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Capitol frustration, resignation mark shutdown attitudes

MORNING EDITION ALSO: The conservative national perspective; state next gay rights battleground; a holiday substitute for “Taste”; “farmer” Bachmann; secret NFL talks; and more.
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“Frustration” is the buzzword of the hour on the shutdown talks … and “resignation.” Southeast Minnesota KAAL-TV’s story says: “Some local lawmakers say they’re losing hope an agreement can be reached. ‘I’m not hopeful a government shutdown can be averted,’ said Republican Senator Carla Nelson of Rochester. ‘Its beginning to feel like a shutdown will occur,’ said Democratic Representative Kim Norton of Rochester. If you ask some local lawmakers how they’re feeling, ‘frustrated’ seems to be a choice word. ‘Terribly frustrated,’ said Republican Representative Mike Benson of Rochester. ‘I’m extremely frustrated,’ said Nelson.” Here’s another word they might want to get used to … [bleeped], as in [bleeped] off voters.

In the conservative Washington Times, Andrea Billups describes the ideological situation here this way: “Mr. Dayton, a former U.S. senator who took over the governorship from Tim Pawlenty, now a Republican presidential hopeful, has balked at Republican insistence that spending for the two-year budget be capped at $34 billion. Mr. Dayton, who campaigned on what one free-market policy strategist described as a ‘class-warfare’ platform, insists on another $1.8 billion in new state revenue to be gleaned, in part, through raising taxes on the top 5 percent of high-income earners — joint filers earning more than $250,000. The increase would mark a nearly 11 percent increase in state income taxes alone on some residents as the nation’s economic progress continues to drag. … Steve Stanek, a research fellow on budget and tax policy at Chicago’s Heartland Institute, called the governor’s proposal ‘outrageous.’ Raising taxes on what would include many beleaguered small-business owners will ruin any economic progress the state might see, he said.”

An AP story, running prominently in The Washington Post, suggests attention on the “marriage rights” front will now turn from New York state to Minnesota: “With New York now gearing up for same-sex weddings, the battle lines are forming for the next skirmishes over gay marriage — and the most dramatic could come in Minnesota. Gay-marriage supporters in the Land of 10,000 Lakes will be working fervently to end a 31-state losing streak at the polls and defeat a proposed amendment on the 2012 ballot that would limit marriage to one-man, one-woman unions. It’s expected to be a closely fought campaign, attracting extensive out-of-state resources. … If the amendment passes, in a state viewed as politically moderate, foes of gay marriage will be able to claim that the New York Legislature’s vote Friday to legalize same-sex marriage did not turn the tide nationally. Their side will have extended a winning streak dating to 1998, with opponents of same-sex marriage prevailing every time it has been put to a popular vote. If the amendment is defeated, gay-marriage supporters will be able to make a strong case that public opinion has turned in their favor.”

Oh yeah, there’s no “Taste of Minnesota.” At least not this year. Rochelle Olson of the Strib writes: “The city intends to light fireworks on July 4th from the Upper Landing Park along Shepard Road by the Science Museum of Minnesota downtown. The show starts at 10:15 p.m., but the city wants celebrants to come early, stay late and enjoy specials at downtown bars and restaurants. The fireworks should be visible all along the river and on bridges, but the Public Works Department warns of possible traffic congestion at peak show time.
The city has maps that can help revelers navigate road construction at”

With Rolling Stone magazine’s embarrassment over not crediting local bloggers and alt-weekly writers for their coverage of Michele Bachmann, maybe people like Karl Bremer of the “Ripple in Stillwater” blog will get more attention. His latest post says: “Bachmann told Chris Wallace on Fox News that she and her husband had ‘never gotten a penny of money from the farm.’ Either Bachmann lied to a national tv audience when she said that, or she’s been filing false federal financial disclosure forms with Congress since 2007. Bachmann has claimed between $32,503 and $105,000 in income from the Bachmann Farm Family Limited Partnership since 2007, according to her congressional financial disclosure forms for 2007, 2009 and 2010. She still has not reported her 2008 income from the farm on her disclosure form from that year — an apparent violation of congressional reporting requirements. And as in years past, Bachmann hasn’t bothered to file her financial disclosure form for 2011 and has been granted an extension. The Bachmann Farm Family Partnership comprises 951 acres with at least one home on 38 parcels in Independence, WI, with a total assessed value of $664,950. Michele and Marcus Bachmann are partners in the farm partnership, which was established April 12, 2001, with an ownership share valued at between $100,001 and $250,000.”  

Imagine, if you can, that Tom Emmer won last year’s gubernatorial race. We wouldn’t be talking shutdown. Now talk radio host Emmer turns in a commentary for the Strib. Among the highlights: “Republican candidates across Minnesota ran on a very clear message: We have too much government; it is time to reduce its size and impact on our daily lives, liberties and economic freedom. We need to shrink the size of the bureaucracies, streamline government regulation and reduce taxes to jump-start our private economy. … Contrary to their campaign message, Republicans in the Legislature passed the largest spending increase in the history of our state. The governor, however, was not satisfied with the largest spending increase ever; he wants more. … Republicans have a choice. They can lead us back to prosperity by holding true to the commitment they made to the people last fall, or they can slide back into the political easy chair in the name of ‘compromise.’

The latest look into the effects of congressional action removing ethanol subsidies comes from MPR’s Mark Steil: “[A]nnual ethanol production has stalled out at about 13 billion gallons a year. In addition, another sector of expected growth has failed to perform, said David Morris with the Minneapolis based Institute for Local Self-Reliance. That’s the cellulosic family, ethanol made from things like grass, crop waste and wood chips. Morris said despite optimistic projections, so far there is not a single commercial scale cellulosic plant operating in the U.S. ‘Cellulosic ethanol has been extremely disappointing,’ Morris said. Cellulosic plants have had trouble finding financing. That problem could grow this fall when a major federal loan guarantee program for cellulosic and other renewable energy facilities ends. The Environmental Protection Agency last week provided a measure of cellulosic’s disappointment. The EPA expects at most 13 million gallons of U.S. cellulosic production in 2012. A few years ago the EPA projection was nearly 40 times greater, some 500 million gallons.”

Ratted out by your own kid … Mara Gottfried of the PiPress tells the story of the bombed mom and her alert child: “An 8-year-old boy told the principal of a St. Paul school that something was wrong with his mother. She was too drunk or too high to drive, the child said, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday.
Tina Marie Ramirez’s blood-alcohol concentration was 0.30, nearly four times the 0.08 legal limit to drive in Minnesota, an hour after police first approached her, the complaint said. … An officer approached Ramirez, who was still in the driver’s seat, and ‘noted the strong odor of an alcoholic beverage,’ the complaint said. Ramirez told officers she had consumed a half-pint of vodka. Field sobriety tests were not conducted because Ramirez fell down when she got out of the car, according to the complaint.”

“Secret talks” are going on in the Twin Cities, and it’s not just DFLers and the GOP. Apparently NFL big shots are coming and going trying to save the coming season. Jason La Canfora of the NFL network writes: “Players involved in labor negotiations with the NFL traveled to Minnesota on Monday, but not just to meet with their legal team. They are there for a fifth round of ‘secret talks’ with the league, a source with knowledge of the situation said. Minnesota is home to Arthur Boylan, the U.S. magistrate judge assigned to run court-ordered mediation and who has been present for the previous talks. Also constants in the room have been NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, New York Giants owner John Mara, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, New York Jets fullback Tony Richardson, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth and Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday.”