12:10 AM | Posted in
I am taking the kids to the lake for the next five days so the Blog will be on hold until we come back. However, I will try to keep in some touch through twitter. You can follow me at @political_muse...

Have a great 4th of July!
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed
10:10 AM | Posted in
Michele Bachmann has been on a tear lately about ACORN and the census and the potential role ACORN might play in that census. Apparently, according to Bachmann, the census will be used to round people up and throw them into internment camps much like the Japanese in World War II.

Well, FactCheck.org did a little digging and had this to say about the rantings of my tinfoil hat representative in Congress:

ACORN "will be in charge of going door-to-door and collecting data from the American public," said Rep. Michele Bachmann in mid-June.


And Bachmann is flat wrong about ACORN going door-to-door and gathering data. Being "partners" with the Census Bureau doesn't entail as close a relationship as one might think. For the most part it involves getting the word out that it's important for everyone to participate in the decennial event that helps determine where federal money goes and how House of Representatives district boundaries are redrawn. [Emphasis Mine]

I long ago moved from being outraged by anything Michele Bachmann does or says and have reached the point where I view her as a mere caricature. My question to Bachmann supporters persists: Is this the best you have to offer to represent conservative values? Doesn't she just make "conservative" more synonymous with "crazy"?
2:43 PM | Posted in
Oh, Michele, at it again with the "I'm not saying, just saying..." strategy? Didn't you try that just recently and didn't it sort of not work out the way you had hoped it would?

What exactly are you trying to say here Michele? Do you honestly believe that Barack Obama, with the help of ACORN, is planning to use census data to round up you and your family?

If I could have the attention of the Bachmann supporters for a bit of a private conversation.

Dear Bachmann supporters,

I have a few relatively simple questions for you. Is this really who you want representing you in Congress? Fine, she opposes abortion and you are firmly pro-life but do you also share these same tinfoil hat fears that census data will be used to round you up? I get that this is a relatively conservative district but do you think we could come to some sort of agreement that just because you are conservative doesn't mean you have to be crazy?

Thank You

Eric Austin aka Political Muse

Have you ever heard something so phenomenally stupid that all you can do is giggle and shake your head? Now imagine that you had this experience every single time the person representing you in your nation's government opened their mouth and you would understand my world.
The voice of the St. Cloud Republican Party is at it again in his role as attack dog. If there is one thing that Gary Gross does with zeal and vigor, it is try to discredit anything and everything that Senator Tarryl Clark does or says. Unfortunately, that zeal and vigor comes without any actual fact checking.

So, in another episode of "Gross Inaccuracies", we offer another perspective:

It’s patently false to say that Gov. Pawlenty’s statement was the end of negotiating because negotiations took place throughout the weekend. Just because Tarryl didn’t like what she heard during those negotiations doesn’t mean that the negotiations didn’t happen. Rejecting his counter proposals isn’t proof that negotiations ended during Gov. Pawlenty’s press conference.

It’s obvious that the DFL leadership didn’t expect Gov. Pawlenty to be the adult who would do what Minnesota’s Constitution mandates. The DFL leadership didn’t expect Gov. Pawlenty to tell them that he was tired of the stunts that they were playing.

In those negotiations, and in public, Governor Pawlenty proclaimed that he would not accept nor would he even negotiate on tax increases. Instead, he told everyone that he would sign all the bills put forward by the legislature, except for the bill to pay for them (conveniently), and unallot in order to make the budget look like his original proposal. How does one have any meaningful negotiations with a person who refuses to consider certain items and in the end finds a way that he can make the final product look very much like his original proposal? Having met with legislative leaders only 3 times throughout the entire session while being out of the state upwards of 29 times, it appears as though the Governor didn't even start negotiating let alone end negotiating.

"Stunts they were playing"? It boggles my mind how Gross and other Republicans can support the budgeting gimmicks that Pawlenty is willing to play and then call those gimmicks being the "adult". While you may not like the taxes proposed by the DFL, at least they were willing to pay for what they were spending rather than continuing to borrow, shift, and spend.

Tarryl says that unallotment “is meant to be a scalpel” that shouldn’t be used except in the final year of the biennium. The statute doesn’t have language in it that would indicate that. Quite the contrary:

Subd. 4.Reduction.(a) If the commissioner determines that probable receipts for the general fund will be less than anticipated, and that the amount available for the remainder of the biennium will be less than needed, the commissioner shall, with the approval of the governor, and after consulting the Legislative Advisory Commission, reduce the amount in the budget reserve account as needed to balance expenditures with revenue.

I’m pretty certain that there isn’t anything in the unallotment provision that says it’s only supposed to be used at the end of the biennium. I’m pretty certain that the part that says it can be used if “the commissioner determines that probable receipts for the general fund will be less than anticipated.” It further states that the commmissioner can’t use this authority unless he’s received the governor’s approval or until he’s consulted with the Legislative Advisory Commission.

Wait, you say the statute "doesn't have language" but then go on to use a less definitive "I'm pretty certain"? Which is it? Perhaps if you are going to dispute her interpretation you should figure out FOR CERTAIN your interpretation.

Further, I would direct you to the words "anticipated" and "remainder". These two words imply a certain amount of time has passed. A balanced budget has to have been reached before you can then have a budget which is "less than anticipated". Further, a "remainder" of something is certainly not the whole of something thus the further implication that this is something to be done at some point AFTER a balanced budget has been established.

Here’s another bit of Tarryl’s spin that needs debunking:

And make no mistake the Governor’s cuts will cost us jobs across the state, jobs in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and colleges. Police and fire will be reduced and libraries and parks will not be spared. And in the end the cuts alone won’t be enough. This year for the first time Minnesotans will pay more in property taxes than income taxes. That is a direct result of this Governor’s policies and the Governor’s unilateral cuts will only make it worse.

Any city council or mayor that cuts public safety first shouldn’t hold their jobs beyond the next election. In fact, council members or mayors that start by cutting public safety budgets should be forced to resign ASAP because they’ve proven that they can’t make thoughtful decisions.

Well, you didn't so much debunk what she said so much as reframe the statement to your liking and debunk that statement. Tarryl didn't say that these would be the FIRST cuts. Rather, she said that they would be reduced.

Instead of laying people off, perhaps these employees would be willing to accept a plan where they’re furloughed for a short period of time like 1 or 2 weeks. There are probably other ways of keeping these people employed. It’s time that the DFL thinks that a cut of any sort automatically leads to their preconceived notions.

Ahh, the solution! Rather than increase taxes upon the wealthiest amongst us by upwards of $200 per year, let us take and lay middle income people off for 1 to 2 week periods of time. It is interesting that you are willing to sacrifice the income of certain people but god forbid we ask the wealthy to chip in to keep things functioning.
12:00 PM | Posted in
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a press release yesterday from his remarks at a meeting of public charter schools. In that statement he suggested four methods by which we can turn around those schools that "have failed to make progress year after year".

The first option is based on what we did in Chicago. We awarded planning grants in the fall so new principals and lead teachers could develop and adapt curriculum to better meet the needs of the students. During the spring, they begin recruiting teachers and they take over the school in June.

Under this model, the children stay and the staff leaves. Teachers can reapply for their jobs and some get rehired, but most go elsewhere. A few leave the profession, which is not all bad. Not everyone is cut out for teaching. Like every profession, people burn out. In our view, at least half of the staff and the leadership should be completely new if you really want a culture change -- and that may very well be a requirement of the grants.

Our second option also involves replacing the staff and leadership and turning it over to a charter or for-profit management organization. As I mentioned, Green Dot, Mastery Charters and AUSL are doing this, but we need more of you to get in the game. I know this is tough work – but there is an upside. You start with a school full of kids so there is no student recruiting and you also get a building – which has been a big obstacle for many charter operators.

Obviously, you need to build a full staff more quickly – but that can be done. I am confident that many charter operators will figure this out and succeed brilliantly. I also recognize that you won't always succeed. I accept that – but what I won't accept is a nation that turns its back on millions of children in failing schools – while successful models are flourishing in the next community or the next town.

Our third turnaround model keeps most of the existing staff but changes the culture in the following ways. Again, we are open to input on this, but at a minimum:
  • They must establish a rigorous performance evaluation system along with more support, training and mentoring.
  • They must change and strengthen the curriculum and instructional program.
  • They must increase learning time for kids during afternoons, weekends, and in the summer -- and provide more time for teachers to collaborate, plan and strategize.
  • And principals and leadership teams must be given more flexibility around budgeting, staffing and calendar.
They must use everything we know about how to create a successful school culture – but do it all at once – with enough resources to get the job done. This approach makes more sense in smaller communities where there isn't a ready supply of new teachers and leaders -- and where the current staff won't have other job options. This model also gives unions an opportunity to take responsibility for fixing schools without replacing staff. We are beginning a conversation with the unions about flexibility with respect to our most under-performing schools. I expect they'll meet us more than halfway – because they share our concern. They understand that no one can accept failure.

But we should also be crystal clear: This model cannot be a dodge to avoid difficult but necessary choices. This cannot be the easy way out. It has to work and show results – quickly – in real and measurable ways in terms of attendance, parent involvement and student achievement.

All of these models assume a year or more of planning. We should be starting today to build teams that will take over schools in the fall of 2010. Schools and districts can use Title I funds right now to start the planning process.

The last of our four turnaround models is simply to close under-performing schools and reenroll the students in better schools. This may seem like surrender – but in some cases it's the only responsible thing to do. It instantly improves the learning conditions for those kids and brings a failing school to a swift and thorough conclusion.

While these appear to be interesting options and merit discussion, there is an important aspect of this debate over education reform that always gets overlooked despite being the most important factor in finding a solution. That aspect is the definition of progress. Until we can find a standard definition of progress we will continue to spin our wheels with solutions to solve a problem which we have yet to define.

With each student starting at different points each and every year, is it wise to define progress as one particular point or percentage? The student who goes from 20% to 45%, while still having failed is technically "progressing" more than the student who goes from 55% to 60%.

The other component is the method by which we evaluate the "progress" of students from year to year. Between rote standardized testing and more complex assessment tools, there must be some basic agreement on assessing progress or these labels of progressing or not progressing will be relatively meaningless. Educators, if given input and the ability to determine these definitions, will be far more likely to buy into achieving these goals. If not, many will continue to see them as little more than meaningless labels that have little to do whether their children are actually "progressing".
5:03 PM | Posted in ,
Republicans in the 6th District of Minnesota have a handy dandy new website with super awesome propaganda to keep even the most ardent Ron Paul supporter swimming in conspiracy theories. There appears to be a problem, though.

WHAT! A Problem? For a people that are so very proud of their elected leadership in Washington DC one would think that they could do her the honor of SPELLING HER NAME CORRECTLY!

click image to enlarge
Excellent work CD6 GOP...
Category: ,
1:30 PM | Posted in
This is the question which created a nation, developed a Constitution, played a role in a Civil War, and to this day places people in any number of ideologies which seek to definitively answer. From those who believe the proper role of government is rooted in only the physical defense of its citizenry to those who believe in a more expansive public safety net, the question continues to drive us as we seek to determine what we want out of our government nationally and here in the state of Minnesota.

All of the other arguments around taxation, services, and aid are merely subsets of this larger question between ideologies. So, as we discuss the effects of unallotment let us also have an honest discussion of what we want the role of government to be here in Minnesota.

From my perspective, the role of government is that of a supplement. A supplement that helps those people who drop through the cracks of even the best charity networks. A supplement that keeps education from being the opportunity of more than just the very wealthy. A supplement that provides our state with the services and infrastructure we simply could not provide for individually or even in small groups.

So, what should the role of government be? Why?
9:23 PM | Posted in ,
Today is the day, the day on which Governor Pawlenty emerges from his throne room to announce to the peasantry what decisions he has made. It is the day on which we will see who will increase their share of the budget burden so that the wealthiest amongst us can avoid the pain.

A Governor who chose to meet with DFL leadership in the legislature only a handful of times and spent nearly a month outside of Minnesota during the legislative session itself will now go it alone. This strategy is not out of some magnanimous desire to help the state but rather out of a selfish need to impress conservative activists in crucial states needed to be the Republican nominee for President in 2012.

Last week I attended a meeting at which Representative Larry Hosch pointed out just what these decisions mean for the metaphorical family budget T-Paw likes to tout:

You can voice your concerns about this unprecedented move to subvert the authority of our legislative process by signing this petition at Defend Minnesota and sending a message to Governor Pawlenty that this is not how we do things here.
7:33 PM | Posted in
For those that do not know, MNMuseTube is a project that I took on a year ago to catalogue and post floor speeches of Minnesota's Democratic delegation in Congress. Typically, I have taken those videos and posted them here with occasional explanation of the topic or legislation being discussed.

While MNMuseTube will be a continued feature here, it will take on a slightly different form. From here on out I will be posting the videos with discussion on Congress Matters.

Congress Matters aims to bring the community-based political watch party that we've built at Daily Kos to the United States Congress.

By watching, learning, analyzing and discussing the daily activities of the Congress, we hope to improve our effectiveness as advocates and activists. We'll pull back the curtains on how Congress conducts its business, both public and "private" (i.e., within the party caucuses and conferences), explain floor procedure and rules, and even throw in a little gut feeling when appropriate to try to get a better picture of what's going on, and more importantly, what we can do about it.

Each week there will be a round up of links to MNMuseTube stories on my Congress Matters page. Currently, you can view the latest Keith Ellison appearance in his role as Progressive Caucus spokesperson and Amy Klobuchar speaking about the Travel Promotion Act of 2009.
1:34 PM | Posted in , ,
Last week I wrote up a "Your Turn" to the St. Cloud Times which was published today in response to a previously published "Your Turn" by local conservative, Gary Gross. Here it is in its entirety:

In what may need to be a regular column titled “Gross Inaccuracies” in this or another publication, my favorite conservative foil and the mouthpiece of the Republican Party in St. Cloud, Gary Gross, provided a rather fact-challenged Your Turn on the recent legislative session. (“DFL leadership clearly to blame for the poor legislative session,” May 31.)

For the sake of rebuttal let us use his handy dandy format:

1. Given that Gross would like to use stamp allowances to balance a $6.4 billion deficit, I would direct his attention to Senate Resolution 66 authored by Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller. The resolution cut the maximum stamp allowance for senators in half for the next two years. It passed and is expected to save about $50,000 in the next two years. Gross touted a figure of $350,000 yet the entire Senate stamp budget for the previous two years was $125,000.

2. The Per Diem Boogeyman rears its ugly head in the Gross reinterpretation of the data without so much as a mention of the fact that legislators are free to forego these payments. One might assume from his writing that it is only the DFL who takes these payments. If the Republican Party was so committed to this line of budget balancing, one wonders why they didn’t unilaterally give back their portion.

In reality, 24 percent of DFL senators (including Assistant Senate Majority Leader Tarryl Clark) and 19 percent of Republican senators voluntarily reduce their per diem payments.

3. At the start of session the Senate took the following steps to cut $1.5 million from their budget: banned out of state travel, held open 24 positions, ended job promotions and froze wages. At the end of session the Senate passed and the governor signed a bill that includes additional cuts for the next two years.

Minnesota did not have a $2.2 billion surplus. It was an illusion created by the governor by counting one-time money as ongoing and by ignoring inflation. After 16 months we continue to play these budgetary games rather than fix the structural imbalance of our state budget.

This governor realizes that to cut our way out of this problem is a road he cannot travel without serious political consequences, so watch as he shifts as much of the problems into the future as he can.

I would have much preferred more aggressive negotiations from both sides of the aisle and have expressed as much in different venues but what is clear is that Gross and his Republican colleagues refuse to acknowledge that after the first veto of a tax bill that was much lower than originally proposed this governor decided to take his ball and go home.

Thus, a second tax bill was produced that accepted the governor’s shifts in education funding as a show of compromise and in hopes it would bring some returned compromise from the governor. Obviously, that did not happen.

Rather than deride the listening sessions held by legislators across the state, Gross and his Republican friends in state government would have done well to actually listen, as they would have heard of the shared sacrifice that Minnesotans were willing to make to finally fix our state budget.

Instead, the sacrifice will be shouldered by the middle and lower income brackets as state obligations are pushed off to property taxpayers and the next generation.

Gross wants to pin this entire problem on the DFL but unfortunately the facts simply do not bear that out. To be clear, it also does not mean the entire problem is one of the Governor or the Republicans in general. This is a systemic revenue problem and we can either raise those revenues through taxation, borrow our way out the problem which is the current path of this Governor, or cut our way out of this problem which neither side is willing to do. At this point, the DFL has recognized the problem while the Governor and his party have decided to hide the problem with continued structural deficits.
10:58 AM | Posted in , ,
Representative Bachmann, who has previously railed against community service as the potential "re-education" of the children of this country, took the opportunity yesterday in the House of Representatives to vote against a resolution supporting the goals and effectiveness of the AmeriCorps Program.

The text of H. Res. 453:

June 10, 2009.

Whereas the AmeriCorps national service program, since its inception in 1994, has proven to be a highly effective way to engage Americans in meeting a wide range of local needs, national response directives, and promote the ethic of service and volunteering;

Whereas, each year, AmeriCorps provides opportunities for 75,000 citizens across the Nation to give back in an intensive way to their communities, States, and to the Nation;

Whereas those same individuals have improved the lives of the Nation's most vulnerable citizens, protect the environment, contribute to public safety, respond to disasters, and strengthen the educational system;

Whereas AmeriCorps members, after their terms of service end, remain engaged in their communities as volunteers, teachers, and nonprofit professionals in disproportionately high levels;

Whereas AmeriCorps members serve thousands of nonprofit organizations, schools, and faith-based and community organizations each year;

Whereas, on April 21, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, passed by bipartisan majorities in both the House and the Senate, which reauthorizes and expands AmeriCorps programs to incorporate 250,000 volunteers each year;

Whereas national service programs have engaged millions of Americans in results-driven service in the Nation's most vulnerable communities, providing hope and help to people facing economic and social needs;

Whereas, this year, as the economic downturn puts millions of Americans at risk, national service and volunteering are more important than ever; and

Whereas 2009s AmeriCorps Week, observed May 9 through May 16, provides the perfect opportunity for AmeriCorps members, alums, grantees, program partners, and friends to shine a spotlight on the work done by members--and to motivate more Americans to serve their communities:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) encourages all citizens to join in a national effort to salute AmeriCorps members and alumni, and raise awareness about the importance of national and community service;

(2) acknowledges the significant accomplishments of the AmeriCorps members, alumni, and community partners;

(3) recognizes the important contributions to the lives of our citizens by AmeriCorps members; and

(4) encourages citizens of all ages and backgrounds and from each state to consider serving in AmeriCorps.

      What is AmeriCorps?

      Each year, AmeriCorps offers 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups. Whether your service makes a community safer, gives a child a second chance, or helps protect the environment, you’ll be getting things done through AmeriCorps!

      AmeriCorps members address critical needs in communities all across America. As an AmeriCorps member, you can:

      • Tutor and mentor disadvantaged youth
      • Fight illiteracy
      • Improve health services
      • Build affordable housing
      • Teach computer skills
      • Clean parks and streams
      • Manage or operate after-school programs
      • Help communities respond to disasters
      • Build organizational capacity

      Obviously, a dangerous mission that must be stopped..
      Yesterday evening I traveled out to St. Joseph to attend the Senate District 14 DFL meeting at which Representative Larry Hosch and Senator Tarryl Clark spoke with locals about the recent legislative session.

      Representative Hosch started things off with a brief review of both the budget put forward by Governor Pawlenty which he described as a budget of someone who would not be around to deal with its affects on Minnesota and the budget put forward by the legislature.

      The biggest sticking point between the two sides, according to Hosch, appears to be whether they solved the remaining $1 billion budget gap by borrowing the money through bonding like the Governor proposed or whether to increase taxes on the wealthiest Minnesotans and through other sales taxation.

      It was abundantly clear at this meeting that Hosch is a representative to be proud of as he pointed out the faults in the budget set forward by Pawlenty but also recognized that this systemic problem of deficits year after year is the fault of both the legislature and the Governor. It is refreshing to hear someone admit that there is a problem for which everyone is at fault including themselves and that he tried to do his part to fix that problem.

      Stay tuned for more on Health & Human Services cuts, the GAMC veto, the constitutionality of unallotment, and more...
      5:28 PM | Posted in , ,
      For some time now there has been a discussion as to who is the official leader or spokesperson in the Republican Party. Democrats have been eager to pin that title upon the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity who represent a voice of extremism that tends to make mainstream and moderate Republicans cringe. Yet, few have been willing to question them as it generally leads to a smack down coupled with a need to apologize or clarify remarks.

      Governor Pawlenty, who appears to be laying the groundwork for a 2012 Presidential run, went on C-Span Washington Journal today and was given the question of whether Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Newt Gingrich are good spokespersons for the Republican Party. His answer veered slightly around the original premise but he did remark that Limbaugh, Hannity, and Gingrich represent "voices of a previous effort":

      What does that mean?

      Pawlenty makes the implication that these voices, while still part of the Republican Party, have passed the point at which they are useful or perhaps wanted in order for the party to regain dominance in American politics. One wonders what will happen to Pawlenty and his chances at running in 2012 if he continues to frame Limbaugh, Hannity, and Gingrich as personalities of the past.
      As the health care debate continues to rage between the forces who firmly believe in a single payer system versus those who stand on the side of an entirely free market system, there has been little progress in actually accomplishing anything of substance. That being said, President Obama is staking a good deal of his political capital on producing some actual reform.

      In his weekly address, he gives some hints at the kind of reform he is looking towards. The biggest of these being lowered cost, improved coverage, and consumer choice. What that all means and how that all works remains to be seen.

      Over the past two weeks, the Progressive Caucus has been holding its special order hour specifically on the subject of health care and the reform of the system. Minnesota Representative, Keith Ellison, spoke as part of that group:

      More towards the middle of the spectrum, Dr. Maureen Reed who is seeking the DFL and Independence Party endorsements to run against Michele Bachmann spoke about the need to stop being wedded to a solution and actually find a solution.

      One thing is clear, whatever your feelings are about health care and the need for reform, the issue will be at the forefront of the national debate for some time to come.
      9:22 AM | Posted in , ,
      Senator Clark slams the Governor for trying to impress national conservatives at the expense of everyday Minnesotans. Without reelection hanging over his head, Pawlenty is free to make the most extreme cuts which may play well to the base of the ever shrinking Republican Party but which the average Minnesotan will probably find unacceptable.

      But what are the consequences of these unallotment cuts?

      • The GAMC veto could cost upwards of 4000 jobs.
      • Hospitals could see 20 jobs lost for every $1 million in cuts.
      • An estimated 900 jobs were lost due to the line item veto of bonding projects.
      • Education will potentially see another $1.8 billion cut as Governor Pawlenty simulates a shift through unallotment.

      These are but a few of the consequences of a Governor who has decided to use the state of Minnesota as his very own conservative proving grounds without regard to what the majority of Minnesotans wish out of their state government.
      5:56 PM | Posted in , ,
      With the recent announcement that Governor Pawlenty will not be running for a third term, the race is on from the right to announce or announce that you are thinking about announcing. Even before the Pawlenty news there was already a slew of candidates on the left who are running or thinking about running.

      Politics in Minnesota has a handy dandy chart for you to see who is officially in, who is thinking about being officially in, and who they believe is definitely out.

      Here are the names on the Left either running or thinking about running:

      • Tom Bakk
      • Chris Coleman
      • Mark Dayton
      • Matt Entenza
      • Susan Gaertner
      • Steve Kelley
      • Margaret Anderson Kelliher
      • John Marty
      • R.T. Rybak
      • Paul Thissen

      Here are the names on the Right either running or thinking about running:

      • Pat Anderson
      • David Hann
      • Paul Koering
      • Paul Kohls
      • Marty Seifert
      • Charlie Weaver

      Honestly, my initial thought is one of unimpressed apathy with the entire field. What are your thoughts? Do you have a dream candidate? Throughout the summer my hope is to do some more detailed profiles on the various candidates who officially announce. Stay tuned...
      4:21 PM | Posted in
      I am attempting to install a new comment system through "Intense Debate". You can check out my profile HERE and consider this an open thread...
      8:49 PM | Posted in ,
      H/T Blue Man

      Did you ever wonder what would happen if Jesus ran a bank? Forget for a moment the whole strange convergence of the son of God and money which, from my understanding of the Bible, he kinda shunned. One would think that a Jesus endorsed bank would be highly successful in all of its dealings. A bank in Otsego decided to put the two together but is now having some trouble:

      The six-year-old bank, which has branches in Otsego and Anoka and $127 million in assets, was ordered to increase its capital after allegedly engaging in "unsafe or unsound banking practices," including operating with inadequate reserves and excessive loan losses, according to an order issued by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on April 7 and made public Friday.

      There is no word yet on whether this is an official divine rebuke...

      What the article doesn't mention, however, is that this bank is owned by state representative Mary Kiffmeyer. After hearing a lot during the last election about how "integrity counts", it now appears as though there are some random conditions to that whole integrity thing.

      As people enter their polling place next year in House District 16B or perhaps Senate District 16 or heaven help us all across the state to elect the fiscally conservative candidate, will an image run through their mind of Kiffmeyer giving out so much money that even the dreaded government has to step in and tell her to stop?
      7:31 PM | Posted in , ,
      Recently, conservatives across the country took to the airwaves, led by the likes of Michele Bachmann and others, to express their indignation at the Department of Homeland Security report describing the potential rise of right wing extremism.

      HOW DARE YOU, they screamed at the top of their lungs! Labeling people who are opposed to abortion as potential terrorists? Who could even fathom such a situation? These are certainly not people who are violent or people we should be in any way concerned about...

      It is not as if a prominent member of the conservative movement here in Minnesota who apparently has one on one conversations with Representative Bachmann would advocate or be excited by such things as the assassination of a President or a Doctor who performs abortions, would he?

      Well, certainly in the thick of a campaign there are words that are spoken which perhaps we wish we could take back:

      So, why is it important to highlight this fine fellow from the right wing blogosphere in Minnesota? Well, in early August, this blogger called openly for the assassination of Barack Obama.

      Somebody please! Do a Sirhan Sirhan on this pompous ass, willya?

      But it wouldn't happen again, would it? Oops, nevermind...

      What about the killing of a Doctor who performs an abortion? Certainly he condemns the killing even though he disagrees with the practice, right? Oops, nevermind...

      Remember that song, "Dancing in the street"? I suddenly have an overwhelming urge to play it really loud... and dance in the street!

      Nope, no domestic terrorists here... Ain't conservatism GRAND!