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GOP amendments torpedo giant farm bill

Congress has been an absurdity for so long that it’s hard to see why anyone was surprised at the farm bill vote. Don Davis’ story for the Forum papers says: “U.S. House agriculture leaders will try, try again to pass a five-year farm bill. ‘It’s been four years and we are not going to give up now,’ U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson said Thursday after the House defeated on a 234-195 vote a bill setting federal agriculture and nutrition policy for five years. Peterson, a western Minnesota congressman and the top House agriculture Democrat, said the bill still could pass if brought back to the House minus Republican amendments tacked on Thursday to restrict food stamp payments and change how the federal dairy program operates. … Added Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat who serves southern Minnesota: ‘Washington is broken and it’s long past time for folks out here to get things done and stop viewing compromise as a dirty word. This bill wasn’t perfect, but I knew that we could craft a better bill in conference (with senators) if we just got it through the House.’ Doing nothing costs taxpayers and businesses, Walz said.” But it keeps the base happy … .

For The Hill, Mike Lillis writes: “[Nancy] Pelosi said shortly after the vote: “What [was] happening on the floor today was a demonstration of major amateur hour.’ … Rep. Collin Peterson (Minn.), senior Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee and a supporter of the final bill, said that, after the two GOP amendments were added, neither he nor Pelosi did much whipping on the final package. ‘[Pelosi] and I were not pushing people,’ Peterson said. ‘I basically [told] people, at this point, you know, vote your district, vote what you think your people back home want.’ ”

At Roll Call, Emma Dumain and Steve Dennis write: “Agriculture ranking member Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn., acknowledged to reporters that he told House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., that he had lost votes for the bill. ‘He said, ‘What should we do?’ and I said, ‘I’ll try, but there’s not much I can do,’ Peterson said. Two amendments angered key Democrats — one endorsed by Boehner that stripped the bill of dairy subsidies, a move sure to anger lawmakers who hail from cow country — and another, sponsored by Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., that would have added work requirements to the food stamp program.”

For the Strib, Jim Spencer and Kevin Diaz write: “The outcome even shocked the bill’s opponents. ‘I didn’t expect it to be defeated,’ said Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat who represents Minneapolis and is vice chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Ellison admitted that the farm bill contained programs important to Minnesota, but added, ‘we could not tolerate $20 billion in SNAP [food stamp] cuts.’ Minnesota Reps. Betty McCollum and Rick Nolan, both Democrats, voted against the bill. Like Ellison, they had voted Wednesday in favor of stripping the food stamp cuts from the bill. The Republican majority defeated that amendment 234-188. The right wing joined the left in the voting the bill down. Rep. Michele Bachmann, in many ways Ellison’s ideological foil, also voted against the bill.” The Marx Brothers ... as they are today ... would be more productive than this crowd.

The GleanSpeaking of … Diaz also reports: “U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is not seeking reelection, told followers at a Tea Party ‘Audit the IRS’ rally on Capitol Hill Wednesday that she was an ‘insurgent’ inside the IRS during her ‘former life’ as a government tax lawyer. ‘I was an insurgent because I absolutely wanted to defeat the tax code and bring more liberty about in the United States,’ the Minnesota Republican said. ‘And so after I went to law school, I got a post-doctorate degree in tax law and after that I got a job with the IRS as a tax lawyer. Because I believe if you understand the enemy from the inside out, that’s the best way to defeat them.’ ”

The Minnesota Daily reports on an upbeat assessment of the scholastic end of the U of M’s football players. Writes Dane Mizutani: “APR is a team-based metric that accounts for the academic eligibility and retention of each student-athlete, according to the NCAA. A perfect APR score is 1000, and any team that scores below 925 is subject to sanctions, which can include a loss of scholarships or postseason bans. The score is a four-year rolling average. In last week’s APR report, the Gophers football team earned a score of 994 for the 2011-12 season. Those marks brought the team’s four-year rolling average to 955 — a significant increase from last year’s score of 932. … That 994 score is the highest single-season score in the history of Gophers football and is also one of the highest scores on record for any NCAA football program.” Even Carleton?

Did you see the catch by the ball boy at Thursday’s Twins game? Mike Oz at Yahoo! Sports writes: “The play of the day might just go to a ball boy. During Thursday's Chicago White Sox-Minnesota Twins game, a Twins ball boy made a great leaping grab on a line drive hit by Alexei Ramirez of the White Sox. You might have to watch it a few times to get the full effect: Look how he jumps into action, gets some hangtime and makes a good grab, then avoids falling on his stool as he lands. The ball boy acts like it's no big deal afterward, accepting daps from a fan and tossing the ball into the crowd. You mean he doesn't get to keep the souvenir from his own highlight-reel catch?” It turns out his brother is Pat Neshek, former Twins pitcher.

Good story by MPR’s Dan Olson about a co-op effort to save Morris’ downtown movie theater: “Dave Aronson is one of the leaders of the labor of love — and expense. He and some like-minded supporters gulped at the asking price of $115,000, but scraped the cash together with contributions and bank loans: $10,000 from individuals for the earnest money and then two loans of $55,000 each to cover the rest. Then they buckled down for some serious detective work, intent on tracking down period-accurate fixtures and decorations. … The theater is registered as a Minnesota co-op, which means that only people with a Minnesota residence are eligible to become members. There's no limit on the number of shares a member can buy, but the member still gets only one vote.    The annual operating budget is about $80,000. A share costs $250 and there are 251 members of the co-op.”

Well, this explains three-fourths of the, uh, “eccentric” behavior I see every day … A Mayo study says:Nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and more than half take two, Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center researchers say.. Antibiotics, antidepressants and painkilling opioids are most commonly prescribed, their study found. Twenty percent of patients are on five or more prescription medications, according to the findings, published online in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. … Overall, women and older adults receive more prescriptions.”

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Comments (9)

An amateur's puzzlement

It's an interesting interview tactic for acquiring a relatively high-paying job:

"Why do you want to join the IRS?"

"I want to defeat the tax code!"

It's hard not to reach the conclusion that Mrs. Bachmann is… um… embellishing the story after the fact.


she planned to undermine the IRS through her sheer incompetence.

Defeat the enemy

When you get people working within a government who believe that the government has no legitimate function, you get a paralyzed, ineffective bureaucracy, staffed by slackers determined to keep sucking the public teat until (and after) they retire. They become the very thing that they were complaining about in the first place. Why is it that so many people who believe government is the problem get elected into government and prove it?


Joining the IRS to "defeat the tax code" is a little like joining the Army so you can disarm it from within, or working for ICE to subvert deportations.

The whole line is yet more rubbish Rep. Bachmann puts out for her disciples. She went to work for the IRS because she wanted a nice, cozy government job.

Collin Peterson said ...

‘I basically [told] people, at this point, you know, vote your district, vote what you think your people back home want.’ ”

So in other words, that's normally not the case for democrats.

You're back!

Anyway, it's not the case for politicians. Let's not pretend that it's partisan.


"I basically told people, at this point, you know, vote your district, vote what you think your people back home want."

At the risk of stating the obvious, that's what you're bloody sent there to do. You should not have to be told that. Collin Peterson has been in Washington far too long. I think sometimes when these old-timers have spent their entire lives in that three-ring circus, they forget why exactly they're there.

On a broader point, however, this country each day lurches closer to being ungovernable.

Somehow I Think Rep. Bachmann's Colleagues

in the tax office might recall her brief stint working there are something less than a revolt against the tax code. It's a bit hard to do a good job of subverting something you can't comprehend.

As I recall it, Ms. Bachmann wasn't given much responsibility because she didn't seem competent to reliably accomplish important tasks.

But, hey! Mickey has re-invented herself so many times now: anti-public schools teaching science and facts and failing to properly promote the Christian "conservative" attitude cursader, anti-gay crusader (in Minnesota), anti-anti-American congress member crusader, anti-"secret Muslim" crusader, anti-Barrack Obama Tea Party presidential candidate crusader, now she'd like us to believe she's been an anti-tax code crusader (without of course, specifying any particular part of the tax code she'd like to change),...

Who knows? Maybe she'll find a way to be useful yet (if she lives to be 150?).

When does an "insurgent" qualify as traitor?

If Bachmann claims she was an "insurgent" when she worked for the IRS...then claiming such insurrection under one position, what then is a self-described "insurgent ' on one position also worth exploring one's insurgent or non-insurgent position as a member of the Intelligence Committee?

Is an act of a 'self-described insurgent' raised at some point, possibly, to that of 'traitor' in relation to the position she now represents?

A point worth questioning:
The word 'traitor' is raised too carelessly; is used frequently recently to label a citizen who exposes the documented, loss of our civil liberties protected under the Bill of Rights?

The main stream press is initially silent. Congress is initially silent. The White House ?...

The sadness in this nation grows and most essentially...the poets are silent?