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According to the St. Cloud Times’ editorial board, the legislature’s responsibility is to keep students warm, safe and dry. According the Editorial Board, Devinder Malhotra, the newly-named chancellor of the Minnesota State system, told their editorial board that “Asset preservation is our top priority. We need to give our students a quality educational experience. … We also need to keep them warm, safe and dry.”

With St. Cloud State’s on-campus enrollment shrinking annually and with the University running multi-million dollar annual deficits, you’d think that getting St. Cloud State’s financial and enrollment situations turned around would be high on Malhotra’s list. Despite the fact that Dr. Malhotra once was St. Cloud State’s provost, turning around the University isn’t part of his focus.

Then again, straightening out the University hasn’t been a priority for MnSCU in years. They ignored the mismanagement of the University’s finances. They didn’t intervene when the University’s enrollment problems became chronic. They didn’t bother to inquire as to why St. Cloud State sent $1,000,000+ checks to the Wedum Foundation each year.

To be fair, though, MnSCU wasn’t the only institution that failed the University. The St. Cloud Times did little more than publish St. Cloud State’s press releases. Investigative journalism was left to LFR and, occasionally, to MPR.

The St. Cloud business community were enablers for St. Cloud State, too. As long as President Potter stayed engaged in the community, the business community turned a blind eye towards St. Cloud State. Other institutions that let SCSU down were the IFO and the Faculty Association.

The problem within the Faculty Association is that too many of them want to be administrators. That’s caused some in FA leadership to turn a blind eye towards the University’s health in the hopes of getting that last high-paying job of their professional career.

The IFO, the union representing the professors at MnSCU’s 4-year universities, has done little in terms of putting pressure on the legislature. As a direct result of the IFO’s inaction, dozens of faculty have either gotten laid off or have accepted early retirement packages.

What’s stunning is that Chancellor Malhotra hasn’t offered a plan to turn St. Cloud State around. He hasn’t even insisted that St. Cloud State’s next president have a specific plan to turn St. Cloud State around. I know this because the ‘finalists’ for the job don’t have much of an understanding of the University’s difficulties. For that matter, the University doesn’t even have a CFO who can tell the next president just how awful of shape the University is in.

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First, I’ll admit that Charlie Cook is one of my favorite political number-crunchers/analysts. That’s why I’m disappointed with Charlie’s article about the 2018 election campaign.

Charlie’s theory apparently is that President Trump’s ego will get in the way of the Republicans’ message. It’s summed up perfectly when Cook wrote “The idea that this president and this White House would not step on their own message and not cut short what should be a post-tax-bill victory lap is laughable. Look at the last two days alone—the president’s braggadocio that his nuclear button is ‘Much bigger & more powerful’; the suggestion of jail for former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and former FBI Director James Comey; Michael Wolff’s tell-all book on the Trump White House palace intrigue and former Trump intimate Steve Bannon’s accusation of ‘treasonous’ behavior on the part of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort; and various threats of lawsuits.”

What Cook didn’t notice is that the people who will receive the bonus checks or who received pay raises or saw their employers increase their contribution to their 401(k)s don’t care about political messaging. They care that their lives just improved during President Trump’s watch. This fall, when people start tuning into politics in earnest, people will see ad after ad after ad reminding them that every Democrat voted against the tax cuts that led these corporations to hand out bonuses or raise their pay or increase the employers’ contribution to these employees’ 401(k)s.

Yet even 39 percent still amounts to the lowest of any first-year elected president and equals his Gallup approval rating for the whole year. And SurveyMonkey reports that “over the last two weeks of 2017, President Trump’s approval rating rose from 39 to 44 percent in SurveyMonkey’s tracking, largely as a result of better marks from Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.” While up is up, anyone looking for a big boost for the president from the bill’s passage is likely to be disappointed.

I won’t say that polls are irrelevant. I will say their importance isn’t what it used to be. Polls used to shape public opinion. These days, I’d argue that social media has a greater impact on shaping opinions than polls have.

The other flaw in Cook’s thinking is that people are smart enough to notice their lives improving, whether it’s through lower electric bills, higher wages or more take-home pay.

It’s kinda sickening to watch the media’s coverage of Franken’s demise. This article is about as bad as it gets. It quotes Hamline Professor David Schultz saying “It becomes hard to figure out if he is known as Al Franken the comedian, Al Franken the senator or Al Franken who has to leave the Senate in disgrace because of sexual harassment claims.” Honestly, this isn’t that difficult. Franken’s legacy will be that of a pervert who thought he was funny but was actually just creepy.

Schultz also said “He became noted for issues such as net neutrality, he was a very strong critic of Donald Trump, became an advocate for women’s rights.” Actually, he became known as an obnoxious lefty bombthrower. This might’ve been his most famous moment:

Even after that incident, lefty pundits in Minnesota still wrote about him rolling up his sleeves, learning policy and just keeping his head down while working hard for his constituents. They couldn’t bring themselves to talk about the fact that women on Capitol Hill did everything possible not to get into an elevator alone with him. This article displays the disconnect between Franken and the women he tormented:

Menz said she decided to come forward after she learned of Tweeden’s story and said she hopes sharing her story will help change the culture. She said she felt sorry Franken had to resign. “Instead of being able to own mistakes and move forward and make things right, he’s having to resign,” she said. “I feel sadness that he’s having to leave a job because of the actions that he’s taken, but it’s unfortunate he’s left a wake of women in his path that have had bad interactions with him.

“It isn’t surprising that Franken felt entitled to continue being a jerk. His Twin Cities media protectorate treated him with kid gloves. People like Dr. Schultz kept his personal life out of the spotlight, thereby enabling Franken to be a pervert.

Good riddance.

I could write some commentary on what happens during this video but it wouldn’t have the same impact as the video itself. Without further adieu, this video is worth thousands of words:

John Jasinski’s op-ed in the Owatonna newspaper is hard-hitting and to the point. The point that caught my eye the most was when Sen. Jasinski said “But the biggest problem is the precedent it sets: if the governor’s decision is allowed to stand, then every future governor will effectively be able to hold the Legislature or Supreme Court hostage until they get everything they want. Imagine a governor withholding funding to the courts over a ruling they didn’t like. Gov. Dayton’s veto has opened that door.”

Think of the power that precedent would give a (God forbid) Gov. Thissen or Gov. Erin Murphy. Minnesota would turn into an autocratic state almost immediately. Let’s remember that Rep. Thissen already verbally abused paid staffers. Imagine what he’d do if the courts ruled in Gov. Dayton’s favor and Thissen became governor. It’s a frightening thought.

Another of Sen. Jasinski’s points came when he said “We also won’t be able to have session, so every urgent project will face another year without funding. Want Highway 14 to get done? Thanks to the governor’s action, we won’t be able to provide any more money for it until 2019. That goes for any other road, bridge, or infrastructure project, or any law that needs to be fixed.”

Gov. Dayton’s latest temper tantrum essentially stops the state for 2 years, though you wouldn’t know it if you got your information from the Twin Cities media’s reporting:

Gov. Dayton agreed to this budget, including the tax relief. He intended to veto this tax package just like he vetoed the tax relief package he agreed to last year. Gov. Dayton even accused Republicans of “political blackmail.” If anyone’s playing political blackmail, it’s Gov. Dayton. He agreed to the budget. Now, he’s trying to get Republicans to renegotiate major parts of the tax relief package.

Thank God Gov. Dayton won’t preside over another budget session. Every group of taxpayers is paying more taxes. Minnesotans aren’t getting more services for those additional taxes, either. It’s time he retired and spent more time with his family.

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While reading this article that announced that Hugh Hewitt was getting his own show on MSNBC, I read something that almost made me start laughing uncontrollably.

The article said “NBC News chairman Andy Lack is known to favor hard news, and has programmed the network to feature a broader range of editorial opinions in addition to traditional newsmen like Brian Williams.” Since when is Lying Brian Williams a “traditional” newsman? Have industry standards dropped that low?

For instance, this article highlights “Choppergate.” That’s where it said “During the January 30, 2015, NBC Nightly News broadcast, Brian Williams referred to “a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG.” Williams later said he was not in the helicopter that was hit by an RPG, but in a helicopter directly behind it. The pilots of Williams’ helicopter say their chopper was not directly behind the hit Chinook, but in a different company altogether.”

Based on the things other anchors have said, perhaps Williams is a traditional news anchor. Compared with Scott Pelley’s recent accusations against Steve Scalise, Williams’ statements don’t seem that terrible. Williams’ statements are just verifiably dishonest. Pelley’s questions are downright offensive. Here’s a reminder of Pelley’s disgusting outburst:

It’s time to ask whether journalists have any integrity left. I’m not betting they do.

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This morning on Outnumbered, Sandra Smith asked #OneLuckyGuy Rep. Jason Chaffetz if failure to pass health care reform was an option politically. With all due respect to Ms. Smith, that’s the wrong question. With people getting hit with unaffordable health insurance premiums and skyrocketing deductibles, the question that should be asked of Democrats is whether people can afford the Not That Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The lead-in to the segment on health care was video of Sen. Ed Markey playing the scare tactic card, saying that Republicans wanted to throw Grandma and Grandpa out of the nursing home (with Alzheimer’s) to give tax cuts to the rich.

First, the media should stop obsessing over the non-issue of Russia working with President Trump to win the election. It’s time for the MSM to start asking important questions about issues that people care about. That means starting with asking Democrats why they haven’t offered anything substantive to fix Obamacare. Thus far, all they’ve done is employed scare tactics to win points politically for 2018.

The truth is that Obamacare is collapsing. Insurance companies are leaving exchanges on a weekly basis. This week’s exit is Anthem leaving “the Obamacare exchange in Ohio next year.” The result of that is the “move would leave participants in 20 counties without any insurer.”

Here’s the video of Sen. Markey’s blather:

Next, it’s time for the media to start doing its job by asking tough questions of Democrats about the ACA. Third, it’s time that the MSM to stop pretending that the ACA just needs a few tweaks to fix things. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. It’s time Democrats started coming up with substantive improvements ASAP.

Fourth, it’s time for Republicans to bury their differences and to settle on a sensible plan that fixes what’s wrong with the ACA. It’s beyond time to fix what’s broken. It’s time to eliminate differences, set aside egos and fix this disaster for the good of the nation. That’s the only thing that matters at this point.

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This Reuters article is breathtakingly misguided. First, the article is a hatchet job about Betsy DeVos’s confirmation hearing. What’s important to know is that Reuters says “Next Tuesday, the Education Committee will likely approve sending her name to the full chamber when it votes in an executive session. Then, Democrats could block the nomination with a filibuster on the Senate floor.”

Has Reuters been hiding in Saddam Hussein’s rabbit hole hideout the last 4 years? Have they paid attention to the Democrats’ whining the last month? NEWS BULLETIN TO REUTERS: Harry Reid killed the filibuster of presidential cabinet nominees in 2013.

What’s noteworthy about the hearing itself is how bitchy Democrats are. For instance, the Reuters article says “Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, an advocate of tough financial regulation, asked whether DeVos or her children had attended public schools, borrowed student loans or received federal financial help known as Pell grants. ‘You have no experience with financial aid,’ Warren summed up when DeVos answered ‘no.'”

She’s a billionaire who’s contributed millions of dollars to school choice scholarship funds. Why would she then require her children to rack up a pile of student loan debt?

Many were dismayed DeVos would not pledge to carry out rules on sexual assault, for-profit colleges and fair access for students with disabilities, only saying she would review the policies.

TRANSLATION: Democrats are upset that Trump’s pick isn’t a doctrinaire liberal who supports teachers unions. My advice for them is simple: put on your big boy britches. Get over it. You lost. The new president will be taking the nation in a different, more prosperous, direction.

NOTICE TO ELIZABETH WARREN: Keep doing what you’re doing, which is acting like a bitch. You’ve been letting your hostility flood the hearings. It isn’t attractive.

Finally, it’s difficult to trust Reuters as a news organization when they don’t know basic Senate rules. It’s impossible to think of Sen. Warren as a presidential candidate. She’s a bigger bitch than Hillary, which is saying a lot, and she hates anyone who’s been successful.

One of the major highlights of CNN’s townhall meeting with Speaker Ryan at George Washington University came during the question of the night. That’s when Speaker Ryan announced that the House would repeal the ACA and pass the Republican replacement “at the same time, and in some cases in the same bill.” Speaker Ryan continued, saying “So we want to advance repealing this law with its replacement at the same time.”

The first person to ask a question of Speaker Ryan was a small business owner named Jeff Jeans, who identified himself as a former Republican and a cancer survivor. Jeans told Speaker Ryan “Just like you, I was opposed to the Affordable Care Act. When it was passed, I told my wife we would close our business before I’d comply with this law. Then, at 49, I was given 6 weeks to live and with a very curable type of cancer. We offered 3 times the cost of my treatments, which was rejected. They required an insurance card. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I’m standing here alive. Being both a small business person and a person with pre-existing conditions, I rely on the Affordable Care Act to purchase my own insurance. Why would you repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement?”

Ryan replied “We wouldn’t do that. We want to replace it with something better. … We believe that state high risk pools are a smarter way of guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. We had a really good one in Wisconsin. Utah had a really great one. I was talking with a congresswoman from Washington today who was telling me how good their high risk pool is. What I mean when I say this is that about 8% of all the people less than 65 years of age have that type of pre-existing condition. … We don’t want people to go poor or go bankrupt because this thing happens to them so we obviously want a system where they can get affordable coverage without going bankrupt when they get sick. But we can do that without destroying the rest of the health care system for everybody else. That’s the point I’m trying to make. What we should have done is fix what was broken in health care without breaking what was working with health care and that’s what Obamacare unfortunately did.”

Here’s the video of that exchange:

It’s worth noting that Minnesota had a high risk pool, too, which was also working well until the ACA destroyed it. In 2007, before then-Sen. Obama was elected president, Minnesota boasted that 92.8% of its citizens were insured. Of those that didn’t have health insurance, more than half were eligible for some sort of taxpayer-subsidized health insurance. Had those people gotten signed up, Minnesota’s insured rate would’ve exceeded 97%, which would’ve been better than anything that the ACA could ever hope to accomplish.

What’s particularly insulting and infuriating is the fact that Democrats know the Republicans’ plans. It’s infuriating because Ryan’s plan has been out there for months. If there’s anything certain about Speaker Ryan, it’s that he’s a policy junkie in the best sense of the word. He lives to write great legislation.

Speaker Ryan said that he didn’t have a specific date that he’d put on repealing and replacing the ACA, though he told Jake Tapper that he thinks it will happen in President Trump’s first 100 days.

If that happens, you’ll see the economy take off because Obamacare is sucking the incentive out of growing small businesses. Watch the entire video. It’s educational and enlightening.

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To: Speaker Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Gazelka
From: Gary Gross, uppity peasant
Subject: Health insurance premium relief

Speaker Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Gazelka, I’m sure you’re well aware of Gov. Dayton’s insistence that you pass his health insurance premium relief plan, aka passing his wimpy political relief proposal. According to this article, he wants you to pass his wimpy proposal virtually immediately.

As a loyal conservative activist, it pains me to say this. I’m asking you to follow his direction (with an asterisk.) I know that the GOP plan includes premium relief. I know that the GOP legislation isn’t the same as Gov. Dayton’s wimpy proposal. (Thank God for major miracles, right?)

Please pass the GOP legislation ASAP, then send it to his desk. When it’s passed, I’d recommend that you hold a major press conference right at 6:00 pm CT that night so that each of the Twin Cities TV stations is forced to cover the press conference/celebration announcement. Also, circulate this comparison table to the media:

Highlight to Minnesotans that the GOP legislation that you’ve passed in the opening days of the regular session includes extensive premium relief that Gov. Dayton insists get passed. Then highlight for Minnesotans that it also includes plans to improve access to care, competition & choice and make provider networks more family friendly.

Dare Gov. Dayton to veto your legislation. Dare him to explain why he didn’t work with you on these issues that would improve Minnesotans’ lives. Dare him to explain why he vetoed a bill that’s attracted significant bipartisan support.

Highlight to Minnesotans that you’re fighting for them. Highlight to Minnesotans that Gov. Dayton’s fighting for … well, who knows what he’s fighting for these days.

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