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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The Waning Days of the Cowboy President

Category: Presidential Politics
Posted: 05/16/08 10:01

by Tom Hammond

In a speech to the Israeli Knesset, President Bush said that anyone who talked to our adversary, Iran , would be like those who appeased Hitler?s Nazi Germany in the 1930s. His spokesmen explained that the president wasn?t speaking specifically about Barak Obama, but American leaders in general.

Using that standard, Republican president Richard Nixon was a weak-kneed appeaser for opening a dialog with our enemy, Communist China, and Republican president, Ronald Reagan was a spineless coward for negotiating with the Soviet Union.

I wonder if President Bush has ever considered that relations with China and the Soviet Union greatly improved after Nixon and Reagan talked to them. Could the same be true with Iran ?

Sadly, the world will never know until this arrogant, incompetent, macho cowboy leaves office in January, 2009.
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If You're Willing to Pay $50, I'll Take $75

Category: Tim Pawlenty
Posted: 05/16/08 05:08

by Dave Mindeman

You could say that negotiations with the Governor are a bit frustrating. Some of the quotes in the newspapers are a little testy.

The bill's (Raising minimum wage) DFL sponsors, Sen. Ellen Anderson, of St. Paul, and Rep. Tom Rukavina, of Virginia, said they tried to negotiate a compromise with Pawlenty, but every time they made a concession, he "moved the goalpost," Anderson said.

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher told reporters that in negotiations with Gov. Tim Pawlenty it seems like, "the finish line is in sight and it seems like it keeps moving."

It brought to mind an old movie you might remember:

There is a scene in the John Candy/Steve Martin movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, where Steve Martin's character is desperate to get a cab so he can get to the airport. He sees a stranger successfully hailing a cab. He quickly runs over to the gentleman before he gets in and says:

Steve Martin: "I know this is your cab, but I am desperately late for a plane and I was wondering if I could appeal to your good nature and ask you to let me have it."

NY Stranger: "I don't have a good nature. Excuse me."

Steve Martin: "Can I offer you $10 for it?"

NY Stranger: "HA!"

Steve Martin: "$20 -- can I offer you $20 for it?"

NY Stranger: "I'll take $50."

Steve Martin: (eyes narrowing) "OK -- all right."

NY Stranger: "Anyone who would pay $50 for a cab will certainly pay $75..."

Steve Martin: (irritated) "Not necessarily.....Oh, all right. $75."

Steve Martin: (opening his wallet) "You're a thief."

NY Stranger: "Close, I'm an attorney."

Meanwhile, someone else gets into the cab and it drives off.
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Education Funding Increase Without Taxes? Sign It!

Posted: 05/15/08 04:01

by Dave Mindeman

In a year when a budget deficit would seem to have forced the Minnesota legislature to forego any increases in education funding, the legislature did the near impossible. They crafted a significant increase in funding without any tax increases.....and yet, this Governor is talking veto.

Maybe the Governor finds it a little embarrassing that this bill raids the surplus in his pet project, Q-Comp....a fund that allows districts to negotiate teacher salary increases based on merit. This bill does not kill Q-Comp, it merely shifts surplus money in the fund into direct per pupil payments.

Pawlenty is quite familiar with money shifting.... his methods of balancing the budget have centered on raiding the Health Care Access Fund surplus. But at least with the education bill, the money stays in education -- Pawlenty "steals" health care dollars for who knows what.

With a veto looming, it is important to note that several House and Senate Republicans also supported this bill....enough of them to give the bill a veto override majority if they hold.

And well they should.....Marty Seifert's pre-session dog and pony shows that went around many districts pointed out how the DFL didn't support education enough during the 2007 session. Seifert's minority caucus will look a little foolish not supporting a boost in funding that is not derived from tax increases.

It is kind of ironic....Pawlenty canceled a National Press Club talk in Washington to continue budget negotiations here. His topic? Education policy.

The best promotion of education policy in Minnesota would be for Governor Pawlenty to sign this bill.

For more details on the story check out Minnesota Monitor...

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