According a Public Policy Polling survey, Minnesota Republicans want Michele Bachmann to run against Amy Klobuchar for Senate in 2012. Bill Salisbury quotes the group’s news release in the PiPress’ “Political Animal” blog: “Michele Bachmann is by far and away the first choice of Minnesota Republicans to take on Amy Klobuchar in 2012. 36% say they’d most like to see her as their Senate candidate followed by Tim Pawlenty at 20% and Norm Coleman at 14%. The rest of the folks named in the poll register in single digits — Chip Cravaack at 7%, Tom Emmer at 6%, John Kline at 5%, Laura Brod at 4%, and Erik Paulsen at 2%. It’s remarkable to see Bachmann do so much better than Pawlenty on that front, but it just goes to show how much more enamored the party’s conservative base is with her than him.” The state’s conservative base is more enamored of her than their own mothers.
Andy Birkey at the Minnesota Independent deserves combat pay for tracking this stuff, but he reports: “A study last year by the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota found that Rep. Michele Bachmann appeared on cable news programs every nine days on average. Last week, she shattered those expectations by appearing on a cable news program at least once a day from Tuesday through Saturday making 14 national television or radio appearances. Last week, Bachmann hired communications director Doug Sachtleben, a former spokesperson for the U.S. Senate campaign of Christine (“I am not a witch”) O’Donnell. That brings Bachmann’s communications staff to three people. Among what must have kept that staff busy last week: Six Fox News appearances.” What? She rested on Sunday or something?
Newly elected 8th District Congressman Chip Cravaack says he’s going to rejuvenate mining up north. Eric Roper writes in the Strib: “One project in particular, the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in Hoyt Lakes, has been stymied by the environmental regulatory process. He said another mine, the Nokomis Project, has been proposed just south of Ely. ‘This is an unbelievable asset we have, but government has been in the way for us to be able to tap those resources,’ Cravaack said. ‘And that is my number one goal in the Eighth District.’ The Lindstrom Republican said his ‘first meeting’ after the election was with Joe Scipioni, CEO of PolyMet.”
Marcus Fuller of the PiPress offers some details on the Vikings possibly using TCF Bank Field for next Monday’s game with Chicago and the team’s big 50th anniversary celebration: “For the game to move to TCF Bank Stadium, other issues besides getting the building cleared and operational will need to be addressed. For instance, the Gophers’ home seats 50,805, but the Metrodome seats 64,111. And [Gophers associate athletic director Scott] Ellison said more seats cannot be added to make up the difference. Also, the NFL places the hash marks closer to the middle of the field than college football does. As far as serving alcohol, Ellison said the athletic department would have to get permission from the Board of Regents. Alcohol has been banned for sale inside the stadium since it opened in 2009. The concessions aren’t equipped with beer taps, but Ellison said they would likely just sell bottles.” Bud Grant and Fran Tarkenton are planning to attend, and somehow the thought of those two standing outside on a nice, crisp late December night in Minnesota seems appropriate.
California regulators are refusing to let a subsidiary of Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth pay out a $120 million dividend. Chen May Yee writes in the Strib: “Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who issued the order Monday to PacifiCare Life & Health Insurance Co., is prosecuting a case against PacifiCare in which he alleges that PacifiCare violated state insurance laws almost a million times. Allegations include underpaying doctors or paying them late, wrongfully denying claims, losing documents and failing to fix problems in a timely manner. It is the biggest case ever brought by California against an insurer.” Yee adds: “The $120 million would come from a statutory surplus, or excess funds, which totaled $773 million as of Sept. 30. But the insurance department contends that since the maximum fine for each of the 993,000 alleged violations is $10,000, any penalties could consume the entire surplus and potentially more.” Talk about an affront to shareholder value.
Librarians for the New York Public Library selected two children’s books by Duluth authors for their prestigious “100 Books for Reading and Sharing” list. Christa Fuller of the Duluth News Tribune notes the honors: “Chris Monroe’s picture book ‘Sneaky Sheep’ and Margi Preus’ chapter book ‘Heart of a Samurai’ … Both writers are getting plenty of chatter right now in the season of year-end and best-of lists — and beyond. Monroe’s first crack at picture books, ‘Monkey with a Tool Belt,’ has been optioned by Chorion, a British production company with the intent of selling it as a weekly TV series.”
Someone’s in book tour mode. The Strib runs Gov. Pawlenty’s Wall Street Journal commentary on the threat of … unions, especially unions of those overpaid federal workers. “Much has changed. The majority of union members today no longer work in construction, manufacturing or ‘strong back’ jobs. They work for government, which, thanks to President Obama, has become the only booming ‘industry’ left in our economy. Since January 2008 the private sector has lost nearly 8 million jobs, while local, state and federal governments have added 590,000. Federal employees receive an average of $123,049 annually in pay and benefits, twice the average of the private sector. And across the country, at every level of government, the pattern is the same: Unionized public employees are making more money, receiving more generous benefits, and enjoying greater job security than the working families forced to pay for it with ever-higher taxes, deficits and debt. How did this happen?” Well you see there was deregulation and no oversight on Wall Street, two wars, one of which we really didn’t need, a big fat tax cut for rich folks that blew the doors off the deficit, then this crash because of all the squirrelly gambling that wasn’t being watched that dropped wages and benefits all across the private sector, except for banking and … oh, never mind.
And Delta … still No. 1 … in baggage fees. The third-quarter numbers are in and our guys “collected $259.5 million in baggage fees in the third quarter, more than second-place American Airlines and its $151.2 million in fees. Delta took in $256 million in baggage fees in the second quarter. Delta also has collected $733.2 million in year-to-date baggage fees, besting American Airlines’ $431.8 million,” according to a Business Journal item. Did you do your part?