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Minnesota not so long ago

This piece was written for the DP long ago. With all that was going on then, we never submitted it. Now perhaps the illustration for shutting down the government can be seen even clearer.

Today Saturday July 2, 2011 - Amy Forliti wrote this article for the Associated Press along with Martiga Lohn. I read it at the Yahoo site, and as it progressed, at each silly notion, I interject my thoughts. I have spaced the voice so the thinker should be clear.

First, I want to thank the State of Minnesota and its dead for showing the courage to close down a screwed up government peacefully, without firing a shot.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers headed home for a long holiday weekend, bracing for likely public anger as some of them meet constituents for the first time since a failure to reach a budget agreement forced a government shutdown.

Let us hope they stay at home. Minnesota has obviously had it with dysfunctionals. Had they pissed away my treasure I’d want them to close their offices also. Praise Be to God.

The reception they get starting Saturday, and during 4th of July parades around the state, could go a long way toward determining how long the shutdown lasts. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP leaders had no plans for new talks before Tuesday, five full days after the shutdown started.

Perhaps them good folks in Minnesota are looking forward to the BBQ? They still have heretic bury in that state? What else would you call the representative who opposes the people’s will? What, those losers will get what they deserve. And how do they go back, if the government is really closed? Its over, done, nada, no? Oh, it’s just for show.

Minnesota's second shutdown in six years was striking much deeper than a partial 2005 shutdown. It took state parks and rest stops off line, closed horse tracks and made it impossible to get a fishing license. But it also was hitting the state's most vulnerable, ending reading services for the blind, silencing a help line for the elderly and stopping child care subsidies for the poor.

Sell the state parks to private owners, under the condition they operate them as the entertainment venues that they are. Minnesota can retain the development rights to stifle land abuse and preserve the bears. OTB closed? Oh, my. What will the drunkards do with their afternoons. Are you serious, Minnesota runs the tracks via subsidies? Ya, that needs to continue. Where are the families of these blind people, those elderly, and don’t they manufacture grandparents just for watching kids? Where is Grandma, Oh, perhaps at the track?

The shutdown was rippling into the lives of people like Sonya Mills, a 39-year-old mother of eight facing the loss of about $3,600 a month in state child care subsidies. Until the government closure, Mills had been focused on recovering from a May 22 tornado that displaced her from a rented home in Minneapolis. Now she's adding a new problem to her list.

Her problem, aside from being Irish and Catholic is where is the Daddy? Or is it 8 Daddy(s) $3,600 a month? I didn’t make $3,600 all last year. Her new problem will be to avoid kid number 9. Didn’t the first 4 tell ya what was up? She is a serial victim, and she likes it.

"It just starts to have a snowball effect. It's like you are still in the wind of the tornado," said Mills, who works at a temp agency and was allowed to take time off as she gets back on her feet — but after the shutdown also has to care for her six youngest children, ages 3 through 14, because she lost state funding for their daycare and other programs.

Its clear now. If she ‘has to care for’ the kids, instant sex avoidance behavior translates into birth control. At least we won’t have to pay for that birth control.

Minnesota is the only state to have its government shut down this year, even though nearly all states have severe budget problems and some have divided governments. Dayton was determined to raise taxes on the top earners to help erase a $5 billion deficit, while the Republican Legislature refused to go along with that — or any new spending above the amount the state is projected to collect.

A growing trend? Praise Be to God.

Here, as in 21 other states, there's no way to keep government operating past the end of a budget period without legislative action. Even so, only four other states — Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Tennessee — have had shutdowns in the past decade, some lasting mere hours.

Well, a man can pray, right?

The shutdown halted non-emergency road construction and closed the state zoo and Capitol. More than 40 state boards and agencies went dark, though critical functions such as state troopers, prison guards, the courts and disaster responses will continue.

On Friday, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz started the court-appointed job of sifting through appeals from groups arguing in favor of continued government funding for particular programs.

NIMBY

Nonprofit groups helping the state's poor have already been hit hard. Some closed their doors immediately, while others continued services, at least for now. Some were looking at layoffs, said Sarah Caruso, president and CEO of Greater Twin Cities United Way, which funds 400 programs serving poor people. She said the impact will depend on how long the shutdown lasts.

The United Way could go away. Those people disseminate and fundraise for divorce clinics. But they don’t stay too long, shifting around from publicity photo shots at hospital atriums…

"If we go well beyond that two-week window, I think then we will start seeing much more significant closure of programs to support the vulnerable, and the long-term financial viability of some of these agencies will really be called into question," she said.

It’s about time somebody !!!

So far, 30 agencies had accepted United Way's offer of advances on their grants, seeking cash to stay up and running.

The stoppage suspended some programs for the blind and visually impaired, including a radio reading service run by volunteers and training for blind people who are learning to walk with a cane. Bonnie Elsey, director of the state's Workforce Development Division, said a vocational rehabilitation program that places people with disabilities in jobs or school was halted.

They don’t teach these people how become thinkers for yourself, but rather how to fill out the next develope government ‘form’.

Minnesota food pantries scurried to make sure they would still get 700,000 pounds of food — about 30 percent of their total volume — in the next two months through a federal program. Nearly a million pounds already in warehouses were also put on hold by the shutdown. Colleen Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions Minnesota, said the federal program's operation depended on a single state employee working in a data management system. Later Friday, Moriarty said the employee had been called back to work.

The shutdown also idled a state hotline set up to help seniors and their caregivers find services, housing options, help with Medicaid and Medicare insurance and more. A call to the 800 number Friday got a recording saying callers could leave a message.

I thought families went unpaid when helping their members?

The political stalemate meant instant layoffs for 22,000 state workers, including Paul Bissen, a road and bridge inspector for more than 26 years. Bissen said he cut back on spending last month. He figured he could go a couple of months without worrying, but on the first day of the shutdown, he said it looked like his washing machine had died — adding another expense.

What does he have to complain about?, at least he has a working washing machine.

"I want to work. I've got road construction projects to build, to try to make them safe and make them smooth so people can get back to forth to their work," Bissen said.

Fearful of voter anger, both parties blasted each other for Minnesota's second shutdown in six years.

GOP Chairman Tony Sutton called Dayton a "piece of work" and accused him of inflicting "maximum pain" for political reasons.
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin laid the blame on Republicans, saying they drove the state to a shutdown to protect millionaires from tax increases sought by Dayton.

How about they fired the incompetent?

The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a left-leaning group supportive of Dayton, plans to run weekend radio ads in three popular vacation areas blaming Republicans for the impact of the shutdown, including closed state parks. The group also debuted a "shutdown shame" website.

The shutdown has been a slow-motion disaster, with a new Democratic governor and new Republican legislative majorities at odds for months over how to eliminate the state budget deficit. Dayton has been determined to raise taxes on high-earners to close the deficit, while Republicans insisted that it be closed only by cuts to state spending.

No, the government was the slow-motion disaster, the people freed themselves of it. Guess the people show them how the save money….

Even after the shutdown looked like a certainty, Dayton and Republicans did not soften their conflicting principles. Dayton said he campaigned and was elected on a promise not to make spending cuts to a level he called "draconian."

Then stay out.

Think of what could have been in Minnesota, not so long ago.



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