In anticipation of a McCain-Palin appearance in Blaine today, WCCO’s Pat Kessler scores a one-on-one with Barack Obama; the full five-minute video here. They talk financial meltdown — Obama pushes a “comprehensive solution” with maximal haircuts for failed-company execs and investors. However, he balks at Kessler’s figure of “trillion dollars of debt in that agency.” Obama favors a ’30s-era agency that held housing notes until the market recovered. McCain hasn’t provided clear ideas, Obama contends.
You know, there’s a hot U.S. Senate race, and while people kvetch about the ads, why does the Strib bury an actual issue story on B4? Anyway, the Strib’s Pat Doyle says an Al Franken ad attacking Norm Coleman for Social Security privatization is “not quite” fair, but Coleman hands the DFLer a free pass by refusing to be specific about a “personal accounts” plan. One expert says such accounts don’t necessarily touch benefits as Franken implies; another agrees with Al that this takes money from the financing system.
Related: The PiPress’ Rachel Stassen Berger fact-checks a Coleman response ad saying he voted to let the feds negotiate with drug companies; Coleman said yes in 2007 but no in 2003 to a comprehensive bill that became law. Coleman alleges Franken didn’t want seniors to get drug coverage; Franken says he opposed the ’03 bill because of the drug company provision, not the basic concept.
Minnesota’s jobless rate leaped to 6.2 percent in August, a 23-year high. The Strib’s Mike Meyers says three times as many people are looking for work as there are openings. And MPR’s Bob Collins notes most of the openings pay crap, unless you’re a nurse. Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder’s Charles Hallman talks to state candidates about black unemployment, which is over 10 percent nationally and perhaps triple that on Minneapolis’ North Side. The PiPress’ story features a great chart.
A State Investment Board head says his two Minnesota public pension funds “are not overly exposed” to problem stocks, the Strib’s Dave Phelps writes. KSTP provides the actual return: down 5 percent from a year ago. (Sounds good to this investor right now!) Some teachers may be forced to up contributions. Also, dealmaking at major Twin Cities law firm Dorsey & Whitney slipped 26 percent in the April-June second quarter from a year earlier. One can only imagine what it’s like now.
Hah! For all the bridge-opening ballyhoo, some of the 35W span’s lanes will be closed this weekend so crews can finish work, the Strib’s Jim Foti reports. Just like old times. There’s still a nice clog on Washington Avenue waiting to get on the northbound ramp.
Northwest Airlines will be profitable in the third quarter, the Strib’s Liz Fedor says. Higher fares and fees amid lower fuel prices (and savvy hedges) will do that to an airline. Northwest should make $150 million to $200 million a year in checked-bag fees alone.
Real estate may be dragging down the economy, but one Uptown apartment project sold for $30 million; 70 potential bidders signed confidentiality agreements, Finance & Commerce’s Burl Gilyard reports. Sources credit pent-up demand for the area, and Gilyard highlights other rockin’ area apartment complexes.
A new Blue Cross health plan will lock in prices for three years, the Strib’s Chen May Yee reports. The PiPress’ Christopher Snowbeck focuses on the “catch”: Benefits can change during the term, so employees could find “significantly higher” deductibles over the term. The plan would be linked to Health Savings Accounts, and workers must get health risk assessments and get wellness coaching. Such a deal: There will be 6 percent hikes in years two and three. The plan is aimed at businesses with 51-249 workers.
AP’s Brian Bakst looks at how the presidential candidates are working the state’s hunting crowd. McCain scored a massive hit with moose-killer Sarah Palin, and his candidate “has built a presence at local gun shows.” Obama has radio ads featuring an ex-NFL player saying both nominees will “make sure we can keep our guns.” A habitat sales tax ballot measure might work in McCain’s favor. Obama’s losing the gun vote by 36 points; it’d be nice if there was a comparison to Kerry or Gore.
The St. Paul Port Authority will buy 3M’s Phalen Boulevard land for $3.5 million. It’s a 45-acre site that’s been on the market for a couple of years; the Authority will buy 35 acres now and has an option for the rest by 2011. The PiPress’ Jason Hoppin calls the whole-parcel purchase a “coup.” The Strib’s Chris Havens says there are no prospective tenants, though 3M will keep 1,000 employees there for the next few years. The Authority’s first step is to demolish valueless buildings. Good map with the PiPress story.
A Winona teen headed off to the RNC-timed Rage Against The Machine concert was cited for ripping a U.S. flag to pieces, burning it with cigarettes, and writing on it, the AP reports. He did it in a school bathroom just before skipping, and officials say a piece was hanging from his back pocket. What’s the penalty for that expression?
Bummer: The Minnesota Zephyr dinner train will become stationary Jan. 1. Moving up and down the 6-mile Stillwater-area route grew too expensive, the Strib’s Allie Shah reports. The PiPress’ Mary Divine says the owner pulled the plug on a planned recreational trial and will probably sell to neighboring landowners. The Zephyr will be anchored at the Stillwater Depot. Again, good PiPress online map. (This seems to be a theme today.)
MPR’s Tim Nelson has a neat piece on a new “artificial stream” U researchers built in Minneapolis. The $600,000 waterway allows them to expose tinkering to real-world conditions.
Hmm: A hit-hungry U.S. News says Eden Prairie is the nation’s third-best place for retirees, the Strib’s Laurie Blake writes. I expect a reverse influx from Arizona and Florida any day. The criteria were: living costs, climate, crime rate, health-care access, eeucational opportunities and cultural/recreational amenities.
Former hard-hitting Vikings safety Joey Browner will stage an improbable write-in campaign for Eagan City Council, the PiPress’ Frederick Melo reports. Browner missed the filing deadline and only moved to the city (from Pierz!) last November.
Nort spews: Is there anything more exciting than the Square-Up-To-Bunt-Then-Swing-Away play? Adam Everett pulled that one off as the Twins scored five in the ninth to beat Tampa Bay 11-8. Minnesota is now a reasonable-seeming game-and-a-half back of Chicago. And lucky Gus Frerotte! His first start coincides with Adrian Peterson being gimpy. All Day will play, but we might not see him; the Vikes have until 2 p.m. today to sell out the Carolina game.Sore loser here and here.