home. Go to your local grocery store where your loyalty card has preloaded sales discounts and automatic check-outs will lead to more job losses.

  19. MN-03: Where is Paulsen at on the vicious reality of Trumpcare 2.0?

    Hmmm … let’s see so if you are a woman who delivered a healthy baby and had no complications, you still get to pay more (last one on the list).
    Good to know that there is not a War On Women any more … it’s a War On Mommies.

    And let’s look at the third item on your list … Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women in the United States and the second leading cause in men. It is expected to cause about 50,260 deaths during 2017. Of course, you could get screened … but that would mean that you would pay a higher premium … so is it better to just die ?

    BTW … I guess that means that H.R. 1017 The Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, isn’t necessary anymore.

    No wonder I see that Erik Paulsen has been tweeting pictures of him in doctor’s garb (most recently at Mercy Hospital with Dr. Stark performing a heart valve procedure … he must be checking up to be sure that everyone who meets #10 on the list gets to pay a little more.

    FYI from the Business Insider
    These changes were not enough for some members of the Freedom Caucus, according to reports. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a prominent member of the Freedom Caucus, told reporters that essential health benefit repeal was not enough and “it’s always been beyond that.”

    The freedom Caucus has reportedly asked for a repeal of some “Title 1 provisions” in the ACA. These provisions do things like prevent insurers from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition, allow children to stay on their parents insurance until they turn 26 years old, and annual limits on healthcare costs.

  20. Get investigations of DeVos back on track

    ICYMI #1. The New York Times reported that Robert S. Eitel, a former compliance officer at for-profit college operator Bridgepoint Education Inc., is working at the Education department. Eitel, a former deputy general counsel at the Education Department from 2006 to 2009, has been a critic of federal regulations on for-profit colleges. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last September ordered Bridgepoint, Eitel’s former employer, to refund $23.5 million to students whom it had deceived into taking out loans that cost more than advertised. Bridgepoint is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the attorneys general of New York, North Carolina, California and Massachusetts.

    ICYMI #2. Federal marshals are protecting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at a cost of $7.8 million through September (the fiscal year end).

    ICYMI #3. The House will like vote (and pass) HR1387 which will authorize funding for DC Charter Schools (would cost $315 million over 5 yrs) … remember Congress authorizes and controls all spending for the District … so they can allow states to use federal dollars for charter schools in their states, but with the DC schools they can actually give out the money.

  21. Downsizing Applebee's: A Canary in the Coal Mine

    Canary in the coal mine ?
    Hmmm … but didn’t I hear that Donald Trump was gonna save the coal miners ???

    Seriously, we see restaurant chains open and close all the time … but the bigger concern should be the demise of retail stores.
    Sears is shutting down about 10% of its Sears and Kmart locations, or 150 stores, and JCPenney is shutting down about 14% of its locations, or 138 stores. Payless, Gordman’s, Gander Mountain, etc.
    More than 3,500 stores are expected to close in the next couple of months.
    There are reports that 60,000 people have been notified that they have lost their jobs … just in the past two months.

    There are more retail job losses than there are working coal miners.

    The concern that we should have is how many of these employees will lose their healthcare … admittedly, not every worker in retail participated in a health plan (29% according to one study) but other workers did have access to ObamaCare.
    So when the Republicans finally do whatever they are gonna do with the ACA, there will be a lot more people that will be impacted.

  22. Collin Peterson, RT Rybak, and David Wellstone Play Inside Baseball?

    The race isn’t even in Spring Training time, yet there is a story that Keith Ellison predicts that Tim Walz will be the next governor … of course, Walz would have to be the nominee … and beat any Republican, Independence Party and all other minor party candidates.

    BTW … did you know that Jeffrey Wharton and running mate Amy Klobuchar got 53 votes in the 2016 Presidential Election ? Wharton is running this time for Governor as a Republican along with Phillip Parrish, Ole Savior, Chris Chamberlin as well as the most recently announced candidate Blake Huffman.

  23. Bad Actors and Big Wars

    Let us remember that only Congress can declare war … so as the Syria situation escalates, let us remember that Tom Emmer offered (in 2015) H.J.Res.73 – Declaring that a state of war exists between the Islamic State and the Government and the people of the United States and making provision to prosecute the same.

    Emmer got zero co-sponsors and no vote.

    Fast forward to last month … 4 Republicans and 4 Democrats offered H.R.1666 – To prohibit the availability of funds for activities in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and for other purposes.

    Don’t expect HR 1666 to get any traction either.

    Congress would rather let the President — regardless if it was Reagan, Clinton, Bush or Obama — take the flack.

  24. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 26

    Hey there are energy jobs coming to America … may be you missed it but Mike Pence is in Ohio right now … and there is a report that 15 new full-time employees will be added to the utility system staff at The Ohio State University.
    Oh, it should be mentioned that Ohio State is about to privatize its energy that is used on campus for the next 50 years.
    Oh, it should be mentioned that this was an opening bidding process … all three were foreign concerns … and the winner is ENGIE-Axium, a French company.
    The Ohio State Board of Trustees will meeting on April 7 to approve lease and receive the $1.015 billion upfront payment immediately.
    Privatization is not new at Ohio State … they previously sold off its parking operation in a 50-year, $483 million deal.
    The University of Oklahoma is the only other public university who has an outside company run the operation of its utilities. In 2010, Oklahoma leased the control of its utilities for 50 years, worth $118 million.

  25. Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 27

    Quite being so judgemental … how could you not mention that Tom Emmer got another co-sponsor — his first in two months — for H.R.534 – U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act.

    You know that piece of legislation so that taxpayers can pay back dues so that Minnesota can seek a World’s Fair in 2023. Of course, there is no guarantee that Minnesota will get it … and we know that this would be the highlight of Trump’s second term.

    Now, everyone please say after me :
    Trump is the greatest President ever and Tom Emmer is the greatest Congressman ever
    (sorry Erik Paulsen but you were not smart enough to realize the potential of a World’s Fair.)