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Archive for February, 2008

Area newspapers are reporting positive reaction to the passage of the transportation bill. In Rep. Seifert’s hometown, Rae Kruger of the Marshall Independent reports that county commissioners are pleased that money will be available for county and township roads. Lyon County commissioner Bob Fenske had this to say:

Fenske takes issue with opponents, including legislators, who say a gas tax will not generate that much money in general, and so it won’t do much for rural counties.“It is a significant amount that will come to the county,” Fenske said.

The Worthington Daily Globe headline: Reaction to transpostation bill is positive. Nobles County engineer had a few comments and here is an excerpt:

Schnieder said now that a transportation package has been completed, every township in Nobles County will get money as a result.

“It goes a long way to hold down property taxes for township boards,” he said. “They’re experiencing the same things we are — increased costs for fuel and construction, bridge replacements (and maintenance).”

The Daily globe also opines about the tactics the Minnesota GOP is using on the members of their party who voted in favor of addressing our infrastructure needs. In Party Presure Pressures, the dilemma facing Rep. Rod Hamilton(R) is discussed. Here is the last paragraph from the Daily Globe editorial:

It should trouble all of us when parties attempt to hold elected officials hostage, thereby making it increasingly difficult for them to do the job they’re supposed to be doing — serving the people who elected them. Why do we elect representatives in the first place, then?


Peace & solidarity,

CHC

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That would be the Marshall Independent, the city’s newspaper. In their editorial, An override that gives us a chance of keeping up , the newspaper concludes with this statement:

Better roads, safer bridges. It’s hard to put a price-tag on them, but after 20 years of standing still, someone probably had to.

Will Rep. Marty Seifert cancel his hometown newspaper subscription?

Peace & solidarity,

CHC

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The recent passage of the transportation bill by the Minnesota House and Senate and the subsequent veto by Governor Tim Pawlenty has created an atmosphere of speculation on the possibility of an override of the veto, and consternation amongst the GOP base over those six Republican House members who voted with the DFL majority.

Rep. Doug Magnus (R), 22A, from my corner of the state, voted against the transportation bill and explained his reasons in an email update and on his official House website. It is standard GOP talking points.

Rep. Rod Hamilton (R), 22B, who represents the other half of our Senate district, voted for the transportation bill. In Hamilton’s email update to constituents he explains why he voted for the bill and also mentions that it may cost him politically. Here are a few excerpts:

I supported the proposal because I am tired of rural Minnesota being
left behind, particularly on transportation, so I decided to do
something about it.  By working with all interests and all parties on
this issue, my constituents will actually see the results if this
transportation bill becomes law… an improved Highway 60.

and this:

Here’s the deal, I am here to work for my constituents.  I’m not
here to carry the Governor’s water or toe the party line.
Politically, I’m getting beat up by members of my party over this.
But one of the top concerns I hear constantly from folks in District 22B
is that our roads and bridges are in need of repair, and we have done
nothing on this issue for years.

and this:

I will likely pay a political price over this decision.  But that’s
OK, because by holding the Highway 60 project over the heads of our
Democratic leadership, we are finally moving that project closer to
completion.  Doing nothing once again for transportation did not seem
like a reasonable option.

Read the entire email here rodhamiltontransportationltr22feb.doc 

The conservative Republican base has threatened to withhold endorsing candidates who voted for the bill and have already carried that threat out in one case. Rep. Kathy Tinglestad (R), 49B has become the first victim as the 49B endorsing convention decided to table the endorsement. The vote to override is expected as soon as Monday so we will see what effect this has on Rep. Hamilton’s vote. Completion of highway 60 has been a priority for as long as I can remember and it is about time to get something done. That will not happen until we decide to get serious about investing in our transportation infrastructure. Apparently Rep. Hamilton feels the same way and believes he should serve the people who elected him. I often disagree with the positions that Rep. Hamilton takes but believe he has made the right choice in this case. I expect that Rep. Magnus will vote to sustain the veto and be standing cheek to cheek with Rep. Marty Seifert.

Dave Mindeman over at mnpACT has a suggestion for the Republicans: Minnesota GOP House: You Represent People NOT Ideology

Peace & solidarity,

CHC

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I worked some overtime Sunday (Michelle would be proud), and had to drive the 30 miles home on a windswept I-90. After only traveling several miles and seeing 3 vehicles in the median and ditch I knew it would be a slow, stressful, and frustrating trip home. We did not receive any snowfall in SW Minnesota but the combination of 40 mph winds and a temperature hovering around 32 degrees created slippery conditions on most of the highway.

Allow me to make a few observations and points about winter driving in SW Minnesota on I-90.

1.  Please allow plenty of distance between vehicles. This is a prairie interstate not the metro area. There is plenty of room for everyone. I do not appreciate you riding up my ass when you can lose control at any moment.

2.  Do not drive in packs.I know sometimes it is lonely on the interstate out here with nothing but windmills, power-lines, and barren snow covered fields but better to be lonely than part of a multi-car pileup.

3.  Turn your damn lights on!  Yes, it is the middle of the day but with reduced visibility it helps make your vehicle more visible. Oh, yeah, it also is the law.

4.  Do not pass me on the slickest part of the road while you are talking on your cell phone. You can call your friends later when you are waiting for the tow truck to pull you out of the ditch.

OK, that’s enough of my rant. Time to think spring!

Here a few of our garden pictures from last summer to get you in the mood.

everything is coming up daisies

 daiseys07.jpg

 

meditation pond

pond2007.jpg

 

looking for worms

robin2.jpg

Peace & solidarity,

CHC

 

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John McCain needs to just go through the motions before he is passed the Republican torch from G.W.  in Minneapolis this summerObama and Clinton will continue to slug it out and spend precious resources seeking the Democratic nomination.  I am not about to predict a winner on the Democratic side but can say this: McCain will be more of the same and working stiffs like myself will find it hard to endure another Republican administration.  The following PowerPoint presentation created by the AFL-CIO  is just the beginning of shedding the light on the real McCain and the urgency of working hard to realize a Democratic victory in November.

(Click on the arrows to view the slides)

 Here is an additional  fact sheet prepared by the AFL-CIO on the real McCain: mccain-facts.pdf

Peace & solidarity,

CHC

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The American Friends Service Committee has produced this video called Cost of War. 

We could certainly finish the Lewis and Clark pipeline and even put up a few wind turbines.

For information on their calculations go here.

Peace & solidarity,

CHC

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Health care has been one of the major issues of this current presidential campaign. Minnesota Central, a frequent visitor to Corner House comments, has left a comment about one of my previous posts which mentioned this issue and H. R. 676. Introduced by Representative John Conyers (D), of Michigan, HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system in the U.S. by expanding a greatly improved Medicare system to every resident.

A recent email from Unions for a Single Payer described H. R. 676 as this:
HR 676 would cover every person in the U. S. for all necessary medical
care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient
services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental
health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for
substance abuse), vision care, chiropractic and long term care.  HR 676
ends deductibles and co-payments.  HR 676 would save billions annually by
eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance
industry and HMOs.

HR 676 currently has 88 co-sponsors in addition to Conyers. Currently, the only member of the Minnesota congressional delegation that I am aware of to sign on as a co-sponsor is Rep. Keith Ellison, (DFL) from the 5th CD.

HR 676 has been endorsed by 367 union organizations in 48 states including
95 Central Labor Councils and Area Labor Federations and 32 state
AFL-CIO’s (KY, PA, CT, OH, DE, ND, WA, SC, WY, VT, FL, WI, WV, SD, NC, MO,
MN, ME, AR, MD-DC, TX, IA, AZ, TN, OR, GA, OK, KS, CO, IN, AL & CA). The Minnesota AFL-CIO is one of the state federations that has passed a resolution of support.

UPDATE: 02/10/2008: additional endorsers of HR676 in Minnesota include: Duluth Central Labor Body/AFL-CIO, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), Southern Dakota County Labor Council/ AFL-CIO, Apple Valley, MN, Minnesota State Council of Machinists, IAMAW, Vandais Heights, MN, Council 5, AFSCME, St. Paul, MN,  and United Steelworkers (USW) Region 10 (which includes Minnesota).

Jason over at IDHA takes a look at the issue and the recent recommendations from the Minnesota’s task force appointed by Governor Tim Pawlenty.

It is always good to have thoughtful dialogue about the issues but I think we have about maxed out on dialogue, task forces, and commissions. The health care system is not a crisis, it is a disaster! Conyers’s H. R. 676 is ready to act on whenever our political leaders decide to stop talking and start passing legislation.

Contact your representatives and tell them to support H. R. 676, the United States National Health Insurance Act.

Peace & solidarity,

CHC

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