Good morning. 

 Today’s Reformer 

As President Joe Biden’s Money for Everyone bill moves to the Senate, Rilyn Eischens gives you the deets on how much your community might get from the federal windfall, including a tool to find how much your county may be getting should the bill pass. 

And our guest commentary comes from two health care practitioners and a sociologist, who argue that improving health equity would have an impact on public safety. This is the second piece we’ve run on root causes of crime. Here’s the first

Senate Republicans are doing a newser this morning on exempting federal CARES Act PPP money from state taxes. As we reported last week, Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, who is chair of House Taxes, is also on board, for most of it anyway. 

Good reporting in the Strib in how Enbridge Line 3 has divided Ojibwe bands, with Fond du Lac taking a deal and Red Lake rejecting it. 

Former President Donald Trump is back and maintains his grip on his followers. Their political program: Grievance over the 2020 election and making it harder for people to vote in the future. Thankfully that program, which is spreading its pernicious tentacles around the country, has no chance of passage here, at least for now. Minnesota voters rejected a voter ID law in 2012. 

I for one am completely unsurprised that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is crashing. Not that I’m on Team Blasio. Also terrible. 

An operative recently sent me an email on the problem with politics in this era of brutal campaigns. The person was exaggerating for effect but maybe not that much, saying you almost have to have something wrong with you to want to run for office. Once elected: “It does something to people's judgement.”

If we could get rid of the narcissists and sociopaths that’d be a start. 

How to spend the winnings

Saturday I asked how we should spend the extra money in the state budget, which cries out for one-time spending because it’s only one-time money. Some responses, the first from Nathan Zacharias, who lobbies for the Rural Broadband Coalition:  

Virtual learning is here to stay in one form or another. We should use the surplus money to finally, FINALLY fully fund our state broadband grant program. 157,000 households don't have access to a 25mbps/3mbps connection. That number jumps to over 250,000 for 100mbps/20mbps. Most of these homes are in deeply rural communities. $120 million in the next biennium would cover the 25/3 households. This is one of those problems that throwing money at actually solves. Communities that are connected have done so much better in every way during the pandemic because of broadband.

Here at Reformer HQ, we like all kinds of socialism, including the geographic kind that Republicans can get behind. 

Another reader says they should just “pay the inflation of costs of ongoing programs of government. In fact, don’t even call it a surplus until we have subtracted that amount.”

Good point. 

A legislative observer says expect trouble ahead as lawmakers fight over the spoils: 

A surplus is like a mumbling zombie in a graveyard of legislative ambitions. And makes it so much harder to say ‘No,’ if you’re in leadership because the deficit could be the bad guy before.

On pandemic fatigue

I confessed to some pandemic fatigue, with serious books left on my nightstand unread while I scrolled garbage, and got some nice notes of both encouragement and fellow feeling: 

Reader Brandon: By this point, you have permission to spend your free time slack-jawed on the couch watching “Black Sails” juggling a sleeve of oreos and chips.

“Black Sails” is a pirate show, and, true story: The search for a Twin Cities grocer that sells gluten-free Oreos was an actual regular activity in my house pre-Lent. 

Reader T.M.: Shave and shower every day. Clean clothes and a variety is important to stay out of ruts. I walk everyday regardless of the weather. “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.” Eat dinner with my bride and give thanks every day. I have started to read the Bible every day and plan to complete it by year end. A lot of good things during tough times. Good luck.

Reader S.E thanked me.: I feel seen: I also have the books going unread on my nightstand at bedtime. Credit to my husband for coining this time of day “pajamazon” (pajamas-on), which is when you shop Amazon while wearing pajamas.

Reader S.M.: I spent some time the other night searching eBay for vintage salt and pepper grinders. Didn’t pull the trigger on any — it’s a big decision!

Reader L.L.: The National Weather Service website about 35 times a day. And Amazon of course…Stay off the blue screen devils at least an hour before going to bed.

Reader N.J.: BEST coping habit: A nightly mug of cider heated with with a cinnamon stick and a dash (or more?) of Jamesons or a hot chocolate made with Equal Exchange Spicy Cocoa mix and a dash of rye whiskey, cointreau, or whatever I’m in the mood for.

Glad it works for the reader but that might lead me to winding up in Vegas a couple days later without knowing how I got there, so sticking to Poshmark scrolling. 

FWIW: I feel like I snapped out of it this weekend. Read a fun story in New York about the “Pizza Pusha,” a guy opening a chain of pot pizzerias. And picked up a great novel that had been left unread for ages. Long walk Saturday, sledding Sunday. 

Keep your notes coming: 

Have a great day all! JPC


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