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Mark Dayton is 'miserable' assembling his budget fixes


Amid a flurry of GOP bills, many of them not bearing on the state’s budget crisis, Brad Schrade of the Strib posts that Gov. Dayton is “miserable” over creating his own budget: “Dayton said the past two weeks of putting together his state budget ‘have been miserable for me.’ Just a month into office, the DFL governor acknowledged his education pledge during last fall’s campaign, but seemed to signal it may not be possible. ... Dayton did not directly attack Republicans by name at the gathering of the Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals but his comments were directed at them. He said cuts to education have taken their toll over the past eight years. ‘It bothers me enormously when that isn’t recognized and people make these wildly inflammatory and unsubstantiated statements that there’s all this extra money lying around in schools or cities or counties or state agencies that is just sitting out there to be found and saved,’ Dayton said. His message was well received by the principals who gave him a standing ovation.”

How many different ways can you say, “Caveat emptor”? Lorna Benson at MPR files a story on seven Minnesota health providers suggesting a plan to trim benefits and, supposedly, reduce the budget deficit. “The seven health plans and hospital groups propose that Minnesota scale back some of the state's more generous Medicaid benefits, such as adult dental care. They also propose moving people with disabilities from a fee-for-service Medicaid program that pays for each individual doctor's visit to a managed care system that coordinates their care. They also suggest cutting some of the services that help elderly and disabled people stay in their homes rather than a nursing home. Added together, they estimate these changes and some administrative improvements could save up to $1.8 billion dollars.”

Benson  goes on to say: “[T]he idea of cutting programs that help elderly and disabled people stay in their homes doesn't sit well with Aging Services of Minnesota. Gayle Kvenvold, president and CEO of that organization, said no one from any of the seven health plans or provider groups contacted her organization to discuss cuts to long-term care. ‘I would hope that anytime we're talking about reform on this massive a scale, that everyone who has a stake in this future is at the table,’ she said.”               

A bill allowing new pathways for obtaining a teaching license in Minnesota is headed to the House ways and Means Committee. The AP story, by Chris Williams, says: “On a split vote, the House Education Finance Committee on Thursday forwarded a bill sponsored by Rep. Patrick Garofalo, R-Farmington. ... Garofalo's bill would make it possible for the first time for a local applicant to get a license through an organization other than a Minnesota college or university. Those organizations could be nonprofits or school districts, provided their licensing programs were approved by the state Board of Teaching.”

Education Minnesota opposed the bill, saying: " ‘We are not against Teach for America. We are concerned about making sure these individuals meet certain standards.' " The union wants alternative teaching programs to partner with colleges and universities, alternative candidates to have a degree in the subject they will teach, and the union wants those teachers be closely supervised for their first 90 days in the classroom.”

Quite honestly, I had never read the Food Poison Journal until today. But Drew Falkenstein’s story on Minnesota allowing raw milk sales caught my eye: “Following similar measures in Wisconsin, Oregon, Texas, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, and recently considered but rejected by Wyoming and California, Minnesota may be the next state to consider either legalizing the sale of raw milk, or making it even easier than it already is to purchase the product under state law. Three Republican state senators have proposed new legislation that would legalize direct farm-to consumer sales of raw milk. Current laws prevent it everywhere in the state except on the farm where it was produced. ... the home state of Mik Hartmann, whose raw dairy products have been implicated in outbreaks that sickenend at least 15 people in the state, and who has been at the heart of a major legal battle — one that he lost — ever since. I hope Minnesotans don't get too comfortable just because they live in one of the states where outbreaks go to die.” Uh, waiter, can I change my order? Instead of the milk shake, I’ll have a scotch on the rocks.

Mark Steil at MPR adds: “Three Republican state senators are proposing legislation to legalize most sales of raw milk in Minnesota. The bill would permit direct farm-to-consumer sales of unpasteurized milk, including sales at farmers markets and at private homes. ... The proposal comes from Sens. Sean Nienow of Cambridge, Gary Dahms of Redwood Falls and Claire Robling of Jordan, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. ... None of the bill's three co-sponsors could be reached to discuss the legislation. The bill will serve as a forum to debate the merits and risks of drinking raw milk. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 1,700 illnesses and 2 deaths were traced to raw milk over the decade ending in 2008.”

France’s loss is Jackson, Minn.’s gain. The Fairmont Sentinel reports: “ Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton arrived Thursday at AGCO's Jackson facility in a Massey Ferguson tractor, officially bringing the product line back to the United States and giving the region an economic boost. The fanfare kicked off a celebration of AGCO's expansion, which will bring production of Massey Ferguson and Challenger high-horsepower tractors to Minnesota from France.” What next? Les Tuileries … in Blaine?

The annual visit of the tall ships to Duluth has proven to be a winner for tourist traffic. Peter Passi of the News Tribune writes: “There are tentative plans to bring two wooden ships — the USS Niagara and the Pride of Baltimore II — to the Twin Ports this summer. Terry Mattson, CEO and president of Visit Duluth, confirmed efforts are under way to put together a Duluth Maritime Festival in July, although no agreements have yet been signed with the operators of the brig (Niagara) or the schooner (the Pride of Baltimore II). ... Tall ship fans can expect a bigger treat in 2013. That summer, Mattson says Visit Duluth is working to bring as many as 10 wooden sail ships to town.”

Our Michele Bachmann moment for today, a TGIF, if you will, comes via TeaPartyHD, a web channel devoted to all things Tea. The host may look like a roadie for Foghat, but the production is local TV-slick. A warning though, please completely swallow anything hot you may be drinking before you watch their 3:30 feature on our gal.

I lied. Here’s another Bachmann item, via Jonathan Allen at Politico, titled “Republicans are terrified of the tea party.” Says Allen: “When Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann was named to the House Intelligence Committee earlier this year, one of her Republican colleagues responded this way: ‘Is that a punchline?’ Another simply said, ‘Jumbo shrimp. Oxymoron.’ Neither dared to attach his name to his comment. Bachmann’s Republican critics may be sick of her grandstanding, but they’re more terrified of her tea party following.  In just her third term, she has developed a fan base like 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s: Energized, fiercely loyal and capable of making a critic’s life miserable with threats of political retribution.”

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Comments (9)

I did a spit-take on this one:

"'Jumbo shrimp. Oxymoron.'"

Ha ha, that was great. I think from now on I'll refer to Bachmann as "Jumbo Shrimp". I suppose I'll have to explain it a lot, but that works too.

Hmmm, "Rep. Punchline", or "Jumbo Shrimp"? I can't decide.

"In just her third term, she has developed a fan base like 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s: Energized, fiercely loyal and capable of making a critic’s life miserable with threats of political retribution.”


“In just her third term, she has developed a fan base like 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s: Energized, fiercely loyal and capable of making a critic’s life miserable with threats of political retribution.””


The HMOs do not offer an estimate of what giving them control over Medicaid spending would cost.

As in advertising/marketing, mountains of paperwork for providers (and employees to process it) and for HMOs (and employees to process billing and payments) and mountains of extra paperwork for the State (and employees to process it).

We do not need middlemen to

increase the cost of Medicaid by

increasing their income - especially

if it means cutting needed


Just say "No," Minnesota.

Forty-plus years ago we had Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale and Gene McCarthy on the national scene. Now we have Betty Crockpot and Tim Puh-leez.

"(Dayton) said cuts to education have taken their toll over the past eight years." Pray tell, what "cuts?" a real journalist may have asked. But a water boy for the Progressyves would assume a reduction in double digit increases constitutes a cut. But any publication advertising for 950 should be dismissed as mainstream same old same old. Bye bye Minnpost!

Ah yes! The "I inherited this mess" excuse. It has worked so far for the President. You run for an office knowing exactly what the situation will be when you get it, but you're still shocked that there is a problem when you get there. Yes Governor, two years of President Obama, four years of a Democratic Congress, and eight (plus) years of a DFL Minnesota Legislature is what you inherited. Get to work and stop the blame game...

Tommy, your Tea Partiers have been in office for nearly a month now. How come they haven't fulfilled any of their campaign promises yet? PLU-EEEZE don't tell me they're still blaming the Prez and the previous Congress? C'Mon Partiers...get governing, will ya!

The normally superb Kristen Wiig failed during SNL's Bachmann parody to channel the congress member's mannerisms and speech patterns. There's time however for Wiig, or some other SNL cast member, to more productively exploit the wonderfulness of Michele. The 6th CD pol is not going away.