Posted at 8:46 AM on April 16, 2007
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The Digest returns from New Jersey where there was a little news over the weekend. First, the governor of New Jersey didn't wear his seat belt and is seriously injured in a car crash. The accident leads one to wonder where Gov. Pawlenty sits in his vehicle and whether he wears a seat belt. There was also a massive rain storm out East which grounded some flights.
First off, Happy Patriots Day!
Now, on to the news. The Star Tribune says the gas tax is at its lowest level ever when you factor in inflation.
Forum Communications says DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar says Pawlenty looking for a way out on transportation funding.
The Star Tribune writes about JOBZ
Forum Communications says lawmakers have plenty of ideas on fuel sources.
MPCA is getting tougher on 3M.
AP writes about stem cell funding for the U of M.
Bills in the Legislature and in Congress would tighten web sales of prescription medicine.
GOP Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem fears a special session in on the horizon.
Forum Communications writes about garbage.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez will testify before Congress on Tuesday. GOP Senator Norm Coleman says the Attorney General has serious problems.
Speaking of U.S. Attorneys. Minnesota's U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose defends her credentials in light of recent self demotions in her office because of Paulose's management style.
Norm Coleman also tells the Washington Post that people care about passports.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she wants an investigation into Long Term Care insurance companies.
GOP Rep. John Kline and GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann attend tax rallies. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL Rep. Betty McCollum and DFL Rep. Keith attend rallies to reduce global warming. The groups argue over who had more people there. Who gets to claim the folks who don’t like taxes AND global warming? "Hey, that guy walking his dog is with us!"
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison will also be on MPR's Midmorning program today.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson is sounding a cautious note on the farm bill.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar went to Belgium over the Easter break. This story focuses on congressional trips.
Oberstar also supports congressional earmarks for Alaska. Nice to see Kevin Diaz (who wrote for the Strib) land on his feet.
The Washington Post's "The Fix" has a Senate line.
The Washington Times says Democrats will use the war in Iraq in 2008 races (GOP Senator Norm Coleman is mentioned).
AP says Al Franken gets off to a fast fundraising start.
He also attended a Kandiyohi County bean feed. Is Dale Fladeboe (in the picture) related to former House DFL spokesman Glen Fladeboe?
DFL Rep. Tim Walz nets $185,000.
The Pi Press says politics is taking a funny turn.
MDE posts Norm Coleman's interview with CNN.
MNPublius writes about Coleman's vulnerability via the Fix's line.
A Blue Stem Prairie writes about Tim Walz' campaign warchest.
The Big Question writes about The Big Question. Eric Black's quote on objectivity is an eye opener and makes some political journalists gnash their teeth.
Polinaut says Ciresi is set to announce his Senate bid this week.
Hotline says the race for the GOP nomination for president is tightening. Quick, someone ask Pawlenty if he wants to be VP.
Truth v the Machine writes that the push for tax increases could push businesses and residents to other states.
Minnesota Monitor details GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's fundraising numbers.
Residual Forces has video from the Taxpayers rally.
Lambert to the Slaughter examines the Singleton/Ridder fight. We're taking suggestions on fight card names - something along the lines of Thrilla in Manila? How about the Paper Caper?
Finally, good luck to those running the Boston Marathon. I ran it twice but not in this weather. Despite the conditions, I hope they have as much fun running the best marathon in the world as I did.
Posted at 10:25 AM on April 16, 2007
by Tom Scheck
The Campaign Finance Board introduced a handy new tool that allows you to check the independent expenditures made on behalf of/against a particular candiate for state office. You can check it here.
Posted at 12:22 PM on April 16, 2007
by Mike Mulcahy
Say what you will about the mainstream media, but big news organizations do have the resources to do some pretty amazing things. A case in point is this graphic from the New York Times. If you click between the candidate's names in the left hand column it creates a little movie that shows you where their money comes from. Wow, is that ever cool.
Posted at 2:00 PM on April 16, 2007
by Tom Scheck
Here's the release:
Growth & Justice Names New President:
Long-time Journalist Dane Smith
ST. PAUL, MN – Growth & Justice, a public policy think tank focused on issues related to sustaining a fair, and prosperous Minnesota economy, has named Dane Smith as president. Smith, who recently concluded a 30-year career as a reporter for the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press, succeeds founder and current executive director Joel Kramer. Kramer will become chair of the organization’s board of directors for a two-year term.
“I'm excited, humbled and exhilarated by this opportunity,” said Smith, whose reporting on public policy was recognized across the political spectrum as insightful and fair. “It's a bit like walking onto the field as a player after a 30-year career in the press box.
“Tax fairness and the issues surrounding government's proper role in society were among my favorite issues as a reporter. I understand the importance of smart public-sector investment that can help all Minnesotans improve their lives and strengthen the state’s economy, and I’m honored to take on the leadership of an organization committed to that great purpose.”
Kramer said that the board began discussing leadership succession about a year ago during the nonprofit’s strategic planning process. “We agreed that Growth and Justice was no longer a start-up and had tremendous potential to grow in size and influence. We concluded that new leadership could provide fresh energy and perspective to drive that growth.”
After a search conducted by Rebecca Yanisch at KeyStone Search, the search committee recommended Smith, and the board approved him today, effective the end of April.
“Dane brings a deep understanding of state policy, politics and media to this job, along with an outstanding network of people who respect his work,” Kramer said.
Smith said that he is particularly excited about two new Growth and Justice projects that he said “lie at the heart of its mission.” "Rethinking Public Education'' aims to create an evidence-based consensus on how to invest in getting many more Minnesotans to attain postsecondary degrees. "Governing with Accountability'” will recommend how to improve government performance and accountability for the results of public investments, especially in the critical areas of education, transportation and health care.
“I’m eager to get started growing this organization and amplifying its call for a more fair tax system and focused improvement in the public goods and services that will sustain and enhance our quality of life,” Smith said.
Growth & Justice is a nonpartisan progressive economic think tank focused on developing and communicating public policy strategies and agendas to make Minnesota's economy simultaneously more prosperous, fair, and environmentally sustainable. The 501c3 nonprofit organization was founded in Dec. 2002 by Joel Kramer and is governed by a distinguished board of 24 community leaders representing diverse backgrounds and areas of the state. You can learn more about Growth & Justice’s work at www.growthandjustice.org.
Posted at 4:05 PM on April 16, 2007
by Tim Pugmire
Near the end of today's House floor session, curious Republicans were asking DFL leaders for a preview of this week's work schedule.
Votes are pending on all major budget bills, but the exact order business remains unclear.
Rep. Dean Simpson, R-Perham, inquired about the tax bill. He mentioned hearing on the radio that DFL leaders expected a floor vote on the tax bill by Saturday.
The chairwoman of the House Taxes Committee, Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, explained that the tax bill would not be ready for a vote until next week.
House Majority Leader Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, offered some advice to Simpson.
"Don't believe everything you hear on the radio," Sertich said. "We're going to get to the tax bill as soon as possible."
Sertich further explained the plan for this week was to get through all of the finance bills by Saturday.
"We really don't have any control at this point to know if we'll be here Saturday or not," Sertich added. "I certainly hope we will not."
Now, let's go back to the radio part. There's a good chance the information Simpson heard was on MPR. There's also good chance this reporter was responsible for him hearing it. When accuracy is in question, it's always a good idea to go to the tape.
Here are some transcribed excerpts from a media briefing Sertich held Friday with House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher.
Forum Communications Capitol Bureau Chief Don Davis: Are you planning to meet on Saturday next week?
Speaker Kelliher: Absolutely.
Davis: And will taxes be about the last thing?
Kelliher: I think it looks like that's kind of the lineup right now.
Almanac Political Reporter Mary Lahammer: Everything done by Saturday, even taxes?
Kelliher: That's our hope.
Information from the briefing was used in reports on MPR.
Posted at 4:11 PM on April 16, 2007
by Tom Scheck
Governor Pawlenty spoke at the University of Minnesota's Federalist Society today at noon. There was a large number of students there but it may not have been to see Pawlenty speak. The group offered free pizza to those who attended. As you can see by the photo, a line of students wrapped around the lecture hall for the food. A spokesman for the group said they ordered 35 pies for the students and added "you need to offer food."
Pawlenty even mentioned pizza during his speech. Someone mentioned that First Lady Mary Pawlenty was a judge (she quit her judgeship to take another job but quickly left that job. Read the Star Tribune story here). Pawlenty responded:
"As to my wife, who used to be a judge but quit to take a job but quit that job after three weeks so now I'm (pause for laughter) looking for pizza."
The rest of Pawlenty's speech focused on his main talking points. They included keeping taxes low, improving the health care system and keeping the state's economy vibrant in the global marketplace.
Posted at 5:26 PM on April 16, 2007
by Tom Scheck
New Jersey Governor John Corzine's recent traffic accident made me wonder about Governor Pawlenty's driving situation. The governor has state police protection and has someone drive him to public events. Pawlenty said that he generally sits in the backseat of the state-owned SUV and wears his seat belt.
Corzine was seriously injured last week in a crash. He was riding in the front passenger seat and wasn't wearing a seat belt.