Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken both voted to repeal much of the Defense of Marriage Act. Brett Neely’s MPR story says: “The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would repeal much of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. That law prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions. The legislation cleared the committee on partisan lines with only Democrats supporting the measure and Republicans unanimous in their opposition. … The only immediate effect is political: Democrats can show part of their liberal base of backers that they strongly support equality in federal benefits for gay couples. … DFL Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken both sit on the committee and supported the bill.The bill now heads to the floor of the Senate, where Republicans have vowed to filibuster it. It would need 60 votes in the 100-member Senate, and sponsors acknowledged the votes aren’t there. The measure would have no chance in the House, controlled by conservative Republicans.”
The Rochester Post-Bulletin sees a new attitude among voters in Tuesday’s elections: “But there’s no denying that Minnesota public schools and the students who attend them came out as the clear winners when the votes were tallied Tuesday evening. In southeastern Minnesota, 14 of 15 school districts saw their referendum questions approved, with only Cannon Falls falling short. Statewide, 90 districts passed at least one operating levy question, while 24 districts saw their levy requests denied — a success rate of nearly 80 percent. Of the 58 districts that sought renewal of existing levies, 57 were successful. … If there is an overall message to be gleaned from results like these, it’s that regardless of the economy, Minnesotans — at least those who are concerned enough to vote — still value and appreciate the public school system. Sure, the skeptics have a lot to say about supposed inefficiency and lack of accountability in our schools, but when push comes to shove, voters still believe in their local schools. Furthermore, we suspect that this summer’s accounting tomfoolery in St. Paul, which will force some school districts to borrow money just to make payroll, made it hard for voters to say ‘No,’ especially when all they were asked to do was maintain their schools’ local funding.”
It’s a different story up in Duluth. Jana Hollingsworth of the News Tribune writes: “If Duluth’s school levy vote had been held only in eastern Duluth, the first question would have passed handily. Voters in the higher-income neighborhoods of Duluth’s eastern end generally supported the first request, which would have given the district an additional $2.93 million. But central and western Duluth residents soundly defeated the first question, as well as the second and third. … Lawrence Lee of Lakeside said he struggled with the school levy issue. ‘I have mixed emotions about the state of our schools. My daughter is in a classroom with 42 students and not enough desks or textbooks. That’s in a brand-new high school,’ he said. ‘Part of me wants to just throw more money at the problem, but I want that money to be used wisely.’ “
Marcus Michalik of the Twin Cities subsidiary of The Onion wonders if just our close proximity to the Kardashian family is harming our reputation: “The Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries divorce media cycle has practically cannibalized itself at this point, but here we are, a little over a week later (though it feels like an eternity), and suddenly we have to worry about how the whole cultural embarrassment is going to screw up Minnesota’s tourism and reputation. KSTP had a segment on last night’s newscast that questioned whether or not Kardashian and her monotone sisters’ comments about our states’ frigid temperatures and supposedly “yee-haw” residents will affect the way the rest of the country and Kim’s 11 million Twitter followers will view Minnesota. … it’s hard not to be amused by how defensive we Minnesotans get about our nationwide reputation. Pointing out that we’re not all characters from Fargo is one thing, but how upset can we get about Joy Behar saying Kim would ‘freeze her ass off if she moved to Minnesota’?” That thing would take a lot of freezing.
Today in Bachmannia: Our Gal and every other GOP candidate had to play supporting character to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s epic brain freeze in last night’s debate. But Bachmann whipped up the base prior to going on stage. Michael Duffelmeyer of the Iowa Independent reports: “Bachmann (R-Minn.) says Michigan’s economic woes are rooted in socialist policies, and she blames labor unions, taxes and regulations for the tough economic climate in the state. Bachmann made the comments on the Steve Deace Show in Iowa before the Nov. 9 debate in the Wolverine State. Deace had asked Bachmann about the ‘pro-active, positive solution that is the alternative to socialism’ in Michigan. ‘It’s the fruition of all of the policies of the left which really have their origin in socialism,’ Bachmann said of Michigan’s struggling economy. ‘If there’s anything we should have learned by now it’s that socialism doesn’t work and it’s principles don’t work.’ She also attacked other GOP presidential candidates for supporting the auto bailout, calling it the latest example of socialism in the state and saying ‘you won’t find any surprises with me.’ ‘You will find in me a core conviction,’ she said, providing a nod to the title of her new book.” The big question is, does her campaign still have the cash on hand to buy enough copies of the book to call it “a best-seller”?
At The Daily Beast, Lois Romano looks at Our Favorite Congresswoman and writes: “Bachmann did little tonight to resurrect her drifting campaign, delivering a passable performance with the same tired sound bites. And she’s running out of time. She recycled her new favorite attack line, accusing President Obama of taking direction from ‘Gen. Axelrod in Chicago,’ referring to political adviser David Axelrod. Someone should tell the congresswoman that most Americans have no idea what she’s talking about. Although she has been stepping up her attacks on her opponents in recent days, Bachmann inexplicably continues to go after President Obama at these events, instead of trying to distinguish herself from her competitors. Apropos of nothing, in the middle of this debate on the economy, she called for a fence to be erected on the southern border to keep out immigrants.” Instead of, you know, a fence on Minnesota’s eastern border.
Minnesota is second to last in terms of federal spending per capita. Says Larry Bivins of the St. Cloud Times: “Already ranked near the bottom among states in per capita spending by the federal government, Minnesota dipped even further in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.The federal government spent $44.3 billion in the Gopher State in 2010, only a negligible increase over the previous year’s total. The 2010 spending total amounts to $8,366 per person, dropping the state from 47th in per capita spending in 2009 to 49th. Only Nevada was lower, with the government spending $7,321 per person in that state. … ‘The federal government spends less per capita in Minnesota than most other states for several reasons,’ said John Pollard, a spokesman for Minnesota Management and Budget. ‘We do not have as many senior citizens as several other states, we receive less Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement than other states, we have a smaller number of federal employees than many other states, and the state does not have a high concentration of military personnel, military bases or military contractors.’ ”
It was an off-year out in the the fields. The AP reports: “New production and yield estimates for Minnesota’s major crops show declines from last year’s record harvests, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday. The USDA projected Minnesota’s corn production at 1.22 billion bushels, down 5 percent from last year. The average corn yield is forecast at 160 bushels per acre, down 17 bushels from last year. Both production and yields set state records in 2010. Soybean production was forecast at 280 million bushels, down 15 percent from a record 2010, partly because farmers shifted acres from soybeans to corn to take advantage of better prices. Soybean average yields are projected at 40 bushels per acre, down five bushels from last year. Last year’s growing weather was just about perfect across Minnesota. But this growing season got off to a cold, wet start that delayed planting. The weather turned dry in late summer, followed by an early frost in some areas.”
Have you heard that Newt Gingrich is the “Bubble du jour” of a certain segment of the GOP culturati? Steven Hayward at Power Line writes: “Newt has hit his stride, and was consistently the most impressive and forceful person on the stage — and forceful without saying a negative word about any of the other candidates. (Oh yeah, and Perry flubbed his lines badly. Again.) My favorite moment was when Newt responded to a typically tendentious question from Maria Bartiromo, CNBC’s chief anchor-skank, who asked Newt with a palpable sarcastic tone what aspect of the economy he thought the media was misreporting. Newt grinned and got off the best line of the night: ‘Ah, a moment of humor disguised as a question.’ ”