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.