Thumbs down to Rep. Jeremy Munson, of Lake Crystal, for wasting taxpayer money developing and pursuing a bizarre plan to allow Minnesota counties to secede from Minnesota and join South Dakota or other border states.

The proposal doesn’t deserve airing or any serious consideration because it is so outside the bounds of rational thought. Munson’s plan calls for a Minnesota Constitutional Amendment and also involves approval from county boards, the Legislature, Congress and voters.

Munson and a handful of his co-extremists formed their own “New” Republican caucus in Minnesota a few years ago. The legitimate Republican Party, the one Munson left, had no comment on Munson’s secession legislation, but noted none of its members have sponsored the legislation.

Munson’s action that is mostly aimed at getting likes and retweets on social media stands as another example of how he is wasting taxpayer money, getting little or nothing done for his constituents and catering to the fringe elements of political groups that have no interest in sound, representative government.

Munson did not answer emailed questions asking how much time and money he, staff or others spent on developing the legislation and how much it cost taxpayers. He responded by pointing to efforts by a group in Oregon looking to join Idaho, and that he has introduced 11 bills on constituent issues and had hearings on five of them.

Whatever time he spent on the secession issue was time wasted and could have been better spent on constituent issues.

Gender-pay disparities

Thumbs down to still having to draw attention to gender-pay disparities with an Equal Pay Day.

The day was observed this week as it is annually, marking the fact women are generally paid less than men — more drastically the case for women of color. The day marks the extra time it takes an average woman in the U.S. to earn the same pay that their male counterpart made the previous calendar year.

During a House Oversight Committee hearing this week on the pay-gap issue, the ranking member of the panel, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., noted that since the start of the pandemic, nearly 1 million more women have lost their jobs compared to men and that women account for more than half of the overall net job loss in the country.

Pandemic or not, Congress and state legislatures need to take action to make the gender pay gap a thing of the past.

Unbelievable defense

Thumbs down to Sidney Powell, a former Donald Trump lawyer, for her stupefying defense strategy.

Powell repeatedly peddled unfounded claims of voter fraud on television and in court, asserting that the Democratic Party stole the election using the Dominion Voting Systems.

Dominion filed a $1.3 billion defamation suit against her as it tries to undo damage to its reputation. (Dominion has also filed suit against Minnesota My Pillow maker Mike Lindell for making the same claims.)

Powell entered an astonishing defense: that her statements can’t be defamation because no reasonable person would have believed them.

It’s a telling defense. She’s in essence arguing that so much of what was spewed by Trump and his supporters were such obvious big lies that they were on their face unbelievable.

The defense is legally worthless, however. She asserted the statements repeatedly as fact and a large swath of Trump supporters believed her, and many still do.

A shot in the arm

Thumbs up to Gov. Tim Walz and his team of health experts for the recent decision to open up eligibility for COVID vaccinations to all Minnesotans 16 and over beginning next Tuesday.

Minnesota has been giving an average of 40,000 shots per day for the last few weeks, but that number is expected to grow with bigger federal shipments beginning April 1. The strategy will still call on vaccinators to prioritize patients at high risk for COVID, but will allow the immunity to begin building among younger adults, where the spread is said to be growing.

It’s a bold move, but one that is justified by the science and one that will help business get back to normal.

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