It doesn’t take much thinking to realize that the teachers unions own the Democrats. The dispute is over, too, about whether the teachers unions care most about the dues-paying instructors or the kids. As the saying goes, follow the money. It’s that simple.

Democrats have sided with the unions, who have sided with the teachers. The comparison couldn’t be clearer. While government schools demand more money to re-open, parochial schools and other private schools have been open this entire school year. In Sen. Rubio’s e-letter update, Sen. Rubio highlights just how frightened Democrats are of the teachers unions.

In his e-letter update, Sen. Rubio wrote “For weeks, the Biden Administration has danced around the important issue of reopening our schools, ignoring the science and refusing to side with parents and children over teachers unions. Today, the Biden Administration once again demonstrated that they have no intention of fulfilling the President’s promise to students and families. Having 50 percent of schools offering in-person instruction one day a week is not what millions of parents and students across the nation think of as schools reopening. This goal ignores the fact that over 50 percent of school districts have already offered a fully in-person or hybrid option for all of the 2020-2021 school year.”

This video is spot-on:

It’s time for this spineless idiot in the White House to stand up to the unions and instead stand with students and their parents. Further, it’s time to stop thinking of Biden as a moderate. That’s a myth. He’s as much a radical as Bernie is. This is how stupid things have gotten:

Hen house, meet the fox. This is beyond disappointing. If ever there was a time for a push for a robust school choice program, including an opportunity scholarship program, it’s now. When unions have more control over students’ educations, it’s time to change.

If you want to learn how to demolish teenage lives, just read Salena Zito’s latest article, titled The kids aren’t alright. In the article, she writes about how Lena Carson went from being a talented student to a kid on the brink of failing.

She wrote “One year ago, Lena Carson was pulling straight A’s at the city’s Creative and Performing Arts School across the river from her parent’s home. She also swam every day at the local YMCA in preparation to compete at the annual state competition and enjoyed the everyday social life of a teenager. Today, she is sitting at home. Again.”

Zito continued:

A bright student who skipped a grade, her straight A’s have dipped to D’s, and Lena says she struggles to complete assignments, not because she can’t but because of the lost will. “I have nothing to look forward to,” she said.

Last week, the Pittsburgh Board of Education announced that Pittsburgh Public Schools students would not return to buildings until at least April; it marked the fourth time in 12 months the district announced students would return to classes only to rescind the opening just before the doors were set to open. The board voted 7-2 against it, with the members citing health and safety for students and staff.

The Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers union president said keeping the students out of the schools was the wise thing to do until the teaching staff was fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

That’s how unions demolish kids’ initiative and potential. If union teachers won’t teach, they should be fired and denied their pensions. If another union insists that student staff and safety is the issue preventing a return to in-person learning, they should be decertified forthwith.

This article is another look at a major side effect of the COVID lockdown:

Ann Bauer recently sat in on a meeting between Minnesota State Sen. Melisa Franzen and her constituents during which desperate parents aired their concerns about their children who are not allowed to return to school. Bauer is a Minnesota-based author who was recently given inside access to a virtual town hall between Franzen and her constituents. Bauer did not disclose Franzen’s name in her account — the Minnesota Reformer confirmed it independently.

“However bad/sad/depressing I thought it would be, it was worse,” Bauer opened her report. “Let me start by saying, this is a wealthy district. Maybe one of the top 5 in the state … I thought, They’re fine! I should be worrying about the families in real need. Well, they’re not fine.”

The parents in the meeting told Franzen “about suicidal kids, their own and others … They described girls who hid in their rooms and cried and boys falling so far behind they might never catch up.”

This is Gov. Walz’s fault. It’s also the DFL’s fault, too. They own this state of disrepair in Minnesota. The GOP hasn’t had the authority to make any decisions.

Whether in Chicago, Minnesota or Pennsylvania, Democrats own the school lockdown crisis. It’s time for a nationwide push for school choice, featuring opportunity scholarships. We’ve seen what the teachers unions and Democrat politicians have done. It’s time to take control out of their hands. The faster it’s’ done, the better for students it’ll be.

Michael Osterholm is developing a reputation for being overly cautious about COVID-19. Osterholm is definitely a shutdown advocate. This article provides additional proof of that disposition:

“The darkest days of the pandemic are yet to come,” according to Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Osterholm issued this grave warning about the COVID-19 pandemic during a recent testimony he gave before the Minnesota House Health Finance and Policy Committee. He also predicted that “we are going to have another surge [of infections]” that may necessitate new safety measures.

However, this is not the first time he’s predicted that the “darkest” days are just around the corner. Roughly three months ago, Osterholm claimed that America was about to enter “the darkest part of the pandemic,” according to PBS. It appears he’s now recycling this proclamation due to fears about a new strain of coronavirus.

How many more times will we be told that locking down is the only thoughtful path forward? Dr. Osterholm apparently has tunnel vision regarding COVID-19. This study is just one of many that highlight one problem:

Rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts were higher in some months in 2020 compared to 2019, according to a study of 11- to 21-year-olds in a major metropolitan area of Texas.

Significantly higher rates of suicide-related behaviors appear to have corresponded with times when COVID-19 stressors and community responses (e.g., stay-at-home orders and school closures) were heightened, indicating that youth experienced elevated distress during these periods, according to “Suicide Ideation and Attempts in a Pediatric Emergency Department Before and During COVID-19” (Hill RM, et al. Pediatrics. Dec. 16, 2020).

The problem with specialists is that they don’t see the big picture. They see only the things that they specialize in. We need to see all the things that are happening to us.

Newt Gingrich’s weekly Newsweek column highlights the opinion that Republicans should be optimistic going into 2022. Then Gingrich lays out why they should be optimistic through some statistics.

Gingrich notes that “Today, there are 27 Republican governors. In 23 states, Republicans control the legislature as well as the governorship. There are 4,007 Republican state legislators to 3,312 Democratic state legislators (with Republicans on the rise). The state legislator advantage means Republicans will draw the lines for reapportionment for about four times as many House seats as the Democrats.”

Once redistricting is finished and people start focusing in on the Democrats’ disgusting loyalty to the teachers unions, the Democrats’ mudslinging won’t be effective. The people are frustrated beyond belief that private schools have been open since the start of this school year. These parents are pi$$ed that Democrats march in lockstep to the teachers unions’ drums. What the teachers unions want, Democrats get for them. This interview is filled with propaganda:

First, the BS that teachers love children above all else is dishonest on steroids. Next, the notion that teachers want to return to class as soon as possible is BS. If that’s true, they should tell their union leadership to reach an agreement with the school district ASAP. They haven’t done that. Third, 70% of teachers in Chicago voted against returning to in-person learning. That’s an overwhelming majority. This is worth noting:

The House freshman class (the most diverse GOP freshman class in history) and President Trump’s achievement in getting the most minority votes of any Republican presidential candidate in 60 years bode well for continued growth for a party of prosperity and opportunity. The Left is desperate to create a pro-Trump vs. anti-Trump civil war in the GOP. It will not happen. President Trump is by far the best-known and most-liked Republican. But the Republican Party is much bigger than any one person.

Liz Cheney apparently doesn’t want a political future:

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., called on her colleagues to cut off former President Donald Trump as his second Senate impeachment trial is set to begin this week. Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, was one of 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching Trump last month for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Cheney was censured by her state party over the vote and is facing a primary challenge, though she easily won a vote of confidence last week to remain House Republican Conference chair.

“We have to take a really hard look at who we are and what we stand for, what we believe in,” Cheney told “Fox News Sunday.” “I think that when you look at both [Trump’s] actions leading up to Jan. 6, that he was impeached in a bipartisan fashion, the fact that he lost the presidency, the fact that we lost the Senate. We have to be in a position where we can say we stand for principles, for ideals.”

Apparently, Cheney didn’t notice that she’s on the wrong side of the activists. Never-Trumpers rarely notice such things. President Trump got activists so excited that 75,000,000 people voted for him. That’s in addition to 2,500,000 volunteers knocking on doors and making phone calls for him. That’s the largest activist army in the history of the GOP. These weren’t paid staffers. These were volunteers.

I don’t doubt that the teachers unions will show up for Democrats. At this point, though, I’m certain that tons of parents will show up to vote against the politicians that didn’t stand up to the teachers unions. These parents are mad as hell and they’re already rebelling against the unions. Enrollment in private and Catholic schools has already increased significantly.

One thing that’s becoming clear is that the Democrats’ worries are oversized. Friday night on Almanac, U of M infectious disease doctor Michael Osterholm drew the picture of sitting on a beach in the Gulf of Mexico. “It’s 80 degrees out, gentle breeze, blue skies and I’m telling you it’s time to evacuate and the reason is we can see this Category 5 hurricane just 5 days south.”

During the interview, Osterholm spoke of an upcoming spike in cases that first surfaced in Europe. It’s noteworthy that he didn’t say that there’d be a major uptick in hospitalizations or deaths corresponding with the uptick in cases. According to this article, “Today marks two weeks of declining COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S., 14 straight days without a blip upward, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic. Case numbers, too, are declining, and today the seven-day case average is down a third since its peak, on January 12.”

It continues, saying this:

That day, the count of current hospitalizations was 131,326; it’s now down to 108,957. It’s the first significant decline since September 21, when the climb down from the summer surge stopped just under 29,000. As the country passes the milestone of 25 million cases, it’s a stable indicator pointing in the right direction.

We’ll never get rid of COVID-19. We can’t keep Minnesota shutdown forever. This nation has always been a nation of risk-takers. It isn’t in our DNA to play it safe.

That doesn’t mean that we’re foolish risk-takers. Quite the opposite is the truth. The US was built on the principle of rugged individualism and strong communities. TRANSLATION: We’re a nation of risk-takers that look out for each other in times of crisis.

It’s time we started acting like this country’s greatest generation again.

Due North is not True North
By Ramblin’ Rose

True North—the way we want our compass to point. But this education plan will go south — and that is a negative statement. In the announced budget plan on January 25, 2021, the Walz administration announced lofty goals—even commendable goals for all children in the state to have “a high-quality education, no matter their race or zip code.”

Walz’s plan is long on words and short on substance as it proposes seven priorities:

  1. Meet the needs of students during and after the COVID-19 pandemic’
  2. Ensure every student receives a world-class education;
  3. Ensure every student learns in a safe and nurturing environment;
  4. Ensure every student learns in a classroom with caring and qualified teachers,
  5. Expand access to opportunities for students of color and Indigenous students;
  6. Expand access to opportunities for students in Greater Minnesota,
  7. Fund a 21st-century education.

Sadly, this plan is a lot of rhetoric. The plan promises caring and qualified teachers, elimination of systemic racism (through a council), value student identity (at the expense of the identity of other students now marginalized due to their skin tones and moral beliefs), increased opportunities for career advancement, and increased funding to the students who need it most (who makes that decision?), and much more.

The entire two-page plan is full of promises and platitudes. It lacks substance. There is nothing about true academic standards, about improving student learning, about holding students accountable for their test scores. There are no measures of determining how or when success is achieved. Is it when they have spent all available funds and enriched their cronies?

The budget proposal outlines $745 million in new state education spending in addition to the $649 million in federal tax dollars to fund this proposal. Since when has more money increased learning? NEVER—NOWHERE! No increase in reading and math scores will result if the focus goes only to destroy our national identity through teaching the critical race theory and demeaning the majority of the students now marginalized because they reek of white privilege.

For decades, Leftists have advocated for the elimination of discrimination based upon race. Now the push is to provide opportunity and funding based on race and ethnicity and to malign those who have learned in a less than perfect educational system but who were motivated to learn and achieve in order to earn a better life through personal achievement—basically white and Christian. Now the State wants to determine a new set of winners and losers—our children, our future—in order to promote their -ism: marxism, socialism, communism.

Regrettably, some Republicans and members of the judicial community have already advocated for the same: “a first-class education.” I pray that they and the rest of Minnesota wake up before the DFL gets their way and send Minnesota further down the path of mediocrity.

Part of the budget reconciliation process is something called a vote-a-rama. Another part of that process is the minority party offering germane, nonbinding amendments to the budget. Thursday, Sen. Tom Cotton and Sen. Todd Young put forth an amendment “that would prohibit any future economic impact payments from being sent to illegal immigrants.”

What’s amazing is that “42 lawmakers voted against it. All were Democrats, including two independents who caucus with the Democrats.” In a statement, Sen. Cotton said “The Biden administration shouldn’t reward illegal immigrants for breaking our laws by giving them checks. Instead of courting foreigners with U.S. taxpayer funds, President Biden should use that money to aid American schools, businesses, and families.”

Towards the end of this interview, Sen. Cotton highlights the things that Democrats voted for or against:

Sending stimulus checks to illegal immigrants is far-left stupidity at its worst. Voting to send COVID money to school districts that get vaccinated but refuse to open isn’t that bright, either. Suburban families, keep that in mind when Democrats hurt your children while protecting the teachers unions.

Democrats are on the wrong side of each of those issues. That’s why Republicans will flip the US House in 2022. That’s why they have a fighting chance of retaking the Senate majority. Another reason Republicans have a shot at retaking the Senate is because they’re anti-fossil fuel in a pro-fossil fuel state, aka Pennsylvania. Finally, the Biden Recession will hurt Democrats who would otherwise be in safe states.

How long will people tolerate Democrats being the ‘Theater of the Absurd Party’?

In proposing his biennial budget, DFL Gov. Tim Walz tried justifying his tax hikes by saying the rich had to pay their fair share. John Phelan’s article highlights Gov. Walz’s deceitfulness. During the rollout of Gov. Walz’s budget, a reporter actually asked a pertinent question.

The reporter said “What was a bit unusual at the governor’s presentation was when, just moments after Walz proclaimed that only millionaires and billionaires faced tax rises, an uncooperative reporter dared to ask about Walz’s proposal for a whopping $1-a-pack tax hike on cigarettes. Aren’t such taxes included in his plan, despite being among the most “regressive” levies of all — hitting the poor much harder than the rich? Well, yes. ‘I don’t deny that,’ Walz said. And yet, having just finished pretty much denying it, the governor was, shall we say, ‘incentivized’ to bring out some heavy verbal artillery for further clarification.”

In other words, Gov. Walz got upset that a reporter did their job. The DFL expects reporters to act like a stenographer for the DFL. DJ Tice nails the impact of Gov. Walz’s tax increases in this article. In that article, Tice highlights “Minnesota Department of Revenue’s biennial Tax Incidence Study.” Tice quotes this from the TIS:

Above all, in edition after edition, decade after decade, these studies have explained that:

“[T]axes on businesses are regressive … While the initial impact of these taxes is on business, they are partially shifted forward to consumers in higher prices or backward to labor in lower wages.”

The latest Tax Incidence Study, from 2019 (a new one is due this spring), reports that lower-income Minnesotans indirectly “pay” well more than twice as much of their incomes through business taxes than the top 1% of income earners do. (Individual taxes are far more progressive, hitting the rich harder.)

Higher taxes on “the rich” is often taxes on successful small businesses. “The rich” have their fortunes hidden away in states or countries where taxes are significantly cheaper. They also hide their wealth in foundations where their families ‘work’ while the foundation pays most of their living expenses. Finally, high taxes on “the rich” often drives down benefits and bonuses. To quote Bill Clinton, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Gov. Walz’s budget is a DFL wishlist document. It isn’t a serious document in terms of policies. It even has an increase in education spending devoted to what I’d call the BLM propaganda agenda, including money for teaching about systemic racism. Gov. Walz, like Joe Biden, is a captive of the teachers’ union.

Developers are thinking about redeveloping St. Cloud’s East Side. One of the City documents opens by saying “The City of St. Cloud has completed the East End Vision – Small Area Plan, which outlines redevelopment opportunities to revitalize the city’s East Side. Located within one of the state’s designated Opportunity Zones, the city hopes to attract new investment to the area in the coming years. The document lays out a road map for redevelopment opportunities in several key catalyst sites throughout the district.”

In his attempt to sell the plan, Matt Glaesman, the community development director for the City of St. Cloud, said “This shared vision for the East End represents a fantastic opportunity to build lasting changes that benefit the entire community. This plan is the culmination of rigorous research and input from stakeholders citywide. We’ve created a roadmap for new opportunities and look forward to building on this city’s success.”

This neighborhood is virtually my back yard. Some of the areas that they want to redevelop are within 3 blocks of where I’m typing this post. Also, I’ve literally lived in this neighborhood my entire life. I know pretty much every inch of this neighborhood. This picture outlines the plan for the entire East Side:

I’ve been told by a longtime reader of LFR that the area between the 2 railroad tracks (one going northeast, the other southeast) will be developed into a major apartment complex. That will replace Simonson Lumber. The tracks to the north and south don’t attract a ton of traffic but the tracks to the east are some of the busiest tracks in the US. At least 6 ‘oil trains’ per day use those tracks. Now that Biden has eliminated the Keystone XL Pipeline, those “6 ‘oil trains’ per day” will likely turn into 8 oil trains per day. Also, where the tracks intersect with E. St. Germain St. is one of the loudest traffic-train intersections in the city. I can hear the train horns from my house and I’m a half mile from that intersection. Imagine being a block from that intersection. I wouldn’t want to live there.

It wouldn’t be a big deal if the redevelopment was into a manufacturing plant or industrial site of some sort. That’s what that part of town has been since the 1950s. The other criticism I have of the redevelopment is that it doesn’t give the East Side an identity. Until St. Cloud starts manufacturing things again, it’s just an oversized bedroom town.

The Minneapolis City Council’s attempted dismantling of the Minneapolis Police Department apparently laid the groundwork for future violence in Minneapolis. This isn’t surprising. In fact, it’s predictable.

Looking back at 2020, dismantling the MPD looks like a terrible idea. Then again, it looked terrible at the time it was proposed. According to “an end-of-year report presented to the City Council last week, Minneapolis experienced a 105% increase in shootings between 2019 and 2020.”

The same report states that the “city recorded 82 homicides in 2020, a 70% increase over 2019’s 48 homicides. Between 2016 and 2019, Minneapolis had an average homicide rate of 41.” Minneapolis residents are bracing for far worse in 2021, with prosecutors asking the judge to push the Derek Chauvin trial back into summer. A longtime reader of LFR said that his family is worried about rioting downtown and borded-up businesses near the courthouse.

Theft of motor vehicle parts, a subcategory of larceny, increased by 660% in 2020, likely because of the rising price of precious metals found inside catalytic converters, the MPD said. Carjackings, different from auto thefts in that the owner is inside the vehicle when the robbery occurs, increased by 301% — from 101 in 2019 to 405 in 2020.

With police retirements up in Minneapolis, expect this to continue:

With the MPD police force depleted from retirements and officers taking medical leave, 2021 figures to be another great year to live somewhere other than Minneapolis. If the Chauvin trial ends (as I suspect it will) with an acquittal or a guilty verdict on a lesser charge, expect Minneapolis to erupt in another summer of riots.