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For years, the Twin Cities drew high marks as two of the best cities in America to live in. They rate high in “their green spaces, culinary scene and jobs. High median incomes, low unemployment and poverty rates and affordable housing” contribute to the Twin Cities’ high ratings. Apparently, there’s a secret for the Twin Cities’ high ratings. According to this article, the secret is “you have to be white.”

Politico Magazine then adds that “Twin Cities, it turns out, are also home to some of the worst racial disparities in the country. In metrics across the board—household income, unemployment rates, poverty rates and education attainment—the gap between white people and people of color is significantly larger in Minnesota than it is most everywhere else. Earlier this year, WalletHub used government data to measure financial inequality among racial groups in each state and found that in 2015, Minnesota ranked dead last overall.”

It’s wise to take this article with a grain of salt because the article is written with a definite lefty perspective:

It seems illogical that inequality could thrive in one of the country’s most liberal states, home to past progressive icons like Paul Wellstone and Hubert Humphrey.

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Academics, activists and researchers offer different conjectures as to how Minnesota achieved the ignominious title of “Worst in the Country,” for racial differences in wealth, status and education. Their analyses told a story of misguided attempts at desegregation, ignorance surrounding the state’s racist history and a systemic negligence that prevents communities of color from partaking in the state’s prosperity.

Actually, it isn’t difficult to imagine that there’s income inequality in the Twin Cities. Education Minnesota is a powerful lobbyist that essentially intimidates DFL politicians into following Education Minnesota’s agenda to a T. That includes DFL politicians voting against meaningful school reforms. Education Minnesota prides itself in opposing school reforms.

I wrote this post to highlight the Board of Teaching’s corruption:

Ramsey County Judge Shawn Bartsh “blasted the state’s Board of Teaching for suddenly stopping a program that allowed experienced teachers, often from out of state, to get teaching licenses through an alternate method called ‘licensure via portfolio.’ The judge ordered the agency to resume the program, as required by law.”

Many of these teachers want to teach in the inner city, where their help would help shrink the achievement gap significantly. Instead, the EdMinn-influenced Board of Teaching ignores laws it doesn’t like.

With corruption like that, it isn’t difficult to see why income inequality is so prominent in the Twin Cities. It would surprising not to find income inequality in a place like that.

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It’s difficult to take Gov. Dayton’s statements about law enforcement seriously these days. Hours after Philando Castile was shot and killed by a St. Anthony police officer and while the investigation was just getting started, Gov. Dayton threw white gas on the fire by saying he thought Castile wouldn’t have gotten shot if he’d been white.

Law enforcement officials across the nation and in the Twin Cities took Gov. Dayton to task for making such a reckless statement. They were justified in extracting the proverbial pound of political flesh from Gov. Dayton’s hide.

I can’t take Gov. Dayton’s statement about the Baton Rouge assassinations seriously after Gov. Dayton’s statements about Philando Castile. In his statement about Baton Rouge, Gov. Dayton said “The terrible murder of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge shocks the conscience of every decent-minded American. I renew my plea for all Minnesotans to engage only in peaceful and lawful ways to exercise their First Amendment rights. This is our opportunity to help lead the nation away from this wanton, mass violence and toward a reconciliation and healing.”

Lt. Gov. Smith issued this statement:

I join all Minnesotans in mourning the tragic shooting deaths of two Baton Rouge police officers and an East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office deputy. Our prayers are with their families, friends, and communities. Law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge and across our country bravely serve to keep us safe with little consideration for their own well-being. This makes their murders particularly horrifying. We must stop this terrible violence.

Notice what’s missing from their statements. Notice that they didn’t criticize Black Lives Matter. Neither criticized Al Sharpton or President Obama for the outright lie that is “Hands up, don’t shoot.” That would require them to exhibit courage, something that neither has.

If we want healing, which is desperately needed, we need politicians who will call out race pimps like Sharpton and gutless civic ‘leaders’ like Marilyn Mosby and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Right now, the Democratic Party doesn’t have anyone that fits that description.

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This weekend, I wrote that I was skeptical of reports that a special session would be called this August. After reading Don Davis’ article, I’m hoping that a special session only happens if Republicans stand steadfast against SWLRT.

In the article, Sen. Bakk thinks that, with regards to SWLRT, “there appear to be some alternatives available.” Here’s hoping that Speaker Daudt shoots that down immediately and harshly. Anything that gets SWLRT built is unacceptable. Any Bakk-favored alternative should be shown the door in as hostile a manner as possible.

LRT projects are a disaster. If communities want to build them, let them build them with their tax revenues. Then let them subsidize their operations with their property taxes or their sales taxes. Talk that the business community wants them isn’t justification for building SWLRT. If businesses think LRT is so fantastic, let them pay for building them.

The dirty little secret is that LRT isn’t worthwhile except if taxpayers build it and subsidize its operations. Even then, these projects benefit the few while hurting others. Ask the displaced businesses in St. Paul if they’re fans of LRT. Hint: when asking that question, wear a bullet-proof vest.

There is some good news in the negotiations:

Dayton said he is more optimistic than ever that there will be a special session. “Where there is a will, there is a way.” The governor said he gave up all spending he earlier wanted to come up in a special session other than work needed on sex offender facilities and at the state hospital in St. Peter.

That’s the benefit of steadfastly saying no to unreasonable spending demands. Give Speaker Daudt and Sen. Hann and their caucuses credit for that. It wouldn’t have been possible if members of their caucus had left their reservation.

That’s why Speaker Daudt needs to return to that position and why Sen. Hann needs to be given the title of majority leader. Conservatives would applaud them shutting down Gov. Dayton’s reckless spending demands. Minnesota’s economy would improve by not having the legislature and the governor pile tons of new regulation on small businesses, too.

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According to this article, Sen. Bakk, Speaker Daudt and Gov. Dayton are close to an agreement on a special session. I question the accuracy of that statement.

The article opens by saying “A special Minnesota legislative session to approve tax cuts, transportation projects and public works construction could happen in a month, but the governor and key legislators are not quite ready to promise that.” Notice the hint that all is not well? Saying that “the governor and key legislators are not quite ready to promise that” set off red flags with me. Several paragraphs later, my suspicions were vindicated.

The vindication came when the article said a “major unresolved issue continues to be whether to approve a light rail line from downtown Minneapolis to the southwestern suburbs.” That’s indisputable. That’s the line Republicans shouldn’t cross under any circumstances. It’s the Minnesota equivalent to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere.

Speaker Daudt needs to realize that he’s sitting in the power position. I’m betting that DFL candidates aren’t popular because Gov. Dayton vetoed a major tax cut bill. Bakk and Dayton aren’t striking a more conciliatory tone because they’re altruistic. They’re striking a more conciliatory tone because they aren’t getting the response they’d hoped for.

Speaker Daudt, Sen. Hann and all Republicans should stand steadfast against the SWLRT project. If metro DFL legislators object, fine. Republicans don’t need to flip urban seats to flip the Senate. They need to flip seats in rural Minnesota. That’s where the tax cut bill is popular. If DFL candidates and incumbents want to defend Gov. Dayton’s veto of the Tax Bill, Republicans should rejoice that the DFL is giving them that gift.

Further, I’d encourage Republican House and Senate candidates to highlight the fact that the DFL put broadband and SWLRT at the top of their priority list and that Republicans put gutting taxes on farmers, the middle class, the military and small businesses at the top of their priority list.

Let’s fight that fight on our side of the battlefield. Let’s see if the DFL is capable of fighting that fight. I’m betting they’ll lose that fight by a significant margin.

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Dan Kimmel made just one mistake as a candidate. As a result, he’s essentially a dead man walking. Kimmel is running the Minnesota House of Representatives in District 56A, which is Burnsville. He’s running against Rep. Drew Christensen. Here’s Kimmel’s mistake:

That’s breathtakingly foolish. What person says “ISIS isn’t necessarily evil. People doing what they think best for their community. Violence isn’t the answer, though.”? I’m betting the only politicians that say things that foolish are politicians that should start writing their concession speeches in July.

Kimmel is so radioactive that Paul Thissen won’t support him:

Alpha News reached out to House Minority Leader Paul Thissen for comment on Kimmel’s renewed campaign bid. When asked if he supported the candidate, a representative for Thissen responded “he does not.”

Mr. Kimmel isn’t done fighting, though:

After several attempts to reach Kimmel, Alpha News received the following response via email: “I haven’t responded because I haven’t come up with the simple answer I think you want.” Alpha News reached out to Kimmel a third time and did not receive another response.

TRANSLATION: I know I screwed up. There’s nothing I can say.

Get out the butter. Mr. Kimmel is toast.

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I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, that Angie Craig is attempting to tie Jason Lewis to Donald Trump. It’s what a hardline lefty like Craig has to do. When I wrote this post, I highlighted Ms. Craig’s issues page.

Ms. Craig’s issue page identifies her quickly as part Pelosi lefty, part Bernie Sanders lefty. For instance, Craig thinks that the federal government isn’t spending enough on higher education, saying “This includes both encouraging public colleges to find ways to lower costs and increase federal funding for the neediest students, providing incentives for states to invest in higher education and keeping tuition down. We can’t continue to saddle our kids with the tens of thousands of dollars of debt as they enter the workforce.”

Spoken like a true utopian. Craig isn’t done with the leftist ideology. Another bit of low-hanging fruit from the Craig ‘issues tree’ comes from her saying “We have to ensure that there are meaningful, good paying jobs for our graduates and more job opportunities for working families. Congress has lost sight of the fundamentals of growing the economy.”

That’s too easy. President Obama has been in office for almost 8 years but it’s Congress’s fault that the economy hasn’t helped people working for small businesses? It wasn’t a GOP Congress that passed the ACA, aka Obamacare. It wasn’t a GOP Congress that waged war against mining jobs with EPA regulations. Hillary Clinton promised to devastate blue collar states:

It was Hillary who said that she’d put lots of coal miners out of work. Ms. Craig seems to turn a blind eye towards that. I’d love to hear Ms. Craig explain how it’s possible to build a “a sustainable economy and create meaningful, good-paying jobs” while intentionally killing other jobs. Perhaps Ms. Craig would like to explain government’s history of picking winners lately. In Ms. Craig’s mind, is Solyndra a success?

Earlier, I highlighted the fact that Ms. Craig blamed the Republican Congress of losing “sight of the fundamentals of growing the economy.” Personally, I think Ms. Craig should be reminded of this:

Solyndra, the solar panel manufacturer who took more than $500 million from President Obama’s stimulus then went bust, sticking taxpayers for the loss, lied to federal officials to secure the loan, the Energy Department’s inspector general said in a report released Wednesday.

But the Obama administration goofed too, and may have cut corners in fully vetting the project because of “political pressure” from top Democrats and Solyndra itself, the investigators said in their report, which took four years to complete.

Is Ms. Craig certain that we should trust the federal government in picking investment opportunities? If she is, then I’m pretty certain that she’s wrong for the Second District. Frankly, her ideas don’t make any sense. ‘Craigonomics’ sounds like the same hair-brained foolishness that’s had the economy spinning its wheels the last 8 years.

If Reaganomics is the picture of a thriving economy, which it was, then Craigonomics is the polar opposite of a thriving economy.

Finally, there’s nothing in Ms. Craig’s issues page that talks about civil rights or fighting terrorists. Doesn’t Ms. Craig think that those things are important priorities? If she thinks those things are important, why isn’t she talking about what her solution is to demolishing ISIS?

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Once again, the Twin Cities DFL shows its indifference towards the Iron Range’s blue collar workers. This post is the latest thumb in the Iron Range’s eye.

ABM’s first paragraph starts by saying “Minnesota has seen many victories for working families this year. On August 1, the minimum wage increase that Governor Dayton and Democratic legislators fought for in 2014 will be fully implemented, raising the wage to $9.50 an hour – one of the highest in the nation.”

I’d love hearing ABM hold a townhall meeting in Virginia, Hibbing or Hoyt Lakes. I’d love hearing them say that the Iron Range’s working families have “seen many victories.” If Brooke Wallington or Susie Merthan opened a meeting on the Range with that type of statement, they’d be advised to duck first, then hightail it to the nearest exit.

The second paragraph says “In May, paid sick leave passed in Minneapolis, allowing workers to better take care of themselves and their families. More recently, the Shakopee City Council voted unanimously to increase the minimum wage at subsidized businesses to $19 an hour. Now, Minneapolis is close to placing a $15 an hour minimum wage proposal on the ballot.” I’m not from the Iron Range but I can’t imagine them getting excited to hear that Minneapolis and Shakopee have new minimum wage laws. How does that help anyone in Buhl, Ely, Eveleth or Hibbing?

What’s interesting is the fact that there’s nothing in ABM’s post that talks about high-paying mining jobs. In fact, there’s nothing about high-paying mining jobs on ABM’s website. That’s rather stunning.

It’s stunning but it isn’t surprising. It isn’t surprising because Metro DFL activists care about the Twin Cities. It isn’t that these DFL activists just hate the Iron Range. It’s that they’re indifferent about the Iron Range. The Metro DFL is indifferent to the Iron Range because the Metro DFL’s agenda is all about what’s important to the Metro DFL.

That’s the way it’s been. That’s the way it’ll be for the foreseeable future. It won’t change until the Iron Range starts voting for Republicans. It won’t change when Iron Rangers stay home. It’ll change when Iron Rangers start making the DFL pay for their metro-centric agenda.

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According to this article, Jim Nobles, Minnesota’s legislative auditor, thinks the Board of Teaching is dysfunctional. He’s published this report, complete with findings of facts and recommendations.

One of Nobles’ finding of fact is that “the Board of Teaching (BoT) and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE)—share responsibility for licensing teachers. In general, BoT establishes requirements for teacher licensure, and MDE reviews license applications, makes licensure decisions, and issues teaching licenses.” His recommendation that “The Legislature should consolidate all teacher-licensure activities into one state entity” certainly makes sense. Sharing responsibilities doesn’t work. Both parties point fingers at the other.

When I wrote this post, I highlighted the fact that “Ramsey County Judge Shawn Bartsh ‘blasted the state’s Board of Teaching'” for “suddenly stopping a program that allowed experienced teachers, often from out of state, to get teaching licenses through an alternate method called ‘licensure via portfolio.’ The judge ordered the agency to resume the program, as required by law.”

It’s clear that the BoT and MDE aren’t solutions-oriented. The people working in those departments clearly haven’t communicated the need to simplify the licensure procedures. They’re still pointing fingers at each other instead of fixing the problem or obeying clearly written law. Further, it’s clear that they’ve let different institutions decide what out-of-state credentialed teachers must do to get licensed in Minnesota.

When the U of M requires a teacher who’s taught 12 years in another state and who has a Master’s degree to do student teaching again, that’s ridiculous. Further, when Minnesota State University, Mankato says the same teacher doesn’t need to do a semester of student teaching, something’s totally off kilter. It’s one thing for the U to require different courses than Mankato requires. It’s a different thing to require a credentialed teacher to do student teaching. That’s more than a significant difference.

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With tomorrow being Independence Day, it’s worthwhile to see which people care about our founding documents. The comments in this editorial indicate that the DFL either don’t understand the Constitution or they’re dismissive of it.

About 2 weeks ago, a district court ruled that the Next Generation Energy Act, aka the NGEA, violated the Interstate Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. Despite the unanimous ruling, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is appealing the ruling. In his statement, Gov. Dayton said “I will continue to do everything in my power to defend the State of Minnesota’s right to protect the quality of the air our citizens breathe.”

The thing is that telling other states what they can’t do is something that’s beyond Gov. Dayton’s authority. That principle escaped one commenter who said “Of course, these same people oppose any clean energy preferring the spewing of pollution into our environment…even to the point of ignoring how some of our waters are polluted. I don’t want lead in my water. I don’t want my health endangered by pollution.”

First, the statement is BS. Conservatives love nuclear power, which is exceptionally clean:

The low-carbon electricity produced by such reactors provides 20 percent of the nation’s power and, by the estimates of climate scientist James Hansen of Columbia University, avoided 64 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution. They also avoided spewing soot and other air pollution like coal-fired power plants do and thus have saved some 1.8 million lives.

And that’s why Hansen, among others, such as former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, thinks that nuclear power is a key energy technology to fend off catastrophic climate change. “We can’t burn all these fossil fuels,” Hansen told a group of reporters on December 3, noting that as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy source they will continue to be burned. “Coal is almost half the [global] emissions. If you replace these power plants with modern, safe nuclear reactors you could do a lot of [pollution reduction] quickly.”

Indeed, he has evidence: the speediest drop in greenhouse gas pollution on record occurred in France in the 1970s and ‘80s, when that country transitioned from burning fossil fuels to nuclear fission for electricity, lowering its greenhouse emissions by roughly 2 percent per year.

Another commenter who is an attorney said “Congress has no authority to determine whether any state attorney general abused their discretion.” In most cases, that’s true. When a state AG is dealing with an issue of state law that affects only their state, the federal government should keep its nose out of that state’s business. The minute that AG’s decision affects multiple states or the AG potentially violates part of the US Constitution, Congress certainly has oversight authority.

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After reading this LTE, I’m left wondering whether everyone in the DFL is utterly gullible or if it’s just a majority of them that are gullible.

I started questioning the premise when I read “Even though I haven’t been politically involved, I have done a fair amount of reading. The Minnesota Republican Party seems to be stuck in the thinking that what we need is more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.” How can you do “a fair amount of reading” and still think that the Republican Party of Minnesota thinks “that what we need is more tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans”?

Anyone with a reading comprehension level above eighth grade knows that the GOP passed a tax bill that would’ve benefitted veterans, students with student loan debt, farmers, small businesses and parents trying to save for their children’s college education. What part of that sounds like Republicans think “tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans” is the path to prosperity?

Either the man who wrote this LTE is illiterate or he’s exceptionally dishonest. It’s possible he’s both.

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