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Gov. Mark Dayton launches two health care task forces

MORNING EDITION

Gov. Dayton has two new task forces. Jake Grovum’s Politics in Minnesota story says: “Dayton on Monday issued an executive order establishing two separate health care task forces, one to work on broad health care reform initiatives and another to develop the state’s health insurance exchange. ... The continuing push to establish a health care exchange will likely put the adminstration at odds with many Republicans at the Capitol. Some among the GOP majorities, including Senate Health and Human Services Chairman David Hann, have questioned whether Dayton can move forward without legislative support or authority. Hann, at an August news conference with other legislative Republicans, threatened to take the issue to court if need be.”

Doug Belden’s PiPress story includes the names of almost everyone involved.


MPR’s Euen Kerr and Elizabeth Dunbar offer the station’s response to the death of longtime “Prairie Home” player Tom Keith: “[Garrison] Keillor also praised Keith's creativity. ‘Tom was one of radio's great clowns,’ he said. ‘He was serious about silliness and worked hard to get a moo exactly right and the cluck too and the woof. His whinny was amazing — noble, vulnerable, articulate. He did bagpipes, helicopters, mortars, common drunks, caribou (and elands and elk and wapiti), garbage trucks backing up, handsaws and hammers, and a beautiful vocalization of a man falling from a great height into piranha-infested waters.’ Whenever Keith came onstage for a sketch, Keillor said, the audience watched intently. ‘They could hear me but they wanted to see Tom, same as you'd watch any magician,’ he said. ‘Boys watched him closely to see how he did the shotgun volleys, the singing walrus, the siren, the helicopter, the water drips.' "

Today in Bachmannia:  I think it’s safe to say the gentle and euphemistic phase is over in the relationship between Our Favorite Congresswoman and ex-campaign boss, Ed Rollins. At ABC News, Russell Goldman writes: “Ed Rollins, who left the campaign in September, said the Minnesota congresswoman had backed off earlier comments by her campaign that Iowa was a ‘must-win’ state because she lacked the finances, campaign structure, and ideas to win the first-in-the-nation caucus state. ‘She’s still saying the same things she said in the first debate. There’s no substance. She says, ‘I’m going to repeal Obamacare.’ But she’s been saying that from Day 1. I told her: That’s your Tea Party speech, now you have to say what you’re going to do next.’ ... Rollins said he left the campaign because he didn’t want to spend an Iowa winter ‘fighting with a candidate who wouldn’t listen and had no money.’ The campaign should focus solely on Iowa, he told her, but he says she wanted to campaign early on in New Hampshire, Florida and South Carolina. There’s been no love lost between Rollins and Bachmann in the weeks since he left the campaign. They’ve traded barbs in the media. Bachmann recently joked that she wished she had Googled Rollins before hiring him. But Rollins, who took former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to victory in Iowa in 2008, said Bachmann approached him three [or] four times for the job.”

As for Our Guy, T-Paw, the latest polling out of Iowa shows very few wish he were still an option. Jennifer Jacobs at the Des Moines Register says: “Do Iowa’s likely GOP caucusgoers wish Pawlenty were still running? Not really. Only 5 percent said T-Paw would be their first choice if he were still in the race, and 12 percent would consider him their second choice. Sixty-six percent said it would not matter. ‘Of course, had he continued to campaign, he might have moved the needle,’ pollster J. Ann Selzer said. ‘But as of now, few are longing for him.’ Nine percent said Pawlenty would be the candidate they liked the least.” You rouse all that passion, and that’s the thanks you get ...

Also from the Register, columnist Kathie Obradovich wonders, “Why Cain and not Bachmann?”  “Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, has executive experience. Bachmann, a former lawyer for the Internal Revenue Service, has faced skepticism of her leadership qualifications, even though she touts her status as a small-business owner. The Iowa Poll shows 71 percent of likely caucus-goers think business experience is more important than government experience for the next president. Maybe more significant than all of that — people just seem to like Cain. In the new Iowa Poll, only 3 percent pick him as the candidate they like least. Bachmann, who had 65 percent favorability just four months ago, now is least-liked by a plurality of 16 percent. In this, at least, she’s ahead of Romney by just two percentage points. Cain’s just lucky he doesn’t have to try to squeeze into Bachmann’s spike-heeled pumps.”

The New York Times' David Carr recalls his experience as editor of the now-defunct Twin Cities Reader when then-publisher R.T. Rybak prohibited sex ads: “At the time, we were under fire for publishing ads for strip clubs, escort services and massage parlors. The staff and the publisher at the time, R. T. Rybak, were keenly attuned to the community and always looking for points of difference from City Pages, our weekly competitor. With support from the staff, Mr. Rybak announced that we would no longer take ads that ‘objectified’ women, a bold move. It was thought that beyond the good will we earned in the community, other, non-racy advertisers might find our paper to be a more suitable platform. Our critics, including many women’s groups, were thrilled at their victory and congratulated us on our sensitivity. The policy went into effect, wiping out, as I recall, about 15 percent of the bottom line. City Pages left its ad policy unchanged. Some of what we lost went to them and little in the way of new ads materialized to fill the hole.”

It comes as a surprise. Joe Senser is closing his Eagan restaurant. Wendy Lee of the Strib writes: “Joe Senser's Restaurant and Sports Theater said Monday it has closed its Eagan location, surprising the local community. ‘I'm as shocked as anybody else,’ said Joel Lehman, the property's owner. Lehman drove to the restaurant on Eagandale Place Monday, only to see closed signs on the door. Lehman said the restaurant's rent lasted until today. He said he wasn't at liberty to discuss the restaurant's financial performance or rent payments.”

A Strib commentary from dance artist Mirah Ammal expresses a certain mystification over how a Vikings stadium fits into Legacy funding: “I cannot envision a credible argument that would link a Vikings stadium to Legacy Amendment funding in any manner consistent with the intent of the amendment and the public support for it. The Legacy fund was established to help protect the environmental and cultural/arts legacy in our state. The currently proposed Vikings stadium supports neither, and taking money from this fund would result in having less funding available to the organizations and causes for which the fund was established.” Uh-huh. But other than that ... hell of an idea, right?

Another Strib commentary, also on the perils of easy money, comes from St. Thomas law school dean Thomas Mengler: “How ironic that a short distance from the Occupy MN protests, some government leaders have launched into high gear to approve a supposed revenue stream that respected empirical studies suggest will be anything but. These several studies indicate that a downtown casino could disproportionately burden the city's poor, increase felony crime and impose greater costs, not increased revenues, on the city, the county and Minnesota. If support for this casino is linked to a new Vikings stadium, then the working and jobless poor will pay much more than their fair share for professional football. In 1999, the nonpartisan National Gambling Impact Study Commission called for a moratorium on new gambling sites in America. Important to the commission was its finding that families who earn less than $50,000 a year contributed more than 80 percent of gambling revenue. Gamblers with annual incomes less than $10,000 spent almost three times as much on gambling as those with incomes of more than $50,000.” The dean doesn’t seem to be buying the promise of an “upscale,” “Vegas-style” casino.

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Comments (5)

This is a sad commentary about this country. This man was no sloutch; he evidently worked most of his life and is now down on his luck. My only problem with Obama-care is that it didn't go far enough and fast enough. When any American dies because he or she can't afford health care should use "Penny Health" for insurance meanwhile

So governor Dayton's cynical efforts to build a "people's stadium" for the Minnesota Vikings when it's clear "the people" don't want to pay for one is running into headwinds. How astonishing. I don't think even Tim Pawlenty would have had the nerve to suggest raiding the Legacy fund.

Here's a suggestion: Let's stop pretending we can subsidize the Vikings without spending any real money. Let's test the whole stadium proposition straight up. Pass a plan to pay for the public's share of the stadium with money from the General Fund...and then hold a statewide referendum. Make the people's stadium be one.

Let's be clear. It wasn't Gov. Dayton that proposed stealing from the Legacy fund. It was Republican legislators.

The biggest favor that the State of Minnesota could pay the rest of the nation would be to refuse to play along with the shake down/protection/extortion racket being run by Major League Sports by which fabulously wealthy team owners seek to force local citizens of moderate or lower means to funnel even more money into their already-overstuffed pockets.

Let's all do each other a favor and let Mr. Wilf auction the location of his very mediocre franchise off to the highest bidder. Then we can watch some other city have their hearts broken year after year after year.

One of my favorite Tom Keith comedy bits didn't involve sound effects. On the old MPR "Prairie Home Morning Show," he and Keillor used to do fake commercials for St. Paul businesses. One of these was a breakfast theater, where downtown office workers could have breakfast and catch a show on their way to work. But to get people to work on time, the shows had to be shortened a little. For example, in the Breakfast Theater version of "My Fair Lady," Eliza Doolittle could speak perfect English at the start of the play.

Apparently, when the discussion turns to the desires of a new stadium for the Vikings, all rational thought goes out the window.

The Wilfs and Sid Hartman (close, personal friend of everyone in sports) want a new stadium and have labeled the Metrodome as insufficient. They want the taxpayers to pay for the bulk of their new $1 billion plus shrine, yet the Vikes would benefit from the parking revenue, "luxury" suites, concessions, etc, etc. Oh, and they would also get to develop other revenue-generating entities on the property, such as a hotel. They would do this of course using the hundreds of millions they didn't have to spend building their own stadium.

Now the prospect of them possibly leaving town if they don't get a stadium deal has come up, and the media are all too happy to hype that. They fail to realize it's not going to happen, simply because it requires a large enough majority of NFL owners to approve that it's impossible in the current environment, and L.A. is just as cash-strapped as we are. It's a hollow threat.

But what our leadership hasn't got a clue about is what's really going on here: blackmail. The Wilf's are dangling the prospect of moving if they don't get their way with a new stadium. Any sane person knows that if you give into blackmail or extortion once, they'll do it again. Which is ever reason to make them scale back their plans severely and build a stadium with their own money. After all, if it's such a great deal for the public, it should be an even better deal for the Vikes.

Unfortunately, study after study shows that building sports stadiums with public money does not pay for itself and does not benefit the public.

The Vikes don't need a new stadium, and they certainly don't need one built with taxpayer dollars. If the Wilf's are such genius businessmen, they can cough up the money to build their shrine themselves.