Democrats line up to return to Legislature

Lost in all the talk of who is not coming back to the Minnesota Legislature are all those who have been there before and are trying to return. Says Tim Pugmire at MPR: “The list of former legislators attempting political comebacks is dominated by Democrats. Some are trying to win open House and Senate seats created by redistricting. Others are taking on incumbents to try win back the seats they lost. Among those trying to return from the sidelines is former state Rep. Brita Sailer, DFL-Park Rapids. Sailer served three terms before losing her re-election bid in 2010 to Republican Dave Hancock of Bemidji. She was among several DFL incumbents who lost close contests that year, which helped flip control of the House and Senate to Republicans. … Most of the former legislators waging comebacks this year are Democrats who were defeated in 2010. David Bly of Northfield, Tim Faust of Hinckley, Sandy Masin of Eagan, Will Morgan of Burnsville, Jerry Newton of Coon Rapids and Paul Rosenthal of Edina are among those DFLers … Kevin Dahle of Northfield, Jim Carlson of Eagan and Dan Skogen of Hewitt are among the Democrats trying to return to the Senate.” What’s the cheap line, here? “It couldn’t get any worse”?

At the Bemidji Pioneer, Brad Swenson offers a bit of perspective on “education reform” that didn’t happen in Minnesota: “The Minnesota House GOP education reform plan certainly didn’t go [as far as Scott Walker’s in Wisconsin] but attempted to put a chink in collective bargaining policy toward teacher layoffs. The GOP sought to repeal provisions in bargaining that called for the use of LIFO — Last In First Out — referring to collective bargaining policy for public school layoffs of teachers, that the last teachers hired are the first teachers laid off. House Republicans sought to replace that policy with a formula to rank the effectiveness of teachers, thus doing away with teacher seniority in making layoffs. Teacher layoffs are common every year as school districts adapt their staffing with budget estimates, which usually aren’t firmed up until after the Legislature adjourns. … Whether it’s in the education field or as a tire salesman, which [GOP Rep. Dave] Hancock was, he says new blood can always improve an organization. ‘Certainly some of our better teachers are some of our younger teachers who are bringing new ideas and new enthusiasm and a new perspective to the educational system.’
Today we’re seeing more collaboration between education and business, said Hancock. ‘That influx of varying partners in the educational field requires that we bring new ideas, new people, new energy into the mix.’ ” Selling tires, educating children. Same kinda thing.

A widow wants the NRA — that NRA — to pay up for her husband’s untimely death. David Hanners at the PiPress writes: “After John Balk died in a tractor rollover on his Scott County farm in 2010, his widow went to collect on the life insurance policy he’d bought from the National Rifle Association just 10 months earlier. The NRA refused to pay the $150,000 death benefit. It pointed to a rider on Balk’s policy that said it didn’t have to pay for ‘any death that is caused by or resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.’ … An autopsy was performed at the Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in Hastings, and a doctor there ruled his death accidental but listed “acute ethanol intoxication” as a ‘significant condition contributing to death.’ ”

The GleanIn the realm of red meat for hungry lions, Joshua Rhett Miller of FoxNews reports: “A Minnesota high school student who wears rosary beads to school in support of his cancer-stricken grandmother was ordered to pocket them by school district officials, who said the beads could be a symbol of gang membership. Jake Balthazor, 15, of Coon Rapids, a northern suburb of Minneapolis, was told Wednesday by Coon Rapids High School officials that he could no longer wear the black and silver rosary honoring his grandmother, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, his father told … The school district’s policy forbids any ‘apparel, jewelry, accessories or matter of grooming which by virtue of its color arrangement, trademark or any other attribute denotes membership in an organized gang,’ Mary Olson, director of communication for the Anoka-Hennepin School District, told” Tonight on Hannity: Minnesota’s War on the Rosary.

How do you have an “infestation” without the infesting species? Dennis Lien of the PiPress reports: “More than a dozen southwestern Minnesota lakes and rivers have been designated as infested with Asian carp even though none of the invasive creatures has been found there yet, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said Thursday … The water bodies are connected to Iowa lakes and rivers where bighead and silver carp have been caught after moving out of the Missouri River. The state action, which bans the harvest of bait and the transport of water from those water bodies, is aimed at stopping or containing the spread of the fish, according to Ryan Doorenbos, the DNR’s Windom area fisheries supervisor. ‘We’ve had no verified sample,’ Doorenbos said. ‘But they are right at the border. They are not far.’ ”

Our Favorite Congresswoman, Michele Bachmann, is all about this Medicaid fraud thing. Christopher Snowbeck of the PiPress reports: “Bachmann, R-Minn., is calling for a federal agency to audit Minnesota’s Medicaid program. In comments before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Thursday … Bachmann said she is sending a letter to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) calling for ‘an immediate, independent third-party audit of Minnesota’s books.’ ‘This situation needs immediate attention,’ Bachmann told the Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee, which was taking testimony on fraud in the federal Medicare and Medicaid health insurance programs.” Properly investigated, this ought to get the price of gas down to $1.90 …

Got a spare $12 billion? Call Richard Schulze, Best Buy’s founder. Thomas Lee of the Strib says: “Best Buy Co. Inc. Chairman Richard Schulze resigned Thursday from the board of directors, paving the way for the billionaire founder and the company’s largest investor to possibly take the struggling consumer electronics retailer private with new owners and management. ‘I continue to believe in Best Buy and its future and care deeply about tis customers, employees, and shareholders,’ Schulze said in a statement. ‘There is an urgent need for Best Buy to reinvigorate growth by reconnecting with today’s customers and building pathways to the next generation of consumers.’ ‘Accordingly, I have shared my view with the board and today informed [the board] of my [resignation] … in order to explore all available options for my ownership stake..’ “

About had it with politics and other assorted grim realities? How about a Beer Tour?  In the Strib, Michael Agnew writes: “The 30-year rise of craft brewing has spawned a whole new suds-centered trend in vacationing. More and more people are planning trips around brewery visits. Beer travel books abound. You can find them for nearly every state in the union, including local guides such as Robin Shepard’s recent ‘Minnesota’s Best Breweries and Brewpubs.’ The recent explosion of brewery openings regionally has made it easier than ever to go beer tripping close to home. You get to sample your favorite beverages, see where they’re made and talk to the people who make them, all while enjoying some of the most beautiful landscapes the area offers.” Funny how little scenery  I remember after my fourth or fifth “beer trip” of the day.

We may soon have an ID for the guy in the “very obscene photos” being slapped up in the southern suburbs. Paul Walsh of the Strib writes: “Authorities said Thursday that they believe they have identified the man depicted in sexually explicit photos being put up in public areas of Bloomington and Eden Prairie. One day after publicizing the postings, Bloomington Deputy Chief Rick Hart said police still have not determined whether the man “is a victim or suspect” in the postings. Hart did not say whether police have located the man or talked to him. The images have been posted at city parks and on utility poles and stop signs along well-traveled roads this year and last in the two Minneapolis suburbs. Hart has declined to disclose much about what the photos show, out of concern of compromising the investigation, but he did say they are ‘very graphic and very obscene in nature.’ “

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Terry Elliott on 06/08/2012 - 10:30 pm.

    A great idea from Michelle Bachmann

    The GAO estimates Medicaid fraud as being nearly $150 billion a year. Even our illustrious current president has given lip service to controlling it (possibly even reducing it, but he wasn’t that bold) in language in the Affordable (sic) Care Act.

    Every member of Congress should be calling for an audit, but when Michelle Bachmann does, Brian Lambert ridicules her.

    How about some critical thinking here Brian? It’s not only a great idea, it’s long overdue.

    Terry Elliott

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