Had your coffee? Head clear? Because this one might make you woozy. The DFL office sent out a mailing against a state Senate candidate down around Burnsville with a figure wearing a generic cleric’s collar and a button saying “Ignore the Poor”…to which the state Republican office declared itself outraged that the DFL would so offend Catholics and saying Mark Dayton, who had nothing to do with it, should apologize. Jason Hoppin’s PiPress story says: “The DFL fliers target chaplain Dan Hall of the Capitol Prayer Network, a group that prays for legislative leaders on issues that affect Christians and is aligned with Republicans. He’s challenging state Sen. John Doll, a DFLer representing District 40. In the group’s literature, Hall says, ‘I believe my running has been the Lord’s leading.’ Republicans seized on the DFL response. Sen. Amy Koch of Buffalo said the fliers are anti-Catholic, ‘deeply offensive’ and have no place in Minnesota politics. Sen. Michelle Fischbach of Paynesville said they were ‘completely unprecedented’ and that ‘Mark Dayton should be ashamed of his party.’ Even Gov. Tim Pawlenty got involved, calling it a ‘new low’ in Minnesota politics.”…which, when things are as subterranean as they are, is really saying something.
We can agree, right, that a 40 percent failure rate is too high? That’s the appalling number coming out of a Strib study of recidivism among former Minnesota inmates. Glen Howatt and Pam Louwagie at the Strib report that inflexible, one-size-fits-all guidelines adopted years ago probably aren’t helping. They note: “Retired Appeals Court Judge Jack Davies said he has lobbied for bringing back a parole board. Instead of everyone serving at least two-thirds of his sentence behind bars, Davies believes offenders should be eligible for parole after serving a third of their time. Using ever-improving risk assessment tools, a board could make the decision about who is an appropriate inmate to bring into the community early, he said.” So when would Tom Petters come back?
You never want to say its over until its over. But it’s looking pretty much over, at least for Tom Horner. The latest gubernatorial poll, this one from MPR and the Humphrey Institute, has Mark Dayton ahead of Tom Emmer by 12 percent with Horner waaay back, with 11 percent. Writes Mark Zdechlik, “Dayton has built a broad coalition of support, said University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs, who oversaw the poll. Dayton has the advantage among women and lower-income voters and is holding his own among affluent voters. ‘This election seems to be firming up and at this point Dayton appears to be heading for a victory,’ Jacobs said.” Jacobs adds, “”With Horner’s support so soft, his candidacy could actually implode and then that would free up a good number of voters…We’re seeing that there are more Republicans supporting Horner than Democrats. They may be particularly inclined to head back and support the Emmer campaign in the closing days.” So is Horner’s undoing his inability to offer liberals enough of an alternative to Dayton?
Oh, come on! Give us a break! After a year and more of Tom Petters, Denny Hecker, a half dozen other minor-league scam artists and those debt reduction fraudsters, do we really have to listen to some TV commercial watchdog group tell us General Mills is overselling Cheerios? The Strib’s Mike Hughlett writes, “A national advertising self-regulatory group Wednesday recommended that General Mills stop pairing promotions for its Chocolate Cheerios with ads for its original and Honey Nut Cheerios, saying the practice implies health benefits that aren’t actually shared among the products. The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus looked into the matter after getting a complaint from Kellogg Co., General Mills’ biggest rival in the cereal business. Kellogg complained that General Mills has long promoted the cholesterol-lowering benefits of fiber and whole grain oats in Cheerios, but that Chocolate Cheerios doesn’t have those same health attributes.” And what exactly is the nutritional value of Froot Loops?
If it helps, we are eighth on the Daily Beast’s list of the country’s smartest cities. Says the story, “This year’s methodology is similar to last year’s inaugural list, with a couple weighting refinements, and one major change: as our civic engagement quotient — a proxy of a city’s willingness, and ability, to invest in intellectual culture — we dropped voter turnout in favor of libraries per capita.” How Denver beat us, I can’t imagine. But it’s yet another list where Las Vegas comes up looking pretty grim…and dead last at No. 55.
We are also, as Jim Buchta writes in the Strib, “the mark down capital of America” when it comes to real estate sellers discounting their properties. In another case where virtually every expert was wrong, home prices across the country and in the Twin Cities continue to stagger along. Says Buchta, “The widely watched Case Shiller analysis said that while the home price index rose 1.7 percent nationwide during August — largely from an afterglow of expired federal tax credits — rising inventory levels caused the market this summer to slip. Meanwhile, pending sales have dropped, while distressed sales — foreclosures and short sales — have increased.” Adding, “According to the latest monthly data from the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors, the median price of closed sales during September was $166,000, down 2.4 percent from last year and down 12.6 percent compared with 2008. That’s down from a high of about $237,000 in June 2006.” Or, almost where it was before the bubble.
“That exaggeration makes this claim false.” That’s MPR’s PoliGraph truth-testing service, authored by Catharine Richert, take on a Tom Emmer claim in the latest debate. Specifically, Emmer said, “I had somebody approach me yesterday who said, ‘Do you realize that in the federal health care bill that every real estate transaction I’m going to have to pay money into the federal health care bill to pay for it. On every real estate transaction. What else are we going to find out over the next few weeks?” In reality, writes Richert, “… it appears Emmer’s talking about an obscure provision in the law that imposes a 3.8 percent tax on money that’s made from investment income, which can include rental property and home sales. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the tax will bring in $210 billion between 2013, when the levy kicks in, and 2019; the funds will be used to pay for Medicare.
“But the tax comes with some important criteria. First, it only applies to individuals making more than $200,000 annually and couples making more than $250,000 annually. Further, profits on primary residences less than $250,000 for individuals and less than $500,000 for couples are already exempt from taxation.” She adds, “Emmer has blown the impact of the new tax way out of proportion by saying every real estate transaction will be taxed. In fact, it appears relatively few will.” Well, if you add up a lot of “relatively fews,” you eventually get “every.”
Not “false” exactly, but certainly “Not the whole story,” is WCCO’s Pat Kessler’s verdict on Mn Forward’s “Deputy Dave” ad ripping Mark Dayton for trying to run up taxes on simple, hard-working guys like him. Says Kessler, “Deputy Dave Schultz is a bona fide Hennepin County Deputy Sheriff. He’s even featured on the sheriff’s website. It’s what Schultz said about Dayton’s tax plan that should be ticketed for exaggeration. ‘I’ve been a police officer for 20 years’, said Schultz in the ad. ‘My wife is a nurse. Mark Dayton says we’re rich and we should pay higher taxes. He’s wrong’. That’s MISLEADING. According to county records, ‘Deputy Dave’ made $73,989 last year. If his wife is a nurse, she’d have to make $120,000 before the two of them are touched by Dayton’s tax hike.”
It seems musician Roe Pressley (a.k.a. Swee2th) has recorded “An Ode to Michele Bachmann,” and it ain’t flattering. City Pages’ Andrea Swensson offers both the tune and lyric sheet. A sample of the latter: “You don’t believe in evolution and I guess that that’s just fine/I don’t buy into organized religion most the time/But you say if schools teach Darwin, they should teach Creation, too/Your intelligent designer must have given up on you.”
The choices come from diners, not snooty French critics, but Zagat is out with its latest list of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities. The Strib’s Rick Nelson reports that the usual suspects have won again…La Belle Vie, 112 Eatery, Vincent. He solicits comments and — inevitably — one guy grumps, “All these joints look like the kind of places your girlfriend makes you take her, drop a ton of coin, and then have to stop at the Taco Bell drive-thru after you’ve dropped her off because you’re starving!”