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Not OK in Oklahoma

by Dog Gone on May 31, 2016 · 0 comments

Oklahoma is apparently a state broadly populated with conservative fools and extremists, crazies and “fundies” (evangelical Christian fundamentalists), incapable of EFFECTIVE self-government, and inhabited by haters of the United States Constitution and of true liberty.  (By true liberty, I mean ACTUAL individual freedom, not merely the illusory freedom to conform to unscientific conservative Christianity.)


Last Friday, OK Governor Mary Fallin vetoed legislation that would have made it a criminal offense to perform a constitutionally legal abortion.


Gov. Mary Fallin has been widely discussed as a potential running mate for Donald Trump.


There is talk of an attempt to override that veto, a vote which would have to occur by 5 p.m. this coming Friday when the lege in OK adjourns.


From the AP:

“I have not made a decision,” Sen. Nathan Dahm, of
Broken Arrow, told The Associated Press. “That’s what we’re pursuing,
what we’d like to see accomplished.”
He said he’ll decide during
the coming week whether to pursue an attempt — the same week that the
Legislature faces a deadline to adjourn while grappling with a $1.3
billion budget hole that could lead to cuts to public schools, health
care and the state’s overcrowded prison system. They’ve yet to be
presented with a proposed state budget.

Given that Oklahoma has a Grand Canyon sized budget hole, it is grossly irresponsible to waste ANY time on abortion legislation rather than focusing on the state budget.  But of course, that is what the crazies, and the extremists, and the religious fanatics and the science deniers do, instead of doing their jobs.


It’s not like OK doesn’t have more than their fair share of other problems far more serious than a useless piece of liberty-denying abortion legislation that isn’t worth a role of toilet paper in the legislative bathroom, much less the paper on which it is printed.  As states go “OK” is pretty far from being ‘okay’.


The state is literally shaking apart due to earthquakes from the pursuit of fossil fuel drilling, with another earthquake earlier today within 30 miles of the state Capitol.


Perhaps the failed prioritizing of the legislature can best be explained by the educational failings of the state.  Oklahoma is ranked among the lowest for education spending at 47th, both for K-12 and post-secondary education.  Those ‘Sooners’ have been ranked down near the lower half for number of adults with high school diplomas (36th in 2004).  And per Wikipedia:


In the 2007–2008 school year, there were 181,973 undergraduate students,
20,014 graduate students, and 4,395 first-professional degree students
enrolled in Oklahoma colleges. Of these students, 18,892 received a
bachelor’s degree, 5,386 received a master’s degree, and 462 received a
first professional degree. This means the state of Oklahoma produces an
average of 38,278 degree-holders per completions component (i.e. July 1,
2007 – June 30, 2008). National average is 68,322 total degrees awarded
per completions component.

Clearly, knowledge, and thinking, are not the priorities of the voters of Oklahoma.  They’re more obsessed with interference in the reproductive choices of women and their medical providers.  Because apparently both voters and legislators fail to grasp that there are other things more appropriate and more important requiring their attention.


MN-06: Emmer endorses Trump

by Dan Burns on May 30, 2016 · 0 comments

emmerU.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), the closest thing to a “leader” of “legitimate” Republicans these days, has made it apparent by refusing to endorse Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that it’s up to individual House members to decide for themselves how to deal with it, based on their situations. One’s first thought is that Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) is taking his primary challengers seriously. Both are running from the right of Emmer, and one, AJ Kern, openly presents herself as a crude, disgusting anti-Muslim bigot.

Not many House seats outside of the reddest states are not potentially at least somewhat competitive, this cycle. (Yes, I know there is plenty of stuff out there, by moderates and progressives, about how Trump is going to win. Though unconsciously, it presumes a level of contempt for the intellects and sensibilities of the overall electorate that I don’t share. Quite the contrary.) Emmer, however, likely feels safe enough for the general that he can do this. If you want to help prove him wrong, you can help the DFL-endorsed candidate, David Snyder, here.

I think that when you get right down to it he endorsed Trump because he’s happy to do so. Rep. Emmer has considerably toned down his public persona since being elected, and I have to say that I respect that he’s done that. At least he’s trying, in that sense anyway, to give his constituents better representation than they had with his predecessor, Michele Bachmann. But certainly the old Tom Emmer – loud, cocky, blustering, in a word “Trump-esque” – still dwells within. Maybe it’s a “bro” thing.


I’m starting to wonder if politics really does have rules, or merely guidelines where exceptions are rare, very rare … but not non-existent. One of the rules, or rarely to be departed from guidelines, is never argue from inside the other side’s frames. Avoid using their preferred words and phrases, because they chose those for how they evoke preferred framing in the listener.


Thus the caution about saying the phrase, “tax simplification”. Republicans like to use that. Frank Luntz advised using it to sell tax cuts when he wrote his messaging memo for Republican candidates in 2006, which Democratic persons managed to get a hold of, scan, and put into a PDF they called, “The Frank Luntz Rethug Playbook, Unauthorized Edition, How to Scare the American Public into Voting Republican *” Here’s one place to get a copy. Republican candidates commonly promise to simplify the tax code (Jason Lewis, the GOP endorsee in MN-02 for example), which of course means they’re going to make it easier for most of us to file our personal income taxes. Ha! Just kidding! They mean of course removing those pesky bits about rich people pay taxes too. Luntz was pretty blunt about how tax cuts at the top really don’t sell well, even though, at least in pre-Trump times before hating women and minorities became the organizing principle, cutting taxes at the top was more or less the Republican Party’s whole reason for existing.

That might not sell well, but tax simplification, everybody likes that! Whatever they think it means, and to be sure, the tax code is big and scary. Only a small part applies to any one of us, but which part? But if we could simplify the tax code, say make it ten percent smaller, then instead of a big intimidating tax code, we would have … a slightly smaller big intimidating tax code.


Minnesota-State-CapitolI rarely pass along any editorializing from anybody at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, partly just because it’s corporate media, and partly because they have insultingly thrown in their readers’ faces over the years the likes of Katherine Kersten and Jason Lewis. But some of it, like this from Jon Tevlin, is very good. In practical terms, it also provides a useful list of the most egregious results of the GOP blocking a bonding bill.

This weekend, tens of thousands of Minnesotans will travel to their vacations on scenic, crumbling highways to bike on stunning, pockmarked trails and fish in Lake Superior estuaries teeming with trout, dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
It will be a special time, a time to connect with family, grill Omaha steaks and take note that the bad roads and polluted rivers could remain so at least another year because your elected officials apparently care more about political games than deteriorating infrastructure, clean water or your summer vacation.
If you plan to be in the Duluth area, you may want to stop at the Twin Ports harbor, where money was supposed to flow in to help remove the harbor from the federal list of polluted sites. But the Legislature’s failure to agree on a bonding bill now puts that project, with matching federal money, in jeopardy.
(Star Tribune)


MN lege: The great imploding session

by Dan Burns on May 24, 2016 · 0 comments

mn_capitol“Imploding” seems to be a popular description for how it ended, though in practical terms it was pretty much exactly the sort of ending predicted by many. Anyway, I agree with this:

But the lion’s share of fault has to fall on the shoulders of Speaker Daudt. He has been a total failure. He can attempt to spin this. He can play the “he did it first” game or “he didn’t play fair” game; but Speaker Daudt controls the purse strings of the state because he leads the House…and frankly, he did not lead.
Daudt refused to move on compromise for transportation. He pushed the end game on bonding to the brink figuring that he could force the Senate to play his hand like they did last year.
But his games were losers this time. And Minnesota pays the price.
Rep. Thissen made a speech on the floor saying that these last minute games have to be changed. I hope he is serious, because they do. Minnesota deserves better than this. The average taxpayer does their job and pays their taxes and expects government to work.

This, from MPR, details what did and didn’t happen.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again: The first, essential step in creating lasting change for the better is getting conservatives out of power, and keeping them out. They can’t govern. They don’t have what it takes. They’re too stupid.
As of this writing, it’s unclear whether Governor Mark Dayton will call for a special session. Republicans have refused such requests from him in the past. And most of us know what it’s like, trying to deal with people whose minds in many respects work like those of little kids.



Minnesota Republican Party leaders are calling for unity behind presumed presidential nominee Donald Trump as GOP faithful gather at their state convention this weekend…
Not everyone was aboard the Trump train.
In party meetings Friday ahead of the convention, a resolution reaffirming the right of party members to “focus efforts on races of their own choosing” failed on a voice vote. The majority of members of the Minnesota GOP’s governing body, the State Central Committee, voted against the measure indirectly aimed at Trump.
(Rochester Post-Bulletin)

The big question is whether long-time Republican voters who will simply refuse to vote for a presidential candidate who openly stands for racism, bigotry, and misogyny – and there are plenty; I know some, myself – will show up to vote in down-ballot races. I don’t know of a way to predict that, at this time.


Why Trump Will Beat Hillary On Election Day

by Invenium Viam on May 20, 2016 · 1 comment


She’s come undone
She didn’t know what she was headed for
And when she found what she was headed for
It was too late.

                   Undun, The Guess Who


For the first time, a national poll by Fox News shows Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton among likely voters in November.


Now, you can discount Fox News as a right-wing propaganda machine — which it certainly is — but the truth is that their national presidential polls have proven pretty accurate. Not always, of course, but often enough.


Admittedly, this poll is an outlier from nearly all others, and we’re still in early days, but here’s the thing: Hillary Clinton is running like she’s interviewing for Chairman of The MacArthur Foundation. Donald Trump is running for President.


Hillary Clinton continues to run on her experience and qualifications, as if those things matter to most voters. As if most voters are deliberative and analytical in who they choose for the top job. Donald Trump is running on his instincts about what the voters are thinking and feeling. He’s proved himself quite prescient and perceptive. Now, at least one national poll shows him winning.


Team Hillary failed to predict the left-wing insurgency led by Bernie Sanders and failed to predict the youth insurgency that followed. (I predicted both, but nobody cared because I got no chops among the cognoscenti). She’s failed so far to put Sanders out of the race and to lock-down the nomination, regardless of her admirably crafty move to gather up superdelegates early on by buying-off the state parties.


The Donald® has blasted though 16 other GOP candidates to become the presumptive nominee, even though for most of his life he’s been anything but a Republican. He’s deep-sixed far more qualified candidates with impeccable conservative credentials, guys with fearsome Sugar Daddies and semi-trucks full of cash money, guys with armies of fevered devotees and well-designed ground games. He’s whipped them all handily, like Jesus among the Money-changers, and mostly without breaking a sweat. And he’s done it by understanding clearly that voters are never analytical, never rational, and hardly ever even deliberative when voting for President.


Trump understands what Hillary does not — that voters vote their emotions. And he has shown a talent for how to read those emotions and how to use them to win.


Right now, the voters are insecure economically. They’re afaid that America is losing ground against China, India, and others. They feel that American power and prestige in the world is waning. They want to feel a renewed sense of economic vitality and a greater sense of financial security. They want to feel that dick-stiffening hormonal sense of raw American power again: that pure, natural cocktail of testosterone, adrenaline and a belly full of red meat that makes us all the Cock of the Walk. They want to believe that a New American Prosperity is just around the corner. And they don’t.


More Below the Fold

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StrasWebTrump’s list has drawn hoots and derision, but also a measure of concern. Associate Justice David Stras was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2010 by Minnesota’s Worst Governor Ever, Tim Pawlenty.


Ironically, much of Stras’ scholarship prior to joining the bench offered ideas to limit the power of the United States Supreme Court. Stras proposed creating a “golden parachute” for justices to encourage them to retire. He also proposed requiring justices to “ride circuit,” a practice abandoned more than a century ago whereby Supreme Court justices would spend much of their time traveling to various parts of the country to hear ordinary cases rather than focusing exclusively on the difficult and contentious cases that reach the Court in Washington, DC.
(Think Progress)

Stras has not been able to do a lot of mischief while on Minnesota’s top court, which has thankfully moved a little leftward since Gov. Mark Dayton has been making the picks. It’s tough to find much about Stras’s actual record; at least, it was for me, despite trying numerous search parameters and looking all the way to page 8 or 9 in some cases. A recent article notes that he would likely not be good for LGBT rights. This older one points out his limited qualifications, and the likelihood that he was wholly a political pick by Tea-Paw. And an article from this very blog does have specifics about his record prior to his elevation. (Like the Pawlenty article linked above, it’s from before we changed platforms, and I apologize for the crunched formatting. The reasoning from fact therein nonetheless remains entirely valid.)

Speaking of Trump, check this out, too. Hilarious.
Comment below fold.

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palestineJ Street is an organization that supports both Israel, and Palestinian rights. Whatever you may think of certain of President Barack Obama’s policies, and perhaps even more so missed/declined opportunities, objectively he’s going to go down as one of the better presidents. Right now, without thinking about it very hard, I could see him rated as highly as #8, and probably no lower than maybe #13. It could help him to the top of that range, or even higher, if he can somehow make real progress in the Mideast. I know it’s a long shot, but there’s certainly nothing to lose.

President Obama has eight months remaining in office and one last meaningful opportunity to take concrete action on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Of course, we’re under no illusion about what’s possible. There’s little chance of renewed negotiations, let alone an agreement during the Obama Presidency.
But the President and his team, as they consider their overall legacy, are well aware that, in the absence of diplomacy, the situation on the ground between Israelis and Palestinians is going from bad to worse.
The choice for the President in his remaining time in office is clear: Take meaningful action that charts a course for Israelis and Palestinians toward a two-state solution or do nothing and walk away.
(J Street)

“Middle East – The Mother of All Humanitarian Crises”
Comment below fold.

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New overtime pay rules to take effect

by Dan Burns on May 18, 2016 · 0 comments

scotusThis is from an email I got last night. As one of the brilliant, beautiful, and well-informed people that reads MN Progressive Project, you probably got the same thing, or something like it. Here’s the link embedded therein.

I wanted you to be the first to know about some important news on an issue I know you care deeply about: making sure you’re paid fairly.
Tomorrow, we’re strengthening our overtime pay rules to make sure millions of Americans’ hard work is rewarded.
If you work more than 40 hours a week, you should get paid for it or get extra time off to spend with your family and loved ones. It’s one of most important steps we’re taking to help grow middle-class wages and put $12 billion more dollars in the pockets of hardworking Americans over the next 10 years.

And here’s something that I think will happen, and I’m sure that I have plenty of company. Some right-wing lawsuit mill already has one ready to go to block this, and most importantly, has already identified the right judge to go to, a reactionary extremist who on both intellectual and psychological grounds should never have even been admitted to the bar, much less given a seat on the federal bench. He or she will issue the desired “halt” order, and millions will continue to be grossly overworked and underpaid as this slowly makes its way up the judicial ladder. Corporate media, meanwhile, will present it as a disastrous “burden on job creators,” or some such infantile nonsense. Progressives need to do what we can to make electoral hay of this, and to work toward a moderate – perhaps even a little bit “liberal,” – U.S. Supreme Court, for when this and so many other items ultimately end up there.