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Archive for the ‘Minnesota’ Category

what Bachmann and TRC have in common.

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TRC is no fan of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. That’s no secret. We are also no fan of the St. Croix Bridge project that Ms. Bachmann has been pushing for, and recently succeeded in navigating though DC.

But in celebration of that success, I saw this picture, and thought, well, despite my personal thoughts on Bachmann, we do have one important thing in common: she wears Minnesota proudly. Here she is in a Twins apron, serving hot dish to Senator Amy Klobuchar. Doesn’t get more Minnesota than that.

From the Stillwater Patch, which includes the recipe for Congresswoman Bachmann’s St. Croix River Crossing Hot Dish

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Written by Christopher ZF

March 8, 2012 at 15:13

thoughts on the passage of the St. Croix Bridge

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TRC has made no secret of the fact that we oppose the enormous St. Croix Bridge project that has been sought for many years. Well, it has finally made its way through the labyrinthine process of legislative approval. It has passed both chambers, and is headed to the President.

I don’t like this bridge primarily because it will require the first ever exemption from the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, a precedent that we shouldn’t set. We should protect what we have protected. Anytime we decide to un-protect natural resources that we have set aside it is a loss for the future.

Not only that. But it’s too expensive–$690 Million-and too big. It’s just too much. Our Minnesota voice of reason on this issue has always been Rep. Betty McCollum. Here she is on the bridge:

We agree with federal, state and local leaders who believe a new bridge across the St. Croix is needed….National media outlets have scrutinized the cost and scale of the St. Croix bridge project and have questioned whether it actually represents a massive Congressional earmark.

Let’s put the mega-bridge in context. Following the tragic collapse of the Interstate 35 bridge in Minneapolis in 2007, a replacement bridge was built to serve 140,000 cars per day at a cost of $260 million — to date, the most expensive bridge ever built in Minnesota. In contrast, the St. Croix mega-bridge would serve only 18,000 cars the day it opens but would carry a price tag that is 260 percent more expensive.

140,000 cars = $260 Million. So naturally, 18,000 cars = $690 Million. That makes sense.

Now it is passed. I will say only that in my opinion this bridge will be a monument of waste. If we were smart, we would build it smart and safe and in a way that does not require us to undo the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. But we aren’t going to. And that’s a shame.

At least Michele Bachmann will finally have a rebuttal to those who said she never got anything done in DC.

Written by Christopher ZF

March 2, 2012 at 15:51

winter cherry blossoms

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TRC has been waiting for real winter to arrive in St. Paul. This year. Yesterday we had our first real “winter storm,” which for St. Paul turned out to be a dump of sleet and rain, upon which about 2 inches of heavy, wet snow fell. The morning shovel felt terrible. And the snow is not going to hang around long. Paul Huttner told me on MPR this morning that it’s going to be nearing 50 degrees next week. So much for MN winter.

But at least our Cherry Blossom Tree looked lovely this morn.

Written by Christopher ZF

February 29, 2012 at 09:48

Posted in Minnesota, weather

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Anoka-Hennepin School Board replaces Neutrality Policy with Respectful Learning Environment Policy

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Last week at TRC we posted a link to the Rolling Stone article on the Anoka-Hennepin School District and its neutrality policy that has garnered national attention in the wake a string of tragic student suicides. This issue is very emotional and very contentions in the district, throughout MN and around the country. Check my inbox for evidence.

Yesterday, the School Board for the Anoka-Hennepin School District voted 5-1 to replace the neutrality policy with the ” Respectful Learning Environment Curriculum Policy.”

Whether the new policy will result in an improvement remains to be seen. But it does at least seem to provide a new starting point for teachers and others who work in schools, and will hopefully provide those men and women more confidence as they seek to provide an equally safe environment for all students. Let’s hope the vote is a first step towards resolving this divide, moving towards equality and protecting everyone in the halls of high school, which can be a very difficult environment.

As the outspoken, local  anti-gay activist Barb Anderson told the School Board just yesterday:

You are the gatekeepers…This decision will affect our children and grandchildren and will have a ripple effect for years to come. On this one issue you will be remembered forever for your vote.”

True. Thankfully, they did not listen to Barb Anderson.

Written by Christopher ZF

February 14, 2012 at 10:05

The Minnesota Caucus: Will MN Give life to Rick Santorum? (sigh).

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TRC does not know hot to feel about the possibility that our home state could be the springboard for Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign. His continued success only helps President Obama’s re-election campaign, in our opinion. And were he to win the nomination, well, that would even further help Obama’s chances in November. So thinks TRC.*

However, as far as TRC is concerned, Santorum is terrible. Just awful. Blech. Frankly, I do not want Minnesota to be the state that brings this man’s campaign to life. But it looks like Mr. Santorum is going to win our state. Oh well. I will give props to Santorum for his visit to the Bemidji factory that makes the sweater vests for which is he so famous. That story did make me smile. Unfortunately, that was the same swing through MN in which he said that God  has “spefically blessed” the United States. Then I remembered: Oh yeah, this guy is awful.

We’ll have to wait until tonight to see what happens and how Minnesotans respond to the GOP extravaganza.

What the MN results will mean for Santorum is being bandied about by the pros. If you are interested. It’s fun to see Minnesota’s caucuses getting attention and making a splash in the process.

Is Santorum’s Surge in Minnesota a Sign of Things to Come? Huff Po.
Romney Braces for Santorum Threat as Minnesota Vote Looms. San Francisco Chronicle.
What Rick Santorum can win on Tuesday. Washington Post.

And for the local coverage, which is better than these, GOP Candidates blitz MN in caucus free for all. Star Tribune.

TRC will be sure to cover the results of the Minnesota Caucuses tomorrow. It will likely have something to say about how Santorum won, and how that doesn’t really matter, and will include jokes at Santorum’s expense.

*As a liberal, I will note that over-confidence is often our weakness.

Written by Christopher ZF

February 7, 2012 at 12:06

MN’s Papers Highlight Men Holding Things in the Air

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It has been MN’s week in the GOP limelight, as the candidates have made their way to our humble state to ply their wares, proverbially speaking. We’ve had Ron Paul spending his money and Rick Santorum hitting Bemidji and Luverne in recent days, but yesterday was the big haul: The Mitt was in Eagan. The MN Caucus has generally not played a big role in the nominating process, but some of the talkers are saying that it just might this year. Yeah.

But this post is about photos. In the morning Round-Up today, I couldn’t help but notice the similarity of the two images featured on the homepages of our two major papers.

First: Mitt Romney in the necessary, and yet still adorable, baby photo, at the Star Tribune:

Holy mackers. That baby is cute.

Then there is the Pioneer Press. A different, yet strikingly similar, picture:

Punxatawny Phil is not as cute. Though to be fair, still somewhat cute.

In the end, these two photos will likely have exactly the same impact on who get’s elected President, and how much longer winter will last…because such things are rarely decided by photos or shadows. Sorry Phil.

Written by Christopher ZF

February 2, 2012 at 10:34

we like Senator Klobuchar. And it’s for good reason.

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TRC is a pretty big fan of Senator Amy Klobuchar. She strikes me as an exemplar of the modern national representative, and I’m happy to have her represent my state in the Senate. That’s not to say we agree on everything (i.e. this bridge, which passed the Senate yesterday–more on this forthcoming), but that does not mean that I have anything but the utmost admiration for her.

And thus, I’m happy to see her polling numbers continue their climb in the latest polling data on Minnesota. She now holds a 61% approval rating in Minnesota, with a negative of 29%. A remarkable achievement, I would say, in this era of extreme partisanship. This makes her the 6th most popular Senator in the US.

As for other Minnesotans, apparently running for president does not help one’s approval ratings. Michelle Bachmann holds a 34% favoribility rating and 57 % negative. That same 57% think she should not run for another term in Congress. Yeesh. Tim Pawlenty also took a hit. 39% view him favorably. 51% said they would ‘definitely not’ support in in a statewide election.

Both Bachmann and Pawlenty have been seen as possible opponents for Klobuchar. How would that go as of today?

In a hypothetical match-up with Pawlenty or Bachmann, Klobuchar also comes out on top. Against Pawlenty, the poll shows her ahead against Pawlenty 54 percent to 39 percent and against Bachmann 58 percent to 35 percent. 

I feel like TRC has been hitting the dirt lately. So I wanted to take a time out to praise Senator Klobuchar, and wish her luck in 2012. But I don’t think she’ll need it.

Written by Christopher ZF

January 24, 2012 at 16:20