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Kline opposes Obama’s idea for free community college

MinnPost file photo by Craig Lassig
Rep. John Kline

On the chutzpah front: Rep. John Kline has no time for the President’s free community college idea. Allison Sherry of the Strib says, “Less than 12 hours after President Barack Obama touted an idea to provide free community college to some students, the chairman of the House Education Committee had a message: No new federal programs. Republican Rep. John Kline, who represents Minnesota’s Second Congressional District and is at the helm of the Education Committee, said he wasn’t interested in taking on the president’s proposal to make community college free. Kline said he didn’t agree with the how the White House planned to pay for it — by increasing capital gains taxes — and he didn’t think a new federal program was the way to move forward.” No mention in the story of any close association with for-profit colleges.

On second thought. At Canada’s they’re saying, “According to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie, the NHL is set to announce the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild will be hosting outdoor games next season. The league is expected to make it official during All-Star Game festivities this weekend in Columbus. The Avalanche are expected to host the Detroit Red Wings while the Wild will likely entertain the Chicago Blackhawks.” Probably not on Lake Calhoun.

New York seems to have noticed that we are a land of LumberSexuals. In The Wall Street Journal, Christina Binkley writes, “‘North’ has a special meaning in Minnesota these days, and it is gradually gaining a stronger following. Though most Americans consider the state part of the Midwest, a number of local influencers are proposing to redefine Minnesota as a region that the U.S., officially at least, currently lacks: the North. They want their region to be recognized for its innovative, sturdy character, honed by long, cold winters. … Well-made utilitarian items—long an important part of Minnesotan culture—are fashionable all over these days. Suddenly, many longtime Minnesota products are showing up not in farm stores but in fashion boutiques.” And at sturdy boutique prices.

The death of little Eric Dean has created a ripple at the legislature. Don Davis of the Forum News Service says, “The goal of the bipartisan legislation, Sen. Kathy Sheran said, ‘is to place stronger protections for children facing possible maltreatment.’ The Mankato Democrat and Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, wrote the bill after the death of 4-year-old Eric Dean in 2013 in west-central Minnesota. News stories indicated that multiple reports of child abuse had been ignored. Kresha said that the bottom line of the bill is finding ways that courts, law enforcement officers and child protection workers can better coordinate efforts to protect children.”

In the annals of bad boyfriends. The Duluth News Tribune reports, “Two Solon Springs men escaped a car that broke through the ice on Upper St. Croix Lake on Monday morning — and were arrested for allegedly breaking in to several ice shacks. … After additional questioning and investigation, however, the men confessed to breaking into several ice shacks at the southern end of the lake prior to the car breaking through the ice. They admitted to stealing a TV, ice auger and liquor, among other items, the sheriff’s office reported. ‘Judging from the tire tracks in the area, it appears as if they became lost or disoriented as to their location and ended up in the river flowing out the south end of the lake where they broke through the thin ice’, the sheriff’s office reported. The car, a 2014 Ford Focus owned by Hale’s girlfriend, was found submerged in 6 feet of water. It was not insured, authorities said.”

The Governor gets an “accurate” on his recent assessment of child care costs. Says Catherine Richert at MPR, “ … Dayton’s administration said in a press release that Minnesota’s child care costs are unusually expensive. ‘Right now in Minnesota, child care costs $901 per month, on average – totaling $10,812 per year just to provide quality care for one child. These high costs make Minnesota the 3rd-most expensive state in the nation for child care, based on the cost of infant care as a share of median income (15.5 percent).’ There are a lot of rankings and a lot of ways to measure the cost of care, but any way you look at it, Minnesota is among the most expensive places in the country to send children to day care.” Above average costs for above average children.

Another upside to low gas prices? A leveling off of train traffic. The AP says, “Lower gas prices have had an added bonus in Minnesota beyond fatter wallets: Train traffic is leveling off, giving regulators space to refocus on safety issues, a state railroad official told lawmakers Wednesday. … That number likely won’t decrease as North Dakota oil producers see slimmer profits from falling oil prices, Christianson said, but the traffic levels should hold as prices remain low.”

Whatever you build, it’s in someone’s backyard. MPR says, “Chuck Muller and his family have lived on about eight acres of land for more than 20 years. During that time, they’ve seen big changes, mainly the construction of energy installations near his home. The latest to hit the drawing board is the Marshall Solar Energy Project, a 500-acre solar panel complex planned for a nearby farm. It’s part of a major solar energy push state lawmakers enacted in 2013.”

Officially: murder-suicide in Apple Valley. The Strib’s Pat Pheifer writes, “David Crowley, an independent filmmaker and screenwriter, shot his wife, Komel, and their 5-year-old daughter Rani in the head before shooting himself, according to a report from the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office released Wednesday. Yet Jason Allen, a producer based in Los Angeles, also said Wednesday that Crowley’s words and actions when the two met in September and in an e-mail Crowley sent him on Dec. 17, seem contradictory to a man who was about to kill his family and himself. … Allen was out of town over the holidays and didn’t respond to Crowley’s e-mail until Jan. 8. By then the family was dead.” 22 days to return a business e-mail?

In a Strib commentary, Mitch Leetsma of Wayzata encourages readers to see “American Sniper.” “[Clint] Eastwood shows how Kyle dehumanized the enemy and how he almost completely ignored the larger picture involving all of the issues surrounding the war in Iraq. Yes, we dehumanize the enemy. How can we not? The average American has no idea the mental toll it takes on their soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines just to be ready to pull the trigger with another human in your sights, let alone to actually do it. Engage the target. Eliminate the threat. These are the sanitized phrases we use to keep ourselves sane as we turn off the emotion that would come from actually killing another human being (the emotions come later).”

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Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 01/22/2015 - 08:23 am.

    Unless the staff has agreed to donate their time, the utility companies have agreed to donate water, electricity and gas, publishers agree to donate books, what Obama is suggesting is not free.

    You cannot keep your doctor, and nothing from the government is free.

    • Submitted by richard owens on 01/22/2015 - 09:02 am.

      Funding for the Tennessee Plan

      “The Tennessee Promise scholarships will be funded by $110 million from the state’s lottery reserves, along with a $47 million endowment created by the state General Assembly. Students are expected to receive an average scholarship of $971, in addition to existing aid from the state’s Hope Scholarship program. Students will also be required to maintain a 2.0 GPA and give 8 hours of community service per semester.”

      Governor Haslam’s proposal came from a listening tour of their state, in which industry and commerce people suggested better training for their workforce being the thing they most needed. Tennessee ranks 43rd in college completion and would like to get that up to 55%.

      The key concept is “government assisting its citizens” (both private sector and students).

      Notice the community service component, the grade requirement, and the use of lottery and other funds to build a better educated workforce for the future.

      I can’t prove it, but I think vocational and technical training will directly benefit Tennessee’s economy for years to come.

      Doing nothing at all is not “free” either. Lack of investment in the future makes for a poorer future for all.

  2. Submitted by Charles Thompson on 01/22/2015 - 08:54 am.

    community college

    As they say in the markets, John Kline is talking his book.

  3. Submitted by cory johnson on 01/22/2015 - 10:29 am.

    The method to fund the “free” communtiy college is destroy 529’s
    Apparently 529’s aren’t fair so we have to eliminate the most attractive aspect of using them to make the country more fair. Not sure why I bother working….

    • Submitted by richard owens on 01/22/2015 - 10:50 am.

      Tennessee’s plan is a “last dollar” plan.

      You seem to be against it but you first should know what it is. (Right?)

      Read: The plan sounds good and has received great response from the citizenry.

      The 529, or Pell Grant, or other program pays first, then the Tennessee plan picks up the difference (or so it seems from my reading.)

      Why not learn about it first. You can always oppose it later when you know what you are opposing.

      Here in MN, we have about the same number of unemployed as we do job openings (Almanac).

      [from the linked article]
      “What the governor heard was that industry vacancies were not being filled because there were not enough qualified workers – and that’s something you never want to hear. The other thing is that economic development is starting to be less about providing incentives and more about having a qualified workforce.”

      I suggest we oppose things we actually understand for reasons that actually make sense.

      “NO.” is not a public policy.

  4. Submitted by cory johnson on 01/22/2015 - 10:32 am.

    A novel solution to child care affordibility…..

    Birth control and self-restraint. How about we encourage people to not have kids they can’t afford? I realize it’s selfish and cruel to expect people to do this but it would solve quite a few problems.

  5. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 01/22/2015 - 11:18 am.

    community college

    Offering free community college doesn’t seem like a well thought out idea at all to me. Poorly funded and will likely erode the quality of the education system as well.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/22/2015 - 11:34 am.

      “Likely erode the quality of the education system”

      How? I don’t think the President has proposed lower the academic or admission standards of community colleges (which are, as I understand it, largely open admissions now).

    • Submitted by jason myron on 01/22/2015 - 12:33 pm.

      As opposed to the for profit industry

      that peddles essentially worthless degrees and saddles its students with a mountain of debt with no ability to pay it off?

  6. Submitted by John Edwards on 01/22/2015 - 12:00 pm.

    I don’t understand why President Obama is so, so . . .so STINGY
    If it is free, why not give everyone who wants one a FOUR-YEAR college degree. And just like the athletes, these students should also get a stipend to help with their living costs while in school.

  7. Submitted by cory johnson on 01/22/2015 - 12:01 pm.

    Why so much attention to paying for college….

    and so little to why the costs are skyrocketing? It is embarrassing how we have let both public and private colleges hold strong arm us into paying these prices. The rate of increase makes healthcare costs looks comparatively reasonable.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/22/2015 - 01:15 pm.

      Econ 101

      If you want to increase the cost of something, have the government subsidize it.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 01/22/2015 - 10:20 pm.

        Econ 102

        If you want to lower the quality of everything, then think you’re getting a deal for paying next to nothing, turn it over to the private sector, see Wal-Mart et al.

  8. Submitted by Sharon Fortunak on 01/24/2015 - 09:13 am.

    Two years of free community college education

    Kudos to President Obama! Leadership produces change.

    There are a number of ways to pay for the two free years–think taxing soda (pop) & beer. The buzz is that the National Football League does not pay taxes, which could be a source of revenue. Then, as always, cut the budget of the bloated military.

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