Daily Glean: A bailout bonus for newpapers: full-page ads saying all is well

The PiPress’ Rachel Stassen-Berger surveys local congressfolk about their support for the bailout now that a deal’s been cut. No one will put this on a bumper sticker, but Betty McCollum, Norm Coleman and Jim Oberstar sound like ayes, Tim Walz isn’t sure, and Michele Bachmann makes “no” noises but doesn’t flat out say that. The rest of the delegation is unheard from. MPR’s Jessica Mador quotes Oberstar saying public support is higher than the 30 percent advertised. Surely, a survey of congressional challengers is coming.

By the way, discredited financial giant AIG took out full-page ads in both dailies to tell you the insurance policy you bought from them is not screwed.

On the heels of David Phelps’ great Sunday Tom Petters recapitulation, the Strib’s Liz Fedor says Sun Country is trying not to need its troubled benefactor. That’ll be tough; Petters Aviation owns all airline shares and tossed in $25 million in subsidies. However, losses have dramatically slowed and the airline still sells tickets. Credit card companies don’t fork over your dough until after you fly. The airline probably needs to buy full-page ads in both dailies to tell you their flights are not screwed.

Fox9’s Jeff Baillon says the ethanol industry unduly influenced a state study. The document was used to seek the feds’ OK for a 20 percent renewable-fuel mandate. A whistleblower says the U outsourced data collection to … the Renewable Fuels Association. The RFA’s consultant sat in the cars and recorded the data. He also had a major role in crafting the document. The U defends against conflict of interest, but a third ethanol booster asks in an email if the trio will “rot in hell” for rewriting the report.

MPR’s Tim Post nabs an unreleased U med-school draft document governing conflict-of-interest policies. The “doctor doc” prohibits some gifts from medical companies but allows paid consultancies. Physicians may have to disclose all such arrangements; now, it’s only for $10,000-plus deals. An intriguing codicil would require doctors to inform patients of a financial relationship with a company whose drug or device they prescribe. A U bioethicist says that disclosure doesn’t go far enough.

Last week, Al Franken hit Norm Coleman for not investigating Iraq War contractor abuses while heading a Senate investigations subcommittee. There was a flurry of reports on the hit, and Coleman’s explanation why it wasn’t really his deal. But perhaps the most comprehensive look comes today from AP’s Patrick Condon. No smoking guns, but nice depth beyond the one-day back-and-forth.

I think this is kind of a big deal, but I don’t live there: Iron Ranger Dougie Johnson  is endorsing Norm Coleman, AP reports. Johnson was a longtime DFL House Tax Chair and a major obtainer of pork for the Range. Johnson says he’s never voted for a Republican before, and will otherwise vote all DFL, including for Obama. Surely there’s more to this story.

The statewide smoking ban turn 1 Wednesday and the PiPress’ Jason Hoppin does an early evaluation. A pro-ban group says public support in holding steady in the high-70-percent range. Pulltab-type charitable gambling, which brought in around $100 million monthly, is down 13 percent. No hard stats on bar receipts, but only seven fines have been issued. (Great compliance or scofflaws lying low after highly publicized theater nights?) Nicotine precursors traces in servers’ blood (I assume they used nonsmokers) has fallen 80 percent. [Update: yes, they did use nonsmokers — as the story states!]

Vote for this constitutional amendment or we won’t tell you how dirty your river is: The PiPress’ Dennis Lien notes the $25 million Clean Water Legacy Fund, which evaluates rivers, has no funds appropriated for next year. Conservation Minnesota alleges the program is dead if the habitat/arts sales-tax amendment fails in November. The group says outdoors/environment programs will be below 1 percent of next year’s budget; they made up 2.3 percent in 2000.

The U footballers may have lost to Ohio State Saturday, but there’s one area where Minnesota comes out on top: giving bankers access to students. MPR’s Martin Moylan says that Buckeye officials won’t allow banks to market on campus, partly to avoid exposing them to high overdraft charges. At the U, TCF Bank is omnipresent — and getting more so, since they paid $35 million to have their name on the new football stadium. Moylan does find that TCF overdraft fees are at industry average.

Red to purple: Target Corp. has upped donations to Democrats, the Strib reports. In 2004, 21 percent of Target’s Political Action Committee largesse made it to the Donkey Party; this year through July 31, the figure is 48 percent. Wal-Mart went from 22 percent to 47 percent. Both retailing biggies remain a bit more red than their industry.

I know the Socialist Workers Party presidential candidate won’t get many votes, but admit it: The party’s a bit more relevant post-bailout. The U magazine The Wake has an interview with Róger Calero, who was in town last week. Calero told the Wake’s Jeremy Peters that he predicted the financial meltdown in 2004, during his first presidential run.

Ever fancied a backyard windmill? KSTP’s Chris O’Connell has the tale of a Chanhassen man who wanted to save energy — only to find out residential windmills are banned. These are supposedly “quieter” than the industrial kind. Still, there’s no way for the guy to make his case; a ban’s a ban. O’Connell says many other cities have the same rule, and Channy may revisit theirs. By the way, I’ve done “urban wind” stories, and wonder if the homeowner can really cut his electric bills in half as claimed.

The Twins in limbo: If a tie is like kissing your sister, what’s a half-game lead while waiting for the second-place team to play a make-up game that might lead to a one-game tiebreaker? A wink from your hottest aunt? Anyway, Scott Baker proves the Twins’ real ace in a 6-0 regular-season ending win; the ChiSox-Detroit game is at 1:05 p.m. today. For stats geeks: Joe Mauer hasn’t won the batting title yet; a Tuesday playoff game counts toward the regular-season stats. But he’d have to go 0-7 to lose it.

Nort spews: The Brad Childress Farewell Tour continues with a 30-17 pasting in Tennessee. Then again, the Putrid Purple are only a game back of sputtering Green Bay and surprising Chicago.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Aaron Landry on 09/29/2008 - 10:06 am.

    Regarding the Dougie Johnson bit, you are right.

    http://minnesotaindependent.com/10813/norm-coleman-touts-lobbyist’s-endorsement-without-telling-you-he’s-a-lobbyist

  2. Submitted by Erik Ostrom on 09/29/2008 - 02:28 pm.

    No need to assume: the article cites a study of “24 nonsmoking bar, restaurant and bowling alley employees”. Also, “nicotine indicator” might be clearer than “precursor”.

  3. Submitted by Mark Snyder on 09/29/2008 - 03:34 pm.

    Re: the windmill story. How much a windmill can cut your electric use depends on what you’ve done to reduce usage before installing. The average Minnesota home uses about 750 KWH/mo.

    Seeing as how you can buy a 500 KWH/mo. wind turbine at Northern Tool for $8500, I’d say it could be possible to meet 50% of your usage with a $5000 turbine, especially since Chanhassen is not really that “urban” to begin with.

  4. Submitted by David Brauer on 09/29/2008 - 07:27 pm.

    #2 – Erik: thanks for the good catch.

    #3 – Mark: not quite sure how the NT turbine is rated, but ultimate production all depends on available wind resource and – especially deadly in an urban environment – turbulence. You need to have a fairly unencumbered piece of property to reach full efficiency, with unturbulent winds. I’m told fancy helical turbines are sold as turbulence-chasers, but at the cost of efficiency.

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