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Keith Ellison thinks Dems need to ‘create a crisis’

MORNING EDITION ALSO: A conservative “sprout,” Dayton’s first big move, crime news, and an impasse between protesters and the archdiocese. 
Read Thur. Afternoon Edition


Congressman Keith Ellison has had it with playing nice with his Republican counterparts. The latest blowup, over compromises on the so-called Bush tax cuts, has the 5th District congressman telling MPR’s Tom Crann: “ ‘I think that we need to create a real crisis here so that the Republicans will have to answer for denying Americans unemployment benefits on the eve of the Christmas holiday,’ Ellison said. ‘We let them off the hook, in my opinion.’ “

The interview also included this exchange:

Ellison: “Another thing that’s very disturbing about this bill is that the giveaways to the highest income brackets are so startling that what we’re literally doing is funding our own demise. We live in the era of Citizens United. This is a Supreme Court case which said that corporate dollars could be spent in campaigns, and as yet, we haven’t even passed the legislation to demand that these dollars disclose their source.” 

Crann: “I need a little more clarity on that. When you say, ‘funding our own demise,’ do you mean the American citizens or do you mean as members of Congress you’re funding your own demise?”

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Ellison: “I mean American citizens … We are pushing money to the highest income levels in our society which will invariably be used to suppress programs that are in the best interests of our country, such as education and job creation. Do you understand what I mean now?”

John Hugh Gilmore at Minnesota Conservatives continues to make some of the more salient points from — and toward — that end of the spectrum. In his latest blog, titled “On Losing: Lessons Learned,” he writes: “[T]he media didn’t drag Mark Dayton over the finish line. This narrative from the hard core is boring, actually. MC doesn’t think the Minnesota media is all that tough (this *is* Minnesota, after all) and we can’t really find any sustained mistreatment of our endorsed candidate. That he had lousy skills in dealing with them is his fault. Why can’t that be said out loud? MC does fault the media and all three campaigns for endless debates. For those not born in Minnesota, as MC was not, there are at times things deeply weird about this state that those born here cannot perceive. We offer the earnest, rote, school-boy debates as a first but not only example. [Also] … Minnesota isn’t a Tea Party state but that section of the RPM more or less got Emmer the endorsement. A high school mentality reigned supreme in that faction at the convention and no amount of cold, rational argument could convince them of the downsides of their choice.” Lo! A sprout blooms in the desert.

Tim Pawlenty and Mark Dayton met and played nice Thursday, but at least one dramatic shift in policy will take place ASAP. MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar reports: “Dayton said he will fulfill a campaign promise to enroll Minnesota in a Medicaid expansion plan soon after taking office in January. Hospitals and health care providers around the state are looking forward to expanded Medicaid because they said it would reduce the state’s cost burden and allow more providers to participate. More than $1 billion in federal funds would come to the state. ‘The money basically is to allow the federal government to pick up half of the cost that Minnesota is currently spending,’ said Mary Krinkie, vice president of government relations for the Minnesota Hospital Association.”

The family of the cabbie accused of assaulting a 26-year-old female passenger says the cops have the wrong man. Mara Gottfried’s story in the PiPress doesn’t leave a lot of room for mistaken identity: “Before a taxi driver in St. Paul allegedly groped a passenger and attempted to rape her, he gave her his cell number and told her to call if she ever needed a ride, police say. The 26-year-old gave the number to police, and they called Abdikadir Yusef Mohamed on Tuesday, said Andy Skoogman, St. Paul police spokesman. A policewoman, posing as a fare, told Mohamed, 23, that she needed a cab at 367 Grove St. Mohamed drove up to what turned out to be St. Paul police headquarters. Police arrested Mohamed on Wednesday, after they showed the victim a photo lineup and she identified the man.” Gottfried adds: “Mohamed’s family in St. Paul spoke on his behalf Thursday, pointing to his clean criminal record and noting that he works two jobs to support his family. ‘I think they have the wrong person,’ Ilhan Aden, Mohamed’s wife, said in an interview. She is nine months pregnant and has a 2-year-old daughter with Mohamed. ‘I asked him and he said he never did the things they’re accusing him of.’ “

The Milwaukee District Attorney’s Office has declined to press charges against the 37-year-old woman accused of pushing over a … 100-year-old Wal-Mart greeter. It’s a story with an after-the-commotion twist. The Sentinel-Journal story, by Ryan Haggerty, says: “Kai Metcalf said Thursday she had no problem allowing a 100-year-old woman who works as a greeter at a Milwaukee Walmart to inspect her receipt as she left the store last month. Metcalf, in an interview at her lawyer’s office, said she did have a problem when the greeter, Lois Speelman, kept complaining about ‘you people,’ before saying something to the effect of ‘You people think you can do whatever you want. Not today.’ That’s when Metcalf, who is black, tried to take her receipt back from Speelman, who is white. The two made what prosecutors described Thursday as ‘incidental contact’ with each other, causing Speelman to fall backward to the ground.” Haggerty continues, “Metcalf said Thursday she wishes she had handled the situation better and apologized for Speelman’s fall. ‘It was humbling and humiliating and a lesson learned,’ Metcalf, a Milwaukee resident, said of the incident and her arrest. ‘I hate that I’ve been made to look like this monster or something, because everybody kind of jumped on the story and ran with it. It was a horrible experience.’ “

The hook is that it is a TV traffic reporter in jail with her second DUI arrest in two years, but you do take some pity when that otherwise anonymous person gets the full C.J. treatment in the Strib. “No comment” might always be the better course in these situations.

Some 3,000 of the 400,000 DVDs the local Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis mailed out this past fall (with the help of a very generous anonymous donor) are coming back at it. The Strib story, by Rose French, says: “A group of Catholic protesters will go to the archbishop’s office in St. Paul Friday to return about 3,000 DVDs the archdiocese mailed out to support a ban on gay marriage. The project’s organizer, Bob Radecki, of Burnsville, said the group was denied a meeting with Archbishop John Nienstedt to discuss the DVD controversy.” And: “Archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath confirmed the group would not be meeting with the archbishop on Friday. ‘The bishops of Minnesota have communicated what the purpose of the DVD production and mailing was,’ he said. ‘And that was to reaffirm that centuries-honored institution of marriage as a union instituted by God between one man and one woman. There’s no reason for future dialogue on these fundamental beliefs of the Church.” Well … that sounds encouraging … and healthy, doesn’t it?