Strib: Obama should propose another stimulus

The Strib has connected with its inner Paul Krugman. The paper editorializes:The president ought to draft and send to Congress an emergency economic-stimulus package, one narrowly aimed at increasing consumer spending and quickly creating more jobs for young workers. A payroll tax cut and short-term tax credits for targeted hiring would fill that bill. Republicans who counter that the 2009 stimulus measures enacted by Congress were ineffective will have a point, to this extent: That $787 billion package was too small and too riddled with measures unlikely to quickly increase spending and hiring. But those are mistakes to be avoided a second time. They aren’t reasons for inaction now. … Any such proposal is likely to meet with stiff resistance from Republicans loath to give the Democratic president any plums during an election year.” Unlike, you know, the first three years.

I kind of think Mr. Ritchie was prepared for this. On the matter of changing the titles of the GOP’s two signature legislative achievements of the 2012 session — amendments to further prohibit gay marriage and requiring IDs to stop apparently rampant voter fraud — Tim Nelson of MPR reports: “[Former Secretary of State Mary] Kiffmeyer said [Mark] Ritchie, who defeated her to become secretary of state in 2006, is betraying the objectivity Minnesotans expected of the office. ‘It’s just very disappointing. You’re the one who counts the ballots. You’re the one that administrates and oversees all that,’ she said of the secretary of state. ‘So, it weakens that confidence in that position.’ But critics of the ballot question welcomed the change. American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota executive director Chuck Samuelson said the Voter ID ballot question itself is misleading. The ACLU has filed suit to remove it from the ballot. The suit alleges that the ballot question didn’t make any reference to the amendment’s potential effect on Minnesota’s tradition of same-day voter registration or other potential effects. ‘This title is different from the one, and more complete from the one that the Legislature put forward,’ Samuelson said.”

And just as I finished my breakfast pail … The AP reports: “The Cass-Clay Creamery of Fargo, N.D., is voluntarily recalling some brands of peppermint bon bon-flavored ice cream because they may contain eggs that aren’t listed on the label. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says consumers with an allergy or severe sensitivity to eggs could run the risk of a serious reaction. The recalled products include half gallons of Hornbacher’s Peppermint Bon Bon Light, the 1.75-quart size of Schroeder Peppermint Bon Bon, and half gallons of SunnyBrook Peppermint Bon Bon Light.” Really? “Peppermint Bon Bon Light”?

Here’s a reason to book a room in Chicago next winter. Says Jeff Potroykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “The Wisconsin men’s hockey program should receive more national exposure this season when it faces rival Minnesota at Soldier Field in the inaugural Hockey City Classic. The Hockey City Classic will also feature a game between Notre Dame and Miami University. A news conference is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday to discusss the event. Officials from Intersport, a Chicago-based sports and entertainment marketing agency, and the Chicago Park District, are scheduled to discuss the event during a news conference at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Soldier Field.”
                                           
David Hanners at the PiPress has a few more Amy Senser details: “Moments before a judge was to sentence her, in a Minneapolis courthouse hallway away from the eyes of reporters or the prosecutor or even her own defense attorney, Amy Senser quietly approached the mother of the man she killed. ‘I’m so sorry,’ Senser told Keo Phanthavong; the two mothers shared a cry. It was a private follow-up to another quiet gesture the Edina woman had made on Father’s Day. That evening, she walked into True Thai, the Minneapolis restaurant where her victim, Anousone Phanthavong, had been head chef. As the place fell silent, she dropped off a bouquet of white peace lilies — white is the Buddhist color of mourning — and a large fruit basket with a simple note that read, ‘Anousone Family.’ … After Mabley pronounced sentence, the woman who had so far avoided spending any time in jail — save for a brief in-and-out processing when originally charged — entered a whirlwind. She was booked into jail at 10:30 a.m., left for the state prison in Shakopee at 12:10 p.m. and arrived there at 12:40 p.m. By 1:30 p.m., her prison mug shot and offender data were posted on the Minnesota Department of Corrections’ website. It noted that inmate No. 238360’s anticipated release date is Oct. 20, 2014.”

Strib columnist Gail Rosenblum looks at “our” reaction to the Senser case: “While prosecutors are pleased that justice was served, the fact remains that class and race issues still lurk just below the surface. From the moment this story broke nearly 11 months ago, raw frustration sprang from readers of color, as well as the less affluent, certain that they would quickly have been looking at the inside of a jail cell had they been the driver. Senser, married to former Viking and restaurant owner Joe Senser, remained free until Monday’s sentencing on two felony counts of criminal vehicular homicide. … Our collective emotional investment in this trial was peculiar at best, troubling at worst. Not everybody exhibited schadenfreude, delight in another’s misfortune. But most of us exhibited ownership, talking about the case, speculating, judging. Star Tribune digital media editor Terry Sauer said the guilty verdict for Senser, announced May 3, created probably the largest crush of Web audience over a 30-minute period since Brett Favre was being driven from the airport to Winter Park after he signed a couple of years ago. That’s just the thing. We made sport of these people’s lives. Hateful, victim-blaming comments about Phanthavong on online news sites stunned his family and friends. Plenty of others made crass jokes about Senser.”

Apologies for missing this one Monday. Catharine Richert at MPR says: “The center-right American Action Network is pouring $10 million into multiple states, including Minnesota, that are facing competitive Republican House races but have struggling local parties. AAN is an issue advocacy group co-founded by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman. Spokesman Dan Conston said that the so-called ‘orphan state’ effort is part of the group’s long-term plan to build a national grassroots network that focuses on encouraging lawmakers to support or oppose specific legislative issues. … Founded in 2010, Coleman’s group has become a powerful force in politics, spending and raising millions in part to defeat lawmakers who voted for the health care law and to promote right-of-center policies. AAN’s tax status doesn’t require it to disclose its donors, so individuals and corporations can give freely to the group without having their gifts made public. UPDATE: The Taxpayers League of Minnesota is among the organizations that AAN has been coordinating with in the state.”

Interesting piece by Mike Hughlett of the Strib on how high prices for farmland are claiming back acres once headed for development: “Housing developers vacuumed up farmland in Twin Cities exurbs and nationwide during the housing boom, only to see demand for homes vanish. Now, with housing still struggling and agriculture booming, some dead developments are sprouting crops again. The farming boom is a ‘silver lining’ to the housing bust, said Keith Kern, assistant county assessor in Carver County. Granted, farms don’t produce as much tax revenue per acre as houses do. But ‘it’s better to see some part of the market increase as opposed to everything going into the tank.’ ”

I promised to maintain vigilance … Former GOP Chairman Tony Sutton has been seeing a lot of movies lately. On his blog he offers reviews of recent Hollywood fare. A couple of samples:
“ABRAHAM LINCOLN – VAMPIRE HUNTER — I loved the book, but was very disappointed in the movie. Think about the premise — Abraham Lincoln hunts vampires! Preposterous and interesting all at the same time. I know that movies cannot always follow the book page for page, but the second half of this film resembles the book very little. I wanted to like this movie but I could not. 2 out of 5 stars.
TED — The first motion picture from Seth MacFarlane and I was prepared to be disappointed. The trailer made it seem like a warmed over Family Guy with a talking teddy bear instead of a talking dog. I was happily wrong — a hilarious movie. If you like Family Guy or American Dad you will love this. Even if you don’t, this is still a funny movie (and as a fan of the 1980 film Flash Gordon I can appreciate it even more — you have to see Ted to know what I am talking about). Don’t let the teddy bear fool you — not a movie for kids. 5 out of 5 stars.”

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 07/10/2012 - 06:27 am.

    You missed this one too, Mr. Lambert.

    The non-profits that are openly engaged in political advocacy work in opposition to the Marriage Amendment.

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/10/2012 - 08:11 am.

    The very reason why the hit-and-run became a issue of “equal justice for all” was the fact that the accident happened on August 23rd, the car was turned into the police on August 24th, and the driver was shielded by the family and their lawyers until September 2nd, 10 days after the accident.

    Those 10 days are the exact reason why the “equal justice for all” issue came to the fore. During the period between the revealing of the ownership of the car and the revealing of the driver, the driver’s family was subjected to much speculation as to the various possible drivers, all in the service of what?

    As a result of those 10 days, no relevant toxicology tests could be done on the the driver. And unlike the driver, the victim’s toxicology tests became the subject of the perpetrator’s lawyer public speculative statements.

    Very good lawyering that pushed the limits of legality–could a family that is not wealthy and connected afford the same?

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 07/10/2012 - 10:03 am.

      Let’s not forget

      that it was a case of attractive white woman hits and kills blue collar immigrant with irrelevant criminal history. But for this combination of circumstances, including those described by Mr. Rovick, the case would have been front page for a day or so, then drifted into oblivion.

      As for the lawyering: I don’t believe it pushed the limits of legality in any way. Ethically, perhaps, at least in the real world rather than the world of professional ethics. Too, any driver who spoke with a lawyer before contacting the police might have been given the same advice. However, it should be noted that Ms. Senser might have walked away with probation had she promptly admitted responsibility and negotiated a plea. Presumably, she was advised of her choices and decided to take the case to trial. As it is, the judge noted her failure to accept responsibility in handing down a sentence at the low end of the guidelines.

      Those who feel she received some special treatment should remember that she gambled and lost, vindicating the system to a great degree in the process.

  3. Submitted by Tim Walker on 07/10/2012 - 08:39 am.

    Both Twin Cities dailies reported in their initial stories that Anousone Phanthavong had a criminal record.

    That reporting drew outcries from a whole lot of people, of all skin colors.

    That’s also an important legacy of this unfortunate incident.

    Unfortunately, Gail Rosenblum didn’t address that in her column.

    No doubt due to space constraints.

    • Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 07/10/2012 - 08:15 pm.

      The worst offender was Esme Murphy’s CBS blog

      Within a day or two of the accident, Anousone Phanthavong’s full police record was posted in the comments at Esme’s blog, and stayed there for weeks despite demands it be taken down.

      Since August 23, the Strib has refused to allow comments on Senser stories, and the PiPress has allowed comments which have frequently gone way over the top, dragging the victim through the mud. Senser got the worst of that, but I’m much less concerned with her than I am with a sick society that viciously rips dead victims. Phanthavong’s cocaine use was used to blame him for the accident and some used the obscure law about running out of gas to heap more blame on him.

      Minnesota’s DUI laws need to be updated, and the first legislator who tries to politicize the process should be publicly horsewhipped. Politics messed up the law giving hit-and-run drivers an incentive to flee, and now politicians need to fix that law.

  4. Submitted by Logan Foreman on 07/10/2012 - 08:58 am.

    Kiffmeyer and objectivity

    What a laugh! I don’t think that she is capable of defining that word.

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 07/10/2012 - 10:16 am.

    Another stimulus?

    There’s no point, practically or politically, until either the Democrats take control of the House or the Republicans find a way to release themselves from bondage. For that matter, a payroll tax cut would be too broadly disseminated. The impact of consumer spending would be dissipated by the fact that most goods purchased would be of foreign origin. The world economy is too leaky to prime the pump with an American stimulus. Another portion of any additional disposable income would go to the reduction of debt, as it has in the past. No, what we need to do is find a way to spur the purchase of and/or investment in items made and consumed here in the U.S., without running afoul of international trade agreements.

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/10/2012 - 11:00 am.

    Porkulous II

    Perhaps, given his talent for framing issues to suit the Soros Guidelines© for dealing with low-information voters, SoS Ritchie can come up with a few suggestions for Obama’s next cash give-away.

    Porkulous II is kind of dry.

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