Thumbs down

It’s disappointing that Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer immediately called the unallotment ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court “judicial activism.”

Says Emmer in a statement: “The court changed the law in midstream by adding a time constraint to when the governor could exercise his unallotment powers.”

Here’s how the state law reads: “If the commissioner determines that probable receipts for the general fund will be less than anticipated, and that the amount available for the remainder of the biennium will be less than needed, the commissioner shall, with the approval of the governor ... reduce the amount in the budget reserve account as needed to balance expenditures with revenue.”

Here’s how Pawlenty appointee Chief Judge Eric Magnuson explained a pretty clear state law: “The common meaning of ‘remainder’ is thus something less than the whole, after part of the whole has been removed or consumed. Accordingly, the requirement that the Commissioner find that ‘the amount available for the remainder of the biennium will be less than needed’ (Minn. Stat. § 16A.152) subd. 4(a), reasonably means that the triggering circumstance (amount less than needed) cannot logically be met until some of the biennium has passed, and that the unallotment process can never apply to a full biennium.”

The facts are Pawlenty tried to unallot for a full biennium and thus was in violation of the statute. Seems pretty clear to us, but then again Emmer is running for office, trying to gin up voter anger with emotional words like “judicial activism.”

Unfortunately, if this is part of Emmer’s “straight talk” campaign strategy, he is falling far short.

Name calling is also disrespectful to the Minnesota Supreme Court, of which four of seven members were appointed by Emmer’s colleague Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Obey served long, served ably

Thumbs up

To Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, who announced his retirement from Congress this week after a long and distinguished career.

Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, was first elected in 1969. The 71-year-old liberal Democrat leaves at a time when incumbency is a dirty word in American politics, and so pundits and political rivals predictably have questioned whether he is entirely sincere when he says, simply, that he believes the time is right for a change. Let it be on the record that he leaves with a hefty campaign war chest and was generally favored in his 2010 challenge.

In his announcement that he would not seek re-election, Obey offered voters a window into how a long-serving congressman should be expected to feel after conscientiously fighting so many legislative wars. “Bone tired” was how he described it.

Victim was quick thinking

Thumbs up

To the levelheadedness of a 14-year-old Fairfax girl who was able to give police enough detail to quickly capture her alleged abductor.

The teen was delivering newspapers early Tuesday morning in Fairfax when a man abducted her. Authorities said he threatened to shoot her and took her to a cemetery where he raped her. She was able to escape from his vehicle about 10 miles south of town and called her mother on a cell phone that her abductor had disassembled and tossed into a field. She was able to provide a complete description of the man and the vehicle, including a license plate number. That information helped authorities make a quick capture, they said.

This incident is every parent’s nightmare. Fortunately, this girl was able to escape and help capture the suspect. Her quick thinking may have helped prevent the suspect from doing more harm. Now it’s up to her school and community to give her the support she needs to heal and recover from this crime.


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