Bachmann finishes last in Florida

MORNING EDITION

Our Favorite Congresswoman has finished … dead last … in the (all-important) Florida straw ballot. Says the Strib’s Kevin Diaz: “Herman Cain shocked the political world by winning the Florida GOP’s influential presidential straw poll Saturday, while Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann finished last in the field of eight. … Bachmann’s poor showing in Florida seemed to further diminish her fast-waning campaign, which started strong in June with a well-received debate performance in New Hampshire. The Bachmann campaign released a statement minimizing the result: ‘Florida is an important state in the presidential race, but we chose not to participate in the (Florida GOP) Poll, which is open to select delegates. We got into the presidential race late and dedicated our resources to the Iowa straw poll, which is open to all Iowans with a valid ID. Michele won the Iowa poll with less time and money than the other candidates in the race.’ “

“Continuing structural imbalance” is the sterile business jargon explanation for Minnesota’s latest debt downgrade. Business Week’s Mark Niquette writes: “Minnesota had $5.1 billion of top-rated general-obligation debt downgraded one step to AA+ by Standard & Poor’s, which cited ‘continued structural imbalance’ in the state’s budget. S&P also assigned an AA+ rating and stable outlook to $921.7 million in Minnesota general-obligation bonds, the service said in a release. …  ‘The downgrade reflects what we view as the state’s ongoing reliance on nonrecurring measures to balance its budget’, Robin Prunty, an S&P credit analyst, said in a release.”

Doyle McManus has a good piece on the Los Angeles Times Op-Ed page titled “The GOP’s hard right tilt.” He says: “How would Presidents Romney, Perry or Bachmann fix Medicare, whose rising costs are the biggest threat to the federal budget over the next 25 years? They haven’t said. Perry maintains vaguely that the problem can be solved by eliminating waste. Bachmann voted for the House budget proposal that would have changed Medicare to a voucher system but said that didn’t mean she agrees with it. Romney mostly avoids the subject. What would Presidents Romney, Perry or Bachmann do about healthcare after they repeal the Obama law? Not much, apparently, beyond kicking the issue back to the states.”

No one is saying for certain what is going on in Wisconsin, but the FBI raid on the home of a Scott Walker ally and now a series of immunity deals to high Walker staffers suggests something is brewing. Marie Rohde at Wisconsin Politics says:Walker’s spokesman is one of three witnesses who have been granted immunity in an ongoing John Doe investigation that includes allegations of campaign law violations, according to records obtained by WisPolitics.com. The spokesman, Cullen Werwie, also served as deputy communications director for Walker’s gubernatorial campaign. Rose Ann Dieck, a retired teacher and Milwaukee County Republican party activist, and Kenneth Lucht, a lobbyist for the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad, have also been granted immunity in matters ‘still under inquiry’ through the secret probe, according to the judge overseeing the case.”

Daniel Bice of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says: “Records show Werwie was granted immunity April 14. According to the judge’s order, Werwie was planning to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions to avoid self-incrimination. ‘It is a big deal,’ said Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer Stephen E. Kravit. ‘He recognizes he’s got (criminal) exposure and he negotiated for a proffer to get immunity, and that’s a big deal.’ Under an immunity deal, a person agrees to cooperate with an investigation by answering questions under oath. But prosecutors can’t then use the testimony against the individual.

At The Huffington Post, Mary Bottari of the Center for Media and Democracy writes: “[A]ll is not well in the Walker inner-circle. This week, it was revealed that Walker administration lawyers petitioned the courts to withdraw an affidavit filed by [the woman whose home the FBI raided, Cindy] Archer in a lawsuit brought by the unions against the collective bargaining bill. Apparently, Scott Walker no longer agrees with her sworn testimony or no longer has faith in one of his chief lieutenants. Archer joins other top Walker aides that have quietly slipped off the radar including Tom Nardelli, Walker’s Chief of Staff when he was County Executive who gave up his job in the state’s Division of Environmental and Regulatory Services at the end of July. According to one criminal defense attorney, ‘everyone in the state is lawyering up.’ The drip drip drip of daily revelations has the state abuzz. All will be watching to see if Werwie will be at work on Monday or if he too will find himself suddenly feeling unwell.”

And speaking of the Wisconsin governor … Scott Bauer of the AP reports on an email showing that Walker had explored cutting the pay of all state employees: “Walker considered cutting the pay of all public workers at the same time he was crafting his budget proposal that forced them to contribute more for their pension and health care benefits, an email obtained by The Associated Press under the state’s open records law shows. The email, sent Dec. 8 by policy director Ryan Murray, also asks the budget director how much could be saved through the maximum allowable eligibility and benefit cuts to Medicaid. … In the email, Walker’s policy director also asks then-budget director Dave Schmiedicke how much it would cost the state to repeal a variety of tax increases, including one that raised cigarette taxes by 75 cents a pack in 2009 and an income tax hike on the state’s highest earners.”
 
Gophers football coach Jerry Kill is back in the hospital for treatment related to ongoing seizures. The ESPN story, by Brian Bennett, says: “Kill suffered a seizure on the sidelines late in the loss to New Mexico State in Week 2 and spent several days in the hospital. He returned to coach the Gophers’ next two games but admitted in his news conference last week that he’d been experiencing multiple seizures ever since the New Mexico State one. He had another one on Sunday, and that was enough to convince him to go to the Mayo Clinic for more testing and evaluation.” Hang tough, coach.

Newsrooms as far afield as CNN, The New York Times and Britain’s Daily Mail have picked up on the pork rustlin’ going on down on the porous and lawless Iowa border. Over at the uber-New Yorker website Gawker, they have this to say: “A healthy 250- to 275-pound porker now goes for around $200, almost double last year’s average asking price. How can you protect your pigs from thieves? It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves every day. Here are some commonly used methods:

  • Investing in a security system
  • Building a fortress-like wall around your farm
  • Digging a moat around your farm and filling it with alligators
  • Moving to a farm surrounded by quicksand
  • Hiring snipers to stand guard
  • Selling off all your pigs
  • Bringing all your pigs inside your farmhouse to live with you
  • Dressing up your pigs in costumes, to make them look like cheaper animals
  • Dressing up your pigs in camouflage
  • Enrolling your pigs in a self-defense course
  • Adjusting their privacy settings
  • Encrypting them.”

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/26/2011 - 08:58 am.

    So how long will it be before we discover that Scott Walker and his entire executive team are nothing but a criminal enterprise which ignored long-established policies and procedures, and cast aside a lot of state and federal law in order to turn the standard American business game of crony capitalism into pay-to-play government?

    Of course that’s been the rule in Texas for a long time, but the people of Wisconsin used to be smarter than to elect a governor with such a criminal mind to lead them.

    Wisconsinites used to be far too smart to fall for the classic old flim-flam of “I’ll make you fabulously rich if you just give me your trust and ignore everyone but me when it all starts to smell really bad” the effects of which always turn out to be, “I’ll massively pad my own pockets and laugh at you suckers as I do everything in my power to steal your resources and sink you sink into poverty.”

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/26/2011 - 09:02 am.

    It’s splitting the hair mighty fine to say that Walker did not cut the pay of Wisconsin state employees. When you pay more for something you’d previously obtained in bargaining or legislation, and take home less money as a result, your pay’s been cut.

  3. Submitted by Don Frey on 09/26/2011 - 11:08 am.

    Regarding the Wisconsin state government mess, since the voters of the state had an opportunity to recall at least some of the legislators who pushed through the law allowing Walker & Co. to cut the pay and benefits of state employees, and chose NOT to do so, they must approve of what’s going on. Whether by not voting to recall, or not bothering to vote at all, they got what they wanted. So I have little sympathy for the citizens of Wisconsin. Ours is a participative democracy, and if you choose not to participate, and let the Koch brothers decide what type of government you have, you deserve what you get.

  4. Submitted by Wayne Van Cleve on 09/26/2011 - 12:38 pm.

    “What would Presidents Romney, Perry or Bachmann do about healthcare after they repeal the Obama law? Not much, apparently, beyond kicking the issue back to the states.”

    I believe this is similar to the method Gov. Timmy “I left the state budget in good shape” Pawlenty used to shift the payment burden. In Gov. Tim’s case it shifted to the counties, our school system, etc. As long as the tax burden remains or gets bigger for the middle class and the rich and “job producing”(?) corporations are safe with their steadily waning share we’re OK.

    Almost sounds like Class Warfare.

  5. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 09/26/2011 - 02:07 pm.

    #3 Don, did you miss that Democrats won 5 out of 9, all contested in red or at least purple districts? When you beat 40% of the other party’s incumbents, that’s a blowout. Two more barely survived. If Wisconsin Democrats saw that as a loss, they’re fools.

    They’re going to have to decide early next year, when Walker becomes eligible for recall, whether to pursue it. If this investigation amounts to anything, the decision might be getting obvious.

  6. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/26/2011 - 02:19 pm.

    How to save Social Security and Medicare? The answer is simplicity itself: Eliminate the cap on the amount of earnings to be taxed to support both programs AND make the tax applicable to all forms of income. Those who invest in the stock market are “working” for the income it provides them, the same as my auto mechanic works for his, but there’s no reason why my mechanic should pay a higher rate of tax than Bill Gates or any of the Wall Street banksters who have crashed our economy.

  7. Submitted by Don Frey on 09/26/2011 - 04:28 pm.

    #5 Eric, apparently my news sources were different than yours. I read that NO Republicans were recalled. To my way of thinking, that meant that the voters of those district approved of what their legislators had done. I stand by my earlier post.

  8. Submitted by Don Frey on 09/26/2011 - 04:33 pm.

    With regard to the Social Security and Medicare issues, the article presumes that potential presidents Perry, Romney, or (arrggh!) Bachmann would actually HAVE a plan to deal with the continued funding of these programs. Just saying NO!, which seems to be the Republican Party’s way these days, doesn’t solve the problem at all. Voters should demand a funding plan, with definitive costs and ways to pay for those costs, before considering any of the three to be capable or willing to address the issues facing these important programs.

  9. Submitted by Chris Reynolds on 09/26/2011 - 09:28 pm.

    #7 – You need to find some more accurate sources then. 6 republicans recalled, 4 successfully defended their seats, 2 defeated by dems. You can find it here on Minnpost or lots of other moderately reputable outlets.

  10. Submitted by Chris Reynolds on 09/27/2011 - 10:38 am.

    #7 Don, how does 6 sitting republicans faced recall election, 4 won and 2 lost equate to no Republicans recalled?

    And all 3 recalled democrats won their seats – just for completeness.

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