9:45 PM | Posted in
A guy who goes overboard with his hyperbole or a guy who can't seem to tell the difference between Osama bin Laden & President Barack Obama?

An honest mistake, right?
3:46 PM | Posted in ,
While I have been away from the blogs for past week and a half an email came to me from some people living in Minneapolis who are concerned about the Crown Hydro Project. At this point I don't have enough free time to address all these issues but intend to do so soon and hope that others who support this project will address them as well.

An email from Eva Young:

The following was prepared by citizens who are concerned and opposed to the Crown Hydro project. I'd challenge you: Muse and Taxpaying Liberal to address these issues on a point by point basis.

The Crown Hydro Project and Its Impact on St. Anthony Falls and Mill Ruins Park

This information was prepared on February 20, 2009 by a group of concerned citizens and residents of Minneapolis including Edna Brazaitis, Lisa Hondros and Cynthia Kriha.

Crown Hydro and its supporters argue that opposition to the Crown Hydro project is opposition to renewable energy. This is simply not true. We are strong supporters of renewable energy but in a smart way that is beneficial for all. Crown Hydro seeks endorsement of its project because it is green, independent of any analysis of other alternatives or risk. We encourage all stewards of our rivers, parks and heritage to take a broader view of the implications of this project. There are other alternatives, and the greenest option is the one that already exists -- updating the existing historic hydroelectric power plant at St. Anthony Falls.

1) There are better alternatives. Xcel Energy currently operates a 12-megawatt hydroelectric power plant on the east side of the river at St. Anthony Falls. Crown Hydro proposes construction of a 3.2-megawatt hydroelectric power plant across the river on public land owned by the Minneapolis Park Board that would divert water from the flow over the Falls. Updating the existing Xcel plant with current technology could produce even more than 3.2megawatts of additional power at a cheaper cost and without changing the water flow over the Falls.

2) Non-renewable energy resources will be needed to create this plant. It is not prudent to waste those resources when there is an existing hydro plant directly across the River. If the need for the power generated by this plant is urgent, certainly a smarter use of existing limited resources is to update the plant across the River.

3) Without a significant public subsidy, this project is not economically viable. Experts have concluded that Crown Hydroʼs energy generation projections are overly optimistic and ignore the financial risks of a potential drought. This project may fail even with a $5.1M grant subsidy through Xcelʼs Renewable Development Fund of which $1.5M has already been spent. Xcelʼs ratepayers finance this fund. Given advancements in renewable energy technology, there are better ways to invest the publicʼs money. And any real financial benefits to the Park Board remain unsubstantiated.

4) The proposed location will forever destroy the archeological effects in Mill Ruins Park. There is a unique historic fabric including the old head race and power canal. The water power canal was a significant engineering achievement for its time, advancing the efficiency of water power, and the canal area has the potential to be designated a National Historic Landmark. In November 2007, Scott Anfinson, State Archeologist, advised the Park Board, that “… [T]he exit tunnel for this facility will adversely impact a significant historic structure, namely the historic tailrace tunnel system. The construction of the turbines could also prevent the restoration of the historic waterpower canal entrance should that be proposed in the future.” Also of concern would be the detrimental impacts from the much larger construction staging area; typical projects like this require a significant footprint for the construction itself. The risks are significant. Preserving and protecting the historic fabric of Mill Ruins Park is essential.

5) Stewardship of Mill Ruins Park and local control of this important part of the riverfront will no longer rest in the hands of the Minneapolis Park Board. Access to the Park for purposes of creating and operating the hydroelectric plant is considered a land sale and the decision of this Park Board will be one that will impact many generations. Selling public parkland to private industry is not the legacy we want for our city. No lease with a private entity can protect this key part of the Park and the opportunity for future generations to learn about the history of Minneapolis.

6) Man, not nature, will be in control of the aesthetics of St. Anthony Falls. The flow of water will be diverted away from the Falls by this project and at times the Falls themselves will look almost dry to the naked eye according to a University of Minnesota civil engineering professor who works at the St. Anthony Falls Lab. The Metropolitan Council reported that over 1.2 million visitors per year come to the Minneapolis riverfront park that runs from Plymouth Avenue to the 35W bridge on both sides of the Mississippi River. The key feature of this park is St. Anthony Falls, the only waterfall in the entire 2340 miles of the Mississippi River.

7) The Minneapolis Park Board has consistently rejected siting the Crown Hydro project on its property despite over five years of various requests.“…the Park Board holds that granting the requested amendment of license has the potential to do irreparable damage to the goals of the Park Board and the City of Minneapolis in the ongoing development or recreational facilities and historic preservation activities in the project area.”-From a March 2003 Park Board filing to the Federal Energy and Regulatory Commission stating opposition to the Crown Hydro project

8) This is an extremely complex situation given the various government agencies involved and technical details. Thousands of taxpayer dollars and hundreds of staff hours have already been spent on this project over the past five years. The expertise of the Park Board is in the ownership and maintenance of our Cityʼs parks, not in entering into complex 100-year lease arrangements with a sophisticated energy producer.

9) There are other significant obstacles to this project including: a) Current zoning for Mill Ruins Park makes this an impermissible use; b) No environmental assessment has been completed; c) Under existing law, any payments from Crown Hydro to the Park Board would be passed on to the State of Minnesota since public funds were used to procure the land now designated as Mill Ruins Park; this minimizes any financial benefit to the Park Board; d) Soil contamination on the site has been identified and will have an impact on any excavation of the area; e) Concerns about the impacts on the Lock and Dam and river traffic as expressed by the Corps of Engineers in their letter dated 1-14-2003 have not yet been addressed.

10) What is the value of St. Anthony Falls and the parkland surrounding it? It is impossible to put a price on so precious an asset.

11) This project lacks the support of the National Park Service, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Land Use Committee of the Sierra Club,the State Historic Preservation Office as well as the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota.

“The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, on behalf of all current and future citizens of the City of Minneapolis, shall strive to permanently preserve, protect, maintain, improve and enhance the Cityʼsparkland and recreational opportunities.”- Mission of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

A note to readers: some people have been expressing difficulty in commenting. While I have not had problems, I have tweaked a couple things that will hopefully fix the issues...

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9:48 PM | Posted in ,
I recently obtained some very interesting video of a Minneapolis Park Board meeting at which their lobbyist discussed the Crown Hydro proposal. This lobbyist, MaryAnn Campo, is one of several who work for the Park Board to obtain taxpayer dollars at the Capitol for various projects that benefit the Minneapolis park system.

While I have no problem with Campo or the Park Board soliciting legislators for increased funding, I have a huge problem with them doing so at the same time they are turning down dollars from a private investor whose only goal is to build a renewable energy hydro plant on a small fraction of land.

My understanding of the offer is that Crown Hydro is willing to pay a base lease and split evenly the federal tax incentive which would amount to $300,000 every year for the next 100 years. To top it off, this amount is likely to increase as the tax incentive has consistently risen every year.

Campo goes so far as to call this money "not a lot". Really? Has the Park Board been so unaffected by current economic crises that a guaranteed cash flow of $300,000 every year for the next century is beneath them?

A note to any legislators who may view this particular clip: The next time MaryAnn Campo comes begging for my money could you please ask her why she prefers my money to that of someone who actually wants to give her money?
12:00 PM | Posted in
Let me be clear, I am NOT suggesting that this image is the visual representation of the current Republican Party. I would NEVER suggest that their party is so far out of the mainstream that to any regular person their appearance is jarring and perhaps somewhat comical. There is certainly NO correlation between the blank vapid stare of this woman and the empty black hole that is the Republican Party. Once again, I am not suggesting anything of the sort and anyone reading some deeper meaning into this image is OBVIOUSLY not reading the carefully worded disclaimer associated with the image!

On to the weekly romp:

I received a package in the mail this week with a horse head in it! My only conclusion is that a certain bovine blogger from the 1st Congressional District didn't appreciate my gentle ribbing of Representative Tim Walz last week. Now I am not usually swayed by people who dislike what I write but cows scare the HELL out of me so this week I have taken a different tact:

Representative Tim Walz did the MOST AMAZING thing this week! He systematically saved health care, education, agriculture, and the economy ALL BY HIMSELF. To top it off he is graciously returning his entire income and will live in a small sod shack near the Washington Monument. I am also quite certain that he can fly and shoot laser beams from his eyes.

So I read this title, 'How I Spent Friday The 13th', and excitedly click assuming I will be reading a fantistical story of surviving unfortunate events or slaying evil doers or even winning some fabulous prize coupled with analysis on the mythology of the 13th as an unlucky day. What do I get? Some boring crap about how Republicans are wrong. Why are always so shocked about this? Haven't we solidified that theory into a law yet?

Let me get this straight, we "allowed" an entire group of people to settle here in Minnesota? I was always under this weird delusion that people had freedom of movement and could thus live wherever they pleased. I really wish someone would have informed me that we could systematically tell an ethnic group that they can't live here because those damn Norwegians are really causing problems. Ain't bigotry grand!

ALERT! Michele Bachmann said something dumb. In other news, the sun still rises, the tides still come in and out, and the mail continues to be delivered.

Oops, apparently it was more than one dumb thing. Give the Congresswoman some credit, she is nothing if not consistent.

Just so you people are clear, liberal indoctrination in schools is both scary and wrong. However, conservative indoctrination is super cool and needs to be celebrated. Quick question though: if this guy gave this exact same speech during a Republican administration, would he be labelled an Anti-American traitor?

Really? Gay marriage will SAVE the economy? I am all for hyperbole and sometimes even refer to myself as Mr. Hyperbole but this is a logical leap of epic proportions. Don't you people realize that the economy is straight and a fundamentalist Christian to boot?

The award for most mind numbingly obvious statement of the week goes to our good friends at Fraters Libertas for this gem: "With President Barack Obama in office the Democrats control the White House". It must have taken some real journalistic skill and investigatory time to uncover that one. In other news, with Tim Pawlenty in office the Republicans control the Governors Office!

I get it, so this is who the right was talking about when they said that some Obama supporters had an unhealthy obsession with him. The President is good and all but do you really have to ramble on as if writing in your diary about the crush you have on a boy?

You go Republicans! You throw those bastard moderates right out of the party. Who needs to be in a simple minority? Go for the big prize, the always influential super minority. Say, maybe Ron Carey could do for you nationally what he has done for the Republican Party here in Minnesota.

Dear Gavin Sullivan, Ashwin Madia LOST! Could you PLEASE let it go! Somebody call an intervention...

Do I want the latest data and research on why public schools suck? OBVIOUSLY, because there is no organization out there I trust more to provide objective data than one called Alliance For School Choice. Perhaps next week I will find data and research from the AFL-CIO on how unions are super awesome!

An answer to Lake Minnetonka Liberty: YES! Let me tell you why: not because of any wish or desire to be a socialist but for the simple reason that it infuriates those like you. That's right, I am happy we are all socialists now for no other reason than spite.

The Admiral had an admirable week so let us sum up his stellar postings:
HA!, HA!, HA!!! LMAO!!!! Did I tell you the liberals have a chemical imbalance in the brain and they suffer mental illness, and their minds are stunted and incapable of intellectual growth? LMAO!!! Wait till you listen to this dipshit! LMAO!!! HA!, HA!, HA! What a basket case! This mental midget needs to be taken back to the Ha-Ha- Home! LMAO!!! Seriously! Look at this manly man... LMAO!!! He looks like a pansie liberal and he talks like one too! LMAO!!! What an embarrassment to the male species! LMAO!!!
  • Seriously, that is TOTALLY balanced...
  • Free thinking Republicans NOT WELCOME HERE!
So you spent countless hours finding, splicing together, and uploading videos that only a handful of people actually viewed or give two hoots about? Man you are dumber than I thought!

Note to readers: I have NEVER claimed that this tripe is worth your time. Hell, I barely read the crap I write...

Come on, can't we keep the bridge named after a 16th century conquistador whose travels through the southeastern United States brought pestilence and the destruction of vast numbers of native peoples? Damn liberal hippies and your need to make amends with the past!

So this Two Putt Tommy (obviously some veiled reference) character is out pimping some Crown Hydro Project. OBVIOUSLY an eco-liberal buying into this renewable clean energy nonsense. It's a good thing those conservatives on the Minneapolis Park Board are adamantly opposed to the whole thing.

Note to self: NEVER become so obsessed with labels and the use of those labels that you lose your mind entirely.

Is there some fake Abe Lincoln running around tricking people that I am currently not aware of? Anyway, thanks for clearing up the confusion I guess.

Seriously, you need to start putting a little blip of explanation into these things because I am now under the impression that REALLY expensive red ink looks like three women and a some random guy. So confused, so very very confused...

I get that you are bitter and I get that you perhaps want news organizations to report the world primarily as YOU see it. However, I have to wonder how you make the logical leap from Barack Obama (nice use of the middle name, by the way, it really is starting to make me think he is a Muslim) hitting his head to him being a liar. Just a little curious...

BEWARE, if you are ever in a gun fight with Andy Aplikowski it will not be the chest area that you need worry about. Either he is really good and will shoot you in your crotch or he is really bad and now you have bullets in your crotch!

YOU SAID THAT! Andy, you are the funniest person in the world. That you took that wrong number and made what to most people would be the most obvious comment is simply priceless. You truly are a state treasure...

Well folks, its all over for me. Why, you ask? It's simple really, because when Mitch Berg labels you "not so bright" you are immediately shunned from all society. Certainly there is no way to recover from this proverbial kiss of death. As I understand things, Berg makes or breaks you as a blogger in the state nay, the WORLD! Incidentally, Mitch, I couldn't agree more about the Sarah Palin thing. We liberals seeth at the thought of how conservative Palin could battle her way to the highest office in a conservative state. Honestly, there really is no higher pinnacle than that of Governor of Alaska and we are so angry we didn't get there first. We are also particularly angry at her amazing ability to read EVERY news source available in the world today and her ability to thwart the Russian invasions of Alaska.

Here are the two things I learned from skimming this week:
  • It's newsworthy when three conservatives attend a conservative conference.
  • Voter fraud must be stamped out with harsh new laws even when said fraud doesn't really exist.
If one party is making stuff up, then you simply need to make up BIGGER stuff. Why? Perhaps they are looking for a friendly neighborhood game of hyperbole. If they question saving the salt marsh mouse, then you come back reminding them that this particular mouse has the ability to cure cancer and why are they opposed to curing cancer. This is basic politics people...

Yes, what if we sent a letter demanding our freedom to continue the current economic death spiral? What if we want our county to live in economic peril? Joblessness makes you FREE!

Now I am neither a mathematician nor an economist but I have to wonder if this particular list refutes a consensus. Perhaps you need to look up the word consensus...

ALERT! ALERT! Drew Emmer doesn't like President Obama. I never would have guessed that in a MILLION years.
11:52 AM | Posted in
President Obama celebrates the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act while keeping his eyes on the tough road ahead.

While I typically provide a separate posting for each MNMuseTube video uploaded, there has been a bit of a backlog over the past few weeks as other priorities have overtaken the time I require to keep this particular project going. So, rather than separate postings and an embedded video, you are going to have to be satisfied with links...

Representative Oberstar took to the floor in late January to discuss the transportation pieces of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009:

Our committee's portion, the infrastructure recovery program is targeted. It will be transparent and recipients will be held accountable, and the investments are desperately needed. The construction sector is suffering the highest unemployment rate of any industrial sector, 15.3 percent, 1.4 million construction workers out of a job.

Fully implemented, as our committee proposes, we can have a million workers on a construction site in June of this year and generate $325 billion in total economic activity when fully implemented, jobs that cannot be outsourced to other countries, using materials that are made in America, not outsourced beyond our shores.

Transparency, we require reporting by every State DOT, every transit agency, every airport authority, every 30 days on the contract awarded, by contract, on the specific jobs, job description and payroll, which we will receive and make public through hearings that we will conduct 30 days after the funding is allocated to the States and every 60 days thereafter.

Accountability, an amendment which I expect or hope to offer tomorrow made in order by the Rules Committee, will have a requirement that funds be committed in 90 days, use it or lose it.

Over the past several weeks, Congressman Ellison has been coming to the floor as a member of the Progressive Caucus and speaking on a variety of different topics. The last few weeks have been devoted primarily to the economy and the current stimulus package working its way through Congress.

Senator Klobuchar was on the floor of the United States Senate recently speaking in favor of Eric Holder to become Attorney General of the United States.

I rise today in support of Eric Holder to be the next Attorney General of the United States.

The next Attorney General will need to hit the ground running, from beefing up civil rights and antitrust enforcement to addressing white-collar crime and drug-related violence, to helping keep our country safe from terrorist attacks. As I told the Judiciary Committee last week when I voted in favor of his nomination, Eric Holder is the right man to do the job. He is the right man to lead the Department of Justice at this critical time. And most importantly, coming from a State that had our own share of problems with a political appointee put in place as U.S. Attorney, he is the right man to get the Department back on course, to put the law first, when it comes to the Department of Justice.

Klobuchar also spent some time this week discussing the economic stimulus package...
The President called on us to take immediate action. That is what this economic recovery plan is about--a bipartisan group of Senators--and, Mr. President, you and I were involved--who got together and said we need to get this done. I thank Senators Nelson and Collins for their hard work. It is not a perfect bill, and I don't agree with everything in it and with everything that came out, but literally we cannot afford to wait any longer to get something passed.

At the core of this bill is jobs. This bill is about jobs, jobs, jobs. It will put Americans to work by rebuilding our roads, highways, and bridges, which have been neglected far too long. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that for every $1 billion of highway spending, it creates nearly 48,000 new jobs and generates more than $2 billion in economic activity.


Another piece of the plan I want to highlight is the emphasis on energy jobs. I spent the last few months traveling around my State. I can tell you what I have seen. I have seen the little telephone company in Sebeca, MN, that needed a backup power structure because power was going out for their customers. They put together a packet with small wind and solar, and they sold it to the people in their area. They have been selling like hotcakes. The windmills in Pipestone, MN, became so popular that they opened up a bed and breakfast. You can go and stay overnight with your wife and wake up in the morning and look at the wind turbine. That is the package.

The point of this is that the people in our State see the value of these new energy jobs, whether it is a little solar panel factory in Starbuck, MN, or a big wind turbine manufacturing factory up in the Moorhead area. They see the value of new energy jobs. This energy technology revolution--or ET--is different than the information technology resolution--IT. When I saw the IT revolution, as big as it was, jobs tended to be segmented in certain areas such as the Silicon Valley, and they tended
to be for people with graduate degrees and PhDs. This energy technology revolution will spread jobs across the country, in manufacturing jobs, green helmet jobs, and many other jobs for the people of this country.


Finally, this plan contains money, significant money for broadband and telecommunications infrastructure--$7 billion. When President Roosevelt said he was going to put rural electrification in place in 1935, we only had 12 percent of American farms with electricity. About 15 years later, 75 percent of the farms had electricity. That is what Government action can do.

Look at broadband. We have gone from fourth in the world to 15th. This is not the kind of progress that will keep our country moving and get us back on track. For broadband, there is $7 billion in this bill.

Representative Walz took to the floor to discuss the economy and the stimulus package. I cannot help but show a little favoritism here and embed the video:

11:58 PM | Posted in , ,
H/T to The Cagle Post:Is it any wonder that they so desperately want to believe in creationism?
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9:48 PM | Posted in ,
In this continued series to examine the reasoning behind the opposition to the Crown Hydro Project, there has been expressed some concern that this facility will change the aesthetics of the area.

I have obtained some images of the proposed changes that would be made to the existing site:



Now, if someone could please explain to me how this objection is in any way relevant to the discussion, then I would love to hear it. As it is, the proposed changes appear to be so minor that without the obvious before and after labels most people would be hard pressed to decipher which image is which.

In the coming days I will continue to address other objections to this project including those raised by former Vice President Walter Mondale.

For now you can read the work being done by Two Putt Tommy on this very same topic and be aware that I have come into possession of some Minneapolis Park Board video. Very soon I will be putting up portions of that meeting and asking the following questions:

If Crown Hydro has all the necessary permits (including the FERC permit), then how can Brian Rice (Minneapolis Park Board Lobbyist) claim that the decision rests only with the Park Board and is not contingent on any outside input?

The Minneapolis park board has 3 lobbyists going to the capitol and asking for money to run the parks in Minneapolis?

Yet, MaryAnn Campo says $300,000 a year (the offer from Crown Hydro) is "not a lot of money"? (The actual offer is a base lease plus 50/50 split of the federal tax incentive, which has been increasing every year, and is expected to continue and increase under Obama)?

Stay tuned...
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9:00 PM | Posted in ,
I began looking into the Crown Hydro project at the behest of a friend of mine who is working tirelessly to see that it happens and I knew going in that the objections ranged from the legitimate to the downright petty.

Little did I realize that it would be the downright petty argument which would bubble to the surface first. With all due respect to my friend, Ken Avidor, who was gracious enough to put this issue up for discussion over at Democratic Underground the benefits of creating another venue for clean renewable energy far outweigh the fact that the owner of Crown Hydro once held a fundraiser with Dick Cheney and Michele Bachmann. Have we sunk so low as to permanently black list those with whom we disagree on some issues even when they are right on a very important issue? Are we prepared to spite our principles of a cleaner greener environment simply to punish our political rivals? I for one, refuse to do so and hope that those like Mr. Avidor who I have the greatest respect for and have learned much from in our Dump Bachmann pursuits will see that and change their minds.

What we need to understand is that this project was granted a FERC license in 1999 which in my understanding is one of the most rigorous processes for examining energy production proposals. Those weighing in included the US Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Park Service. My hope is that the Minneapolis Park Board has a far more legitimate reason for opposing this project than petty political gamesmanship. What information does the Park Board have which could possibly trump the combined expertise of all the aforementioned organizations?

As we in outstate Minnesota sit in the shadow of nuclear and coal plants with their significant environmental risks, it is downright shameful for renewable energy options to be shut down for what appear to be illegitimate reasons.

I will continue to address more legitimate objections as they become available...

However, you can also look to Two Putt Tommy over at Minnesota Progressive Project as he is digging deeper into this story.

We'll get to that, in the weeks ahead, because there are a lot of story lines in the Crown Hydro Project story. Story lines such as Minnesota's 25 by 2025 renewable energy bill and Sister Mary and Big Stone II and nuclear evacuation plans and a powerful politician that likes his view and and a high school kid and national defense and budget deficits and the Minneapolis City Charter and others that just make you wonder why a shovel ready project in Minneapolis that will generate renewable energy and union construction jobs without needing any federal tax dollars has been held up for years.

It's a story about issues that affect us all, it's going to take a lot of posts to tell, and they all relate in some way to the Crown Hydro Project.

Feel free to leave your comments and objections and stay tuned for more...
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8:22 PM | Posted in ,
Over the weekend I was privileged enough to hear some information about an amazing project being proposed by an organization known as Crown Hydro. They aim to use some of the existing infrastructure along the Mississippi River for a small hydro energy facility that when completed would power roughly 2,000 homes and produce none of the environmental impact normally associated with the production of energy.

This is precisely the type of renewable energy future that both President Obama and Governor Pawlenty have been pushing our state and country towards. It would have the two fold effect of creating immediate jobs (union jobs according to the developer) and helping Minnesota move towards its goal of 25% renewable by 2025. While it certainly doesn't solve the entirety of our energy needs, it is the perfect shovel-ready project as defined by the Obama Stimulus Plan that moves us one step closer to a greener cleaner energy grid.

Couple these environmental and immediate economic benefits with the fact that the developer of this project has promised to pay the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board $300,000 every year with a 3% increase every year for the next 100 years and you have a long term positive economic impact.

So, a project such as this would seem to be the dream of any self respecting progressive who heralds their love of the environment, right? A project such as this would seem to be an easy sell for those environment loving progressives inhabiting Minneapolis, right?

It appears as though we may have some progressives who refuse to practice what they preach...

Check back for more in the coming days...
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3:20 PM | Posted in ,
In the weekly address for Saturday, February 7, 2009, President Barack Obama commends the progress the Senate has made on moving the recovery plan forward, and urged its completion.

I am all for finding bipartisan support but it has become increasingly clear that the Republican Party is more interested in digging in its heals and demanding all while offering nothing but the same solutions which helped to create this particular mess. At some point we may have to resign ourselves to fixing the problems of this nation without them.
12:00 PM | Posted in
So, apparently this week marked the birthday of some former President whose mere mention sends conservative hearts all a flutter. For a party dominated by homophobic tendencies, you really have to admire how openly these conservative men express their love for another man. So, to help them express their secret man love for Ronald Reagan, I put up a sweet picture of Reagan in a swimsuit. Enjoy it boys!

On to the weekly romp

Representative Walz decided to sign on to some boring legislation about some 19th century technology that no one really cares about. Come on Tim, you can do better than that! Isn't there a 'We Love Puppies' Act or 'Make Congresspeople Beg For Food' Initiative that you could be sponsoring instead?

That Anti-Strib is so insightful! Who are we going to hate now that George W. Bush is gone? It is quite the conundrum given that all the big ones are taken. The conservatives already have a lock on hating poor people, minorities, immigrants, muslims, and liberals. Our choices are limited but I just know if we try hard enough we liberals can find something or someone to hate with the same passion and virulence as conservatives.

Hooray, it's time for a new Magna Carta in which the second tier aristocracy rises up against the King and demands that they too have rights but conveniently leaves out the lower level masses. Wait, isn't this the system we currently have in place? Is it too much to ask that when you use a historical reference that you research it a little bit so as to know if you are using it correctly?

Leave it to the Nigerians to beat the United States in the race to erase the gay. This is just another example of our failed education system. It's a sad day when the country of Nigeria can out hate the United States. The good news, though, is that with the election of Al Franken, Minnesota has become the next Gomorrah and our official Biblical smiting is close at hand! At least Minnesota knows how to compete with the likes of Nigeria!

Holy Crap, Pete Sessions and the Republican Party have decided to join the Taliban insurgency? I guess I would have thought they would be more admirers of a Pol Pot style but I guess I was wrong.

You should totally get a shirt that says, "1.20.09 Dawn of New Error". If the guy could not solve all of the nations problems in two weeks, then he has obviously failed. It's not like those wacko lefties could actually point to things like torture and Katrina and wiretapping and endless war as examples of their end of an error argument.

The Stalinists are coming! The Stalinists are coming! Leo Pusateri is galloping courageously through the town to warn that they are coming for your guns. Well, actually they are just asking that you obtain a license to own a gun but it is a lot like coming to take your guns. Well, actually it is more like one piece of legislation that has only made it to committee, has only one sponsor, and has people get a license to own a gun but there is still lots to be alarmed about. Think about it, our enemy is actually holding training sessions on how to talk to voters and other people that might have opposing views. OH THE HUMANITY!

I love using children as analogies for complex adult issues! Perhaps, in your analogy, Olivia could have also reminded us that the person and party that had been elected the last time only gave ice cream to the wealthy kids and told the poor kids to get a job and that the wealthy kids ice cream would eventually trickle down upon them.

With all of the other bad economic news, it is good to know that gang membership is healthy and a growing sector. In other news, we now know that you can get a full weeks worth of posts out of the simple premise that liberals are bastards!

The one thing I learned from skimming this week:

It is only appropriate for Republicans to claim that they won an election thus giving them the power to do whatever they want. When this type of rhetoric is used by a Democrat, then it is a highly inappropriate faux pas. I hope this clears things up a bit...

WHAT? George W. Bush didn't show respect to the office of the President? That couldn't possibly be true because from what I remember of the last eight years there has been nothing but sunshine and lollipops.

Hooray, its Black History Month. A time to learn about all the neat things that George Washington Carver did with peanuts!

Why, teacher's, why can't you just be satisfied with the paltry salaries already offered to you? Damn greedy bastards!

Do we really have to have this argument over and over again? The more wealth we give to the rich the more generous they will be in trickling it down upon the undeserving masses. It is basic economics people...

Apparently the DFL has decided to grow a pair. Don't expect this to last long because Tim Pawlenty has magical powers that render the massive DFL majorities in the legislature impotent.

So Amy Klobuchar is funny and MNPublius decided to step back from their normal schedule of Franken infatuation (it's becoming something of a Dionysian Party) to give her props. Don't worry folks, they will be back to their regular scheduled "We Heart Franken" theme soon!

Are we really still talking about this woman? Don't we have better things to talk about? Such as the weather or the ins and outs of a prefrontal lobotomy.

WAIT, so most black people are Democrats because of the peer pressure? Here I thought most black people are Democrats because the Republican Party long ago decided to abandon them for a southern strategy.

Do you think maybe that if you are going to call the President a fearmonger, then you should hold off using his middle name as a method of fearmongering? Just a thought...

Now some guy with no real executive or legislative authority is going to take away our guns? It makes sense to me...

Just in case you are thinking of clicking on these links and visiting the home of super Psychologist, Leo Pusateri, let me sum them up for you: Ramble Ramble, Hussein, Ramble Ramble, we need more guns, Ramble Ramble, I hate Democrats with a blinding passion that borders on the ridiculous, Ramble Ramble.

If there are any better incoherent rambling rants than those of Andy Aplikowski that exist within the Minnesota blogosphere, then I haven't found them. The hyperbole is superb. The paranoia is like a fine wine. The fact that he really buys what he writes makes for a hilarious read.

Yeah, we are still talking about the Fairness Doctrine. Between that and taking away our guns, the conservatives are going to have plenty to discuss over the next four years. I'm glad we liberals could be of assistance in keeping the right wing conspiracy theory machine humming along.

Don't be so hard on Janet! After all, she WAS talking about government that helps poor people as being the bad government. When government helps her and other relatively well off people it is a legitimate function.

So, do you think there is any significance to the fact that Repya learned this information at 4:20? I'm just saying, it seems like an appropriate time to learn about anything from the Republican Party.

That kooky liberal, Jeff Rosenberg, is blaming everything on those damned Republicans again and using handy dandy graphs to justify this argument. Do we really need to provide evidence? Can't we just yell and curse about how they are unpatriotic bastards who are ruining America? Let's stop all this empirical evidence crap and get back to good old fashioned unsubstantiated name calling.

It warms my heart to read the vitriol and verbal spasms of Drew Emmer.
Of all the conservative memes that I love the most, there are few more endearing than the one in which money doesn't matter when improving our education system. Apparently, all other endeavors in life take money and investment in order to grow and prosper but this is not the case for education.

Such is the crux of Phil Krinkie's mini rant today in the St. Cloud Times:

Dubbed "the New Minnesota Miracle" — referring to a major change to K-12 funding in the early 1970s labeled the "Minnesota Miracle" — it proposes to increase state funding of K-12 education by a whopping $2.6 billion per year according to the State Department of Education. That amounts to a 37 percent annual increase.

Unfortunately, what Mr. Krinkie conveniently leaves out of his editorial is that this money can and will be phased in through a number of years that have yet to be determined. In communicating with my state legislator, Larry Haws, it was made clear that this money is also meant to replace levy referendum around the state which would make part of the cost quoted by Krinkie revenue neutral. Yet this little tidbit of information is also kept from the reader.

Krinkie goes on to provide the classic conservative meme:

That being said, study after study shows there is no direct correlation between education spending and test results.

First, there is no mention of even one of these studies. Second, a few things occurred to me when reading this particular sentence. What if I don't care about "test results"? What if I find tests to be an evaluator of the most trivial forms of knowledge and thus not all that valuable an indicator of success in life? What if I want my children to be successful higher order thinkers and analyzers? Then is there a "direct correlation" between education and money?

Additionally, if there is no "direct correlation" might there be so many indirect correlations as to make increased funding an invaluable tool for improving education? Certainly, more money does not guarantee success but it is a fallacy to believe that money cannot then EVER bring success. Krinkie and his conservative brethren define success through the most narrow scope of success. That scope being through standardized testing. They fail to consider the successes money generates when it creates an after school program that will keep a kid feeling safe and secure from the streets. They fail to consider the successes that come from expensive technologies that open the eyes of a student who doesn't particularly do well in those standardized test types of classes. They fail to consider that money provides time and money provides resources that can oftentimes create positive yet intangible results.

There is more to education than money and there is even more to education than testing but I can tell you this, without testing we could spend a lot more time really educating but without money education becomes significantly more difficult.

By the by, Mr. Krinkie, I found a study that runs counter to your particular claim. While it is not a silver bullet, I would like to point out that I have thus far provided ONE study supporting my claims while you have provided ZERO:

Of course, it's absolutely true that equal funding doesn't erase the acheivement gap on its own. But that doesn't mean money doesn't matter. A new study released (PDF) by the Illinois-based Center for Tax and Budget Accountability divides schools into three distinct categories based on their local property wealth:

- "Flat Grant" districts, which have the greatest amount of available local property wealth.
- "Alternative Formula" districts, which have the second greatest amount of available property wealth.
- "Foundation Formula" districts, which have available local property wealth that ranges from very low to just above average.

And what does the research show? Academic performance -- measured by data from the Illinois State Achievement Test -- is "strongly correlated" with mild increases (between $1,000-$2,200) in spending on instruction. The academic growth is evident in both school districts with low poverty (3-8 percent low income rates) and significant poverty (27-32 percent low income rates).

While the study examines Illinois specifically, there is little reason to believe that the evidence would not hold true here in Minnesota.