8:39 PM | Posted in ,
A little humor to end the month:

Al Franken's Supply Side Jesus

I'm A Liberal

Monty Python on Government
As a new school year draws ever closer and work begins to pile up on my desk I notice that the AYP results are out for my school. While some tout these scores as a key indicator of success in various schools around the state and around the country, I see them as a means to stifle true acquisition of knowledge. They evaluate the lowest level of human understanding (rote memorization) and almost entirely ignore evaluation skills and higher order thinking. Students are being taught the art of the bubble test rather than Art. Certainly there is a place for accountability and assessment but I wonder when memorization became the definition of intelligence. I wonder a lot of things...

*I wonder how many other professions are judged upon the results of other people on one day in a particular year.

*I wonder when we will understand that money may not directly improve student performance but the lack of it certainly doesn't improve it either.

*I wonder when society will tackle the inequities of poverty which is the root of the problem.

*I wonder when parents will begin to realize that they have the power to influence MOST of their child's success.

*I wonder when people will realize that a 1% increase in funding of education is not an increase when the inflation rate is at roughly 2%.

*I wonder how many connections I will make with students this year. Something crucial in the education of kids but unmeasurable on an AYP scale.

See the results at the Department of Education website

Education Minnesota has a nice response to the roll out of AYP:

State educators explain what AYP designation really means for local schools

The president of Education Minnesota, the state educators’ union, cautioned today against judging the quality of a school using the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report issued Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Education.

“Many parents are shocked when they see their school on the failing list because it just doesn’t reflect their personal experience,” said Tom Dooher, president of Education Minnesota. “In fact, some of the schools listed as failing to make AYP this year are on the 2006 Newsweek list of the top schools in the country.”

Education Minnesota wants parents to understand what the results mean for the local schools where they are sending their kids in just a few days. “It is important to understand that Adequate Yearly Progress is a misnomer because it actually is based on proficiency and not progress,” said Dooher. Under No Child Left Behind, AYP status does not reflect the tremendous growth most students make during the school year, but instead provides a snapshot of their proficiency.

“This way of labeling schools is too simplistic. School accountability cannot be reduced to a simple rating like a movie or dining review. Schools and students are much more complex and cannot be evaluated by a one-time snapshot. Consider your driver’s license photo. That is a representation of you at one moment in time but in no way accurately represents who you are. The same is true of the AYP results,” Dooher stated.

Education Minnesota and its national affiliates, the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association, are seeking significant change in this area as the No Child Left Behind law is reauthorized. “We are not against accountability,” said Dooher. “But we want accountability that makes sense, accurately represents our schools and gives parents and teachers the information they need to improve student performance.” Priorities include:

· Using growth models to measure changes in each student’s performance

· Shifting AYP from a system that labels and penalizes schools to one
that rewards growth

· Providing a fair and equitable system for assessing and counting test
scores for students with disabilities and English Language Learners

· Reducing class sizes to improve learning and allow for more individual
instructional time

· Ensure teachers have appropriate professional development to enhance
instructional skills and tailor lessons to help students grow.

7:50 AM | Posted in
An LTE in the Star News asks the pertinent question of Mark Olson: Are you a representative or simply a tyrant? Obviously, if you have spent even mere moments browsing my opinion of the convicted abuser and 'should be accused' child abuser you would know I lean toward the latter.

Letters from Readers ~ August 29, 2007

Where is spokesperson on behalf of people?

This letter is in reference to the article, “Family Dynamics Prove Destructive” by Bob Grawey, which appeared on the front page of the Star News Aug. 15.

In this interview with Heidi Olson, estranged wife of recently convicted State Rep. Mark Olson, R-Big Lake, Heidi made a revealing contention. She indicated that Mark Olson conducts his family life much like he conducts his politics—with a complete lack of diplomacy and compromise. Mark Olson has to be in charge and in control, even if the family suffers as a result. Apparently in Mark Olson’s tyrannical world, everyone from family to constituents are there just to nod their empty little heads in support of Mark Olson; much like those bobble-headed plastic dolls.

I wonder in what part of that set-in-stone mind set Rep. Mark Olson thinks falls the description of “representative”? At what point did we begin to allow politicians like Mark Olson to become the niggardly, narrow, invasive voice in our head instead of a spokesperson on behalf of the people? And why do we still allow it? Good for Heidi for having the courage to put the welfare of her children first. Do we the people have the same pluck and prudence?—Mary Helen Taft, Zimmerman

*I have previously commented on the story in question here and to the subsequent denial of said article by Mark here!

3:07 PM | Posted in
Finally, one of his own has seen what a stain upon the good name of Christianity this man represents!

Letter: Olson misunderstands Bible he claims to follow
By Laurel Resman, Milaca

Published: August 26. 2007 12:30AM

District 16B Rep. Mark Olson was recently convicted of domestic assault with intent to cause fear. I am a devout born again Christian, and it disturbs me that Olson makes excuses for his self-indulgent actions and his abusive behavior under the guise of being the head of a Christian household.

The Bible does not give free reign to the husband to dominate and intimidate his wife. Rather, the Bible enjoins us to, "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Ephesians 5:21).

The Bible also goes on to instruct the husband, "Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy" (Ephesians 5:25).

Further, in regard to children, fatherhood is not an excuse to rule with an iron fist and absolute oppression. Rather fathers are commanded: "Fathers do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).

Olson has used the Bible to belittle and subjugate his wife and children. He erroneously acts upon the distorted belief that a wife's submission to her husband means that the husband has every right to forcibly, if not brutally, force his will in all things.

Olson makes a mockery of Christianity and the Bible, which reminds us that, "Love does not insist on its own way and it is not self-seeking" (1 Corinthians 13:5).

2:57 PM | Posted in
Just as I was beginning to celebrate the end of the Bachmann LTE saga and beginning of the healing for those suffering from Bachmann Overexposure Syndrome, Randy Krebs has to go and mention Bachmann in his column about letters to the editor.

HOW DARE YOU MR. KREBS! Just when we thought the healing could begin...

Krebs column: Here are guidelines for letters
By Randy Krebs, Times Opinion editor

Published: August 26. 2007 12:30AM

Dueling letters

Close followers of these pages know that in recent weeks there's rarely a day that doesn't contain some reader submissions about 6th District Rep. Michele Bachmann.

In fact, I've taken two calls requesting we drop "such garbage," as one elderly woman let me know. The problem is she wanted us to drop only the anti-Bachmann letters.

Obviously, that's not going to happen, but it does present a chance to repeat our basic philosophy. It goes something like this:

First, we print as many opinions as possible. Second, when we receive more opinions than resources allow us to print, we publish a representative sample. From a numbers perspective, that means an approximate ratio. From a content standpoint, that means giving priority to those letters that don't repeat previous letters.

Regarding the latest Bachmann brouhaha, so far we've been able to meet the first goal. I suspect we might shift to the second as we move into fall, when reader submissions tend to increase.


Yesterday, day Thirteen in the Bachmann LTE saga, was a close one as Michele was able to garner only a passing mention by two letter writers discussing the Iraq War.

On the Bachmann Overexposure Syndrome front we can see a serious downturn in the level of interest as each letter achieved fewer than 100 comments each from story chatters. If this trend continues even the hint of Bachmann will send readers and chatters into a mind numbing coma that they may never recover from. The St. Cloud Times needs to think long and hard about the consequences of their decisions. It seems that the mere mention of Bachmann repulses readers to even the hottest topics of our time, the Iraq War.

Here are the two letters in question:

Published: August 25. 2007 12:30AM

I am a constituent of Minnesota from the U.S. House's 6th District and a member of both Pax Christi and Benedictines for Peace.

I am dismayed and concerned at Sen. Norm Coleman and Rep. Michele Bachmann's continued support of the immoral and failed Iraq war.

I believe that this war bankrupts us as a nation — financially, spiritually and morally. It is tarnishing America's reputation on a global level.

It is time that we support our troops by bringing them home and ending this unjust and devastating war.

Iraq Summer organizers are asking Americans across the nations to "Take A Stand!" on Tuesday and request that members of Congress vote to bring a safe end to the war.

Fifty-two town meetings are being organized throughout Minnesota on Tuesday, immediately before Congress reconvenes. There will be once such meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Cascade Room of Atwood Center at St. Cloud State University.

Along with speakers and engaging dialogue, those present at this event will ask Bachmann to "Take A Stand!" and vote to end the war.

Silence speaks consent. I cannot be silent.

*It is interesting how quickly the right will throw religious folks under the bus when they advocate religious ideals of peace and social justice. Check it out:

Len H from St. Cloud
Comment Posted: 8/25/2007 2:52:40 AM

“I am a constituent of Minnesota from the U.S. House's 6th District and a member of both Pax Christi and Benedictines for Peace.”

So what? That just means if you’re mugged, instead of fighting back, you blame society for repressing the “Poor Soul”. If he happens to cut you, you’ll complain that he could not afford a sharp knife. I truly pity you, and hope you find happiness one day.

Those of you on the Left have such a defeatist attitude. It must take all your strength just to get through the day without slitting your wrists! What an absolutely depressing existence.

The other Letter:

Letter: Beyond local tragedies, look further — to Iraq war
By Myrna Ohmann, Clearwater

Published: August 25. 2007 12:30AM

August has been a difficult month locally. It seems there's one disaster after another, some caused by human error, others by nature.

While we need to support those affected by the local disasters, we can't forget the larger disaster — our occupation of Iraq.

There have been some frightening bits of information disclosed recently about that whole fiasco.

The increased suicide rate among active duty military personnel was reported by the Times to be the highest in 26 years. Every bit as disturbing is a May survey by the U.S. Army Medical Command which found that only 47 percent of soldiers and 38 percent of Marines think that civilians should be treated with dignity and respect.

Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton refers to this as an "atrocity-producing situation" — this being the occupation of Iraq.

What are we doing to our young people by putting them in this untenable, unwinnable situation over and over again? How will this affect them and their families for the rest of their lives — the ones who manage to live through it?

This is the war that Sen. Norm Coleman and Rep. Michele Bachmann support. Is that the kind of leadership we want?

Minnesotans have shown tremendous courage and compassion in the face of the bridge collapse and the flooding.

Perhaps we can show the same compassion toward our military personnel and raise our voices to bring them home.

Martin Luther King once said that our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

I ask each reader: Does this matter to you?

5:15 PM | Posted in
I have met Betsy Wergin a few times during Lobby Day for Education Minnesota and found her to be one of the kindest and honest people at the Capitol. While we may not agree on many education issues I have found her always willing to listen and openly discuss.

Here's to you Betsy! Hope Everything turns out well!

Wergin to donate a kidney
By Lawrence Schumacher lschumacher@stcloudtimes.com

Published: August 24. 2007 12:30AM

While some state lawmakers are preparing for a special session, Betsy Wergin is preparing for a medical procedure she will undergo in hopes of restoring her sister’s health.

Wergin, a state senator from Princeton, is scheduled to have a kidney removed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester this morning. Her kidney will be transplanted to her sister, Loni Knase of Coon Rapids.

“I think most anybody would do it for a sibling,” Wergin said. “I can’t wait to see her feeling better.”

The second-term Republican said she expects to be in the hospital for three to five days, but she’s been told not to expect to feel great for up to six weeks afterward.

Though she doesn’t think a special legislative session is necessary, the surgery shouldn’t affect her ability to represent her district if Gov. Tim Pawlenty calls one, Wergin said.

“It’s not like I’m going to be lifting heavy boxes or doing lots of physical labor,” she said. “My body will have to adjust to 50 percent kidney function, but you can live a full, healthy life after that.”

Wergin’s sister has had kidney problems for many years, and was a candidate for transplant six years ago, Wergin said.

But Knase was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before a scheduled transplant, and recipients must be cancer-free for five years before a transplant can take place, Wergin said.

Since then, Knase has received kidney dialysis treatment, but has contracted a disease related to dialysis that made her very sick, Wergin said.

Wergin and another sister had both volunteered to be donors six years ago and were initially considered tissue matches, but the other sister was recently screened out before final approval, she said.

Wergin, 55, is an assistant Senate minority leader and the ranking minority member of the Senate Capital Investment Committee, which deals with state bonding bills.

2:04 PM | Posted in
I have little energy left to discuss the many ways that Mark Olson infuriates me (see here, here, and here) and disgraces both the name of Christianity and the reputation of public servants. However, the St. Cloud Times editorial board came out today in favor of the resignation of this convicted abuser. While that is no surprise, I continue to be amazed at the number of people willing to support Mark and minimize his actions.

From the St. Cloud Times:

Our view: Olson does not belong at Capitol anymore
Times Editorial Board

Published: August 24. 2007 12:30AM

He continues to claim he committed no crime despite a jury's conviction and a judge's sentence. He's repeatedly said "no" to a not-so-subtle request from leaders of his (former) political party to resign. Not to mention he wouldn't even talk issues with this editorial board in his last election bid.

Clearly, District 16B House Rep. Mark Olson is a denial machine. So we make this request in the wake of his criminal conviction and recent sentencing for causing his wife fear of bodily harm: Resign your legislative seat immediately.

Presuming yet another denial, we make this request of District 16B voters: Do not re-elect him, should he seek a ninth term in November 2008.

Why our formal call for his immediate resignation supplanted with a nonendorsement in an election 14 months away?

Well, just from the perspective of legislative representation, we believe Olson no longer embodies an effective approach, especially for a fast-growing district such as 16B, the geographic heart of Sherburne County.

While he once held some appeal as a "maverick" legislator, he's really yielded few tangible results considering he's served the district since 1992. And now that he's lost the support of his own party, he's truly become a nonfactor in Minnesota's two-party system.

Really, though, Olson should resign because of his obsession with denial.

The news coverage of the entire domestic abuse case involving he and his wife, Heidi, consistently shows a man who never even offers the slightest hint he did something wrong. He doesn't seem to understand that physical reactions in emotional situations are the textbook definition of abuse and assault. Not to mention such responses are criminal.

Indeed, aside from his unsubstantiated claims of him being the victim, he seems most upset by how the whole situation put his family in the spotlight.

Funny. If he was so concerned about the impact on his family, why did he adopt legal strategies that included multiple delays for trial dates? Or why is he talking about keeping the court case alive through appeals?

Such actions seem only destined to contribute to more public attention on family matters, not less.

But we digress. Ultimately, Olson and his wife, Heidi, who is seeking a divorce, clearly had a troubled four-year marriage.

That in itself is sad, but not a crime. However, the judicial system determined Olson did commit a crime, one certainly serious enough to warrant his immediate resignation.

Assuming he doesn't offer it, district voters must elect someone else come next November. They need a strong, credible voice grounded in reality.

Olson doesn't meet that standard at any level any more.

These people seem to disagree and would rather talk around the conviction by either using Mark's technique of blaming Heidi, refocusing the conversation by highlighting the behavior of Democrats in the classic "But you do it too!" defense, or simply using ad Hominem techniques to attack liberals (as if it was liberals who forced Mark to abuse his wife).

Here is a sampling:

Archie from Coon Rapids
Comment Posted: 8/24/2007 1:37:42 AM

95% politics and 5% misdemeanor:

Does not justify such harsh punishment

Earth Angel
Comment Posted: 8/24/2007 8:43:48 AM

I'm waiting for the Times to ask Senator Metzen to step down.

Earth Angel
Comment Posted: 8/24/2007 8:46:45 AM

Senator Metzen, president of the Senate -- Democrat -- earned a DUI last May, on the last night of the regular session.

Simon Sez from Northside
Comment Posted: 8/24/2007 9:02:26 AM

Simon Sez, there was that wacky lefty from the cities that stole campaign lit from her opponent. Right off of the door steps. Is the bird cage liner going to ask her to resign ?

Simon Sez, the goofballs name was Phyills Kahn. She plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

*I love these two, from the party that consistently talks about personal responsibility, they choose to ignore the behavior at hand and highlight misdeeds of other people.

Earth Angel
Comment Posted: 8/24/2007 9:07:23 AM

Olsen's point all along has been that the voters of his district should decide if his crimes should remove him from the Senate.

It's been Teddy Kennedy's position for years.

*The classic defense whenever any Republican does anything wrong, bring up Ted Kennedy!

Simon Sez from Northside
Comment Posted: 8/24/2007 11:44:45 AM

Simon Sez, ok answer this Joan. Mrs Olson testified she hit him on many occasions. Tore up his property with a knife. Made threats and abused him. He NEVER HIT HER BACK. He simply put her to the ground.

Simon knows you have it out for him even though he was protecting himself.

Simon asks, is it right she walks off scott free ?

Earth Angel
Comment Posted: 8/24/2007 12:07:57 PM

Since Mrs. Olson is so much taller than Mr. Olson, we could have, here, a legitimate case of husband battering.

Although the concept seems absurd, it is a real syndrome from which men suffer shame and isolation.

Simon Sez from Northside
Comment Posted: 8/24/2007 1:12:37 PM

Simon Sez, so he cared about her and the 5 kids he took on. He cared enough knowing that she is mentally unstable not to report her for abuses that far exceeded his. And you are fine with that. Exactly the answer I expected.

*This one infuriates the most as Heidi has previously described the mental abuse Mark put her autistic child through with his inability to let even the most insignificant of conflicts go. The man couldn't get past this boy playing MONOPOLY in a slightly different manner.

The spread of Bachmann Overexposure Syndrome continues to be of concern as we enter day TWELVE of the St. Cloud Times Bachmann letters. As I have diagnosed previously, the discussion surrounding the letter can no longer be sustained and story chatters have taken to discussing everything from recipes to sports. Even valiant attempts by local Bachmann supporters to goad Bachmann dissenters into battle is proving ineffective. One has to ask, if this trend continues will BOS, currently isolated to those chatting at the St. Cloud Times, spill over to the community and district as a hole affecting Michele's election prospects? One can only dream!

(Signs of widespread BOS include the inability of groups to discuss Bachmann in a meaningful or sustained manner. All meaningful discussions quickly devolve into personality fights and ideological generalities which last for the remainder of the day. The Center for Disease Control does not anticipate a widespread outbreak as the infection seems to be localized in the St. Cloud Times story chat.)

Letter: If voters prefer fairness, they won't vote Bachmann
By Brian Melendez, chair, Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, St. Paul

Published: August 24. 2007 12:30AM

Times Writers Group columnist Ron Baert commends Rep. Michele Bachmann for voting against funding the arts, in the mistaken belief that such funding is somehow unconstitutional. ("Lean times call for watchful eye," Aug. 16.)

But the Constitution explicitly authorizes spending for the "general welfare" (art. I, sec. 8), and the Supreme Court held more than 70 years ago, in United States v. Butler, that "the power of Congress to authorize expenditure of public moneys for public purposes is not limited by the direct grants of legislative power found in the Constitution."

We should indeed worry about our mounting national debt. But that debt's chief cause isn't spending for the arts, which even Baert recognizes is measly. The cause is President Bush's reckless tax giveaways to corporations and the wealthy few, together with out-of-control spending on Iraq.

Next year, the 6th District's voters will weigh in on what kind of society they want to live in. If they admire spiraling deficits, failed diplomacy and unaccountable government, then they should commend Bachmann's consistent loyalty to Bush's dismal record of failure.

But if the district's voters prefer a fairer Minnesota, where people who work hard and play by the rules have an equal opportunity for a brighter future for themselves and their families, then they should consider electing new representation in Congress.

* I commend Brian Melendez for taking an interest in a district that will be particularly difficult for Democrats to be competitive. However, I would also argue that highlighting a vote against the arts in the 6th District will have little affect on voters. My contention has always been that we must find a moderate Democrat (preferably one opposed to abortion) who can simultaneously neutralize that issue and show the districts independent voters what a truly right wing neo-conservative ideologue Bachmann represents. Until then I fear the continued presence of "Fool for Christ" Bachmann as my representation in the House of Representatives.

We have officially reached our 11th day of Bachmann LTE's in the St. Cloud Times. While the spread of Bachmann Overexposure Syndrome is likely to worsen amongst the population in general and the frequent story chatters in particular, it is important to note that without these daily gems of wisdom from Bachmann sycophants and detractors I would have to resort to discussing the vagaries of the Bush Administration (and who wants that!).

This one is interesting in that it makes a fairly bold claim that Bachmann supports renewable energy. Unfortunately, a little investigation into the voting record shows a much different story.

Let's take a look:

Letter: Bachmann stood up for U.S. families with vote
By Brad Northenscold, Waite Park

Published: August 23. 2007 12:30AM

It's easy to sit on the sidelines and criticize, especially when it comes to environmental issues. But elected officials must be more responsible and look at the big picture when making their decisions.

Thanks go to U.S. 6th District Rep. Michele Bachmann, who stood up for American families by opposing H.R. 3221, legislation that would increase gas prices, stifle domestic energy production and weaken our national security.

The Aug. 15 letter "Bachmann sided with polluters on key issue" mischaracterized the 15 percent renewable electricity standard mandated in H.R. 3221 by ignoring its inevitable consequences.

The RES mandate will result in a heavy tax on consumers as electric bills become more expensive, particularly in states that do not possess the resources to fulfill it.

I support renewable energy and so does Bachmann. She's been part of the effort to provide incentives for solar energy and other renewable resources, and she's joined her Minnesota colleagues in the U.S. House Renewable Energy Caucus.

But as we've seen in Minnesota, implementing a RES is best left to the residents of a state to decide. Should Congress harm consumers by forcing this mandate on those states who cannot achieve it? In voting against this provision, Michele Bachmann answered no. Thank goodness for big picture common sense.

A search for 'renewable energy' at the Library of Congress website brought back 109 results. I have added only those items in which Michele was able to register a vote or that she has sponsored/cosponsored.

Title: An Act to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers from price gouging, to increase the energy efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Rahall, Nick J., II [WV-3] (introduced 1/12/2007) Cosponsors (198)
Related Bills: H.RES.66, H.R.453, S.103
Latest Major Action: 6/21/2007 Passed/agreed to in Senate. Status: Passed Senate with an amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 65 - 27. Record Vote Number: 226.

1/12/2007 Introduced in House
1/18/2007 Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 264 - 163 (Roll no. 40).
6/21/2007 Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate with an amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 65 - 27. Record Vote Number: 226.

*Bachmann voted NO to H.R. 6.

Title: Making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Visclosky, Peter J. [IN-1] (introduced 6/11/2007) Cosponsors (None)
Related Bills: H.RES.481, S.1751
Latest Major Action: 7/18/2007 Received in the Senate. Read twice. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 274.
House Reports: 110-185, 110-185 Part 2
6/11/2007 Introduced in House
6/11/2007 The House Committee on Appropriations reported an original measure, H. Rept. 110-185, by Mr. Visclosky.
7/13/2007 Supplemental report filed by the Committee on Appropriations, H. Rept. 110-185, Part II.
7/17/2007 Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 312 - 112 (Roll no. 641).
7/18/2007 Received in the Senate. Read twice. Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 274.

*Bachmann voted NO to H.R. 2641.

Title: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for the production of renewable energy and energy conservation.
Sponsor: Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] (introduced 6/19/2007) Cosponsors (21)
Related Bills: H.RES.615, H.R.3221
Latest Major Action: 8/4/2007 Passed/agreed to in House. Status: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 221 - 189 (Roll no. 835).
House Reports: 110-214
Note: On 8/4/2007, pursuant to the provisions of H. Res. 615, the text of H.R. 2776, as passed by the House, was appended at the end of the text of H.R. 3221 as new matter. See H.R. 3221 for further action.

6/19/2007 Introduced in House
6/27/2007 Reported (Amended) by the Committee on Ways and Means. H. Rept. 110-214.
8/4/2007 Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 221 - 189 (Roll no. 835).

*Bachmann voted NO to H.R. 2776. This one even provides tax incentives!

Title: Moving the United States toward greater energy independence and security, developing innovative new technologies, reducing carbon emissions, creating green jobs, protecting consumers, increasing clean renewable energy production, and modernizing our energy infrastructure.
Sponsor: Rep Pelosi, Nancy [CA-8] (introduced 7/30/2007) Cosponsors (18)
Related Bills: H.RES.615, H.R.2776, H.R.3220
Latest Major Action: 8/4/2007 Passed/agreed to in House. Status: On passage Passed by recorded vote: 241 - 172 (Roll no. 832).
7/30/2007 Introduced in House
8/4/2007 Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by recorded vote: 241 - 172 (Roll no. 832).

*Bachmann voted NO to H.R. 3221.

Title: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 6) to reduce our Nation's dependency on foreign oil by investing in clean, renewable and alternative energy resources, promoting new emerging energy alternatives, developing greater efficiency, and creating a Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewables Reserve to invest in alternative energy, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3] (introduced 1/16/2007) Cosponsors (None)
Related Bills: H.R.6
Latest Major Action: 1/18/2007 Passed/agreed to in House. Status: On agreeing to the resolution Agreed to by recorded vote: 230 - 194 (Roll no. 36).
House Reports: 110-2
1/16/2007 Introduced in House
1/16/2007 The House Committee on Rules reported an original measure, H. Rept. 110-2, by Mr. McGovern.
1/18/2007 Passed/agreed to in House: On agreeing to the resolution Agreed to by recorded vote: 230 - 194 (Roll no. 36).

*Bachmann voted NO to H.Res. 66.

Title: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 3221) moving the United States toward greater energy independence and security, developing innovative new technologies, reducing carbon emissions, creating green jobs, protecting consumers, increasing clean renewable energy production, and modernizing our energy infrastructure, and for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2776) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax incentives for the production of renewable energy and energy conservation.
Sponsor: Rep Welch, Peter [VT] (introduced 8/3/2007) Cosponsors (None)
Related Bills: H.R.2776, H.R.3221
Latest Major Action: 8/4/2007 Passed/agreed to in House. Status: On agreeing to the resolution Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 215 - 191 (Roll no. 826).
House Reports: 110-300
8/3/2007 Introduced in House
8/3/2007 The House Committee on Rules reported an original measure, H. Rept. 110-300, by Mr. Welch (VT).
8/4/2007 Passed/agreed to in House: On agreeing to the resolution Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: 215 - 191 (Roll no. 826).

*Bachmann voted NO to H.Res. 615.

Thus far Bachmann has voted NO on every major renewable energy bill and resolution to come before the United States House of Representatives. Well, maybe its unfair to just look at her voting record rather than simply taking her at her word. How about amendments? Perhaps Michele has tried to advance renewable energy through amendments!

H.AMDT.323 (A008)
Amends: H.R.2641
Sponsor: Rep Campbell, John [CA-48] (offered 6/19/2007)

An amendment to reduce the appropriation in the bill for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by $101,550,000.

An amendment numbered 21 printed in the Congressional Record to reduce the appropriation in the bill for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy by $101,550,000.


    6/19/2007 3:17pm:
    Amendment (A008) offered by Mr. Campbell (CA). (consideration: CR H6701-6703, H6719-6720; text: CR H6701)
    6/19/2007 6:04pm:
    On agreeing to the Campbell (CA) amendment (A008) Failed by recorded vote: 107 - 320 (Roll no. 509).

*Bachmann voted YES to H.Amdt. 323. Hooray for Michele, she voted YES to renewable energy! Wait a minute, since when does a supporter of renewable energy try to reduce funding for renewable energy.

H.AMDT.748 (A006)
Amends: H.R.3221
Sponsor: Rep Udall, Tom [NM-3] (offered 8/4/2007)

An amendment numbered 6 printed in Part B of House Report 110-300 to require electric suppliers, other than governmental entities and rural electric cooperatives, to provide 15 percent of their electricity using renewable energy resources by the year 2020. Allows 4 percent of the requirement to be satisfied with electricity efficiency measures.


    8/4/2007 1:40pm:
    Amendment (A006) offered by Mr. Udall (NM). (consideration: CR H9844-9852, H9872-9873; text: CR H9844-9847)
    8/4/2007 4:39pm:
    On agreeing to the Udall (NM) amendment (A006) Agreed to by recorded vote: 220 - 190 (Roll no. 827).

*Bachmann voted NO to H.Amdt. 748.

Well, her amendment record doesn't help prove that she is in favor of renewable energy. In fact, it kind of reflects a person who is opposed to both funding renewable energy and the concept of renewable energy given her opposition to even the tax incentive idea of Charlie Rangel. So, perhaps her sponsored bills will reflect a support of renewable energy. Nope, only two sponsored bills and nothing to do with renewable energy. So, it must be in the cosponsored bills that her renewable energy support lies.

Title: To greatly enhance the Nation's environmental, energy, economic, and national security by terminating long-standing Federal prohibitions on the domestic production of abundant offshore supplies of natural gas, to dedicate fixed percentages of the resultant royalties for environmental restoration projects, renewable energy and carbon sequestration research, and weatherization and energy assistance for those in need, and to share a portion of such royalties with producing States, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Peterson, John E. [PA-5] (introduced 6/20/2007) Cosponsors (155)
Latest Major Action: 6/29/2007 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

*Bachmann is a cosponsor of this bill which tries to give renewable energy the table scraps of increasing exploration and drilling of nonrenewable resources. So, she seems to be saying that renewable energy is the red headed step child of oil and gas. Only after the latter has had its fill will the former be fed.

Title: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend the investment tax credit with respect to solar energy property and qualified fuel cell property, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep McNulty, Michael R. [NY-21] (introduced 1/18/2007) Cosponsors (116)
Related Bills: S.590
Latest Major Action: 1/18/2007 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

*The HOLY GRAIL! The one serious attempt to support renewable energy! So, after voting against SEVEN renewable energy measures, voting FOR one amendment that reduces funding to renewable energy, and cosponsoring ONE measure that merely extends a tax credit already in place, Brad wants us to believe that Michele Bachmann supports renewable energy?

You be the judge...
An LTE on the St. Cloud Times editorial page discusses the ongoing failure of Michele since taking office. It is amusing to note the spread of Bachmann Overexposure Syndrome (which I have previously described) by glancing through the inane posts of the Story Chatters.

Letter: Bachmann has made fool of self since day 1
By Jim Donovan, Foley

Published: August 22. 2007 12:30AM

An open letter to 6th District Rep. Michele Bachmann:

Well Michele, like all members of Congress, you said you were going to hit the ground running in Washington, D.C. You certainly did, but you were running in the wrong direction.

From the day you planted that kiss on George W.'s cheek until now, I don't think you have done even one thing right.

You try desperately to stay in the headlines, and in doing so, you make a fool of yourself. I don't really want you to change, as I am quite sure you will be (in office just one term).

I know you believe PAC money will get you re-elected, but you know they are vindictive and they only spend money on people who they think can win. I don't think you fall into that category.

8:06 PM | Posted in ,
From the Star Tribune:

Bush promises 'flood of help' for Minnesota

Bush praises response to flooding, bridge collapse and promises a "flood of help."

Last update: August 21, 2007 – 5:40 PM

President George W. Bush arrived in the Twin Cities at approximately 4:26 p.m. aboard Air Force One at the International Airport's Air Reserve Station.

Following a 15-minute closed-door briefing on recovery efforts related to the I-35W bridge collapse and flash flooding in southeastern Minnesota Bush departed for for a private political fundraiser on behalf of U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman.

On hand to meet with Bush at the airport were Gov. Tim Pawlenty and First Lady Mary Pawlenty, Coleman, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Reps. Michele Bachmann, John Kline, Keith Ellison, Tim Walz and Betty McCollum and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

Following the briefing, Bush spoke briefly about both the bridge and the flood.

"A flood of help" will be coming to southeastern Minnesota, he said, including small business aid and housing assistance. "There's help, it's available," he said.

Bush suggested that accomodating rail transit may be an option on a replacement for the I-35W bridge.

"The question now is how fast we can get the bridge built," he said, referring to the "significant chunk of money" that has been pledged by the federal government.

"Our job now is to cut through the bureaucracy as fast as possible and get the people down here a new bridge," he said.

"The questions are how fast can it be built" Bush said, and whether the bridge can be made accessible to "modern forms of transportation," apparently referring to discussions about making a new bridge capable of carrying light rail trains. "I believe the answer to that question is yes," Bush added.

Bush expressed sympathy and admiration for flood victims who "woke up and found their lives turned upside down. You can wreck the infrastructure but you can't wreck the spirit."

He praised Navy divers working on the recovery effort at the bridge collapse site and the "unprecedented cooperation of federal state and local government" in the response.

The fundraiser was to be held at the Eden Prairie home of hearing aid executive and philanthropist William Austin and his wife Tani. The Austin's have contributed generously to the Republican party and its candidates in recent years.

More than 50 protesters gathered near the site of the fundraiser Tuesday afternoon, condemning the war in Iraq and faulting Coleman for his loyalty to Bush and his policies.

Four things for you Mr. President:

1. Is it really appropriate or "tactful" to refer to support from the federal government as a "flood" when those funds are going to be used to help people devastated by and dead from a flood?

2. You only spent FIFTEEN minutes getting briefed about two fairly significant tragedies occurring in the state? I cannot imagine where people would get the impression that you don't care!

3. Are your Republican supporters at all outraged at the fact that you are using the occasion of a POLITICAL FUNDRAISER to announce federal aid given the outrage they displayed over apparent politicization from the left?

4. Can you ask Michele Bachmann why she voted against Small Business Aid and Housing Assistance given your promise to provide such measures?

Category: ,
6:22 PM | Posted in ,
While I try to steer clear of Fox News for my own sanity I ran across this story which brings up two very different reactions. First, the question of whether there is nothing else of importance in the world of politics on which to report? Second, the lingering image of dueling banjos, shotgun weddings, and branchless family trees!

Arkansas Governor Considers Special Session to Correct Law that Allows Any Age to Marry

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Gov. Mike Beebe said Tuesday that if he called a special session to correct a law that mistakenly eliminated the minimum age to marry for minors, the session would probably not address other issues.

Beebe told reporters that he hoped to decide within the next week whether a session is needed to correct a law mistakenly passed that would allow anyone under the age of 18 to get married with parental consent.

"There's a whole lot of legal arguments, as you might imagine," Beebe said.

Beebe said issues such as immigration, an increase in the severance tax on natural gas and a trauma center are "not ripe" for a special session.

"One of the last things a governor wants to do is call a special session on a number of issues and not have it agreed to on the front end or else you end up with an open ended, long special session, which is not productive," Beebe said.

Beebe said if he did call a special session, it probably would not include other issues unless there were technical matters that needed to be corrected in a short period of time. Beebe said his office is looking at other states that do not have a minimum age to marry to see how they handle enforcement.

"One of the options would be to see what would happen if you did not have a special session in terms what the clerks would be doing," Beebe said.

"It becomes a question of whether the clerks have sufficient leeway to be able to deny that," Beebe said.

The marriage age law, which took effect July 31, was intended to establish 18 as the minimum age to marry but also allow pregnant teenagers to marry with parental consent. An extraneous "not" in the bill, however, allows anyone who is not pregnant to marry at any age if the parents allow it.

The bill reads: "In order for a person who is younger than eighteen (18) years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage license, the person must provide the county clerk with evidence of parental consent to the marriage."

A code revision commission — which fixes typographical and technical errors in laws — had tried to correct the mistake, but the Arkansas Legislative Council last week asked the commission to reverse the correction because lawmakers said the commission overstepped its bounds.

Before the marriage issue arose, some lawmakers had floated the possibility of a special session to consider immigration measures and Rep. Denny Sumpter, D-West Memphis, has said he wants Beebe to consider a special session to help fund a trauma care system.

Beebe has also challenged companies exploring Arkansas' rich natural gas fields to come up with support to raise the state's severance taxes before 2009 or face a voter-led initiative to raise the taxes. Beebe said such a tax hike would not be on the special session's agenda.

"It's not ripe yet for that in terms of having the votes," Beebe said. "It may be ripe for purposes of the issue, but you've still got to have the votes."

Category: ,
12:33 PM | Posted in
Well, Representative Olson is at it again with a letter to the Star News admonishing Bob Grawey for his article discussing the trial and Heidi's side of the events leading up to the domestic assault.

Letters from Readers ~ August 22, 2007
Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Rep. Olson: It has been a devastating time but faith, memories can help heal

This has been a terribly grievous and devastating time for our family, but we still have so much to be thankful for. We have our faith and a lot of wonderful memories that can help us heal.

Our Family Mark?

Are you so blind to what you have done as to not recognize the irreparable damage you have wrought upon YOUR family? You attempted to demonize your wife with the hope that it would get you off the hook. You, and you alone, have drawn this affair out simply to avoid the responsibility of your actions. In my humble opinion you deserve further child abuse charges given your atrocious treatment of a child with AUTISM. For the sake of YOUR family you really ought to leave Heidi alone, seek help, and spend the rest of your days hoping for the forgiveness of the FAMILY you refuse to recognize that you damaged!

With respect to last week’s article by Mr. Bob Grawey, the trial that I wish could have been avoided is now over. This article presents quite a different picture than what was presented in the trial. Regardless of any accuracies or inaccuracies in this article, I will not re-engage in another public trial, which like the last one is designed to destroy our wonderful family even more.

Before publishing last week’s article, Mr. Grawey contacted me for an interview about issues other than the trial. He then wrote an article about everything but the issues that I was contacted about.—Mark Olson, Big Lake

How ironic! The man who chose to portray his wife as the abuser and thereby shirk all responsibility believes the trial was "designed to destroy our wonderful family".

It appears as though your wife feels you have done plenty of destroying of the family:

Divorce and forgiveness

Even though the couple’s divorce is imminent, Olson has stated publicly that he wants to reconcile their marriage. But Heidi will have nothing to do with the notion.

He totally crossed the line at the trial when he said I have the potential to kill him in his sleep,” Heidi says, and that he was afraid. I would never reconcile with Mark.”

Though Heidi says she still loves Olson and will miss some things about him, she will not put herself or her children through another hurtful or abusive situation.

Questioned about her public claim of forgiveness for Olson, Heidi admits she is still working on it.

“I can forgive him, but it doesn’t mean I have to invite him back into my home,” Heidi says. “Forgiveness for me means letting go of the need to punish him. It’s going to be more of a journey than an event.”

Finally, my last question for Mark, who finds inaccuracies in the story written by Grawey, is what inaccuracies were presented in a story largely made up of quotations from your wife? It appears that at the same time you want forgiveness and reconciliation you continue your quest to call your wife a LIAR.

5:21 AM | Posted in
Yet another Bachmann letter has appeared on the editorial pages of the St. Cloud Times. For anyone keeping track, this will be two days in a row of letters in SUPPORT of Michele (which is weird given that conservatives in the area harangue the Times for being a Liberal Rag).

Letter: Contrary to reports, Bachmann doing good job
By Julie Larson Otsego

Published: August 21. 2007 12:30AM

DFL party leaders and volunteers have made some outlandish claims in an effort to smear Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Often, they only convince me that she's doing the right thing for Minnesota.

But I laughed out loud at the Aug. 17 attempt in a Times letter to the editor. The author, Liz Engels, who was identified in a past Times news report as a DFL volunteer, claimed our congresswoman opposed legislation setting a renewable electricity standard of 15 percent by 2020, costing Minnesota "thousands of new jobs."

The laughable part is that Minnesota has a 25 percent by 2025 renewable electricity standard. It was signed into law by Gov. Tim Pawlenty in February — six months ago — including a 20 percent by 2020 requirement.

Admittedly, I'm not a fan of the government picking of winners and losers in the energy marketplace. I oppose higher energy bills that would come from the House legislation, its $18.7 billion in new government spending, and a provision allowing individuals to sue the government for damages caused by global warming.

But I enjoy correcting the glaring misrepresentations in these attacks. I'm proud of our congresswoman and her record. She continues to represent the values of my family and the Sixth District.

Proud of her record? What record would that be?

*Are you proud of her vote to adjourn before Bridge Relief was secured?

*Are you proud of her vote against the Housing Assistance Council?

*Are you proud of the fact that she sits on only one committee, has proposed only one bill, and spends little time in the district speaking with constituents while at the same time whining about a five day work week?

*Are you proud of her vote against Head Start?

*Are you proud of her vote against a Small Business Improvement Bill?

Oh my goodness, how silly of me! At the end of the letter you mention the "values of my family". You are not at all concerned about any of these things and as long as Michele remains rabidly Anti-Gay (ala Fred Phelps) and Anti-Abortion it doesn't matter what else she does.

Over the past SEVEN days we have seen a consistent theme in the Editorial Page of the St. Cloud Times. A Bachmann supporter or detractor has been published on their pages each and every day. The theme has prompted me to wonder if there is such thing as Bachmann Over Exposure Syndrome (The symptoms being a nauseating disgust at having to read either another glowing report of the do nothing representative or another insanely inept choice in her voting record. Please, consult your Doctor if you begin to exhibit any of these signs).

Here is a run down of the week:

8/13/07: Letter: Rep. Bachmann nowhere to be found in 6th district
8/14/07: Letter: Don't be so swift with criticism of politicians
8/15/07: Letter: Bachmann sided with polluters on key issue
8/16/07: Times Writers Group: Lean times call for a watchful eye
8/17/07: Letter: Bachmann did not make right choice on energy
8/18/07: Letter: Bachmann's votes don't represent area interests
8/19/07: Letter: Columnist leaned on politics, not religion

Today was no different as the streak stays alive with a Letter from Leo Pusateri:

Letter: Bachmann got it right when opposing energy bill
By Leo Pusateri St. Cloud

Published: August 20. 2007 12:30AM

Marcus Aurelius once wisely stated, "The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

Interestingly, an honest interpretation of this quote would lead one to believe that Leo is telling people not to follow the crowd and to make decisions as an individual or you will find yourself amongst an insane group of mindless majority. However, it appears at second glance that really the majority Leo wants to avoid is a Liberal or Democratic one but would be more than happy with a Conservative or Republican one. Take one glance at the Blog Mr. Pusateri operates and you will find him to be a rabid Conservative partisan. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against being partisan but I certainly wouldn't go around touting a quote demanding we think for ourselves when Leo does nothing more than shill for his Conservative ideolog

This statement is more than appropriate to those who would oppose the calling of a special session and knee-jerk gas tax hike in response to the admittedly tragic collapse of the I-35W bridge — especially given that the cause of the collapse will not be known until at least August 2008.

Leo, would that be the same bridge that Michele voted to delay funding to by trying to adjourn the House of Representatives EARLY?

Another Marcus Aurelius award can be given to our 6th District congressional representative, Michele Bachmann, who wisely voted against the recently passed bill in the U.S. House that imposes a standard of 15 percent renewable electric energy by 2020.

The author of an Aug. 17 letter in the Times stated "In the future I hope Bachmann, can stand up to big business and represent her constituents in a manner that shows the character of St. Cloud and the greater 6th District with a more forward-looking and practical vote."

The irony of that statement is that with regard to this measure, Bachmann did indeed place "a forward-looking and practical vote." Rather than imposing an arbitrary standard, the cost of which the market (and ultimately, Minnesota consumers) would find difficult, if not impossible to bear, Bachmann wisely thought it better to allow the market, in its own time, to produce viable solutions.

Oh those wonderful markets! So trustworthy, so benevolent, so ready to consider alternative forms of energy! They never have people corrupting them (Ken Lay) or over inflating them (Sub Prime Mortgage) in an effort to simply make profit! No, those markets are almost God like (perhaps that is why our "Fool for Christ" loves them so very much).

The saying, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" has been proven to be embodied in arbitrarily imposed government restrictions and standards that have no relationship to market forces. Often, these restrictions have resulted in inflated consumer prices, and have presented themselves as more problematic than the problems they were supposed to address. It bodes well that we in the 6th have a legislator who recognizes this. Thank you, Michele Bachmann!

You are so right, I mean in the early 20th Century the markets didn't need any cajoling to clean up their abysmal health and safety standards!

4:23 PM | Posted in ,
Joe Biden has put out his first campaign video in Iowa:

From the Des Moines Register:

New Biden TV ad pushes Iraq exit

August 18, 2007

With an Iowa cornfield as his backdrop, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden opens the first of his televised Iowa campaign ads the same way he has begun nearly 70 stump speeches across the state this year.