Up to the minute Amber Alert Information

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Seifert Challenges Democrat Budget Priorities

SAINT PAUL – (August 17, 2007) -- House Republican Leader Marty Seifert (R-Marshall) questioned the priorities of House Democrats today after DFLers doubled their committee budgets.

Seifert’s comments came on the heels of the DFL-controlled Rules Committee approving a near 100 percent increase in the House Committee budgets. The original budget increased from $324,000 to $646,000.

“This gross increase in legislative bureaucracy is excessive and unnecessary,” said House Republican Leader Marty Seifert. “I am shocked the House Democrats doubled their own budget at a time when families are trying to pay their property taxes and live within their means. We need investments in Minnesota, not investments in the Legislature.”

The House Rules Committee also approved a 7.75% pay raise for House employees, retroactive to August 1, 2007. In addition, Democrats approved additional pay increases to staff for 2008.

"I don't know a lot of regular, hard working Minnesotans getting back-to-back pay raises within a year,” Seifert said. "When I talk to truckers, waitresses and secretaries, I know that they are not getting these types of raises."

Another concern to Seifert is that House Democrats increased legislators’ gas payments for inner district travel. Under the formula, one rural Democrat lawmaker could take home over $1600 each month in district mileage.

"I find it ironic that the people who are trying the hardest to raise the price of gas by increasing gas taxes are the first to meet at the capitol and give themselves protection by raising their gas mileage payments, courtesy of the state treasury" Seifert said.

Seifert said he was very concerned about the timing and notice of the committee hearing. The hearing was held in a conference room without televised capability with inadequate notice to the public and little opportunity for public testimony.

"I think if the average person knew what Democrats were doing with their money, they would be outraged. Unfortunately, the Democrats think this is what voters want. They are absolutely wrong." Seifert said.

How Much Do You Know
About Transportation in Minnesota?

Take this test at the Taxpayers League of Minnesota.
Help from Fidel Castro

Castro's tip: Clinton-Obama the winning ticket
By Anthony Boadle

HAVANA (Reuters) - Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro is tipping Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to team up and win the U.S. presidential election.

Read more about Castro's endorsement of Hillary.


For any thinking person, Castro's endorsement of Hillary should be the kiss of death.

Applying for a Building Permit under a Different Name

Deception built super-secret abortion clinic
Outrage sparked after Planned Parenthood conceals site ownership

Planned Parenthood concealed its ownership of a huge new abortion facility scheduled to open soon in a Chicago suburb, and pro-life advocates – and at least one city official – are questioning whether the abortion provider can mislead officials without repercussions.

Finish this article.
Excitement for the Reagan Day Dinner is Building

Click here for the blog on KTLK. These people are excited about coming to the Chisago County Reagan Day dinner to hear Jason Lewis, but also to get acquainted with us. Come on over. We will welcome you!

Tickets are selling and they will go fast this next week. There are only 10 days left to buy tickets. Click on the Reagan Day Dinner link in the column to the right for all the details.

Come and be a part of the Elephant Herd. Elephants have more fun! Donkeys?--well they're made so we can laugh........and cry!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Web Police

Totalitarian states do not like freedom of speech or the press. It is harder to control the press on the Internet. Some things can be blocked. Others are tougher to keep suppressed. Therefore Beijing police launch Web patrols to warn readers to quit reading what the nanny state finds politically or morally improper.

Many laugh at and mock book-burning performed by religionists, but totalitarian, leftist governments make it a matter of law. Guess who the hypocrites are.
Another Voice of Reason

Gas-Tax Hikes Only Fuel the Problem
In the era of the earmark, it would be insane to entrust any additional transportation dollars to Congress.
By Phil Kerpen

The country’s transportation infrastructure has received long-overdue attention in the wake of the tragic bridge collapse in Minnesota. Throwing more money at the problem is the immediate impulse of many commentators and politicians. Unfortunately, highway funding at the federal level is rife with abuse, diversion, and mis-prioritization, mostly because of the practice of earmarking— a method by which politicians steer funds to politically favored projects, regardless of whether they are legitimate priorities.

And until earmarks are eliminated, higher gas taxes in the name of rebuilding our transportation infrastructure would simply throw good money after bad.

Read the rest of the commentary.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fred Thompson won the Minnesota Republican Straw
Poll as a Write-in

Source: Minnesota House Republicans.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Interview with Rep. James Oberstar

Source: Star Tribune

'Bridge maintenance is in the Stone Age'
Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, sat down last week with Star Tribune editorial writers to discuss the Interstate 35W bridge collapse. Here are excerpts:
Published: August 26, 2007

Q What should be the federal response? You've mentioned a gasoline tax increase. President Bush says he's against that.

A Let me cite testimony from Dec. 1, 1987, from two days of hearings I conducted on bridge safety. "Our national bridge program is in serious trouble. The safety of millions of Americans have been jeopardized by inept federal stewardship over our bridge inspection and rebuilding effort. States have misspent millions of federal aid bridge dollars through dereliction of their responsibilities to the traveling public. One of the most fundamental defects is the persistent failure of states to perform reliable, cost-effective maintenance of our bridges in compliance with federal statutory responsibilities. Bridge maintenance is in the Stone Age."

That was 20 years ago ... and very little has been done [by various administrations, Congress or the states]. It has only gotten worse. So this disaster is not really a wake-up call, it's a reawakening.

In the 1960s, when the Minneapolis bridge was built, we had 2 million trucks on the road in America. Today we have 7 million. And now we have just-in-time delivery of freight, which requires our highways to be rolling warehouses. Instead of 53,000-pound trucks, we have 80,000-pound trucks. We have 235 million vehicles in the U.S. That's huge pressure, far different than where we were when most of our bridges were built.

Q You have an initiative in mind.

A Yes. We have 597,000 bridges in America, of which 154,000 are deficient, either structurally or functionally. This is an opportunity. Instead of making Minnesota as a poster child for bridge failure, we should make this tragedy a springboard for action and attack in a focused way those most-vulnerable bridges. We should raise the standards on deficiency, raise the standards for inspections and the federal oversight of state responsibilities, develop a formula for rating deficient bridges based on threat to public safety, risk, importance to mobility. We need new ratings, state by state, a ranking of those most critical to be repaired. [Ratings would be done by the Federal Highway Administration and the states, and validated by the National Research Council.]

I also want to include in the formula a state's commitment to providing its matching share to the federal dollars. And then the cost. Create a Bridge Reconstruction Trust Fund, separate from the Highway Trust Fund, to create a dedicated revenue stream to respond to those needs.

I propose a 5-cent increase of the user fee [gas tax] for three years, generating about $8.5 billion a year, although the actual amount will depend on what the cost estimates are once the bridges are evaluated. Then I have an earmark-proof provision, drawn to be an emergency response. It's critical for people to believe that there won't be any tampering. It's a three-year crash program with a three-year sunset.

Q What do you make of the president saying no?

A Well, it was an offhand response. He also said that Congress has to fix the highway program, so I take him as a yes.

Q Can the construction industry handle all that in such a short window?

A Yes, I've talked to them.

Q Can the economy handle a nickel increase?

A These projects would increase the efficiency and reliability of moving goods and people, and they would create thousands of construction jobs.

Q And, in your formula, states that don't show commitment to matching federal dollars would suffer?

A I expect they would; this is a partnership.

Q In Minnesota, the governor has twice vetoed legislation that would have raised more federal matching money for transportation. Do you consider Minnesota a good partner?

A Our lieutenant governor [Transportation Commissioner Carol Molnau] told me in October 2005, "We can't match all that money you want to give us." I said, "Then raise the user fee [gas tax]." As a policymaker, you cannot be stuck in an ideological time block. If it were left up to these people, we'd still be riding ox carts in Minnesota.

Q What should be Minnesota's response to this bridge collapse?

A Well, two. The first is what the state is doing now. Get a proper design and make sure it has funding to pay the up-front costs that will be reimbursed later by the federal government. That's the standard procedure. But what we understand is that the state has a cash-flow problem, and may have trouble. I don't want to see them shift money from other projects to this one.

Then, the state has a larger problem. For 20 years the user fee [gas tax] has not been increased, while the value of the construction dollar has eroded 47 percent. Our GDP was $89 billion back then; now it's $256 billion. Usage of the roads has increased tremendously; truck weights have increased, resulting in huge pressures. The user fee [gas tax] is not sufficient to keep up to these needs. They have to deal with this problem, and they can't do it with a sunsetted user fee.


Oberstar is given to hyperbole. He quotes testimony approvingly from 1987, which said, "Bridge maintenance is in the Stone Age." Oberstar himself criticizes Minnesota policymakers, saying, "If it were left up to these people, we'd still be riding ox carts in Minnesota." Neither statement is true nor helpful. Our modern road system could not have been built by ox cart technology nor stone tools. In reality, this statement would more accurately be true of radical environmentalists who detest use of the internal combustion engine.

Oberstar has a solution for aging interstate bridges–a new program and new tax dollars. What else is new? He wants to create a Bridge Reconstruction Trust Fund separate from the Highway Trust Fund which was created in 1956 to fund highways and bridges. Why is a separate fund needed? Politicians will misuse a new fund just as they have misused the Highway Trust Fund (see this opinion for example).

A three-year, temporary 5 cent per gallon gas tax would be the funding mechanism. When does government keep anything temporary Mr. Oberstar? And the new program would be "earmark proof". Oh really! The last transportation bill was overloaded with earmarks. Why not make the existing Highway Trust Fund earmark proof? Why do it just for bridges?

And isn’t Mr. Oberstar part of the problem that he says has been with us for more than 20 years? Being chair of the Transportation Committee for many years, he should have been pushing for corrective measures because he was forewarned in 1987. And now the exclamation point occurred in his own state! Twenty years is more than enough time to bring correction.

Leave it to the audacity of politicians. Your tight grasp on your wallet is the problem; not their mismanagement. And don’t wait for any apology from pols even though they are the problem. In the end, the hard working American taxpayers will once again bail out mismanaging politicians and bureaucrats.

We don’t need a new program and new money. We need new people in political office and in bureaucratic office, such as the Highway Trust Fund. There will be plenty of money to go around once the waste and pork is eliminated.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Minnesota Majority is Online

Check out this new conservative web site at mnmajority.org. This will be a valuable resource for conservatism. A permanent link will be placed in the sidebar.

Well Said, Therefore Everyone Listen

Until I-35W disaster, Oberstar's funding focus wasn't on bridges
By Katherine Kersten, Star Tribune

In the wake of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, DFL leaders want to raise the state gas tax to fund transportation needs.

At the same time, Minnesota Rep. Jim Oberstar -- the powerful chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee -- has called for a "temporary" 5-cent increase in the federal gas tax to raise what he says is a critically needed $25 billion over three years for a national bridge-repair trust fund.

"If you're not prepared to invest another five cents in bridge reconstruction and road reconstruction, then God help you," he said after the bridge collapse.

Polls suggest that ordinary folks aren't convinced of a divine mandate for higher taxes. Most likely, they're skeptical about how our pols are stewarding current transportation funds.

Oberstar is Exhibit A. He's long been well-positioned to help steer funds toward bridge safety, and has known of the seriousness of the problem since he held hearings on bridge conditions 20 years ago, he says. But he's had other priorities.

For example, on July 25 -- a week before the bridge collapse -- Oberstar issued a press release announcing his latest coup for Minnesota.

He had obtained more than $12 million for his home state in a recently passed House transportation and housing bill. Commuter rail was the big winner, getting $10 million. The Cambridge-Isanti Bike/Walk Trail got $250,000, and the KidsPeace Mesabi Academy in Buhl got $150,000. Only $2 million went for meat-and-potatoes road improvements.

Not a penny was slated for bridge repair.

Transportation funding is the epitome of pork-barrel politics. It's notorious for earmarks -- items that politicians insert into bills to finance pet projects in their districts.

Critics call it a spoils system that distributes money based on political clout rather than transportation need.

The 2005 federal transportation bill illustrates the extent of the problem. The $286 billion bill included a record 6,373 earmarks, up from a handful in 1982.

Oberstar played a lead role in crafting the 2005 bill as ranking Democrat on the House Transportation Committee. In the bill, Congress allocated about $4 billion a year for bridge reconstruction and maintenance. It designated about the same amount -- about $24 billion over a five-year period -- for member earmarks in a bipartisan porkfest.

Ironically, $24 billion is almost exactly the amount that Oberstar now says we must raise through new taxes to prevent future bridge collapses.

Oberstar's earmarks were among the highest for any member, totaling $250 million. What did they fund?

Not repair of the I-35W bridge, though the state had identified cracks in the bridge as a major concern in 1999. Oberstar's earmarks, which included many road-related projects, also provided $25 million for Twin Cities bicycle and pedestrian trails and lanes, and such "high priority" items as $471,000 for the Edge of Wilderness Discovery Center in Marcell.

A bridge - but not for vehicles

Oh, and he did slip in $1.5 million for a new bridge in Baxter -- for the Paul Bunyan bike trail.

Oberstar, an avid cyclist, has lavished federal gas-tax dollars on bike trails for years. In 1991, he spearheaded legislation that first allowed Highway Trust Fund monies to flow to state bike trails.

Now Oberstar has taken his enthusiasm for bikes a step further. He recently amended a federal aviation law to allow airports to spend federal funds on bike storage facilities. (Now there's a pressing need we don't want to underfund.)

Could Oberstar be changing his earmark-happy ways? The bridge repair trust fund that he proposed after the I-35W collapse will prohibit earmarks. "I'm challenging everyone to break with the paradigm of the past -- to meet a higher standard," he said.

Does that mean that earmarks have been bad policy all along? Not at all, says Oberstar. "Citizens have a right to petition for redress of grievances. What are we, chopped liver in greater Minnesota? When the state bureaucracy won't fund projects that people need, they come to me for help."

Do we need new taxes to keep our bridges and roads safe? Minnesota reaped a bountiful $3.5 billion from the 2005 federal transportation bill, up almost $1 billion from its allocation under the previous highway bill. The Star Tribune called it a "cornucopia of big-bucks transportation" benefits.

At the state level, Minnesota spends almost twice as much today as it did just 10 years ago.

More taxes? How about doing a better job with what we've got?


Enough said. No new taxes. Get the priorities right.

Rep. Jeremy Kalin (DFL-17B) and Sen. Rick Olseen (DFL-17) are you listening?

Also read this wise commentary by David Strom.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

An Embedded Reporter's View

War secret: Iraqis actually like the U.S. military
'We know you won't take sides, and that you're fair'
By Matt Sanchez

This is the first in a series of accounts Matt Sanchez will present concerning his experiences in Iraq. Check at http://www.wnd.com/ for future articles. It is refreshing to read the human side of the war and not just the depersonalized and politicized angle.

The military personnel are working directly with the people on the street and in their homes to ferret out the terrorists. I want to call your attention to one paragraph in the article.

"Most Iraqis not only wanted Americans to take an active role in their lives, they expected it. After years of a regime that dictated controlled speech, movement and welfare, Iraqis were accustomed to strong mentorship. One of the hurdles leaders like Crider have is getting Iraqis to develop a greater sense of personal responsibility."

After years of totalitarian control in which government ran every aspect of their lives, they need to learn to take personal responsibility. That is understandable.

While our military is trying to teach them individual responsibility, too many of us in America are expecting the government to do everything for us. We have our hands out for everything from local government aid to disaster aid. While we don't pay attention, we are hoodwinked into paying more and more taxes for government "services" rather than taking the responsibility ourselves. This passive and irresponsible submission is choking us with totalitarianism and statism.

So many Dems, of course, aggressively foster this, being the Socialists they are. The creation of wimps is their aim so that they can save us with totalitarian statism. The Iraqis, said the author, were used to being subject to "a regime that dictated controlled speech." The liberal thought and speech police in America are pushing us quickly into that subjugation. Just maybe the military could serve a great cause back home to teach us personal responsibility!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More on Kalin's Post

After I wrote the previous post, I found that Patrick Tepoorten had written a commentary for the Post Review that also analyzes Kalin's post at his legislative web site. Tepoorten elaborates on their exchange.
Kalin Responds to Tepoorten

On July 3rd Patrick Tepoorten commented on Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act of 2007 which was referenced here in this blog on July 12th. Subsequently, Rep. Jeremy Kalin (DFL-17B) posted a press release on July 16th which can be read here. On August 8th, Tepoorten analyzed Kalin’s post which can be found here under the title "Not sure the argument."

Tepoorten demonstrates conclusively that Kalin failed to analyze his article correctly and missed his point.

If our state representative cannot accurately identify and represent the argument in this brief and simple article, how can he analyze a complicated bill in behalf of Chisago County voters? Fair and accurate analysis is essential in the realm of ideas to be able to interact at the next level of discussion. How can Kalin develop or support good energy policy if he cannot understand the simple argument of a local news reporter and commentator?

Being a typical politician, Kalin devoted just 3 paragraphs taking Tepoorten to task, while not answering him, and then in the rest of his press release touted his own energy bill. This is known as diversion; drag in a red-herring to side track the real issue and sound good in the end even though one has not answered the original points.

At any time, Kalin could have issued a press release on his own energy bill without using Tepoorten’s commentary as a springboard. Kalin can tout his energy bill all day and it will not answer what Tepoorten said about Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act of 2007.

I am interested in reading a Tepoorten article analyzing Kalin’s energy bill.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Refusal to Grow Up

Diana West has written a book that addresses the serious problem of our infatuation with the frivolity of youth. This was stated in a different way in a previous post. The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization looks like it would be essential reading for all of us.

The ditty "Growing old is unavoidable; growing up is optional" characterizes too many of us. When physical adults refuse to grow up, leaving the irresponsibility of youth, they are unprepared for the serious rigors of life, especially those caused by others who intend to overwhelm western culture. It is shocking to think that far too many of our lawyers, judges, politicians, professors today have never left the thought of the sixties. We are "governed" by a bunch of adults who never grew up. Just as in the sixties, they cannot understand those who have matured.

Read some comments about West's new work here. Check out Amazon for availability and brief reviews of the book.
The Auto is off the Hook

Norway's Moose Population in Trouble for Belching
The poor old Scandinavian moose is now being blamed for climate change, with researchers in Norway claiming that a grown moose can produce 2,100 kilos of methane a year -- equivalent to the CO2 output resulting from a 13,000 kilometer car journey.

Norway is concerned that its national animal, the moose, is harming the climate by emitting an estimated 2,100 kilos of carbon dioxide a year through its belching and farting.

Norwegian newspapers, citing research from Norway's technical university, said a motorist would have to drive 13,000 kilometers in a car to emit as much CO2 as a moose does in a year.

Much like cows (more...), bacteria in a moose's stomach create methane gas which is considered even more destructive to the environment than carbon gas. Cows pose the same problem.

Norway has some 120,000 moose but an estimated 35,000 are expected to be killed in this year's moose hunting season, which starts on September 25, Norwegian newspaper VG reported.

Source: Spiegel Online.


It's a relief to know that a natural engine emits carbon dioxide and methane just like an unnatural internal combustion engine!

But notice how poorly this article is written. Compare the first and third paragraphs. The third paragraph relates the CO2 production of the moose and a car, a proper comparison. The introducing first paragraph improperly compares methane production from a moose and carbon dioxide production from a car.

That is what is called comparing apples and oranges.


August 23rd Update

Upon returning to the above web site, I discovered the first paragraph in this article was corrected to read "carbon dioxide" rather than "methane" without any notation that it was adjusted. This article has generated comments from all over the blogosphere.

Rush Limbaugh Runs the Country

You can see it for yourself here. This must drive Al Franken nuts! Franken could not even keep solvent to stay on the air, let alone run the country!

Who says Republicans can't have fun?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Blogger Rejected by Hillary

Read the story here. Two blog comments were deleted because Hillary didn't like them.

Friday, August 17, 2007

A Companion of Kalin’s Flyer

His Flyer was Posted Earlier

The following is Rep. Jeremy Kalin’s (DFL-17B) column in the May 3, 2007 issue of the Chisago County Press. It is available here, but it is reproduced below in case it is no longer available on his web site.

This is rather long, but it needs to be read and understood by Republicans and Democrats. The bill was eventually vetoed by Governor Pawlenty, but we need to understand Kalin’s thinking.


Last week, the House passed the cornerstone of our finance reform bills – the House Property Tax Relief bill. I thought long and hard about the bill, and researched the impacts and benefits for Chisago County. In the end, I decided to vote for the significant property tax reductions in the bill.

I promised in the campaign to put people before politics. As you may have read, our property tax cuts are financed by a 4th tier income tax at $431,000 for married couples filing jointly. Although the bill is revenue neutral – the tax cuts are equal to the increase in other areas – it's the top tier income tax that's gotten the most attention. As a result, the political consultants in St. Paul all advised me to do the easy political thing, and vote no.

But I was elected to vote my conscience – not to follow the easy political path. I looked carefully at the numbers provided by the independent and non-partisan House Research staff, and I listened intently to the debate on the House floor.

Throughout my deliberation, I kept returning to this simple fact: only 61 households in Chisago County would be affected by the top tier income tax rate – and nearly every homeowner and Main Street business owner in Chisago County will see real property tax cuts from the Property Tax Relief bill.

On the campaign trail, I heard from almost every single person – reduce my property taxes. Democrats, Republicans and everywhere in between – we're all hungry for property tax relief.

I decided I would vote for real property tax reform at every opportunity. While I'm working closely with Governor Pawlenty on conservation issues, I voted against his tax bill that included $492 Million in more property tax hikes. Our property taxes would go up another 10% for homestead residential property, and at least 4% for commercial business property, under the Governor's plan.

Instead, I voted for the House Property Tax Relief bill. The bill would bring a total of $606,921 in more Local Government Aid to Center City, Chisago City, Harris, Lindstrom, North Branch, Rush City, Shafer, Stacy and Taylors Falls. It also would bring $209,929 more to Chisago County's budget to limit property tax hikes at the county level. Add to this the Taylors Falls Border City Development Zone funding I authored, and the $3,059,802 in school levy reduction aid I voted for in the Education bill, and that's a total of nearly $4 Million in direct property tax help for Chisago County.

The Property Tax Relief bill also includes a new Homestead Credit State Refund to ensure even more targeted property tax reductions, based on the ability to pay. There's a total of $223 Million statewide for this new credit.

I am sure that some will try to sling political mud and paint my vote as a tax hike – which it's not. It's a true reform package, one that recognizes that the state budget cuts of 2003 and 2005 shifted state taxes onto the backs of seniors, farmers, families and Main Street businesses through higher property taxes. The 2007 Property Tax Relief bill restores fairness to the whole tax system, and provides real cuts on our property tax statements.


Notice the name of this bill is the Property Tax Relief bill which he said contained "significant property tax reductions." But now we get to the nitty-gritty of it: "property tax cuts are financed by a 4th tier income tax."

So it’s not tax relief after all; it’s tax intensification. In putting "people before politics," Kalin thinks it is fair to tax some to give tax relief to others and not call it a tax bill and a tax hike. Dems just cannot be straight forward in the use of language, always obfuscating what they don’t want you to know.

Summing it up, Kalin contends, "I am sure that some will try to sling political mud and paint my vote as a tax hike – which it's not. It's a true reform package...[that] provides real cuts on our property tax statements."

Wow! He can’t even recognize that he voted for a tax hike! In putting people before politics, he forgot about those 61 households in Chisago County who would have had to pick up the tab for the rest of us if this bill had not been vetoed. His politics has already gotten in the way of people.

Newest Republican House Member

Congratulations to Steve Drazkowski who won the special election in House District 28B after Speaker Steve Sviggum resigned to become Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry to which Governor Pawlenty appointed him. Congratulations to the campaigners and voters in district 28B who worked hard to get him elected.

A Republican victory in 28B is a victory for us in 17B as well.

Check out his web site.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Here is an interesting article on the negative economic effects of high taxes and protectionism.

Is our country headed down this destructive path again?

Let's hope not.

Tax Hocus Pocus

The flyer below came from Rep. Jeremy Kalin (DFL-17B) in a recent Chisago County Press. Click on it to enlarge.

Rep. Kalin wrote:

Fighting for Property Tax Relief

"Rep. Kalin voted at least 6 times for significant property tax relief for Chisago County. Unfortunately, the Governor vetoed these bills, meaning property tax hikes will continue another year. The most aggressive property tax reform measures would have provided $543 million in tax cuts for property tax payers statewide. Jeremy is already at work looking at other solutions that will deliver real property tax help for our area."


The knight-in-shining-armor wants you to believe the state will provide property tax relief for you. Apparently this Dem wants you to believe the state magically has money to contribute towards your tax bill so you won’t need to carry the whole load.

Where would the state get the $543 million so that it could reduce your taxes? Duh! The state gets it from you! The state collects taxes from you and then gives it to your city, township, county and school district to pay part of your local taxes. Of course you pay all of it.

Pull your 2007 real estate tax bill out of your file. Look at lines 3, 4, 5 and 6.

  • Line 3 is your property tax.
  • Line 4 is the "Aid paid by the State of Minnesota to reduce your property tax."
  • Line 5 is "Homestead and agricultural credits paid by the State of Minnesota to reduce your property tax."
  • Line 6 is your property tax after credits.
  • Line 6 is about half of what line 3 is.

If you pay $3,000 of tax, for example, on your home property, the state pays about $3,000 to your local governments as well. In the end, you would be paying about $6,000 to fund local government. Half is paid directly out of your right pocket to the county which disperses it to the other jurisdictions. The other half is paid by you out of your left pocket through sales tax and income tax to the state, which gives it to local government. In the end, you paid all $6,000.

Consequently, for Kalin to be so magnanimous to vote for $543 million of tax relief for you and others, he had to raise tax revenue from you and others to pay for it. Is this tax relief? No it is additional state taxation that is used to supplement local taxation. A tax revenue increase is called tax relief. Kalin and the Dems must think we are dumb.

If residential taxpayers would have to pay for the whole tax bill (for example, $6,000) directly to local government, rather than $3,000 directly and $3,000 indirectly, we would see much more accountability in local government.

If Kalin were honest, he would have stated, "I voted to raise $543 million in taxes from you to give it back to you." Aren’t politicians good to us?!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Hypocrisy at the YearlyKos

In a previous Post we noted a YearlyKos panel shut down a military man's comment. Here is additional information from Melanie Morgan, with a focus on one of the panelists, Jon Soltz.

"Soltz is co-founder of the group VoteVets.org which works with MoveOn.org as part of the umbrella network known as Americans Against Escalation in Iraq.

This weekend Soltz was a panelist at the left-wing "Yearly Kos" convention where he launched into a tirade against U.S. Army Sgt. David Aguina of the 733rd maintenance company. Sgt. Aguina made the 'mistake' of noting the progress being made with "the surge" of U.S. troops in Iraq. He did not express any political opinions; he merely challenged the panel to prove him wrong that civilian casualties in Iraq had dropped."

Often when people (publicly or privately) cannot refute a comment, they drag in an irrelevant issue to sidetrack the unanswerable comment. Soltz contended, "Well look, you don't use the military uniform to talk politics…. I don’t appreciate people using military uniforms in politics." Of course this does not answer Sgt. Aguina's comment. That is significant in itself.

But Soltz is guilty of doing the very same thing he didn't like in Aguina. Ms. Morgan writes:

"One problem, Mr. Soltz – you're a hypocrite and a liar.

Here's the image I downloaded on Thursday from Mr. Soltz's VoteVets.org website – a group that spent nearly $2 million in the 2006 election cycle to defeat Republican candidates for Congress who supported the missions of our troops in Iraq.

There's Mr. Soltz using a picture of himself in his uniform right under a menu bar that shows which political candidates are "VoteVets.org Candidates" – you can view the photograph of Soltz in uniform on the VoteVets.org website until they realize he's busted and take it down."

You can access the above referenced photo by clicking here. There is Soltz's picture in military garb, using it as a platform for his anti-war message. Hypocrisy, hypocrisy, hypocrisy! How can a human being reject a person for doing the very thing that he himself has done? Of course, we all are guilty of this, but perhaps not in such a blatant fashion. Soltz's blind spot is exceedingly large. Soltz probably never even thought about his duplicity when he put down Aguina. And if he thought about it, he never thought he would get caught.

Pictures, quotes and stated positions recorded on paper betray a hypocrit. The same information on the Internet does it quicker and is vastly far more reaching. The Web is indeed a web that catches the fraudulent. It is a tool that exposes fraud to an enormous number of people, most of whom would never have known about this hypocrisy in pre-Internet days. Of course, Soltz will never admit to this duplicity. But now we know.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Arrogance of Politicians

A day after the I-35 tragedy, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar declared, "A bridge in America just shouldn't fall down."

Within a week, a portion of a mine in Utah collapsed. The structure holding up the roof of a mine tunnel is essentially a bridge. Then three stories of a casino under construction in Nevada came tumbling down. Today part of a bridge under construction fell in Arizona. These things just should not happen, our learned Senator has pronounced.

We knew immediately she was speaking foolishly as she played to the crowd. Within days life has thrown her words back at her. The last two collapses were not aging structures. Even newness does not ensure perfection. Accidents happen even with the best planning. We live in an imperfect world, not a utopia. Not even the Democrats can overcome gravity, the second law of thermodynamics, substandard materials, poor design, poor inspection or plain old human error.

The Dems' enormous inability to understand the failures of people in Socialism is understandable when they do not comprehend the puniness of man in the physical world.

At this point, the cause of the structural failure in each of these four cases is undetermined and may never be known fully. Politicians love to ask us to leave problems in their hands, as if they can solve them, especially by using our money. The world has a way of rebuking the self-important and arrogant through wind, fire, earthquake or simply gravity which keeps tugging until it reveals a man-made flaw in a structure. The world can simply overwhelm us and destroy us. Even the Dems cannot tame the world.

It is flat out arrogance to think that we humans can produce perfection. Reflection on these events of the last week should produce in our politicians a sense of humility and awe at our smallness in the face of a world that can be very brutal. Give us leaders with humility. Wise leaders act and speak with humility because they know the world can make them look foolish in short order.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Kalin on DailyKos

Here's a link to a commentary that I found on the net. The author of this piece describes the hard left stance of the DailyKos, a leftist blog, to which we have referred here and here and Rep. Jeremy Kalin's (DFL-MN 17B) relationship to it.

However, the author is very kind to Kalin, who decribes himself as a progressive (liberal to the rest of us). Rep. Kalin has a long and enduring relationship to the DailyKos. The link found in the author's article, reproduced here, shows Kalin has posted hundreds of times on the DailyKos. These bloggers are his friends. The company a man keeps reveals his politics as well as a host of other things.

It is revealing to spend some time reading Kalin's posts at the DailyKos.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Political Incentives

A Bridge Too Far Gone
By Thomas Sowell

"It took a collapsing bridge in Minnesota to alert people across the country to the fact that many other bridges in many other places have been allowed to deteriorate without adequate maintenance.

If this were just a matter of poor political leadership at various levels of government, we could at least hope for better leaders in the future. But the problem goes deeper than that.

It is not just the people but the incentives that are responsible for the neglect of infrastructure, while tax money is lavished on all sorts of less urgent projects.

In other words, when there is a complete turnover in political leaders over time, the same problem will remain because the same incentives will remain when new leaders take over.

Some people claim that the problem is how much money it would take to properly maintain bridges, highways, dams and other infrastructure. But money is found for other things, including things far less urgent and some things that are even counterproductive.

The real problem is that the political incentives are to spend the taxpayers' money on things that will enhance politicians' chances of getting re-elected."

Finish reading this worthy commentary. Term limits anyone? We have politicians. Now we need statesmen.

More Liberal Bilge

I thought the bridge collapse was Bush's fault. No! It's Reagan's fault! And Pawlenty's!

Roll Back the Reagan Tax Cuts
by Thom Hartmann

"Our bridges are falling apart (among other things), and its Ronald Reagan’s fault....And, most tragically, Reagan’s tax cuts caused America to stop investing in infrastructure."

This lengthy diatribe can be found here.

Hartmann contends Reagan's tax cuts were so severe it forced the government to borrow hugh amounts and there was not enough left for roads and bridges. In reality, Reagan's tax cuts stimulated the economy so much that it produced billions in new tax revenue. The country was awash in so much money that the Democrat controlled Congress went on a social spending spree, consuming all the new tax revenue and borrowing more to spend.

Today's Dems are so mathematically-challenged (as a result of Reagan's education tax cuts!) that they cannot perceive that less is more. A lesser tax rate will yeild more tax revenue. I know it doesn't sound right to a lib, but we conservatives know it intuitively. We know even though Reagan's "tax cuts" affected our education as well!

There isn't any hope these hippy politicians and pundits will ever learn. They run the government like they are still touring the country in their VW bus, smoking pot, engaging in free love, and living on Mom and Dad's handout, all the while complaining about the establishment that made it financially possible for such nonsense to happen. They lived on Mom and Dad's welfare and they still want to live on your welfare. Smoking pot was a priority and Mom and Dad could take care of their VW buses. And for that matter, they could take care of the bridges to Honalee also.

The Word Police are at Work

It’s a Female Dog, or Worse. Or Endearing. And Illegal?

"The New York City Council, which drew national headlines when it passed a symbolic citywide ban earlier this year on the use of the so-called n-word, has turned its linguistic (and legislative) lance toward a different slur: bitch....While the bill also bans the slang word “ho,” the b-word appears to have acquired more shades of meaning among various groups, ranging from a term of camaraderie to, in a gerund form, an expression of emphatic approval. Ms. Mealy acknowledged that the measure was unenforceable, but she argued that it would carry symbolic power against the pejorative uses of the word. Even so, a number of New Yorkers said they were taken aback by the idea of prohibiting a term that they not only use, but do so with relish and affection."

Read the rest of this report on the oh so civic-minded work of New York City Council members!

Don't they have anything better to do than police people's speech? Aren't council members cruising the streets looking for public works projects anymore? When does a devoted, civic-minded, hard-working, council member find the time to dream up such nonsense? They should be careful about this day dream because they just might end up with a nightmare of a collapsed bridge in their ward. Maybe Ms. Mealy doesn't know which is more important or is her actual responsibility.

The nanny state must shelter all its urchins (adults and otherwise) from verbal insults that might crush their tender psyches. But it takes on a task that is impossible to enforce. Or will they hire a Speech Administrator from the Word Police Department who has all the power of a Zoning Administrator?

In the end, this legislation will turn individual against individual as they seek the courts to resolve hurt feelings caused by heated and demeaning speech. Gone will be the days of settling the matter privately and moving on. When one can be compensated in court, why not sue? Why take the verbal abuse without retaliation and being better for it?

Our mothers, who had an eighth grade education, had far better advice for their children than Ms. Mealy has. "Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" has been given to many a kid who complained about being called "four eyes." It put backbone in us. We determined all the darts simply would not pierce through our new-found armor. We learned self-discipline by refusing to capitulate to the desire to retaliate. We were taught not to stoop to the level of our tormentor. And we didn't have a court to which we could appeal. We did it ourselves! Dad taught us to settle it ourselves, occasionally with a well-placed punch, but to follow Mom's way in the end. If we have Word Police, we must have official Hurt-feeling-defenders, but then how can one learn by doing the hard work on our own and actually growing up?

Soon we will be hauled into court for calling someone a vixen. Ho-hum, these infantile Word Police make me tired. Oops, I shouldn't have said that!
We are Sick of Complainers

Why the Democrats are losers

"What a pathetic group of losers those Democrat leaders are. Complain, complain, complain is all we ever hear from them, but we see very little action.

Although part of America may have spoken in the last election by giving them a slight advantage in Congress, what exactly have they done with that advantage? At the end of the day, those very same leaders who claim they stand for a new direction have done absolutely nothing except complain!

When they were the minority in Congress, all they did was complain about the policies of the Bush administration and now that they are the majority the complaining continues. When are they going to stop complaining, step up to the plate and actually do something?

My guess is they will never step up to the plate and do anything because they have no real agenda or strategy for this country other than political gain."

For the rest of his criticism of the Dem's whinning, click here. This link was sent by a friend. If you find an article that you think should be posted, just send me the link and I will consider posting it.

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Problem Behind Failing Infrastructure

More taxes are not the answer to correcting collapsing bridges; setting spending priorities are. The following commentary says it well and the 'toon is a picture worth a thousand words.

Nicole Gelinas
The Crumbling of America

"It’s not clear why a major section of the nation’s interstate highway system collapsed Wednesday night over the Mississippi River in Minnesota, causing a still unknown number of fatalities and indefinitely severing an important transportation link. But one thing has been all too clear for decades: America is neglecting its vital physical infrastructure, and the bill is coming due."

Later she adds:

"It’s easy to see how this happened. If the fifties were the decade of infrastructure, the sixties were the decade of entitlements and social services—and the sixties haven’t ended."

Read the whole commentary.

Jeff Koterba depicts this same scenario with fewer words.

If the bridge collapse is the final call for corrective action, then it is also a call for ending the entitlement attitude among the voters and politicians.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Politicizing a Collapsed Bridge

John Nichols is one example of many who are hyping the need to repair and replace our nation’s bridges. We all have heard for years that tens of thousands of bridges are in need of repair. Have any of us doubted that? We all know every structure wears out to the point of needing repair or replacement.

It is one thing to call attention objectively to this fact. It is another to jump on the bandwagon conveniently at the critical time of a failed bridge. Nichols politicizes basic infrastructure. It’s Bush’s fault that so much money is going to Iraq instead of into bridges. Has Nichols ever called for repair of bridges based on sheer need before this tragedy? If not, then why now? Of course, now is the golden opportunity to point fingers. It’s more fun to play with political footballs than make a rationale, sustained, non-political argument for doing our duty.

The Democrats are just lucky the I-35 bridge did not collapse during the watch of a Dem Minnesota Governor and a Dem US President. The luck of the Dems is comparable to the chance that one person rode the bridge down and another stopped in the nick of time or just drove off the bridge onto safe ground as it was collapsing. While many drivers and riders who made it safely will experience survivor’s guilt, the Dems will sense no guilt for shooting off their mouths. Both the last Presidential and Gubernatorial races were very close. It could have been Dems in both seats today. And then what? Should the Republicans politicize failed infrastructure as if it’s the Dems’ fault?

The Dems are just as guilty as a party as the Republicans are for failing to heed the objective call for a long time concerning aging bridges. Governments, lead by elected, appointed and hired people, have a propensity for building new while failing to maintain the existing, for expanding without preserving the current infrastructure.

Governments at all levels have a propensity for taking money that should go for basics and diverting it to unneeded, pet projects. Currently, national politicians are taking advantage of the defense spending bill to attach more than a thousand earmarks to get their pork. Of course, who wants to earmark money for repair of a bridge? That is not glamorous.

Why do the politicizers always want to attack the defense budget as if it is the well-spring for all the money needed to fix the infrastructure? The defense budget is very small compared to the national social budgets. Why not cut the social budget and increase the bridge budget? A Dem is not wired to do that. A Dem wants to cut defense spending and increase taxes to solve any problem. In Minnesota, the road and bridge budget is small compared to the social and education budgets. Why can’t we work with the same amount of money and cut the pie differently? That won’t happen because a Dem never wants a cut in or end of a government program. Expansionism is a must.

Don’t expect anything to change. By the time the I-35 bridge is rebuilt, the yapping hyenas will be hot on the trail of some new crisis that requires new taxes and is an opportunity to lambast a Republican administration. As luck will have it, another bridge will collapse sometime during a Dem’s administration, but it will still be Bush’s fault.

While Democrat politicians and commentators are licking their chops over the opportunity this tragedy has afforded them, they are also breathing a huge sigh of relief that it was not the result of terrorism (so they say). If the bridge had been taken down by al-Qaeda sabotage, Bush’s war on terror would have received a significant boost. As luck would have it, the Dems avoided that. And that just may very well be Bush’s fault!

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Radical Left

A panel discussing "The Military and Progressives" was held today at the YearlyKos. A young man in uniform stood to argue that the surge is working and reducing Iraqi casualties. The panel did not want to hear him because this young man’s view is contrary to what they want to propagate.
"Democratic presidential candidates expected to attend the conference are former Sens. John Edwards and Mike Gravel; Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Chris Dodd; and Rep. Dennis Kucinich. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also are expected."
Read the account.

When these Leftists attend this far left annual extension of the DailyKos, the media gives them a pass. If the Republican presidential candidates attended a right wing event as far right of center as the DailyKos is left of center, the liberal media would be highly critical and would fall all over themselves in derision. The Republican candidates would be smeared through guilt by association. In contrast, none of the Democrat presidential candidates will be painted as anti-Semitic. See the previous post.

Kudos to the young military man who wore his uniform in the midst of a bunch of military-haters and who dared to attempt to speak his mind.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The YearlyKos Convention

Do the right thing
By Robert Goldberg

"This weekend, all of the Democratic candidates for president (with the sane exception of Joe Biden) will trek to Chicago to speak at the YearlyKos convention, the gathering of those who populate the powerful Democratic blog, the DailyKos.

Defenders of the DailyKos, like Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson, claim "blogs are the 21st century version of the public square." But the DailyKos is not just a blog. It is a political force. It is not, for instance FreeRepublic.com that has its share of racists, cranks and nut jobs. And it is not a talk-show host or celebrity who makes an intemperate remark like Don Imus. The DailyKos is organized to mobilize Democrats around specific policies and force politicians to support those policies. The blog — consisting of the Kos-selected and -monitored diarists and its minions is managed carefully to achieve maximum political power. The DailyKos is closer to Tammany Hall than MySpace.

But instead of handing out turkeys at Thanksgiving for votes the dozens of commentators on the DailyKos are driven by ideological passion and then some. And anti-Semitism is a significant source of that zeal."

The rest of the editorial's comments on anti-Semitism at the DailyKos can be found here.
On the Lighter Side...

"A squirrel in Finland is nuts about "Kinder Surprise" chocolate eggs -- so much so it has taken to shoplifting them from a grocery shop.

Even worse, the furry varmint is a repeat offender, going into the store in Jyvaskyla at least twice a day to steal the treats."

Finish reading about his raids on the candy store. This squirrel likes the finer things in life.

Oh the Courage, the Fortitude, the Leadership
of Senator Harry Reid