Does Minnesota really need two crazies in the House of Representatives?

We’re all used to Michele Bachmann’s paranoid/delusional rhetoric by now, but is it not enough to have one raving nutcase represent our fine state in the House of Representatives?

Apparently not, since Rep. John Kline is afraid President Obama is going to brainwash schoolkids to embrace socialism when he gives a back-to-school address to kids next week.

Give. Me. A. Break.

He’s the president, folks. You may not agree with his policies, but he’s the freaking president. I think Dave Thul (yes, a conservative) gets it right:

In the midst of the recession, a war in Afghanistan, fears over terrorism and H1N1, isn’t it at least possible that Obama may inspire kids to study hard and stay in school, and above all to keep dreaming about what they might be or do someday? If the president uses the speech as a political tool, asking kids to help him pass health care reform or save the earth by passing cap and trade, then yes, we will have a right to be upset. But give Obama the chance to speak before you decide to take offense to his words.

I personally would not be upset if he discussed those things, but I can understand why someone who disagreed would. But I think we can reasonably assume that our president is going to eschew the hot political topics of the day and focus on promoting the value of education, hard work and ambition. Then again, maybe those values are part of a liberal/socialist agenda, too. Are they?

Update: Moments after I posted this, a link to this media resources page appeared on the White House Facebook feed. Coincidence? You be the judge. (Answer: yes.)

Why we should resign ourselves to acceptance of the Geithner plan

I was underwhelmed from the beginning with President Obama’s choices of Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner, and the events of the last couple of weeks have shored up a lot of public opinion that Geithner, in particular, may not have the right vision to shepherd the economy into a genuine recovery. But, for the moment, his plan is all we’ve got.

It doesn’t help that economic heavyweights like Paul Krugman are down on Geithner’s plan, but for now I will take limited solace in the words of economist Brad DeLong:

Q: What if markets never recover, the assets are not fundamentally undervalued, and even when held to maturity the government doesn’t make back its money?

A: Then we have worse things to worry about than government losses on TARP-program money–for we are then in a world in which the only things that have value are bottled water, sewing needles, and ammunition.

In other words, there may be a better plan out there; this plan we have may not work; but if it doesn’t, the reason it won’t is because things are so fundamentally screwed up that probably nothing would have saved us.

Yeah… that, uh, makes me feel… better?

(Found, as usual, on Daring Fireball.)

A great explanation of why (most) Minnesotans don’t complain about our relatively high taxes

First, rid your mind of the idea that government = evil.

Government is neither good nor evil; it depends on what government does. The same goes for corporations. Both have done a fair amount of what might be called “evil” over the past couple of decades.

There’s a great article on The Daily Beast today that reinforces an idea that’s pretty common around here in Minnesota: good government is worth paying for. In other words, if you get something of value from your taxes (or you know that other people do, and you’re not a self-centered bastard), it doesn’t feel so painful to pay them.

Now, in some parts of the country it’s pretty hard to come by the kind of generally honest, public-serving government that we Minnesotans tend to take for granted. But President Obama (who seems more Minnesotan than Illinoisan when it comes to the integrity and vision of his politics) is on the cusp of delivering this vision to the nation.

Let’s hope it takes hold. Reaganomics has just about driven us into the ground but I think it may not be too late.

So this is what it’s like when a president actually cares

I am in utter disbelief at the audacious lies of Sen. Lindsay Graham, who dared the other day to claim President Obama has been “AWOL” on the matter of the economic stimulus plan. He’s been all over trying to make this thing happen, and now he’s using the Internet (finally, a president who gets it) to help make his case:

Yes, our new president is using YouTube to get his message out. Power to the people!