The checks-and-balances system of Minnesota government did a whole lot of checking Monday, but whether or not it actually balanced anything is going to depend on your feelings about the General Assistance Medical Care program. As you may remember, both the House and the Senate voted to extend the program, which Gov. Tim Pawlenty then vetoed. Check. The Senate then voted to override his veto. Check. Monday it came down to the House, and there simply weren’t enough votes there to override the veto, as Jason Hoppin of the Pioneer Press reports. House Republicans unanimously upheld the veto.
It was a contentious debate. Pat Kessler of WCCO summarizes it (Minnesota Public Radio also offers up some choice quotes from the debate) but he was also on hand tweeting throughout the thing, and his tweets offer a tone of scolding schoolmarms from our representatives. Some samples:
- “GOP Rep Paul Kohls to Dems: ‘Shame on you! Shame on us!‘ for not continuing to negotiate with TPaw.”
- “Dems ‘trot out the Bible anytime it is convenient’ but you can’t shame me... I’m voting to uphold governor veto, says GOP Rep Tony Cornish.”
- “GOP Rep says Dems use Bible ‘any damn time its convenient‘ … is admonished by Speaker for swearing on Hse floor.”
- “DFL Rep Bly during override debate: When TPaw proposes taking a 9-iron to govt spending … poor people are on the other end.”
“What’s next” asks Polinaut’s Tom Scheck. He gives four answers: House Democrats can try again; they can negotiate with Pawlenty; a lawsuit could be filed; or GAMC could just lapse and its members be enrolled in MinnesotaCare. Pawlenty has apparently expressed interest in negotiating, which seems unlike him.
Perhaps he was stung by the words of Pastor Grant Stevensen of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in St. Paul. According to Scheck, Stevensen “ripped Pawlenty for invoking God during stump speeches yet cutting health insurance for the poor.” If you want to hear a proper scolding, look to a man of God: “Governor please, stop talking to us about God. The governor is going around saying ‘God is in control.’ We elected you. We elected you to be making decisions for this state that will help everyone in this state. Things that will lift up the poorest in this state. Don’t pass this on to God. That’s no God we’ve ever heard of.”
For those of you who were hoping our next governor would resist the urge to invoke God, but would instead hail the Dark Lord, well, there’s some bad news. According to Hart Van Denburg of City Pages, Jonathan Sharkey, the self-declared vampire who was planning to once again run for governor, will be moving to Florida instead. Oh well, the way things are going, the Minnesota government really doesn’t have the sort of budget required for mass impalings on the City Hall steps, and we’re probably all a little poorer for it.
A lesser publication might be tempted to say “Speaking of the Dark Lord,” and then segue into a story about Michele Bachmann, but we’re above all that. Although it must be said we’re not above the rhetorical trick of apophasis — the act of mentioning something by saying you’re not going to mention it. But, then, neither is Bachmann: The About.com page on apophasis uses a quote from her as their first example. In today’s Bachmann news, well, CP’s Hart Van Denburg puts the news in unsparing language: Michele Bachmann’s ACORN agenda dealt blow by reality-based community.
We wouldn’t phrase it so bluntly, of course; we’re above that. But according to the New York Post, the ACORN video that seemed to show employees of the organization offering questionable advice to a pimp and prostitute — which helped prompt Bachmann’s vendetta against the organization — was, in fact, a a ” ‘heavily edited’ splice job.” Oh yeah, who says? The Brooklyn district attorney, after a 5 1/2-month probe. Of course, this isn’t entirely surprising, seeing as James O’Keefe (who Bachmann called “brilliant”), the pimp in the video, was arrested last month in New Orleans after trying to illegally access the phone system of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Bachmann doesn’t seem to have responded to the latest news about ACORN, or even about O’Keefe. Perhaps nobody is asking her. Minneapolis St. Paul magazine’s Steve Marsh, as an example, didn’t bring up ACORN in his interview with her, but, then, Marsh’s questions and statements included “Why do you love kids so much?”, “My dad is in love with you” and “Do you think being pretty is a barrier to your being taking seriously?“, so Marsh wasn’t exactly playing hardball. Not that we are accusing him of blowing an opportunity. We wouldn’t do that.
Speaking of blown opportunities, Monday sounds as though it was pure chaos for Minnesota’s appliance rebate program, which is a sort of Cash for Clunkers program intended to replace old appliances with newer and greener ones. Let’s let the Pioneer Press’ Tom Webb and John Welbes sum it up: “[T]he program’s Web site crashed Monday, its toll-free number was choked with bargain-hunters, and a possible cyber-attack kept frustration levels high.” Nonetheless, according to John Ewoldt of the Star Tribune, the program was a popular one — by the end of the day, three-fourths of the state’s $5 million allotment had been claimed.
In sports: Timberwolves forward Al Jefferson was arrested last weekend on Interstate 394 near downtown Minneapolis after drinking and driving. The Star Tribune prints his apology: “I didn’t realize the danger that I put myself in, put other people — innocent people — in. I’m ready to put it behind me.” Well, that’s understandable. Certainly there is a lack of information out there about the dangers of drunk driving, so it’s understandable that Jefferson might have overlooked it and innocently believed you can get behind the wheel of a car when sozzled and there would be no problem.
That there was another rhetorical device. It’s called sarcasm.