Thursday, April 30, 2009

Snakes and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails...

That's what little boys are made of!

And on Tuesday night...at about 3:30 am, Sheila and Todd welcomed their adorable and oh-so-identical baby boys, Michael and Thomas. Or, Mike and Tom...as they are called.

Greetings from Georgia. Your favorite red-state. Land of the Free, Home of the Braves.

It's Mary, Sheila's evil sister (also Republican, although not an activist...see Georgia above).

For the next few weeks, my husband Jon and I will be guest-blogging for Sheila as she recovers from a very complicated delivery.

How do I explain "complicated" to a readership that includes men? Well, without going into graphic detail and getting into details of the female anatomy, let me fill you in.

Sheila and Todd went to the hospital at about midnight on Tuesday. The c-section went fine. But what followed over the next several hours was a perfect storm. Sheila had a hell of a night and lost half of the blood in her body. She went through two "procedures" and found herself in ICU. Very scary.

Thank God that she is doing better today.

I spoke with her an hour ago and she sounded pretty beat, but did manage a laugh when I told her about Joe "Big Bafoon" Biden's latest gaffe. She asked me to post and let you know the "scoop."

So...we welcome Mike and Tom and hope that Sheila will recover as quickly as possible. We also thank God that we don't have government -sponsored healthcare or Sheila would probably be dead. And life without our Activist just wouldn't be any fun. Not any fun at all. Even for her bored (and boring) detractors.

I have some great photos of the boys but can't post them because I am on Jon's Army computer and I can't save or upload any photos. Or go on YouTube. Or do anything fun at all. Maybe I will write Obama because it isn't fair that I shouldn't be able to do all of that if other people can. I'm sure he would fix that right away.

So...while Sheila recovers and gets used to being a mother of FOUR...please join Jon and I for some blogging...Southern Style.

Mary

P.S. Sheila is interested in GOP middle names. We like Reagan and Rush. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Obama the Cowboy

I know this isn't an original thought- but it's what's in my head.

If George Bush would have flown Air Force One 1,000 some feet over Manhattan to get a picture of the Commander-in-Chief's plane by the Statue of Liberty- we'd NEVER hear the end of it.

We're actually supposed to believe that Barack Obama had no idea where Air Force One was yesterday- that nobody in The White House knew they were doing this?

But this is the most intelligent team we've had in the White House since the Kennedy years- right?

Annoy a Liberal Thought of the Day

When it comes to waterboarding terrorists, I have just four words:

Hand me the hose.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Barack's Blooper

President Obama addressed the National Academy of Science today- a speech about improving science education and college graduation rates. I wonder if they teach you how to speak without a teleprompter in front of you at all times at Haw-vahd.

Will late-night TV ever pick up on how scripted this guy is?

TOTUS (The Official Teleprompter of the United States) tells his side of what happened today.

A Political "Progressive's" Heart

We conservatives are supposed to be the "heartless" ones- right? We expect people to work for what they have, we expect fair tax treatment where the word "percentage" has a strict definition. We don't believe that handouts help people and know the TRUTH that self-interest (not to be confused with selfishness) drives human decisions.

Liberals or "Progressives" as they like to be called now- are the "nice" ones. They just want to help everybody and don't understand why some are unwilling to part with more of their money in order to do so-- you HAVE it, so you should be more than happy to GIVE it to the government. If you do- we just KNOW that we can make everything better and we can ease the pain of those who suffer the most.

But, at the end of the day-- these liberals prove us right. Their self-interest drives their decisions. No matter what they profess as ideology- they look out for #1- themselves.

The Minnesota House passed tax increases galore ($1.5 Billion in new taxes) on Saturday night which included the new top-tier "tax the rich" rate as well as a host of other new taxes including those placed cigarette and alcohol sales as well as energy usage. This article in "Smart Politics" explains what really went down with the votes as 20% of the DFL caucus voted with the GOP.

I found many of the votes downright humorous.

"Progressive Majority Paul" Rosenthal of 41B votes AGAINST the tax increase. According to his bio on the Progressive Majority website Paul is a passionate progressive inspired by another Paul - Paul Wellstone. Paul, Paul would be VERY disappointed in your vote.

Ms. "Take Action" (Progressive Minnesota) Maria Ruud of 42A votes AGAINST the tax increase when she said in our local papers less than two weeks ago that she wants to ensure a that we find ways for our taxes to be "progressive". Could it be- just maybe- that Ms. Ruud knows the median household income in her district is nearly $76,000??

These libs don't dare to vote their conscience, they vote their district to try to hold power. How do they sleep at night? Their little progressive heads must be just filled with guilt. An opportunity to "tax the rich" slips through their fingers as the House DFL leadership tells them how to vote. Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

But fear not, these libs will vote with their caucus when there's a veto to be overridden and I'll report on that too.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Why?

I've been asking myself why the Obama administration is wanting to release documents relating to interrogation methods. Why go back to this issue? Why now when so much is at stake with our country and our economy? Why not "move forward" and "turn the page" as Obama has so often promised? What good does this do for our country in regards to international relations or diplomacy?

There is a new President, he won the election (as they like to remind us continually), doesn't that send a message without our Commander in Chief personally ensuring that our military is brought under higher scrutiny and scorned for tactics that obviously helped to keep our country safe?

Powerline today asks the same questions.

My answer is this: They want to destroy the Republican party and they think this will get them closer to that goal. They want a one-party system. Dragging George Bush and Dick Cheney through the mud- as they did for two years- was not enough. They're in power, they want more. They want no dissent from the other party. Or if there is dissent- then it should be from such a small minority of voices that it is irrelevant.

They won't win, but I fear that this exercise will only embolden our enemies. They know this too, so I'm back to asking....why?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

From Womb to Worry

I was out looking for a few baby items the other day...these onesies at Baby Gap made me want to spit up...









"Green for Life" "Warm is not Cool" "Green is the new Black" "Zero Emissions" "Back by Popular Demand (Peace)" "Got Wind"

This stuff is EVERYWHERE. I can buy a "green" designer handbag, "green" lipstick, a "green" cocktail dress....when does it end? I find it so entertaining that the same mass-marketing commercialism/capitalistic materialism that my liberal professors at the "U" made me rally against to get "A's" is being used to pitch all this liberal nonsense to suburban women like me. I guess people must be buying it.

I'd love to see some baby conservative wear...onesies that say "Freedom Isn't Free", "Loving Liberty", "Taxes Stink"....but I think it's harder for conservatism to be boiled down to little phrases. Liberalism is much easier to describe and sell-that's why they have so many slogan shirts and songs and catch-phrases for protest signs. It's a much simpler concept-- albeit one that only works in the confines of a classroom. Life should be fair, take from those who have, give to those who don't. Conservative thought requires just a bit more time and energy to think through. Why DON'T we just take from those who have? Why CAN'T government be the answer to our problems? Why can't we guarantee equal outcomes?

It's bad enough that my 4-year-olds are scared that the "Earth is going to go away" by Moose A. Moose and Wow! Wow! Wubbzy on Noggin (an Earth Day video yesterday featured shiny happy colorful cartoons cleaning up the planet with beaches and mountains and forests-- only to go to shades of gray and black-- this is what will happen if you don't do your part-- the Earth will actually turn black and go away).

Now they have the babies in on the act. I'll tell you what- the Catholic Church has nothing on these leftie environmentalists in doling out guilt. They could teach the Church a thing or two.

I heard about this survey on Rush yesterday- from Live Science:

A survey of 500 U.S. children aged 6 to 11 found that one-third fear Earth won't exist when they grow up. And 56 percent believe the planet will not be as good a place to live.

(The truth: Earth may indeed become less hospitable in the next few decades as the climate warms and seas rise, but barring a surprise cosmic catastrophe —with odds that are astronomically long — the planet will be around for a few billion years. Feel free to share that with your kids.)

The study was conducted by Opinion Research for Habitat Heroes, an environmental charity, and a report on it by Treehugger.com has been widely cited. It should be noted that the findings suggest the questions had an environmental bent that might have influenced the answers in a manner that is not representative of kids in general. That said, other results from the survey:

50 percent of the kids said hurricanes and tornadoes are the natural disasters that scare them most.


28 percent said they fear extinction of animals, such as polar bears and penguins.

The overall worries were most profound among black and Hispanic children.

Girls worry more than boys, and urban kids worry more than those in suburbia.

Looks like the inner-city schools are doing their job-worrying kids about the state of the planet. Maybe the schools should worry kids more about graduating from High School.

I think I'll stick to the puppies, sailboats and race cars for my baby clothes- but rest assured I'll see one of the "green" slogans on a new Aidan or Austin very soon.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

So this is Earth Day

I had no idea it was Earth Day today....until I went outside my house.

There was a radio ad about Earth Day, Pottery Barn had Earth Day signs and sales on organic items, Caribou Coffee had Earth Day specials, Southdale Hospital cafeteria was decorated with Earth day signs and even had large plastic neon water bottles for sale to encourage drinking more water- because I guess it's natural. There were "factoids" up on the walls that somebody had made and put up like an elementary school classroom.

This holiday is almost as big as Halloween. Who knew? I think I remember Earth Day in college-we certainly never talked about it at Lakeville public schools. I wonder what public schools all over the state are doing today to commemorate this important day. Do you think Mother Earth gets sad if you forget her Earth-day? Argh, ha, ha.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tax Hikes

KARE11 ran a story on the tax hikes- of course they are in St. Paul interviewing liberals who say "if it means lower class sizes and better roads and fixing our budget problem, then fine"....I wonder if these people would voluntarily send a check to the state. No- it never works that way.

There's a poll on the KARE11 website homepage:

Are you willing to pay more state taxes to help erase the $4.6B Minnesota budget shortfall?

Yes
Use sin taxes (alcohol and cigarettes)
No
Cut government

As of 10pm last night-and about 3,700 votes:

10% said "yes" 67% said "no" or "cut government"

Senate DFL Plan-- High taxes for All!

Here's the Senate DFL tax plan- announced today:

The Senate’s income tax proposal would raise almost $2.2 billion over the next two years. The changes would expire in 2014.

Yeah- RIGHT they're going to expire in 2014- don't you love the Dems- Republicans pass tax cuts that expire and they pass tax hikes that expire-- they think they're going to fool people "well I guess we won't move, we can deal with it for four years"

The proposal would boost the three existing income tax brackets, while creating a fourth bracket for households earning more than $250,000.

The amount is virtually everything Senate DFLers aim to raise in new taxes.
The House’s DFL proposal, which would raise $1.5 billion, would erase most income tax deductions and raise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol.


Both plans include a new top income tax bracket, but the details differ.

The Senate tax bill would raise the lowest rate, 5.35 percent, to 6 percent on income of up to $31,860 for married couples filing jointly. The middle rate would rise from 7.05 percent to 7.7 percent on income between $31,860 and $126,580. The current top rate would climb from 7.85 percent to 8.5 percent on income of $126,850 to $250,000.

So much for only raising taxes on "the rich" -- $31,860 is rich for a married couple!

The new fourth-tier rate of 9.25 percent would apply to incomes starting at $250,000 for married couples, $141,250 for single taxpayers and $212,500 for single heads of household.
The House bill would raise $467 million from a new 9 percent top rate on incomes starting at $300,000 for married filers or $169,700 for single taxpayers.


Yippee! 9.25%- even better than the 9% over $300,000 that the House passed. Because Minnesota is as appealing to live in as New York City and California....

The Republicans should punch back and immediately issue a press release outlining how much money the state would save by:

1. Cutting the maximum time you can spend on welfare from 5 years to 12 months

2. Maximizing/Equalizing all state payments to K-12 to $7,500 per student

3. Cutting all state employees' salaries by 5%

4. Cutting ANY proposal in the budget the equates to one dime of new spending (that includes items in the Governor's budget which increased K-12 spending and Higher Education grants)

A very simple- clear-cut bulleted list that Minnesotans could see and debate publicly. Most people probably don't even know that people can sit on welfare that long, that we spend more than private schools do per pupil, that state employees get raises almost every year and never have to take pay cuts, that that there is new spending in this budget bill.

And to think that THIS is a budget proposal that includes a federal bailout.

The Language of Liberals

The DFL-led House has FINALLY disclosed their tax plan. (The Senate releases one today that promises to be even worse). From the Star Trib:

"We've got a deficit, so let's have some courage around here and do some bold reform," said House Taxes Committee Chairwoman Ann Lenczewski, DFL-Bloomington, as she unveiled a bill that left some of her DFL colleagues fuming.

Courage is raising taxes? Courage is using the power of the government to take more money from people and creating the highest income tax rate outside of Manhattan or California? Only a liberal would consider that courageous.


Removing the home mortgage interest deduction isn't courageous either- it's completely stupid. They are going to KILL this state because they don't have the COURAGE to tell able-bodied Minnesotans who are receiving free assistance from the government- "I'm sorry, you're going to have to rely on the charity of others rather than the government because we don't have the money". Or to the schools, "I'm sorry, you're going to have to learn how to deliver an education for the same amount of money that a private school does." Or to the state employees, "I'm sorry, you're going to have to accept a pay cut or you're going to be out of a job." And then say to the taxpayers, "You're taxed enough, we won't tax you anymore, the size of our state budget has grown by 50% since 2000, that's our fault, not yours and we will cut down the size of government."

I'm astounded by Democrats, I truly am. How hard is this? You don't have the revenue, you must cut the budget down so that it balances with the amount of revenue you have coming in. Then again, I don't speak their language and they certainly don't speak mine.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Smarty-Pants

I caught House Majority Leader John Boehner on with George Stephanopolous this morning- I thought he was unusually slow and not sharp on his arguments. George teed-up many nice questions this morning that most conservatives could easily answer.



When Stephanopolus pushed him on the global warming issue-- saying things like "but that doesn't do anything to control carbon emissions, Sir"--"every major scientific organization has said that carbon emissions is contributing to climate change" "you don't believe that greenhouse gases are a problem and contribute to climate change?" and more....

Boehner bobbled it--trying to say that we breathe carbon dioxide and cows make carbon dioxide when they- well- you know-- so therefore it's not harmful. When pushed, he back-tracked, saying carbon emissions are a problem.

Here's my answer "you're talking about catastrophic man-made global warming and yes- I'm skeptical. When it's snowing in Georgia in April, I'm skeptical and and I'm not willing to gamble the entire U.S. economy on a scientific theory. But that is my personal opinion based on what I've read (there are scientists out there who dissent from this "consensus" you in the media often quote and that's common-knowledge now). But just for the sake of argument, say catastrophic man-made global warming wasn't a theory and it was fact that could be demonstrated and proven- then why on earth won't President Obama put nuclear energy on the table? A clean energy source that even folks on the left believe could be a solution? Why? Because he is beholden to the far-left environmentalists.....This is the perfect example of how the President is tying America's hands by only allowing wind, solar, biofuels and other renewables on the table. That's fine- but that alone is NOT going to solely power America. Not today- not ever. It's not possible and that IS fact. Americans are extremely frustrated that Washington can't get together on an energy policy- take the issue of global warming out of it, drop the politics, and find a solution that puts every option on the table."

To create a new tax on every American under the umbrella of a mandatory cap and trade program makes no sense- it's a tax that we don't need most certainly not now. We have ways to punish polluters who pollute our air, that should be enough.

At the end of the interview Stephanopolus was trying to make the argument that there was no discontent with taxes (implying that he didn't understand the Tea Parties) "on the issues of taxes 43% of taxpayer's pay no taxes at all and the middle 1/5th only pay about 3% in fedeeral income taxes"

All Boehner needed to say after that was-- "yeah, that's true-- THOSE weren't the people who were protesting on Wednesday- they're perfectly happy- and THAT my friend is the problem"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea Party Time!

Todd and I just got back from the Tax Day Tea party at the Minnesota State Capitol-- a beautiful evening. Here are some shots:






You can see I'm in all black-- trying to look thinner 8 months pregnant- OR- right wing extremist? You decide.

Good buddy Betsy was there with her husband and mom- pictures coming soon. Sister Mary is "live" at the huge one in Atlanta. Here's a shot of her and Jon she sent from her phone:


Everyday, regular, hard-working people- no black-hooded sweatshirts, no militia, no anarchists- just a peaceful protest of people who are begging to be heard. The taxpayers.

People are fed up- fed up. Professional politicians who can't make the tough decisions telling us we need to sacrifice more, tax cheats running the Treasury, people who play by the rules being punished...more and more of our money going to a pig of a government- for what? I hope the Republican party wakes up soon, gains some courage and begins the hard work of leading with conviction and conservatism. It's not your money. I think the tide may just be turning....

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ruud's True Colors

Last week's EP News featured a Q&A with our local legislators. Rep Maria Ruud (42A- Eden Prairie/S. Mtka) is letting her liberal side shine through (getting bolder after winning her last election by a good margin).

On the health and human services budget…Ruud says:

When you’re talking about health and human services, for the most part you are talking about the elderly and the disabled.

It is a growing part of our budget. That is partly, to a great part, due to the fact of our changing demographics. People are aging. People are living longer, people have disabilities that are living longer as well. Clearly our goal is the protect the most vulnerable. There’s no doubt there are going to be cuts. We’re looking for ways to deliver services more efficiently. We are looking for ways to provide care that is ... demonstrated to be beneficial. That’s … evidence based care. So we’re trying to come at it from a number of different angles and with the result of protecting those who are most vulnerable.

This is just wrong. While "Continuing Care" encompasses 28% of the total Health & Human Services budget and covers mostly the elderly and disabled- "Basic Health Care" represents 43% of the budget- of that amount the bulk of it is dedicated to "Medical Assistance" (State-paid health-care) that covers 507,000 individuals. 70% of these individuals are able-bodied parents with children- the rest are low-income elderly and disabled. There are certainly room for cuts that don't involve "those who are most vulnerable".

These same able-bodied individuals are getting MFIP Grants (welfare), Childcare assistance and many other programs through the state in the same HHS pie.

Ruud purposely misrepresents this fact trying to paint a picture that we're "mostly talking about the elderly and disabled".

There are many, many ways where we can cut costs in the HHS budget...we now have Medica administering the MNCare program and United Health Care (a for-profit health insurer) doing the billing-adding two middle-men to the mix-- which is a cost. The state could just cut checks to all enrollees and have them purchase their own health care insurance in the private market. (being proposed by http://www.minnesotabudgetsolutions.com/ - a coalition of conservative groups in the state) and save millions of dollars that way. It would require changing the laws in the state to allow for-profit insurers to sell in the state (UHC is good enough for the state to use for billing, but not good enough for Minnesotans to buy insurance from??)

Minnesota Care also has some astonishing exceptions to what it counts as assets for enrollees: (from the Department of HHS website)

Assets that are not counted include:
• The home you live in.
• Household and personal goods such as clothing, jewelry, furniture, appliance and tools and equipment used in the home.
• Motor vehicles used for employment purposes.
• Individually owned pension and retirement funds.
• There may be other assets that your family owns that may be counted or excluded.

So you could be wearing a $10,000 diamond ring, live in a house with $100,000 of equity, drive a car worth $30,000 and have $250,000 in your Roth IRA- but you get subsidized healthcare from the state? Nuts.

Back to Ruud and her answers in the paper:

Q. In terms of the different budgets out there, which do you support?

When you look at all three of them – on one hand there's a lot of similarities, in that, I think the majority of the budget will be resolved through cuts. Even the governor proposes that there’s new revenue on the table … I am hoping that if that’s what we ultimately decide to do that we are looking for ways for it to be progressive.

Income taxes in Minnesota are already "progressive" Ruud favors a more progressive tax system in Minnesota- where the state levies increasingly punitive taxes based on success. I wonder if the likes of Ruud would consider taxing "net worth" of some of their limousine liberal friends and donors instead of income.

Q. Do you favor increasing taxes?

As far as taxes are concerned, we’re going to be looking at ways to reform the tax system. We’re hurting people no matter what we do, when we cut the programs and we cut the services that [are] disproportionately impacting our poor.

... Do I support a tax increase? I guess I’m going to have to wait and see as the process goes forward.

Ruud won't rule out a tax increase-when Minnesota now has a 8.8% unemployment rate...she believes that the welfare spending needs to be upheld. Working Minnesotans should pay for non-working Minnesotans. Tax and spend liberal.

Friday, April 10, 2009

On My DVR

I caught part of the pilot episode of NBC's new show "Parks and Recreation" last night. It's like "The Office"- for City Politics. I love the mockumentary genre "Waiting for Guffman" (about local community theatre which I used to do) is a favorite movie.

"Parks and Recreation" takes place in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana where Park and Rec Deputy Director (there's a Deputy Director) Leslie Knoppe (SNL's Amy Poehler) wants to turn a construction pit into a park. The show's website even has a timeline for the pit's progress. Of course it's NBC so there are shots at the right- including a Mayor who wants to privatize the Parks system in Pawnee and run it like a corporation citing "Chuck-e-Cheese" as an ideal business model.

For someone like me who follows politics locally, it's absolutely hilarious. Observing the interaction between people in power and out of power, the staff, the newspaper, the activists in the community- you find many colorful characters.

The hopeful Knoppe ends the show- "I'm barely 34, and I've landed a Parks Department exploratory subcommittee'

The entire pilot is on Hulu-Here's a clip:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Minnesota Budget Solutions

A reader just forwarded on a great new website www.minnesotabudgetsolutions.com

The organization is a coalition of some of the top conservative groups in the state. It's heartening to see this type of action being taken from the right- now we need our legislators to get on board.

The group had a press conference this week at the Capitol which was also on Almanac last night.

This is a highly useful website that provides reference data (that can be hard to find) on historical state budgets and there is a new document they are promoting called "Real State Budget Reform" which I'll be reading tonight.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sob Story

DFL State Senator Ellen Anderson (St. Paul) was CRYING during a Senate Floor debate this week over education. It was on "Almanac at the Capitol" in the "Week in Review segment"

"God loves all those children, and so do I!"

Oh, it cracks me up when liberals use God to justify government spending. What a nut.

Because We're Incapable of Cutting Spending....

Minnesota hits the national news today with the FBI raids on three money-transfer services in Minneapolis where money is being sent to Somalia and other African nations.

Then there was this story in the WSJ about our impending tax hikes.

At least 10 states are considering some kind of major increase in sales or income taxes: Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. California and New York lawmakers already have agreed on multibillion-dollar tax increases that went into effect earlier this year.

Al Franken isn't the only embarassing thing about our state. According to non-partisan Tax Foundation we have the 41st worst business climate in the country (Oh, but we're so "educated"!) the 12th highest state/local income tax burden at 10.1% (I mean for those people who pay taxes) and the 3rd highest corporate income tax rate. It's becoming a true liberal paradise with out-of-control, unchecked entitlement spending that nobody seems to be willing to target and cut. Nope-- can't do that. Can't say to people "we don't have the money to give to you for free, we don't have it, we're sorry". More "revenue" is the DFL answer. It's ALWAYS their answer. What would these same Democrats do with their own household budgets to raise revenue? They'd have to work- that's what. But they don't have to work- they only need to steal from those who do.

The pounding of the nails in the coffin is starting to echo in my ears.

GOP State Chair/Deputy Chair Candidate Forum June 4th

With yesterday's announcement from former AM1500 Radio Host Dave Thompson, there are three candidates in the race for State Party Chair including Current State Party Secretary/Treasurer Tony Sutton and former State Senator Carrie Ruud. There are two candidates in the Deputy Chair contest- current Deputy Chair, Dorothy Flemming and Minnesota Democrats Exposed Blogger Michael Brodkorb.

I received this email from Jennifer DeJournett announcing a candidate forum- State Delegates and other interested parties should definitely attend to learn more about all of the candidates.

The Minnesota Excellence in Public Service Series (MEPSS), Class of 2008-2009 wishes to invite you to attend a Republican Party Leadership Forum, Thursday, June 4, 2009. The Forum will be held at the Maple Grove Junior High Auditorium, 7000 Hemlock Lane Maple Grove, MN 55369. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and will begin promptly at seven o’clock in the evening. The anticipated end time is 9:30 p.m.

The purpose of this Republican Party Leadership Forum is to give the Chair and Deputy Chair candidates an opportunity to address a wide range of issues that affect the Republican Party, party principles and our ability to win elections in the future.

MEPSS will make every attempt to invite candidates to participate as they become known to us, provided we learn of their candidacy no later than seven days prior to the event.

If you have any questions regarding this event, please direct questions and all inquires to Jennifer DeJournett (Fellow, Class of 2008-2009) at jdejournett@aol.com or 612-384-1479. Media and Bloggers are welcome, provided they are credentialed through MEPSS. Please direct media or blogger inquiries and credential requests to Jennifer DeJournett, see contact information above.

MEPSS is a leadership training program for Republican women. The mission of MEPSS is to increase the number of Republican women in elected and appointed governmental positions at the local, state and federal levels and strengthen their influence. If you would like to learn more about our group, please visit our website at http://mnexcellenceseries.com/

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bonus Round

Really interesting article in the WSJ Online this week about Congressional staff pay bonuses.

It seems that many members of Congress- especially the ones who lost their seats last fall- gave the remainder of their office budgets out as pay bonuses to their employees- rather than return it to the federal coffers.

While Congress has been flaying companies for giving out bonuses while on the government dole, lawmakers have a longstanding tradition of rewarding their own employees with extra cash -- also courtesy of taxpayers.

Total end-of-year bonuses paid to congressional staffers are tiny compared with the $165 million recently showered on executives of American International Group Inc., which is being propped up by billions of dollars of U.S. government subsidies. But Capitol Hill bonuses provide a notable counterpoint to the populist rhetoric and sound bites emanating from Washington these past weeks.

For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know what I think about pay bonuses for government employees-- if you want bonuses go work in the private sector. Government employees enjoy far greater job security, regular raises, more time-off and better benefits than most private-sector employees- for that they should be willing to forgo "bonuses".

Thelma Drake, a Republican, gave about $40,000 in extra compensation to about a dozen aides after losing her Virginia seat. Mrs. Drake said the payments were a form of severance to "good staff members who worked their hearts out and who were about to lose their jobs."

Uh, Ms. Drake- there are lots of people working their hearts out- they don't typically get performance bonuses before the door hits them on the way out...most people working for politicians realize the party's over when their candidate loses. It's part of the job.

Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez of California handed out the largest payments, giving $14,000 apiece to three aides. Spokeswoman Adrienne Elrod said her boss is "proud of the bonuses she is able to give."

$14,000- not bad..."she is able to give"? You mean that the taxpayers are able to give.

Those in Congress also have the ability to return the cash too and some do...

In 2008, some lawmakers returned excess cash to the government, including Rep. Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican (who also gave some bonuses) and Rep. Tim Walz, a Minnesota Democrat. Meredith Salsbery, a spokeswoman for Mr. Walz, said aides are asked to be "thrifty and conscious of taxpayer dollars" and that Mr. Walz "knows the power of setting a good example."

I'm no fan of Tim Walz and was a big supporter of his opponent, Brian Davis, but I commend Walz on this decision.

It seems odd that they should have to "zero-out" their Congressional accounts at year-end. Our Representatives should have to look in a mirror every day and repeat this mantra "It's not my money, It's not my money, It's not my money". The problem crosses party lines and demonstrates of how out-of-touch government is with the real world.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tough-talking Barry Strikes Again

A fascinating article from The Politico today takes you inside tough-talking Barry's meeting with the CEO's of the nation's largest banks...he came in late and talked to these businessmen like they were at the principal's office.

“Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”

“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

There's that "savior complex" again.

“The only way they could have sent a more Spartan message is if they had served bread along with the water,” says a person who attended the meeting. “The signal from Obama’s body language and demeanor was, ‘I’m the president, and you’re not.’”

....JPMorgan’s Dimon spoke first. He began by complimenting the president on the economic team he’d assembled. And he said his industry needs to explain more directly to the American people that the economic recovery plans are already working. Dimon also insisted that he’d like to give the government’s TARP money back as soon as practical, and asked the president to “streamline” that process. But Obama didn’t like that idea — arguing that the system still needs government capital.

The president offered an analogy: “This is like a patient who’s on antibiotics,” he said. “Maybe the patient starts feeling better after a couple of days, but you don’t stop taking the medicine until you’ve finished the bottle.” Returning the money too early, the president argued could send a bad signal.

Several CEOs disagreed, arguing instead that returning TARP money was their patriotic duty, that they didn’t need it anymore, and that publicity surrounding the return would send a positive signal of confidence to the markets.

I'm with the CEO's- give the money back asap and let's be done with this.

Yelling Fire!

Eden Prairie City Council member Ron Case had a commentary in the EP News yesterday. One assertion Case makes really stood out:

Recently, the Budget Advisory Commission (appointed last December by the City Council) recommended closing our Senior Center in an attempt to reduce our annual city budget expenditures.

It's funny- because local Republicans have been "fact-checked" when they submit letters to the editor in the local papers- (me included). Yet the EP News prints this complete distortion of fact without question? It's my understanding that the BAC has made a sound recommendation to move the Sr. Center into the brand new EP Community Center- which would save money and consolidate city services in one central area.

The current Sr. Center on Eden Prairie Road is not a great facility- if I had to take a guess I would say it was retrofitted from something else as it doesn't seem very friendly to those with mobility issues. The Community Center (which was way over budget, but that's another story) is a very nice facility and surely has the most up-to-date accommodations for those with disabilities including a covered drive-up/drop off. My grandma plays bridge weekly at a Bloomington Sr Center- that type of access is a huge help.

Case continues his method of stoking the fires using emotion rather than facts and reason. To purposely leave out that fact that the BAC's recommendation was to move the Sr. Center- not close it- is very irresponsible for an elected official.

Greaseless in Seattle


I'm sure many have heard now about the absurdity of the Dishwashing Detergent ban that took effect in Washington state Jan 1, 2008. You can't buy any dishwashing detergent that includes more than .5% phosphate-- which is every non-environmentally labeled product on the market.

Residents in border towns are now smuggling in illegal dishwashing detergent (i.e. Cascade) to get their dishes clean. (It's not illegal to use the detergent- but it's illegal to sell it in the state).

The idea is that phosphates end up in our lakes and rivers and cause algae- so we must ban the use of phosphates. Apparently if everyone in Minnesota used phosphate-free dishwashing detergent, we'd have a 1.9% reduction in the amount of phophates in the water. There's only one problem- the enviro-soaps don't work. People in Washington are now running longer wash cycles to get their dishes equally clean- or resorting to hand-washing their dishes- both methods use more water- oops!

This great consumer products review site features reviews from women- only 1/9 thought the enviro-soap did the job-- funny enough the one positive review is the one featured on the search page. The other 8 gave it a big thumbs down. Not only doesn't the product clean your dishes, it leaves such a bad "white gunk" on them that one woman said she thought about throwing out her glassware-- at least it's recyclable- right? Eco-Palmolive garners 1.67 of 5 stars while old-fashioned polluting Cascade gets 4.5 out of 5.


A quick glance at Target the other day and I learned that the eco-product is actually LESS expensive than the regular stuff. In a free market- a less expensive product that works moderately well- should outsell the other products without any laws, legislators or government intervention. But this product- doesn't work- so there goes that logic.

Alas, that the exact same legislation was proposed here in Minnesota less than 2 years ago- the ban would have been in effect by 2010.

Minnesota HF1382 is sponsored by NCEL participants Representatives Kelliher, Abeler, Bly, Eken, Hornstein, and Kahn. SF1109 is sponsored by NCEL participants Senator Higgins and Senator Frederickson.

Actually there were more authors than that:

Thissen ; Eken ; Hoppe ; McNamara ; Kelliher ; Lenczewski ; Hornstein ; Scalze ; Bly ; Brynaert ; Kahn ; Abeler ; Slocum ; Morrow

They're all Democrats with the exception of Republicans Joe Hoppe 34B Chaska and Denny McNamara 57B Hastings and Jim Abeler 48B Anoka.

I made a call to the Capitol and from what I can figure out- the ban was never passed here in MN (contrary to the national news reports). It went to committee and it looks like a compromise was made to instead spend $2Million on phosphorus management in wastewater plants.

But don't worry- the same legislation has been proposed nationally for a federal ban. (I'm waiting for the U.S. Congressman who introduced the bill to let me know the status).

Start stockpiling that Electrosol, ladies.

Finally- SOME Common Sense

The Minnesota State Senate voted to repeal the nuclear power moratorim on the state opening the discussion of new nuclear plants being built in the state.

I'm dying to see what the Dems in the House do with this- most especially Maria Rudd- representative in the other side of our district- who likes to be seen as a moderate, but isn't. Will she vote her conscience or her politics? She was the author and introduced the "Global Warming Mitigation Act"....which proposed a cap and trade system for the state and was later incorporated into other legislation that helped to dictate the strict emissions standards now in place in Minnesota. Surely Ms. Rudd doesn't think that clean nuclear energy should be left out of the equation?

In other Senate News- my State Senator, David Hann, has rightly called for an audit of the spending going on at DFL Attorney General Lori Swanson's office....the AG spent $15,000 on two soundproof doors in the name of "security". Swanson took on the Unions when she fired some employees in her office, so I don't doubt she had some security concerns- but soundproof doors don't seem like the right solution. She also spent $6,000 for new carpeting in her office-- This should be interesting.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Bankrupt and Insipid- the Strib

The Star Trib is such a piece of garbage...

Obama's at the G20- the Congress is about to pass a $3 Trillion budget that will produce a $9.3 Trillion deficit over the next 10 years-

But THIS is the story they're pimping today on their home page.

Todd Palin says the $150K spent on wife's clothes in campaign 'out of our control'

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Paid "Volunteerism"- A new Liberal Army

This article from the Strib yesterday describes the passage of the GIVE "Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act"-- a $6 Billion expansion of the AmeriCorps program that more than triples the size of the Clinton program. Because- that's what we have money to do right now.

Some highlights of the legislation that passed the Democrat-led House and Senate:

1. Grows the number of volunteers nationwide to 250,000, up from 75,000

2. Establishes four new service corps to address key needs in low income communities, including a Clean Energy Corps to encourage energy efficiency and conservation, an Education Corps to help increase student engagement, achievement and graduation, a Healthy Futures Corps to improve health care access, and a Veterans Service Corps to enhance services for veterans.

3. Creates two new fellowships to engage social entrepreneurs, boomers and retirees, the private sector and Americans from all generations into service.

(What the heck is a "social entrepreneur"?)

4. Expands the Volunteers for Prosperity program which encourages highly skilled professionals to serve internationally in targeted areas of need such as global health.

We give BILLIONS of dollars in Aid already to target "global health"...WE DON'T HAVE MONEY!

There goes the federal government- they need to raise taxes to spend on THEIR version of philanthropy. The all-caring government.

From the Strib article:

"I call on all Americans to stand up and do what they can to serve their communities, shape our history and enrich both their own lives and the lives of others across this country," Obama said in a statement.

And for that service- you'll get up to $12,000 from the government FREE! On top of student loans and grants. All in the name of "volunteerism".

Of course groups like Planned Parenthood also enlist these "volunteers" (the Strib misses that little point only noting that "AmeriCorps offers a range of volunteer opportunities including housing construction, youth outreach, disaster response and caring for the elderly.") Most of the "causes" of AmeriCorps are left-leaning- what a shock. They include "improving energy efficiency" "strengthening access to health care" "environmental concerns" "activism"

I went to the AmeriCorps website and quickly perused opportunities in Minnesota- here's just one of the "service opportunities"- it's full time:

LEAP Initiative: "Members matched to programs and schools that are working to provide more resources to families in need of school readiness support. Half way through the year, members begin to speak to citizens groups about the importance of support early childhood (readiness efforts) and share opportunities for volunteerism in early childhood programs locally or on committees to move things forward.


So there's no political agenda, huh? You're training people to go out and lobby community groups to support more early childhood programs- which low and behold means more money from the government. This is really outrageous.

P.S. these "volunteer" jobs include childcare assistance, relocation assistance, health coverage and housing.

And a note to liberals- these are also paid programs through Catholic Charities, Bethel University, Episcopal Community Service thanks to Bush's faith-based initiatives program. Is that right either?

Here's more:
Applications to AmeriCorps have exploded with the plunging employment market. Last month, there were 9,731 applications submitted to the AmeriCorps online system, more than triple the 3,159 submitted in February 2008.

"National service gives us the opportunity to bring in some of the best and the brightest, in terms of young people right out of school, as well as folks who have completed their career and want to give back to their communities in a more significant way," Andrews said.

My brother-in-law- who's in the Army- was completely right on this-- the left is trying to compete with the military for the best and brightest. Their program is called "National Civilian Community Corps" through AmeriCorps. We already have a national service program in this country, it's called the U.S. Armed Forces. We pay them to provide us with something that we can't provide ourselves- national defense. You enlist, you sacrifice, you sign up for war or whatever may come- I'm more than willing to pay you for that service.

This isn't "service", this isn't "volunteering"- these are paid government jobs pure and simple. And what "service" does the taxpayer get in return? An army of young people going straight from the liberal indoctrination at colleges and universities into these jobs. If another 175,000 are going to be lured into public-sector jobs, how on earth are we going to have the taxes to pay for this program? The program will now cost $8.3 Billion (and that only covers 5 years!)

And how can you call it "serving your community", Mr. President, when you're getting paid?? Talk about taking away the spirit of true charity and volunteerism.

The article concludes:

The bill is named for Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has been its champion.

I'll remember that the next time I see a request for money from Sen. Hatch-- perhaps I need to email his office this key paragraph from our 2008 National Platform (which I just quoted a week or so ago but bears repeating):

Republicans will uphold and defend our party’s core principles: Constrain the federal government to its legitimate constitutional functions. Let it empower people, while limiting its reach into their lives. Spend only what is necessary, and tax only to raise revenue for essential government functions. Unleash the power of enterprise, innovation, civic energy, and the American spirit – and never pretend that government is a substitute for family or community.

I'm happy to report that NONE of the GOP Congressional delegation from Minnesota voted for the final legislation. Bachmann, Kline and Paulsen all voted NO.