“That there is a subject for which Norm Coleman and Al Franken shake hands, and that is Israel,” says an unnamed speaker at a Sunday pro-Israel rally. The Strib’s Richard Tsong Taatarii has video of the two bitter rivals clasping. Video from MinnPost’s Steve Date here. The Strib’s Janet Moore says 750 people witnessed strong statements of support from Gov. Tim Pawlenty, megachurch pastor Mac Hammond and congressfolk Michele Bachmann and John Kline. Who spoke for Gaza civilians? About 250 protestors outside; KARE video here.
People need unions, just not at Target, argues a company VP. His is one of many local corporations gearing up to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act, the Strib’s Liz Fedor and Jackie Crosby write. The Dem-favored legislation would recognize unions if a majority of workers sign cards; currently it’s secret ballot. Today, even recognized unions have a tough time getting contracts; the EFCA would force binding arbitration — just like Target forces on credit card customers in disputes.
With the Met Council about to approve a new transportation plan, transit asymmetry hits the east metro, the Strib’s David Peterson and Kevin Giles note. “Almost every transit line in the west has a definite timeline”: Northstar commuter rail, 35W bus rapid transit, and Southwest Corridor LRT. Only the Central Corridor is in the same position east of the Metrodome. Sorry, Washington County: More people live west, and geographically speaking, downtown Minneapolis is still the economic center of the region.
The PiPress’ Jeremy Olson has a nice piece on expanding “one-stop shops” for troubled returning state veterans, but book readers will want to seek out the subject of his sidebar (which doesn’t seem to be on the web yet). Nick Maurstad’s “Bristol Bastards” is on its second printing; the local Guardsman details “everything from drunken fights to sexual exploits to the shelling of an Iraqi village.”
More Maurstad: Writes Olson, “The book is a graphic, tragic, raunchy, comical and shocking look at the Iraqi deployment.” Maurstad says he isn’t as angry now, but “because I wrote it right when I got off the damn plane, I think it’s more real and true.” He adds, “Really, it’s just a bunch of 20-somethings who are driven to horrible gallows humor in order to function. Nobody seems to really get that.”
Lots of talk in ’08 about how North Dakota’s economy fared better than the nation’s, but foreclosures are rising in Moorhead even as they crest elsewhere, the Forum’s Mike Nowatzki reports.
Who the heck develops a spec retail building these days? According to the Southwest Journal’s Brian Voerding, it’s happening in Uptown, killing the Uptown Bar’s street-view patio in the process. My bloody mary will never taste the same, even in the new alley-view patio.
Good read: the PiPress’ John Brewer on the ecosystem of towed, then abandoned, cars. St. Paul auctions off about 500 pieces of “street junk” annually. One lot supervisor says they need three snow emergencies to break even; there’s only been one so far. What’s worse, each car’s scrap price fell from $375 last spring to $75 in the fall.
Recession-proof: AP details Operation Stonegarden, where rural cop shops get Homeland Security dough to prowl vast expanses of northern Minnesota for terrorists. There’s lots of OT for helping out 20 Border Patrol agents. Even though that minuscule force has doubled in recent years, cops are cheaper than more feds. Three counties get about $1.5 million combined; some goes to new equipment. Has any dangerous type been caught yet? Story doesn’t say.
It’s Katherine Kersten’s last Strib column, where she reminds us that “extravagantly funded” government can’t replace family (I hope that bill dies in the Legislature!) and “a good God will lift our broken hearts.”
Nort spews: The Golden Gopher men’s bucketeers stomp Penn State 79-59 to go 3-1 in the Big Ten.