“A special place in hell for those quislings.” That’s a good rabble-rousing line, and considering the source — state GOP chair, Tony Sutton, referring to 13 party eminences who endorsed Tom Horner, its exactly what you’d expect to hear. But the Strib’s Lori Sturdevant seems a bit taken aback. She writes, “Those are harsh words about 13 people who, to a person, wore the GOP label through multiple terms and served with distinction. The list includes people who were and still are serious practitioners of public policy. At least one of the ‘quislings,’ former Bloomington mayor and state Rep. Neil Peterson, has reason to ask Sutton whether a political party has a duty of loyalty to its longtime standard-bearers. Peterson was denied endorsement and defeated in the GOP primary in 2008 after voting with DFLers and five other Republicans that February to override Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of a major transportation funding bill.
The AP gets Sutton on record with even more flame-throwing. “The dictionary definition of ‘quisling’ is a traitor. The word,” says the story, “comes from the name of a Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis and was executed for doing so. On Thursday, Sutton told the AP he used the word as a common term for traitor. ‘It would be like saying someone’s a Benedict Arnold,’ Sutton said, referring to the Revolutionary War traitor. ‘To make it out to be something other than that would be ridiculous.’ ” Almost as ridiculous as a political spokesman, intent on commanding total party discipline, having no sense of the context of “quisling.” Or maybe he did mean to imply the gang of 13 were not loyal Nazis?
Gov. Pawlenty has a bit of a loyalty problem himself. Despite ordering state agencies not to report various information to the federal government under the new health care bill, Elizabeth Stawicki of MPR writes: “The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked states to weigh in on creating online marketplaces for consumers to buy insurance, known as exchanges. Pawlenty refused to send the Minnesota Department of Health’s response. The governor opposes health reform.Three groups representing Minnesota health plans, hospitals and doctors acquired the report through a data practices request and submitted it anyway.” It’s a dang “Dawn of the Dead” of quislings!
Tom Horner’s tax plans get a bit more airing from MPR’s Mark Zedechlik this morning. Expanding from a press conference earlier in the week, Zedechlik writes: “The big item would be clothing, but beyond that Horner isn’t being specific. That could put many personal services on the table, from haircuts and self storage, to shoe repair and horse training. Horner said he can’t nail down specifics without sophisticated economic modeling he would have access to only if he gets elected. Still, Horner often finds himself fielding the ‘What are you going to tax?’ question. ‘I’m not trying to be coy with this,’ he said at a news conference this week. ‘We are going to tax, we’re going to get revenue, from a lot of personal services. I mean that’s the reality of moving more toward a consumption-based tax system.’ ” Zedechlik adds: “Critics say the burden of expanding the sales tax would fall disproportionately on middle- and low-income Minnesotans, giving the wealthy something of a free ride when it comes to the budget fix. That’s a legitimate argument, said David Sjoquist, director of Georgia State University’s Fiscal Research Center. ‘It’s hard to construct any kind of sales tax, regardless of how broad-based it is, that isn’t regressive,’ he said.”
Amateur psychologists have had a field day with Denny Hecker since his empire melted down. There’s the “pathological sense of entitlement,” as was mentioned Thursday. But what about garden-variety compulsion? I can’t get over the number of times the ex-car dealer and his girlfriend have gotten themselves in deeper … buying cars. There was the girlfriend misrepresenting herself for a loan to buy Denny a Range Rover, Denny’s demand for a used pickup in his “consulting deal” with his old Inver Grove Heights dealership, the girlfriend’s “borrowed Mercedes” and now, as Dee DePass reports in the Strib, $8,500 in cash he supposedly didn’t have for … a dirtbike and a motorcycle? “He reported spending $18,000 for office rent in Minneapolis; $5,000 on moving fees; $4,300 on dues for the Lafayette Club; $1,200 on the Wayzata Country Club, and $8,500 to Auto Concepts for a dirt bike and motorcycle. Hecker also reported repaying former employee Jim Gustafson a $5,000 loan and spending $2,750 at Manny’s Steakhouse and $1,243 for DirectTV. Hecker paid $4,500 for home repairs and $1,800 for gas in June and July.” What? “Office rent”? And $1,200 for DirecTV? That’s a lot of pay-per-view Denny.
Gov. Pawlenty, who may be running for something, will give up his WCCO radio show next month, reports Rachel Stassen-Berger on the Strib’s “Hot Dish Politics” blog. “Pawlenty’s office said he has told WCCO management of his decision to end the show next month. Pawlenty’s term as governor will end in January 2011, the same month his bio book will appear. The WCCO radio silence likely won’t mean Pawlenty silence in the media. He has said he will announce whether he will run for president in early 2011 but has given every sign the oval office is in his plans.”
“The worst sustained conditions they’ve ever encountered.” Not exactly the quote from health inspectors you’ll see proudly displayed in a restaurant’s front window. The PiPress’s Dave Orrick reports: “After dozens of inspections, city health inspectors recommended the harshest — and rarest — of sanctions for Kim Huoy Chor [Asian Cuisine]: Shut the place down. ‘It’s horrendous’, said Bill Gunther, environmental-health manager for the city. In his 39 years with the city, Gunther said, he could recall only one other restaurant — a fast-food joint more than two decades ago — being recommended for closure. City council members said they were grossed out by photographs taken during numerous inspections that showed rat droppings, dirty dishes piled waist-high on the floor — and on top of food ready to be served — and numerous cockroaches, live and dead.” But how are the spring rolls?
It’s been noted widely in recent days, but the PiPress runs a Washington Post editorial in its “Other Voices” section on the success — as in profitability to taxpayers — of the TARP program, still being criticized by, uh, some, as a “hand out to big banks.” It notes: “Of the $259 billion that TARP pumped into the banks, $187 billion has been paid back, with interest. Most of the remainder is parked with smaller banks, not Wall Street giants, and the Treasury Department credibly projects turning a $20 billion profit on that effort.” It does add: “Of all the uses of TARP, the only one that has clearly failed is the attempt to channel mortgage relief funds to troubled homeowners. But even in that case, there’s a silver lining: So few people ended up qualifying that TARP has spent hardly any of the $41 billion it set aside for the job.”
It’s Friday, which means chunks of the cities’ interstate system will be shut down. KARE files a report on the north and southbound closure of I-35 at I-694. “Both north and southbound lanes of I-35W will be closed Friday evening as crews paint the newly widened eastbound I-694 bridge crossing I-35W on the border of Arden Hills and New Brighton. Southbound lanes will close at 8 p.m. and northbound I-35W will close at 10 p.m. That portion of I-35W will remain closed until 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 11, at which time I-35W and all ramps and loops will reopen. The southbound interstate will be closed right at I-694 while the northbound interstate will close at Highway 36 with no access north between the interstate and other roads between Highway 36 and I-694.” Got that?
The relentless futility of the Twins competing with the Yankees is frankly too much for any Minnesota fan. But really, how New York is it of the New York Post to run a headline this morning crowing, “Two Easy”?