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trump12Because the great and powerful Trump, once in office, would “wow” us all. Doubters would see the glorious light.
 

“There is no way to spin or sugarcoat these sagging numbers,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
 
“The erosion of white men, white voters without college degrees and independent voters, the declaration by voters that President Donald Trump’s first 100 days were mainly a failure and deepening concerns about Trump’s honesty, intelligence and level headedness are red flags that the administration simply can’t brush away,” Malloy added…
 
American voters disapprove 58 – 37 percent of the way the news media covers Trump. Voters disapprove 65 – 31 percent of the way Trump talks about the media. And voters trust the media more than Trump 57 – 31 percent to tell the truth about important issues.
(Quinnipiac)

If your tendency these days is to cast a jaundiced eye on political polling, and poll aggregators/analysts, then you and I have that in common. But numbers, and other indicators, as extreme as those seen throughout this poll are not to be dismissed.
 

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We may have passed peak trumper

by Eric Ferguson on May 11, 2017 · 0 comments

europeWhen I say we may have passed peak trumper, of course I know that it’s still early days for the Trump administration and he may get a second term. At the risk of being overpessimistic, it’s tough to beat incumbent presidents: maybe not as tough as beating incumbent congressmen, but still tough. Likewise the other big extreme right electoral win last year, Britain’s brexit, hasn’t even taken place yet (though the effects showing up so far are pretty much as the excoriated “experts” predicted).
 
So sure, in policy terms, the worst of the extreme right, alt-right, authoritarian right, nativist right or, to use the euphemism, “populist” right, is yet to happen. The corruption and vandalizing of our democratic institutions is just getting going. Yet, in electoral terms, it seems like the worst has passed. Trump won the GOP nomination and a big minority of the vote riding the same electoral wave that passed brexit, and before that put conservative conspiracy theorists in charge in Poland, and outright proto-fascists in charge of Hungary. Now it appears the fever broke even before it got to France, where a nativist FOP (Friend of Putin) ran a campaign indistinguishable from Trump except in the country she was going to make white, err, great, again.

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An Erupting Prominence. Prominences are huge clouds of relatively cool, dense plasma suspended in the Sun’s hot, thin corona. Like this large, twirling prominence, they can sometimes erupt and escape the Sun’s atmosphere. SOHO, January 18, 2000I’m not yet ready to entirely buy that renewables have so much momentum, these days, that nothing that “President” Trump, and his witless acolytes in places like the Minnesota legislature, can do would really slow them down. I think wrongheaded people in power can still manage a lot of harm. That being said:
 

At a press conference Friday morning, department officials said the program shows how much solar energy has expanded in recent years. In fact, new data showed Minnesota added 203 megawatts of solar electric capacity in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 207 in all of last year.
 
“Solar jobs in Minnesota increased 44 percent in 2016, with nearly 4,000 Minnesotans now employed in the industry. Solar presents our state with a tremendous opportunity for growth, clean energy, sustainable energy and a lot of future jobs for our children and the generations to come,” Commissioner Mike Rothman said.
(WCCO)

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mn_capitolThis is going to be vetoed, but it really is what Minnesota’s legislative Party of Trump members want to do.

 

The House repassed the omnibus health and human services bill in a 76-56 vote Tuesday night.
 
Sponsored by Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) and Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake), HF945/SF800* would cut $482.44 million from projected state spending during the 2018-19 biennium, totaling about $14 billion…
 
“This bill hurts the very people who look to us for support,” said Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-Rochester), who criticized the bill’s cost-savings measures as “tricks and gimmicks.”
 
Other DFLers called the bill “reprehensible,” “infuriating,” and “dangerous,” stating that it weakened consumer protections and failed to adequately provide for personal care attendants, employees at the Minnesota Security Hospital, or children and families.
(Session Daily)

Here’s something about what just one part of the bill would do.
 

A top Minnesota official visited Baxter (April 11) to discuss the rural mental health crisis—and to decry proposed Republican budget cuts she said would gut mental health care initiatives.
 
Emily Piper, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, met with local health care leaders at the Community Behavioral Health Hospital in Baxter.
 
The Baxter hospital is a 16-bed acute psychiatric care facility, run by DHS.
 
The proposed $600 million in cuts would force DHS to eliminate 200 positions at their facilities, Piper said. That includes Community Behavioral Health Hospitals like the Baxter facility.
(Duluth News Tribune)

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trump18The people that Trump voters put in charge really are apparently completely and utterly just g*d-damned pathetically stupid.
 

I think we can finally be rid of the notion that the Trump administration is staffed with savvy geniuses, because the savvy geniuses apparently were caught off-guard by the backlash unleashed in the media, the public, and among lawmakers over Trump firing the man in charge of investigating potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence services.
 
They seem to have strategized themselves into thinking that since most Democrats were still angry over Comey’s shameful handling of the Clinton “email” investigation, everyone would just brush aside the firing of a man who is currently investigating whether Donald Trump’s team secured the White House with the help of foreign agents. They … they can’t be that dumb, and yet…
(Daily Kos)

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NoVoteHere’s the cover page of the bill, SF514. I’m just going to pass along the bulk of an email from the Minnesota Senate DFL Caucus, specifically Assistant Minority Leader Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury).
 

The Omnibus Elections Bill authored by Republican Mary Kiffmeyer would create a controversial and complicated provisional balloting system that would throw out legitimate ballots so that not all votes would be counted. Furthermore, it would allow anybody to challenge your ballot without basis or cause. If your ballot were to be challenged, your vote may not be counted and your private data would be permanently made public. Not only is this a bad idea, it also adds millions of dollars in costs to already overburdened counties.
 
Countless Minnesotans would be disenfranchised and unnecessarily hassled if this becomes law. Republicans’ goal is to suppress the vote so that they can more easily pass their agenda. When fewer people participate, Republicans win. They want to change the rules to make it harder for your vote to be counted.

Comment below fold.
 
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MN lege: When will the crazy end? Part 4

by Dan Burns on May 4, 2017 · 0 comments

minnesota_state_capitolThree items. Regarding the first, you may recall that during the Pawlenty administration Local Government Aid was slashed, to the point that local governments had to hike taxes on businesses just to provide basic services. And believe it or not, Party of Trump legislators want to go down that road again, though in less flagrant ways this time around.
 

The Governor’s proposal—by virtue of its larger appropriation increase in 2018 and by the fact that it does not rescind that increase in 2019—provides larger aid increases for more cities in both 2018 and 2019 than either the House or Senate proposals. For example, 679 cities receive an aid increase relative to current law in both 2018 and 2019, and for 532 of these cities, or 78 percent, the increase exceeds two percent. No city experiences an aid reduction relative to current law in either 2018 or 2019 under the Governor’s proposal.
 
To this point, the analysis in this proposal has been in nominal dollars (i.e., dollars unadjusted for inflation). Because inflation erodes the purchasing power of LGA over time, it is important to examine the change in aid in real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) dollars.‡ Only the Governor’s proposal provides LGA funding sufficient to maintain the real purchasing power of LGA dollars at the 2017 level in both 2018 and 2019 for a significant number of Minnesota cities.
(North Star Policy Institute)

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trump15A lot of Trump voters honestly do believe that they’re backing a really sharp guy whose head is together.
 

President Donald Trump questioned why the Civil War— which erupted 150 years ago over slavery — needed to happen. He said he would be “honored” to meet with Kim Jong-Un, the violent North Korean dictator who is developing nuclear missiles and oppresses his people, under the “right circumstances.”
 
The president floated, and backed away from, a tax on gasoline. Trump said he was “looking at” breaking up the big banks, sending the stock market sliding. He seemed to praise Philippines strongman President Rodrigo Duterte for his high approval ratings. He promised changes to the Republican health care bill, though he has seemed unsure what was in the legislation, even as his advisers whipped votes for it.
 
And Monday still had nine hours to go.
 
“It seems to be among the most bizarre recent 24 hours in American presidential history,” said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. “It was all just surreal disarray and a confused mental state from the president.”
(Politico)

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daudt(Update: On Monday, the same day that I posted the text below, the Minnesota House did produce a bonding bill plan. Which doesn’t mean that Speaker Daudt and his allies won’t wait until the last minute, again, to try to shove it through on an our-plan-or-no-plan-at-all basis.
 

(“Grossly inadequate” would be one way to describe the House proposal. “Shortsighted” and “small-minded” work, too. As does plain old “cheap.” Here are links to proposals from the:
 
House;
 

Senate;
 

Governor.)
 

To me at least, the ending of the 2016 legislative session in Minnesota was quite probably not just some display of ineptitude. I think it was House Speaker Kurt Daudt’s (R-Crown) intent all along to ram through the Republican bonding bill at the last minute, giving Democratic legislators and Gov. Dayton no choice but to go along or get no bill at all. The whole plan may well have originated with Daudt’s handlers at the American Legislative Exchange Council. And, because 2016 turned out to be such a bizarre and horrifying political year, the fact that said plan didn’t entirely work produced no backlash vs. the MN GOP.

 
And from what I’m seeing so far, the intent may well be to try the same thing again, only get it “right” this time.
 

As the session reaches the spring recess — leaving about a month left when lawmakers return — the bonding bill is one of the biggest question marks.
 
Last year, a bonding plan emerged in the last hours of the last day of the session. It failed to reach the governor’s desk after a volley between the House and Senate caused lawmakers to run out of time.
(MPR)

That article is from early April. But as of this writing the House still hasn’t produced a detailed bill.
 
Yet there are growing indications that Daudt is not the Minnesota Party of Trump’s undisputed golden boy that I and others have believed him to be. Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) announced a run for governor.
 

Dean, 51, has a soft-spoken demeanor but is widely viewed as a leader of the conservative wing of the House Republican caucus. Two years ago, he sought the post of House speaker but was defeated by Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, who’s mulling his own bid for governor.
 
Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman is the only other Republican to declare so far. In addition to Daudt, other Republicans considering the race include Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, GOP Party Chairman Keith Downey, 2014 Republican nominee Jeff Johnson and a handful of other state legislators, including Sen. David Osmek of Mound and Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake.
(Star Tribune)

If Daudt and his fans can’t even impress/intimidate Matt Dean enough to convince him that joining the race would just be a waste of time and effort, things are a lot iffier for him than I have realized up to now.
 

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mngopdonorsSince few people in the general population know or care who state political party chairs are, to some extent this is just indulging my fellow politics junkies. But, hey, that’s what I’m here for.
 

Jennifer Carnahan, whose abandonment as a baby in South Korea led to an upbringing and business career in Minnesota, will lead the state Republican Party into a high-stakes election year…
 
Carnahan, 40, entered the race as something of a dark horse. She’s never held elective office or a prominent party role as her three challengers — Deputy Chairman Chris Fields, former Senate Minority Leader David Hann and Republican National Committeeman Rick Rice.
 
In fact, she attended her first party caucus only last year…
 
Her victory saw her come from behind. Fields led on the first two ballots, with Hann also in contention. As Rice failed to qualify for the second ballot and Hann faded, Carnahan’s support surged. She topped Fields when it was just the two of them on the fourth ballot.
(MPR)

It seems like Hann and Fields both went in with their factions (as well as probably plenty of attendees who don’t like either of them all that much), but they weren’t enough, and they ended up electing who they could. Was that Carnahan’s plan? Did she go in really believing that she had much chance? Heck if I know.
 
So the MN GOP basically stumbled into getting what sure looks to me like the best candidate. From an objective standpoint, Carnahan certainly seems like an impressive person. Too bad she’s so unrepresentative of the Party of Trump’s base.
 

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