Sunday, December 30, 2007

Top 7 story lines in 2007

So much to sort through and consider. In coming up with the order of importance, we weighed the amount of traffic and the number of stories that were cross posted or linked elsewhere.

Lots of great stories were left off the final list. Some of them include the per diem follies of Randy Demmer and our other fiscal conservatives, school levies passing in Dassel Cokato and Glencoe Silver Lake, the statewide smoking ban, and other legislative endeavors.

Mark Olson was even spared from the Top 7, but to be fair, we could just do a Top 7 for him alone!

Beyond becoming engaged to Bluewoman in Washington DC, with a 11/8/08 wedding date, here are the Top 7 Blueman story lines for 2007. I'm looking forward to a stronger 8 in 08!

7. Urdahl and Shimanski Townhall Forum. For someone who paints himself as a "moderate" one would have to ask why they hang out with such extreme company.

While the forum itself, billed as a townhall forum and appeared to be a rally, was interesting, the festivities afterwards were even better.

Toe to toe with Dean Urdahl was an awful lot of fun, interesting too. We discussed Rep Urdahl's flip flop of the Transportation vote.

Apparently, Urdahl's vote to sustain the Governor's Transportation veto had nothing to do with transportation. As a scholar of government, I ought to know that. Urdahl said quite a bit tonight, not going to lie...but apparently neither myself nor his wife understands what he does.
Bottomline, he flip flopped. Said he'd support a gas tax increase in October 2006, voted for it in the original bill, and flopped after the Governor called him to the carpet.

Despite this forum and run in, it only makes #7 on the list.

6. MinnCan pipeline. Nice to see the MinnCann pipeline taking shape just outside of Cokato (between the high school and the golf course). While the story remained on the periphery of Minnesota news in 07, the pipelines garnered a lot more attention after the accident at Clearbrook.

We'll get photos up after the New Year!

5. Elwyn Tinklenberg's resistance to abide by the DFL endorsement. As a Local Unit DFL official, I have sworn to support DFL endorsed candidates. Does it bother anyone else that when asked about the endorsement, Tinklenberg cannot give a straight answer?

At the November 15th forum at St Cloud State University, Tinklenberg stated his intentions on the endorsement. From the SC Times.

The DFL race would appear to be up to party delegates to decide, as Tinklenberg, who had avoided saying he would abide by the party's endorsement process earlier, appeared to commit Thursday.

"I supported the party's endorsed candidate before," he said of his 2006 endorsement loss to Patty Wetterling. "I will certainly do that again."

Olson reiterated his previous commitment to abide by the endorsement process.

Yet, on December 13th at the SD 19 DFL meeting in Buffalo, Elwyn had this to say about the endorsement.

"We will honor the endorsement if it is an honorable and straight forward process."

Which left many potential delegates asking the question, "What, what does that mean?"

Elwyn came back with "We will honor the endorsement if it is an honorable and fair process."

Call me naive, but it sounds to me like someone who's prepping for a primary!

4. Dean Urdahl flip flops on Transportation. While admitting that Governor Pawlenty's Transportation plan underfunded roads in Greater Minnesota, Urdahl put politics before the people. Whats even more shameful of this vote was that Urdahl told County Commissioners that he would support a gas tax increase, during the 06 campaign cycle.
I expect more antics from Rep Urdahl now that he's in the minority. Let me guess, he'll work to address school funding reforms he did little about when he was in the majority.

3. Michele Bachmann. Dump Bachmann will do this more justice, but just off hand...

Groping the President, votes against working and middle class Minnesotan's, her Iran quotes, and a slew of other stories.

2. Luke Hellier and the MnSCU Board of Trustee's. I drew the ire of righty bloggers and radio talk show hosts for this one, and we were dead on. The issue is still closely followed by the statewide student associations. MSUSA, the 4 year student association, is anxiously awaiting their replacement to the MnSCU Board, a mere 6 months late now. It's much worse for MSCSA, the 2 year student association. Their student representative has served 18 months past the end of her initial appointment, without replacement.

Meanwhile, Governor Pawlenty spends his time pimping John McCain.

1. Walter Reed Scandal / Veterans Suicide. Support Our Troops, Liberate Iraq was the slogan on the lawnsign. Too bad it never carried over to when our brave men and women came home.

Being treated in despicable conditions at Walter Reed and other military and VA hospitals across the US, it took a Washington Post story to break this scandal wide open. Miles from the concrete palace our President resides in, our soldiers and Veterans were second class citizens.

Suicide rates of veterans also rose and remain more than double of "normal" society. Minnesota has lost no less than 16 Iraq or Afghanistan Veterans under the age of 30, since 2005.

It's a story that should be number 1 in more places than just Blueman and will remain a focal point of my blog.

1 comment:

Minnesota Central said...

Interesting list.

I believe one of the under-appreciated stories this past year was the inability to Override Vetoes. I am glad that you picked up on that – not only did Pawlenty override the majority of state legislature, but disappointed the business community as once again the session ended with no new funding for roads, bridges, etc. On the federal level, Bush’s veto of SCHIP could only be held up with the support of Bachmann & Kline.

In my list of Reflections on 2007 , I included a Thank You to Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) for Supporting the Troops ! No bathroom humor jokes here – this is serious recognition of the Senator’s performance. As the former Chairman and Ranking Member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Senator Craig, objected to both unanimous consent agreements to move forward for final voting on S. 1233, the proposed "Veterans' Traumatic Brain Injury and Other Health Programs Improvement Act of 2007" and S. 1315, the proposed "Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2007." Thank’s Larry !
You are not alone in recognizing the emotional (and financial) strain this conflict has had on the servicemen (servicewomen) and their families ... I have addressed this in many commentaries.

And I also gave a shout out to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-06)
The Congresswoman hasn’t initiated a lot of new legislation, but she is the author of Make It Count Act (HR 4119). This act should be studied by grade school children on how NOT to write a bill. In short, the bill moves the due date from March 31st to December 15th for the date of submission to Congress of audited financial statement. As any competent federal tax attorney should be able to tell you, the calendar year is not necessarily the fiscal year. The Federal Government fiscal year ends on September 30th, so the poor grade school students might think that the Congresswoman’s legislation would move the due date OUT from March to December … but that was not the intent .. it was to move it IN. The legislation should have been written such as the “audited financial statements should be submitted by the 15th of the third month after the fiscal year is complete.” On the surface, this legislation may seem to be an effort by the Congresswoman to get needed data in a more timely fashion … but in reality, this is already happening. As departments and agencies are scheduled to submit their financial reports by November 15 (45 days after the end of the fiscal year), and Treasury has already issued the Financial Report for 2007 . In business, the term would be “Continuous Improvement” where the existing performance is challenged to improve … Congresswoman Bachmann’s bill is moving the bar to current level … not exactly innovative.