NEWS DAY | Two faces of T-Paw / Shouting back at U of M stadium / Marking six small graves / Heading for a new crash?

two facesTwo faces of T-Paw On September 10, MPR reported Governor Tim Pawlenty’s assertion of states’ rights doctrine in opposition to health care reform, and his prediction that governors might sue to stop a health care program:

Depending on what the federal government comes out with here, asserting the Tenth Amendment may be the viable option.  … We’ll have to see. I would say that’s a possibility. You’re starting to see more governors including me and specifically Governor Perry from Texas and most Republican governors express concern around the issue and get more aggressive about asserting and bringing up the Tenth Amendment [inaudible] hopefully a resurgence in kinds of claims and maybe even lawsuits if need be.

On Sunday’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Stephanopoulos asked T-Paw, “What exactly are you saying? There is a movement to actually nullify health care if it passes?” Pawlenty bobbed, weaved and backed away from the states rights position and hopeful talk of lawsuits that he had enunciated a few days earlier:

Well, George, in the legal sense, I think the courts have addressed these Tenth Amendment issues, but more in the political sense, in the common sense arena, we need to have a clear understanding of what the federal government does well and what should be reserved to the states. …

I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a legal issue. I was raising it as much as a practical matter, that there are some things that the federal government shouldn’t do, doesn’t do well, and should leave to the states.

Minneapolis Changing School Options After a summer’s revisions, Superintendent William Green presented the district recommendation for Changing School Options to the Board of Education on September 1, with a round of town meetings following. Last week saw meetings at Sheridan and Roosevelt. Tonight, September 14, is the final town hall meeting at Washburn High School at 6:30 p.m. Upcoming school closings will be the focus of a September 15 community meeting, also at Washburn.

The Board of Education will vote on the Changing School Options on September 22. The original plan, proposed last spring, sparked controversy in the community during the 40+ meetings held to introduce it, and was sent back to district staff for revision. Like the original plan, the current version divides the city into three zones — Southwest, South Central/Southeast and North/Northeast — and focuses on educating students close to home. Most students will remain in their from pre-K through high school. Each zone will have a limited number of magnet schools, with very few district-wide magnet or specialty schools.

In addition, the plan calls for closing seven buildings, including five schools: Pratt, Longfellow, Folwell, and Emerson schools, Lehman Center, the Brown Building and 1250 West Broadway. By closing buildings and reducing busing, the plan is projected to save $8.2 million per year.

Hundreds of parents turned out for town hall meetings last week, with the Star Tribune reporting that many were concerned that they would lose programs they had carefully selected and that their children would have a lesser quality of education.

U of M neighbors shout back Saturday night’s football game in the new campus stadium was too much for many neighbors, who flooded on-line forums with their reactions. One said that he lives with in a mile of the State Fair Grandstand and “not much further than that from Midway Stadium,” but has never “heard any concert, game or race to compete with the broadcaster volume presently emanating from “TCF Bank” Stadium, which is at least two and probably closer to three miles away.”

Another reported:

Hours of loud play by play so loud that I can hear and understand the words. A lovely autumn evening on my front porch and I have to listen to that? I go to the back deck to sit and I can still hear and understand that man’s hollering. The sound of the crowd is not so bad….only occasionally a low roar, one could work on imagining that it is the sound of the sea, but this loud, yelling man…we must stop him.

Some dissenting voices defended the stadium noise, with one “shocked at all the negativity that has surrounded
the Gopher opener.”

People complain about the traffic, complain about the state fair noise… And now the new Gopher Stadium noise!? Why do you choose to live in an urban neighborhood? This is part of the deal, part of the fun.

Those who are not having fun are passing around contact info for the U of M’s community relations contact – Donna Peterson at (612) 624-9022 or peter011@umn.edu. Minneapolis Councilmember Cam Gordon advised the Minneapolis E-Democracy forum that there is a city advisory committee for stadium issues and that stadiums are exempt from noise control ordinances.

Grave markers for the children Hmong community leaders, St. Paul police and friends joined family in placing a grave markers for the six children, ages five to eleven, killed by their mother eleven years ago, reports the Pioneer Press. Their mother then unsuccessfully attempted suicide. She is now serving a 50-year prison term.

The children’s father, Tou Kong was present at the ceremony. Community members agreed that the mother, Khoua Her, should also be included in the ceremony, and she sent a statement from prison.

Repeating, and protecting, the mistakes of the collapse Financial institutions worldwide have learned the wrong lesson from last year’s collapse, insist Baseline Scenario and Robert Reich in separate, and very important, articles. Rather than learning that they must not make risky and unsound investments, they have learned that they can take any risks they like, because they are “too big to fail” and will be bailed out by governments around the world. As Reich succinctly explains:

Let’s be clear: The Street today is up to the same tricks it was playing before its near-death experience. Derivatives, derivatives of derivatives, fancy-dance trading schemes, high-risk bets. “Our model really never changed, we’ve said very consistently that our business model remained the same,” says Goldman Sach’s chief financial officer.

In addition to returning to its old gambling ways, the financial sector has quietly returned to paying the obscenely high salaries and bonuses that enraged us a year ago.

President Obama is set to sound the call for regulatory reform in a Wall Street speech today, reports BBC, including more regulatory power for the SEC and the Federal Reserve. The president’s proposals have been tied up in Congress:

“I’m very pessimistic that we will do enough,” said Nobel award-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, speaking to BBC business editor Robert Peston on Newsnight.

“If you listen to the discussion, you see the push-back from the financial sector,” he added. “In American democracy, money talks. We have five lobbyists for every Congressman in the financial industry.”

War report | Afghanistan As contentious vote counting continues in Afghanistan, a helicopter rescue mission saved a kidnapped New York Times reporter, but only at the cost of four lives. BBC reports that NYT reporter Stephen Farrell’s “Afghan colleague Sultan Munadi was killed along with a UK soldier and two Afghan civilians.”

Farrell and Munadi had been captured while investigating the September 4 tanker bombing. BBC reports that a government investigator has determined that 30 civilians and 67 Taliban were killed in the NATO bombing of the hijacked and stalled tankers. The report said that 20 of the Taliban were unarmed. An Afghan human rights group, the Afghan Rights Monitor, said last week that more than 60 civilians were killed.

Meanwhile, warns the Washington Post in an article on what it is calling the “AfPak War,” Afghanistan’s second-largest city, Kandahar, is falling quietly under Taliban control:

For years, NATO’s strategy had been to entrust corrupt and incompetent local police with principal responsibility for securing the dusty collection of neighborhoods here that are home to an estimated 800,000 people. But several senior officers and strategists now think that this approach no longer makes sense and that more troops are necessary to prevent the Taliban from further reclaiming the pivotal city.

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