Someone bought a winning … nearly $229 million … Powerball ticket in Dakota County. Paul Walsh of the Strib reports: “A Powerball ticket purchased in Dakota County has hit the $228.9 million jackpot, and it’s the largest lottery payout in Minnesota history. The ticket matched all six numbers drawn Wednesday night: 11-18-36-41-46 and Powerball 38. Lottery officials put the odds of winning at about 1 in 195.2 million. The winner can be paid in 30 annual payments over 29 years or in one lump-sum cash payment. In this case, the cash option is worth about $123.6 million ($83.7 million after tax withholding). Now everyone waits for the winner to come through the door at lottery headquarters in Roseville to claim the prize. The winner has a year from the drawing to do so. The winner ‘should immediately sign the ticket and put it in a safe place until he or she is ready to come forward,’ said Minnesota Lottery spokeswoman Debbie Hoffmann. The largest Powerball payout in Minnesota until Wednesday came in May 2008, when Paul and Sue Rosenau hit for $180 million.”
Gary Laidig, the guy Michele Bachmann beat to get into the Minnesota Senate is getting a lot of press lately. The latest is a piece in Roll Call, by Shira Toeplitz. “‘Michele Bachmann is the most dishonest, most deceitful person I’ve ever met in my life,’ Laidig told Roll Call. ‘She truly is a girl scout with a switchblade knife.’ … When Bachmann arrived in the state Senate in early 2001, she presented herself as a maternal type, focusing on education and abortion. She called herself a ‘full-time legislator’ and a ‘full-time mom’ in a January 2001 interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She told the newspaper she relished giving her 70-year-old mother a tour of the state Capitol. One night early in her term, a colleague overheard Bachmann pointing out the desks of the four moderate Republican Senators to activists, indicating they would be soon targeted for defeat. The freshman Senator didn’t spend much time making nice with her new colleagues, some of her fellow legislators recalled. Bachmann didn’t want help learning the ropes either. Former state Sen. Sheila Kiscaden, then a Republican, remembered setting up an orientation in her office for Bachmann and the several other newly elected freshmen Republican Senators. ‘Michele came once and said she didn’t need it. She didn’t want to be part of it,’ said Kiscaden, who later switched parties. ‘I wouldn’t say I worked with her, because she already made a decision in her mind that I was too moderate for her.’ ”
Mark Zdechlik of MPR assesses the situation for T-Paw prior to tonight’s FoxNews Iowa debate: “Political analysts say if the former Minnesota governor fails to deliver in a nationally televised debate tonight and a straw poll this weekend, he may lose the confidence of supporters and find it difficult to finance a campaign. … Conservative Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace said Pawlenty’s debate performance in New Hampshire is very much part of the problem he’s having right now. ‘When you got the one shot close-up look at Tim Pawlenty, gulping into the camera and punting on the chance to take Romney on, that reinforced the narrative that he’s a wimp. And he’s been struggling to live that down ever since,’ Deace said. If Pawlenty doesn’t win the straw poll, Deace said, there’s little point for him to continue in the race.”
We are the 13th most blue … Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent covers a new Gallup Poll: “According to a Gallup survey of 170,000 adults nationwide, Minnesota ranks 13th in the nation for Democratic advantage just behind New Jersey and ahead of Washington state. Minnesota dipped sharply in 2010 in Democratic advantage only to rebound a bit in 2011. According to Gallup, Minnesota currently has a 9-point Democratic advantage. Forty-seven percent of Minnesota respondents identified as Democrats or leaning towards the Democratic Party while 38 percent are Republicans or lean Republican. That’s down from a high of 15 advantage points in 2008 for Democrats and 12 points in 2009, but an improvement from a low of four points in 2010. That gap in 2010 was similar for many states, but Minnesota appears to have rebounded more quickly than others.” A couple more “tax hostage” dramas and we’ll back in the Top 10.
A new farm report predicts lower yields than 2010. Tom Webb of the PiPress writes: “[T]his year’s crop won’t match 2010’s. Minnesota crop yields are projected to decline this fall, compared with last year’s record-breaking harvest, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. Corn yields are projected at 166 bushels an acre statewide, or 11 bushels lower than last year’s record. Soybean yields are projected at 40 bushels an acre, or 5 bushels lower than last year’s record. Spring wheat yields are projected to be 51 bushels an acre, down 4 bushels from last year. Declines are also expected in barley, oats, sugarbeets and dry bean yields, USDA said. A cold and wet spring, followed by a soggy summer of erratic weather, is the big reason.”
This crazed government spending thing really has to stop. David Kolpack at Bloomberg looks at the cost of protecting Fargoi-Moorhead from floods: “A devastating flood in North Dakota’s fourth-largest city that wiped out thousands of homes and businesses shows why people in the Fargo and Moorhead, Minn., area should fund a $1.8 billion Red River diversion project, state and local leaders say. Right now there’s not enough money to pay the bill, North Dakota Sens. Kent Conrad and John Hoeven said Wednesday during a Senate Budget Committee hearing in a city commission room where Fargo leaders have mapped out strategy to fight three straight major floods. ‘Those of us on the budget committee, we do have to try and get things to add up,’ Conrad said. ‘And right now they don’t add up.’ ” Clearly, it’s a job for private industry.
And while we’re at it, here’s another example of reckless gummint spending. Reports John Welbes at the PiPress: “The 3M Co. received a U.S. government grant for $4.6 million this week, which it will use to develop a cell with high energy density for use in Lithium-ion batteries used in cars. The Maplewood-based manufacturing and research company is working on advanced chemistries and electrode preparation that aim to improve battery performance. 3M’s grant is one of 12 awarded by the Department of Energy that targets electric car batteries.”
The “hyperactive silver carp”, aka “Asian carp,” are in the St. Croix. Dennis Anderson and Paul Walsh of the Strib say: “Water samples from the St. Croix River have tested positive for genetic material from invasive and hyperactive silver carp, suggesting that the leaping species may be present in the river as far north as the dam at St. Croix Falls, state officials announced Thursday. Similar testing for a stretch of the Mississippi River in St. Paul turned up no evidence of any species of Asian carp, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.”
Oh … and that “chupacabra” … Al Tompkins at the Poynter Institute notes the traffic the story of the disgusting hairless white roadkill generated for little KSAX-TV up in Alexandria: “On a typical day, KSAX-TV in Alexandria, Minnesota attracts about 10,000 page views. Recently, the station set a record, 250,000 page views in a single day and a million views in four days. The secret weapon: a photograph of a strange hairless roadkill carcass sent to the station via Facebook. Five of the station’s six top stories Wednesday were about mysterious roadkill.” Now, if they could just connect the chupacabra to Denny Hecker, I could die a happy man.