PUC ouster provides season's first fireworks


The state Senate's removal of a capable, effective public servant as chair of the Public Utilities Commission -- because she, like any sensible person of any political stripe, has acknowledged the need to develop additional sources of energy -- is not only deplorable, but bewildering.

 I continue to be baffled by the Republican insistence that looking beyond a handful of particular, polluting, finite substances to fuel our homes and workplaces is an inherently liberal thing to do. The hyperpoliticized GOP stands ready to demonize any reasonable action under the sun if a DFLer has taken it.

What else is an exclusively DFL value? Maintaining a savings account? Wearing a seat belt in a moving vehicle? Zipping up my jacket when I step out into the cold?


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Earth to Republicans: Minnesota has no coal. Minnesota has no coal miners or coal companies. Minnesota does, however, have mercury advisories for many of its lakes and rivers. We send North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming our money, and they send us their electricity and their mercury.

As a state senator, Ellen Anderson worked tirelessly to craft a bipartisan energy policy that provided reliable and clean energy, and helped create new Minnesota-based industries -- in energy-efficiency services, wind power and, more recently, solar power.

And for this she is labeled an extremist? I'll be waiting for the other shoe to drop in the form of huge super PAC donations from out-of-state coal industry corporations in the forthcoming elections.


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Is it really so surprising that "a very good person, a very dedicated public servant" was "wrongly maligned and cruelly rejected" by state senators (in Gov. Mark Dayton's words)? Oh, how quickly we forget when the shoe is on the other foot.

Permit a bit of self-indulgent irony, please: My confirmation rejection as public service and commerce commissioner 12 years ago was led in part by then-Sen. Anderson, who disliked my push (mandated by Gov. Jesse Ventura) for energy regulation reform.

She voted twice to reject my confirmation, including a excoriating rebuke of my probusiness work plan. That was a DFL-dominated Senate, rejecting a nominee solely on policy and politics.

Fast-forward to 2012, and Anderson's rejection at least was followed by the offer of a comfy, $88,000 consolation job in the governor's office. I happily turned down a similar offer from Ventura, opting to stay sanely in the private sector.

Suck it up, Ellen. As the song goes: "What goes around comes around."


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Republican Sen. Julie Rosen's remark during Monday's floor debate that Anderson was "incapable of setting aside her personal beliefs for the common good" is a textbook example of the pot calling the kettle black and illustrates precisely what is wrong with government today in our state and nation.


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Dayton's statement that Republicans are "unfit to govern" was without merit and based only on the fact that they do not agree with him. We live in a free country governed by the majority. The governor was elected by a plurality, not by the majority. His statement is disrespectful to the voters of his state. He's the one who needs to calm down and show respect to the voters and the Legislature they elected.


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Birth control ruling

A disgusting move by Obama administration


The Jan. 30 editorial regarding the Obama administration's "Right decision on birth control" was considerably off the mark.

The portrayal of the ruling as somehow Solomon-like in wisdom was as deplorable as the terrible decision itself. It was not only contraceptives that were included in this edict from Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

It also forces religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and charities to provide coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

The administration's audacity to force its disastrous "culture of death" ideology on faith-based organizations is preposterous. May this election year be a year of reckoning for those who mask religious discrimination under the guise of "preventive" health care services.


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The editorial argued that legislation seeking to allow employers and insurers to refuse to offer contraceptive services in health plans on religious grounds could lead to demands for exemptions from such services as HIV testing, from coverage for cancers arising from sexually transmitted diseases, and indeed from almost anything.

There is no need to fear this. The Catholic Church opposes contraception because it is intended to prevent the reproductive system from working normally and sterilization because it is intended to actually destroy the reproductive system. Procedures like HIV testing or treatments for cancer are all directed to curing disease and saving lives. The church has never objected to any of these.