Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Letter to Eden Prairie News reveals truth about Dayton's extreme vetoes

I wrote a letter to the editor of the Eden Prairie News, which was published on Thursday, June 9, 2011.  I would have liked to post a link to it here, but it's not online yet.  I really want to share the facts included in the letter with readers who may not subscribe to the Eden Prairie News.  If you saw the letter, you know I had the dubious honor of being published on the same page as Senator Al Franken.

Here's the letter:

Questions Dayton's vetoes
Mark Dayton issued a flurry of vetoes last week, making it the biggest snowstorm of 2011. Among the things he vetoed:  Tax relief for Minnesota's 506,000 married joint filers who now have to pay the marriage penalty tax, tax relief for military veterans, property tax relief for disabled veterans and surviving spouses, property tax refunds for homeowners and property tax relief for businesses statewide.
Republicans gave him a $34.2 billion budget - much larger than I would have liked. After subtracting the one-time stimulus money Minnesota received last year, this budget actually represents an increase of $3.5 billion. It raises spending without raising taxes. Why isn't it enough for Dayton - a 9 percent spending increase when so many people are getting little to no increase in income?
Dayton also vetoed Senator Daley's bill to require basic skills testing for teachers.  This bill was not controversial.  It passed 87-41 in the House and 52-0 in Senate. Dayton is revealing himself to be even more radical than his own party.
Finally, Dayton vetoed the voter ID bill.  He said it was because the bill "lacks broad bipartisan support."  But, according to two recent polls (Minneapolis Star Tribune and Survey USA), Minnesotans overwhelmingly support voter ID. For example, according to the Star Tribune poll, 80 percent of Minnesotans support voter ID (including 64 percent of Democrats) and only 18 percent are opposed.  That sounds pretty bipartisan to me.
Unlike Dayton, my three legislators all support our right to free and honest elections, and they support a government that lives within its means. Thank you to David Hann, Jenifer Loon and Kirk Stensrud. Please keep fighting for Minnesota.

I'm not publishing this on my blog so I can blow my own horn, but because I have had comments from several people who, after reading the letter, said, "I didn't know he vetoed all of those things."  I think people should be as informed as possible.  If this letter can help that happen, then I want to spread it to a wider audience.

So, if you think the information here is important, please pass it on to your friends. Thank you for your readership.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Who is really holding Minnesota hostage: Republicans, Dayton, or left-wing media scare tactics?

The front-page article in today's StarTribune, "Shutdown would be a leap into unkown," is typical in many ways.  First, it showcases the Strib's well-known penchant for uni-partisanship by deliberately slanting the article to make Republicans look like the bad guys.  Second, it uses the handy dandy scare tactics the left likes to pull out when things get rough.

(Click this link for mood music to read the article's excerpts by.  Right click on this link to open it in another tab or window so you can play it while you read.)

The article begins:
Minnesota's state parks: Closed.
The state lottery? Frozen.
Minnesota's most violent prisoners? Held back by a skeleton crew.
Taxes? Not so fast. Minnesotans would still be paying those.
In 19 days, Minnesotans could endure the most wide-reaching government shutdown in state history, with little sense of when it might end.
The music is appropriate here, don't you think?  The smell of fear, the bait dangled for dangers lying ahead--you get the drift.

The last paragraph on the front page before the jump to page A16 reads:
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's administration has rushed to piece together a shutdown plan largely in secret, even as he slogs through inch-by-inch budget negotiations with Republicans to avert closure. Dayton's...
Poor Governor Dayton, slogging his way through inch-by-inch budget negotiations with Republicans.  It gives one mental pictures of Dayton struggling through quicksand toward those stubborn Republicans, standing with arms folded, refusing to move at all, while his administration rushes to piece together a plan in secret. (More about that important word later.)

Then comes the jump, which most editors hope readers won't bother to turn to to continue reading the article. Many won't. They just read what's on the front page and don't bother to continue.  That's why liberal journalists are masters at setting up headlines and front-page teaser articles that blame the right while waiting until after the jump to the inside page to add a point of view from the opposition.  You know, to give a balanced news story, not an opinion piece, to help preserve their journalistic integrity.  Did I just write, "journalistic integrity?"  You may all pause for a short belly laugh at my naive use of those words when referring to the StarTribune.  For just one of many examples, even after this article's second jump, it doesn't give the Republican viewpoint at all.

But it does begin to describe what's going on with the budget negotiations and what Dayton is doing about it. It seems Dayton's top staffers are "cobbling together" information to determine which government workers would be deemed essential in the event of a government shut down.   (Non-essential workers would be temporarily laid off and wouldn't be paid during the shut-down period.) Then there is what I consider to be the most important piece of the article:

Dayton's administration has refused to release many details, in part because final decisions will be made not by them but by a court.

So Dayton is "piecing together" the shutdown plan in secret and refuses to release many details.  They say the reason is because decisions will ultimately be made in court, but I think there is another, simpler reason.

It's much, much scarier to leave things dangling in the unknown, isn't it?  Much of the rest of the article speculates which jobs or services could be cut (but might not be because no one knows what the plans are), such as schools, nursing homes (which may have to kick residents out), home health care aides, etc.  They even trotted out the possibility of a dangerous epidemic and pointed out the "deadly E.coli outbreak in Germany as a ghoulish example of the need to be prepared."

When presented with the scenario of the possible shut down lasting into September, Charlie Kyte, the executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators was quoted as saying, "It could be hugely problematic."  Hugely?  Okay, it's a word, but it's not a good one.

Anyway, the article points out that Dayton faces pressure from state workers living paycheck to paycheck (who are a large part of his voting base) and his desire to get what he wants politically, which the Strib simply boils down to raising taxes on high earners with no mention of Dayton's proposed 15 percent spending increase.  It also points out that much of the outcome is in his hands:

An expansive shutdown would apply maximum public pressure on Republicans to agree on a budget deal. Or Dayton could argue that most services are essential, which would minimize disruptions, but also give Republicans less incentive to cut a deal.
So far, Dayton has been silent on strategy. "We are still in the process of developing what we believe the law requires," he said.

So Dayton could give in and balance the budget with the Republican's version, which proposes a 6 percent increase in spending without increasing taxes, or he could lay off thousands of people who really need those paychecks to keep coming in for their very survival.

Given Dayton's past as a trust-fund baby turned aimless adult, I wonder which he'll choose?  Surely he hasn't stood in the shoes of those whose fate he holds in the palm of his hands.  If he has, I'd love to hear the story (a true one, of course).

The second-to-last paragraph in the article reads:

Meanwhile, the state's 40,000 workers watch the days tick away while they worry about lost paychecks and whether they'll be able to maintain their health insurance, which could run roughly $1,500 a month.
To answer the question posed in my headline, "Who is really holding Minnesota hostage: Republicans, Dayton, or left-wing media scare tactics?" my answer is: the latter two.  The Republicans found a way to balance the budget without raising taxes in a recession.  By not giving up on his ill advised, silly economic ideals, Dayton has the power to throw Minnesota into a much deeper hole by putting government workers out of work.

The media are contributing to the problem by printing articles like this to try to scare people into putting pressure on Republicans to back down or on Democrats to hold fast.  What I propose is that Republicans begin calling and e-mailing their legislators, both Republican and Democrat, and let them know you want them to accept the Republican budget and keep the government running.

The potential for government shutdown is in Dayton's hands.  Let's hope he drops it like a hot potato and moves on, instead of making a politicized move to shut down the government and spending the upcoming years blaming Republicans for what is truly his decision.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Now it's easy to "follow" Friendly Neighborhood Republican

I want my readers to know it's now easier to follow this blog than ever before.  At the top of the-right hand margin above my photo is a "Friendly Neighborhood Republican Followers" box.  In that box there is a button marked "follow."  All you have to do is click and you will become a Friendly Neighborhood Republican Follower and be alerted when new blog posts are up.  This is a great way to follow the blog if you are not a member of Networked Blogs, which has a follower box at the bottom of the right-hand margin on the page.

Thank you to all my loyal readers who come to this blog regularly to check for new posts.  Becoming a Follower will take some of the work out of that.  Thanks to all new visitors for checking it out.

If you like it, "follow" it!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weiner "victim" of poor lying skills

While strolling through the blogosphere, I'm finding a lot of media items that seem to be expressing empathy, sadness, and even notes on the bleak, spiritless decor of the room in which Representative Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y) admitted he sent illicit photos and e-mails to young women.  The photo in particular question has been one of him in a pair of grey shorts that was sent to a college student via Weiner's Twitter account.

Weiner gave a series of embarrassing news conferences and interviews in which he tried to pull a Clinton ("it depends on what the definition of 'is' is," etc.) and instead wound up pulling a mix between a bad imitation of George W. Bush's SNL version of bungling the English language (dignitude), and a kid with chocolate smeared all over his mouth telling you he didn't eat the candy.  He actually said in an interview with NBC when asked if the photo was or was not of his body below the waist,  "I can't say with certitude that it's not me."

And so today the Congressman has now confessed it was his doing all along (gasp!).  In predictable fashion, the liberal media began bestowing victim status upon Representative Weiner, though he already trotted out the "V-word" himself last week.  "I was the victim of a prank," he said.

Eric Dezenhall, author of Damage Control, speaking of today's news conference during which Weiner confessed to lying, said, ..."Unless you're a sociopath, watching someone endure that is a very, very distressing thing."  Call me a sociopath, but I don't think watching someone squirm out of the ropes with which they bound themselves is "very, very distressing."  It feels a little more like...justice.

Didn't we all--and I mean all--know this guy did the deed in question and was lying about it?  Why the headlines and dismay?  Reports are Weiner won't resign (he should) and so, at least for now, the Dems will hold onto their seat.  So that's probably not it.  Why such sympathy and column space for a guy we knew was a lying sack and a story from which we should just move on?

Because I'm writing about a dweeby little guy with a funny name who happens to be a United States Congressman using his official Twitter account for ill and blaming it on hackers instead of how Obama's great economic recovery is a failure and an even bigger lie than the tale of the Little Man Who Tweeted.