Daily Reformer: Mid-winter spring!

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Midwinter spring! (Read to the bottom for T.S. Eliot’s thoughts on the subject.) 

Jessica Oaxaca is going to be the new comms dir. for Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent. She was a deputy in the press shop of Gov. Tim Walz. Watch as House, Senate and Walz become more aligned in their comms strategy. Sen. Tom Bakk had a lot of strengths, but he wasn’t exactly always on message. 

Senate GOP calls for tax cuts

On the refugee front, the Department of Employment and Economic Development is hiring an assistant commissioner for immigrant and refugee affairs. Interesting because the Dept. of Human Services has traditionally handled refugee resettlement issues, but this is certainly a recognition of how badly our economy needs workers. 

Gov. Tim Walz is doing a forum at the Humphrey School. 

Why did the woman’s club invite Garrison Keillor anyway?

Saint Paul teachers authorized a strike.

On so-called red flag gun laws — in which after a court hearing a judge can order a person’s guns removed if he’s a danger to himself or others — Rep. Jeremy Munson uses flags of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia and China to make the point that the proposed law is totalitarian, or something. He should have added the Florida flag; the sunshine state not usually associated with tyranny has a red flag law. 

Pete Buttigieg had no plans on winning Minnesota anyway, I guess, but his crack on Walter Mondale (how DARE he!?) really sank him here. Aaron Booth notes it was still trending Thursday. 

Mike Bloomberg lost the debate badly but this social media post makes it seem like he won. Brilliant and gross. 

Dave Weigel has a good primer on Nevada, which will have its caucus Saturday, and as a former resident I can attest that he’s done a good job.  

Sen. Amy Klobuchar spent some time at a picket line at the Palms in Vegas this week; that’s after she delivered doughnuts to striking GM workers last year. Which is nice. But a local labor person asked a good question: Has Klobuchar ever walked a picket line in Minnesota? I genuinely don’t know and emailed the campaign but did not hear back. Send me your anecdotes and pictures of her on the picket line in Minnesota: [email protected] 

Here we go again, Times:  

“Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him.”

Oren Cass is an interesting conservative intellectual who is trying to get people on the right to end their dogmatism on the alleged wonders of the free market, and here he has an interesting thread and link to a paper on how inflationary data isn’t properly depicting people’s lived reality. A key reason is that inflation data takes into account improvements in quality, so that even if something is wildly more expensive than it used to be, it doesn’t necessarily show up that way in the data because the quality of the product or service is thought to have increased just as much. This applies to cars, for instance. Sure, they’re better, but they’re less affordable. (Econ nerds: Am I explaining that right?) 

Is the stock market in a period of “irrational exuberance”? Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal

“It’s always easy to spot the signs of the top in retrospect. The absurd AOL-Time Warner deal was one obviously crazy example of exuberance. But if the internet bubble had burst earlier, maybe the top would have been considered TheGlobe.com IPO, and the founder’s plastic pants. In the Big Short, the peak of the housing bubble was demonstrated when a stripper talked about her real-estate flipping. But if the housing market had tanked earlier, then maybe people would have pointed to the launch in 2003 of a popular reality TV show hosted by a real estate celebrity as the sign it was all going to collapse. The point is, in the midst of any hype cycle it’s virtually impossible to know where you are. I’ve been thinking about this, watching some of the unbelievable action in stocks like Tesla, Plug Power and Virgin Galactic, as folks on the Reddit board r/WallStreetBets pump these names with aggressive options betting. I first came across that board a couple of years ago, and it was mostly people making memes of Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD, which was one of their hot stocks. I thought that was crazy at the time, and surely some sign of exuberance or forth. The lesson is, it can always get crazier.”

Adam Duininck of the carpenters union, on how to win the votes of carpenters and other blue collar workers. Hint: Pay attention to the issues they care about. 

Ruthe Thompson, a talented writer in Lyon County, filed a dispatch about how the people there rose up to defend refugee resettlement. Nice read that blows up stereotypes about rural Minnesotans being resentful of refugee neighbors. 

Ricardo Lopez on the effort to get rid of the reference to slavery in the Minnesota Constitution; this would go before the voters. 

Max Nesterak on the possible strike next week of 4,000 janitors, affecting most downtown Saint Paul and Minneapolis buildings. 

Finally, your promised T.S. Eliot on mid-winter spring, “Little Gidding,” which I’ve posted on past mid-winter spring days because it’s so good.  

Midwinter spring is its own season

Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,

Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.

When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,

The brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches,

In windless cold that is the heart’s heat,

Reflecting in a watery mirror

A glare that is blindness in the early afternoon.

And glow more intense than blaze of branch…

Have a great day all!