Shades of those who prosecuted Bill Clinton … Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent says: “According to a name, date of birth, and city search in publicly available Minnesota court records, Sen. Pam Wolf, R-Spring Lake Park, was divorced in 2000. She’s a sponsor of the Senate version of the bill that proposes a constitutional ban on gay marriage and voted to pass the bill in the Senate last week. Alexandria Republican Rep. Mary Franson’s divorce earlier this year was reported on a liberal website, and records with the Minnesota court system match the name listed as her husband’s on her legislator biography page. She’s a sponsor of the House version of the bill. Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, was divorced in 1994. In his first bid for office, the DFL attacked him when he tried to get his child support order reduced. He’s a sponsor of the House version of the bill. The campaign website of Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, notes his divorce. He’s not a sponsor of the anti-gay marriage amendment, but he was in the last session. Court records matched the name, date of birth and city of Rep. Doug Wardlow, R-Eagan, for a divorce in 2005. In a roll call vote in the House Civil Law Commitee, Wardlow voted in favor of the amendment. Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, is legally separated from his wife, which was revealed last November when he was stopped by the police in a Planned Parenthood parking lot with a gun in his vehicle looking for a woman he found on the Internet. He was among the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee that passed the amendment by a voice vote. Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, is listed as divorced on her legislator biography page. Her divorce occurred in 2010, years after she voted to force a marriage amendment bill out of committee and onto the floor in 2006.” And it goes on …
But if gay marriage is about the only thing through the grinder this session, you might as well get out and make some noise about that. Mark Sommerhauser of the St. Cloud Times reports on the ruckuses at the Capitol yesterday: “[G]roups opposing the amendment expected a House vote on it today. Shortly after the House went into session this afternoon, [GOP Rep. Steve] Gottwalt said he’s waiting for word from House leaders on when members will vote on the amendment. … marriage-amendment demonstrators thronged outside the House chamber, with opponents’ chants of ‘Just vote no!’ audible inside the chamber. Gottwalt said the timing of a House vote on the amendment won’t be affected by the protesters. He also pointed to the fact that the House recently finished passing a series of bills to set the state’s next budget. ‘We’re not hiding (the marriage amendment),’ Gottwalt said. ‘We did say we’d get other work done first, and we are. The last thing we’ll do is this.” There’s Biblical scripture about when the first were made last, right?
Don’t read this if you’re in denial about real estate prices. Jim Buchta of the Strib writes: “Even parts of greater Minnesota that seemed to be weathering the real estate storm showed signs of trouble during April, according to a statewide report from the Minnesota Association of Realtors. It said that the median sale price of all closed sales during the month was down 12 percent, only slightly better than price declines in the 7-county Twin Cities metro area. During previous months, several of the 12 economic development regions showed signs of strength. Not so this time. Only one of the 12 regions showed an increase in the median sale price and that was probably the result of a statistical anomaly. The Headwaters region, a narrow slice of north-central Minnesota that’s best known for its lakes and cabins, posted a 23 percent increase in sale prices, most of which was probably the result of a relatively small sample size easily impacted by just a few high-priced listings.”
I’m sure it’s just my imagination, but do the Vikings have more interaction with law enforcement than any other local team? Liz Collin of WCCO-TV broke the story of Vikes coach Karl Dunbar: “A restraining order has been filed against Karl Dunbar, who has been coaching with the Vikings for the last five seasons. But, Dunbar’s attorney said Wednesday there are two sides to the allegations. Paperwork was filed Tuesday in Scott County by a woman asking for Dunbar to stay off of her property. The woman said Dunbar has shown up at her home twice since a sexual assault in April. She said in the paperwork she is ‘afraid of retribution and unsure of his behavior.’ ”
Speaking of … Vikings player Ray Edwards’ abstinence training may at least keep him out similar trouble. The Hollywood gossip site TMZ reports: “6’5″, 270 lb Edwards is scheduled to fight TJ Gibson at the Grand Casino in Minnesota … and he isn’t taking any chances — telling TMZ, ‘I have not had sex in the past six weeks and will not until after the fight.’ Edwards explains, ‘No real boxer should have sex before a fight … it affects your legs.’ ” Hey, you learn something new every day.
At least Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP are delivering on their promises to create jobs … oh, wait. Wisconsin Politics writes: “The bill requiring voters to show a photo ID in order to vote … is on its way to Gov. Scott Walker. The Senate passed the bill on a 19-5 vote. The Republican majority limited debate today to one hour over the objection of Dems. The body debated amendments to the bill for more than nine hours on Tuesday and Wednesday. ‘This bill has received a great deal of debate, not only in this body but around the state,’ Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said, noting that it has been subject to public hearings and has already been passed by legislative committees and the Assembly. ‘If I were the Republicans I would put a 30-second limit on debate because I wouldn’t want to talk about this either,’ Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee, said. Republicans followed through with their plan for an 11 a.m. vote, cutting off Dem Sen. Fred Risser’s floor comments. When the vote was finished, only five Dem votes were on the record and protesters in the gallery shouted ‘shame, shame, shame’ at the Republicans, a refrain that has become familiar over the last few tumultuous months in Madison.”
Remember that butt-ugly fish that was in the news a month ago? The Asian carp? Well, money to stop the thing from clogging up area lakes has been whacked from the budget. John Myers of the Duluth News-Tribune reports: “A move by the Minnesota House Ways and Means Committee eliminating funding for a carp-stopping dam at Coon Rapids on the Mississippi River has drawn sharp criticism from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The suburban Minneapolis dam was set to be refurbished under a $16 million project … designed to stop the northward movement of Asian carp, one of the most troublesome invasive species moving into Minnesota waters. The Republican-controlled committee cut the dam project out of the construction-bonding bill Wednesday night, with no public input.” The public doesn’t need to get all worked up about ugly fish. The public needs to worry whether the gay guys next door are getting married.
They should play Wagner as they fly in. Bill McAuliffe of the Strib writes: “Weather permitting, residents in parts of the metro area will be awakened next week by low-flying helicopters engaging in this year’s first aerial spraying for gypsy moths. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture operation said Thursday that it plans to spray 1,500 acres in Hennepin, Anoka and Washington Counties, where infestations of gypsy moths were detected last fall.” Maybe they spray the Capitol for slugs?
Timothy Taylor, editor of the Macalester-based Journal of Economic Perspectives, serves a guest commentary in the Strib on the concept of “taxing the rich.” It’s good grist for any way you want to argue. “I’m not a no-new-taxes absolutist. I won’t weep into my pillow if those with high incomes pay more taxes. However, taxation of high incomes shouldn’t be viewed as a morality play about fairness, but instead as a matter of context and practicality. Those who support raising state taxes on the rich often start by pointing out that the highest-income Minnesotans pay a lower share of their income in state and local taxes than those further down the income scale. For example, a March 2011 report from Minnesota’s Department of Revenue shows that Minnesota households with incomes from about $16,000 up to about $129,000 pay on average about 12 percent of income in state and local taxes. However, the top 5 percent of households, with incomes above $182,000, pay 10 percent of income in state and local taxes. The top 1 percent, with household incomes above $429,000, pay 9.7 percent of income in state and local taxes. But interpreting whether this outcome is ‘fair’ is far from straightforward.”