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Minnesota’s abortion rate falls to an all-time low

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Vikes eye another aging QB; tough poll results for T-Paw; Dayton makes DFL pitch; Delta profits drop; and more.
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The abortion rate in Minnesota has fallen to an all-time low. Christopher Snowbeck of the PiPress writes: “The number of abortions performed in Minnesota fell again in 2010, dropping the state’s procedure rate to what could be an all-time low. There were 11,505 abortions in the state during 2010 — a decline of 7 percent from the 12,388 performed during 2009, according to a report released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Health. It was the fourth consecutive decline in annual totals since the recent peak of 14,065 abortions in 2006, and it sent the abortion rate to 10.1 procedures per 1,000 women ages 15-44. Back in 1975, the first year for which abortion data are available, the rate was 10.3 per 1,000 women in Minnesota.”

Another year, another aging quarterback solution. According to various reports the Vikings have traded for Donovan McNabb. Says Jason LaCanfora at “McNabb would be dealt for a late-round pick — Jay Glazer of Fox Sports and NFL Network reported that it would be sixth-rounders in 2012 and 2013 — but he must restructure his contract, and those talks are scheduled for  Wednesday. It isn’t expected to be a lengthy process, but nevertheless, it would be required before a trade could be completed. McNabb was due to make $12.5 million with the Redskins, including a roster bonus, but the Vikings made it clear they couldn’t take on that salary. Still, McNabb’s desire to be in Minnesota will lead to the deal being fully agreed to, pending the new contract terms, sources said. McNabb has long sought to join the Vikings.” Get in line for Super Bowl tix.

The Virginia, Minn., woman apparently kidnapped by her estranged husband called police repeatedly prior to their disappearance. Madeleine Baran of MPR writes: “Police released new details today about the 12 hours leading up to the alleged kidnapping of Roberta Caskey by her husband Timothy Caskey on July 14. The 40-year-old man has a long history of domestic violence, police said, and now faces federal kidnapping charges. Advocates for domestic violence victims said the case highlights the importance of a new initiative to identify high-risk offenders and share information with prosecutors, police, probation officers and advocates. On the morning of July 14, Timothy Caskey was released from Northeast Regional Correctional Center near Duluth after serving 50 days of a 90-day sentence for violating a domestic violence no contact order and making harassing phone calls to his estranged wife. Less than an hour after Caskey was released, his wife notified police that she had received a phone call from him.”

Jon Collins at The Minnesota Independent paints a pretty dismal picture of T-Paw’s presidential potential: “As a new nationwide poll shows a decline in former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s popularity, the Republican candidate’s presidential campaign seems to be struggling with staff, messaging and funding. The Gallup Poll, which was released Wednesday, puts Pawlenty at two percent support among likely Republican voters when the full list of all possible Republican candidates is considered — including Sarah Palin, Rick Perry and Rudolph Giuliani. In an even harder hit to Pawlenty’s prospects, the Gallup poll shows that his popularity, when measured against all announced candidates, has been sinking since a late May poll, where he reaped 7 percent support. Pawlenty is now listed at 4 percent among announced candidates.”

Jake Grovum at Politics in Minnesota sees the same numbers and the instant punditry surrounding them and says: “[A]n influential 2012 GOP nomination  blogger for Washington-based The Hill has said ‘It’s time to stop calling [Tim Pawlenty] a first-tier candidate.’ Christian Heinze, who’s made a name for himself tracking all things Republican nomination, was riffing on the latest Gallup poll released today showing [him] with a measly 2 percent showing among Republican contenders for the nomination. That puts him in league with former Utah Gov. John Huntsman and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, two other candidates who have yet to catch on in the race for nomination but also never shared the high expectations bestowed on Pawlenty.”

Regardless your thoughts on the budget settlement, and the tensile strength of the spines involved, Gov. Dayton thinks you should contribute to the DFL. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib writes: “While Dayton has been a prodigious fundraiser for the party and his own campaigns over the years, most of his fundraising has been accomplished, he has joked, by pitching the man in the mirror. The email says: ‘The only way to ensure our state government truly works for the people of Minnesota is for Democrats to take back the House and Senate. The best way to do that is to give to the DFL today. They are running a campaign to get the truth about the Republican radical agenda out to the voters.’ The plea makes this interesting statement: ‘Minnesotans are smart. Once they know the truth, they’ll make the right choice,’ indicating that only people who don’t know the ‘truth’ would vote for Republicans.” Maybe there should be a bit more aggressive “messaging” on this “truth” business?

Expect new fees for in-flight oxygen service and assisting grannies to their seats. Delta’s profits have dropped 58 percent. The AP story says: “Delta Air Lines said 2,000 workers took voluntary buyouts and it will scale back flying more than planned later this year as it cuts costs to make up for higher fuel prices. The high cost of jet fuel was the main reason Delta’s second-quarter net income fell by 58 percent compared to a year ago. It earned $198 million, or 23 cents per share, compared with $467 million, or 55 cents a year ago. Fuel costs rose 36 percent to $2.66 billion in the latest quarter.

As you might imagine, the money changing hands for lobbyists and “consultants” is getting a bit murky as the Stillwater/St. Croix bridge idea keeps slogging along. Kevin Giles of the Strib reports: “The work of a Stillwater consultant hired for $1,500 a month to advise city leaders on legislative matters is under increasing scrutiny as debate intensifies over a new four-lane St. Croix River bridge. The city’s contract with Mike Campbell said he will ‘obtain Legislative support’ for four major projects — the bridge, the Browns Creek State Trail, a new National Guard Armory for Stillwater and a city flood wall along the river. Three months after hiring Campbell, the city also appropriated $80,000 in tax-increment financing money to the bridge effort. Micky Cook was the only council member to vote against the expenditure. Cook said Tuesday she hasn’t seen a specific accounting and questioned how Campbell’s work on the bridge differs from that of the Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing, which received the larger appropriation.”