Do audiences get any easier than T-Paw and Our Favorite Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, speaking in front of the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference? Brett Neely of MPR mentions Bachmann’s latest assertion … namely that Planned Parenthood has ignored trafficking in underage girls: “Describing her pleasure at the gay marriage referendum that will be on Minnesota’s ballot next year, Bachmann reminded the crowd that she had been at ‘the tip of spear’ when it came to efforts to define marriage as being between a man and woman during her time in the Minnesota statehouse. Bachmann received multiple standing ovations, including a lengthy one after she proclaimed, ‘I will not rest until we repeal Obamacare!’ That was followed by a swipe at the family planning organization Planned Parenthood, which receives some federal funding. Calling the group a ‘corrupt organization,” Bachmann said the group performed hundreds of thousands of abortions, ‘and that’s in addition to the trafficking of underage girls that has gone on under Planned Parenthood’s nose.’ Bachmann did not answer questions about the accusation but her press secretary Becky Rogness later pointed to a link on Bachmann’s congressional website praising the work of the anti-abortion group Live Action, which claimed to have found evidence of human trafficking by the group through the use of undercover sting videos.”
Jeremy Herb of the Strib also covers Tim Pawlenty and Bachmann: “Bachmann was in her element Friday at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference, a gathering of Christian conservatives. She and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty were two of seven declared and potential 2012 GOP presidential candidates scheduled to speak at the two-day event hosted by Ralph Reed. Pawlenty’s speech focused on fiscal issues as much as social ones. He focused on policy and President Obama’s record rather than on his own personal story, a contrast from Bachmann. ‘The best sermons aren’t preached, they’re lived,’ Pawlenty said. ‘All the candidates are going to come out here and say, ‘I’m for cutting taxes, I’m for reducing spending, I’m for promoting judges who are strict constructionists’ … I hope you’ll also ask the question, ‘Who’s actually done it and not just talked about it?’ He reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion rights to loud applause.”
Thank you, MaryJo Webster, a guy endures an awful lot of pain going cold turkey from Denny Hecker news. Webster of the PiPress filed a long piece over the weekend, much of it based on a jail house interview with Hecker who, as you knew he would, blamed everybody else for his cataclysmic faceplant: “Hecker said his assistants, accountant and lawyers filled out the bankruptcy paperwork. ‘I had no idea what I owned,’ Hecker explained last week. Hecker said he was ‘set up’ by [bankruptcy trustee Randy] Seaver and Chrysler Financial. In the interview and subsequent emails to the Pioneer Press, Hecker railed against Seaver’s handling of the case, saying Seaver focused solely on ‘hidden’ assets and left ‘millions of dollars on the table’ because he didn’t try to sell many of Hecker’s remaining business interests. In an email, Seaver denied the allegations. He also said that many of the businesses couldn’t be sold because there were unknown tax consequences (Hecker had not filed 2008 taxes) and Chrysler Financial had a blanket security lien on all of Hecker’s interests.”
Another PiPress piece, this one from Mila Koumpilova, will no doubt relight fires under those who blame overpaid teachers for most of society’s ills: “Educators who draw both salaries and pensions have come under fire in a number of states as part of a wholesale scrutiny of public workers and their benefits. From California to New York, such employees have faced charges of double-dipping — boosting their incomes by tapping troubled public pension funds. In Minnesota, experts say, the small number of retirees in public school jobs makes them at most a blip on the financial radar. The vast majority make modest incomes filling in part time. And school districts are often desperate to enlist them for harder-to-fill positions. Some 9,000 beneficiaries of Minnesota’s public retirement funds are back on the public payroll. As the public workforce ages and economic pressures squeeze retirees, some expect their ranks to grow — and with them, attention to the issue. This week, the Public Employees Retirement Association will present a report to its board on the impact of back-to-work retirees on the pension fund. And a legislative pension committee plans to examine the issue this summer.”
Now this is work he’s suited for. Tom Emmer … conservative talk radio host. Andy Greder of the PiPress writes: “Emmer will co-host a weekday talk radio show on KTLK-FM, the station’s owner, Clear Channel Radio, said in a news release Friday. Emmer, the former deputy minority leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives, will host the show with Bob Davis, who previously worked for KSTP-AM and other stations across the country. The show will air on 100.3 FM from 6-9 a.m., beginning Monday.” The money quote though, if you translate radio-ese is this: “ ‘Davis and Emmer have two very different personalities, but combined they will bring a truly unique and compelling perspective to daily issues,’ Andrew Lee, program director for the Fox News affiliate, said in a statement. ‘They will bring a stellar combination of wit and insight to KTLK’s strong stable of radio entertainers.’ ” Translation? “Will work cheap and stay on saleable message.”
Finally! An editorial supporting the state GOP … oh wait, it’s Ms. Kersten in the Star Tribune. But yes, Katherine likes the cut of the GOP’s jib when it comes to state finances. She reiterates a familiar GOP frame, saying: “[T]he Legislature’s budget requires no new taxes, because it balances spending increases with expected revenue increases. That’s a prudent move at a time when most Minnesotans are scrimping to buy gas and groceries. How about Dayton, Mr. Moderate? He’s demanding an unprecedented $36 billion budget that includes a whopping 15 percent spending increase over the current biennium. Dayton wants to plug the resulting gap with a $1.8 billion tax increase — one of the largest in state history. His plan would boost Minnesota’s top marginal income tax rate to virtually the highest in the nation, at 10.95 percent. Mr. Moderate is willing to shut down the state government to wring this monster tax increase from the Legislature.”
As usual whenever Kersten writes, the Strib comment boards are very entertaining: “swmnguy” writes: “The past couple weeks have seen a full-court press of Republican operatives and sympathizers trying to saturate the media with their PR message. They digging deep to toss Katherine Kersten out there to shake her finger at Minnesotans yet again. Recent Op-Eds by Brodkorb and Sutton were greeted with waves of derision on these comment boards. The Republican Party’s internal polling must be much worse than even the published polls, and those numbers are bad for the GOP. They’ve overstepped their bounds, overplayed their hands, and lost the popularity they had in a slim six months. The new extreme-right GOP is favored by about 25% of the population and it only does well when it shrinks the pool of voters and operates in the shadows. When the population as a whole gets a look at what the Right has in mind for us, it is very unpopular indeed. Hence the recent wave of panicky, increasingly shrill and desperate-sounding self-justification. Minnesotans aren’t buying it. The GOP is single-handedly making Mark Dayton the most popular Governor in recent memory.”
A plan to develop an actual community in and around the old (decrepit) Fort Snelling buildings is gaining traction. Kevin Duchschere of the Strib says: “Several governmental partners, from the federal level on down, are weighing an agreement that would result in a village of Fort Snelling — essentially a new municipality — to provide services and steer proposed development for the fort’s abandoned Upper Post. Such an agreement could spur the long-awaited restoration and re-use of the Upper Post’s 45 historic buildings, many of them yellow-brick structures more than a century old that have needed stabilizing in recent years. The site is near a Hiawatha line light-rail stop, making it easily reachable from downtown Minneapolis to the Mall of America. But hurdles remain before the Upper Post and its adjacent West District can become a viable development with offices, shops, a museum and some housing.”
Brett Larson, editor of the Mille Lacs Messenger wades into the gay marriage “debate” (such as it is), saying: “I’m not the first to ask what damage gays and lesbians could do to marriage that heterosexuals haven’t done already. We’ve made such a mess of it that it’s only right to give someone else a shot. I know how I’ll be voting on the amendment which passed both houses mainly along straight party lines and will face us on the ballot next fall. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if [GOP] Senator [Dave] Brown is shocked by the number of those who agree with me. In fact, Republicans may already be getting cold feet, as they’ve softened the language to potentially allow for civil unions. I suppose Sen. Brown bases his opposition to gay marriage on the Bible, which says all kinds of things are wrong that we now accept (divorce, eating pork, calling your brother a fool) and right that we don’t (slavery, sexism, forced circumcision). If we really want to base law on the Bible, we’re gonna need a whole bunch of new amendments.” Has Warren Limmer said anything about running the state according to the Book of Leviticus?
I also wanted to call your attention to a Reuters report I cited Friday morning that has turned out to be wrong concerning a drug ring stretching from the Pacific Northwest to Illinois. The original story incorrectly reported that the alleged participants were Hmong. That is incorrect. Here is a link to the corrected Reuters story.