‘Cash for Clunkers’ brings in the cars, but not, as yet, the federal dough

It’s been a brisk time for car sales, as WCCO’s Esme Murphy finds out. Thanks to the Cash for Clunkers program, a number of area auto dealerships are reporting  that they have moved a lot of new cars: “We’re up 29 to 30 percent year over year,” Esme quotes Karl Schmidt of Morrie’s Mazdas as saying.

But car salesmen aren’t precisely in any position to empty sacks of money on their beds and roll around in it, laughing. For one thing, as MPR’s Annie Baxter explains, a number of Minnesota dealers have yet to see the federal payout for their Cash for Clunkers transactions. To be precise: While there have been about 7,500 Minnesotans who have traded in their old car for a new and more fuel-efficient one, “only 2 percent of those transactions have received federal approval, and 8 percent have been rejected, presumably for technical reasons, though dealers are resubmitting them.”

It’s a bad time for post offices, though. According to the Associated Press, the Postal Service may be closing as many as 1,000 post offices across the country, including 22 in Minnesota. (Here’s a long PDF list of the offices that are considered for closing.) The cause? “Staggering financial losses” due, in part, to the popularity of email, leading to a $7 billion potential loss in the 2009 fiscal year. Perhaps there could be some sort of program where we trade in our old emails for stamps? Just a thought.

Political blogger Dusty Trice republishes a few seconds of a KSTP interview with Minnesota Republican Party Deputy Chair Michael Brodkorb, which Trice somehow has managed to make look like one of those menacing, flickering talking-head images that warn us of an impending zombie apocalypse in George Romero films. But Brodkorb isn’t concerned with zombies; instead, the former Minnesota Democrats Exposed blogger is doing what he does best, complaining about Democrats. The subject is town hall meetings, presumably (although it is not certain from the clip) in response to U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson saying that he doesn’t hold them. Brodkorb has no patience for that, saying, “If you don’t want to be asked questions, if you don’t want to interact with the public, if you don’t want an opportunity to get a tough question, uh, don’t run for office.”

Of course, Trice isn’t out to promote Brodkorb’s outrage, but instead to point out that Michele Bachmann likewise has demonstrated some skill at avoiding public interactionaccording to Trice, it took Bachmann 18 months to have the first public forum in her district, and she refused to take questions from the audience or the press.

While we’re on the subject of Bachmann, in a MinnPost Community Voices piece Karl Bremer takes a look at what he calls her “symbolic congressional legislation” to designate September “National Hydrocephalus Awareness Month.” Why symbolic? Per Bremer: “The 6th District Minnesota congresswoman has voted against federal research funds for hydrocephalus at every opportunity since she was elected in 2006.”

Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent breaks the news that, thanks to federal anti-drug policies, which refuse federal funds to programs that exchange used needles for clean ones, Minnesota’s only drop-in needle exchange program is closing its doors. How effective was the program? Birkey reports: “Since the advent of needle-exchange programs in the state, Minnesota saw the number of people infected with HIV through needle use drop from 61 in 1992 to a low of 3 in 2005. In 2008, the most recent year for which data is available, Minnesota saw 13 cases of HIV where the route of infection could be traced to needle use — less than a fourth the rate seen in early- to mid-1990s.”

The Associated Press reports that Bemidji businesses have decided to start posting signs in Ojibwe, which seems a nice gesture, as, according to Wikipedia, the city is 11.52 percent Native American, and Bemidji itself is an Ojibwe word. Especially notable: the funeral home that plans to post a sign that reads the following in Ojibwe: “I hope you are blessed/pitied by the creator.”

In Vikings news: For those champing at the bit for constant updates as to events at the Vikings training camp, the Star Tribune’s Access Vikings reporters, Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins, are tweeting, sort of, as their Twitter page seems to consist almost entirely of links to the Access Vikings blog, which is a pretty dull use of Twitter. Nonetheless, you no longer need to constantly refresh the blog to see if there is new content — for instance, 18 minutes prior to this writing, the Access Viking Twitter page informed readers that there was now a story about the Vikings beginning their practice at 9 a.m. It’s like we’re right there!

For Minnesota golfer Tim Herron, it’s like he’s not there. Specifically, Herron will not be playing PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club next week, as the Pioneer Press’ Tad Reeve informs us, which means, unfortunately, that “Lumpy’s Bus Bash” will be canceled. The bus bash was to be a convoy of three buses taking fans to watch Herron play, sponsored by MM candy.

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Sheila Ehrich on 08/04/2009 - 11:52 am.

    The PDF link in the Postal Service story is broken.

  2. Submitted by Sheila Ehrich on 08/04/2009 - 11:56 am.

    Brodkorb should tell that to one of his own, 2nd District Congressman John Kline. Kline is infamous for holding “Town Hall” Meetings by phone specifically so he can exclued anyone he doesn’t want to have to talk to.

    I’m not aware of any publically held Town Hall Meetings actually held in the 2nd District.

  3. Submitted by Glenn Mesaros on 08/04/2009 - 01:09 pm.

    Elkhart goes to see the Wizard of Oz

    This week, Superman Obama goes back to Elkhart, Indiana, to resell his broken down stimulus program. Wall street trickster Larry Summers, and his little boy Rahmbo, will play the Tin Man and the Scare Crow. They have designed a new “Revenue for Ramblers.”

    Yes, Sir, Folks. The Federal Reserve will print up some brand new paper money, and give you, the proud owner of an old Rumbly RV that gets 5 miles to the gallon of gasoline, $10,000, to Cap and Trade that old house that you are now living in, for a brand new Flexible Fuel RV that makes 7.5 miles to the gallon of whatever junk you can put in it. Farmers are urged to plant massive acres of “switch grass” on their bankers’ land to meet the new demand.

    The Planet Uranus will be cleansed and Saved!

    A new Congressional Caucus has just formed to support the new Obama RV Stimulus, and counteract the conservative Blue Dogs: the new caucus voted to call themselves the “Liberal Lap Dogs” at a special meeting this week. The Lap Dog Leadership will feature Senators Obamuchar and Frankenstein, and Congress Peoples Ellison and McCollum.

    His Royal Highness, Blarney Obama, will give an inspirational speech in front of the new green outhouse at City Hall in Elkhart to kick off the program. The Green House has just released a copy of his dramatic speech:

    “Blah Blah, Blah, Blah, Hope, Blah Blah, blah Blah, Stimulus, Blah Blah Blah, Give me all your change, we’re broke, blah blah, green jobs, blah, blah.”

    When asked how WE will all pay for this new program, Health Budget Czar, Dr. Ezekiel “Easy Kill” Emanuel, rasped, “We have found a revolutionary way to cut Medicare and Medicaid. The Japanese Astronauts have just tested a new brand of underwear, where one pair lasted an entire month in outer space. We intend to mass produce this underwear, and give Grandma one pair until she dies. In addition, we will save millions on toilet paper! We have just given the Federal Reserve a contract to print more greenbacks for toilet paper!”

  4. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 08/04/2009 - 09:37 pm.

    Incredibly, Minnesota is 4th in the country in amount of money collected by turning in cars, even though less than a handful of dealers have actually received any money. Sounds like the new “government math”.

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