Al Franken — now down 10 points in a new poll, and only 14 points ahead of Dean Barkley — came out against the bailout. He wanted more regulatory oversight and foreclosure protection, AP’s Brian Bakst reports. A Coleman spokesman calls Franken’s position “extreme” even though a House majority rejected a pre-porkaholic bill earlier this week. The PiPress doesn’t do its own story, and the Strib only writes four paragraphs on the deal. Isn’t this a seminal campaign story deserving more analysis?
Related: A Franken ad pulls out the big emotional guns: wife Franni admitting her alcoholism and testifying to Al’s steadfast support. It adds a poignant backstory for your next viewing of “Stuart Saves His Family.” The Strib spends more paragraphs on this. The Coleman and Barkley campaigns take the high road here. KTCA’s Mary Lahammer notes Barkley has recently talked about his drinking and depression, and “Almanac” will air a Franken family segment next Friday.
The PiPress’ Bill Salisbury localizes the Sarah Palin debate story with a trip to female-dominated St. Kate’s. The students aren’t voting for Palin but echo classic feminist complaints that she’s being judged more harshly than Biden on appearance and style. One says Palin projected the self-confidence St. Kate’s encourages, but not the civic compassion. Interesting read. MPR’s focus group of undecideds remained, well, undecided.
Late-breaking: Turns out Wells Fargo will acquire failing North Carolina megabank Wachovia after all, AP reports. Citigroup had been announced as the buyer. Wells’ action saves the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. big money, though how much is unstated in early reports. A report earlier this week fretted that Wells was missing out on a chance to become one of the nation’s Big Three banks. Will it qualify now?
Fox9’s Jeff Baillon has a fascinating piece on a California dude selling soon-to-be-bulldozed local foreclosures. Hand-scrawled For Sale signs promise “$500 down, $375 a month,” but if the ignorant buyer signs up, they’re on the hook for the $17,000 demolition fee. The board-ups are being knocked down because they’re in such crappy shape; neighborhood activists say desperate/ignorant buyers have no clue how much they’d pay for fix-up. The city of Minneapolis admits it should slap on better demo notices.
Is that a hissing sound? Sun Country informed workers the airline could shut down Dec. 1. Only a federally mandated notice, management says; they still expect to be flying but need employees to defer half their regular pay. Tom Petters can no longer be counted on to smooth cash flow. The PiPress’ John Welbes says the airline announced Petters and an ally, David Baer, resigned from the board. Fox9’s site has Sun Country’s statement and employee memo.
A coming crunch? The Business Journal’s Katherine Grayson says Chanhassen-based Lifetime Fitness is selling off property to pay down debt. It will continue to lease the Arizona and Maryland properties.
Yikes: A Monticello nuke plant shutdown was scary enough that a five-person special investigation team was dispatched, the Strib’s Tom Meersman writes. The plant returned to action Wednesday after a three-week shutdown. No radiation was released, but multiple systems didn’t work right after a main electrical source was disconnected. Such teams are sent seven or eight times a year to the nation’s 103 operating plants.
Minnesota banks have given out 20 percent fewer Small Business Administration loans, the PiPress’ Nicole Garrison-Sprenger notes. Much of this was pre-credit crunch, but bankers and business owners accuse each side of being timid. Context: MinnPost has noted that the 20 percent reduction is coming after the SBA’s biggest local loan-granting year ever.
Back to the bailout: Minnesota Independent’s Paul Demko debriefs Minneapolis congressman Keith Ellison, who angered his district’s lefties (and presumably some others) by going pro-bailout.
The Minneapolis School District missed four of five self-imposed student achievement targets, the Strib’s Patrice Relerford reports. Superintendent Bill Green says some gains “almost kept pace with, met, or even exceeded the Minnesota state average” but “we have to move faster and further — and jump higher — than any other district in the state.” The district goes to the polls next month for a $60 million referendum, double the current total. MPR’s Bob Collins has some background.
The woman who cashed a misaddressed $2.6 million human-services check will get nine months in the pokey, the Strib’s Rochelle Olson reports. Sabrina Walker spent $267,000 right away, then used 100K to pay off a student loan and bought a $500,000 U.S. Treasury bond. A little over $2.1 million has been recouped, plus some merchandise.
Cool: The Strib’s Bill McAuliffe says tiny University of Minnesota-Morris will be “energy self-sufficient” by 2010. The 1,700-student campus has a wind turbine, and will dedicate a biomass furnance soon.
The PiPress’ Opinuendo column boils down the “preacher-endorsing-from-the-pulpit” controversy succinctly: “Give the speech and pay the taxes. Or don’t give the speech — and accept the special tax benefit.” Also, there’s a nice item about snow on Mars.
It’s sorta technical, but the Rev. Mac Hammond’s “prosperity gospel” church was in court Thursday arguing over who’s a “high-ranking” IRS official, the PiPress’ David Hanners reports. The Michele Bachmann-lovin’ church is in dutch over stiffing the IRS on an investigation, and a judge must determine if the bureaucrat who ordered the fisking has enough status. The piece has a good history of the case.
The PiPress blows out its metro front page with details of a woman who bled to death after an alleged sexual assault. The PiPress’ Mara Gottfried has the incredibly gory details, which I just don’t feel like summarizing. The alleged perp says the sex was consensual, after meeting the woman at Fabulous Fern’s. The two had known each other since second grade; she was the mother of four. He comes from a family of cops and corrections officers. A prosecutor calls it “unique in the savagery of the sexual assault.”
Today’s talker: The Strib’s Sarah Lemagie on “schools as birthday-cake-free zones.” One Eagan school banned the treat-sharing because poorer students feel bad about not keeping up. Rosemount has had a ban for three years. Lots of schools ban homemade confections for safety reasons. One cupcake-overdosed administrator complains of “three or four birthdays a day.”
WCCO’s Frank Vascellaro narrates a fun piece on a Bloomington couple whose home is featured in the Coen Brothers’ “A Serious Man.” The Ekstrom patio was apparently the site of a nude scene, and they’re getting a payment described as “enough to buy a new car.”