With Mothers in Charge, There Could Be Much Less to Write About

It is a rare occurrence when I recommend a Frank Rich op/ed in the New York Times on Minnesota Monitor. Yet I am doing so today because it is Mother’s Day.

“Oh, so Frank Rich is writing about Mother’s Day,” you say.

Not at all. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t list the name of one mother in his article.

What Rich does detail, however, is a rundown of all the “corruption, incompetence, and contracting or cronyism scandals” that have occurred in the brief six years of the George W. Bush administration. He mentions a number of names — Bush (of course), Karl Rove, Jack Abramoff, Joe Allbaugh, Michael “Brownie” Brown, Alberto Gonzales — and numerous federal agencies.
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Asking the Fox to Guard the Hen House

In another example of choosing industry insiders to head federal agencies that are supposed to oversee those industries, the Bush administration has put forward Michael Baroody to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Baroody is currently chief lobbyist and vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., has put a “hold” on the nominee to block a confirmation vote in the Senate.
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Is Minnesota’s Mainstream Media Missing Important Stories?

Look on the web for a story about Veterans Affairs administrators getting bonuses of up to $33,000 while the Veterans Affairs Administration faces budget shortfalls and lengthy service backlogs, and you may not easily find it in Minnesota’s mainstream media. But you will find it in some of Minnesota’s blogs, like A Bluestem Prairie, I Don’t Hate America! and Blue Man in a Red District.

While these and other blogs don’t have the resources to do hard-line investigative journalism, they are at least keeping the public informed of possible breaking stories and, in this case, the questionable use of taxpayer dollars. A Bluestem Prairie, from the 1st congressional district, notes two mainstream media articles on the VA bonuses — in the St. Petersburg Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. The story also been covered nationally by CBS, CNN, USA Today and elsewhere.
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Populism Is Alive and Well in Southern Minnesota

“Southwestern Minnesota politics is based on populism,” said the dinner guest at the 11th annual Dan and Ronnie Burton dinner held in the ballroom of the student union at Minnesota State University, Mankato, Saturday night. The folks in St. Paul think of the area as solidly conservative, he continued, but that’s not true. Some of those farmers may be rock-ribbed Republicans, others life-long progressives, but they all had one thing in common: They voted for Wellstone.
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Toward a Smoke-Free Workplace

Not all vets want exemptions for VFWs and American Legions

Now that the Minnesota House and Senate have passed their respective bills toward ensuring all Minnesotans the right to a smoke-free workplace, it’s time to craft one bill that’s amenable to both houses of the legislature.

Of the two bills, the Senate’s is the tougher. Exemptions in the House version that don’t exist in the Senate’s are allowances for bars to have ventilated smoking rooms and allowing smoking in tobacco shops and private clubs with no employees. The House version also puts off the start date till 2009. Both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Mankato Free Press have editorialized in favor of the stricter Senate version.
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Despite Climate Change Evidence, Global Warming Naysayers Stand Their Ground

“If 98 doctors say my son is ill and needs medication and two say ‘No, he doesn’t, he is fine,’ I will go with the 98. It’s common sense — the same with global warming. We go with the majority, the large majority.” — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to New York Times writer Thomas Friedman

Global warming is in the news. What first brought it to light to many Americans was Al Gore’s film “An Inconvenient Truth.” Now Earth Day has come and gone with more talk of our impending climate crisis. Even President George W. Bush has acknowledged that global warming may be a problem.
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Getting Satisfaction with the White House

There was a song 42 years ago, released in 1965, called “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Anybody heard of it?

It was one of the defining tunes of a generation — the generation, in fact, that barfed forth one George W. Bush, the current president of the United States.

We assume that young Mr. Bush heard the song, partied to it, and even celebrated some of its anti-establishment message, at least until he discovered God and Laura.
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What’s Wrong with a Sales Tax on Clothing?

Minnesotans are a stubborn lot. They don’t take to change well. That’s why if you were to suggest that one option for recovering some of the state’s lost revenue over the past six years is to charge a sales tax on clothing, you’d probably get just one reaction:


Tax increases of any type don’t sit well with most folks. And they’re correct to be skeptical. But the ones who often yell loudest about tax increases are those who have benefited most from taxes paid by citizens in the past.
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A Brief Weather Observation on a Saturday

It’s Easter weekend, and in Minnesota Easter 2007 will be colder than Christmas 2006. Today it’s 21 degrees F. but feels Like 7° degrees F. at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, according to weather.com. On December 24 of last year it was 32 degrees F.

Climate change naysayers love this cold weather. “Aha!” they say, “Your global warming theories are all bunk.”

I dunno. I kind of like to believe the majority of scientists on this issue. It’s sort of like believing in Pascal’s wager, which a lot of global warming deniers like to quote on theological matters. Here would be the climate change equivalent:
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