An MPR-Humphrey Institute poll confirms what many have thought. Namely, that the drum beat of big-government hysteria, largely credited to the Tea Party, has taken root … with benefits accruing to Tom Emmer. A non-bylined story says: “Among majorities who disapprove of President Obama’s performance and health care reform, 56 percent are backing Emmer. Sixty percent of likely voters who believe that the stimulus worsened the economy are also backing Emmer.” Also: “Twenty-five percent of likely voters support the tea party. An overwhelming majority of this group, 70 percent, favors Emmer. But the tea party has also ignited a backlash that can hurt Emmer. Among the 22 percent who oppose the movement, two-thirds support DFL candidate Mark Dayton. Although the tea party’s aversion to big government is shared by voters in this survey, large majorities of Minnesotans still favor existing programs like Social Security and Medicare that provide substantial, concrete benefits.” … So, as the man said, keep your gummint hands off my Medicare!
Related: CNN’s “Political Ticker” has taken 3rd District Congressman Erik Paulsen off its list of the 100 most competitive House races … because, it reports, he is in no danger of being beaten by DFLer Jim Meffert. “Four freshman and sophomore Republicans, Reps. Brian Bilbray of California, Pete Roskam of Illinois, Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, and Leonard Lance of New Jersey, have been dropped from the list. Although they all represent districts President Obama carried in 2008, their opponents have yet to make significant in-roads.”
Well, it was dang near an 11th-hour deal. The U of M and the Met Council announced Wednesday that they had kissed and made up over their noise, dust and vibration issues … days before the deadline for scoring the federal money for the project. Details are a bit sketchy. Jenna Ross files a short piece for the Strib, saying, “According to the Met Council:
• Under the agreement, the U will grant easements required for the project and drop its lawsuit.
• The deal establishes a “framework” for construction, including limits on noise, dust and vibration.
• The pact also outlines testing and monitoring of the effects of the light-rail on equipment.”
Colleague Lori Sturdevant notes the lateness of the hour and says: “I’ll be watching to see how the Met Council and the university settled their most persistent point of contention. It’s the one alluded to with just one phrase in the Met Council’s Wednesday release, which reported that the arrangement “provides for remedies if the standards are not met.” Deciding what would happen, and who would pay, if mitigation measures along the line prove insufficient to protect highly sensitive research proved to be extraordinarily difficult.”
MPR, which has, somewhat infamously, filed its own suit against the Central Corridor project, objecting to the effects of rumbling and vibrations on its underwriting and sponsorship data banks (… kidding!) has Laura Yuen filing a story saying: “Still outstanding are two lawsuits, one filed by Minnesota Public Radio also over vibration concerns and another by neighbors in St. Paul charging discrimination in the Central Corridor planning process. Heavy construction on the $957 million Central Corridor project begins in St. Paul after Labor Day and in Minneapolis later this fall.”
“Illegal immigrants” is all you need to spike up traffic on a story … if you’re Breitbart or NewsMax. But Dave Peters’ story for MPR, reporting on a Pew study estimating 95,000 “illegals” in Minnesota has a twist. Says Peters: “Today, the Pew Hispanic Center put the number for 2009 at 95,000. Actually that’s an estimate within the range of 80,000 to 120,000 and is down from an estimated 110,000 a year earlier. The numbers are deep in a national report that says illegal immigration has dropped for the nation as a whole and that the number of what it calls unauthorized immigrants now stands at 11.1 million for the country. The report’s authors caution that state-level numbers are not precise. Minnesota is well down the ranking of states, home to fewer unauthorized immigrants than other populous northern tier states like Wisconsin and Washington.” That, of course, is no reason to stop heavy fortifications at the border heading toward Winnipeg.
Lady Gaga, who by all reviews put on two pretty good shows at the Xcel, hit the commendably seedy Turf Club up on University in St. Paul after her Tuesday night show. l’etoile magazine’s social site LOL/OMG “reports” on Gaga’s appearance and posts a photobooth shot of the diva with fans: “Sources report that Gaga (who by numerous accounts, was ‘drunk’ — though we take that to possibly just mean ‘Gaga’) was soon dancing around in a bra-top and hot pants, and pausing to take pics with peeps in the Turf’s photo booth. Nice!” Kinda cool.
It’d be nice if someone could report that sales of the St.Paul-made Ranger truck were soaring off the charts. But, with sales figures for every manufacturer but Chrysler slumping badly year-to-date, Gita Sitamariah says: “Ranger sales totaled 4,161 in August, down from 7,746 a year earlier. The decline came as Ford truck sales overall rose 5 percent during the month, to 64,265. Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicle sales in August totaled 157,503, an 11 percent drop from 2009.” Is now the time to tell you about my buddy whose ’93 Ranger lasted 173,000 miles … without an oil change?
I guess we can officially transition from the mayor of Mankato’s DUI to … the CEO of North Memorial hospital’s prostitution bust. Stribbers Mary Lynn Smith and Chen May Yee tell the story: “David Cress, 60, was released from Hennepin County jail Wednesday afternoon and is scheduled to appear in court Sept. 15 on the misdemeanor charge. Cress was one of about a dozen men who were arrested at a Richfield hotel during a day-long vice operation, said Richfield police Lt. Jay Henthorne, the department’s spokesman. Additional details weren’t available because the case is under investigation, he said.”
You can relax … the Gophers will retain their opportunity to kick Badger butt every year under the new, two-division Big Ten football set-up. The story in Bleacher Report says: “The East will consist of: Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois, and Indiana. The West will be: Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern, Michigan State, and Minnesota. The guaranteed cross-divisional rivalries start with Michigan and OSU. On top of that, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and Illinois and Northwestern preserve their annual rivalries.” You noticed how I said “opportunity,” right?
A commentary in the Strib, by Ben Riechers of Coon Rapids, sings the praises of speed in government processes — like permitting, which is a trendy topic on the campaign trail these days. Riechers takes the familiar attitude that private business leaders are shrewd, decisive, bold and visionary and that government types (because of genetic damage, perhaps) are dull, dithering and incapable of decision-making: “Politicians seem to think that the profit motive will overcome any bureaucratic hurdle, and the concept that time is money is not even on their radar screens. Businesspeople expect smart, clear and well-thought-out regulation, but politicians and their bureaucracies have created a maze of regulators and regulation with often-conflicting priorities — an unknowable and needless constraint on economic growth. Every CEO talks about speed, innovation and productivity — how quickly the company can bring a new idea to market, and for what cost. Being first to a market is incredibly important. Speed is often the difference between success and failure.” And sometimes the difference is quality of the product and service and adequate investment in such.