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GOP fun, DFL potential in MN 35A

by Dan Burns on April 9, 2014 · 0 comments

1422522_10152758256212355_1666782960_nFirst of all, Peter Perovich is our candidate (website apparently still being built), in this north metro district. This is Rep. Jim Abeler’s (R-Anoka) beat, now; he’s running for the U.S. Senate, though his campaign seems to be getting minimal footing. In any case, he’s leaving his legislative seat.

The reasons for some optimism here, in this R+6 district, are, first, the general demographic drift of the suburbs in progressives’ favor (some more slow and fitful than others, but real, nonetheless), and, second, a sweet little GOP primary battle that seems to be shaping up.

Again, with (Justin) Boals’ ABC Newspapers’ March 22 candidacy reporting, (i.e., following (Abigail) Whelan’s endorsement earlier in March), it appears there will be a Republican primary we all should watch, as each of the two attempts to present himself/herself as the more traditional GOP person; (conservative to a fault, Christian to that bloc’s litmus tests); while perhaps trying a fence straddle to not appear too extreme for the general election if prevailing in a primary vote.
(Developers Are Crabgrass)

In other words, Boals jumped in, as a Republican, after Whelan was endorsed by the GOP. Both are politically hard-line evangelical conservatives. The linked article has more on each.


North Minneapolis transit forum: SW LRT

by JeffStrate on April 8, 2014 · 0 comments

A little after 3 pm on Wednesday April 9, the Met Council will consider a slightly revised recommendation for the scope and budget of the Southwest Light Rail Project.  When completed, the new light rail line will become the westerly length of what the Met Council has branded “The Green Line.” It will link St. Paul’s Union Station to Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie – and the hundreds of businesses and scores of communities along the line.


Over the past year, major regional media has obsessed on controversies prompted by recommendations by planning engineers and SWLRT project committees of citizens, businesses and municipal, county and state officials, to route light rail along an active freight line through the so called “Kenilworth Corridor.”


Hundreds of recreational and commuter bicyclers travel through corridor between Kenwood and Cedar Lake neighborhoods every day.


Teams of planners, consultants and citizens have addressed the challenges of co-locating freight, light rail and bike trails though what folks have understandably come to think of as a recreational area.  The prospect of moving the freight trains to St, Louis Park or Chaska has been rejected as unfeasible several times.


Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback and frosh Mayor Betsy Hodges (in a SWLRT Project committee) have consistently argued against Kenilworth co-location plans calling for running LRT through covered tunnels hidden by the bike trail and vegetation.


With pinched sound bites and careless headlines, bolstered by hundreds of reader comments (caustic spitballs for the most part) in the Strib’s coverage, the Kenilworth controversy news wise has trumped all other aspects of the $1.6 billion project.



fine print mag glassMaryellen is the author of this post. I am just posting for her.


Are you age 55 or over? When you completed the MNsure application, did you get put into Medical Assistance? Then read this. We thought the state would only recover estate assets for people who were in long term facilities while on Medical Assistance. They also recover estate assets for people age 55+ who are on Medical Assistance.


MNsure put my husband and me into Medical Assistance. We are both over age 55. We researched, and discovered that Minnesota Statutes, section 256B.15, Subd 1a(e), says the state can recover Medical Assistance expenses and capitation rates (monthly premiums) from people who are age 55+. Our state representative verified this with the office of the State Medicaid Director, Cindy Mann. We live in Hennepin County. The only data we could find on the Medical Assistance monthly premiums are from the 2012 Hennepin Health contract with DHS. The title is “Appendix II-B: Capitation Payment Rate Hennepin Health, PMAP Rates January-December 2012.” The monthly rate listed for a female aged 50-64 was $1205.44, and the monthly rate for a male aged 50-64 was $1293.06. It looks like our Medical Assistance premiums will cost about $30,000 a year, far more than regular insurance. We’ll run up about $168,000 in Medicaid premiums alone by the time we reach age 65.


Check your county’s rates, and do the math for your family. Then contact your state legislator, Gov. Dayton, and Pres. Obama.


Catching up with Michele Bachmann

by Dog Gone on April 8, 2014 · 3 comments

Michele Bachmann has been very busy lately.


NOT usefully or productively busy, NO. Not resolving her various legal troubles busy, either, not the Congresswoman from Minnesota. She has been more her usual useless, ridiculous, drama queen extremist busy.

Although the latest word on her various ethics and campaign violations scandals are that the campaign manager for Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell may be the next victim of that Iowa bribery scandal.  From Mother Jones:

An intriguing catfight has been brewing on the right—and it could possibly affect the reelection campaign of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Republican Senate leader. A former aide to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has asked the Federal Elections Commission to investigate whether Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign violated federal law by bribing an Iowa state senator to win his endorsement. The complaint letter, sent by ex-Bachmanner Peter Waldron, charges that senior members of Paul’s campaign—including Jesse Benton, who is now McConnell’s campaign manager—were party to the bribe or knew about it. The role of specific Ron Paul aides in the scheme is unclear, but a 2013 Iowa Senate Ethics Committee report cited by Waldron states that the Paul campaign exchanged money to purchase the endorsement.

The controversy concerns the curious actions of a prominent local politician during the 2012 Republican caucuses in the Hawkeye State. Then-GOP state Sen. Kent Sorenson was an influential figure in the social-conservative wing of the state Republican Party, and he had offered his support to Bachmann’s presidential effort early in the 2012 campaign. Sorenson and Bachmann were natural allies; both were crusaders against abortion and same-sex marriage. Sorenson served as co-chairman of Bachmann’s campaign in Iowa and was a frequent surrogate speaker for her. But less than a week before caucus day, Sorenson made a surprise appearance at a Ron Paul rally in Des Moines, where he shocked Iowa political observers by switching his endorsement to the libertarian candidate.

Bat-sh*t crazy Bachmann made the cover of the New Yoker – right – where the whole country can laugh at her, portrayed as a child, which suits her level of thoughtful opinion on Obamacare.   This image is doubly appropriate, since Michele is still making specious and factually inaccurate claims about pharmaceuticals under the ACA.  From the Raw Story:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on Tuesday worried that President Barack Obama and Democrats could withhold life-saving drugs from Americans because they had mandated “killer drugs” like birth control.
Following Supreme Court arguments over whether companies could practice a religion and deny contraception to employees based on those beliefs, Bachmann and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) took to the House floor to blast the Obama administration for mandating birth control coverage in the first place.

“That is government enforced coercion on religious belief,” Bachmann complained. “And it varies at caprice and whim. That’s one thing under the rule of law that has been a pillar of American exceptionalism, the fact that under the rule of law there is certainty for the American people.”

“If you looked at the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, you knew with certainty when you woke up tomorrow morning that your religious liberties were intact,” she continued. “Now, apparently today, the gentlemen was in the chamber and heard that, according to at least one Supreme Court justice, in her opinion, they aren’t so much certain anymore.”

“It is not at only the election of the court, but at the election of the unnamed bureaucrat that decides, today we will have these killer drugs that we mandate. Tomorrow, what drugs will they take off the list? Will I not get life-saving drugs that I need to get?”

Bachmann went on to suggest that “only politically-connected best friends” of President Obama’s administration would receive certain surgical procedures in the future.

(I don’t know what rock Michele has been living under, but I know how old she is; birth control has been prevalent in the U.S. her entire life.  In that sense, the nation looks the same as it always has – with women happily and safely using contraception, and without that use killing anyone.)

Michele also issued a press release, after the testimony of the CEO of MNsure before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.  No one seems to care, including Michele herself, but her knee couldn’t help jerking.  It was a very jerky think to do, and Michele is nothing, if not a great big jerk on the slightest ACA pretext – facts entirely optional, and absent.



And Michele has been busy with her assorted ill-informed, factually-deficient conspiracy theories.
For example, almost a year ago, she blamed Benghazi on GOD:

I guess she forgot that, because now she is blaming someone else; from congressional hearings on the Benghazi non-scandal -

From the Huff Po:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) added a new theory to the slew of Benghazi cover-up conspiracies on Wednesday, accusing former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell of taking “the fall” for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an interview with conservative news site World Net Daily.

“She couldn’t have a better person to take the fall for her because Morell was involved in rewriting the talking points and was the No. 2 at CIA,” Bachmann told WND, suggesting that Morell was clearing the path for Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. “So, he can come in authoritatively [and] say, ‘No, that’s not the story. The story is the fake story we tried to push.’”

Morell testified before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Wednesday and denied an onslaught of Republican allegations of CIA cover-ups and false messaging after the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“We did not deliberately downplay the role of terrorists in the Benghazi attack in our analysis or in the talking points,” Morell said during the hearing. …READ MORE


The Resistance

by Dan Burns on April 8, 2014 · 0 comments

abanschoolNo commentary, from me, except to note that in the following excerpt “Status Quo” means the public education deformer movement.

The so-called reformers have honed their PR message well. They couldn’t very well go to the public and say “with the help of some Wall Street billionaires and foundations run by billionaires, we have come to demolish your community’s schools and hand them over to corporations.” That wouldn’t play well. So they sold their goals as “reform,” even as they used the power of the federal government through No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top to close community public schools, to demean the teaching profession, and to make pie-in-the-sky promises about the wonders of choice. George Wallace, Strom Thurmond, and other segregationists of their generation – the 1950s and 1960s – must be laughing in their graves to hear our “reformers,” even our Secretary of Education, proclaiming the glories of school choice…
What do we call the millions of parents and teachers, principals, superintendents, school board members, and researchers who fight for democratic control of education? The Resistance.
We cannot be bought off or intimidated. We know that the strategies and mandates of the Status Quo have failed wherever they were tried. We fight for our children. We fight for democracy. We oppose segregation, budget cuts, high-stakes testing, closing public schools, rating teachers by student test scores, and labeling children by test scores. We will resist their bad ideas. We will resist their efforts to destroy public education. We will resist privatization. We will fight for a better future for all the children of our nation. We will not allow the Status Quo to monetize what belongs to all of us.
(Diane Ravitch)

Well, a little commentary. I’m not so concerned about whether we‘re called “The Resistance,” or whatever. I’m passing this along because it’s a tremendously succinct and effective encapsulation, from somebody who probably knows what’s really going down better than anyone.


MN cruelty mill bill makes it to House floor

by Dan Burns on April 7, 2014 · 0 comments

ATT00943-20120420120927The MN Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill has been folded into the House Finance Omnibus Bill. The package bill is scheduled for full House debate, and hopefully passage, this week. I’ve seen no indication that any crude reactionaries are planning to try to weaken or remove the proposed cruelty prevention legislation. But you never know.

I found a great website, animalfolksmn, and am linking this page headed “Minnesota: weak laws.” People have been trying for a long time to get this dealt with. The current bill has a real chance. It isn’t perfect; it had to be watered down somewhat to get through the Ag Committees, but it’s far, far better than nothing.

A convenient place to track the legislation is the Clean Up MN Puppy Mills Facebook page.


Minnesota will raise minimum wage

by Dan Burns on April 7, 2014 · 4 comments

4469683230_236dcc9d4cI think most people believed that something would get done. I am heartened that the indexing remains.

Minnesota’s legislative Democrats have struck a deal to raise the wages of the state’s lowest paid workers.
Monday morning, House Speaker Paul Thissen, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, along with key negotiators of the minimum wage measure will announce they’ve come to agreement. The Star Tribune has been told by two sources with the knowledge of the deal that it would hike the wage to $9.50 an hour and would link future increases to increases in inflation.
“I feel really good,” said Deputy Senate Majority Leader Jeff Hayden, a Minneapolis DFLer who had long worked on the minimum wage issue. “I think there are going to be a tremendous amount of smiles (tomorrow.)”
(Star Tribune)

People can say what they will, but there is no way that this didn’t have plenty to do with the proposed new Senate office building, beloved of Senate leadership, making it through a critical House committee and apparently headed for passage as well. A legislative pay raise is also in the works. So be it.


MN-02: Kline breezes to GOP endorsement

by Dan Burns on April 6, 2014 · 5 comments

271_19344293946_1831_nLike many progressives I was hoping for a much more entertaining scenario here, but that was probably never realistic.

U.S. Rep. John Kline easily brushed aside a challenge from the right Saturday, winning a first-ballot endorsement at the 2nd Congressional District Republican convention in Lakeville.
Libertarian challenger David Gerson of South St. Paul conceded to Kline, a six-term incumbent from Burnsville, before the results of the first ballot were announced.
(St. Paul Pioneer Press)

It cannot be emphasized enough that Democrats have a realistic shot here, this year. And if that doesn’t happen, we’re likely better than 50-50 to win it in 2016.


mndistrictsRepublicans in Minnesota’s First Congressional District are convening this coming Saturday in order to, among other things, endorse a candidate to run against Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) later this year. There are three contenders, and while their campaign websites don’t necessarily say so explicitly, I think it’s a lock bet that:
- Mike Benson believes in Limited Government, Personal Responsibility, Second Amendment Rights, and Obamacare Repeal.
- Jim Hagedorn believes in Limited Government, Personal Responsibility, Second Amendment Rights, and Obamacare Repeal.
- Aaron Miller believes in Limited Government, Personal Responsibility, Second Amendment Rights, and Obamacare Repeal.

I don’t know “jack” about any of these guys, don’t recall ever having heard of ‘em in fact, and I see no reason for that to change, for the time being. Moreover, I haven’t done anything recently for which I owe penance, so I didn’t check Minnesota right-wingnut blogs to see if maybe there’s a consistent preference there. Based on this article from the Mankato Free Press, Hagedorn may be the favorite.
Update: From the comments:

After three rounds, the winner is Aaron Miller … and the “winning” message may have been evolution and religious freedoms. He told a story about his daughter returning home from school because evolution was being taught in her class. He said the teacher admitted to not believing in the scientific theory to his daughter but told her that the government forced him to teach the lesson.
“We should decide what is taught in our schools, not Washington, D.C.,” Miller said.

The Mankato Free Press has an article. The other two have endorsed Miller and will not go to a primary. It looks like Miller will run with an emphasis on evangelical conservatism, just as that approach is finally, all-too-belatedly going out of style in most of the country.


The DFL Feminist Caucus Earthquake

by Grace Kelly on April 4, 2014 · 5 comments

worldviewWow, I am blown away. For a long time, I had thought that women’s groups were just a case of reverse sexism. Now of course, my experience is that generally women are better and just not recognized. That is just a fact of life. However, I had seen cases where male candidates had better represented gender equity and civil rights and were not endorsed. I even knew of one candidate endorsed because of who the parents were.
That just changed. The DFL Feminist Caucus just endorsed a young Somali male over an experienced older white female. I don’t know enough about the particulars of qualifications to judge the actual endorsement. The fact that this ever happened in a women’s group is revolutionary.


The DFL Feminist Caucus announces today it’s endorsement of Mohamud Noor for State Representative, House District 60B.

Laura Nevitt, the President of the DFL Feminist Caucus said, “We are proud to support a courageous man who has shown unwavering support for gender equity, access to reproductive health care, anti-bullying legislation and comprehensive sex education.

The work of feminism is ongoing, and all too often we are still fighting old battles, but there is also new work to be done in communities that are just beginning to address these issues. Noor is uniquely qualified to be a champion for feminist values in those communities

Noor brings a voice and perspective to the Capitol that is not yet present, but is a much needed voice as we move forward in making Minnesota equal for everyone”

As an officially chartered caucus of the DFL, the purpose of the DFL Feminist Caucus is to support, advocate and promote the health, safety, human rights, and improved socioeconomic and political conditions of all people in their home life, work life and communities through the elimination of sexism in accordance with the Principles of the Caucus. Those principles can be found at


I used the metaphor of the world map on this article because “up” and orientation to the North is arbitrary. Could it be that we are seeing real gender equity?


I still like the chair/vice chair balancing of the DFL for that has saved us on many occasion as people move on in their lives. Keeping gender balance is important. It could also be that the DFL Feminist Caucus also becomes gender balanced while still being successful at the same mission.
I think this change is really going to help gender equality because this endorsement proves that a man can get an endorsement over a woman in the DFL Feminist Caucus. Now everyone will be working to prove themselves in gender equity. May the best candidate win endorsement!