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Dems in Minnesota delegation vote ‘no’ on Colombia trade


In the end, Minnesota’s congressional split votes on new trade agreements with foreign countries. Andy Birkey at The Minnesota Independent reports: “Free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama passed the U.S. House and U.S. Senate on Wednesday, with much of the Minnesota delegation supporting at least one of the deals. The bills were supported by corporations, including Minnesota-based Cargill, while labor and human rights groups opposed the measures, particularly the deal with Colombia. … All of Minnesota’s [congressional Democrats] voted against the deal with Colombia citing concerns of government violence against the labor movement in that country. Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum voted against all three free trade agreements.”

In a trade-related move, Brett Neely of MPR notes: “Two new bills from Minnesota’s Congressional delegation would make it easier for the state’s medical device companies to get their products to market. The first bill comes from [Democratic] Sen. Amy Klobuchar, along with co-sponsors from both political parties. It would make changes to the way the Food and Drug Administration approves medical devices to speed up a process that’s gotten increasingly slow.” Third District Congressman Erik Paulsen is down with that one, too.

The arcane market value homestead credit, eliminated in last summer’s budget compromise, continues to throw a Halloween-like scare into property owners. Tom Robertson of MPR reports: “Tax officials say a Bemidji business worth $300,000 will see taxes go up 8 percent, almost $700. Figures are similar elsewhere, a check with county auditors shows. A similar property in Duluth will see a 9 percent increase, in St. Paul 11 percent, in Hibbing 13 percent. Those figures are based on preliminary tax levies that school, city and county officials have approved. They could lower them when they determine their budgets in December. Business owners are just beginning to learn how changes lawmakers and the governor made last summer are going to affect them. The July compromise that ended the state government shutdown included eliminating the market value homestead credit, which for years lowered property taxes on lower value homes. Many property owners are likely to see tax increases, but owners of business property will be hit the hardest.” But remember,  “job creators” were protected.                

Birkey of the Minnesota Independent also notes the latest union ad up against 8th District Congressman Chip Cravaack: “American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is launching a television ad against Chip Cravaack this week targeting his opposition to Pres. Barack Obama’s proposed jobs bill.” The ad is at the link.

Anna Polta of the West Central Tribune writes: “Minnesota has recorded its first case of influenza for the 2011-12 season in a 26-year-old woman from Olmsted County, the state Department of Health announced today. The Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory confirmed the woman’s illness was caused by the A (H3) strain of the virus, which appears to be covered by this year’s flu vaccine. The woman, who had no underlying health conditions and was not hospitalized, had not yet been vaccinated this season, state health officials said.”

Don Davis of the Forum papers detects no new optimism for a Vikings stadium: “Rural lawmakers contacted today, after two major stadium developments this week, generally were pessimistic about stadium chances. Some said a special session is not appropriate for a stadium issue. In the past, rural lawmakers have been critical in stadium votes, especially for the 2-year-old Twins baseball facility. This year, Lanning and Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, are the main stadium sponsors. While there is rural support from many for a Vikings’ stadium, there also are plenty of unanswered questions that supporters fear could delay or kill a stadium bid. … Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said about 70 percent of his constituents oppose any state funding for a stadium, but at the same time want Minnesota to keep the Vikings.”

Authorities have concluded that a Woodbury father shot and killed his two children before setting fire to their RV at the Grand Canyon last week. MyFox-TV in Phoenix says: “Based on the evidence, investigators said they believe 35-year-old Anthony DeHaven, of Woodbury, Minn., fatally shot his two children — Jace and Jersey — before starting the fire and turning the gun on himself. … Investigators stress that they are still examining all potential leads in this case, but have not yet commented on how the police report filed with the Woodbury Police Department is connected to the case other than to say it is related to the deaths.” Say what?

PiPress food writer Kathie Jenkins asked readers for tips on shaving grocery bills and got a small flood of ideas. Among them:

“I plan meals for the week and shop at the local grocery store on Wednesday, which is Senior Day. This is the day a 5 percent discount is offered to senior citizens. I’m a retired teacher … This planning keeps me on track, helps me avoid impulse shopping and gets me the discount.
— Joan Boe, Amery, Wis.

When bell peppers go on sale, I buy several. At home, I wash, seed and slice them, then freeze them in an airtight container. I love bell peppers, but they seem outrageously priced at times … With my frozen cache, I don’t feel like I’m splurging when I use them.
— Sue Kittams, Burnsville

I try to buy in bulk. Since ground bison has gone up to $10 a pound at some stores, we now buy it from the vendors at the farmers’ market because they sometimes give a discount if you buy 10 pounds or more. We’ve been using one pound of bison and one pound of tofu in our regular chili recipe and love it!
— Connie DeMillo, White Bear Lake”  Bulk bison … mmmm, mmmm.

Today in Bachmannia: Elizabeth Snead of The Hollywood Reporter (of all things) looks at the collapse of Our Gal’s presidential dreams and wonders if it has anything to do with her … fashion sense. The result is a slide show of fashion ups and downs. Included:

#5, “Influence Peddler
Michele Bachmann attended Time’s Most Influential People party wearing a sophisticated black strapless dress. Bravo. Then she totally destroyed it with a sad limp turquoise doily.  A sheer shawl is not worn for warmth. Therefore, it sends a message that means you lack confidence. And in a roomful of perceptive, influential people, that’s not smart.”

And …

#15, “Getting Nailed
At another GOP debate, Michele Bachmann flaunts her incredibly long French tipped nails. The problem is that a French manicure is supposed to look natural. These do not. They just look dangerous. Her talons look like she could poke her own eye out and may not even be able to button her own jackets. This screams helpless female, not a get-their-hands-dirty POTUS.”

Now, I ask you, have the Fashion Police ever done this to Rick Perry?

Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/14/2011 - 09:19 am.

    This is NOT our great grandfather’s world. The proliferation of “free trade agreements” and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) are rapidly allowing the wealthiest people of the world to use their wealth to pressure governments around the world to do their will,…

    and thereby taking over the governments of far too many nations and taking away the livelihoods (and eventually the lives) of much of the world’s population in order to further enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else.

    Regardless of what lovely lipstick is applied to these “free trade agreement” pigs, they are nothing more nor less than a tool being used by the wealthiest folks in these United States to steal from the poor and middle class.

    Their effects are clear:

    They are about the redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the fabulously wealthy. They allow the owners of and investors in businesses to force all the workers of the world to compete with each other as jobs inevitably grow more scarce worldwide…

    which is the inevitable result of increased automation, miniaturization, and the increased use of computer control.

    Previous experience has shown that this has ONE MAIN EFFECT, wages of the working “middle” class in developed nations participating in such agreements are forced into a downward spiral,…

    the money which had previously been going into their salaries not disappearing from the system but simply being sucked into the pockets of the CEO and investor classes.

    A secondary effect is that such agreements allow wealthy industrialists to seek to pressure developed nations with solid environmental and worker safety regulations to pressure those nations to drop those regulations,…

    in order to match the scorched earth, pro-pollution, destroy-the-environment regulatory approach favored by those who mistakenly believe that their extreme wealth will enable them to continue to live comfortably after the planet has been reduced to a toxic waste dump (or who don’t give a tinker’s da__ about what they’re going to leave behind for their grandchildren to deal with).

    Americans have precious little to gain from such agreements – the slightly lower prices of manufactured goods they allow being rapidly outpaced and outstripped by reductions in the compensation available to workers and in the disappearance of jobs that once supported a solid middle class lifestyle.

    Such agreements should be rolled back in favor of approaches to trade which support each nation’s ability to stand up to big money interests and maintain their own integrity and sovereignty, protect the working class, and preserve the environmental quality of life in the nations who sign them.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/14/2011 - 09:36 am.

    “We’ve been using …one pound of tofu in our regular chili recipe and love it!”

    If that’s not a hanging offense, it damn well should be!

  3. Submitted by B Maginnis on 10/14/2011 - 10:05 am.

    Wow, Bri, sexism at its best in your “review” of Michelle’s feminine fashions and physical appearance. Imagine, an attractive AND conservative woman!

    Akin to a rampaging zombie to you, I realize.

    Well done, and I look forward to further analyses on BOTOXPelosi, Maxine Waters, etc.

    Could be a new winner for the Glean – kind of harkens back to your Sheletta days on MyTalk!

    Also, please give us more on food hoarding tips, I understand this is beyond a “trend” right now, and is SOP in many households that fear what Obama has created, economically-speaking.

    Have I mentioned that bullett making equipment is out of stock as well?

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/14/2011 - 11:33 am.

    @1: Isn’t what you propose simply another form of American imperialism, using our economic power as a nation to compel another to adopt our policies on labor, the environment, et al? Frankly, what you describe carries echoes of the white man’s burden.

    Our trade agreements obviously should reflect our trade interests. Attempting to dictate broad societal changes to another nation is not only beyond the legitimate scope of a trade agreement but unethical, in my view.

  5. Submitted by Susan Rego on 10/14/2011 - 11:51 am.

    The Hollywood Reporter starts out with “Iowa Congresswoman Michele Bachmann…made some embarrassing gaffes…”

    Easy mistake to make, I guess. We in the Sixth have always heard Michele say her hometown is Anoka, and now we have come to learn that she left her heart in Waterloo.

  6. Submitted by Tim Walker on 10/14/2011 - 12:02 pm.

    #3 Don’t shoot the messenger, eh?

    Brian reported, gleaned if you will, an article from another publication. If you have an issue with the cattiness of that other publication, please go to town on them.

    As it was, Brian also ended his tidbit with this: “Now, I ask you, have the Fashion Police ever done this to Rick Perry?”

    To most reasonable observers, this means that Brian is pointing out the media double standards in judging male and female candidates.

    Most reasonable observers have observed this … but apparently not all of them.

    So, do you still want to levy your charge of sexism against Brian?

  7. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/14/2011 - 12:17 pm.

    Mentioning how the way a candidate dresses may or may not assist them in their efforts to win the respect and support of others,…

    i.e. whether or not that candidate is “dressed for success” (as the business world refers to it) is no more “sexist” than commenting on whether or not a candidate wore a flag pin in a debate.

    Commenting on whether or not a woman may have contributed to the likelihood of being sexually assaulted by the way she was dressed IS sexist.

    There’s a distinct difference between the two.

  8. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/14/2011 - 12:18 pm.

    Been awhile since there’s been a good fisk on the Glean.

    “They allow the owners of and investors..”

    Investors, like union pension funds and IRA holders; ie: everyone?

    “ businesses to force all the workers of the world to compete with each other”

    God forbid anyone be *forced* to compete!

    “which is the inevitable result of increased automation, miniaturization, and the increased use of computer control.”

    Whoa there cowboy! As a controls and industrial automation professional I see my role as one of freeing people from tedious and de-humanizing repetitive hand work.

    I see the torque wrench hanging over an assemply line by it’s pnuematic hose as an instrument of torture; it is evil and must be slain with a nice 2 axis servo system speaking gently with a coordinated motion controller.

  9. Submitted by Elsa Mack on 10/14/2011 - 12:19 pm.

    BD, if you look at the whole section you will see that Lambert is quoting someone else’s work (as he always does) and that at the end he asks whether such articles are written about Rick Perry, implying that a double standard may exist here. So in fact, he’s pointing out the sexism of which you accuse him.

  10. Submitted by Jennifer Tuder on 10/14/2011 - 01:14 pm.

    The Hollywood Reporter slide show calls Bachmann the “Iowa Congresswoman” (in the introductory description above the slide show) and in Slide #8. Interesting.

  11. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/14/2011 - 05:58 pm.

    Mr. Swifte–
    So you’re in the business of replacing human workers with machines.
    This is called a systematic reduction in the size of the labor force. This in turn forces workers to compete with each other for the few remaining jobs, driving down labor costs.

  12. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/14/2011 - 09:16 pm.

    Probably been more written about Perry’s hair than about Bachmannn’s.

  13. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/15/2011 - 11:02 am.

    The three so-called “free” trade agreements should have been placed in the president’s waste basket.

    Huge transnational corporations profit. Poor workers in other countries and unemployed workers in America see yet more jobs outsouced so corporations can hire people at less than slave wages in places without effective environmental protections.

    Cars built in Korea will be shipped to the U.S. duty-free, but Senators crowed about the fact that the duties we pay on exported goods to (I believe) Korea will be gradually eliminated over a period of something like seven years.

    Colombia has killed or disappeared hundreds of union organizers and members. Senate supporters of the bill talked about the improvements in good government that Colombia has made, but I guess they missed the part about the many organizers and the three priests who tried to help workers being murdered recently by their government.

    Hats off the Reps. McCollum and Ellison who, once again, show that they “get it” on trade.

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