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Bonding, foreclosure aid among issues drawing comment

MinnPost readers had lots to say recently about line-item vetoes in the bonding bill as well as a host of other topics ranging from carbon reduction to foreclosure policies to the Star Tribune’s plans for beefed-up streaming video. 

MinnPost readers had lots to say recently about line-item vetoes in the bonding bill as well as a host of other topics ranging from carbon reduction to foreclosure policies to the Star Tribune’s plans for beefed-up streaming video.

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Tony Wagner was among those who commented on the Wednesday Community Voices essay, “Key distinction: Are projects good for the state — or goodies for legislators?” by Craig Westover:

I agree that the bonding bill needed trimming, but I think we’re being overly sensitive if we interpret Rep. Hausman’s “gotten their stuff” remark as evidence of improper legislative practices.

I wish the governor would have shown a little more impartiality and, say, sacrificed one of his hockey arenas too, but I can’t blame him for axing the Central Corridor money, given the new sales tax increase dedicated to transit funding.

I believe the DFL was right when they rebuked the governor’s over-reliance on bonding/borrowing for transportation projects. Now, it seems the roles are reversed! And with the user taxes and sales taxes already on the books, I think I agree with the governor here: there’s no sense bonding additional money for non-emergency transportation projects.

Mark Gisleson
‘s view differed:

And the fact that 99% of the money cut by Pawlenty was in DFL Senate Districts is just a big coinkydink, right Craig?

This is the kind of backroom garbage I’d expect from Alabama or Mississippi, not Minnesota. Kinda makes you wonder who Rachel Paulose would be prosecuting right now had she not tripped over her tongue too many times.

Expect the worst from the Republicans and you’ll never be disappointed.

John Olson added:

Bonding bills are one of the few opportunities that Rep. Average Legislators get to have their names attached to brick and mortar. If it is successful, they get the bouquets. If it is unsuccessful, they get the brickbats.

The transportation veto was overridden but the legislative majority wants to eliminate or severely curtail JOBZ, something the Governor does not want to see happen. Each now believes they have something of value that the other wants.

So, we enter the bonus rounds of “Deal or No Deal” at the corner of Rice St. and University Avenue between now and the end of the session.

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In response to G.R. Anderson Jr.’s Wednesday post, “Central Corridor’s future? Pawlenty’s cagey and DFLers are grim,” Thomas Swift commented:

The Democrat legislature is well known for its childish petulance, but they have really set their own hair on fire this time.

The Governor laid out the rules well in advance, and he wrote them out in large block letters: “Only take 700 million cookies.” The kiddies, as usual, decided to test the limits by emptying the jar and opening the spare pack to boot.

So the Governor put their toy choo-choo up on the top shelf until the kids decided to listen to reason.

All the little gluttons had to do was put some cookies back into the jar and they’d have gotten their little toy back. But instead of coming home to reason, the kids have tossed petulance to the winds and picked up with a full blown temper tantrum.

If the choo-choo gets tossed into the trash this year, not only would it be appropriate, it would stave off a financial boondoggle for the taxpaying citizens for at least one more year.

The Governor has the backing of the majority of Minnesota voters when he slapped the greedy DFL hands, and he has our backing to follow through with his decision to the end of this legislative session and beyond.

Good work, Governor.

Dean Carlson responded:

Thomas Swift looks to revising history to make the Governor look a lot better. Governor Pawlenty originally had a bonding bill of $965 million, including $70 million for the Central Corridor. Then when the budget shortfall was announced he lowered his threshold to $825 million, without ever indicating which $140 million from his original proposal he would cut (that’s leadership for you).

Never did T-Paw “in large block letters” say take only 700 million cookies. It doesn’t excuse the legislature for still coming in $100 million over what the gov stated he wanted, but at least let’s be factual.

And on the same topic, Nancy Gertner commented on Joe Kimball’s Monday post, “Capital city officials dismayed with wholesale vetoes of St. Paul projects”:

Yes! We need this leader in Washington.

Think how he will succeed the aging John McCain and improve the National Zoo, the Smithsonian, Union Station and the DC Metro, just as he is forging improvements in the North Star State.

Wonder if he will deport the pandas and send them back to China?!

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Mark Gisleson appreciated Susan Albright’s Tuesday World/Nation essay, “Are we dumb and getting dumber? Susan Jacoby thinks so”:

Finally! A review of Jacoby’s book that doesn’t “tsk tsk” and unquestionably support her “crotchety” thesis about our being dumbed down.

Jacoby is just another in a long line of reactionary scolds who cannot stand the fact that each new generation finds different paths to knowledge, in addition to the more traditional routes.

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John Brett
weighed in on Ron Way’s Tuesday story, “Minnesota puts teeth into carbon-reduction policy”:

YEAH!!! Let’s drive out more industry and send more jobs overseas. Oh, and an added benefit is that we get higher energy costs to boot. There’s nothing more progressive than limiting industry, raising energy costs and … wait, I forgot the recent fuel tax. Boy, you folks really know how to help out the working man.

On the same story, Karen Sandness asked:

How does the “carbon reduction policy” fit with Pawlenty’s veto of funding for Central Corridor light rail?

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Henock Gugsa commented on Sharon Schmickle’s Monday story, “From Cold War to cosmic war: Why is there so much religious violence?”:

There is no doubt that religion is at least as provocative and controversial a human preoccupation as any political ideology or doctrine, old or new. But what needs to be understood is that this is nothing new or astounding. The details or particulars of religious violence may appear new. But, in reality, they are just manifestations of the same in different form.

King Solomon said it a long time ago: there is nothing new under the sun. That religion could be a force for good or, in the wrong hands, a force for evil is self-evident. My father once told me that the devil’s favorite hiding place was under a priest’s hat or turban. The lesson for us is to learn to separate the secular from the spiritual if we are to find harmony and peace.

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Charley Underwood had this to say about Doug Grow’s April 4 Political Agenda item, “Today was a good day for Al Franken”:

A few questions might give some perspective.

How many Atlantic Monthly readers will be delegates to the Rochester state DFL convention?

How many Doug Grow readers who read this item about the Atlantic Monthly article about Al Franken will be state delegates?

How many of those combined three universes (Grow, Atlantic, convention) will be receiving their primary information about Al Franken from this coverage?

Interestingly, most delegates will probably make their decisions based on listening to candidate speeches or even personal conversations with the candidates or their volunteers. (If you don’t believe this, ask any delegate about the calls they have been getting from the candidates themselves.) Yes, Democrats at the national level are eager to help us here in Minnesota as we work to get rid of Bush enabler Norm. They have seen the SNL skits and maybe read “Lies and the Lying Liars,” but they really don’t know Jack. If Jack gets the endorsement, there will suddenly be articles in the Atlantic Monthly, the Nation, the Washington Post, the N.Y. Times and so on. It is a beauty of the caucus/convention system that delegates actually get to ask the hard questions of the job applicants for U.S. Senator.

It is a tremendous advantage for Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer that he knows the answers. This race isn’t over yet, despite what you might hear from a magazine from “Back East.”

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Stephen Dent agreed with the April 4 Community Voices essay, “Twin Cities must accept some unflattering truths — and act to reduce disparities,” by Mary Brainerd and Jim Campbell, co-chairs of the Itasca Project:

Thank you to Mary Brainerd and Jim Campbell for keeping our eye on the ball. If Minnesota and the Twin Cities continue to allow poverty, transportation and education to slide, we will become the “cold Omaha” Hubert Humphrey once warned us about. Over the past four decades, I feel Minnesotan have transformed from being a rather socially caring society into an individualistic-centric society where we take care of ourselves, even at the expense of others. Examples include our failure to adequately fund transportation (after all, we individuals have cars and don’t need public transportation) and education (we send our kids to private schools, so who cares what happens in Minneapolis Public Schools).

Our new emigrants may not look like us, but they do want the same things our ancestors wanted; a healthy, prosperous and peaceful life. In time, we will be handing the reins over to the next generation. Let’s make sure they’re equipped with the skills, values, and integrity that made Minnesota such a great state for most of the twentieth century.

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Loretta Holscher commented on Steve Berg’s April 4 World/Nation essay, “Foreclosure relief: Another bailout for bad behavior?”:

Build it and they will come! Build a system for easy money and people will invest on hope alone. Develop a diet pill and you too can lose 20 lbs. in just one month. If you want it bad enough, you will get it, whatever “it” is. …

We can no longer afford greedy business and a gullible public who will not read the fine print, so we can attain whatever we want.

The American people together need to take responsibility for our sad economic state and realize that capitalism does have ups and downs. The whole is a reflection the individuals in the system. Hopefully, each of us can get our own houses in order and quit blaming every institution for our own misguided thinking.

Maybe it’s time for nationwide humility lessons on several levels. Too bad the fall had to be this painful, because this time it’s definitely personal.

Tom Poe added:

Clear and concise reporting of the present situation. Can we expect anything else from misguided Republicans? Corporate welfare will once again be demonstrated in the loudest shouts possible, without once admitting it is their primary function.

Craig Westover also commented:

The problem with this analysis is that the focus is on who is helped and who is hurt by the various proposals. The focus should be on the economic viability of the solutions, regardless of who might benefit or be harmed.

Government should not be in the business of bailing out Wall Street or Main Street as a general rule. That said, government regulation and money supply management is so intertwined in these issues that it will have to respond in some way. It should do so based on sound economic principles, not with an eye to protecting any one group from harm.

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David Brauer’s Tuesday post, “Soon to debut: ‘Strib TV,’ “ drew a number of comments, including this one from James Lileks:

This is going to be fun.

When I got into daily journalism at the Pioneer Press, we could write long now and then — but the section was always tight, and every nice long feature crowded out other work. When I went to work for a syndicate in the early ’90s, we had trouble pitching our pieces to papers in the chain: no room. (The recession shrunk news holes all across the country.) Now we have print + blogs + video. There’s more room to do stuff than ever before.

As for inferior production values — I can’t speak to the look of StribTV, since I’m not involved with the project, aside from talking about possible contributions. But I’ve been streaming reasonably good-quality widescreen video at for a while, and other sites — like — run broadcast-quality stuff on a shoestring budget. You’d be surprised what you can do with an entry-level HD cam and the video-editing software that comes with any Mac. Besides, YouTube looks like crap, and it’s not exactly sucking wind. For that matter, the current video offerings on the Strib website look better than the local TV channels’ stuff.

Like I said: this is going to be fun.

Bill Siege contributed:

They should just call it the Strube!

From Jeff Urbanek:

This illustrates the demise of print journalism all too clearly. We (most Americans) no longer have the patience to wade through an article, thinking and analyzing and parsing the truth. Now even the neatly-packaged evening news requires too much attention — we would much rather prefer two or three minute web clips.

Susan Lesch added:

Re: “I like the Strib web guys. Their skill is often underappreciated.” OK, here is some appreciation! The Star Tribune folks were Web pioneers. They opened for business in June 1995 and they tested alt.journalism in 1994 before this. They might have been the only major paper asking and answering technical questions on Usenet back then. Good luck to them with their new idea.

From Justin Heideman:

I’ll reserve judgement until I see the product.

That said, my gut feeling is this has failure written all over it. And that, I think, will not be an uncommon sentiment. Sorry team, getting into web video to make money is a really dumb idea.

Rich Goldsmith commented:

I’d be impressed if the Strib can manage to put together entertaining web video. If they try to put together evening news-type pieces, this will be an utter failure. But if the pieces are adjuncts to articles, or have some snark/attitude to them and can draw in some interest from those who have otherwise written off the Strib, it could be a nice added feature. And it never hurts to keep visitors at your site for an extra 2-3 minutes …