How “mini” will this session be? Martiga Lohn of the AP writes: “Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton called a special legislative session on Tuesday for a vote on a budget deal that would end the state’s nearly three-week government shutdown. The governor scheduled the session to start at 3 p.m., reflecting the urgency felt to end an impasse that disrupted lives and businesses around the state. … The shutdown won’t end until the GOP-controlled Legislature approves the bills and Dayton, a Democrat, signs them. Dayton and legislative leaders signed a two-page agreement that limits the scope of the session and prohibits any amendments being offered to the bills, a move to make it harder for disagreement from rank-and-file legislators to derail the pact. They said the session would go all night, and the signed agreement stipulated the session would end Thursday. ‘We think everyone will look at this, including ourselves, and say ‘well we didn’t have this, we don’t have that, we have this we don’t want, we had that we don’t want.’ That’s just the essence of a compromise,’ Dayton said. He said some state agencies could re-open as early as Wednesday if the deal is finalized.”
The bills required to complete the budget process are flowing, shall we say, intermittently. Bill Salisbury and Dennis Lien at the PiPress write: “The Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor and GOP lawmakers had come under mounting criticism for drafting multibillion-dollar budget bills behind closed doors with no opportunities for public input. In another sign of progress Monday, lawmakers unveiled the first three budget bills to which all the parties have agreed. They made public a measure providing funding for public safety programs and the courts, another for bus and rail transit, and a third appropriation bill for environmental and energy programs. In addition, they released a bill that allocates $87 million generated by the 2008 Legacy Act constitutional amendment to protect outdoor habitat. Dayton and the legislative leaders must button down six more tax and spending bills, plus a bonding bill, before he will call the Legislature into special session to pass a budget and reopen state facilities that have been closed for 19 days.”
Elizabeth Dunbar and Tom Scheck at MPR say: “The Legislature will be dealing with 12 bills when they meet Tuesday afternoon. Even without amendments, debate on the bills could mean another ’round-the-clock marathon for lawmakers.Once the bills are passed and signed by Dayton, the longest government shutdown in state history will end. Dayton said he’s hopeful some agencies can start operating by tomorrow. ‘I’ll sign them all as they come through,’ Dayton said. ‘Minnesota will be officially lights on.. Dayton ordered the State Capitol to reopen on Tuesday to allow for greater transparency, although work on the details of the individual bills happened behind closed doors.”
Jon Collins at The Minnesota Independent looks into the “who” of T-Paw’s funding: “Pawlenty raised $4.45 million, slightly less than U.S. Rep. Ron Paul. But Pawlenty relied largely on big donors. Only 10 percent of Pawlenty’s funds came from people who donated $200 or less; Paul raised half his money from small donors, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Pawlenty is also relying heavily on his connections in Minnesota, having raised a quarter of his funds from citizens of the state, according to Federal Election Commission reports. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann raised $4.2 million so far in this election, although more than $2.5 million of that total was raised in her congressional fund, not her presidential fund. A $2 million transfer to her presidential fund on June 30 brought her presidential fund up to $3.6 million in fundraising this election. Bachmann has performed solidly in Minnesota, bringing in more than $60,000 from the state, which is still only about a quarter of what President Barack Obama has raised in Minnesota.”
Speaking of … Brittany Trevick of the Daily Iowan covers T-Paw stumping in Coralville and attempting sell the crowds on his stewardship of the Minnesota economy:“The GOP presidential-nomination hopeful started an 18-city tour of the state Monday, with around 60 people attending his event in the basement of the Coralville Public Library … In his two terms as governor, the candidate said, he reformed schools, changing teacher’s pay from being based on seniority to being based on performance, scaled back one of the longest transit strikes, and appointed four conservative judges. ‘I’ve got the record, I’ve got the values, I’ve got the experience. and I’ve got the ability,’ Pawlenty told the crowd. … Tim Hagle, a UI associate political-science professor said arguments such as these often happen between parties as they try to make the other look bad. ‘The Democrats’ concern is they don’t want to see Pawlenty succeed,’ he said. ‘[But] I think the bottom line is he still balanced the budget.’ Supporters at the meeting were not [swayed] by the critics’ argument. Many noted they appreciated what he did in his home state and praised him for his work. ‘If he can do what he did in Minnesota, he can do it in America,” said Stan Kittleson, a member of the Johnson County Republicans.” Oh, if elected he could “do it in America,” too.
Betsy Rubiner of TIME is in Iowa on the Bachmann trail. The “Why do you like her questions” may be as unimaginative as you can get, but the answers, though familiar, are always illuminating: “Jody Wohlenhaus, 45, who lives in the countryside near Des Moines, is sold on Bachmann. ‘I’m tired of seeing people act like conservatives, get sent to Washington and just roll over. I don’t think she’ll do that,’ says Wohlenhaus, a ‘basic orthodox Christian,’ Tea Party admirer, rural Iowa native, community volunteer and parent married to a small-business owner. ‘Her entire world view lines up with mine, with reality — strong fiscal conservatism and strong social conservatism,’ says Wohlenhaus. This means ‘paring government back,’ ‘quit spending us into the grave,’ supporting ‘the sanctity of life’ and ‘natural marriage — one man, one woman for life.’ ‘If we don’t win this next election, we’re seriously going to become socialist Europe,’ Wohlenhaus says.” And if we turn into a hell hole like France, why we might as well drown ourselves in burgundy and creme brulee.
With Ms. Bachmann far and away the highest profile politician in/from the state, the local mainstream media’s only cursory interest in her daily pronouncements and the precise details of her life-story has long been a curiosity. The national press, though, is waking up and giving credit where credit is due. David A. Graham of The Daily Beast writes today: “Digging deep into the Minnesota Republican’s record, reporters have found some tantalizing material: her alleged ties to the hatemongering pastor Bradlee Dean, her work to get a pardon for Ponzi schemer Frank Vennes Jr., and her husband’s apparent reference to gays as ‘barbarians.’ They’re juicy stories and they’ve gotten plenty of attention nationwide. But they aren’t news — a small cluster of bloggers in Minnesota broke all those stories years ago. These are interesting times for Eva Young, Ken Avidor, and a handful of other contributors who write the Dump Bachmann blog, a small online outpost that punches way above its weight class. For seven years, Young and her compadres have devoted long hours to cataloguing Bachmann’s every move, first as an obscure state senator and then in the U.S House. Now the object of their attention is suddenly the front runner in Iowa, and a leading contender for the 2012 GOP nomination. … With their influence has come the sinking sensation of seeing other, bigger outlets borrowing their work. The Wall Street Journal scored a neat scoop on July 11 about how the anti-tax Bachmann’s only stint in the professional world included collecting taxes for the federal government. But Dump Bachmann posted on the same case in March 2006. [Karl] Bremer went so far as to contact the Los Angeles Times after that paper ran a story about Bachmann receiving government aid for a family farm without crediting earlier versions. ‘Bulls–t! I broke it in 2007,’ Bremer says. ‘It’s frustrating seeing national media come in here and think they can scoop us for our work for the last 10 years. I’ve spent hours driving to the other side of the district to plow through court records that aren’t online, or staying up until 3 in the morning going through campaign reports on the FEC,’ Bremer says. ‘I don’t care if somebody comes in and uses my research, but gimme a link or credit!’ ” Since when do bloggers “report”? You need a license for that, don’t you?
One more on Our Favorite Congresswoman. the story du jour is her campaign conceding she suffers from migraines. At Salon, Alex Pareene is unimpressed with the way Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller treated the story. “Here’s the story: Michele Bachmann suffers from migraines. Here’s the way the Caller played it: Michele Bachmann is constantly incapacitated by debilitating and mysterious ‘headaches’ and she pops pills like candy! The headline is, ‘Stress-related condition ‘incapacitates’ Bachmann; heavy pill use alleged.’ Again, the ‘condition’ is generally called ‘migraines.’ And ‘heavy pill use’ certainly sounds like an allegation of a prescription painkiller addiction, though the article does not once name any of the specific medications Bachmann supposedly takes. … John F. Kennedy had Addison’s and hypothyroidism. FDR had polio. Ronald Reagan was senile. All of those conditions were newsworthy and affected job performance, but there’s a way to report on a politician’s chronic medical condition that’s informative and not just a transparent attempt to sink a candidacy. … Michele Bachmann is unfit to be president because she’s a demented religious nutcase and a far-right extremist. But she seems to have managed her migraines well enough to make it this far.” Now that is what I call a back-handed defense.
Dave Hanners of the PiPress has a more detailed story about the young Somali who pled guilty to terrorist activities Monday. It begins: “On the flickering concourse monitors at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, it was listed as Northwest Flight 56, the 9:25 p.m. departure to Amsterdam. But over 40 days in late 2007, it could’ve been called the al-Shabaab Shuttle. The flight was the preferred first leg of the trip made by young Somali men from the Twin Cities, bound for their homeland to fight for the Islamic militant group al-Shabaab. On Monday, on the eve of his trial in federal court, Omer Abdi Mohamed stood before a judge and admitted that in late 2007, he helped seven men make the exodus to Somalia. Once abroad, some of them took up arms for al-Shabaab; some blew themselves up in suicide attacks; and some returned, disenchanted, after they sampled the foul taste of war.”