Sainthood for Scott County pols? ‘Psycho Talk’ for Bachmann

Alert the Tea Baggers! Scott County has announced it will roll back property taxes, something akin to repealing death in human existence. David Peterson reports for the Strib that “The net property tax levy — the most oft-cited marquee number — will drop from $55.8 million to $55.0 million after steep increases for years. That won’t be enough to spare owners of the most coveted properties, such as lakeshore, from small increases. But people in the hardest hit zones — often including townhouses and foreclosure-plagued exurban subdivisions with long commutes — will see declines of up to $300 a year.” You know Bill O’Reilly will be nominating Scott County commissioners for sainthood.

And “downside”, you ask? Well there is this, according to Peterson, “The county’s attempt to ramp up its roads spending in recent years will be dialed back, so much so that the county calculates a $44 million gap in infrastructure funding over the next decade from what it would have been if spending had been maintained.” And never mind that some of that shortfall will be made up with stimulus money, we’re talking tax cuts, baby!

We will not hold our breath waiting for any editorial writer or columnist at either local daily to make comment on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s call for kindred souls to “slit our wrists” to stop … health insurance reform. (Not an invasion by murderous Canadian hordes, you understand, or even the pernicious spread of Sports Illustrated swimsuit pornography … but health insurance reform.) The local papers aren’t in the business of pointing out the deranged opportunism of those representing their key readership demos. But Bachmann — as she does two or three times a week in her effort to out-looney Glenn Beck (gotta secure the base, you know) — has national TV and blogs alternately amused and woozy in disbelief. She made ex-Fargoite Ed Schultz’s “Psycho Talk” segment (again) last night, with Ed doing an impersonation of her patented shriek.

The latest organized disinformation on health insurance reform comes in a widely circulating story from The Daily Beast. This time a Tea-Bagger sister group is buying TV time to terrify (uninformed) women that “Obama care” means they’ll die from breast cancer. Writes the Beast’s Michelle Goldberg, “The Independent Women’s Forum, [the group producing the commercials] is closely linked to Americans for Prosperity, a major organizer of anti-Obama tea parties and town hall protests. (According to Sourcewatch.org, the two groups shared the same address and most of the same operations staff until last year.) So the effort to link health-care reform to breast cancer death is coming from the same people who’ve previously compared health care reform to the Holocaust.” And there’s gambling in Casablanca, you say?

Those California wildfires are throwing up a lot of smoke and fine ash, some of which may start coloring sunsets around here by Thursday. So reports Bill McAuliffe, the Strib’s weather guy. “But a shift in the jet stream could keep it to the south, said Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist for the national Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla. Corbin estimated that the smoke would move more slowly, reaching the Upper Midwest by the weekend.”

Photo bonus: We may only suffer rosier sunsets from the California wildfires, but check out this collection of stunning photography of the fires and firefighting from Los Angeles Times photographers. Terrific stuff.

Speaking of wasted tax money  — channeling FoxNews here — the PiPress runs a story from the Worthington Globe reporting that $28 million in stimulus cash is going to a wind farm near Pipestone. “The award, announced Tuesday by the U.S. Treasury Department,” writes the Globe’s Juilie Buntjer, “is among a dozen projects in eight states to receive a combined $502 million for wind and solar projects.” Socialized wind!

In that vein, retired Strib editorial writer Jim Boyd (one of the very few in the country who bucked media group think and called the invasion of Iraq a disaster before it went down) writes a commentary for MPR about neighbors up in Grand Marais trying to get a wind operation going on the North Shore. Nothing is easy, but Boyd’s experience is illuminative of the difficulties or organizing and dealing with bureaucracies and land-owners.

MPR must have been vacationing “Up North”, because it also has a piece on a call to save Enger Tower, a not-exactly architecturally inspiring edifice … with a great view of the cities, harbor and lake. Bob Kelleher writes, “This is artisan and craftsman type work” [says a city architect]. “It’s not just masonry, brick and concrete block, so that all takes time, especially when you’re trying to do it properly and correctly.” He doesn’t have a price tag yet, but he thinks it would take a couple hundred thousand dollars to patch it up for another decade, and over a million dollars to do it right. Either number can be too big in a city that’s still trying to cut next year’s budget while raising taxes just to make ends meet.”

Those two Anoka teachers accused of mocking a kid they thought was gay are now on leave. The school district paid out $25,000 to the kid, who transfered to another school, and interest groups think the teachers should have been whacked harder. Mary Lynn Smith of the Strib files a story with the attorney for one of the teachers saying — in classic lawyer-speak — “Our position is that she is taking an unpaid, voluntary leave of absence at her request. … This was done in the last week, and it was her decision and her decision alone.” Riiight. The lawyer adds, speaking of his client, “Her leave is indefinite and I have advised her to wait and let this resolve itself. … There’s an organization calling for her to be terminated, and it’s not going to happen. She’s not going to resign. The discipline that has been imposed has been imposed, and this is done. And that’s basically the end of the story.”

The PiPress has an AP story about that lawsuit over Naughty American University, you know, the Southern California porn operation that National American University said was getting a little too close and cute with its “brand.” National American — the one with those ubiquitous TV ads — slapped the porners with a suit charging trademark violation and cyber piracy (“Prepare to be boarded!”), but now that it’s merging with a Baltimore company it apparently doesn’t have time to fight anymore. You have to smirk at this bit of irony: “The school’s parent company, Dlorah Inc., filed the federal complaint in Rapid City, where the company is based, against La Touraine Inc., a Nevada corporation based in San Diego.” The very short piece says nothing about which University will take over all those commercials.

If Katherine Kersten would have gotten down off her high horse about the Flying Imams, the TiZA Academy and soulless liberals and devoted more columns to non-threatening, feel-good stories about the State Fair, she might still be writing (regularly) for the Strib. Her replacement, Gail Rosenblum,gets the shtick. It’s “bacon haiku” today. She asked readers to get creative over everyone’s favorite meat product — with apologies to Jews and devout Muslims. A couple samples: “Bacon: the fatty/Juicy part of the piggy/Adjacent to butt.” And, “Do not trust a man/Asking to watch your bacon/He is the real pig.” See, it’s easy. The trick is doing “feel good” and “non-threatening” a hundred times a year, so, you know, nasty, angry people don’t read it and write nasty, angry letters to the editor.

And who among you faithless SOBs gave up on our beloved Twinkies? The cherubic Jose Morales, who looks like he’s too young for junior prom, stroked a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth last night to beat the White Sox, who are selling off the cows and plows. Another kid, Jeff Manship (who?), pitched five good innings in an emergency start. Nice photo by the Strib’s Carlos Gonzalez of the Twinks jumping for joy.

Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 09/02/2009 - 09:48 am.

    Can we please just change the name of this column to the daily anti-republican. We wouldn’t want to make any readers believe this is actually about news. I’m shocked it didn’t pick up the Governors staff cost allocation story.

  2. Submitted by Tim Walker on 09/02/2009 - 10:22 am.

    Joe, how about we wait until “Fair and Balanced” Fox News changes its name to “The 24/7 Liberal-Bashing Network”?

    Is that O.K. with you?

    I mean, you ARE for truth in advertising, right?

    Good for the goose AND the gander, eh?

  3. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 09/02/2009 - 10:44 am.

    Unlike the Fox News or MSNBC, Minnpost hides behind the veil of 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. So if they are truly an educational organization, as described per the regs, I would hope that they would be more discrete in their slant. So you could say I for truth in tax law interpretation. Additionally I’ve noticed that they are actively engaging in advertising activities, in direct competition with for profits. I hope you’re paying your UBTI. Tim thanks for being informed.

  4. Submitted by Craig Berdan on 09/02/2009 - 11:55 am.

    Sometimes there aren’t “two sides” to a story. And sometimes competing opinions shouldn’t be given equal weight, because, frankly, one of them might be just crap. Thoughtful analysis isn’t “slant” when done honestly. Unfortunately, the MSM has trained us to expect “he said-she said” reporting from them, and to get our opinions from the cable news and talk radio shills. MinnPost’s analysis need not be balanced or neutral. It just needs to be honest. And so far I think it is.

  5. Submitted by Bruce Hope on 09/02/2009 - 12:56 pm.

    Joe, based on the IRS definition, I don’t think MinnPost is hiding behind the 501(c)(3).

    To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

    Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are commonly referred to as charitable organizations. Organizations described in section 501(c)(3), other than testing for public safety organizations, are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with Code section 170.

    The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, and no part of a section 501(c)(3) organization’s net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. If the organization engages in an excess benefit transaction with a person having substantial influence over the organization, an excise tax may be imposed on the person and any organization managers agreeing to the transaction.

  6. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/02/2009 - 01:58 pm.

    No doubt, if each of us just sent the editors a letter outlining exactly which stories and exactly which slant on those stories we’d find acceptable, they’ll be able to use our web addresses to shape what we see on the MinnPost site to that it’s exactly what we want to hear said in exactly the way we want to hear it said.

    There, now, isn’t that better than having to EVER read something that challenges your preexisting notions? I thought so!

    Of course with news of that type, with each of us hearing only what we want to hear, slanted in exactly the way we want it slanted, NONE of us will know what’s really going on, but isn’t that already the purpose the owners of the MSM have in mind? It certainly seems like it at times.

  7. Submitted by Tim Walker on 09/02/2009 - 02:51 pm.

    Joe, 501(c)(3) exemptions apply to organizations doing many things, not just education. For example, they can exist for literary purposes.

    Journalism clearly falls under the category of literary purposes, which was what MinnPost perhaps selected on their 501(c)(3) application. Or maybe it was education. Why does it matter?

    MinnPost is a nonprofit, and it engages in journalism and/or education — and does a damn fine job of it, too.

    Here’s another thought: PROLIFE Across AMERICA is an educational (501 (c)(3) non-profit. Would you say that they have a slant? Are they also hiding behind the veil of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in your opinion?

    Why or why not?

    In other words, do you think that both MinnPost and PROLIFE Across AMERICA are hiding behind the veil of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, or just one of them?

  8. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 09/02/2009 - 04:20 pm.

    Tim,

    Prolife has no for profit competition that performs the exact same service, so it matters. There is no ascertainable difference between Minnpost and the Strib, yet one pays no federal or state income tax or sales tax. Minnpost actively sells advertising space in direct competition with local media. But David is the best he reports gleefully on the failing local media while his employer pay no tax, beautiful. Oh and the owners/donors receive a tax benefit. Do you not see an issue with this treatment? What service does Minnpost provide that is worthy of exemption? If it were college age writers developing journalism skills, perfect, but it is comprised of established journalists with an agenda. Maybe the fairness doctrine should apply to non-profits.

  9. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/02/2009 - 04:24 pm.

    Joe, sit back and enjoy the show. No one takes Minnpost for anything other than the leftist agitprop than it is.

    It’s very useful to know what direction their spin is taking. Read it carefully and then dig out the truth; you’ll really appreciate the results when you encounter some one spewing a bit of leftist pap you’ve already shined a light on (I’m a BIG hit at Democrat public meetings!).

    As far as the outright obsession the left has with Michele Bachmann? Heh…they wouldn’t be paying attention to her every word if she wasn’t effectively tearing them to shreds.

  10. Submitted by Pat Greene on 09/02/2009 - 05:12 pm.

    But if we slit our wrists as Bachman urges, many of us won’t have the deluxe government-paid health care coverage that she enjoys as a Congresswoman.

  11. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/02/2009 - 09:50 pm.

    “One void, I hope and believe, is calling B.S. as it appears before us.”

    Or, more properly stated for the thoughtful reader, you might be described as simply filling the B.S. void.

  12. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 09/02/2009 - 10:14 pm.

    Brian don’t you think cut through the BS on both sides of the isle or admit your bias. Its the least you could do as I’m supporting your non taxed employer with my tax dollars. I wonder if any of the taxes minnpost doesn’t pay could be used to provide healthcare?

  13. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/02/2009 - 10:56 pm.

    Is anyone really that gullible as to not be aware of the tilt of the publication or cable news program that they choose to view?

    I love the WSJ which has an outstanding business section. The opinion and editorial content is pure Murdoch which is not a complaint just an observation. My point is that I am not shocked as to which way they lean. I still love the paper.

    I read FT, the Economist, Barrons, and Forbes as well. I do so for their outstanding insights and articles regarding the business world. Never once have I felt compelled to complain about the editorial leaning of the their editorial board or of the publisher. What would be the point. As Popeye would say “I yam what I yam”

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