Strib: House Democrats rally support for troops bill
It's looking as if the appropriations supplemental bill will pass in the House today, according to the Strib's latest reporting, House Democrats rally support for troops bill. The status of the Minnesota delegation:
After being considered undecided for the past few weeks, Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., said Thursday that he will vote for the House supplemental bill.
"The president is asking for a blank check to continue this war. Our troops are under hostile fire. They deserve an exit plan that brings them home with honor. If the president won't do it, Congress must," Oberstar said.
Democratic Reps. Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum and Tim Walz have also said they will support it.
Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., who wants an earlier pullout date, was leaning toward voting against the bill Thursday.
Republican Reps. John Kline, Jim Ramstad and Michele Bachmann oppose the legislation . . .
The paper also notes in a separate article, Farm relief worth billions hangs in balance, that the appropriations supplemental bill contains disaster relief for farmers.
Washington Post: Liberals Relent on Iraq War Funding
The Washington Post looks at the scuffle on the left over the bill. The head of VoteVets, an organization that purchased air time for hard-hitting tv ads in the First during last year's elections, is quoted:
To many in the movement against the Iraq war, the liberal opposition to the bill was as maddening as it was mystifying.
"You really have two options here: One is that you can vote for a change of course here and say we're going to find a way out of Iraq, or, two, you can vote against it and hand George Bush a victory," said Jon Soltz, a veteran of the Iraq war and co-founder of VoteVets.org, a group that opposes the war. "It doesn't make sense to me. George Bush got us into the war. They have challenged him on everything. Why would they give him this victory now?" he asked, referring to the liberals.
Sirota is always a good read; in another post yesterday, he notes that Norm Coleman voted against $357.5 million in property tax relief for Minnesota taxpayers.
Austin Daily Herald: Walz supports Iraq bill
The Herald reports that Walz supports Iraq bill with pull-out date.
Mankato Free Press: Biofuels an opportunity for region
The Free Press editorial board hopes for a continuing boom in biofuels, noting the importance of new renewable fuel measures proposed for the 2007 Farm Bill:
Key to getting some of the Minnesota programs up and running will be our ability to have in place programs and incentives for Minnesota farmers and energy entrepreneurs to connect to federal programs for renewable energy that are likely to crop up in the 2007 farm bill.
This will be the first farm bill, which cover up to five years, that will have a renewable energy section. The federal government has already been funding pilot projects in Iowa that use cellulose for ethanol production.
That the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Collin Peterson, is from Minnesota will also be beneficial to getting this cutting-edge industry going.
Experts at the University of Minnesota say the future of ethanol will be in the area of using cellulose from native grasses, but the establishment of large scale, efficient and profitable operations may be five years away. They urge that the farm bill include some incentives for farmers to plant the cellulosic varieties to give the up-and-coming industry a good shot at having a ready supply of material.
New Ulm Journal: Sleepy Eye soldier injured in Iraq
A young National Guard soldier from Sleepy Eye is being treated for burns in San Antonio, Texas.
A Sleepy Eye National Guardsman stationed in Iraq was injured Monday when the Hum-Vee he was patrolling in ran over an explosive device.
Spc. Robert "B.J." Sprenger, 22, suffered burns over 30 to 35 percent of his body when he was thrown from the vehicle, said his grandmother, Irene Sprenger of Comfrey. Sprenger is a member of the 125th Field Artillery Guard unit based in New Ulm.
His grandmother observes that he might have been home now had it now been for the extension of the deployment:
Sprenger, a 2003 graduate of Sleepy Eye Public High School, enlisted in the National Guard before graduation, when he was 17. He was 22 on March 20. He was one of the 2,600 Minnesota National Guards deployed to Iraq a year ago, and whose homecoming was delayed by President Bush's troop surge.
"He would have been home by this time, if their tour hadn't been extended," said Irene Sprenger.
She has spoken to B.J. often, said Irene Sprenger, but he didn't say much about his activities or his feelings about Iraq. He had recently turned down an offer to re-enlist, she said.
"I think he didn't want to scare me," she said. "I finally asked, "Is it dangerous going out on patrol?" and he said "Yes." I asked, "Do you find anything when you go out on patrol?" and he said, "We find a few explosives." I asked him, "Do you know why you're fighting?" and he just said, "It's a religious war and a civil war."
Rochester Post Bulletin: Union-haters resort to paternalistic blather
A union member responds to attacks on the Employee Free Choice Act in Union-haters resort to paternalistic blather.
A final note
We were sorry to hear the news of the return of Elizabeth Edward's cancer. Over the years, too many of our close friends have battled breast cancer. We don't know Mrs. Edwards, though she and Gwen Walz are friends. May Elizabeth's journey help to educate more women about breast cancer.