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This just in: Shutdown ends on Linda Henry's blog

Not that I'm pretending anyone will notice, but I'm going to blame my lack of recent blogging on Minnesota's government shutdown. I'm only being a little facetious. For me, the Republicans' inability to negotiate in good faith, in St. Paul and in DC, is mind-numbingly scary. I didn't realize how frozen I was until this afternoon, when news broke that Governor Mark Dayton had a deal on the table that could potentially end the shutdown. As soon as I saw the headline, I announced the news, even rising from my chair to make sure my cherished colleagues were up-to-the-minute on the possible end of the stalemate.

"I can see this is pretty important to you," a co-worker said, with just a hint of incredulity before returning to the conversation I'd so rudely interrupted. (I work in the private sector, which is not incidental to the story, although I will leave it parenthetical.) Of course it's important. State workers are out of work. Until yesterday, poor working families were without childcare assistance, which threatened their income. A state park was ransacked. Millions of dollars have been lost and new expenses have been incurred.

Minnesota is in a budget crisis because our previous governor, Tim Pawlenty, kicked things down the road, fiscally speaking. Now he's touring the country hoping to be the Republican presidential nominee, bragging about Minnesota's 2005 government shutdown. Because that worked out so well for us. It's also annoying to watch him pretending not to be annoyed by Michelle Bachmann, also a Minnesota Republican, also praying (fervently, self-righteously) to run against President Obama, whom she has called un-American (he's black, you know).

Michelle Bachmann believes that wives should submit to their husbands, which certainly raises questions about who her husband is, seeing as how she wants to be president of the United States. In case you haven't heard, her husband is a marriage counselor who runs a Christian counseling center that claims to "pray away the gay." The Bachmann family business accepts Medicaid payments, even though Mrs. Bachmann denounces the program as adding to the welfare rolls. Apparently she meant it's only bad for others to accept Medicaid funding, not for her job-creating family business. Just curious, but did Medicaid pay for any pray-away-the-gay sessions? Because if so, I would have to agree that Medicaid funding is being misused.

As I said, it's mind-numbing. And even though the settlement reached in Minnesota isn't exactly satisfying, at least it's settled. Probably. For now. Next we'll see how the debt-ceiling debate plays out. And then there's the 2012 election. I'll try to just blog nice things about my turtle, but no promises. Unlike politicians, he hibernates at least half the year.
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