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Sen. Dave Senjem to DFL: 'Resist bringing forward distractions'

Well, maybe if you guys weren’t providing so many distractions … Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem pops up in the Strib admonishing DFLers to keep their noses to the grindstone: “Since the beginning of session, Senate Republicans have taken action on important issues like jobs, the economy and government redesign. We continue to do so. We ask our Democrat colleagues to resist bringing forward distractions and obstructing our state's progress. All of our voices are important in this process, and we encourage our friends on the other side of the aisle to join with us as we work for the best interest of Minnesota. The Senate majority is resolved to complete the task Minnesota sent us here to do, despite repeated efforts by the minority to throw us off course.” Last time I checked, April 1 was still over a week away.

The feds are telling us to get tougher on polluters? Dave Shaffer’s Strib story says: “In a rare public dispute, federal land managers say Minnesota state officials are being too lenient with polluters causing atmospheric haze over northern parks and wilderness lands. The U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service have objected to how Minnesota plans to deal with a long-unenforced part of the federal Clean Air Act that aims for pristine air in places like Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA). ‘We work with the state agencies on a daily basis,’ said Tim Dabney, acting supervisor of the Superior National Forest, which includes the BWCA, a federal wilderness area. ‘In almost all cases we are in lockstep with them.’ But not on haze. As the issue comes before the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) citizens board on Tuesday, federal land managers say the state isn't pushing electric utilities and taconite companies to install the best-available pollution controls as the law requires.” Uh, oh. That’d be “job creator” blowback building on the horizon.

Chris Riemenschneider of the Strib has an amusing collection of post-South by Southwest anecdotes involving Twin Cities pop bands. A sample:

Even though frontman Jordan Gatesmith talked about how out of touch old folks are with his music in a hubbub-stirring string of interviews before SXSW, hundreds of teenagers walked away from his band's biggest free gig at the fest. The sleek New York band Fun — which has the current No. 1 hit ‘We Are Young’ — performed right before England's favorite young Minnesota rockers in the Waterloo Records parking lot. Howler still played to a couple hundred watchers and did so very, very well (the lads are tightening up). Talking afterward, Gatesmith complained about not being able to see many SXSW showcases because he's underage (20). He also mentioned that one of his goals of the week involved the band he slammed in those pre-fest interviews: ‘I want to trash a hotel room with the guys in 4onthefloor.’
Gabriel Douglas
A few hours after Gatesmith's comments, the 4onthefloor's leader was catching his breath with TBT's Ryan Young and other friends at a bar without live music. Who knew there was such a thing? The rest of Douglas' band couldn't afford a week off with little to no pay (which is what most SXSW bands get), so he drove their school bus down with a dozen other folks, many of whom slept on board all week. No hotels to trash here. With prices for rooms and airfare soaring, mid-March bus treks to Austin seriously seem like a viable commercial venture.” Spring ... when young men's hearts turn to trashing hotel rooms.

It’ll probably all be over by the time you drive up. But the Duluth News Tribune has a collection of photos and video of roaring waterfalls in full spring run-off: “A torrent of turbulent water cascaded over High Falls on the Baptism River earlier this week, with occasional dull, echoing booms — like the sound of distant cannon fire — as chunks of ice slid over the precipice. Rivers up the North Shore have shaken off the icy mantle of winter and are running high, as our recent stretch of record warm weather has melted the snowpack. Chunks of ice and foam swept down the Baptism River earlier this week at Tettegouche State Park near Silver Bay. High Falls and nearby Two Step Falls were open, but the mouth of the river at Lake Superior remained choked with ice and debris.”

In cheesy sci-fi movies, there’s always the nervous bureaucrat trying to sell some plain jane excuse for the supernatural. In Wisconsin, says Dinesh Ramde of the AP: “An official for an eastern Wisconsin city plagued this week by a series of unexplained booming sounds says the mystery can be attributed to a small early-morning earthquake. Clintonville City Administrator Lisa Kuss told the community Thursday ‘the mystery is solved.’ She says the rumbling can be explained by a 1.5 magnitude earthquake that struck Tuesday and was confirmed by federal geologists Thursday. … USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso tells The Associated Press that loud booming noises have been known to accompany earthquakes, [but] he says he's skeptical that such a small earthquake would produce the loud booms that shook many residents awake.” … Over the course of three days, right?

The corporate-owned Brick night club — ripped royally for … well, just about everything — is refunding patrons’ money for its debut show. Jon Bream at the Strib says: “After a nightmarish opening Monday for the high-profile new Brick nightclub in downtown Minneapolis, one widely criticized by concertgoers who lit up social networks (and even created website), the club's proprietors made an unprecedented offer Thursday night: full refunds, including service fees, or an exchange for a future Brick concert. ‘It's the least they could do,’ said Heidi Kapacinskas, of Edina, who attended Monday's concert. ‘They have to do this for public relations purposes.’ Refunds have been given because a concert artist gave a substandard performance (see Neil Diamond in 2008 in Columbus, Ohio) but rarely because the venue was substandard. None of the 2,000 clubgoers complained about the performance of Jane's Addiction, although the band's frontman, Perry Farrell, commented about security and sightline issues from the stage. The Brick is run by AEG Live, the world's second-largest promoter, which also operates Target Center, Los Angeles' Staples Center and other venues.”

Re: Mr. Senjem above ... maybe we could ask this kid to apply his thought processing to legislative workflow. Jenna Ross of the Strib reports: “At age 11, Grant Remmen [of Detroit Lakes] checked out the book ‘Black Holes and Time Warps,’ and the general theory of relativity captured his imagination. Just a decade later he already has investigated black holes, studied spin orbit coupling and published research on the Milky Way. For that research, plus an impressive academic career, the University of Minnesota senior on Thursday was awarded a prestigious Hertz Fellowship worth more than $250,000, which will fund further journeys into the universe's darkest matters. ‘This will be a really, really fantastic boon to my graduate career,’ Remmen said. ‘It opens a lot of doors in terms of being able to work with the top faculty in the world.’ Because it funds up to five years of study for just 15 fellows, the Hertz is perhaps the nation's most generous and prestigious award for graduate education in applied sciences and engineering.”

And yet another challenger for Congresswoman Michele BachmannMegan Boldt at the PiPress writes: “Jim Graves, CEO of Graves Hospitality, is considering a run ... in the Sixth District as a Democrat. Graves, 58, filed an exploratory campaign committee with the Federal Elections Commission on Thursday. Graves lives in Minneapolis, but touted his St. Cloud roots. Born and raised there, he attended St. Paul’s Elementary School, graduated from Cathedral High School and received a bachelor’s degree at St. Could State University. He started his career as a sixth grade teacher at Holy Spirit Elementary. Graves and wife, Julie, went on to start a business and raise three sons in St. Cloud. They moved to Minneapolis about a decade ago. ‘The people in the sixth district can count on me to serve as a full-time congressman focusing on creating jobs and rebuilding a sustainable middle class,’ Graves said in a statement. ‘Rather than seeking constant national limelight, I will focus my energy on issues that affect people’s lives.’ ” But does he have Sean Hannity’s cell phone number?

At the lefty blog MnPublius, Jeff Rosenberg concedes the near certainty that Voter ID will pass in November. “I don’t believe our time and money will be well-spent trying to defeat it. Instead, the near-certain passage of voter ID makes it more important than ever for the DFL to win back the legislature. Let’s be honest: The voter-suppression amendment will pass in November. There’s a reason voter ID is the centerpiece of Republicans’ efforts to prevent eligible citizens from voting: It sounds so reasonable that it tends to receive huge majorities. Careful thought reveals how senseless and harmful it is, but because it seems so benign on its surface, it’s pretty much a shoo-in in November. There’s a catch, though: Once approved by voters, the amendment will need enabling legislation before it can be implemented. The DFL must ensure that they are the ones writing that enabling legislation. With properly-written legislation, DFLers can do a lot to mitigate the damage voter ID would cause. The DFL can ensure that free IDs are easily available, can mandate an increase in locations where free IDs can be received, and can design the provisional-ballot system in a way that protects everyone’s right to have their voice heard.”

Over at The Cucking Stool, there's more on Voter ID. Aaron Klemz is saying: “I can't reconcile Republican themes of ‘get government out of the way,’ ‘we need common sense in government,’ and ‘let local government decide’ with this amendment. It is a big government policy that defies common sense while destroying local control. The Republican Party's recent superficial rediscovery of libertarianism was an attempt to wash the Bush stink out of their hair after 2008. All that talk of ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ was heady, but the nationwide push for photo ID reveals a continual push toward a surveillance state. But there is a significant part of the Republican electorate that is skeptical or strongly opposed to a national ID card, and the push for government-issue ID requirements for voting is a stepping stone along that path. Opposition to a national ID card has long been a feature of the libertarian and evangelical right in America. This opposition frustrated implementation of the 2005 REAL ID act that sought to standardize state-issued driver's licenses. Evangelicals have railed against national identification as the ‘mark of the beast,’ based on a prophesy in the book of Revelations. Libertarians have long criticized the ever expanding powers of surveillance. In many ways, the rhetoric of Republican sponsors of photo ID is acquiescence to the surveillance state. ‘You have to show an ID to buy cigarettes, cash a check, etc.’ Is it a Republican value to continue the push toward a Big Brother surveillance state where your ID is used for everything?” 

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Comments (13)

Senjem = amazing gall

Let's get together and work on all those economic issues that are so important to us: gay marriage, voter id, messy affairs and coverups, slander lawsuits, expanded rights to shoot people, running our own political party like a teenager with a credit card with an unlimited credit line, giving rich people billion dollar toys (this is the one apparently bipartisan item on the list unfortunately). It's amazing how many jobs the anti-gay marriage amendment and the voter id bill will create. Those darn democrats are such a distraction.

Bill, you nailed it!

Apparently the leader of the republicans isn't paying any attention to all the distracting things his party is doing instead of working the REAL problems of the state. How can anyone possibly take the republicans seriously? You will notice a majority of the republicans don't like who they have to choose from but they will probably still vote for them because they are republicans. You need a better rationale than "just because they are republicans" that you will vote for them. Wake up voters!


Who does Senjem think he's kidding?


Tut, tut

Senjem grumbles,

Plays the fallacious ghoul,


...Kicks himself in the butt

Blames another,

Ho, that's cool!


In addition to what Messrs. Bill Schletzer and Paul Udstrand said above, let's not forget that all-important transfer of wealth from mostly lower-middle-class and poor renters so that businesses don't have to pay state property taxes, because, hey, we all know that businesses will automatically create jobs with that money, right???

I agree 100% with you, Douglas

It's like the Republican Party has never run a small business. You hire people when your current employees are overworked. Or because you see an unmet demand somewhere. You don't hire people just for the hell of it because you have extra money lying around.

Hey, Sen Senjem, here's what they teach in every Introduction to Business course:

Employee salaries go in the "costs" column, which is the column that you, as a business owner, want to reduce in order to maximize your profits.


Senjem and lipstick

It all comes down to one thing, He isn't writing that piece to actually help get anything done. It is a posturing piece aimed at rallying the GOP base. He doesn't care about what the DFL does. He just wants to portray that this session has been something other that a giant catastrophe. It's lipstick on a pig.

I think Photo ID can be defeated

First of all, I don't think most voters think of the state constitution as a billboard, so many that might otherwise favor a Photo ID bill will not vote for it as an amendment to the state constitution. Secondly, a segment of people don't vote on amendments and these will be counted as "no" votes. Thirdly, I think just about every newspaper will oppose the Photo ID amendment, based on a lack of specifics in the proposal, a lack of proof of voter fraud, and the cost. Finally, I think the most popular politician in the state, Senator Klobuchar needs to take a firm public stand on the issue. It might cost her some votes, but it may sway enough who see her as common-sense to help defeat this plan. It will take committment from opponents, if the roll over it will pass.

Let Us NEVER Forget

That the "task" that the Republicans in the legislature are attempting to complete only has a few simple underlying principles:

1) Screw up the squeaky-clean Minnesota election process so that as few as possible likely DFL voters are able to vote, thereby seeking to ensure that Republicans stay in the majority, not based on how much the public supports their ideas, ideals, policies and procedures, but how successful the Republicans have been at making it far more difficult for non-Republicans to vote.

2) Pass enough bogus "family values" legislation and constitutional amendments to provide a massive smoke screen so that their blind, dysfonic followers will never notice that their REAL agenda is to:

3) Further pad the pockets of their already-fabulously-wealthy friends while continuing, as much as possible, to strip the poor and middle class of their well-paying jobs with benefits, their property, their access to health care, and any hope they ever had of a comfortable retirement (which is what their bogus "better business climate" is and always has been all about).

EVERYTHING the Republicans are doing can be fit into those categories. If they ever complete that "task," our state will become as prosperous with the quality of life for average citizens as wonderful as that enjoyed by our neighbors at the other end of the river that connects us: Mississippi.

Senjem and Distractions

Once again, the GOPers have resorted to the PeeWee Herman defense: "I know you are but what am I?"

Voter ID

Well, the Voter ID law probably WILL create jobs. It will create jobs for lawyers who will no doubt litigate the law. It will create jobs for workers at the (government-run) DMV to produce state IDs for those without them. Finally, like the other amendments, it will create media jobs due to the volume of mud-slinging advertising we can expect until November.

So really, all these amendments create many jobs. I think every proposed law should be put in front of the voters. After all, it's worked so well for California.


Distractions? Like all the jobs focus on Marriage amendment, voter ID, Castle Doctrine.

The old definition of chutzpah is murdering your parents, then asking for mercy because you're an orphan. Sen. Senjem has given us a new definition.

Voter ID

Thank you to The Cucking Stool for pointing out the obvious--Voter ID is not a done deal, because there are plenty of people that fear that it's one more step towards every one being required to show their papers at government checkpoints. Minority communties already being hassled to show their papers to prove their citizenship--are they going to vote for this? jewish voters and World War II vets? I don't think so. LIbertarians surely will not support this measure.

With a good campaign focusing on the ongoing cost of "free id's" and the cost to local government for this new "improved" voter system to fix a problem with NO known examples in MN--this proposal can be defeated.

Of course, if the DFL and fellow travelers throw in the towel now and say it will pass, people feel hopeless and do nothing, and it could pass. Remember the handwringing and inaction that gave us the so-called Patriot Act? History does not need to repeat itself. Buck up, DFL, and show some leadership!!