Minnesota’s gun-rights movement has carried out probably the best single grassroots political reformation in recent state history; over the course of 20 years, Minnesota has gone from being an anti-gun state that flirted seriously with Chicago-style gun bans in the eighties, to being a state with a decent shall-issue law and a reasonable chance of debating “Stand your Ground” and even “Constitutional Carry” in coming years, provided some elections break the right way.

More than that?  The pro-Second Amendment human rights movement in Minnesota is a bipartisan front; Republicans throughout the state have joined with DFLers through most of greater Minnesota – who’ve learned, in some cases the hard way, that most of Minnesota outside the 494-694 ring hold their Second Amendment human rights in high regard.

To the point where the DFL apparently has to keep their lobbying to Metrocrats and DFL machine-players who have nothing to lose.

Like Rochester DFL rep Kim Norton, who’s leaving the House after this next session, and wants to go out in a blaze of big-government, criminal-coddling glory, apparently.

Gun rights supporters are none too pleased with Norton’s announcement that she’ll push for stricter gun laws during her final legislative session next year…

Norton, who is not running for re-election in 2016, said she has received about 50 emails so far. The vast majority of those emails are from people who do not live in her legislative district. She said she has no intention of giving up on her plan to introduce a bill tightening gun rights. Among the ideas she plans to push is one prohibiting guns in the Capitol complex saying, “I don’t feel safe at work.”

She added, “Many of my constituents have asked for change.”

Rep. Norton; it’s entirely possible you’re not safe at work.  Same as everyone else in the Rice/University neighborhood, which has become one of Saint Paul’s sketchiest.

But it’s not because of the people who were covered by the Capitol carry restriction (carry permittees had to notify the Capitol Police if they planned to carry in the Capitol complex) – who are absolutely no danger to anyone, legislator or not.  It’s because of the same, common criminals who threaten all the rest of us, and who don’t bother getting permits or notifying Capitol police, any more here than they do in Chicago.

In other words, your proposal is as useless as any other gun control measure – and utterly pointless as well.

Speaking of which:

Norton said she is fed up with gun violence and wants to sponsor a bill with “common sense” changes to the state’s gun laws. Among the changes she’d like to see is a system making it easier to track gun ownerships. She compared it to how if she sells her kayak, she has to register who she sold it to.

I agree.  It’s high time we deregulated kayaks.

The good guys have responded:

The Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee sent out an email urging its supporters to email the Rochester DFLer and tell her they oppose her efforts. In an interview with the Post-Bulletin earlier this month, The gun rights group’s email begins, “Just when you think anti-gun politicians in Minnesota have gotten a clue, one pops up and proposes what they call ‘common sense gun law changes.'”

In an interview, the group’s political director Rob Doar said his organization has serious concerns with the idea of establishing any sort of gun registration system…He said the idea also raises privacy rights concerns, with there being a potential for the data to be hacked. He noted that Canada decided to scrap its firearms registry because it proved to be expensive and ineffective.

With emphasis on expensive.

And ineffective.

So, DFLers; are any of you outside the 494-694 loop who are planning to run for re-election planning on signing on to this?

Sound off!

Ballot Fodder

A regular reader of this blog (whose name does not rhyme with “Moe Jokes”) writes:

I know this has been talked about in Minneapolis for a few months, but when I read the following, I just couldn’t help but think that if you don’t rate voting as a high priority, perhaps you shouldn’t be voting.  Perhaps, if you need your landlord to hold your hand through life’s responsibilities, you aren’t yet ready to live away from your parents.

“Council Member Jacob Frey, who sponsored the measure, said he could have used the reminder about voter registration when he was younger and frequently changed apartments.

“When you’re thinking about your study group and your track team and the girlfriend and the social and what you’re going to do that weekend, and all the other trillions of stimuli that you have at a university, for instance, you don’t think to register,” Frey said.”

You ever notice how the Democrat “get out the vote” machine is focused almost to exclusion on reaching people who don’t pay much attention to government and politics?

There’s a reason for that.

“A Cold Mississippi”

One of the Minnesota left’s favorite conceits is that Minnesota is just plain better than The South.  Their favorite imprecation against some conservative budget-cut or program-trimming plan is that conservatives would “turn Minnesota into a cold (fill in a southern state)”.

Perhaps Minnesota’s African-American community would wish that were the case; household income for black people in Minnesota plunged 14% in the past year, dropping black Minnesotans’ incomes below those in Mississippi (I’ve added all emphasis):

From 2013 to 2014, the median income for black households in the state fell 14 percent. In constant dollars, that was a decline from about $31,500 to $27,000 — or $4,500 in a single year.

Meanwhile, the statewide poverty rate for black residents rose from 33 percent to 38 percent, compared to a stable overall state poverty rate of 11 percent.

The median black household in Minnesota is now worse off than its counterpart in Mississippi. Among the 50 states, along with Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., Minnesota ranked 45th in median black household income. Mississippi ranked 44th.

Income and poverty for other racial groups in Minnesota — whites, Hispanics and Asians — remained stable. Only blacks saw a worsening of income and poverty.

“It’s alarming,” said Steven Belton, interim president and CEO of the Minneapolis Urban League. “It’s a deepening of the income disparity, not only across the state but across the nation. When you pair that with the continuing disparities we have in education, health and wealth, it’s disturbing.

“The alleged rising tide has not lifted all boats.”

Of course, the Urban League is a DFL front; of course they’re going to take a whack at classic bit of conservative rhetoric.

But the truth is this; the vast majority of Minnesota’s Afro-Americans vote DFL, and live in DFL-dominated cities.   I don’t have the figures handy, but I don’t think it’s controversial to say that they are disproportionally not heavily represented in the parts of Minnesota’s economy that are prospering – health insurance, medical devices and financial services, all heavily subsidized by the Obama Administration.

They tend to live – again, no stats immediately at hand, but by all means, try to prove me wrong – on the economy that the rest of Minnesota lives on; the one that, for all of the DFL’s boasting and bragging, just isn’t doing all that well.

…Expecting A Different Result 

Minnesota’s gun grabbing DFL legislators have been beaten senseless, session after session after session, for well over a decade and a half now.Apparently they don’t get the hint.  From MNGOPAC:

Norton is still working on crafting the bill but said her legislation will focus on making it easier to keep track of gun ownership. She noted that if she sells her kayak to someone, she has to register who she gave it to and questions why the same laws don’t always apply in the case of firearms.”

Dear Representative Norton: you’re retiring from office after the session. It’s probably a good thing.

It’ll be interesting to know how the person the DFL endorses to try and hold your seat stands on this.

Wages Of Charity

A couple of elderly Holocaust survivors assaulted in a genuine hate crime in the Netherlands:

Samuel (87) and Diana (86) Blug, two elderly Holocaust survivors, fell victim to a vicious and violent anti-Semitic attack at their home in Holland a month ago.

According to a Yedioth Ahronoth report on Sunday, the couple were only able to come forward now and recount what happened to them.

The Blugs say two men, who looked to be of Moroccan descent, knocked on the door to their apartment, claiming to be the police and demanding entrance.

As soon as Samuel opened the door, the nightmare began. Two men dressed in black barged into the apartment and started severely beating the couple.

The assailants threw the couple on the floor, kicked them repeatedly and shouted: “Dirty Jews – from now on your property is ours.”

After tying up the badly injured couple, the thieves ripped Diana’s jewelry off her body. At gunpoint, they forced the couple to tell them where the rest of the valuables in the apartment were located.

Samuel was blinded in the assault and suffered a broken femur. Both he and Diana, who were living independently before the attack, are now confined to wheelchairs at a rehabilitation center in Amsterdam.

“Those bastards have destroyed our lives,” Samuel said in tears to Yedioth Ahronoth. “I have severe pain. I’m completely broken inside,” Diana added.

Emmanuel, the couple’s son, has offered a prize of ten thousand euros to anyone who can provide information that will lead to the arrest of the assailants.

He also circulated pictures of the beaten Diana and Samuel, urging “the world to see what they did to my parents.”

Americans are a nation of migrants and, in many cases, refugees.  We tend to be the most generous nation on earth.  Most of us – and I include myself – would love to be able to help the refugees.

But the stories coming from Eastern and Central Europe are in all too many cases not the stories of people coming to free lands for fresh starts.

And before anyone says it – yep.  American natives have said the same thing about pretty much every wave of immigration i American history.  And they’ve been right, to an extent; each wave of immigration changed this country.

And it’s not as if every wave of immigrants came here with clean hands and no grudges; Scots and Irish came here with bones to pick with the Brits; French and Germans came here fresh from innumerable European battlefields; Russians, Poles and Jews – the pogrom thrower and the pogrom victim – all came here, as did the Armenians and the Turks.  And somehow, after a generation or two, most of them pretty well fit in as Americans, and buried their squalid ancestral squabbles and hatreds, and got down to work.

The difference is, every previous wave of immigrants has, inside a generation of two, assimilated to American life.

But at the same time as our government has officially switched from emphasizing assimilation in favor of integration – they’re very different things – we are faced with a wave of refugees that, as their numbers crept well out of the 1-2% range in Europe, have shown no desire to assimilate, and who seek integration on their own terms, making their neighborhoods in London and Stockholm and Paris and Hamburg effectively off-limits to the rest of society.

All of them?  Certainly not.  But enough of them to where “assimilation” looks like a dim prospect, ever.

And with that in mind, I think it’d be just an outstanding idea if Minnesota’s congressional delegation slowly stepped back and thought for a moment; are they being compassionate, or giving into irrational, PC exuberance?


Build It And They Will Rent

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails about a new apartment building being constructed by the Mall of America:

“Chmielewski said rents haven’t been set, but because the project is being developed with tax-increment financing, some units will be income-restricted.”


I think the usual percentage is 20% low-income for the first 5 years, then they can go market-rate at which time the developer will convert the whole thing to a condo and sell the units.


So another 100 low-income apartment units next door to the Mall of America.  That ought to help the trendy, high-end retail shops in the Mall.  And no danger of gangbanging riff-raff scaring away other customers.  No wonder the City jumped at the chance to fund it.


Joe Doakes

And the Met Council said “It Is Good”.

The Wheel Of Justice Turns Slowly, But It Turns Toward Freedom

North Dakota finally recognizes Minnesota carry permits.

They didn’t, of course, because Minnesota didn’t grant reciprocity to North Dakota permits, because of a decade of pissy DFL and bureaucratic (but I repeat myself) stonewalling on carry permit reciprocity.  The GOP-controlled legislature changed that, finally, in the past session.

This is, of course, of hypothetical importance to people utterly unknown to me, who now have no reason whatsoever to stop in Moorhead anymore.

Nothing Here But Us Targets

A longtime friend of this blog (and a different one than this morning) writes:

How bout an blog post asking Al or Amy why no town halls to discuss the Iran deal?  Just thinking…

While it’s no doubt a fine idea, it’ll take away from their time investigating the death of Cecil the Lion.

I think the only town hall meeting we get on Iran will be when they appear at the State Fair.

Bulletin Bulletin Bulletin

Dog licks dog.

Donald Trump makes a huge, vainglorous declaration he’s never going to have to convince a legislature to support.

Facebook is full of cat videos.

Cheap hotels are often sketchy.

The Vikings don’t look very good this year.

And Minnesota’s real Governor, Tina Flint-Smith, former director of Planned Parenthood Infanticide Hut, pulled the wires and worked the remote control so as to make “Governor” Mark Dayton mumble words that sounded like the state won’t be investigating the goings-on at the non-profit, and there’s no way, nosirreebob that the Abattoir on Vandalia has ever trafficked in baby parts, no way no how, how about those Saints?

And it sure is humid out there.  Also big news.

Residual Force

Former mayor of the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers Andy Aplikowski is throwing his hat in the ring for a lateral transfer, declaring his candidacy for the Minnesota State Senate in SD 35.  He’s running to replace retiring Senator Branden Peterson.  

He’ll probably have an easier race in reliably read SD 35, in the far north suburbs of the Twin Cities, THAN he did winning the famously fickle MOB race..  He’ll definitely have an easier time representing that district than he did the MOB.  

Good luck, Andy. Have your people call my people..

Quintuple Whammy

A year or so after he finally departed the Minnesota Vikings, the City Pages has finally pulled its collective head out of Chris Kluwe’s ass long enough to do some reporting about the taxpayer-funded improvments to Zygi Wilf’s real estate portfolio the Vikings and their stadium.

And while Corey Zurowski’s piece is not quite on par with the reporting the Pages did during Steve Perry’s heyday, it’s not bad.

Oh, yeah – as anyone who was reading conservative blogs before 2010 knows, the stadium is a lousy deal for taxpayers:

Minnesota and Minneapolis taxpayers are on the construction cuff for a combined $498 million — the state $393 million and the city $150 million. [But don’t 393 and 150 add up to 543? – EdIn both cases, the public funds are being floated by taking on debt, not cash.

[pullquote]At four percent and change, that means $26 million in interest alone in the first year.[/pullquote] Plus maintenance and the inevitable “improvements” that’ll be needed.  Read the whole article for the whole story about the principal, interest and taxes.

And King Banaian reminds us that on top of all that (and the minimal economic benefit it’ll bring, and even that mostly in the form of money that would’ve been spent elsewhere being spent downtown), the e-pulltabs that were set up to float the state’s share in this bit of larceny are taking money away from other Minnesota non-profits, including many that aren’t run by billionaires from out of state:

The number of bingo halls using paper, not electronics, is down to six in Minnesota after the closing of St. Cloud’s Bingo Emporium….State Senator John Pederson of St. Cloud says the tax on pull tabs was raised to 36-percent last year to help fund the Vikings stadium, which put paper-bingo halls in a “very, very difficult situation.”

Oh, well.  You’ve gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet, right?

Liberty’s Broad, Broad Brush

Sometime today, check out Walter Hudson’s “Fighting Words” podcast.  I’m appearing on the show, along with Senator Brandon Petersen, talking about the “Liberty Minnesota” legislative scorecard.   I’m speaking in the dissent.  Sort of.

We’ll come back to that.

First Things First: Kudos to “Liberty Minnesota” for doing what too many “liberty” groups won’t; at least starting to get its hands dirty in the world of policy and legislative process.  Too many “liberty” groups, or at least too many “liberty” people, seem to think that sitting respendently above the fray snarking at activists to “Vote Harder!” and “Hey, how’s changing the party from the inside going for you?” with knowing, clubby chuckles amongst their fellow echo-chamberites is striking a blow for liberty.

So credit to Liberty Minnesota for doing the scorecard.

Now, the criticisms of the scorecard basically broke down as follows:

  • The final tabulation showed that Republicans and Democrats were tied at 33%.
  • The selected votes were cherry-picked to make Republicans look bad and Democrats look…not as bad as they are.
  • The selected votes were naive and betrayed a certain innocence about politics.

Let’s address each of them.

How’s That Again?:   Now, to be fair, the first comparison may be more properly leveled at some of “Liberty MN”‘s “liberty” supporters, who promptly took to social media and said “Look!  We were right!  There really is no difference between Republicans and Democrats!” and, in one particularly absurd factoid, “Tara Mack is worse for liberty than Phyllis Kahn”.

And my observation – and it’s only a personal observation – is that “Liberty MN” is pretty diligent about documenting and castigating Republican shortfalls on liberty issues, while glossing over the DFL’s crimes pretty lightly.  Again, it’s a personal observation.

Still, to the best of my knowledge, that’s not the line Liberty MN has taken in re the scorecard.

But even using “Liberty MN’s” numbers exactly as they are, from their scorecard (manually transposed to a spreadsheet), it’s not quite so close (while allowing that there might be some frictional errors from my manual transcription of numbers):

  • Entire Legislature:  Republicans 39% – Democrats 28%
  • Senate:   Republicans 48% – Democrats 19%
  • House:   Republicans 36% – Democrats 33%  (Either I made an error with the numbers, or Liberty MN did).

Among leadership, by the way, it’s even more lopsided:

  • Senate:  Dave Hann 65% – Tom Bakk 19%
  • House: Kurt Daudt 50% – Paul Thissen 33%

Hemp In, Raw Milk Out:  Still – any scorecard that shows the GOP and the DFL tied for “liberty” scores in the House must show us a problem – mustn’t it?

Take a moment to look at the issues that “Liberty MN” scored:

Click on it to see it full-size.

If you read the list, you notice a couple of things.  The issues certainly are “liberty” issues, all right; there’s a grab bag of economic, privacy, First, Second and Fourth Amendment, freedom of choice, tax and spending, environmental and other bills.

And at first glance, I observed that…:

Battle Lines:  These are not issues that largely break out on partisan lines.  Sunday Liquor Sales and the keeping of License Plate Reader data and many, many others among them break down on different lines; religious/union versus liberty, rural versus urban, religious/union versus free-market, Phyllis Kahn versus serious people – very few of the selected issues broke out by party.  Which is fine – as the estimable Walter Hudson says, it’s good to measure politicians on liberty issues qua liberty issues.

But it’s certainly not like 2013-2014, when many liberty issues – gun grabs, MNSure, forced daycare and PCA unionization, advancing business taxes and spending – did largely break out on partisan lines.

Still, I could cut the results some slack – except that the results are being used to try to wedge the GOP.  But then that’s not really Liberty MN’s fault.  What is their fault is the next two bits:

Take Two Freedoms:  Not all “Liberty” issues are included.   I’m not just talking about the omission of four of the five gun bills, including the Emergency Powers restriction, which struck me as by far the bigger liberty bill (but was also fairly bipartisan).

But you wills scour the “scorecard” in vain for any mention of:

  • The gas tax – a crushing attack on economic freedom, especially for the poor.  The GOP voted against it; the DFL supported it.
  • E-Cigarette regulation – a pointless regulatory assault on a legal, safe product that many are using to quit smoking – which may be the real reason for the assault.
  • Mandatory Pre-Kindergarten – perhaps “liberty” people don’t have kids.  Maybe they all home school.  I don’t know.  But I do know that the move to jam more kids into the public schools is not a position libertarians should support, it is  a position the DFL supports, it was DFL Governor Tina Flint-Smith’s Dayton’s short list of “Top priorities”, and it was at the very least a politically motivated appropriation and at most an expansion of state indoctrination.
  • The battle over the Pollution Control Agency’s Citizen Review Board, which is essentially an appointed, unaccountable group of environmental extremists who have veto power over mining – ergo “economic freedom” in Northern Minnesota
  • Any mention of efforts to reduce the power and scope of the Met Council.  Granted, none of those measures got anywhere in the Legislature – but then, neither did many of the issues that “Liberty MN” did select, like Phyllis Kahn’s bid to lower the voting age to 18.
  • The budget.  It certainly grew.  The GOP participated in the growth – although they controlled one chamber, and there’s a DFL governor, so the GOP’s power was limited.  And let’s be honest; it grew less than in either of the two DFL-controlled sessions; it was the third smallest increase in the past forty years.  That’s not ideal, but it’s not chicken feed under the circumstances.

Four of those six are, by my reckoning, fairly vital liberty issues.  All of them but the budget were pretty much GOP initiatives.  Several were flat-out GOP victories.  Including any of them would have changed the voting, especially in the House of Representatives.

Not sure if Liberty Minnesota thinks that’d be a feature or a bug, but I do plan on finding out.

I Wanna Make Some History:  So because of the bills selected and, arguably, not selected, you have all sorts of unintentional comedy.

  • Alice Hausman, a woman who never met a gun she wouldn’t grab or a private-sector dollar she wouldn’t seize, tied with laissez-faire Tea Party firerand Cindy Pugh.
  • Rena Moran, who would jam a single-payer healthcare system down your throat with both of her feet, outscoring Tony Cornish.
  • Tax hiking, gun grabbing govenrment power pimp Jim Davnie outscoring Kelly Fenton.

And on, and on, and on.

And so because of this selection of largely nonpartisan bills, The scorecard gives, intentionally or not, the impression that the GOP – a party that his lip service, often very imperfectly, to liberty – it’s basically the same as the DFL, Minnesota’s softcore Socialist party, the party that historically pimps for tax hikes, bloated budgets, high regulation, suburbs subsidizing intercity spending, gun control, The party that opposes school choice and economic development in the iron Range, when a cursory reading of history shows what an absurd Lee that is.

Question:  do you think if any votes on the six issues above – all of which had at least as much visibility in the legislature this session as some of the bills “Liberty MN” selected – had been considered, any of those absurdities would have persisted?

Clubbing: Oh, yeah – about the title.

A liberty supporter might say “liberties are liberties – we’re not going to pick and choose between them”.

And in the abstract, and for those of “liberty” groups, that may be perfectly fine.

But do I think the gas tax and mandatory pre-kindergarten or the Met Council affect more liberty for more people than, say, Sunday liquor sales? I certainly do, and I’m going to guess most people do too. Do I think a fourth amendment issue like license plate reader data is more important than a lifestyle issue like lowering the drinking age? I do – and I’m going to guess most people who pay attention to the ongoing decay of the fourth amendment do, as well.

Liberty people may not give weight different liberties. I do – and I think the failure to do so is a critical witness of the sort of scorecard.

I think that especially with as large and broad a swathe of votes as Liberty Minnesota used for their scorecard, they might have done well to break the issues up into categories – Personal Freedom, Economic Freedom, Social Freedom, Limiting Government and the like, and giving sub-ratings to legislators by category.  That may be counter to Liberty MN’s purposes; I think it serves Liberty in Minnesota’s purposes.

But To Summarize:  Again, I applaud Liberty Minnesota for doing this.  I hope it’s a step toward mobilizing some actual political clout on behalf of liberty issues in the legislature, and at election time – something the “liberty movement” in Minnesota has largely avoided so far.

Furthering the Discussion:  I’m currently looking forward to having Karl Eggers of “Liberty Minnesota” on my program on July 11 to discuss this.  And if you’re reading this, Karl, I just telegraphed my punches.  Merry early Christmas.

The Smell Of Defeat?

For well over a decade, “Protect MN” – it’s changed its name several times since it started way back when – has been the dotty, not-too-bright face of the gun control movement in Minnesota.

While the wave of Michael Bloomberg money in 2013 moved the center of gravity over to “Everytown for Gun Safety” and its “local” affiliate, Heather Martens has remained an inescapable farce in Minnesota politics.

Force. I meant force.  Honest.  I’ll catch it in post-production.  Sorry.

But a correspondent who follows these things found this bon mot during some recreational reading of state Campaign Finance Board filings.

Continue reading

On Talking With Every Large “Libertarian” Organization In Minnesota

SCENE:  Mitch BERG is picking out a cordless drill at Menard’s.    Egbert FLEGEL, Chairmain of Liberty Uber Alles Minnesota, almost literally bumps into BERG.  

FLEGEL:  Hey, Merg.

BERG:  Hey, Egbert.  What’s new?

FLEGEL:  Oh, we’re just carrying on the fight for liberty.  We’re about to put together the Liberty Uber Alles 2015 scorecard on the Minnesota Legislature.

BERG:  Ah. So what issues does the scorecard focus on?

FLEGEL:   Well, the Minnesota GOP got in the way of restoration of felon rights, marijuana legalization, raw milk legalization, they didn’t fight hard enough against photo license readers, they stood in the way of marjuana legalization, they dropped the ball on data deletion, they didn’t work hard enough to kill the “Kingfisher” cell-phone-eavesdropping system, they didn’t fight hard enough for Constitutional Carry, they didn’t do enough to atone for opposing gay marriage, they didn’t work for marijuana legalization, they’re still pro-life, they allowed the DFL Senate and Governor to increase the budget, they didn’t decriminalize Marijuana, they failed to legalize gambling, they failed to roll back the taxpayer subsidies of stadiums, they didn’t roll back property forfeiture, and they didn’t legalize marijuana.

BERG:  Huh.  Not very liberty-friendly.

FLEGEL:  Nope!

BERG:  How about the DFL?

FLEGEL:  The who?

And SCENE.  

Governor Tease

This is actually a post about state politics.  But there’s a tangent.


Along about thirty years ago, Holly Dunn – a twangy honky-tonk girl, and one of the highlights of country-western music at a time when the genre was still suffering through the last of its “crossover” mania – had a huge, but controversial, hit with “Maybe I Mean Yes”.

It was a bouncy ditty about romantic mind games.  It was also controversial, even in those much less silly times, among feminists for, according to the PC police of the era, “making rape and domestic abuse acceptable”; the teapot-tempest thereafter caused a few country stations to pull the single, making Holly Dunn one of the first casualties of modern political correctness – which is a shame, because most of your Gretchen Wilsons and Miranda Lamberts owe her a huge debt.

But this article isn’t about eighties honky-tonk music.  It’s about Governor Flint-Smith.

Dayton. Governor Dayton.  Sorry.  I have no idea how that happened.

In a legislative session in which the Governor’s “top priority” changed from spending the surplus to, literally, “everything” as a top priority, to synchronizing traffic lights to taking farmland out of production to transportation something or another to passing a universal pre-kindergarten bill that neither the legislature nor school administrators statewide wanted (but the teachers union does) to trying to justify Rebecca Otto’s electoral existence, it should be no surprise that he’s changed “top priorities” again:

Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday said he was dropping his insistence that lawmakers change language dealing with county audits but cited three other, previously unmentioned, objections to the Legislature’s special session plans.

Just last Thursday the DFL governor said that he and the House’s “major remaining difference” had to do with the state auditor. But on Monday, he said that he and the House were still in disagreement over three other issues: funding for programs for the disabled and mentally ill, energy net metering and lower electric rates for industries in northeastern Minnesota.

Apparently, the GOP House and DFL Senate majorities are doing better at reaching agreements than Dayton figured.

Oh, yeah.  If we take care of these three “top priorities”, he’s got a bunch more waiting in the wings:

“Before I can call a special session, it remains necessary for us to reach agreements,” on the three other issues, Dayton wrote. He also listed four other issues –an increase in broadband grants, funding for a new sex offender facility, rail grade crossing safety projects and clarification of language dealing with Rochester’s Destination Medical Center — that he urged be addressed.

When the Governor says “shut down”, he means maybe, and then maybe he means yes.

The Problem With Ryan Winkler…

…was, paradoxically, only incidentally about Ryan Winkler.

Our Big Game of Telephone:  From the mid-nineties on, when Michele Bachmann was still organizing the Maple River Education Coalition, before she even ran for the State Senate, the late Karl Bremer was dinging on the future Presidential candidate and conservative lighting rod.

And conservatives, in turn, dinged on the irascible Bremer.  I’m not one to speak ill of the dead – but it’s a simple fact that the guy was prone to using imagination when the facts didn’t give him the story he wanted.   For years, finding and pointing out all the logical and factual holes in his peevish tirades was for conservative bloggers what “mending nets” is for Spanish fishermen.  In short – he was like a blogger, only more so.

But if you ask a left-leaning member of the Minnesota Media “elite”, you got a different story; Bremer was lauded as a hero, treated as one of the club, given the secret handshake.  He won an award from the “Society of Professional Journalists” – something like “best digger of documents”.

It was all, every bit of it, related to Bremer’s nearly two-decade-long mania for “covering” / writing about / stalking Michele Bachmann.  The enemy of the Twin Cities’ media’s enemy is the Twin Cities media’s friend.

And had Bremer turned all of that manic energy on Paul Wellstone or Keith Ellison?  Not a single member of the Twin Cities media would have acknowledged his existence, much less pissed on his grave.

Warm, Fuzzy:  With that in mind, take a good read through Doug Grow’s profile of the retiring Representative Ryan Winkler.

Entitled “Why the Legislature will miss Ryan Winkler”, it’s full of assurances, via Pat Garofalo, that Winkler’s big and rapidly-moving mouth was “all business, nothing personal” – which is a fine thing, and mildly reassuring (although mere nonelected proles who encountered Winkler on Twitter had mixed experiences with the lad)…

…and maybe even true, as far as it goes.

But read the article.

You’ll scan it in vain for any mention of Winkler’s “Uncle Tom” jape.  And that’s fine; people make mistakes; to err is human and to forgive divine, yadda yadda.  If every political “opposition researcher” in the world suddenly broke their femurs and spent six months in traction, and the world could forgive politicians their past oopses, the world would be a happier place, and maybe a  little bit better one too.

That might actually be a wonderful thing.

But as I – and quite a few other people – noted when Winkler announced his retirement, Winkler was only the symptom.  The disease?  The Minnesota Media’s double-standard.

Because if Winkler’d been a Republican, you can bet “Uncle Tom” would have popped up in Grow’s epitaph; it’d be carved large on the media’s collective memory of the guy for all eternity.

Winkler has painstakingly avoided ruling out a return to Minnesota politics.  Five will get you twenty that when he does, “Uncle Thomas” will not rate a single inch of copy.


The Good Guys Win One

Governor Dayton has reportedly signed HF878, the Public Safety omnibus bill that included five second-amendment-related provisions:

  • Barring thengovernornfeom confiscating guns during states of emergency

  • enacting carry permit reciprocity with several other states
  • allow Minnesotans to buy long guns in non-contiguous states
  • eliminated the capitol felony trap
  • allows Minnesotans to own and use their federally-licensed suppressors.

This is a big win for human rights.

Thanks to Governor Dayton for heeding the overwhelming will of The People, and signing the bill.

Thanks also to a newly-active NRA, to MN-GOPAC and to GOCRA, as well as to the legislators who made it happen.

And thanks to you, the Real Minnesotans, for speaking out so loudly and clearly.

What does this mean for next session? More on the show this weekend, and on the blog next week.


Ryan Winkler is leaving the House of Representatives.

Winkler spent nine sessions in the Legislature.  During the last five or six of them, his job, coming from an utterly safe seat in Golden Valley, seemed to be “the DFL’s Costco version of Sidney Blumenthal”; to say and do the things that no DFLer in a contested district – or human with an education and a conscience – would dare to say.

Winkler racked up a long, storied history:

…enough that he seemed to be well on the way to becoming Minnesota’s Joe Biden.

Of course, Paul Thissen said what caucus leaders are supposed to say about their hatchet men:

House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he’ll miss Winkler’s “impatience with injustice. He is always willing to take on the tough fights and not back down. He drove the discussion forward about how to make our economy work better for people. His work to raise the minimum wage and improve opportunity for average Minnesotans is a tremendous legacy.”

Um yeah.  When a Minnesotan loses a job to pay for his precious minimum wage hike, we need to say they’ve been “Winklered”.

But this isn’t about my observations.  Look at the adjectives the media uses in describing Winkler’s career; “outspoken” (as in “outspoken advocate on behalf of…” yadda yadda), “sharp-tongued”, “Harvard-Educated”, and the like.

If he’d been a Republican, I’d have looked for adjectives more like “Controversial”, “stridently partisan”, and maybe “gaffe-prone”.   More to the point?  A “sharp-tongued” Republican would be “contibuting to the nasty partisanship” around the Capitol.

But he’s a DFLer in Minnesota.   He was just a character, one that the reporters could always get a cutesy quote from.

Ryan Winkler is the poster child for the Minnesota media’s double standard.

Governor Congeniality

Senator Thompson – who will be a guest on the NARN on Saturday – pretty well nailed the Governor’s tantrum:

And Andy Aplikowski, on Facebook, made the sterling point that Governor Dayton is touring the state trying to convince Minnesotans he “cares about children”…

…with his Lieutenant Governor, Tina Flint-Smith, former executive butcherette of Planned Parenthood (aka “The Vandalia Abattoir”).

Impulse Control

This past week has been a really, really bad one for Governor Dayton and anyone who thinks he’s ready for prime time as a governor.

First, it the promise (since delivered) of a veto of the K-12 E-12 bill over a few hundred million in spending that a bipartisan majority in the Legislature had already turned down (in support of a program that nobody but Education Minnesota really wants).

And now?   He’s accusing Republicans of “hating teachers”.

Which certainly perked up my ears, what with having a father, two grandparents and a little sister who’ve been teachers.

Oh, yeah – Sondra Erickson, also a teacher, was not amused:

 Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, who chairs the House Education Policy Committee said Dayton should apologize for the remark.

In a statement, Erickson said:

“As a public school teacher with nearly four decades in public school classrooms, I am disappointed with Governor Dayton’s disrespectful remarks. Minnesotans expect their public officials to respectfully debate the issues facing our state without resorting to personal attacks. Republicans and Democrats passed a bipartisan budget that underscored our commitment to students and teachers including significant investments in proven early learning programs. Teachers deserve nothing but great respect because of their dedication to prepare our children with knowledge and skills for the future. Closing the achievement gap requires only the highest regard for those who teach and lead our children. I respectfully request that the governor apologize for his remarks.”

Of course, he’s not going to do it.  I fact, look for them to double down.

Because that’s page 1 of the Democrat messaging handbook.  Question how veterans benefits are paid for?  “Why do Republicans hate veterans?”.

Dispute global warming?  “Why do Republicans hate science?”.

Don’t like abortion, and think identity feminism has done a lot of damage?  “It’s a war on women!”.

Push back against a pork-barrel program that will at best do nothing useful for the vast majority of kids, but will plump up Education Minnesota’s and the DFL’s coffers?  “Republicans hate teachers!”.

And the thing is, 40-odd percent of Minnesota voters are stupid enough to buy it.

Why would he apologize?

Make My Day

Here’s the good news: over the weekend, an overwhelming, bipartisan majority of Republicans and Democrats, in both the House and Senate, voted for the public safety omnibus bill as finalized by the conference committee.

How overwhelming was the majority?

Here’s how overwhelming:


That is a veto proof majority in both the House and the DFL-controlled Senate.

How important is this? This bill will:

  • Abolish the capital felony trap – by recognizing that the Capitol police have instant access to the database of carry permit holders, just like every other cop in the state of Minnesota.
  • Bar the governor for ordering the confiscation of firearms during emergencies. The governor of Minnesota has immense, wide-sweeping emergency powers, almost completely unregulated by law. This will prevent the situation that new Orleans residents ran into after Hurricane Katrina, with government officials and police going door-to-door to confiscate firearms, rendering citizens defenseless in the face of looters.
  • Legalize the ownership of federally licensed suppressors – mufflers for guns.
  • Allow Minnesotans to buy a long arms from non-contiguous states.
  • Make Minnesota permits reciprocal with many more neighboring states. This is great if you, hypothetically, constantly wind up having to stop at gas stations in Moorhead or East Grand Forks, to avoid inadvertently becoming a felon in North Dakota. Again, hypothetically.

So that’s the good news.

The Bad News – Governor Flint- Smith Dayton has said that he will veto the bill, over the suppressor provision.

Of course, the photo above – the votes for a bipartisan, vetoproof majority passing the bill – might give Governor Flint-Smith Dayton pause. Getting a veto overridden is embarrassing.

You know what else would give her him pause?

We’ll talk about that at noon.