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DrazkowskiHow can The Draz make the Sunday liquor sales debate embarrassing?
Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) has been behind some of the stupidest and craziest pieces of legislation to ever be considered at the Minnesota legislature.
Lately he’s been in the news for his mean-spirited, expensive and unconstitutional drug testing for government aid recipients. All because someone told him that welfare recipients are druggies.
But now The Draz will bring his Drazmataz to the Sunday liquor sales debate. And if he gets involved it can only mean that the debate will get insane and moronic:

Another attempt to end Minnesota’s ban on Sunday liquor sales will be mounted in the Legislature this session, and GOP state Rep. Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa hopes to get the issue rolling with a town hall meeting later this month.
Legislators from both parties have supported ending the ban in the past, although not nearly enough of them to pass the legislation. Gov. Mark Dayton said recently that he’d support a bill that would end the ban.
Drazkowski will speak at the Minnesota Republican Liberty Caucus meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Mermaid Event Center in Mounds View.

Since The Draz doesn’t want drug addicts on welfare to shoot their welfare money straight “into their veins”, what will he do to prevent alcoholics on welfare from drinking up their welfare money on Sundays?


DrazkowskiJust when you thought Minnesota was safe from right wing lunacy…
In 2011, Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) attached an amendment to the bill that re-opened state government here in Minnesota. He posed it as a “cost saving measure” and to keep welfare recipients from pumping welfare money “into their veins.” The amendment would force counties to search their databases and randomly drug test anyone with a felony who receives aid starting in 2014. In The Draz‘s fevered mind, anyone with a felony is a drug user. Or something.
Drazkowski had no proof, but facts have never gotten in the way of The Draz pushing his right wing lunacy.
Gov. Mark Dayton signed bill as the Republicans had already kept the government shut down for several weeks at that point.
Since The Draz got his amendment included, many states have discovered that drug testing aid recipients is expensive and catches a much smaller percentage of drug users than there are drug users amongst the general population.
How did this expensive, unconstitutional, pointless and mean-spirited measure actually get past the DFL-controlled legislature in 2013?


DrazkowskiRep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) has supported a wide variety of draconian, half-baked and stunningly idiotic ideas in his time in the legislature. This time he’s back to pushing the expensive, extra-cruel and useless concept of requiring poor people to pass drug tests to receive their government assistance. Obviously, if you’re poor, you’re high. That has been proven beyond any doubt in the conservative circles in which The Draz hangs.
In reality, all the states that tried this failed utterly. A better idea would be to drug test Republican legislators, but that’s beside the point.
Here’s The Draz doing his Drazzmatazz:

On his Facebook page, Representative Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) blamed the liberal media for the attention to the program, established after The Draz successful attached an amendment to the omnibus health and human services bill. Drazkowski posted the following observation, along with a link to the article:

The spin placed upon this law by the government and compliant liberal media is astonishing. They didn’t mention the abuse of the taxpayers’ generosity by drug abusers, they didn’t mention the young kids whose aid is intercepted by drug addicted adults and used for buying drugs, leaving the kids without food – and they are doing all they can to make it appear as if this is a money-losing proposition. The desire to make everyone dependent upon the government is clouding their original perception of right and wrong. Thankfully, the people of Minnesota understand – we need hard-working Minnesotans from every corner to stand up to the government-media complex and repudiate their agenda.

Go read the comments of his friends. We just can’t top that discourse.
(Bluestem Prairie)

It’s certainly possible that Drazkowski is genuinely concerned about children with parents who have alcohol and/or drug problems. But a ****load less ignorance on The Draz‘s part would go a long ways.


Franson oblivious about how she got into controversy

by Eric Ferguson on March 20, 2012 · 1 comment

Rep. Mary FransonI’ll leave it to readers to decide whether Rep. Mary Franson is failing to understand or refusing to understand, but that she pretty blatantly misstates how she become controversial is obvious  right in the first sentence of her editorial: “Recently, I have been the subject of numerous local and national media stories concerning my attempts to reform Minnesota’s bloated and dependency-enabling welfare system.” No, she hasn’t.

Nobody, except perhaps those within her little wacky bubble, knows about her “reform”, nor much cares. She apparently missed what her critics were saying despite spelling it out over and over. It was her words comparing people who receive food stamps to wild animals being managed in national parks. Reading what she called a “funny little clip” sent by a “friend”, she said,

Isn’t it ironic that the food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to please not feed the animals, because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.

And the connection to her “reform” is… well, apparently it’s connected in her defensive imagination.

Still, she might be OK if she said something like, “I think the criticism of my comparison of poor people to animals who ought not be fed is really about such and such,” but she didn’t. She said she was the subject of stories about her “attempts to reform” welfare, and that’s simply false.

Her very next sentence is, “One video I made had my critics claiming I compared food-stamp recipients to animals. No fair viewing of that video could support such nonsense.” So clearly she knows this is about what she said in the video, despite her prior assertion to the contrary, and as to the fairness of a viewing, go view and see for yourself. Considering the House GOP quickly pulled down the video (but not quickly enough), and her critics are the ones trying to get the video seen, guess what a fair viewing will show?

Playing the martyr, after complaining about the lack of leadership and how her party has lacked leadership and accomplishments (OK, I give her that one), she closes by saying,

What is needed is the courage to speak up — even if you are viciously attacked and not one of your colleagues comes to your defense.

After all, I should know. If a freshman can do it, the long-timers should, too.

Just a guess, but maybe none of her colleagues spoke up because they knew she said something incredibly offensive and then chose to fake-apologize and write a delusional editorial instead of letting the controversy die.

{ 1 comment }

Rep. Mary FransonThree Four updates actually to yesterday’s post:

1. I fixed the link to Bluestem Prairie, but for convenience’s sake, here it is again.

2. Franson issue a semi-apology. It looks like she gets that people are offended, but not why, so it’s one of those “I’m sorry you’re so stupid you don’t get my point” apologies. She seems to think it’s about her support of self-sufficiency, “I apologized…so why all the fuss? I want ALL people to be successful. Self dependency is part of plan.” She doesn’t get it’s about comparing her fellow human beings to wild animals who ought not be fed by park visitors as a matter of wildlife management. It’s as if she she refuses to get that people who resort to food stamps are doing just that: resorting to them, when anyone would prefer to pay their way out of a paycheck. She does what her party seems to do routinely: jump to conclusions about people they know nothing about and condemn behavior they don’t understand, assuming some sort of moral superiority. Also funny how Franson’s party prefers that people be broke than that they get jobs from the government, even as they blame the poor for being poor and see poverty as something to be punished.

3. Anyone else notice the Batman logo on the bucket or whatever that souvenir is at the left edge of the video? It occurs to me that Bruce Wayne does lots of charity work and never picks on the downtrodden. At the risk of making conservative heads explode, I must point out that if Batman were real — he’d be a liberal. Liberal, eh? That might explain his aversion to the death penalty.

And just found a fourth: The Cucking Stool seems to have found the “funny little clip” Franson read on the video, and it’s a theme being passed around on the right. Franson or her “friend” visit some pretty noxious web sites:

I looked at the Big City Cops on Facebook and let’s just say that if you’re at all liberal, they hate you. I really, really hope they aren’t really cops because if they are, might explain what we saw of police behavior in Oakland and New York.


Update posted here

Rep. Mary FransonThe House MNGOP was smart enough to pull down the video, but dumb enough to put a camera in front of someone challenged in both brain and heart. They were too slow for HongPong on YouTube, who saved and uploaded it, with a hat tip to Bluestem Prairie where I found the video posted.

About 1:50 in, Franson read “this little funny clip we got from a friend”:

It says, ‘Isn’t it ironic that the food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to please not feed the animals, because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.

This comparison of people receiving some form of government assistance (that’s almost everybody, but of course they mean the poor, not themselves) to animals is a minor meme on the right. Franson and her anonymous “funny” clip writer join the infamous ranks of Nebraska AG and GOP US Senate candidate Jon Bruning who compared poor people to raccoons eating cockroaches, and South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer who compared them to stray animals that breed too much when fed by children.

I have a feeling there are some instances we’re merely unaware of. Hey conservatives, your contempt of your fellow human beings is showing. Didn’t you have your hands full calling women whores because they speak out for friends who need contraceptives to avoid losing their ovaries? When did the War on Poverty become the War on Poor People?

Franson followed that by listing several forms of abuse, including verbal — and no, the irony did not strike her. What was she saying about abuse? Sex abuse is bad, go see what you can do about it. Visit a web site. That’s it. Nothing specific she’s addressing. No thought of, “Oh right, I’m in the majority in the legislature. I could present a bill to do something useful.”

So much for any residual notions the lousy session last year and the responsibility of governing would make the GOP more serious this session.

By the way, just to keep facts straight, which Rep. Franson couldn’t be bothered to do, the Dept. of Agriculture isn’t “pleased” to hand out the greatest amount of food stamps ever. That’s a sign of how many people the GOP Great Recession threw into desperate circumstances. The National Park Service is part of Interior, not Agriculture, though that doesn’t matter except to indicate someone who works in government doesn’t bother with details about it.


Isuroon Project: Minority Women’s Health in MN

by rachel_nygaard on August 1, 2011 · 0 comments

Women, especially minority women, are more likely to be sole caregivers in the home while also working outside the home. When civil war broke out, many Somali immigrated to the United States because it was seen as a place where hard work was rewarded. In the US, many Somali women work outside home to send money back home and make better lives for themselves.  However, because of cultural norms, many remained solely responsible for childrearing and care of the home. The Isuroon Project, a nonprofit organization, formed by local Somali women’s rights advocate, Fartun Weli, works to empower women to break the silence and speak about their lives and health issues.

According to Weli, cultural beliefs are often more powerful that what they learn from school or hear from a physician. This can lead to high levels of treatment failure for medical conditions. Weli explained that there is a lot of mistrust in the Somali community towards Western medicine. This is often compounded when those treating the patient fail to understand the cultural norms in Somali society where it is not culturally accepted to discuss issues of mental health that may compound other medical conditions.

Weli hopes to improve the lives of Somali women by empowering them through the Isuroon Project. Change begins by empowering women to talk about their experiences and builds new leaders in their community. Weli see’s many needs in the community, from health education to access to higher education and job training, but emphasizes that real change only occurs when you empower the community itself to make change.


Defense of top 2% hurts family’s ability to work

by rachel_nygaard on June 30, 2011 · 0 comments

With a likely shutdown of MN government fast approaching, Judge Gearin has drawn up some ground rules to fund core functions of the state. Core functions include state payments to schools & local governments, any program that is funded through the federal government, public safety and emergency services. Medical services, including most health insurance programs will also continue. Unfortunately, child care assistance payments will not continue during a shutdown.

Most child care facilities are small businesses that don’t have a financial cushion to use if the state doesn’t make its payments. As pointed out in the Strib, these centers may end up closing causing more small businesses to close. Another likely fallout are jobs lost when parents cannot go to work because they cannot afford to pay the full cost of child care.

A family of two loses eligibility for MFIP (welfare) at 115% of poverty – about $17K/year ($1,400 per month). I have multiple friends who pay more every month for child care than they do for their mortgage and $1,400 per month will barely cover rent and utilities in most areas in the metro. At this point, families are eligible for sliding-scale child care. I couldn’t find the current guidelines for the sliding-scale child care assistance. But I know when I moved here, I was not eligible for child care sliding scale and I made about $1,900/month. We can then estimate that families making between $1,400 and $1,900/month will likely lose their child care subsidies with the shutdown. I guess its lucky for them that applying for unemployment benefits will remain open during a shutdown.

(image from chimp planet)


The Republicans created our debt problems and are now trying to blame the Democrats for not solving them.  Of course, Republicans fail to mention that they block every Democratic debt plan that comes through the US Senate.  Now Republicans in the House and in the Senate plan to hold increasing the debt ceiling hostage to force Democrats to cave on budget concessions.

I’ll leave aside the insanity of not increasing the debt ceiling and causing international economic disaster to other people.

Sen. Al Franken and 19 other Senators have a unique way to take a massive chunk out of our debt mountain:  end welfare payments to Big Oil!

“As you work to forge an agreement between the parties to reduce the deficit, we urge you to ensure that this agreement include an end to the billions of dollars in subsidies that oil companies receive,” wrote Sen. Franken and his colleagues in a letter to Vice President Biden. “As you know, a bipartisan majority of the Senate voted for legislation to close these loopholes for the Big 5 oil companies, and this mandate cannot be ignored. We all need to make sacrifices to lower the deficit, including the most wealthy and powerful among us.”

“Over the last decade, the Big 5 oil companies have raked in nearly $1 trillion in profits and tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. Since 2005, these companies have spent over seven times more on stock buy backs and dividends than they have on oil exploration or efforts to reduce gasoline prices. The American people are demanding to know why they are forced to hand over taxpayer dollars to help oil executives enrich themselves when they’re already paying $4.00 for a gallon of gasoline,” the letter continued.

You can read the full letter here.


The 2011 legislative session was supposed to be strictly about the budget.  Republicans did nearly anything but work on the budget.  As the last day of the session ground to a halt and GOP legislators sat idly by, I reflected upon what they tried to pass this session instead of the budget.

Obviously, the marriage discrimination constitutional amendment comes to mind.  So does the Voter ID constitutional amendment as well as the new stadium for billionaire Vikings owner Zygi Wilf.

But that barely scratches the surface and much of it was totally insane:

  1. Repeal the smoking ban
  2. Eliminate background checks for gun purchases
  3. Designate English as the official language
  4. Bike tax
  5. remove the ban on increasing carbon dioxide emissions by utilities
  6. Ban state funding of abortions
  7. Eliminate 8 state agencies including Depts of Employment & Econ Dev, Health, Human Rights, Labor & Industry, Revenue, MNDOT, Vet Affairs and the Office of Mgmt & Budget
  8. Further weaken a woman’s right to choose with yet another abortion bill
  9. Repeal the Next Generation Energy Act which was signed by Pawlenty
  10. Prevent welfare recipients from having more than $20 cash in their pockets
  11. Prohibit anyone from suing a company if you get fat from their food
  12. Drug testing for welfare recipients
  13. Racist immigration laws
  14. End pay equity for women
  15. A second bill to end pay equity for women
  16. Bail-outs for schools in Republican areas as well as small budget increases yet they dramatically slash budgets for the large cities
  17. Yet another abortion bill, require parental consent for teens to get healthcare
  18. Logging in our state parks
  19. Ban federal funding of family planning
  20. Eliminate Meals on Wheels
  21. Ban human cloning and end life-saving and job creating research in MN
  22. An amendment to Health & Human Services bill to exempt MN from health care reform
  23. Prevent animal welfare activists from filming animal cruelty at factory farms
  24. Ban state payments to nonprofits
  25. Amendment to the HHS bill to use baby monitors instead of nurses
  26. Another abortion bill, this one a gag rule which prevents any organization that receive state funds to council about abortion services
  27. Shoot first, show Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card later bill
  28. MN should print its own money
  29. Make it easier to violate licensing laws

Did I miss anything?