Saturday, May 28, 2005 

All Quiet at the Capitol

Sorry for the lack of posting, but so far the special session has been VERY quiet. Almost nothing has been happening on the House or Senate floors, and the only action has been in conference committees, working groups, and the high-level budget negotiations. Nothing more today, but I'll try to find out more about the course that the special session will be taking and write about it tomorrow or Monday.

Friday, May 27, 2005 

RIP, Matthew Lourey

I want to send out my condolences to Sen. Becky Lourey and her family. Her son, Chief Warrant Officer Matthew Lourey, was killed yesterday when his helicopter was brought down in Iraq. More details in the Strib.

Another brave American has lost his life. When will it end?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 

Legislature Gives the Finger to Governor

It didn't occur to me this morning, but the Legislature's quick adjournment seems to have been a big ol' middle finger to Gov. Pawlenty. Pawlenty, as I wrote before, got to look like the strong father scolding the naughty child by calling the Legislature back for a special session a minute after midnight, but the Legislature apparently refused to be scolded by adjourning until Thursday and Friday for the House and Senate, respectively. I'm told that Pawlenty will be traveling around the state on Thursday, doing ceremonial signings of a higher education bill. But don't worry; I'm sure that negotiating with Sens. Johnson and Day and Reps. Sviggum and Entenza for a budget will be his highest priority.

A correction from last night, by the way; the HHS bill that passed was NOT the omnibus bill. My bad; bills were getting passed willy-nilly and I didn't have a chance to check them.

Monday, May 23, 2005 

Maybe Not So Interesting

So, after frantic bill passing right until midnight in the House, the regular session ended and the special session began. Not surprisingly, the special session came to order and was almost immediately adjourned until noon on Thursday. Minnesota Politics appears to have been correct (I hate saying "right") in thinking that Gov. Pawlenty's calling the special session for 12:01 AM was pure grandstanding. And it seems to have worked. The last link is to an article whose headline, as of this writing, is "'Get back to work,' Pawlenty says.' Pawlenty gets to look like the strict father figure, while the Legislature looks like the naughty children. Pawlenty looks like the hero, while the Legislature looks like the villain.

Make no mistake; this whole situation is mostly Tim Pawlenty's fault. Governor Logjam, Governor Roadblock, Governor No-New-Tax, he has made the Legislature's job a thousand times more difficult. The No-New-Tax pledge, and the endearment to the Radical Right that it represents, has been the primary holdup for this legislative session.

I haven't had time to write about it, but the Governor's positions on the transportation and education bills seem very, very strange to me. The logic of vetoing a bill for including a gas tax right before calling for an increase in the cigarette tax is damn near inscrutable. People aren't stupid enough to buy the Governor's crap about the tax actually being a fee, and it's clear that he has broken his No-New-Tax pledge. Joke is, the gas tax is really more of a fee than the cigarette tax, though neither is a true "user fee," as the governor has made them out to be. Twenty bucks for a driver's license is a user fee, and fifty bucks for a license plate tab is a user fee (numbers made up on the spot), but make no mistake, cigarette and gas taxes are taxes. Governor Pawlenty is trying to bamboozle us, but it's not going to work. His flip-flop is just bizarre, and there is no conceivable gain in it for him.

More about the special session, Gov. Pawlenty, and the nuclear option's resolution tomorrow.


Special Session #1

The Special session is together, and after a quick prayer and a roll call and an announcement of the organization of the special session, they are getting to work.

Update #1: Rep. Entenza just announced that because the Senate did not set a date to re-convene, both bodies will be called back in January.

Update #2: Rep. Olson (R-Big Lake) just stood up and scolded the entire Legislature for needing a special session. What a joke. The Republicans and the no-tax pledges have been the entire reason for the need for this special session.

Update #3: The House just adjourned, on a motion by Majority Leader Paulsen, until Thursday at noon.


Special Session

The regular session has ended for the House (which is what I'm watching) with S.F. 953, and the special session has begun. This will be very interesting.


Commentary on Special Session

A lot has happened today, both on the national and state levels. I don't have time to talk about it all now, but all that I can stay up for I will and talk about.

The House just passed what I believe to be the Health and Human Services omnibus bill.


Ending of the House Session/Beginning of the Special Session

I am about to begin liveblogging the end of the House session and the beginning of the special session that Gov. Pawlenty has called for 12:01 AM. You can watch too.


Ad Hominem

On Minnesota Dems Exposed, The Exposer goes all-out with an ad hominem attack on Colleen Rowley, the FBI whistleblower who shed light on the FBI's investigation in the days before 9/11. Rowley is apparently considering running for Congress against Rep. John Kline in our great state's 2nd district.

MDE's post is titled "The Ugly Duckling May Run for Congress" and, in highlighting certain sections of an AP article, seems to be denigrating Rowley and her fitness for office on a perceived lack of attractiveness or care for her appearance.

Am I alone in thinking that MDE is a crass and shallow political observer if his first post on Rowley's possible candidacy is attacking her by merely calling her ugly? Does MDE really believe that her ability to serve as a Congresswoman is at all compromised by not being, in his estimation, attractive? Rowley has, by all accounts, done the United States a great service in her work for the FBI and sounds like a great candidate for Congress. I, for one, would rather my Congressperson be unattractive but able rather than an attractive buffoon. MDE should be ashamed of him/herself.

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