News Day: Last legislative day today / Eating the evidence / Housing, foreclosure news / War reports / more

Governor No: More cuts to health care, education, local government aid In a grueling and emotional session on Sunday, May 17, the House failed to overturn Governor Tim Pawlenty’s veto of its tax and finance omnibus bill, by an 85-49 party-line vote that saw two DFLers defecting to the Republican side. By an 87-47 vote, the House also failed to overturn the Pawlenty line-item veto that ends medical assistance for General Assistance recipients in mid-2010. The prospect: deep cuts in health and human services, education, and local government aid, dictated by the governor to the legislature or unilaterally imposed as unallotments in the year ahead. Full article here

Comic banana relief C’mon folks – you know we all need something to laugh at after the dismal news from Capitol Hill in St. Paul. So here it is — from North Carolina, via BBC:

A US teenager who was thwarted in an attempt to rob an internet cafe armed with a hidden banana ate the “weapon” before he was arrested, police say.

The shop owner and customers overcame the teen, who held the banana under his t-shirt and said it was a gun.

Ash borer week Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week started yesterday in 16 states, including Minnesota and Wisconsin. Joe Soucheray says Minneosta has 937 million ash trees, or about 179 per person. For more info, photos, advice, and questions, go to the official emerald ash borer site.

Foreclosures up again in April The Calculated Risk blog reports on Realty Trac figures for April, which show an upswing in foreclosures after the end of an informal , voluntary moratorium.

[F]oreclosure filings – default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions – were reported on 342,038 U.S. properties during the month, an increase of less than 1 percent from the previous month and an increase of 32 percent from April 2008. The report also shows that one in every 374 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing in April, the highest monthly foreclosure rate ever posted since RealtyTrac began issuing its report in January 2005.

In more bad news, good news, bad news, MinnPost reports that home prices fell 14% nationally and 12.9% locally in April, while the Strib reports that home sales were up by 23% — but that the growth came in “lender-mediated” (read foreclosure-related) sales, and that traditional sales fell.

The worst news is reserved for minority and immigrant homeowners, as reported by the Pew Research Center: “The boom-and-bust cycle in the U.S. housing market over the past decade and a half has generated greater gains and larger losses for minority groups than it has for whites.”

Fong Lee trial The PiPress reports that the civil suit against police officers and the city of Minneapolis over the police shooting of 19-year-old Fong Lee in 2006 is set to begin this morning.

World/National Headlines

Robbing pension funds TPM’s Josh Marshall notes that Bush appointee Charles Millard, who headed the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation, is under investigation for “a suspicion pattern of communications with big investment houses just before Millard piled tons of [Pension Benefits Guaranty] money into their funds.”

Gay marriage: Bad for business? The latest GOP attack on gay marriage says it’s bad for business, AP reports. GOP chair Michael Steele says gay marriage will hurt business because — horrors! — more people will be eligible for health care coverage. Well, here’s an alternative — maybe we could just have single-payer, national health care coverage? OR —as the Daily Kos suggested later:

And if we want to really polish our fiscally conservative creds, we can outlaw marriage for everyone! Especially heterosexuals! Because they reproduce and add even more more dependents for the rolls of small-business health care programs!

Not the dog again! The Republican National Committee has a new TV ad out criticizing — the presidential puppy. The Daily Kos recalls that this puts Bo in good company, along with FDR’s Fala, also the subject of Republican attacks.

Record time for broken promises The health care industry promise to slow the annual health care spending growth rate? Forget that, reports the Daily Kos. Now the Hospital Association’s executive vice president, Richard J. Pollack denies that any promise was ever made. Daily Kos reprints the signed promise letter.

Congress Party in India The Washington Post reports a big win for India’s ruling Congress Party, and a second term for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, “a former economist who has championed programs for the poor and pushed for rural development and economic reforms.”

War Report

Sri Lanka BBC reports that the Sri Lanka president declared victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels, although some fighting continues. On Sunday, the NYT reported that the Tigers also acknowledged the war was over, coming to “a bitter end.” By Monday morning, BBC joined other media in reporting that the Tamil Tiger leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, was dead.

Pakistan BBC reported May 16 that a car bomb in Peshawar killed at least 11 people, and a U.S. drone killed 10 people in the North Waziristan tribal region.

Somalia BBC reports that President Barack Obama’s top official on Africa, Jonnie Carson, expressed concern over possible arms sales by Eritrea to al Shabaab militants in Somalia, and also over reports of Chechen and South Asian fighters in the al Shabaab forces. Eritrean government officials denied the charges. Meanwhile, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed told BBC that he has asked his former ally and Islamist spiritual leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweysto negotiate an end to fighting in Mogadishu, but that the al Shabaab leader refused.

Chad/Sudan BBC: Chad’s government admitted air raids inside Sudan, saying they had destroyed seven groups of mercenaries.

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