8:53 PM | Posted in , ,
It's always fun to venture over to the blog owned and controlled by Professor Banaian. Typically, you will find some relatively witty connection between real life and economics but every once in awhile you catch that special day when his co-contributor "Janet" pipes in to write a post. These are the special days because it is then that we get to peer into the crazy...

Today was no different as "Janet" unveils the new meme with which to defeat the scourge of our times, President Obama. As if it wasn't bad enough that this commie pinko used a teleprompter device every time he turns around NOW he will not look us in the EYE and that means he is a super sinister liar!

This morning while at my fitness center, I watched all 12 minutes or so of Mr. Obama's performance on his takeover of the auto industry. Not once did Mr. Obama look the camera straight in the eye. Never did he talk directly to us, his American audience. The entire speech was given while Mr. Obama looked from side to side.

Why doesn't he talk to the camera directly, as did Presidents Reagan and Bush? Why is Obama afraid to look straight ahead? He has given enough speeches (written and printed for him) that fear of speaking is not an excuse.

That BASTARD! Those shifty eyes and noncommittal glances. Who could possibly trust a guy who reads from a teleprompter AND shifts his head from left to right and back again. I mean when George W. Bush was lying to us about Saddam Hussein and WMD and connections to Al Qaeda he would AT LEAST look us in the eye. You see, we don't so much care about the truth or fiction stuff but for the love of everything holy please look us in the eyes when you do it!

This new meme will undoubtedly cut Obama to his core...
8:15 PM | Posted in ,
Over at MNPublius they ask the question, what are Pawlenty's priorities? Unfortunately, the answer does NOT appear to be helping the state recover from an enormous budget deficit.

Since the start of the 2009 session, Tim Pawlenty has met legislative leaders just three times. What’s T-Paw doing with all his free time if he’s not trying to close the budget deficit? Well, during that same period, Pawlenty has made 24 appearances on national media outlets (including 7 on Fox). That’s a stunning 8 national media appearances for each meeting with legislative leaders.

As we look back at the tenure of a Governor Pawlenty we have seen year after year of magical budget "shifts" in order to put off actual solutions to our budget problems. From the foolish tobacco bond borrowing that trades off short term gains for long term debts to making unacceptably deep cuts to parts of the budget while at the same time leaving other areas completely untouched there is little semblance of shared sacrifice. The Republican Party in general and Governor Pawlenty specifically try to claim they are opposed to tax increases but turn around and push tax increases onto property taxes so they might continue to claim the mantle of being anti-tax.

I don't necessarily relish the cuts found in the Senate budget but at the very least it represents real solutions to our long term budget problems. With a healthy mix of 14% across the board cuts in the next four years and a raising of revenue through making our tax code progressive once again, the Senate seeks to create a shared sacrifice for ALL Minnesotans.

Leaving some solutions off the table is simply unacceptable in these difficult economic times and it is unconsionable for this Governor and his party to continue to play my way or the highway game. Perhaps rather than gallavanting around the country preparing for a 2012 Presidential run the Governor could join us back here in Minnesota because we need some honest solutions to our real problems.
Recently my good friend Hal over at Blue Man in a Red District was reading the tea leaves and came to the conclusion that we will once again see Elwyn Tinklenberg run against Michele Bachmann in 2010.

Reading the tea leaves, it's pretty obvious that Elwyn Tinklenberg is going to take another shot at Congresswoman Bachmann.

I like Elwyn personally and supported him once he received the DFL nomination. However, there is little reason to believe that he can defeat Bachmann. He ran a weak kneed campaign with little presence in the areas of the district that needed him most. In fact, from talking to union friends who were even stronger supporters than I it was clear that even though Tink was asking "Where is Michele?" these Tink supporters were asking, more importantly, WHERE IS TINK?

Given that Bachmann received less than 50% in the '08 election she is beatable. However, it can only happen when members of the DFL and Independence Parties work in unison. That means more than an empty cross endorsement. It means an all out diplomatic effort from the leadership in both parties to run a unity candidate. DFLers may need to realize that this unity candidate might mean stepping aside to allow this person to run as an Independence candidate. The reason I say this is because there remains a large enough group of people in this district who do not like Bachmann but will NEVER vote for a DFL candidate that it makes winning nearly impossible.

Blue Man suggests Representative Larry Hosch and I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, I don't know that it is very likely as Hosch appears to enjoy his family life too much to jump into a stressful district campaign. Yet, Blue Man also makes this cryptic statement:

I know of one dark horse at this time, someone not on our collective radar's who might take a shot at this...and I could definitely support him/her.

Who is this dark horse? Hopefully he/she will be powerful enough to go toe to toe with one of the most adept campaigners we have in the state.

All right, I know of whom Blue Man speaks and we will see how it works out...
5:34 PM | Posted in ,
Representative Oberstar took to the floor of the House of Representatives to speak in favor of HR 1747 Great Lakes Icebreaker Replacement Act.

4:45 PM | Posted in , ,
On Monday of this week the House of Representatives took up H.R. 1746 Pre-Disaster Mitigation Act of 2009. The Pre-Disaster Mitigation program run through FEMA grants money for projects whose purpose is to reduce the effects of a potential disaster. By spending money on the front end the hope is that it will save money from having to be spent after a disaster has occurred.

This legislation increases the amount of money going to states and funds the program through 2012. Minnesota Representative, James Oberstar, sponsored the bill and spoke on the floor of the House in favor of the bill. In his speech he mentions the benefits that the program has had for the people living in the Red River Valley.

Clearly, mitigation saves money. I gave an example of a situation in my district, but the devastation of flooding at the Red River in North Dakota is another example of the real impact of natural disasters, and the communities along the Red River of the North, on both the Minnesota and North Dakota sides, have benefited from pre-disaster mitigation funding.


The Congressional Budget Office and the National Institute of Building Sciences have issued reports showing that, for every dollar spent on pre-disaster mitigation, future losses are reduced by $3 to $4.


As for the Red River of the North, investments made by cities on both the Minnesota and North Dakota sides have resulted in far less damage than those communities experienced prior to making those investments. After the 1997 flood, FEMA spent $23 million to acquire vulnerable homes and move them out of the floodplain. In 2006, a flood came within 2 feet of the 1997 flood level, and those mitigation investments saved some $24.6 million, a return of 107 percent on the investment made.

To be expected, Representative Bachmann joined only 56 others in voting AGAINST legislation that funds projects to protect people from various natural disasters.
10:04 PM | Posted in
There comes a point at which there are no more words to describe the ever increasing number of crazy or misinformed statements coming out of the mouth of Representative Bachmann. While we have established that her grasp of history is, well, not so well developed you have to wonder if there is ANY processes within her brain that examine the words that are coming out of her mouth.

Once again yesterday, Bachmann took to the floor of the House of Representatives to rail against Hate Crimes legislation because allowing someone to physically harm someone else based solely upon their "sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person" is a sacred right enshrined within the First Amendment. More vile than that is how Bachmann distorts the bill and tries to connect being gay to pedophilia.

From Minnesota Independent:

The bill, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, adds “sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person” to existing federal law which currently includes race, color, religion, or national origin. Minnesota Reps. Betty McCollum and James Oberstar are co-sponsors.

Contrary to Bachmann’s statement, pedophilia is not considered a sexual orientation, a disability or a gender identity, and is instead a criminal act.

In addition to these vile remarks, Bachmann tries to make some sort of coherent connection between hate crimes and traffic accidents...

Really? I believe that one deserves a Face Palm because there are no words...
12:49 AM | Posted in
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8:12 PM | Posted in
[UPDATE] Thanks to TPM for the shout out...

It has become something of a full time job keeping up with the crazy things that are coming out of the mouth of my representation in Congress. While other people are focusing on her recent comments about Democrats and swine flu in a Pajamas TV interview, her speech about the first 100 days of President Obama on the floor of the House of Representatives has gone largely unnoticed.

In that speech she practices her own special brand of historical revisionism by crediting President Calvin Coolidge for getting us out of the Post-WWI recession despite the fact that by the time he became President the recession was over. Later, she blames the passage of the Smoot-Hawley Act on Roosevelt despite the fact that it was passed a few years before Roosevelt became President and was enacted by a majority Republican Congress and signed by a Republican President.

Apparently history isn't your thing Michele...
6:00 PM | Posted in
I'm just saying...

Michele Bachmann showed up on Pajamas TV yesterday to discuss a variety of issues. During the discussion of the current swine flu outbreak, Bachmann "wasn't blaming" President Obama but she found it a "coincidence" that the last swine flu outbreak occurred, her words, under President Carter who was also a Democrat.

First, the outbreak DID NOT occur under President Carter but rather it happened in 1976 when Gerald Ford was President. Second, does anyone really believe that Bachmann "wasn't blaming" by attempting to make this connection?
12:18 AM | Posted in
Bachmann did an interview yesterday for the conservative internet TV station, PajamasTV. She speaks on the first 100 days of the Obama Administration, Cap & Trade, and the swine flu (with an interesting comparison to the 1970's where she "isn't blaming but just sayin'").

I will have some video on this later but you can view the appearance in its entirety HERE...

At what point do you think Bachmann will do an 18 minute interview with the media that is actually IN her district?
Senator Tarryl Clark makes clear this week that the budget put forward by the Senate DFL is the more responsible method for dealing with the current budget crisis facing the state. Through relatively deep cuts across the board and through increased taxes, the Senate plan leaves no one untouched while the plan laid out by Governor Pawlenty continues to shift any costs down to property taxes.

Tarryl also took time out this week to address Earth Day and legislation going through the Senate to encourage green jobs.

Finally, Tarryl reaches out to Governor Pawlenty to urge him to work together with the legislature to solve the budget crisis. No one will get everything they want and to dig in your feet and take certain solutions off the table is completely unhelpful to the difficult decisions of governance.

11:10 AM | Posted in ,
The Republican Party, the party of NO:

No ideas, No solutions, No leadership, just NO! It becomes difficult to build a movement around being against everything...
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6:30 PM | Posted in ,
Michele Bachmann is OUTRAGED, OUTRAGED!

this is a statement of President Obama during last year's election campaign that got remarkably little attention in the media, but he suggested the creation of a Federal police force comparable to the size of the military. And he made that statement, I believe, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. And so the question that we need to ask is, why would you need such an organization? [Emphasis Mine]

In fact, she is so outraged by the recent DHS Report about right wing extremism that words escape her and she is forced to steal the words of others in order to effectively express this outrage.

Beyond the obvious plagiarism is the weird little fact that Bachmann is using a highly selective paraphrasing of a Barack Obama speech from last year. This selective quote has conspiracy theorists on the right all in an uproar. The reality, however, is that the speech given by Obama was about the expansion of public service in general. So, what happens when you use more than the selective quote alongside the rant of Bachmann? You get someone who looks a lot crazy...

[It's a long video but I recommend sticking around to the end as Bachmann connects this speech to the increased gun sales across the country!]

Did you get that? Due to the proposed expansion of public service, people are stocking up on their guns and ammunition. Who knew that volunteerism was so scary to some people...
2:49 PM | Posted in ,
In her most recent rant about the Department of Homeland Security Report on Right Wing Extremism, Michele Bachmann made this statement:

this is a statement of President Obama during last year's election campaign that got remarkably little attention in the media, but he suggested the creation of a Federal police force comparable to the size of the military. And he made that statement, I believe, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. And so the question that we need to ask is, why would you need such an organization? [Emphasis Mine]

While this statement is crazy enough as a stand alone misinterpretation of what President Obama actually said, it also appears that it is almost a word for word reading from this article:

All this activity takes on a more sinister aspect against the background of one of the statements of Barack Obama during last year’s election campaign that got remarkably little attention in the media. He suggested the creation of a federal police force, comparable in size to the military.

Why such an organization? [Emphasis Mine]

You gotta love a little plagiarism... (Video Forthcoming)
10:42 AM | Posted in
Our Minnesota Democratic delegation in Congress has been busy over the past month discussing a variety of topics on the floor of the House and the Senate. For a variety of reasons, I have been unable to keep up with getting these speeches loaded onto the MNMuseTube page. Rather than a whole slew of posts for each individual appearance, here is a comprehensive list of those appearances with links to the corresponding video.

As the story of the AIG bonuses broke last month to the American public, Amy Klobuchar took to the floor of the United States Senate to express the outrage that she and many other Americans felt...

Representative Oberstar, in his role as the chairman of the Transportation Committee, spoke about the Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2009...

Last month marked the 7th anniversary for the beginning of the war in Iraq and Representative Ellison used the occassion to discuss the war (Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3) and its affects on the country and its soldiers. This discussion was part of a larger series that Ellison participates in as a member of the Progressive Caucus.

Amy Klobuchar on health care reform...

The Progressive Caucus along with Representative Ellison used their time on the floor of the House of Representatives to tout the Employee Free Choice Act (Part 1 & Part 2) and union membership in general.

Representative Walz on fiscal responsibility...

Amy Klobuchar spoke in favor of the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (Part 1 & Part 2). The bill would improve enforcement of various types of fraud.

This week, the Progressive Caucus and Representative Ellison in conjunction with Earth Day discussed the need for investment in clean energy jobs (Part 1 & Part 2).

Finally, Representative McCollum offered her support to the National Water Research & Development Initiative Act. This bill would "improve the federal government's role in designing and implementing federal water research, development, demonstration, data collection and dissemination, education, and technology transfer activities to address changes in U.S. water use, supply, and demand".
10:10 AM | Posted in ,
President Obama discusses both the current need to stimulate the economy as well as the long term need to show fiscal discipline by examining every part of the budget in every department. One of the more interesting pieces of this address is the idea to hear from the workforce itself to find new and improved things that work. By "looking for ideas from the bottom up", Obama is acknowledging that the people that do the daily business in these programs know best how to make those programs more efficient and cost effective.

From the White House Blog:

Listing off several specific changes he intends to bring, he describes his guiding principle: "To help build a new foundation for the 21st century, we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative. That will demand new thinking and a new sense of responsibility for every dollar that is spent."

11:49 PM | Posted in ,
Michele Bachmann took to the floor of the House of Representatives this week to display her special brand of righteous INDIGNATION over a report released from the Department of Homeland Security highlighting the threat of right wing extremism. While the document does not contain either the word 'conservative' or the word 'republican', Bachmann and other conservatives have taken this as an all out assault on their ideology. Let us forget for a moment that this report was commissioned by the Bush Administration and that a similar report on left wing extremism was released in January of this year. Apparently, for the right, the difference between extremists on the right and the mainstream is so negligible that they could just as well be one and the same.

Several pieces of this speech have been picked up throughout the blogosphere but it was one short piece at the beginning which caught my ears. In this segment, Bachmann speculates about the meaning of right wing extremists:

View larger version...

Michele, are you really admitting to us that Osama bin Laden, Mexican gangs, and Gitmo detainees represent your ideological brethren and that this report could describe either one of you interchangeably? If you look at a report and can read in both yourself AND the likes of Osama bin Laden, then YES you ARE a right wing extremist...
11:23 AM | Posted in ,
SHOCKED, SHOCKED I tell you that local right wing blogger, Leo Pusateri, is mad as hell about something! Usually he is so calm and rational and never prone to rhetorical outbursts that his LTE in the St. Cloud Times comes as a complete surprise. Yet, a couple items caught my eye in this heralding of the recent tea parties held across the country.

Yes, the Tea Party was about confiscatory taxes and spending, but it was so much more than that.More so, the April 15 Tea Parties held across the nation were a collective “mad-as-hell-and-we’re-not gonna-take-it-anymore” reaction to the abuses of individual liberty that have taken this nation by storm within the past two decades.

Let us accept for a moment that there have been "abuses of individual liberty" over the past twenty years. It seems to me that 12 of those past 20 years saw Republicans controlling one or more of the branches of government. So, it would stand to reason that Republicans share more than 50% of the responsibility for these abuses, right? That's strange, because from a brief overview of images and video from these tea parties you would think that Barack Obama had been in power over these last two decades. It was apparently he, and not the 12 years of Republican leadership, that caused this abuse of liberty. So, you have to wonder why Mr. Pusateri doesn't just come out and say that it has been these past weeks of the Obama Administration that have brought about the OUTRAGE by conservatives. Furthermore, if this has been going on for 20 years, what took them so long to finally organize protests?

Confiscatory taxes and regressive tax codes used to fuel unbridled spending have by default placed restrictions on behavior, and are thus instrumental in stealing one’s individual economic, and by extension personal freedoms.

Regressive tax codes? Well now you are starting to sound like a Democrat, Leo. I imagine you will be heralding the new and improved progressive tax code being put forward by Democrats at the state capitol.

Let me get this straight, taxation with representation has "stolen" your economic liberty and has also "stolen" your personal freedom?

While I support the right of Leo and his conservative brethren to protest and demand lower taxation, it is intellectually dishonest to claim that their freedom has been taken away. We held an election in November and your ideology lost. If voters decide in the coming election that they are not satisfied with decisions made by the Democratic majorities, then they will vote them out. Until then, it is highly disingenuous to claim that you are losing some freedom. The fact is that the only thing you lost is an election.

Given that Leo decided to invoke the founders of this country, I would remind him that our first President put down a rebellion over the direct taxation of whiskey.

On September 25th, the President issued a proclamation declaring that he would not allow "a small portion of the United States [to] dictate to the whole union," and called on all persons "not to abet, aid, or comfort the Insurgents."

Washington understood something which apparently today's conservatives do not. Once you are given the right to vote on representation, the proper method of protest is to use that vote and not invoke uprising and revolution.
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9:46 AM | Posted in ,
There really are times when a piece of legislation passes with less than unanimous support that you have to wonder, how can you be against that? Such is the case with HR 388, a bill "to assist in the conservation of cranes".

To assist in the conservation of cranes by supporting and providing, through projects of persons and organizations with expertise in crane conservation, financial resources for the conservation programs of countries the activities of which directly or indirectly affect cranes and the ecosystems of cranes.

Our very own Michele Bachmann decided that there was something in this bill that merited a NO vote. What that something is, I imagine we will never know but apparently she and her conservative brethren have decided that cranes specifically and conservation in general are something on which to be opposed.

Perhaps the crane will be used in some sinister socialist plot or perhaps it is because these birds so flippantly ignore our borders with their "migration" patterns and thus must be feared. For more on this global scourge, you can visit their obviously communist conservation site.
10:40 AM | Posted in
I try to avoid writing about the nauseating Senate recount because frankly, I don't really care about either of these two. However, I couldn't help myself when I noticed this post in True North titled "Norm Hanging Tough". All I can think is, wasn't that a New Kids on the Block song?

Has this become the theme song for the Coleman campaign?
Representative Larry Haws sent out a press release today about the passage of HF1301, Omnibus Public Safety Policy Bill:


ST. PAUL, MN – State Representative Larry Haws joined House legislative leaders to pass the Omnibus Public Safety Policy Bill (House File 1301)134 to 0 votes.

"This is a good public safety policy bill that provides some positive provisions that will go a long way to keeping Minnesota on track with public safety issues that impact us all,” said State Representative Larry Haws.

The Omnibus Public Safety Policy Bill contains a number of provisions that would strengthen requirements on predatory offenders, ease mandates on state agencies during these tough budget times, and assist local agencies in times of emergencies.

"This bill contains some legislation I co-authored to ensure that felons have an advantage to ‘game the system’ so they can work it out to not go to prison but to a county jail," said State Representative Haws. "This is a real savings to the County taxpayer while extending justice to Minnesotans. I also authored legislation that clarifies current law that sentences imposed for assaulting a correctional officer must run consecutively, not concurrently, to any remaining sentence. Sentencing guidelines will be in place to prevent folks from taking advantage of the system and face just punishment.”

There isn't much to say about a bill that apparently everyone liked. It is nice to see though, a brief moment of pure bipartisanship...
5:21 PM | Posted in ,
Despite impressive fund raising numbers in the first quarter of this year, Michele Bachmann appears on the Roll Call list of potentially vulnerable incumbents.

So the 30 Republicans listed here have been selected by Roll Call after consulting with political experts.

See a full chart here.

You have to wonder who these "political experts" are and where they get the incite to claim that Bachmann is vulnerable. As someone who has watched this representative relatively closely over the past couple years, I wouldn't exactly refer to her as vulnerable. Granted, she won her most recent election with only 46% of the vote but she also won with 12,000 more votes than her nearest competitor.

She says some outrageous things but what most of us don't realize is that Bachmann is speaking to a certain crowd within the district who find her comments completely plausible. The fact is that this crowd may not represent a majority in the district yet it does represent a large enough plurality that will keep Bachmann in Congress until she is either redistricted or a powerful enough coalition of Independence and DFL activists join to defeat her. While that coalition was attempted during 2008, it failed for a variety of reasons. Until this coalition can effectively join forces, Bachmann will remain the controversial Congresswoman from the 6th Congressional District.

On another note, 3rd District Republican Erik Paulsen lands on the list as well:

9:40 PM | Posted in
A study done by a group called the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives finds that the benefits of public spending far outweigh the effects that come from various tax cutting measures.

From the Press Release:

The majority of Canadian households enjoy a higher quality of life because the public services their taxes fund come at a solid bargain, according to a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

Canada’s Quiet Bargain: The Benefits of Public Spending responds to incessant calls for tax cuts and concludes public services make a significant contribution to the majority of Canadians’ standard of living – worth at least 50% of their income.

“What passes for a tax cut debate in Canada is really only half a debate,” says economist Hugh Mackenzie, the study’s co-author and CCPA research associate.

“Our taxes pay for services that are extremely valuable to Canadians. The suggestion we often hear, that taxes are a burden, hides the reality that our taxes fund public services that make Canada’s standard of living among the very best.”

The study shows middle-income Canadian families enjoy public services worth about $41,000 – or 63% of their income. Even households earning $80,000-$90,000 a year enjoy public services benefits equivalent to about half of their income.

The study also shows 80% of Canadians would be better off if the federal government hadn’t cut the GST; 75% would be better off if their provincial governments invested in public services instead of broad-based income tax cuts; and 88% would be better off without federal cuts to capital gains taxes.

“Tax cuts are always made to sound like they’re free money to middle-income Canadians – they are anything but,” says Mackenzie. “We’re far better off with the public services our taxes fund than we are with tax cuts.”

While this study focuses solely on the benefits reaped by Canadians, it is not unrealistic to believe that similar results would be found here in the United States. I can understand the views of individualists wanting to just be able to do all of this themselves. However, here in the world of reality we need to work together and help each other succeed because it is simply unrealistic to live in a purely individualist society. There must be a balance in all things...
7:39 PM | Posted in ,
The President discusses the measures he is taking to cut wasteful spending in our government. I have always been of the belief that if governed properly the government can be a force for good. In fact, it is this belief that drives my political ideology. I refuse to believe that the government is bad in every case and can never be a useful tool for improving our country.

From the White House Blog:

With the process of going through the budget line by line in full swing, the President uses his Weekly Address to give some examples, big and small, of how the Administration is working to cut costs and eliminate waste. The President also announces two new key appointments, Jeffrey Zients as Chief Performance Officer and Aneesh Chopra as Chief Technology Officer, who will be invaluable in streamlining the way government functions through efficiency and innovation.

5:34 PM | Posted in ,
As a public educator I am acutely aware of the constant refrain from the right that I and my brethren are engaged in a super secret liberal scheme to indoctrinate children into the liberal ideology. While I am an unapologetic liberal, I take offense to these accusations as I pride myself on remaining neutral in the classroom and presenting as many sides to an argument as possible. In fact, during my time as a civics teacher I argued nearly every side of every issue imaginable.

I want my children (both my own and those that I teach) to be able to analyze the various issues out there and determine for themselves what it is they believe. It does not matter to me whether they become liberals or conservatives. It matters to me that they are able to think for themselves.

That is precisely why things like this are so sad:

Her story teaches children the elemental components of freedom in a humorous, entertaining and fashion. When Miss Kitty is made to appear before the House Too American Activities Committee (HTAC) for her protest of the National Mandatory Indoor Cat Act of 2008, her conservative principles are put to the test with the often ludicrous questions and comments she must bear at the hands of five far left Democrat congressional representatives.

Miss Kitty, however, not only holds her own with the committee, she exposes their hypocrisy, and the idiocy of leftist political ideas such as the disregard for property rights, the thievery of wealth by those in control, nationalization of private companies, and other current day phenomena such as media bias, America bashing, disrespect of the office of the presidency, the ridicule of patriotism, etc.

I get that you want to protect your children from the evil public school educators such as myself, but at what point do you realize that this is every bit the indoctrination which you decry from the left? There certainly must be a better way to teach conservative principles in comparison to liberal principles without demonizing one side of the political spectrum. You have got to believe that your ideology is strong enough to withstand an honest examination of both sides.

Additionally, if your young child is super excited to hear about the story of the conservative kitty defeating the evil liberals, or vice versa for that matter, then your young child needs to get out more and socialize with other children because I can guarantee that children aren't out there worrying about these things. Like I said, it would be funny it weren't so sad...

11:29 AM | Posted in ,
The St. Cloud Times editorial board has had enough of the daily outrageous comments coming from the mouth of Representative Bachmann. In their "Our View" segment of the opinion section Bachmann is referred to as a non-factor, an extremist, and a fear-monger.

From the article:

Instead, she consistently invokes extremism, typically by flitting around today’s 24/7 media culture ad nauseam. She stops just long enough to drop her political bombs, yet never gives a serious thought to how to shape viable solutions in the partisan environment she knowingly inflames.


Two straight years of her consistently spewing misleading snippets about important issues yet never stepping beyond those statements to find realistic solutions make it clear she is all about extremism and cares nothing about crafting viable public policy.

Has Bachmann reached a tipping point at which the Minnesota media will no longer just allow her comments to go unchallenged? Cue up conservative OUTRAGE in 3, 2, 1...

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
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6:38 PM | Posted in
Michele Bachmann was featured on a segment of "The Ed Show" on MSNBC for her recent "flying imams" comments:

Ed Schultz called Bachmann out and called her remarks a lie while Representative Keith Ellison appeared in the segment and said that he thought "it could be called psycho talk".
10:11 PM | Posted in , ,
In his "quick thoughts" about the recent Bachmann cap and trade lecture series, King Banaian had this to say about silent protests staged by local college students:

Let me lead by complimenting our students. Those who disagreed with Rep. Bachmann, or with the presenter, Mr. Horner, at the St. Cloud event used their free speech rights with due respect for the speakers, were not disruptive, and made me rather proud of my university today.

However, throughout the Horner presentation those same students applauded by Professor Banaian were harassed by audience members near them AND were repeatedly approached by Bachmann staffers. It seems as though Bachmann really didn't appreciate their attendance even though she said as much in her opening remarks.

Notice though, at the end of this clip how a gentlemen from the audience (it is tough to hear him over the incoherent ramblings of Horner) came and chastised the Bachmann staffer for trying to shut down this legitimate protest. I have no idea whether he agreed with the protesters but good for him for demanding the harassment end...

The young man raising the sign during this silent protest was the same young man who recently wrote up a response for me to the Horner presentation.

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
8:43 PM | Posted in ,
Larry Schumacher has an article up in the St. Cloud Times about the Tax Day Tea Party held in St. Cloud today. Just a couple clips of interest here:

George Stanley drove 50 miles from Hutchinson to stand outside the St. Cloud Public Library at noon today with his fellow Central Minnesota Tea Partiers. [Emphasis mine]

After the rally, many of those assembled marched with their signs to Minnesota Highway 23 to attract supportive honks from motorists passing by on the under-construction roadway. [Emphasis Mine]

So let's review: The folks that are out protesting taxes have chosen a taxpayer built venue on which to hold this event. Furthermore, they stood along taxpayer funded highways (ironically, one which is currently being improved using taxpayer money) to rant about taxes...
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7:23 PM | Posted in , ,
While some choose to protest the various measures taken by this administration to stimulate the sluggish economy, it may be time to look at some of the "egregious" measures found within that stimulus package.

Within the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that was signed into law in February there are several tax INCENTIVES for people who would like to remodel their homes. In fact, some incentives are add ons to the Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives first enacted in 2005.

Some of the measures eligible for tax credits are:

Replacing windows and skylights, and exterior doors which are equal to or below a 0.30 U factor and a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.30.

Sealing cracks in the building shell and ducts to reduce infiltration and heat loss - these should be sealed so as to be consistent with the 2009 IECC.

Window films certified by the manufacturer that the product meets the requirements of a "qualifying insulation system."

Pigmented metal roofs, or an asphalt roof with cooling granules must meet Energy Star requirements.

Adding insulation to walls, ceilings, or other part of the building envelope that meets the 2009 IECC (& supplements) specifications.

Notice that each of these incentives has the dual purpose of stimulating the economy and creating the sustainable green economy of the future. The energy savings that could potentially be had from these remodels is in the neighborhood of 25-35% each and every year. So, in addition to the tax incentive that comes with making these improvements you will see additional energy savings every year thereafter.

In the process of doing this green remodeling you have the potential to improve your health as well. One of the features of most homes built throughout the last century is asbestos which has been shown to cause Pleural mesothelioma. With these new tax incentives, you may be able to remove this material once and for all from the place in which you live.

From Asbestos.com (via Mesothelioma symptoms):

Mesothelioma has earned a reputation as a cancer that is very difficult to treat effectively. This reputation is partly due to the fact that in early stages, mesothelioma symptoms are quite non-specific, making early diagnosis very difficult. In addition, the disease usually lays dormant for 15 to 50 years and symptoms do not appear until the cancer has reached its late stages.

Check out the United States Department of Energy for some insulation tips...

So with tax incentives that can save you money in the long term and potentially even improve your health, you have to wonder what exactly people are up in arms about.
In her almost daily youtube update today, Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl Clark provided some pointed criticism of Tim Pawlenty and his continued media onslaught against the Obama Administration while at the same time ignoring many of the problems we have here in Minnesota.

In an email Clark sent out yesterday, she touts the Senate budget plan introduced last month which makes cuts across the board over the next four years.

The Senate believes its proportionate and balanced solution is the fairest and most equitable approach. It also positions the state for quicker recovery and stronger growth once the financial storm is weathered. The Senate also takes a fiscally responsible approach. Using a combination of cuts, federal recovery funds and new revenues it brings the state budget into balance for not only the next two years, but also the two years beyond that. This is something our Governor does not plan to do. Instead he pushes much of our present problems into the next two years. Seemingly he is hoping, and that’s all it is, is a hope, that things will get much better, much sooner than most economists believe. If his hope is misplaced Minnesota will be in even worse financial straits.

The Senate plan calls for a 7% proportional cut for each of the budget areas. However, those reductions will be softened by using federal recovery funds in several key areas, including education, health care and the courts. Recently the Senate passed its Early Education through 12th grade finance bill. Federal funds will reduce the cuts in this area to about 3%. Higher education funding cuts will be reduced to about 2%. The bill even provides a slight increase in early childhood education funding. Many studies have indicated early childhood education provides the best return on investment for taxpayer dollars.

While the Senate proposes reduced funding to schools, cities and counties, it also cuts some of the strings that usually come attached to that funding. The idea is to enhance local control and allow local authorities more discretion in how they spend the money. The belief is that less red tape will keep more teachers in the classroom and more police on the street.

As an educator I cannot say that I am terribly pleased with the level of the cuts found, especially to education, in the Senate version of the budget but at the same time my common sense side can understand that of the three plans out there right now this one is the one which most effectively addresses the problems facing the state.
9:59 PM | Posted in ,
From my vantage point at the Bachmann sponsored lecture series in St. Cloud, there was one young college student directing most of the silent protest. At various points he quietly held up a small sheet of paper with the words 'fact check' written on it and immediately other students would hold up corresponding signs which read 'lies'. Throughout the event there were those seated around him who tried to silence him and at times a Bachmann staffer would even approach to quell what I would consider an extremely respectful form of protest. At one point, though, an older man approached the Bachmann staffer and gave her a verbal smackdown. While I didn't catch all of it, I did overhear him ask her "isn't this what we fought for?".

Immediately following the event, I approached the young man who was the source of many of the pertinent shouted comments and questions and asked him to write up a response given that there really was only one side presented and that he appeared to have much to say on the topic. I received that response in my email inbox earlier today:

J. Erik Peterson, a writer and biology major at Saint Johns University

“We don’t need to put wind turbines on people’s huts, we need to get people out of the huts” was Chris Horner’s mistaken response to our insistence that dirty fuels will harm first and most lethally the poorest of the world’s peoples. The congregation of Congressional District 6 constituents at Saint Cloud State University bore witness to a great spectacle Thursday afternoon. District representative Michelle Bachmann brought Attorney Chris Horner back to MN for either (we’re still debating what the objective was) a tutorial on non-sequitor rhetoric or a chance to claim that Bachmann had finally faced the younger populations of Saint Cloud, Waite Park, Saint Joseph and Collegeville. While Bachmann’s hesitance to appear before the populations that so emphatically voted (and lobbied, and canvassed, and organized) against her in November is understandable, she more than made up for her lack of gall by parading Mr. Horner into SCSU’s ballroom as a veteran Global Warming-debunker. Something like 500 students, middle-classers, retirees and a smattering of reporters gathered at the foot of Horner’s stage. They tried to keep up as he sprinted through slides containing “factual” persuasions intended to dismantle theories of climate change and cap-and-trade systems. But little nuggets like his mumbling about huts and wind turbines mentioned above seemed to stick our more than any expertise on climate change and C&T. He grinned and sneered and sang and danced and duly impressed the gathering, jockeying them about at his wish, affirming their intuition that the young’ns who came to dissent had simply not lived enough to glean an appropriate level of cynicism.

A brilliant rhetor, no doubt, Horner’s litigation…er…I’m sure I meant presentation…swept the crowd off its feet with jive and jeer against names like Al Gore and Leo DeCaprio and anyone else who might be foolish enough to momentarily use their fame for good. So what information did Horner so flagrantly manipulate that students – as WCCO, MPR, and the Strib report – decided to enter into exchanges with him from the audience, requesting that he stop dancing with questions long enough to answer a couple?

Horner touched on multiple studies of European countries which have implemented emission-trading strategies or large-scale alternative energy programs. Essentially, his claim was that the attempts did not reduce emissions and that the outsourcing of jobs was as real for them as it is inevitable for the U.S. if we adopt C&T. I hope another of my web-wide reporting colleagues can rightly take him to task on this, for again his inaccuracy here was gross and most in the audience were none the wiser. What I’d like to focus on – for the off chance that someone from Stearn’s county or its neighbors to the east is reading – are three fundamental pieces of the climate debate which, if understood correctly, afford us no time to hold parties in college ballrooms at which lawyers use stories of alleged European failure to further entrench and encourage our xenophobia.

First – and its sad we have to begin here – is the virtually uncontroversial fact that CO2 both acts as a greenhouse gas and exists as a trace element in our atmosphere. Only by internalizing these two facts can we get any purchase on humans’ involvement in the global problem. Two nineteenth century scientists, Joseph Fourier and John Tyndall, respectively observed and described the mechanism by which heat from the sun does not bounce off of earth as it would be expected to, but is held close to it like a thin but effective blanket. Further, Tyndall’s study showed that its not obvious gases like nitrogen or oxygen that hold onto the heat, but water vapor and trace elements like carbon dioxide and methane. This brings me to important concept #2. Horner liked to rant about how CO2 is this inconsequential element in an atmospheric ocean of gases – how could it matter? After all, the water vapor up there is way better at trapping heat anyway. The best way I’ve heard this described is by Sir David King, the former chief science adviser to the United Kingdom and now professor of chemistry at Cambridge University. Imagine an ocean into which all of human kind is pouring buckets; the ocean is water vapor and so is the substance in our buckets – we have no effect. Now imagine the same buckets being poured into a bathtub, but the bathtub is full of carbon dioxide as are our buckets. In terms of how freak’n big the atmosphere is, yes, our contribution of carbon dioxide is quite small; but in terms of how we can effect the composition of the atmosphere, our nominal contribution becomes a huge proportional contribution. Individuals with agendas as shadowy as Mr. Chris’ seem to enjoy speaking to crowds who are plenty intelligent, but lack sufficient time to research these issues on their own. He paints himself the hero – with help from our clingy representative – to people who have no practical purpose for knowing why the emission of one gas is negligible and the emission of others will eventually change the topographical character of our planet, and drown the most coastal populations of earth.

That’s the element I want to leave you with. What Horner did Thursday does not represent a republican agenda nor a conservative one. His agenda is one of perpetual skepticism and nay-saying, sure, but worse, its pathogenic and infectious. The woman next to me at Horner’s event was whispering one-line vocalizations of support as Horner went through his slides about Europe’s failure and his argument possessed her. After the presentation she told me that she was not worried because “Jesus will save us.” Frankly, I think she could be right. But amidst discussions – and violent rejections – of possible solutions for our climate crisis a parable echoes to me. A parable about the man on the hill who – anticipating God’s salvation – rejects the canoe, the motorboat, and the helicopter as the floodwaters rise, lap at his feet, drown him, and land him at the pearly gates only to be chastised by St. Peter for rejecting God’s extended hand. Unfortunately, and with more than a bit of irony, the ultra-right-winger Bachmann hired Horner to come to district 6 Thursday, to help slap the Almighty’s Helping Hand away from her constituents (the youngest of whom still await their chance to talk with her).
9:07 PM | Posted in ,
After the Bachmann sponsored lecture series I was approached by someone from AM 1240 WJON for some additional comments about the presentation. It was interesting because when I asked him what HE had retained from the presentation, and keep in mind this was minutes after it had ended, he was hard pressed to offer anything.

From WJON:

ST. CLOUD -- Congresswoman Michele Bachmann hosted a forum today (Thursday) at St. Cloud State University on President Obama's energy proposal called "Cap and Trade". Bachmann doesn't support the idea, and says if it passes later this year, it won't created the so-called "green" jobs that's been promised.

AUDIO: Click on the audio player below to hear comments from Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann brought with her author Chris Horner. A man who does not believe there is such a thing as man-made global warming. During his presentation, he described Cap and Trade as a hidden energy tax that will raise your energy bill.

AUDIO: Click on the audio player below, to hear comments from Chris Horner.

The presentation at times became contentious, with Obama supporters shouting at Horner, and questioning his positions.

Eric Austin describes himself as a liberal blogger. He says Horner gave a very slick presentation.

AUDIO: Click on the audio player below, to hear comments from liberal blogger Eric Austin.

President Obama wants his Cap and Trade proposal passed by the end of August.

Definition of Cap and Trade:
Cap and Trade is a method of managing pollution. The government would first set a "cap" on pollution. Then companies are issued credits, essentially licenses to pollute, based on how large they are. If the company comes in below it's cap, it has extra credits which it can "trade".

Eric Austin's blog

Unfortunately, I have been unable to access the audio on this site so I have no idea how annoying I sound...
The reactions continue to roll in over the Bachmann sponsored lecture series held yesterday on the campus of St. Cloud State University. They range from the rational analysis at SCSU Scholars and Minnesota Independent to the mid level sanity of Gary Gross at Let Freedom Ring to even the apoplectic lunacy of Andy Aplikowski at Residual Forces.

As I said, and as King Banaian noted, the pace at which Mr. Horner spoke made it difficult for anyone not equipped with handy dandy powerpoint notes to follow along. While it certainly doesn't make him wrong about anything, it seems to me that anyone trying desperately to have their viewpoint understood would have taken their time. Unfortunately, I do not believe that this was Mr. Horner's purpose. His purpose was to speak to his believers and overwhelm the non-believers so that they would not have adequate chance to address any one specific piece of data. Although, I will give him that it made for fantastic political theatre!

For her part, Michele Bachmann provided only the introductory remarks to an event touted as a Bachmann Forum. Those remarks, read from a piece of paper in front of her sounded remarkably similar to the already discredited Star Tribune Commentary which had been published the day before.

Here is the video (I apologize for the shakiness) of her SCSU introduction:

It is interesting that Bachmann begins her remarks by recognizing that there are two sides to this issue and thanks everyone for attending. Unfortunately, those empty thanks are followed up by a one sided presentation with no information presented from those that believe cap and trade to be effective and who believe that climate change is a real issue that needs to be addressed. For someone who wants us to be the "most educated people in America", she certainly did not demonstrate it with this presentation.

The rest of her opening statement is filled with slanted information and veiled attacks on the Democratic Party.

She begins her attacks with news that Senator Harry Reid has signaled that he may use a process known as Reconciliation to pass certain pieces of legislation. What she conveniently leaves out of this description of an "obscure parliamentary maneuver" is that Republicans used this maneuver several times during their tenure in power.

From Media Matters:

As Media Matters for America has noted, Republicans used the reconciliation process to pass legislation including the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, and the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005. In a March 28 article, The New York Times reported: "[T]here are a couple of problems for Republicans as they push back furiously against the idea, chief of which is the fact that they used the process themselves on several occasions, notably when enacting more than $1 trillion in tax cuts in 2001."

As Bachmann continues, she distances herself from the already discredited figure of a $3,128 cost to an uncited cost of "more than $2500". Where she gets this new, lower cost, is not entirely clear.

Bachmann later touts a study done in Spain which appeared to indicate that any increase in "green jobs" is offset by a greater loss in other jobs. After some digging, I found an alternate analysis of this particular study which appears to put into question the validity of these claims.

From Get Energy Smart NOW:

The latest piece of right-wing scaremongering is now making the rounds. Western Business Roundtable, a right-wing organization that I have never heard of before. Ah, the sme , is touting a study in Spain which they say shows that every green job results in two jobs being destroyed. The study was prepared under the direction of Dr. Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

The first thing that I notice is that the study fails to establish cause and effect. In other words, there may have been 2.2 jobs lost for every green job created, but that says nothing about whether there is a causal relationship between the two variables. Just because Event A and Event B happened does not mean that Event A caused Event B. It could well be given the current economic climate that the creation of green jobs had nothing to do with the loss of 2.2 jobs because of the worldwide economic crisis. In other words, these jobs might have been lost no matter what the Spanish government did. And it could be that the creation of these jobs, given the worldwide economic recession, prevented a bad situation from getting worse.

The one possible cause that the study suggests is the cause of these lost jobs is the fact that the money could have possibly gone towards funding the creation of actual businesses through, say, tax cuts. But the problem here is that this is not a causal relationship, but an appeal to guilt. Of course there are always as many different alternatives as there are people interested in these projects. But a proper way to compare would be to study the effects of tax cuts, say, as opposed to the effects of creating green jobs. And a proper way might to be to consider the long-term implications of not creating these jobs — the possible creation of a massive humanitarian crisis that could wipe out the Straights of Gibraltar, among other low-lying Spanish areas and create more unemployment than the Western Business Roundtable’s worst nightmares for green jobs.

Bachmann goes on to ask rhetorically, "Where are the potential benefits?", although I dare to bet that she would subsequently ignore the potential benefits if they were given to her. For those who would like to read about the potential benefits, you can read this post from Environmental Economics:

The economic case for cap-and-trade (or a carbon tax) is clear. Climate change and the associated negative impacts of emissions are known in economics as negative externalities. Much theoretical and empirical research supports an environmental regulation that taxes the polluting activity (or, equivalently, capping the pollution with permits and allowing polluters to trade the permits). The additional production cost of taxes or permits causes profits to be lower in the polluting industries, the supply of the polluting product falls and price of the polluting good rises. As the price of polluting goods rise consumers use less of the polluting good. As the price of nonrenewable energy rises and the price of renewable energy falls (with technological improvement) we reach the Hotelling "switch point" and the demand for renewable energy rises. The price of nonrenewable energy is, more or less, capped at the price of the renewable subsitute and the world is a greener place.

At the end of her remarks, Bachmann touts the authority of Mr. Horner on this particular issue. I recognize that NOT being a scientist does not necessarily discredit your viewpoints about a scientific issue. However, it certainly gives him less credibility than if Bachmann had allowed an actual scientist or even an economist to address this issue.

You can find more information about Horner at Media Matters as well as at a site (Desmogblog) I rely on extensively whenever I am looking for climate change related information.

I will continue to sift through the video from the Bachmann sponsored lecture series so stay tuned for more video and more analysis...

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann
To be fair, this really was not a Bachmann Forum at all but rather a forum sponsored by Michele Bachmann at which climate change denier, Chris Horner, held all the power and controlled the questions which could be asked.

Additionally, as an educator I would say that this was by far one of the most poorly presented lectures I have ever witnessed. Why? Because if the purpose of this forum was to inform the general public about one side of the cap and trade issue, then the pace at which Mr. Horner spoke and presented his information was well beyond what the average consumer of information could possibly retain. I dare to bet that the vast majority of those in attendance would be unable to cite anything that Mr. Horner said beyond various quips about Al Gore and leprechauns.

However, that just may be the purpose. To overwhelm those in attendance with so much data (even if that data is flawed) at a speed that outpaces our ability to process that data so that we blindly accept this individual as some sort of expert.

UPDATE: In fact, you will notice that even right wing bloggers who were LIVEBLOGGING the event couldn't see fit to add even one piece of hard data from the presentation...

I will be working on the video from this "forum" (and the aftermath which was interesting) and hope to present it soon with various rebuttals...