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God and natural disasters ‘a metaphor,’ says Bachmann


Oh! Now I get it. it was a metaphor! Our Favorite Congresswoman was on “Face the Nation” Sunday explaining that stuff about angry God bringing down hurricanes and earthquakes. Says Rachel Stassen-Berger at the Strib: “Bachmann said her recent claim that the East Coast weather events were a sign from the divine was a ‘metaphor’ and backed a push for low taxes on repatriated corporate income taxes. ‘Do you believe that God does use the weather to send people messages?’ CBS’s Bob Shieffer asked in response to her quote that the East Coast earthquake and hurricane were a message. ‘Obviously, I was speaking metaphorically. That was clear to the audience. It was clear to me. Because the American people have been desperately trying to get the president’s attention. He’s not paying attention,’ Bachmann said on the Sunday talk show. ‘That was a metaphor that I was making.’ ‘Do you believe that God uses weather to send people messages?’ Shieffer asked again. ‘I believe in God. I’m not ashamed to say that I believe in God. I’m a woman of faith and a woman of prayer. But the comment that I made right then was a metaphor. That was very simply what I was doing,’ she replied.” So, we’ll take that as a “yes.”

Christopher Snowbeck of the PiPress delivers a very thorough story on groups confronting the need for annual insurance caps because of seven-figure expenses by one or a handful of people: “In July, the Minnesota Nurses Association issued a notice to union members about a “high-cost claimant” who had generated an estimated $4 million in medical bills through the first week of April. By year’s end, the dollar value of the insurance claim could get even bigger — as much as $8 million, according to a copy of the notice obtained by the Pioneer Press. As a result of the financial hit, union leaders warned that health insurance premiums for 2012 would need to grow by 20 percent to 40 percent unless members voted to institute a cap on annual per-person expenses for next year. Multimillion-dollar claims in a year aren’t common, insurance experts say, but the situation provides a window into the growing problem of how groups pay for medical care when an individual’s bills exceed $1 million. The rules for how employer groups and insurers can handle the risk of these big claims are changing with last year’s federal legislation to overhaul the nation’s health care system.”

Entirely unrelated, I’m sure, is this story from the AP: “The University of Minnesota Board of Regents is set to meet this week to discuss their building-projects wish list for next year. The top item is a new $200 million health care center that would expand and replace the clinics in the Phillips-Wangensteen Building in the heart of the Twin Cities campus. University documents say the current clinics were designed in the 1960s with a capacity for 150,000 patient visits a year, but today those same facilities handle 750,000 annual visits. The university hopes the new health care center will help train the next generation of health care providers, increase revenue for the medical school and attract top faculty and staff.”

From the Department of Good News, Minnesota’s rate of traffic deaths continues to fall, in step with marked declines in deaths from drunk driving. Elizabeth Stawicki from MPR reports: “[T]he Minnesota Department of Public Safety is reporting the number of deaths related to drunk driving dropped 21 percent in 2010 from five years ago. Years of statistics show Minnesota’s roadways are getting safer. Minnesota is on pace for fewer traffic deaths than last year; 212 people have died on the state’s roads this year, compared to 262 last year at this time. About a third of all motor vehicle deaths are due to drunk driving, but the Minnesota Department of Public Safety says those numbers are down too. The state broke a record last year for the fewest number of impaired-driving deaths at 131. The state hasn’t experienced such low numbers since World War II, when there were far fewer cars and trucks on the roads.”

Bad feelings continue to fester over mineral rights up north. Steve Karnowski of the AP writes: “It’s an often overlooked fact that the state holds the mineral rights under much of the privately owned land in Minnesota and doesn’t need a landowner’s consent to authorize prospecting or even mining on that property. Ordinary landowners generally can’t buy their mineral rights. Usually, those go to serious bidders, allowing the state to collect royalties on any significant finds. It wasn’t much of an issue until recently when interest began rising in the billions of dollars’ worth of copper, nickel and other nonferrous minerals believed to lie under the forests, lakes, streams and swamps of northeastern Minnesota that may now be economical to mine. … DNR isn’t required to notify landowners that it has sold the mineral rights under their property, but the companies are required to compensate landowners for damages they cause, Kramka said. Not every lease will lead to drilling on someone’s property because sometimes the companies never exercise their rights.”

Aaaaand … we’re No. 1 … in drum and bugling. Eric Roper of the Strib says: “For the first time in their history, the Minnesota Brass Drum and Bugle Corps took home the top prize this weekend at an annual drum corps competition in Rochester, N.Y. It was a major win for the corps, which has been participating in the Drum Corps Associates World Championships for about 30 years but had never finished higher than second place. They aren’t the only Minnesota group celebrating. The St. Peter Govenaires won first place among smaller drum corps competitors.”

We — Americans — are of course the international champs of lard-assery, which prompts an editorial from the Strib’s Jill Burcum. She says: “What makes this a public health emergency is that obesity is a risk factor for so many serious and costly-to-care-for conditions, including Type II diabetes, heart disease and several types of cancer. If the trend continues, it translates to an additional 6 million to 8.5 million more cases of diabetes and 5.7 million to 7.3 million cases of heart attack and stroke in the U.S. and the U.K. That leads to a bigger health care tab. Caring for obesity-related diseases could add another $22 billion to $28 billion a year in costs in the United States by 2020, according to Lancet, and $48 billion to $66 billion by 2030.” Those numbers are on top of the $147 billion in 2008 dollars flab is already costing us.

The “homestead market value exclusion” is coming home to roost. Jim Anderson of the Strib writes: “[O]ne of the biggest decisions to come out of the donnybrook known as the 2011 legislative session seems to have slipped under the radar until very recently. In one of the most significant changes to the state’s property tax system in a decade, lawmakers ended the market value homestead credit that offers tax breaks to homes valued at less than $414,000. They replaced it with what’s called the ‘homestead market value exclusion.’ … [I]t means that starting in 2012, each home contributes less to the tax base. That means local governments have to raise tax rates to get the same amount of money. The bottom line? It’s a $261 million tax increase, before your local officials even started looking at next year’s budget. In an example offered by the Minnesota House Research Department, the tax on a $200,000 home goes up 4.2 percent, from $1,924 to $2,005.” But obviously, that’s still preferable to all our “job providers” moving to South Dakota.

Few topics produce more unintentional black humor than conservative bloggers making their case against the human component within climate change. At Power Line this weekend, Steven Hayward conjures up this Mobius-like gem: “Which ideology is it that throws a hissy fit over genetically modified organisms and childhood vaccinations? Or files lawsuits to stop de-listings of recovered species (like the gray wolf) even after the government’s science advisory bodies say ‘the science’ says they should be de-listed? Who’s not respecting science now? But rather than stopping with the simple observation that ideology or politics drives acceptance or rejection of certain domains of science, it is worth pressing on to ask why liberals dislike some kind of science, and conservatives other kinds. Liberals in the case of childhood vaccinations and GM organisms dislike certain forms of authority (especially private sector, for-profit authority — does anyone think the liberal outcry against GM foods would be as loud if it were a government lab rather than Monsanto that was leading these innovations?). Conservatives have a symmetrical view, about which I have been trying to persuade liberal environmentalists (but I repeat myself) who will listen: even if catastrophic global warming were proved, we do not consent to being governed by Al Gore. Actually I can amend this: especially if catastrophic global warming were proved true, we do not wish to be governed by Al Gore.  Putting environmentalists in charge of dealing with the serious effects of global warming would be like putting Barney Frank in charge of fixing the housing bubble.  (Oh, wait …).” Part 2 ought to be a killer: How Barney Frank connived with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to melt the Greenland ice sheet.

Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/06/2011 - 09:05 am.

    Rep. Bachmann may not be ashamed of her faith, but she’s well aware that certain aspects of it aren’t shared by mainstream America, particularly her belief that God speaks to us (her)directly. Thus, her reticence before some audiences. As someone who doesn’t believe in a god, much less her god, I find the belief disturbing in a presidential candidate.

    Some might consider this a sign of bias on my part. It is. My bias is for rational thought. I find it impossible to reason with a person whose position is based on signs from above.

  2. Submitted by Georgia Holmes on 09/06/2011 - 10:18 am.

    So what do the wild fires in Texas say about Rick Perry and the Texans who elected hime?

  3. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 09/06/2011 - 10:24 am.

    Metaphor: Yur doin’ it wrong.

    As for the rate of drunken driving crashes, might it have anything to do with the fact that people might not be going to bars and clubs as much. It would be the first thing I’d cut out of my budget if I was still laid-off.

    Oh, and Steven Hayward…wow. Nothing like “see? You do it, too!” to justify stupidity. As a very moderate liberal, I don’t see how the fact that liberal extremists exist changes the fact that the globe is warming. I guess the difference between thinking liberals and Republicans is that we don’t feel the need to incorporate the fringe’s view into our view, let alone make their not-so-sane set of values our core values.

    If it’s a matter of making your own life seem more normal, there are safer ways to do that than holding a country hostage to crazy ideology. Try turning on some of the “reality TV” that has taken over once-interesting TV stations like Discovery and The Learning Channel. If I feel the need to re-center. I simply watch “Hoarders.” Everything gets put into perspective. I then turn off the TV and have no further urges to slip off into something less than sane (like watching more TLC or Discovery Channel). I think the Tea Party could use some of that.

  4. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/06/2011 - 10:49 am.

    Actually I thought the message of the hurricane and earthquake was that more money needs to spent by the government to pay for repairs. In other words, God is calling for more Keynesian stimulus, because that is what the effect will be.

    If God were in the mood to send messages, wouldn’t he/she write it in fire in the sky? No more of this pussy-footing around with confusing messages open to multiple meanings. It’s clear that that hasn’t turned out especially well in the past.

    God don’t need no help from Bachmann.

  5. Submitted by B Maginnis on 09/06/2011 - 12:00 pm.

    Say, Bri?

    Where do you fall regarding the assault from the air at the Fair by the good folks who think dumping glitter helps their cause?

    Assault being the key word?

    Is it “OK” with you, not meriting mention, despite the pollution it also causes as a by-product?

    I mean, if someone had taken a dump out of one of the sky-ride cars it would have been headline news, right?

  6. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 09/06/2011 - 12:03 pm.

    Ode to Bachmann Be-attitudes:

    God as Metaphor?

    If there is

    a god,

    he’s not


  7. Submitted by Rich Crose on 09/06/2011 - 12:28 pm.

    Imagine God sitting on his cloud saying to himself, “I wonder what would happen if I tell two different Republican candidates that I’ve selected them to be President of the United States.”

    He is either a brilliant social scientist and mankind is his Petri Dish or He has a wicked, sick sense of humor.

  8. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/06/2011 - 01:08 pm.

    Glitter on a roof is assault?

    Glitter on the ground at the fair = pollution?

    Glitter is the moral equivalent of poop?

    My goodness, what a drama queen.

  9. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 09/06/2011 - 01:10 pm.

    “…assault from the air…” Seriously. You’re equating the dropping of tiny particles of shiny material from the skyride to the spread of coliform bacteria and general nastiness that would be caused by defecating off the side of a carnival ride?!

    And pollution?! When the “glitter assault” reaches the magnitude of the amount of cigarette butts tossed onto sidewalks, into streets, and and into ditches, then I might consider it an environmental hazard. But, seeing as though I rarely find an article on how cigarette butts are the largest source of non-industrial pollution, I can understand how glitter dumping didn’t make it to the list of non-environmentally-friendly forms of protest.

    Perhaps “the good folks who think dumping glitter helps their cause” should start dumping rainbow-painted throwing stars on the “good people” who work so hard to make sure that there will be SOME sort of underclass, now that it’s taboo to target poor people, Jews, and blacks for such a position. Maybe that will be a more acceptable and effective form of protest?

  10. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/06/2011 - 01:30 pm.

    Re: the nurses and their insurer. Insurance companies employ dozens or hundreds of highly skilled actuaries to determine the company’s likely payouts for a given group.

    When one person in that group exceeds the actuarial average, it is not the fault of the other members or of the expensive member. It is the insurer’s obligation to pay his/her costs. If it MUST raise rates — it should share it out to all its customers as a tiny rise in premium costs.

    The ten largest insurers in the U.S. increased their profits by 428 percent between 2001 and 2008, much of it by denying coverage or claims using any flimsy excuse. Were the salaries of these nurses or any other customers increased even a tiny fraction of that amount during those years?

  11. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 09/06/2011 - 01:31 pm.

    Mr. Hayward’s invocation of convenient demons shows the poverty of his rant. The fact that the only demons he can think of are a former Vice President and presidential candidate, and a Representative from Massachusetts, shows that he really doesn’t have much to work with. It could be that he realizes that his audience doesn’t have much imagination, so he has to go back to the hackneyed (which is a good explanation of PowerLine generally).

    It reminds me of the stories about the hosts of live radio programs getting applause by holding up signs that said “Brooklyn.”

  12. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 09/06/2011 - 03:51 pm.

    Mr. Hayward is obviously evaluating “liberal” attitudes based on the only things the warped reality he’s wrapped around himself will allow him to discern, which means that he has as much actual information about “liberals” as people had about the nature of the cosmos before the telescope was invented.

    First and foremost, the “liberals” who are opposed to GM foods and in favor of continuing to protect certain animals despite their no longer being as threatened with extinction are basing their concerns on carefully-reasoned, scientifically and experientially-based reality.

    (NOT on the more typical conservative perspectives of “I don’t believe it because I don’t want it to be true,” and “It must be true because I WANT it to be true and I know a lot of people who agree with me.”)

    And in case Mr. Hayward didn’t notice it is, indeed, the government ITSELF, which is de-listing formerly endangered species, which shoots a massive hole through his argument that “liberals” only like authority when it’s exercised by the government.

    It’s easy enough to find the historical record regarding how so many of our animal species were hunted to near extinction, or their habitats so damaged by human activity that they were eventually listed as “endangered.”

    As has already happened in many places, as soon as the endangered species protections are removed, the same patterns reassert themselves and those species rapidly become endangered again. Perhaps it would save money and be wiser just to leave them on the list.

    Most liberals, and I agree with them, believe it’s only a matter of time before some variety of GM food is found to have disease-causing agents present in it that were inadvertently introduced by the process of genetic modification.

    Time will tell if we are right, but the very disturbing possibility is there. The consequences could be devastating.

    Adding to our frustration is the fact that because some of our farmers are refusing to follow sound farming practices but are following in the footsteps of American business, maximizing profit to the exclusion of all other considerations, one of the more important GM crops, root worm-killing corn is now losing its effectiveness and will, likely be rendered useless by the ability of rootworms to evolve resistance to the chemical in the corn plants that used to kill those rootworms.

    Further adding to our frustration is the fact that the meat and poultry products we consume are more and more likely to be contaminated with antibiotic-resistant forms of various bacteria whose resistance is the result of the routine (and unsafe to the public) use of antibiotics in animal feed.

    Sadly, our conservative friends seem to believe that their right to make as much money as possible, as quickly as possible, trumps the rights of their friends and neighbors to be safe, secure and healthy – that their right to assert their OWN authority (indeed, their psychologically dysfunctional need to NEVER accept that ANYONE else has authority over them), should trump all other concerns.

  13. Submitted by Robert Langford on 09/06/2011 - 05:12 pm.

    Most of the Northern properties which are occupied by part time residents as vacation sites, or by others who purchased either by means of a tax deed or directly from a state agency, were tax forfeited at some time. The law requires the separation of the mineral rights from the land if lands are forefeited by failure to pay taxes on the property. The lands owned by the State and transfered by its agencies retains the mineral rights in the State and all of this is an appropriate and fair method of protecting the interest of the State in the event of tax forfeiture or transfer to the State. All of those complaining either got their property at very low cost (most frequently by paying only the past due taxes and penalties) or purchased from someone who got such a price. If they had an abstract read, or purchased a title insurance policy at the time of purchase, they were aware ob the retention of mineral rights by the state.

  14. Submitted by will lynott on 09/06/2011 - 08:04 pm.

    Bachman’s throat must be really sore from all the footprints on it–her own, of course. Y’gotta wonder–don’t they ever get, like, EMBARRASSED??

    Remember when Saint Reagan went on TV and plaintively bleated that a balanced budget had never been more than a goal, and therefore his deficit spending (about which he had previously thundered perdition) was okay? I still LOL when I remember that one.

    Conservatives are all alike–big hat, no cattle. The more conservative, the bigger the hat.

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