J. Patrick Coolican | Editor-in-Chief

Good morning. 

Our usual Friday Reformer Max Nesterak is working on an important project, which you can read next week, so I’m filling in for him.

News out of the First Congressional District. Cliff Maloney Jr., a political consultant and former president of Young Americans for Liberty, has been charged with drugging and raping a woman while he was a student at the University of Pittsburgh. This follows some similar accusations online, according to Daily Beast

Now the connection to the First CD: Jacob Rubashkin, a reporter for Inside Politics, tweeted that Maloney “has been assisting leading GOP candidate state Rep. Jeremy Munson in the upcoming special election on May 24.”

There’s no attribution, but a GOP source told me this is the case, evidenced in part because Maloney, who is not a local, has tweeted about Munson, like when U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie endorsed Munson. 

I asked Munson about it: 

“(Maloney) has helped liberty people connect and network and he has done that for me and hundreds of others across the country. I just learned of this decade-old incident with everyone else yesterday. It's shocking and I hope it finds a resolution soon.”

Neither Maloney nor his firm show up on Munson’s campaign finance report, and he told me Maloney won’t show up on the next one either.

Recall that Jennifer Carnahan, who is also running to replace her late husband U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, invited accused sex trafficker Anton Lazzaro to their wedding. 

What a way to start your morning!

Today’s Reformer

Henry Pan has a good and comprehensive review of the transportation bills at the Legislature. Lots of money, lots of ideas, but lots of disagreement, too. As he notes, they do have some consensus on figuring out what the heck is wrong with Met Council’s management of Southwest LRT, having already passed a bill for a legislative audit; cracking down on speeding; and getting more charging stations built. Read it. 

Rilyn Eischens went back and listened to the House floor session from Tuesday, when “Republicans repeated debunked tales about schools providing litter boxes for students who identify as cats during debate over the House education budget bill Wednesday.”

What an embarrassment. 

Ricardo Lopez reports lawmakers finally came to an agreement on replenishing the unemployment insurance trust fund and getting hazard pay money to essential workers. 

If you were to ask two months ago where they’d wind up, I’d have told you this is the exact deal they would arrive at. So why did they waste two months, which created an unnecessary burden for businesses that had to prepare for a payroll tax hike, while essential workers kept waiting for their money? 

Our commentary today is from Laura Mortenson of Minnesota Budget Project. She highlights a couple important programs the Legislature should enact: Some good fixes to the renters’ credit, and child care spending. 

Problems with greater Minnesota broadband internet funding

Walker Orenstein has a good review of the holdup, including DFL infighting. 

No knockin’

I haven’t listened but this WaPo podcast on no-knock warrants looks good and relevant given the police killing of Amir Locke. (H/t Javier.) 
Drugs and how to regulate them

More Americans died last year of drug overdoses than ever before — topping 100,000 — and 50% more than pre-pandemic. German Lopez writes in the New York Times that the typical progressive response — let’s legalize and regulate — doesn’t have a great record, if you consider opioids. Remember that it started with legally prescribed painkillers. One problem is that in the American system, it’s too easy for the regulators to get captured, for the companies to aggressively market and sell, which then worsens rates of addiction. 

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about the drug overdose issue, especially its rise during the pandemic. I think this recent piece about Americans’ anti-social behavior in The Atlantic — punching airline attendants and all that — may not seem related but actually is. 

People seem to be struggling to find meaning in their lives. Maybe they used to find it in religion, or closer community and familial ties, and those bonds are frayed.  

Obviously this is not a new thing. (I mean, it’s like the entire human condition.) But let’s go to the 1970s, when former President Jimmy Carter talked about a “crisis of confidence” in a speech that history has derided, but I find to be quite poignant and at times profound. 

I find meaning in the sound of leaves rustling, a sonnet or a sonata, and even washing dishes, but I realize I’m incredibly lucky. 

OK, forgive my reveries. Here’s your lunch read: 

If you’re longing for #VanLife (Max!) be sure to read this travelogue of a week in California in a van. It’s quite funny and educational. 

The following evening, as we prepared for bed, I wondered aloud, in a nonchalant tone that made it clear I wasn’t asking for myself, if there was “definitely enough oxygen in the van, right?”

“Yes,” Michael said.

“Even when all the doors and windows are closed … ” I said.

“You know how you can be inside your house with all the doors and windows closed, and not suffocate?” Michael said. “It’s like that.”

I’ll have your Weekend Reformer tomorrowish. Have a great weekend all! JPC

correspond: patrick@minnesotareformer.com





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