Friday, August 31, 2007

Hillary Hears a Hsu...

(click for story)

Amazing what one decision and a few strokes of the pen can do...

As much as Minnesotans love to poke fun at their southern neighbors, socially, Iowa is about as conservative a state as you'd ever see. In the heart of what the coasts call "flyover country" is a bastion of the midwest work ethic, hearty farm families.. everything that one considers to be well and good about America.

If there was to be an amendment on the ballot to approve gay marriages in Iowa, there wouldn't be a snowball's chance in hell of its passage; in fact, Iowans passed a law to preserve marriage as a legal and social contract between one man and one woman.

We have been told time and time again, that a state Constitutional Amendment to preserve and protect the institution of Marriage was unnecessary, since "there were laws already on the books."

Err..Come again?

With one decision and a few strokes of a pen, an Iowa judge decided that he, himself knew what was best for Iowa, and struck down the voter-approved and instituted legislative ban on same-sex marriage; in effect, telling the vast majority of Iowans to take their sensibilities and "stick it where the sun don't shine."

A super-majority of Minnesotans, 60 percent at last count, are for preserving the institution of marriage in its current state of being. Yet the DFL delegation, in its perpetual state of condescension and self-perceived omniscience, has continually thwarted efforts to put the issue in front of the voters in the form of a Constitutional amendment to make it so; all the while assuaging them that the state of marriage was not in peril in Minnesota.

It is time that the majority of Minnesotans once again rise up and call upon the DFL to preserve the integrity of marriage.

The future of our society demands it.

A Charlie Brown Ramadan?

h/t to my good friend, Chicago Ray!

DFL Stood Up. Again.

Governor Pawlenty is quietly, unilaterally, and rightfully utilizing his executive authority to release aid monies to S.E. Minnesota's flood victims, and the democrats are hopping mad:

With agreement on a special legislative session still elusive, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has unilaterally opened the state's coffers to aid flood recovery in southeastern Minnesota -- one of the emergencies a session would likely deal with.

With that action and his announcement that his staff has set up a new one-stop flood recovery website, Pawlenty continued to announce initiatives that suggest progress is underway, special session or no. And DFLers continued blasting him for not yet calling one.

The truth is, as has been hammered by many a conservative voice in the weeks following the I-35W bridge collapse, a special session was never needed. The truth is that the "no disaster left behind" DFL has always seen this situation as an opportunity to set Minnesota back on what they saw as the "right track" toward profligate spending and big government:

DFL legislative leaders have spelled out that they want a more expansive session, which they would have the ability to control because only they can end a special session after the governor has called it.

In a letter delivered to Pawlenty on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher indicated they want to revisit the tax bill that Pawlenty vetoed earlier this year and the broad transportation bill he also vetoed.


Pawlenty repeated Thursday that he is unwilling to call a session that isn't narrowly focused.

He has proposed $200 million in bonding focused on both road and bridge safety and flood relief, additional money for flood recovery and property tax relief. If a session were limited to those items, "I could call it tomorrow," he said.

He also has said he would support a gas tax increase of as much as a nickel a gallon.

"I've extended an olive branch to reach some compromise," he said during a radio interview. "It doesn't look like they're going to accept it, so we're going to have to go back to the drawing board."


Pawlenty said Thursday that a broader transportation bill could wait until the regular legislative session that begins in February.

The DFL, like the overbearing bridezillas that they are, have again been rightfully stood up at the altar of Minnesota Politics.

Perhaps that is why they will always be the bridesmaid, but never the bride.

A Year of Honoring Heroes

The Wednesday Hero Blogroll will have been in service for one year tomorrow!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Will Jack Murtha Apologize Now???

Jim Addison over at Wizbang has this very interesting post (read it--please!) that underscores the fact that only one Marine continues to face charges in the alleged "Haditha Massacre," and that the case against that Marine is crumbling.

Gary Gross, as well as myself, have contacted Murtha's office for a statement each time one of the Haditha Marines had been acquitted of charges; only to be hung up on at the least, and/or given short shrift at the most, saying that Murtha's choice was to wait until all proceedings were done.

When this last Marine (Sgt. Frank Wueterich) is finally exonerated, where will John Murtha (D--PA-12) hide?

The Latest on Fred's Announcement

Dear Friends,

On September 6, 2007, Fred Thompson will be announcing his intention to run for President of the United States with a webcast available to millions at The launch of the video will be followed by a five-day campaign tour through Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. On the evening of the 6th, there will also be a National House Party, during which there will be a conference call with Fred.

We enter this campaign in a strong position. Fred is consistently near the top in the polls, and conservatives across the country have put together the closest thing to a draft in recent presidential campaign history in an effort to bring about this day. The next few weeks will only serve to build upon those efforts, with house parties, visits to the early primary states, and a homecoming in Lawrenceburg, TN on the 15th. To view the dates and locations of Fred's bus tour, please click here, and check back soon for more information on attending one of these events.

By announcing via webcast, Fred is able to take his consistently mainstream conservative message directly to the voters, who are already responding to that message with a strong upwelling of grassroots support. The webcast and the following campaign tour will play to Fred’s strengths, a consistent record of conservatism, his ability to clearly spread his message, and his ability to work with and connect with Americans from all walks of life. Be apart of this historic occasion by signing up to host or attend a house party today.


Bill Lacy
Manager, Friends of Fred Thompson, Inc.


As Fred's campaign picks up speed in the coming weeks, look for the latest Fred Thompson news at Minnesotans for Fred (

Yeah. It's Coming.

I can hardly wait.

A profile in courage?

With regard to Governor Pawlenty's possible agreement with a five-cent per gallon increase in Minnesota's gas tax, DFL Senator Steve Murphy prattles:

"We've got a long way to go from five cents, but at least the governor is making the move in the right direction," Murphy said. "I think that the more people find out what the depth and breadth of this problem is, they're going to be more willing to listen."

Murphy said that a nickel increase falls short because "five cents raises $150 million and we have over a $3 billion underfunding in transportation a year."

Still, he said, Pawlenty is showing courage.

What courage does it take to exact even more money from hard working Minnesotans' pockets, when the need isn't there? I admit, it takes chutzpah; but is the forced, unnecessary redistribution of wealth really an act of courage?

On the other hand, I wonder if Steve Murphy would consider it an act of courage if he and his fellow-DFLers would finally clamp down on profligate spending and actually seek to tighten the government's belt, for a change.

That would be a twist.

While the Strib is predictably salivating over the possibility of a special session and free-for-all spending spree, the organ from the other side of the metro seems to say, "not so fast!"

Perhaps true "courage" will win out after all.

Or more accurately, a lack of chutzpah.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

GOP Bloggers Straw Poll

More on the road to hell...

Like unnecessary deaths:

It would be a familiar scene in Iraq's next few years: Crowds gather, insurgents mingle with civilians. Troops open fire, and innocents die.

All the while, according to internal military correspondence obtained by The Associated Press, U.S. commanders were telling Washington that many civilian casualties could be avoided by using a new non-lethal weapon developed over the past decade.

Military leaders repeatedly and urgently requested - and were denied - the device, which uses energy beams instead of bullets and lets soldiers break up unruly crowds without firing a shot.

It's a ray gun that neither kills nor maims, but the Pentagon has refused to deploy it out of concern that the weapon itself might be seen as a torture device.

There you have it, moonbats. Caterwalling about Abu Ghraib, flushed Korans at Gitmo; screaming "TORTURE!" and crying wolf where there was no wolf.

Perched on a Humvee or a flatbed truck, the Active Denial System gives people hit by the invisible beam the sense that their skin is on fire. They move out of the way quickly and without injury.

On April 30, 2003, two days after the first Fallujah incident, Gene McCall, then the top scientist at Air Force Space Command in Colorado, typed out a two-sentence e-mail to Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"I am convinced that the tragedy at Fallujah would not have occurred if an Active Denial System had been there," McCall told Myers, according to the e-mail obtained by AP. The system should become "an immediate priority," McCall said.

But again, I reiterate:

but the Pentagon has refused to deploy it out of concern that the weapon itself might be seen as a torture device.

Yep--all that caterwalling in your efforts to undermine our war effort sure as hell paid off, hasn't it?

More blood on liberals' hands. What else is new?

And the hell of it is, if the military did use that non-lethal, non-maiming weapon, BDS-infested moonbats would sure as hell have labeled it as torture.

Are you having fun paving that road to hell, moonbats?

Do As I Say! (Part 150,000,000)

It seems that the Breck Girl is all for sacrifice:
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards told a labor group he would ask Americans to make a big sacrifice: their sport utility vehicles.

The former North Carolina senator told a forum by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, yesterday he thinks Americans are willing to sacrifice.

Edwards says Americans should be asked to drive more fuel efficient vehicles. He says he would ask them to give up SUVs.
Don't you just love limousine liberals? Of course we should sacrifice. But sacrifices are for the little people, don't you know?

Edwards, you're a putz.

Sure to go in the Anti-PC Hall of fame...

From the Daily Mail:

100-year-old celebrates her birthday by smoking 170,000th cigarette

An iron-lunged pensioner has celebrated her 100th birthday by lighting up her 170,000th cigerette from a candle on her birthday cake.

Winnie Langley started smoking only days after the First World War broke out in June 1914 when she was just seven-years-old - and has got through five a day ever since.

She has no intention of quitting, even after the nationwide ban forced tobacco-lovers outside.

Gotta love it.

Wednesday Hero Blogburst, 8-29-2007

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Randy Thorsvig

Ken Leonard
Ken Leonard (On The Right)
From High Point, North Carolina

Every once in a while you run across one of those "feel good stories". Those stories that show us just what a person can do when they really want it bad enough. And Ken Leonard has one of those stories.

In 2005, Ken Leonard left his job as a police officer in High Point, North Carolina to go to Iraq to work with a private security firm. In December of that year, Ken, along with five other men in his vehicle and six others in the vehicle behind him, was hit by a roadside bomb outside of Baghdad. "After the bomb went off, I knew exactly what had happened," Leonard recalled. "My feet got jarred, so I knew they were hit." While others in his vehicle were injured, he had received the worst of it. He had lost both his feet.

The vehicle behind them pushed Leonard's to a safer area. But flames were coming out of the air conditioning vents and they had to get out. Leonard crawled from the car and fell to the pavement. "That’s when I saw my feet," he said. "I could tell they were gone. They were still attached, but they were shredded."

On July 19, 2007, Ken Leonard went back to North Carolina to get his job back with the police force. To do that he needed to pass the Police Officers Physical Abilities Test, which, among other things, consisted of a 200-yard run to be finished in under 7 minutes, 20 seconds. And he did just that with 24 seconds to spare.

"Somebody told me one time they said, 'You know, what you've lost is just bone and muscle. You've still got heart, and you've still got, you know, what's up here,'" Leonard said, pointing to his head.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Frank(en) Question goes Unanswered

What do you get when you cross Swiftee and Mrs. Swiftee in a contest with an uber-liberal candidate for U.S. Senate?

No Contest.

A MUST-READ fisking by the Master Fiskmaster himself.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

My Impatience Paying Off?

I made a post out of frustration yesterday, asking Fred to "Shit or Get off the Pot."

I was rightly admonished by a fellow Fred Head, but was still a bit discouraged.

Not anymore.

A round of applause, please, for former Virginia Sen. George Allen, who finally got likely GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson to hint when he plans his big announcement. Filling in for Richmond's WRVA morning host Jimmy Barrett, Allen just came out with it, asking the Law & Order star what's up.

Said the Fred, who's been testing the political waters: "Well, the water is pretty warm. I like the temperature a lot." He also told Allen, "It won't be very many more days" before he declares.

During the five-minute chat, Thompson addressed the complaints that he is taking too long to make up his mind.

"This is not an attempt to be cute or game the system," he promised. Thompson said instead that he's just working on more of an old school schedule, when candidates didn't announce until the fall before the election year.

And he said that running for president isn't something he's planned all his life. "I'm doing in a few months what people have taken a long, long time period to do," he said.


Full Speed Ahead, Fred!


Fred will have a speech carried live on C-Span tonight at 6:00pm Central.

There is scuttlebutt afoot that he may just announce. Others with some amount of cred say that he will do so by video.

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Just what is the abortionist's agenda?

The pro-infanticide faction of the culture of death have long maintained that their aim was to keep abortion "safe, legal and rare."

While they have certainly kept abortion legal, they certainly have not kept the heinous act "rare," as over 40,000,000 infanticides after Roe v. Wade can attest.

Nor, could one say that they, in reality, mean to keep abortion safe, as can be affirmed by this:

Planned Parenthood Sues to Halt Missouri Regulations
By Randy Hall Staff Writer/Editor
August 24, 2007

( - Planned Parenthood has filed a lawsuit
to try to stop a Missouri law that would require two of the
organization's offices to follow tighter operating regulations
or shut down. A federal judge is expected to rule in the
matter on Monday, Aug. 27.

Under HB 1055, abortion offices would be monitored by
Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services as
"ambulatory surgical centers," which have higher opera-
tional standards, for the facilities and the personnel.

The measure - which was signed into law last month
by Republican Gov. Matt Blunt - states that the desig-
nation applies to any center where any second- or
third-trimester abortions are performed, as well as
facilities that conduct more than five first-trimester
abortions a month.

Peter Brownlie, CEO of Planned Parenthood of
Kansas and Mid-Missouri (PPKM), said the new
measure "is intended to shut down abortion services
at two Planned Parenthood centers in the state" -
the Columbia and Brous (Kansas City) facilities -
but would have "no impact on family planning
services or the quality of care patients receive."

The law, scheduled to go into effect on Aug. 27,
would require that hallways be at least six feet
wide and doors be at least 44 inches wide. The
clinics must also have separate male and female
changing rooms for staff, and a recovery room
with space for a minimum of four beds with three
feet of clearance around each bed.

PPKM has charged that meeting the new
regulations would require $2 million in extensive
remodeling to its Columbia facility or closing down
the center. In addition, "it makes no sense to require
a location like our Brous Center to become a
surgery center, since no surgery is performed there,"
Brownlie said in a news release.

Yep... no surgery is performed there, unless you call a procedure in which "the vagina is spread open, and a scraping or suction instrument is passed through the cervix and into the uterus to remove tissue from the lining of the uterus" "non-surgical".

Of course, requiring higher standards in keeping abortion "safe" is not sitting well with the ghouls at planned parenthood:
"This onerous legislation has nothing to do with protecting women's health and safety," Brownlie stated, and "Planned Parenthood remains committed to providing needed reproductive health services in Missouri. We will not stand by and allow politicians to intimidate women and create more barriers to their ability to get health care."
But when you figure that:
...(b)ased upon an estimated average cost of $400 per abortion, STOPP estimates that PPFA had a total income of $90,950,000 from abortion procedures in 2002. STOPP has made a yearly estimate of PPFA’s abortion income for each year 1977 – 2002 based upon an estimated average cost of an abortion in each particular year. Please view the results in the chart, Estimated Planned Parenthood Abortion Income 1977 – 2002. Adding up each year’s estimated abortion income from 1977 to 2002 gives a total of about $985,000,000 of income from abortion during that period.
You'd think they'd be able to spare a little of that blood money for improvements to their facilities, wouldn't you?

You see, the dirty little secret is that Planned Parenthood is far from a selfless "public service agency" that seeks to provide a needed service to women in trouble. Rather, Planned Parenthood is nothing more than a money making operation that seeks to profit from the slaughter of the most innocent among us.

A mountain of fetuses, over 40,000,000 strong, bears testimony to that fact.

Typical Democrat Voter?

All one could do while watching this is to wince and grimace.

Based on the asinine, unworkable policies of the democrat party, one would have to surmise that the folks in this video would be the perfect fit as useful idiots for their bidding.

GOD help the United States of America!

Fred Thompson to be at the Minnesota State Fair

From Marty Seifert:


It's my honor to host a State Fair visit by former Tennessee Senator, actor, and - possible - presidential candidate Fred Thompson at the Minnesota State Fair. Fred will be making the rounds with me and you can catch up with us at 11:45 at the Minnesota Republican booth.
As you may have heard, hundreds of Republican activists gathered at the St. Paul River Center to cast ballots in a non-binding Presidential Preference Straw Poll on Wednesday. Thompson won a narrow victory, although his name was not even on the ballot. As Thompson is not an officially announced candidate, voters had to physically write in his name as their preferred candidate.
It was an exciting event and the margins were close. This shows that the opinions of the Republican Presidential candidates in Minnesota are mixed and up for grabs.
Please join us at the State Fair on Monday if you can!
Date : 8/27/2007
Time : 11:00:00 AM 1:00:00 PM
Location : MN GOP Booth (Link)
Thank you again,
Marty Signature
Marty Seifert
Republican Leader
House Republican Campaign Committee
This is significant, as much of the established Minnesota delegation has been for John McCain up til now.

Damned Monkeys...

Where's the NOW Gang when you need 'em?

They estimate there are close to 300 monkeys invading the farms at dawn. They eat the village's maize, potatoes, beans and other crops.

And because women are primarily responsible for the farms, they have borne the brunt of the problem, as they try to guard their crops.

The monkeys grab their breasts, and gesture at us while pointing at their private parts
Villager Lucy Njeri

They say the monkeys are more afraid of young men than women and children, and the bolder ones throw stones and chase the women from their farms.

Nachu's women have tried wearing their husbands' clothes in an attempt to trick the monkeys into thinking they are men - but this has failed, they say.

"When we come to chase the monkeys away, we are dressed in trousers and hats, so that we look like men," resident Lucy Njeri told the BBC News website

"But the monkeys can tell the difference and they don't run away from us and point at our breasts. They just ignore us and continue to steal the crops."

In addition to stealing their crops, the monkeys also make sexually explicit gestures at the women, they claim.

"The monkeys grab their breasts, and gesture at us while pointing at their private parts. We are afraid that they will sexually harass us," said Mrs Njeri.

The Kenyan Wildlife Service told the BBC that it was not unusual for monkeys to harass women and be less afraid of them than men, but they had not heard of monkeys in Kenya making sexually explicit gestures as a form of communication to humans.

I wonder if it would have had something to do with this:

Tomorrow President Bill Clinton begins a six-day, four-country trip across Africa, his sixth visit to the continent since he left office in 2001.


I think not.

After all, Monkey see, Monkey do.

Not for all the tea in China...

Would I get in this wave pool in Tokyo:

If even 5 percent of those folks decided it was a good time to take a piss...

Fred, it's time to shit or get off the pot.

Details over at Minnesotans for Fred!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Can you help?

The dems are seeking a "bumper sticker slogan" they can run with in 2008:
The DSCC, a group that works to elect Democrats to the Senate, is urging Democrats to vote on its four suggestions -- "or create one of your own by midnight August 27."

The DSCC's suggestions include "W Is Out: Send the Right Wing With Him," "No Republicans Left Behind in D.C.," "What Have Republicans Done for You Lately," and "2006 Was Just the Beginning: More Dems in '08."
Never consider me one to be unhelpful. Let's see if I can come up with a couple:

  • Democrats: Making sedition an artform since 2005.
  • Democrats: The Great Society: Give it another decade. It'll work. Honest.
  • Democrats: Save the whales, nuke the babies.
  • Democrats: Bush is Hitler. Cheney is Hitler. Rove is ...

Feel free to submit your own suggestion in the comments section!

I'm telling you governor...

Like a one-night stand with a Hennepin Avenue Hooker, we're all going to regret this:

Majority House and Senate Democrats said there's no reason for Pawlenty to delay his session order.

"We think Minnesotans are waiting on us and we want to get to business here," said House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, DFL-Minneapolis.

"We're ready to go," added Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis.

...they said, while salivating and rubbing their hands.

How do you stop lemmings from going over the cliff?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Another reason why the savages need to be defeated...

See Pat Santy's post regarding the pure evil that must be reckoned with.

(h/t Beth at Blue Star Chronicles)

The end of the Insurgency in Iraq?

See Captain Ed's post for more on this heartening development!!

Al Douri has made moves to recognize the Maliki government, and thus the greatest bloc of insurgency may be no more!

AQI, who has been bombing the hell out of women, children, and a host of innocent Iraqis is now marginalized to the point of extreme isolation. Right now, it appears that dogs wouldn't join them if pork chops were tied about their necks!

It is indeed a time for celebration-- (or a time of mourning, depending on which side of the aisle you're on).

Of Moose and Men

If you can't pin global warming on humans, then pin it on Bullwinkle!
Oslo - A grown moose belches out methane gas equivalent to 2 100 kilograms of carbon dioxide a year, contributing to global warming, Norwegian researchers said on Wednesday.

That is more than twice the amount of CO2 emitted on a round-trip flight across the Atlantic Ocean from Oslo to the Chilean capital Santiago, according to Scandinavian Airlines.
Or half the amount emitted during one of Rev. Al Gore's global junkets in his private jet to proselytize the masses into submitting to his religion.

Or a quarter of the amount of methane that the good Rev. Al himself emits out of his pie and bung holes during only one hour of proselytizing.

(click for full size)

Some commercials worth watching--and supporting.

NZ Bear points us to Freedoms Watch, a multimillion dollar campaign to support our troops and their missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Click on the link above, and view the videos.

It's about time that someone counters the sedition from the far-left nutroots of the fever swamp and their lapdogs in the halls of congress.

Please support their efforts!

Regarding killing machines...

Don't give me this "pit bulls are really nice dogs" crap.


They are bred to maim and to kill.

The owners of the dogs in the above-linked story need to be held unconditionally and fully accountable, as if they themselves attacked the woman.

The Pit Bull is one breed of dog that should be selected for extinction.

Wednesday Hero Blogburst 08-22-07

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Kasee

SSgt. John Self
Click Image For Full Size

SSgt. John T. Self
29 years old from Pontotoc, Mississippi
314th Security Forces Squadron
May 14, 2007

A kindhearted patriot. That's how SSgt. John Self was described by those who knew him. "John was a good boy, a good boy who loved his country and who loved Christ and for that he’ll move on to a better place," said Laron Self, Sgt. Self's grandfather, fighting back tears.

SSgt. Self was killed, and three other airmen wounded, when an IED hit the Humvee they were traveling in while on his 79th patrol in Baghdad, Iraq. "John volunteered for this deployment while he was deployed to (Southwest Asia)," said Chief Master Sgt. Keith Morris, 314th SFS security forces manager. "We discussed this deployment via e-mail. He said he made his decision to deploy again to gain experience."

"He could always find the humor in anything regardless of the situation," said Senior Airman Daniel Hunsperger, a member of Self's fire team. "He believed in everything he did. This was obvious to us after learning he had only spent two weeks home between his last deployment and volunteering for this one."

On May 23, SSgt. Self was laid to rest with a crowd of hundreds to pay their respects. People lined both sides of the highway for more than 5 miles waving flags as the hundred-car procession traveled to the burial. Shouts of, "We love you John," and "Thank you, John, could be heard as the train of cars passed by. "That’s a hero," Susan Chambers, one of the many mourners, said to her son as she pointed at Self's casket.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

So now I'm a "public enemy."

At least according to a contributor to AMRA News, the monthly publication of the Automatic Meter Reading Association..

That's not the case with opinion/editorial blogs. Online op-eds are just like those in the newspaper. If they're compelling enough, corporate communicators might want to be thinking of ways to address them.

To illustrate his point, Joyce offers this example of a blog posting that slams Xcel Energy. He says it's a particularly effective hit against the utility, because the blog writer is using one of the Xcel's own brochures as evidence of the gas utility's misstep.

Should you respond to such a posting? And, if so, how? "If the op-ed piece is raising important issues, you may want to respond to the writer on the blog," Joyce says. But, even if you don't want to engage the writer online, "you might want to come up with some corporate message that explains or counters the negative viewpoint so that you can start shaping public opinion in your favor."


Well, the linked article was written in February, so they're a bit late. But then again, better late, than never.

The Automatic Meter Reading Association has it out for me now.

I better double check my electric bill :-)

Open the floodgates... Here they come.

From here:
Illegal Presence in US Not A Crime, Court Says
By Jeff Golimowski Senior Staff Writer
August 21, 2007

(1st Add: Includes comments from Barton County Attorney Douglas Matthews.)

( - If you can get past the border guards and into the United States, you're no longer violating the law, according to a Kansas Court of Appeals decision.

The ruling comes after an illegal immigrant, Nicholas Martinez, was sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to possession of cocaine and endangering a child. Court documents say Martinez was caught in an undercover sting by detectives in Barton County, Kansas (about 120 miles northwest of Wichita), using his young son to help sell cocaine.

Under Kansas law, the charges (and plea bargain) would have landed Martinez on probation. But the judge in the case said the defendant couldn't be put on probation because of his immigration status.

"Mr. Martinez is illegally in the country and is in violation of the probation rules right from the start if I place him on probation," court documents quoted Judge Hannelore Kitts as saying. "He has to comply with all the conditions of the probation and he can't do that because he's in violation of the law not to violate any federal or state laws."

The judge then rejected the plea agreement's sentencing recommendation and ordered Martinez to spend a year in jail.

"I don't want to speak for her, but the judge obviously believed there was an inconsistency in placing him on probation when one of the first things he would have been told was to obey the law," said Barton County Attorney Douglas Matthews.

But on appeal, a three-judge panel threw out the sentence, based on an apparent contradiction in U.S. law. While it is illegal to enter the country without the proper documents and permissions, it is not necessarily illegal to be in the country.

In its opinion, the court explained that Congress had implicitly created the distinction: "While Congress has criminalized the illegal entry into this country, it has not made the continued presence of an illegal alien in the United States a crime unless the illegal alien has previously been deported," said the opinion.

Anyone else see any major disconnects here?

First read this, then this, then this...

Then, read this:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Friday the state (READ: TAXPAYERS--ed) may be willing to pay the extra $20 million to $30 million it would cost to include light-rail transit on the Interstate 35W bridge.

Pawlenty's comments came after nearly two weeks of debate and division among state, Minneapolis and federal officials over whether the replacement for the collapsed span should be built with the potential to carry light rail.

Before Pawlenty's comments, Minneapolis officials modified their stance, saying the bridge should have light-rail capacity but need not be built specifically for the Central Corridor line, which is to connect downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. The city's role could be pivotal because, under state law, it will be asked to provide "municipal consent" for the bridge design.

A disagreement over light rail could stall the project for months, jeopardizing the state's plans to push for completion by the end of 2008.

In Pawlenty's strongest statement of support for light rail since the bridge collapse Aug. 1, he said Friday on his weekly radio show: "It does appear from an engineering standpoint, we can build the bridge ... to be LRT-capable. I've sent signals to the mayor, and he's signaled back that the LRT piece is a significant consideration."

Pawlenty was referring to Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.

Rybak has pushed to have light rail on the new span. Its price tag without light-rail readiness is estimated at $250 million or more.

Lately, Pawlenty is becoming harder to read than a Chinese menu.

For instance, take a look at this.

A note to Minnesota's Taxpayers:

Get ready to bend over and take another one up the keester. It appears that our governor is more than willing to let it happen.

Hear that PFFFT! sound?

That's the sound of all the progress made by our side in the 2007 legislative session, going up in a puff of smoke.

Congrats, Governor. You're well on your way to sending the conservative cause in Minnesota back to the stone age.


Fortunately, we do have some stalwarts in the MN legislature who are continuing to fight the good fight:

(from a press release dated today)

Seifert Challenges Democrat Budget Priorities

SAINT PAUL – (August 17, 2007) -- House Republican Leader Marty Seifert (R-Marshall) questioned the priorities of House Democrats today after DFLers doubled their committee budgets.

Seifert’s comments came on the heels of the DFL-controlled Rules Committee approving a near 100 percent increase in the House Committee budgets. The original budget increased from $324,000 to $646,000.

“This gross increase in legislative bureaucracy is excessive and unnecessary,” said House Republican Leader Marty Seifert. “I am shocked the House Democrats doubled their own budget at a time when families are trying to pay their property taxes and live within their means. We need investments in Minnesota, not investments in the Legislature.”

The House Rules Committee also approved a 7.75% pay raise for House employees, retroactive to August 1, 2007. In addition, Democrats approved additional pay increases to staff for 2008.

"I don't know a lot of regular, hard working Minnesotans getting back-to-back pay raises within a year,” Seifert said. "When I talk to truckers, waitresses and secretaries, I know that they are not getting these types of raises."

Another concern to Seifert is that House Democrats increased legislators’ gas payments for inner district travel. Under the formula, one rural Democrat lawmaker could take home over $1600 each month in district mileage.

"I find it ironic that the people who are trying the hardest to raise the price of gas by increasing gas taxes are the first to meet at the capitol and give themselves protection by raising their gas mileage payments, courtesy of the state treasury" Seifert said.

Seifert said he was very concerned about the timing and notice of the committee hearing. The hearing was held in a conference room without televised capability with inadequate notice to the public and little opportunity for public testimony.

"I think if the average person knew what Democrats were doing with their money, they would be outraged. Unfortunately, the Democrats think this is what voters want. They are absolutely wrong." Seifert said.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Michele Bachmann made the right move...

Even when the majority did not.

I noticed this hit piece on Michele Bachmann today, and I sent this letter in response:

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

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

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

In a letter to the editor published on 17 August, 2007, Liz Engels states, "In the future I hope Bachmann, can stand up to big business and represent her constituents in a manner that shows the character of St. Cloud and the greater 6th District with a more forward-looking and practical vote."

The irony of that statement is that with regard to this measure, Bachmann did indeed place "a forward-looking and practical vote."

Rather than imposing an arbitrary standard, the cost of which the market (and ultimately, Minnesota consumers) would find difficult, if not impossible to bear, Mrs. Bachmann wisely thought it better to allow the market, in its own time, to come up with viable solutions.

The saying, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" has been proven to be embodied in arbitrarily imposed government restrictions and/or standards that have no relationship to market forces. Often, these restrictions have resulted in inflated consumer prices, and have presented themselves as more problematic than the problems they were supposed to address.

It bodes well that we in the 6th have a legislator who recognizes this.

Thank you, Michele Bachmann!

Leo Pusateri
St. Cloud, Minnesota

Thursday, August 16, 2007

MN SD-15 Resolution regarding I-35W Bridge and Possible Special Session

A couple of nights ago, the MN SD 15 Republican Committee and some concerned constituents (including yours truly) drafted the following approved resolution to be presented to Governor Pawlenty:


WHEREAS, we thank Governor Tim Pawlenty, Lieutenant Governor Carol Molnau and the Minnesota delegation to the United States House of Representatives and Senate for their leadership during the 35W bridge collapse; and

WHEREAS, the Legislature and the Minnesota Department of Transportation has not put together a statewide priority checklist; and

WHEREAS, it is an established conservative principle to utilize tax payer monies in the most efficient manner possible so as to minimize the tax burden on working Minnesota families; and

WHEREAS, conservative principles have been proven to be sound policy under all conditions; and

WHEREAS, the cause of the 35W bridge collapse will not be known for 12-18 months pending agency assessments, investigation and reports; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that we exhort our Governor to create a comprehensive roadmap for Minnesota to build safe highways & bridges, and be it further

RESOLVED, that we especially exhort Governor Pawlenty to not call a special session, and be it further

RESOLVED, that we also exhort Governor Pawlenty to not sign any legislation that includes a gas tax increase.

Resolution approved by Senate District 15 BPOU Executive Committee; and by concerned citizens and delegates present at the 14 August, 2007 Senate District 15 BPOU Executive Committee Meeting.

Fred to shake up the status quo

David Broder had the chance for a two hour conversation with Fred, and had this to say:

The approach Thompson says he's contemplating is one that will step on many sensitive political toes. When he says "we're getting a free ride" fighting a necessary war in Iraq with an undersized military establishment, "wearing out our people and equipment," it sounds like a criticism of the president and the Pentagon.

When he says he would have opposed adding the prescription drug benefit to Medicare, "a $17 trillion add-on to a program that's going bankrupt," he is fighting the bipartisan judgment of the last Congress.

When he says the FBI is perhaps incapable of morphing itself into the smart domestic security agency the country needs, he is attacking another sacred cow.

Thompson repeatedly cites two texts as fueling his concern about the country's future. One is "Government at the Brink," a two-volume report he issued as chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee at the start of the Bush administration in 2001 and handed to the new president's budget director as a checklist of urgent management problems.

The difficulties outlined in federal procurement, personnel, finances and information technology remain, Thompson said, and increasingly "threaten national security."

His second sourcebook contains the scary reports from Comptroller General David Walker, the head of the Government Accountability Office, on the long-term fiscal crisis spawned by the aging of the American population and the runaway costs of health care. Walker labels the current patterns of federal spending "unsustainable" and warns that unless action is taken soon to improve both sides of the government's fiscal ledger -- spending and revenue -- the next generation will suffer.

"Nobody in Congress or on either side in the presidential race wants to deal with it," Thompson said. "So we just rock along and try to maintain the status quo. Republicans say keep the tax cuts; Democrats say keep the entitlements. And we become a less unified country in the process, with a tax code that has become an unholy mess, and all we do is tinker around the edges."

Thompson readily concedes that he does not know "where all those chips are going to fall" when he starts challenging members of various interest groups to look beyond their individual agendas and weigh the sacrifices that could ensure a better future for their children.

But these issues -- national security and the fiscal crisis of an aging society with runaway heath-care costs -- "are worth a portion of a man's life. If I can't get elected talking that way, I probably don't deserve to be elected."

Thompson says he feels "free to do it" his own way, and that freedom may just be enough to shake up the presidential race.
Should be an interesting ride, to say the least.

Go get 'em, Fred!

For the latest in updated Fred Thompson news and videos, check out the sidebar at Minnesotans for Fred. If you have a blog and want to support Fred, consider joining the Minnesotans for Fred blogroll!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How do you like him now, Lefties?

Hugo Chavez is in the midst of making himself dictator-for-life:

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- President Hugo Chavez will present his blueprint for constitutional reform Wednesday, proposing sweeping changes expected to allow him to be re-elected indefinitely.

Chavez, who is seeking to transform Venezuelan society along socialist lines, unexpectedly announced late Tuesday that he would unveil his project before crowds of supporters at the National Assembly. He predicted it would bring renewed political upheaval to Venezuela.

Chavez's political allies firmly control the National Assembly responsible for reviewing his proposal as well as the Supreme Court. His critics accuse him of becoming obsessed with power and seeking to become a lifelong leader just like his close friend Fidel Castro.

Chavez rejects allegations that he poses a threat to democracy.

What part of "dictator for life" and "threat to democracy" does Chavez think is not congruent?

So Danny Glover, Cindy Sheehan and Sean Penn... Are you ready to take up residence in your new-found "worker's paradise?"

How do you like your "little darling" now?

Was Algore alive in 1922?

Eerily familiar doom and gloom from a bygone era.

The 1922 article, obtained by Inside the Beltway, goes on to mention "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."

"This was one of several such articles I have found at the Library of Congress for the 1920s and 1930s," says Mr. Lockwood. "I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all."

I wonder if it was Al Gore's grandpappy who wrote that 1922 article.

After all, they say that much of insanity is genetic.

I didn't know that George Bush was running in '08...

But Hillary seems to think so:

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) -- The White House on Tuesday assailed Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton for criticizing President Bush in her latest television ad, calling her statements "outrageous." The 60-second spot, which began running Tuesday in Iowa, intercuts scenes of the candidate interacting with voters and talking about challenges facing many working people.

"If you're a family that is struggling and you don't have health care, you are invisible to this president," the New York senator says in the ad. "If you're a single mom trying to find affordable child care so you can go to work, you're invisible too.

The ad also argued that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are "invisible" to Bush.

White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino initially declined to comment on the ad, but then lambasted the spot and the senator.

"As to the merits of it, I think it's outrageous. This is a president who, first and foremost, has helped millions of seniors across the country have access to prescription drugs at a much lower cost," Perino said. "As to whether or not our troops are invisible to this president, I think that is absurd and that it is unconscionable that a member of Congress would say such a thing."


"Apparently I've struck a nerve. The White House just attacked me a few minutes ago," Clinton said. "Not only have I said it and am saying it, I will keep saying it because I happen to believe it."

Again, Hillary, apparently your handlers forgot to tell you that "W"s not running in '08. Tilt at windmills if you must, but your strategy sucks.

Your handlers, however, have kept you spot on with regard to your socialist message:

Calling herself an optimistic and modern progressive who would help the nation overcome economic disparities, Clinton said the U.S. can "grow" its economy amid global competition "and do it in a way that benefits all Americans."

Clinton said the Bush administration "is working for Americans with incomes at the very top."

"Americans work harder than anyone else in the world, yet we're not getting rewarded," she said. "We're seeing a growing gap between the haves and have-nots that threatens the backbone of our country, the middle class that built our country."

This backdrop for Hill's speech speaks volumes:

Heh. "Shared Prosperity" = code word for "Wealth Re-Distribution:"

cue the music

Wednesday Hero Blogburst, 8-15-07

This Week's Soldier Was Suggested By Kat

Sgt. Michael J. Stokely
Sgt. Michael J. Stokely
23 years old from Sharpsburg, Georgia
1st Battalion, 108th Armor Regiment, 48th Brigade Combat Team
August 16, 2005

Next Saturday, August 25, the town of Peachtree City, Ga. will be holding it's inaugural Ride To Remember for Sgt. Michael Stokely who lost his life two years ago tomorrow in Baghdad, Iraq when an IED detonated near his position. The patrol he was with had stopped and the NCO in charge had everyone take a rest while he walked back down the road with a Corporal to check out something suspicious. Sgt. Stokely refused to to rest, and instead took up a flanking position at the rear of his truck to watch their backs. Which, as a Cav Scout dismount, he saw as his job. The NCO and Corporal heard cracking noises and made their way to the sound when they were hit by an explosion. The NCO was seriously wounded but the Corporal made it through without a scratch. Sgt. Stokely, however, wasn't so lucky.

You can read more about Sgt. Michael Stokely here and here.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Could this be the Foot?

Could he have snapped, after reading so much moron mail?

I don't know... there's a lot of Emily Dickinson poetry being strewn all over KAR nation lately, as they are allegedly on strike.

On strike? Feh. Incarceration seems more like it:

ASHLAND, Ky. — Laughter might be unexpected in a liquor store where a robbery just occurred.

But that's how employees responded to the "Duct Tape Bandit" who hit Shamrock Liquors in Ashland and fled nearly empty handed.

A man who had his head wrapped in duct tape to conceal his identity walked into the store last Friday, Ashland police said.

Store manager Bill Steele had some duct tape of his own, but his was wrapped around a wooden club that sent the robber fleeing, according to a report by WSAZ-TV in Huntington, W.Va.

Store employee Craig Miller said he chased the man to the parking lot, tackled him and held him in a choke position until police arrived, the station reported. An unidentified customer also helped, police said.

Corruption Junkies in the U.S. House...

Seeing as how Congress, led by the corruption kingpin himself, Jack Murtha, is jones'n on earmarks and other freewheeling spending with other people's money (ours); perhaps it is time for a bit of exploration as to the root causes of our congresscritters' poor behavior.

After all, it is feasible that the poor congresscritters, once elected, and once presented with the aphrodisiac that is big time power and money, simply cannot help themselves. Perhaps it is a disease that has taken over, and they simply are powerless in acting in any other manner than as profligate buffoons who couldn't run a lemonade stand without taking a bribe of some sort or another.

Since I feel so sorry for these congresscritters, In the interest of compassion I offer the following program so that our elected congresscritters may climb out of the agony that is corruptoholism:

The 12 Steps for combating corruptoholism
  1. We admitted we were powerless over spending other people's money like a drunken wino who just found a five-spot—that our lust for power and money had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves (*gulp--ahh fahgetabout it. They're ain't no power greater than Congress!)
They wouldn't get past Step 2, would they?

On second thought, perhaps the only real solution for our poor, downtrodden genetically-corrupt congresscritters is what I will term the "cold turkey" solution.

Throw the bums out!

But that will mean that in the interest of helping their congresscritter, the enablers will have to cease their co-dependency on the largesse that their corruptoholic congresscritter brings home.

For that I propose, Corruptohol-anon; for those voters who rather than confront profligate corruption in their congresscritters, actually reward it by creating monuments in their congresscritters' name, not after they've died, but while they're still in office!

This presents an even bigger hurdle in aiding the congresscritter in battling his or her corruptoholism.

I guess when it comes down to it, "throw the bums out" is a great idea-- but only if their enabling constituents are willing to climb out of their comfortable hammocks to do it.

In the end, I guess the problem of corruptoholism is a multi-faceted malady that needs to be treated on a number of fronts.

Maybe we need a government program to address it.

Perhaps a John P. Murtha Center for Corruptoholic Congresscritters in PA-12 would do the trick.

Whaddya say, Jack?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Global warming: Where is thy sting?

Ever since the global warming glory train that was Katrina and Rita, the frothing-at-the mouth soothsayers proclaimed that each succeeding year would be worse, unless we immediately stopped driving our SUVs and moved ourselves back into the technological stone age.

My, but it's so quiet now, one could actually hear crickets.

Remember 2006, the greatest hurricane season that never was? Of course, some major "adjustments" were required toward the end of the season, weren't they?

Now here we are in the middle of Augsut, 2007, in the midst of what should be a juggernaut of back-to-back hurricanes, wreaking destruction and havoc well into the deep southern United States and the entire Eastern seaboard! Making lions sleep with lambs, and dogs sleep with cats, and a host of biblically-proportioned calamaties and catastrophes that will beyond a doubt boil the earth and wipe out humanity and every living thing and...

err... what was that?

There have been no hurricanes this season?

Only four tropical depressions? The latest of which just may develop into hurricane strength?

Global warming-- O where is thy sting?

::::cue crickets::::

More love from the adherents of the "Religion of Peace"

Nothing says "I love you" more than billy clubs and gun butts:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Gaza's Hamas rulers clubbed and slammed rifle butts into opponents taking part in a rare protest rally Monday, seizing the cameras of journalists covering the event and raiding media offices to prevent news footage from getting out.

The Islamic militants claim they're willing to tolerate dissent, but their actions - including arresting opponents and banning public gatherings - indicate otherwise.

Hamas in Gaza routed forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement in five days of savage fighting in June but later declared an amnesty for former Fatah fighters.

But when Fatah and other allied groups announced plans to hold a rally Monday, Hamas banned "all demonstrations and public gatherings" that did not have special permission.

Buses carrying protesters to the Gaza City protest site were halted by Hamas guards who beat passengers, driving them away and confiscating Fatah flags. Nevertheless, about 300 protesters got past the militia cordon and demonstrated for 20 minutes, shouting "We want freedom. . . . We want to raise our voice," before dispersing.

This story, along with an old saying, "Birds of a Feather" appear appropo.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sucks to be you, Jack.

Not only is Jack Murtha running for cover after falsely convicting Haditha Marines of cold blooded murder, now he's being bitten about the ankles by some dirty little things called earmarks.

Murtha's defense of earmarks questioned

By S.A. Miller
August 9, 2007

Mr. Murtha, who is one of the most prolific sponsors of earmarks in the Democrat-led Congress, defended the practice during debate Saturday night when questioned by Mr. Campbell and Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican.

“I think people around the country will be appalled ... to see Mr. Murtha stand up and say these contracts are competitively bid. They are not,” Mr. Flake said by telephone after returning home to Mesa, Ariz.

Mr. Flake commended new ethics rules passed this year that disclose more earmarks, but he lamented that the lawmakers allow the practice to flourish, regardless of what is disclosed.

“Ultimately, the system will change when people on the outside say, ‘This is enough," ” he said.

The bill contained 1,337 earmarks worth $3 billion, with $150 million in pork sponsored by Mr. Murtha.

Under the new rules, the number of earmarks in the defense bill dropped from the $10 billion in last year"s bill, but Mr. Murtha"s share of pork nearly doubled now that he is chairman, according to an analysis by Taxpayers for Common Sense.

Of course, true to the weasely nature of brave, brave Sir Murtha

Mr. Murtha did not respond to requests for comment.

However, Murtha did "explain" himself

He told the chamber that the pork spending, known as earmarks, is awarded in a competitive bidding process by the Pentagon and that the technology developed with federal dollars would be the property of the U.S. government.

Errr...nice try Jack:

“He"s got to know that"s not true,” said Rep. John Campbell, California Republican. “Clearly, the point of earmarks is they avoid the competitive bidding process.”

He also doubted that an earmark could establish a contractual agreement for product ownership, as did Steve Ellis, vice president of the government-watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.

“I"ve looked at hundreds of thousands of earmarks over the years, and I"ve never seen one that stipulates ownership,” Mr. Ellis said.

Mr. Campbell said he was seeking documentation from the Defense Department to refute Mr. Murtha"s claims and force him to retract the statements.

But again,

Mr. Murtha did not respond to requests for comment.

Me thinks me sees a pattern here.

Seems as if Jack Murtha's credibility bubbles are popping about him, leaving behind a thick coat of slime.

Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

This is Jack Murtha..

See Murtha Squirm.

Squirm, Jack, Squirm.


Local St. Cloud Area Legislators sound off on I-35 W Bridge Issue

From yesterday morning's KNSI's Hot Talk with AndyBarnett.

Barnett invited all area legislators for a round table to discuss the prospects of bridge funding, a special session, and other issues.

Present in the interview were Representative Steve Gottwalt (R-15-A), Representative Dan Severson (R-14-A), and via phone with Representative Larry Hosch (D-14-B).

Refusing to participate were District 15 State Senator Tarryl Clark (D), as well as Representative Larry Haws (D-15-B). District 14 Senator Michelle Fischbach (R) was unable to participate due to prior commitments.

The first part focuses on possible funding sources for upkeep of infrastructure (i.e., bridges) as well as the prospect for a special session and a gas tax increase; the second part focuses on the same; however, the discussion later on veers into the provision of the recently passed omnibus bill that affords free contraception to 12-year olds without parental notification.

Yes, both parts are long, but well worth the listen!

(Both links will open in a new window)

Part 1

Part 2

It should be noted that I had lunch with Rep. Gottwalt and with Rep. Matt Dean, and both have grave reservations regarding a special session.

Even though Governor Pawlenty can dictate the conditions under which he will call the special session, once the special session has started, the majority DFL party are then free to change the agenda to suit themselves, and can come out of the session with something much different than what was agreed upon by themselves and the Governor. In other words, once the session starts, it is totally out of the Governor's hands.

The Governor can still veto what comes out of the session, however, he did reportedly express that he was hesitant to veto legislation from a special session that he himself would call.

It is my opinion, however, that the Governor has every right to veto legislation which is clearly outside of the parameters of what would have been agreed upon in good faith at the outset.

However, to save all of the trouble that would certainly ensue, it would behoove Governor Pawlenty (who incidentally has political capital to the tune of a 75% approval rating) to follow the advice of Reps. Severson and Gottwalt: Don't call a special session in the first place. It has been proven that the DFL leadership cannot be trusted in such matters, and a special session will inevitably result in a political can of worms that would be better left unopened.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The I-35W Bridge, Tax Increases, and Other Food for Thought

The following was written by Minnesota Representative Mark Buesgens (35B), and will be in tomorrow's STRIB:

"In the early evening of Wednesday, August 1st, time virtually stood still for Minnesotans. The astonishment that a bridge on a major interstate highway could simply collapse, coupled with the horror of the unfolding scene has created a memory which will be burned into our psyches for a long, long time.

My first knowledge of the catastrophe came from my son who, with a couple college buddies were about 15 cars from the bridge when it went down. He quickly fired off a message telling me what had happened and that he was alright. When I talked to him later, he somberly told me that he’d seen his first dead body outside of a funeral home.

As we’ve come to expect in this day and age, it didn’t take long for many politicians to spring to the microphones and spew all sorts of rhetoric about caring, compassion and the need to “do something.” We are now hearing a growing chorus of political voices exhorting the Governor to call an emergency special session to deal with this crisis (read: raise taxes). I believe that such a move is ill-advised and that Minnesotans would be better served if our Governor were to reject such a knee-jerk reaction.

A special session would not be a magic wand which would suddenly cure all the woes of our neglected infrastructure. Raising the gas tax in September would not bring in huge amounts of revenue before the legislature is set to reconvene in February. Of course, immediate cash is necessary and the Governor has emergency powers to allocate the necessary revenue from any of the numerous reserve funds that the state has socked away for just such incidents.

The main impediment that has blocked a gas tax increase for almost two decades remains unresolved. Currently, the vast majority of the revenue is raised in the highly populated metro area. However, by our state’s dispensation formula, a majority of that revenue must be spent on infrastructure in the out-state. To realize the amount revenue that some folks are saying is necessary for the metro area, the gas tax would need to be increased dramatically. Given the current economics of gas prices, this is simply unacceptable. The issue of how the money is dispersed must be resolved prior to any serious discussion of raising the gas tax.

Raising taxes on our workers and families should never be done in a climate of high emotion where thoughtful and rational debate is rarely possible. Decision making in such an environment rarely stands the test of time and often creates more and larger problems over time then they solved in the near term. Calling a special session now virtually ensures a gas tax increase. All other options, even reasonable options such as re-prioritizing governments current spending habits, trading off one tax for another tax or looking for other means in which government can raise funds without increasing the tax burden, would be labeled as obstruction tactics and quickly shot down. This would truly be an injustice to what should be a deliberative and somber process.

Today, Minnesota needs a true statesman at its highest level, not a knee-jerk politician. We need leadership that will act decisively, not rashly. Our state would be best served if our Governor were to, 1) immediately release the funding necessary to deal with this current tragedy, 2) contract with private firms to conduct a thorough evaluation of our past bridge inspections, revisit any questionable inspections and begin repairing serious problems and, 3) demand that transportation leaders in the House and the Senate work with the Administrative branch and the public to bring forward thoughtful legislation in February. Calling a special session to simply raise the gas tax without exploring all other options would be a grave disservice to the people of the great state."


(Big Hat Tip: Cindy W.)