What, there isn’t a literal “biggest jerk in the legislature contest”? I guess I just assumed there was such a prize from the way some legislators seem to be trying to win it. Here’s a strong entry from Rep. Jim Newberger, R-15B, via The Uptake. Trying to make some point about North Star rail, he mentioned that the prison in St. Cloud is near railroad tracks and said, “Boy, wouldn’t that be convenient, to have that rail line going from the prison to North Minneapolis.” No, North Minneapolis was not part of the discussion. He brought that up all on his own. He excused himself by saying North Minneapolis was just what he happened to think of. Yep, purely at random, he mentioned a prison, and then mentioned a racially mixed area. He said he could have mentioned any part of the state, so I’m sure International Falls had an equal shot at a cheap shot.
Then he decided to dig deeper by saying, “But if you’re going to connect a large metro to a prison there’s going to be some concerns. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t.” Well, who knew the prison at St. Cloud was on an island in the ocean? Sure, a land connection could only be dangerous. I’d be lying if I said Newberger didn’t have concerns, and lying if I said Newberger had any idea what those concerns were. That’s maybe the saddest or funniest thing: you have to listen twice to get past his prejudice and realize there isn’t even a coherent point in there. Please 15B, next election, show that Newberger doesn’t really represent you. Maybe elect a smart person next time.
The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.
And it’s auditor day, and maybe the lieutenant governor endorsement. The filing deadline is Tuesday, so Erin Murphy will have to announce quickly if she hasn’t already. I’m not there today and trying to tune in to the livestream, but so far it isn’t working. While we’re waiting, I’d like to handicap the auditor race: no idea. No information to go on at all. When I mentioned it to anybody, no one was even thinking about it with governor sucking up all the attention. Might be well to remember that governors Mark Dayton and Arne Carlson held the state auditor position. Rebecca Otto didn’t get endorsed, but being auditor made her an immediate serious candidate for governor or whatever else she should choose to run for. So even aside from the actual job, it matters.
Perhaps they’re feeling pretty full of themselves after Trump’s “win,” (and the disgraceful coattails thereof in Minnesota), or perhaps they would have tried this anyway. In any case, it’s interesting to see who all is lining up against it.
A group of large industrial users joined consumer advocates in decrying a bill that would permit Xcel Energy to build a 786 megawatt combined cycle natural gas plant without regulatory approval.
The gas plant, likely to cost more than $1 billion, would replace two coal-fired units at Xcel plant near the town of Becker that are slated for closure by 2026.
Sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim Newberger, whose district includes Becker, the bill was approved by the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance committee (January 17). A companion bill will be heard in the Senate.
Leading opposition to the decision are the Minnesota Large Industrial Group and the Citizens Utility Board, as well as several clean energy groups. A letter signed by dozens of church leaders also voiced objection to the legislation. (Midwest Energy News)
(Unlike in past cycles, at times I will be writing about more than one race in a single post. Because if things keep going as they are, and they probably will, there are so very many pickup opportunities for the DFL, this time. Heck, with Trump, and the state of the national GOP in general and the MN GOP in particular, arguably no, or at least almost no, Republican seat in this state is really safe.)
Tough race? At R+7, you bet. But DFLer Gail Kulick won in 2008, and Joe Walsh nearly did in 2012. And more people than ever in these parts (I live in 15A) think it’s time for a change. Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) is a Reagan-era conservative, cognitively rigid to an extreme, who it is widely acknowledged has done little for our district. Lestrud has been aggressively pointing that out.
– SD 15 is an open seat. Our candidate is Chilah Brown. There’s positive precedent here, too, as Lisa Fobbe won in 2008.
Gov. Mark Dayton has declared a state of emergency in Minnesota in response to the bird flu outbreak, which has claimed the lives of 2.6 million turkeys and has now spread to a chicken farm for the first time in the state.
The Star Tribune reports that the governor’s order activates “an emergency operations plan” to provide support to attempts to quell the outbreak, and also says that National Guard personnel can be mobilized if necessary.
It comes after chicken producer J&A Farms, near Detroit Lakes in northwestern Minnesota, became the first chicken farm in the state to confirm an infection of the deadly H5N2 virus, KSTP reports. The farm has 275,000 hens.
Earlier on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported the bird flu’s presence in 13 additional turkey flocks in Minnesota. That brought the state’s overall total to 44 across 15 counties.
The deadly avian flu has spread to 13 more Minnesota turkey farms, bringing the total number of birds affected to more than 2.5 million, the state Board of Animal Health announced.
…Since the outbreak of the virus in early March, 7.1 million turkeys and egg-laying chickens have been affected across the Midwest, The Associated Press reports.
Chicken operations in Iowa and Wisconsin have also been hit by the bird flu. There are 16 states now coping with the disease in commercial bird operations.
National media is running headlines that McDonalds may experience supply problems, with ‘Chicken Mcnuggets as rare as hen’s teeth’. I don’t eat them, but it occurs to me that might be the only silver lining of a serious global warming related economic disaster to our state and regional economies. It is beginning to dawn on people that this will affect not only the price of turkey and chicken meat, but also the price of eggs — and presumably therefore a variety of the ‘golden starches’ breakfast menu items as well as the nuggets.
The economic impact goes far further afield than just fast food retailers. The BBC is reporting protests against ongoing trade negotiations for US ag products to be marketed in Europe as a result of this outbreak. As with past food safety and disease issues, such as the mad cow problems of some years back, a variety of nations are banning the shipment of poultry products while this epidemic continues. having the reputation of unsafe or disease-ridden products is of course detrimental to the long term economic strength of our ag industry sector, and a serious concern for the entire country.
The head of the World Organisation for Animal Health tells us why this latest outbreak of bird flu has come as such a shock to US industry. Also, as the latest round of negotiations towards a new trade pact between Europe and the US get under way, we report on the opposition to the proposals, at a protest attended by Vivienne Westwood in London.
I documented here, on the 2015 celebration of Earth Day why this outbreak of avian flu is an issue of global warming, and the cause and effect link to rising temperatures and the spread of these kinds of disease, among both wildlife and domesticated animals, directly affecting our food supply and the affordability of the food we eat (not just fast food). From the STrib
DES MOINES, Iowa — Some international trade partners are declining to buy egg and poultry products from states affected by a deadly strain of bird flu while others are excluding imports only from counties where the virus has surfaced.
Agriculture officials say the food supply is safe. But Mexico, Japan and Canada are among 33 countries declining to accept poultry products from entire states, including Iowa, the nation’s leading egg producer, and Minnesota, the top turkey grower in the U.S.
Other countries, including Hong Kong, limit the ban to counties where the virus has been confirmed.
Conservatives, who as a group receive enormous amounts of funding both directly and indirectly from fossil fuel sources, refuse to address the issue and actively obstruct others from addressing it. Most recently we have a member of our state legislature doing exactly that, on the floor of the lege, while following the classic tactic of pretending that conservatives are somehow victims and martyrs for believing things which are factually false – and seriously dangerous to all of us. I would further posit that it is precisely to take positions that are factual and objective that these legislators are elected, and NOT to be faith based or phantasy driven in writing legislation, voting or formulating policy. Hat tip to Bluestem Prairie and the Uptake for the video and news item on Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker. This is EXACTLY what we do NOT need or want in response to the challenges of global warming. This is the kind of failure to act and failure to think that is why we must oppose conservatives in any position of authority at any level of government, because of failing to address these issue in a manner that is rational, that is objective, that values science not religion as the basis for action. If we wanted whining, we’d look for two year olds who missed their nap time.
Rep. Newberger grow a pair, and act your age. You and the rest of the lege were elected to deal with these issues, to voice your opinions BASED ON FACTS NOT FAITH, and to do something about these kinds of problems on behalf of the citizens of Minnesota. Pull up your big boy pants, buckle up your belt and if necessary add a pair of suspenders, but ditch the crap about being a victim. DO SOMETHING about the very real problems of global warming; they are on our doorstep, right there where you live in Sherburne County. But don’t kid yourself – something I suspect Newberger does often; the effects of this problem go much further afield than just Sherburne County, or the state boundaries, or even the national boundaries. We can’t afford the kind of political and ideological driven denial that we see next door in Wisconsin, courtesy of Koch brothers’ puppet Scott Walker as he trashes the state of Wisconsin, including by prohibiting any references or planning related to global warming.
They didn’t ask just in Iowa. I’m referring to a survey answer given by this election’s answer to Todd Akin or Sharon Angle, State Senator Joni Ernst, running for US Senate in Iowa. Asked “Will you support legislation to nullify ObamaCare and authorize state and local law enforcement to arrest federal officials attempting to implement the unconstitutional health care scheme known as ObamaCare?”, she said yes. “Yes” to arresting federal officials implementing Obamacare, really. The survey was run by a group of crazy people called “Campaign for Liberty” who asked the question of all the 2012 state legislative candidates in Iowa…
But hey, at least there are a lot fewer candidates wanting to arrest anyone implementing Obamacare in Minnesota than in Iowa. Hurrah for us!
Besides asking responding candidates if they would arrest federal officials implementing Obamacare, they also asked about eliminating the need for a permit to carry a concealed gun, and if TSA employees who pat down travelers should be arrested for sexual assault.
Most candidates chose not to respond to the survey. I don’t know if they missed it, feared it would provide material to some blogger doing, um, exactly what I’m doing, or didn’t see why this gaggle of nutballs was worth their time. I hope the latter. Some, however, did answer, mostly giving the desired answers or even agreeing to sponsor bills. Some of those who answered are running again in 2014. Surprise, the latter group are all Republicans aside from one minor party candidate, namely: