The Washington Post would have you know that Fox News hasn't cornered the market on political analysts who are easy on the eyes.

In his Metro section front-pager today-- "Leaping from scandal to punditry: Racy photos pushed Va. candidate Krystal Ball into commentary"* -- reporter Ben Pershing offered Post readers a puffy profile on the 29-year-old one-time Democratic candidate for Virginia's 1st District House seat.

Ball's long-shot campaign seized national media attention, Pershing reminded readers, after some risque photos from a costume party came to light.

Dennis Miller on Wednesday weighed in on Newsweek's disgraceful cover of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

Speaking with Fox News's Bill O'Reilly, America's favorite conservative comedian said, "Tina Brown is a mean girl" and "Michele Bachmann should not trust the mean girls on the Left" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

Liberal bias is rampant among the media, but there is no more tangible example of it than in how the media treat Conservative women. The most recent cover of Newsweek features a very wide-eyed Michele Bachmann, looking surprised and unattractive. Perhaps more disturbing is the caption Newsweek placed below the presidential candidate's photo: "Queen of Rage."

Bachmann, an attractive 55 year-old mother of five, is a three term member of the House of Representatives, constitutional conservative and prominent voice of the Tea Party movement. But if you get your information from liberals or the mainstream media, you might know her as 'crazy,' a "zombie" a"phony-ass broad" and a "skank."

Fareed Zakaria on Sunday blamed the Tea Party for the "extraordinary polarization in Washington today."

"It's ideologically extreme, refuses to compromise, and cares more about purity than problem solving," Zakaria told viewers of the CNN program bearing his name (video follows with transcript and commentary):

Last night (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that the State of Minnesota, where the government is shut down but spokesman for the Department of Public Safety Doug Neville is somehow still working, is demanding that MillerCoors pull its products from Gopher State store shelves within days, and identified a number of questions non-inquisitive Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Eric Roper should have asked and didn't.

One of the questions which didn't make my list, which wasn't intended to be comprehensive, is: "How much money is involved?" As seen in the headline, the answer is so trivial that it almost costs more to think about it than to say what it is. The potential embarrassment over this matter may partially explain why Democratic Farm Labor Governor Mark Dayton appears to have sued for peace this morning (covered later in this post). Readers will also have a hard time believing the penny-ante amount over which retailers whose "buyer's cards" have expired will from all appearances be prevented from buying alcoholic beverages for resale.

Well, I guess it's getting serious now in the melodrama known as the Minnesota state government shutdown.

If the Gopher State shutdown goes on much longer, hundreds of bars and restaurants will lose their ability to serve alcohol because they can't renew their liquor licenses. Worse, as reported by Eric Roper at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, MillerCoors, whose "brand license" somehow expired, will, be forced to "pull its beer from Minnesota liquor stores, bars and restaurants." The economic ripple effect will have a lot of Minnesotans crying in their beer, if they can find any.

If there's a less curious reporter than Eric Roper, I don't want to meet him. I've seen pet rocks with more curiosity than the Strib reporter demonstrated in the linked report. Consider the following paragraphs which Roper relayed without any hint of an attempt at follow-up:

In their Sunday evening coverage of the Minnesota government shutdown, Associated Press reporters Steve Karnowski and Amy Forliti failed to mention any form of the word "tax," failed to mention "spending" in the context of government outlays, and fretted that a prolonged shutdown might cause a "brain drain" from state government.

The failure to bring up taxes is clearly the item's most egregious oversight, since the shutdown is all about taxes, specifically Democratic Governor Mark Dayton's refusal to sign a state budget that doesn't contain tax increases on high income-earners.

Looking for updates on the Connecticut state budget mess earlier this afternoon, I searched the Associated Press's national site on the last name of Democratic Nutmeg State Governor Dannel Malloy, and found nothing recent (graphic saved here for future reference).

But there were two stories originating from the state which the wire service, the nation's de facto news gatekeeper, deemed worthy of national attention. Brace yourself.

I had to do a double take when I looked over this afternoon's dispatch out of St. Paul, Minnesota from Patrick Condon of the Associated Press.

Readers unfamiliar with the Gopher State budget impasse to this point would fail to learn from the AP report that the dispute is all about raising taxes. Democratic Governor Mark Dayton wants tax increases on "the wealthy" (which really means high income-earners, whether or not they happen to be wealthy). The state's top marginal tax rate is already a very high 7.85%.

Dayton has chosen to shut down the government because the Republican-controlled legislature won't pass a budget containing his desired tax increases. It really is that simple. Minnesota's government is closed (actually, partially closed) because Mark Dayton chose to close it. Period.

Maybe we ought to nickname him Rip Van Geier.

In his coverage of this weekend's We The People Convention in Columbus, Ohio early Saturday morning, Columbus Dispatch reporter Ben Geier found it "surprising" that many attendees would "go after the Republican Party and House Speaker John Boehner" in expressing their opinions relating to developments in Washington. It's as if he's totally unaware of what the movement's leading members and its grass roots activists have been saying (and proving) since the first anti-stimulus rallies in early 2009 (and at earlier events--see this comment below), since Utah Tea Partiers unceremoniously ousted supposedly entrenched incumbent Bob Bennett in May 2010, and since Ohio Tea Partiers ran serious but largely unsuccessful opposition candidates for State Auditor, Secretary of State, and the State Republican Party's Central Committee slots that spring.

Since Rip Van Geier missed it, here's the message: The Tea Party movement isn't about propping up a party; it's about electing sensible, Constitution-following conservatives to political office regardless of party, revising state and federal laws to reflect constitutional principles, and of course educating the general populace about those principles and their importance.

The New York Times once again checks in with a hostile peek at Florida’s conservative Gov. Rick Scott. Don Van Natta Jr. and Gary Fineout reported from Miami on Scott’s poll travails, even suggesting his current low standing could cost the Republicans the state in the 2012 presidential election, a mere 16 months away: “Sinking Poll Numbers May Put Florida in Play – Strategists Sy the Governor’s Unpopularity Could Cost Republicans in 2012.”

In the past few weeks, Gov. Rick Scott has traveled around the state extolling the accomplishments of the recent legislative session and promoting his success in pushing Florida down a more conservative, financially sound path.

Gov. Rick Scott at the budget signing in May, which was marred by reports that some Democrats were removed from the event

So why is his approval rating the lowest of any governor in America?

I can't say that I'm up on what every state is doing, but it's hard not to notice contrasts between two trios of states singing decidedly different tunes:

  • Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey, three states with recently elected conservative Republican governors, have either put their budgets to bed, or are on the verge of doing so, by cutting costs and not raising taxes.
  • Connecticut, Minnesota, and California, three states with recently elected liberal governors who are Democrats, are on the verge of a shutdown, serious layoffs, or issuing IOUs. All three governors have enacted or want tax increases.

So how is the press covering these situations?