Some jobs news … Boston Scientific, which has about 5,000 Minnesota workers, is cutting another 1,400 throughout the company. Matthew Perrone of the AP writes: “Medical device maker Boston Scientific reported a better-than-expected second-quarter profit today and announced it would reduce its staff by between 5 and 6 percent to streamline operations. The company announced a global restructuring program to eliminate unnecessary administrative positions and automate some production work. The company expects to shed between 1,200 and 1,400 employees by the end of 2013 through layoffs and attrition. Boston Scientific expects the cuts to save between $225 [million] and $275 million annually, some of which will be invested in other areas of the company.” Ahhh, a “productivity”-enhancing move.
Meanwhile, nationally, the AP reports: “The government reported first-time applications for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in four months. That’s a sign that employers are laying off fewer workers. The Labor Department said applications fell to a seasonally adjusted 398,000. That’s the first time applications have fallen below 400,000 in 16 weeks.”
The St. Petersburg Times’ Pulitzer-winning PolitiFact looks into charges leveled at each other by T-Paw and Michele Bachmann, and decides: “We checked whether Pawlenty made the statements Bachmann ascribed to him. We found that in 2006, he did make those comments and urged a conservative style of government that would be activist in fighting entrenched interests. Pawlenty said he was misquoted, a claim we explore in detail in our full report. Nevertheless, we rated Bachmann’s statement Mostly True. Pawlenty’s campaign, meanwhile, said Bachmann talks big but doesn’t accomplish much. While Pawlenty was ‘scoring conservative victories’ as governor, Bachmann was ‘giving speeches and offering failed amendments,’ the campaign said. We reviewed Bachmann’s legislative record and found that she didn’t get a single bill passed, though she did sponsor a few resolutions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. Even her allies, though, admit her strength is not getting legislation passed. So we rated Pawlenty’s statement Mostly True.” So … a great day for truth-telling. Thank you, Congresswoman and Governor.
A new taconite plant that will use as much electricity as the city of Superior is covered by John Myer of the Duluth News Tribune: “Essar Steel, the city of Nashwauk and Minnesota Power announced a three-way agreement today to provide electricity for Essar’s new taconite plant now under construction. The new plant, expected to be operational by the end of 2012, will fill its huge electrical appetite — about the same as the entire city of Superior — by buying power from Nashwauk Public Utilities, which in turn buys its electricity from Minnesota Power. ‘This agreement further emphasizes the commitment of Essar to building this project and moving it forward,’ said Nashwauk Mayor William Hendricks at a ceremony in the city hall. The agreement lasts through April 2022.”
A bit more on that 66-year-old Minnesota woman held for 12 days on the erroneous assumption she was smuggling heroin in to Canada. William Burr of the Winnipeg Free Press writes: “After [she] was detained at a Manitoba border crossing on allegations of heroin trafficking, customs officials reportedly received a call from her son saying any drugs they found belonged to him. An audio tape of Janet Goodin’s bail hearing on April 27 records Crown attorney Kathleen Tokaruk telling provincial court Judge Lee Ann Martin about the call from Alan Goodin, Janet’s son, saying ‘he was upset with the fact that his mother was being detained at the point of entry. He indicated that whatever drugs that were found in the vehicle belonged to him and not his mother.’ Tokaruk concluded Goodin was ‘at least a party to the offence.’ Janet Goodin spent 12 days in jail earlier this year because field tests of a motor oil container found in the vehicle by border officials indicated the presence of heroin. A more thorough test performed at a Health Canada lab in Winnipeg determined there was no heroin in the container.”
New attention to sloppy handling of child death cases has an Alexandria man hopeful of release from prison. Says Madeleine Baran at MPR: “Michael Hansen has been in prison for six years after being convicted of second-degree murder in the death of his three-month-old daughter, Avryonna Hansen, in May 2004. Two medical examiners originally found that his daughter suffered a skull fracture before she died, and the death was ruled a homicide. Hansen was sentenced to 14 years in prison. But Innocence Project attorney Julie Jonas said an independent review found the skull fracture occurred several days before Avryonna died and could not have caused her death. She said Avryonna most likely died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. … The effort to exonerate Hansen is taking place amidst mounting criticism of the prosecution of infant and child deaths. A recent investigation by NPR, ProPublica, and PBS Frontline found ‘medical examiners and coroners have repeatedly mishandled cases of infant and child deaths, helping to put innocent people behind bars.’ The investigation highlighted several cases that were overturned or dismissed based on flawed or biased work by forensic pathologists.”
DFL Minority Leader Paul Thissen gets am “accurate” rating from MPR’s PoliGraph fact-checker. Catharine Richert says: “DFL House leader Paul Thissen wasted no time using the final budget agreement to solicit cash from voters. The day after the deal was signed, Thissen penned a fundraising letter, claiming that Republican leadership wouldn’t compromise with his party on Gov. Mark Dayton’s plan to temporarily raise taxes on Minnesotans wealthiest, ‘even though it would only affect 7,700 people, and even though only half of those people are Minnesota residents!’ Thissen’s claim is basically correct.”
An editorial at the Rochester Post-Bulletin concedes they got it wrong: “A few weeks ago, the Post-Bulletin Editorial Board predicted that Minnesota’s budget crisis and government shutdown wouldn’t end until Congress and President Obama found a way to raise the debt ceiling. Our thinking was that if Obama were to achieve a tax increase on corporations or the wealthy, Dayton would stand firm. If Republicans won the day with their all-cuts, no-new-taxes approach, the same would hold true in Minnesota. Well, we were wrong. Dayton blinked, then the state GOP agreed to spend $1.4 billion that we don’t have over the next two years. … The arguments being made today in Washington are eerily familiar. President Obama has repeatedly called for a ‘balanced approach’ to reducing the national debt, which means a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, including the end of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy. House Speaker John Boehner, however, appears to be channeling Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch when he says, ‘Having run a small business, I know those tax increases will destroy jobs.’ (Of course, he should have used the phrase ‘job-killing tax increases,’ but it’s close enough).” It is, um, “odd” how Boehner and Koch and so many like them use exactly the same verbiage, isn’t it? Now, how would that happen?
Meanwhile, in St. Paul, the PiPress editorial department bothers to write: “One by one, we are resolving our differences. Minnesota’s state shutdown? Ended by an agreement, however flawed, between Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature. Pro football lockout taking the air out of the pigskin? No more, thanks to a ratified agreement between players and owners. And as for those negotiations on the federal debt ceiling, well, we’re still waiting, aren’t we? President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner made their pitches to the nation this week. The Democratic president and Republican Speaker are separated by some of the same issues that separated our Democratic governor and our Republican-controlled Legislature: whether to spend less, tax more, or do some of both. On a larger scale, they are arguing about the role of government and how to pay for it. You will not find the answer here. But you will find a passionate belief in the importance of rival political factions fighting hard for the beliefs that got them elected, and eventually finding a way to govern.” Well, they got the “you will not find the answer here” part right. And not even the right questions, either.