And what’s the latest “socialist takeover” threat? The financial reform bill working through Congress. The one designed to plug some of the holes in the derivatives-based, laissez-faire, free-market casino culture that torched the economy last year. Who says it’s socialism and a threat? Do you really have to guess? Rep. Michele Bachmann is quoted in the St. Cloud Times. “Among the bill’s key provisions are creation of a new consumer protection agency and a financial stability council.The bill includes mortgage reform, would bar predatory lending and would give shareholders a vote on executive pay.” But Bachmann sees a czar “who would have the power to impose taxes on financial firms, declare a company too large and order it downsized, and set wages for employees. ‘The czar will be able to say who gets credit and who doesn’t,’ said Bachmann, who sits on the Financial Services Committee. ‘When the government can decide who gets access to money and who doesn’t, that’s a scary proposition.’ “
Barney Frank, who chairs the Financial Services Committee, responded, saying, “”For someone who knows the substance, it would be a lie. But in her case, maybe it’s just a delusion. It’s absolute nonsense. I’m sure Bank of America, Citicorp and Goldman Sachs appreciate her support.” How often do you think Barney and Michele kick back for an adult beverage in the House lounge?
Wednesday’s tender Q&A with Bachmann here at MinnPost was picked up and republished widely. If you haven’t already, do dial through the comments section to both Michael Bonafield’s interview, David Brauer’s reaction and those at Talking Points Memo and Politico.
A sample (liberal version): “When a liberal calls Bachmann a “moron” or an “idiot,” trust me, it’s not just random name-calling — you might note that McCain, though not popular among liberals, was never in my recollection called a “moron” or an “idiot.” Why? Because he doesn’t give evidence of that being so. Bachmann and Palin do. Liberals call them idiots because as best we can figure, they meet the definition of idiot — specifically people that appear to live in a fantasy land and have poor rational faculties. I don’t know what else to call them.”
A sample (conservative version): “Bachmann is a very warm, likable, and giving person. Lefties absolutely that that [sic] in their opponents because it offers up such a stark contrast to the malice in the Leftist heart, so they take to vilification. What class!”
Hennepin County Medical Center, walloped by Gov. Pawlenty’s unallotment ax, is being offered a glimmer of hope that it might not lose the $45 million a year it needs to pay 200 staffers associated with the treatment of the uninsured. There’s a DFL plan in the works to patch the hole. MPR’s Brandt Williams explains, ” … [B]because so many of their patients don’t have insurance, HCMC relies heavily on programs like general assistance for reimbursement. The hospital is more than a last resort for the poor. It boasts the state’s largest level one trauma center, and features a top-rated burn unit and poison control center.” Pawlenty and his supporters have claimed treatment for the uninsured will be covered by MinnesotaCare. But, “HCMC CEO Arthur Gonzalez says the county can recoup some of the lost funds, as the people on general assistance switch to MinnesotaCare … but Gonzalez says MinnesotaCare won’t reimburse them at the same rate as general assistance.”
Pawlenty gets compared to Jimmy Carter by the usually savvy Five Thirty Eight blog, skipping through scenarios for the ’12 Reoublican presidential nomination. Our guy’s chances rise once you discount things like, “The Next in Line scenario” — (Romney or Huckabee, or maybe Palin). Or The Base Prevails scenario, (definitely Palin). “The Republican Jimmy Carter scenario. The Republicans are changing their nomination rules, and who knows how that might affect the contest. Given how little unity there is, there has to be at least one scenario in which a relatively but not totally unknown governor emerges. This has to be the hope of the Tim Pawlenty crowd.” All Pawlenty would need then is a beer-swilling, climate-change denying, creationist brother.
There might be a “you first” moment the first time they roll an LRT train over the Washington Avenue bridge — even after $56 million in repairs. Jim Foti of the Strib has a story about a plan to bring the bridge — which was declared unsafe for pedestrians last year — up to standards for 50 tons worth of train traffic. He writes that the bridge “will have its main decks replaced, and four new trusses will run lengthwise to provide additional support. That will take the bridge off the list of those that are fracture critical, a term meaning that the failure of one piece could lead to the failure of the entire structure.” No really, after you.
A PiPress editorial today suggests — one-quarter facetiously — a trial to settle the “debate” over climate change. “Why a trial? We understand it. We appreciate its basic fairness. We like the idea of competing sides given plenty of time to argue their case, and submitting it to a jury of our peers. We like it when scientists have to come out of the laboratory and into real life, and make their case to non-scientist citizens. We know this would not be a real criminal or civil trial, but we think the trial format, with rules of procedure and evidence, with examination and cross-examination, with opening arguments and closing arguments, is a way to put these ideas to a public test — for the edification of the interested public.” Or … you could take a huge editorial risk and explain to your unconvinced (and not all that literate) readers what exactly “peer review” means and how it works.
If you thought it was odd KQRS jock Tom Barnard announced he’d close out his career on Dec. 21, 2012 (the end of the Mayan calendar … tsunamis lapping over the Himalyas … the whole bit), he has — for the moment — “reconsidered”. Close readers of his Facebook page — might need to work on a life there, kids — noted that he will now, as he says in a piece filed by Paul Walsh in the Strib, “… be at K.Q. until they fire me or I drop over in my tracks.” Barnard, who has lost a considerable amount of weight and worked at reining in his anger issues, also says a friend told him, “If there is any proof in this world that there is a God it is the life you have because of the unwavering support of K.Q. listeners. Only an idiot would walk away from that.” And now that we’ve agreed on the existence of God, who’s up for a half hour of bowel movement and tape worm jokes?
Remember those pricey big screen TVs for sex offenders? The “scandal” every politician still sucking air leaped forward to register deep personal outrage over? The ones ordered yanked out of Moose Lake and dispersed to veterans homes around the state? Well, eight of the 14 arrived damaged. Mike Kaszuba of the Strib files: “Of the remaining six TVs, four have been installed in veterans homes in Minneapolis and Fergus Falls. ‘We are disappointed that the TVs were damaged in the transfer and we are hoping FedEx is able to resolve this matter as quickly as possible,’ said department spokeswoman Sarah Graves.”
Park Square Theater in downtown St. Paul is going ahead with a $4.2 million expansion/refurbishing. Finance and Commerce reports,”The new theater is just part of the $4.2 million plan that calls for new seats, equipment, lighting and cosmetic improvements to the main stage and two endowments for increasing staff and smoothing out cash flow.”
Go ahead, make your stupid “cut the cheese” jokes. At $50 a pound, we’re talking cheddar for the discerning palate. An Associated Press story says Hook’s Cheese Co. in Mineral Point, Wis., has 1,200 pounds of 15-year-old cheddar … and it’s flying off the shelves. “Shredded cheddar in grocery stores is generally one to two months old. As cheddar ages it becomes acidic or bitter, but Hook says he nurtured his batch carefully enough that it’s still smooth and flavorful.” Yes, dear, grilled cheese again tonight will be fine.