“In Your Best Interest, Peasant!”

“In Your Best Interest, Peasant!”

The Midway. I’ve lived in this neighborhood off and on for 29 years, and continuously for almost 23 years, now. The neighborhood gets a bad rap from people who don’t know Saint Paul – which is about 95% of the population of the Metro Area. When most of them […] Click here to view original post www.shotinthedark.info

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A new hope

The SD44 Republicans held their annual picnic in Plymouth Thursday evening. Just like at baseball spring training, hope springs eternal before caucus and convention season begins. This year was no exception, but the mood was palpably different this time due to the current large, credible field of Republican presidential candidates vying for the attention of delegates. We cast our straw poll ballots by voting for our top three favorite candidates.

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Majority rules

As Scott, my old political mentor and impetus for this blog, always used to tell me, “It’s all about the gavels.” Put another way, “the majority rules.” The partisan split in the 134-seat Minnesota House of Representatives is currently 73 DFL to 61 Republican. This makes the DFL the “majority party” by twelve members. Because an even split would be 67 members each, the Republican Party is seven seats from gaining majority status in the upcoming election. The majority party gets the better offices, establishes the session rules, appoints the committee chairs, sets the agendas, schedules the hearings, determines which bills get heard in committee and how fast they pass out of committee (if at all), decides which bills are heard on the floor, and generally determines the political realities at the Legislature.

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Do something

With about a week-and-a-half to go to Election Day, both parties are hoping to amp up voter enthusiasm and get out the vote. The Democrats are trotting out every prominent member of their party, except for the President, to stump for the DFL. Republicans are also working to increase voter turnout, always a challenge in a non-Presidential election year. To all those enthusiastic party faithful whom I met at our precinct caucus, I have just one last request. Do something. There are still many folks who dutifully filled the seats at caucus and convention whom I have not yet seen at a parade or phone bank shift. I have not seen their by-lines in the letters to the editor. I am not seeing them in Facebook photos of candidate events. Granted, I was not able to attend my Senate District gala this year, so maybe they were all there and […]

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Vote what I say, not what I do

Republicans face an uphill battle in a state like Minnesota, where words matter more than deeds. As long as the majority of voters like what they hear, that’s who gets their vote. The KSTP/SurveyUSA Poll results announced at the beginning of October revealed an interesting dichotomy among the voters questioned by the survey: 52% of respondents disapprove of the performance of Minnesota’s government health insurance exchange, MNSure, which in the wake of scandal and mismanagement has made healthcare less affordable and resulted in less choice for consumers. 66% of respondents disapprove of the new $77 million Senate Legislative Office Building (SLOB), passed by the DFL-controlled legislature in a classic dead-of-night, end-of-session, buried-in-a-tax-bill gambit. 61% of respondents rate Minnesota’s roads, highways, and bridges as “Fair” or “Poor,” compared to 38% who rate them “Excellent” or “Good.” But at least we have trains and bike paths that are useless for commerce or […]

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Education funding vs. education outcomes

Jeff Johnson needs to steer the focus of the K-12 education conversation away from “cutting funding” to improving outcomes. The Minneapolis and Saint Paul school districts receive the most money per pupil, thanks to Minnesota’s highly political school funding “formula,” yet the Gopher State’s achievement gap remains among the highest in the country. It doesn’t matter much how Representative Johnson voted on this or that education finance bill back in the day. Why? Because Minnesota funds schools, instead of each child. For decades, the cards at the Capitol have been stacked in favor of the teacher’s union and big city school districts. Education Minnesota has the slick TV ads, a huge permanent presence in the Education Building at the State Fair, and a forward operating base across the street from the Capitol. Make no mistake, in spite of the cheerful public relations and your fondness for your child’s teacher, the […]

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Gov. Dayton earns an “F” in EdPolicy 101

When the DFL puts the interests of the teachers’ union above the needs of Minnesota’s public school students, we get headlines like this, year after year: State standardized test scores show little change; achievement gap persists (Star Tribune) Minnesota student performance on proficiency tests holds steady, with some modest gains (Pioneer Press) Achievement gap persists in statewide MCA test scores; slight improvement overall (Minnesota Public Radio) Don’t remember hearing about this? It may be because the state Department of Education released their annual report of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments standardized testing on August 26, when Minnesotans were either at the lake or enjoying the unofficial last week of summer at the Minnesota State Fair. By doubling the number of standardized tests that middle and high school students will be required to take, Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature have ensured that “paralysis by analysis” will preserve Minnesota’s achievement gap between […]

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