Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


After the debt ceiling deal, more shutdown threats loom

MORNING EDITION ALSO: Dwindling duck hunters; M-Paw’s Iowa assessment; cities looking to increase taxes; gay rights PAC battle ramping up; an expanded Bob Fest; and more.
Read Tuesday Afternoon Edition


After President Obama’s signature on the dirty deed concluded the debt ceiling fight, MPR’s Brett Neely filed, saying: “Another potential confrontation could come in November and December after the special committee reports its recommendations for longer-term savings. One Democratic Senate aide worried that Republicans might provoke another showdown then. Under the agreement, the trigger mechanisms make automatic cuts in payments to Medicare providers and security spending including defense, State Department operations, homeland security and veterans’ affairs if the committee can’t reach agreement. The aide worried that Republicans, having spread out the budget-cutting pain in their area over a variety of programs, might be willing to let the cuts to Medicare take place.”

At the Brainerd Dispatch, Mike O’Rourke writes an editorial on the debt ceiling debacle: “The two most conservative members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and the two most liberal members, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., all voted no on the crucial House bill that prevented the U.S. from entering into default. There’s probably never been an odder group of bedfellows than that Minnesota foursome. Most days it would be doubtful they could reach consensus on whether the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. … I’ll give the four debt bill opponents the benefit of the doubt — that they were voting their conscience. However, there’s no question they were influenced by their most strident supporters who either thought the bill was an insufficient budget-trimming measure for a bloated federal government or a sell-out to extremists who were holding the U.S. economy hostage for political ends.”

Say what? We’ve lost 40,000 duck hunters? Doug Smith of the Strib writes: “Unprecedented changes are coming for Minnesota duck hunters this fall — including an earlier season, higher bag limits for wood ducks and hen mallards and north-south hunting zones — the state’s first ever. The dramatic moves, all intended to boost hunting opportunities, are prompted by the loss of 40,000 state duck hunters over the past dozen years. ‘We needed a change,’ Tom Landwehr, Department of Natural Resources commissioner, said in a statement. ‘We heard from waterfowl hunters that they supported these changes, and with waterfowl hunter numbers at record lows, we don’t expect season changes to negatively affect breeding populations.’ “

I’m not sure it’s a good sign when even your “smokin’ hot wife” says you have to show “significant progress.” CNN’s Rachel Streitfeld checks in with Mary Pawlenty and writes: “Pawlenty must do well in an upcoming Iowa straw poll, his wife said Tuesday, telling CNN she is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about his prospects in that contest. ‘He needs to move from where he’s been and show significant progress, but I’m reasonably confident we’re going to see that good progress,’ said Mary Pawlenty of her husband’s chances in the Ames straw poll August 13th.”

Adam C. Smith of the St. Petersburg Times notes the incongruity of influential Floridians lining up behind T-Paw: “The vast majority of Floridians couldn’t pick Tim Pawlenty out of a lineup. He barely registers in the polls. And there’s a decent chance he’ll have to quit the presidential race soon if he continues to show little momentum in Iowa.
And yet something curious is happening in Florida: Influential Republican leaders continue to line up behind the former Minnesota governor, even with little evidence he’s a viable contender. ‘I don’t know or care if he’s got a 5 percent chance or a 50 percent chance or an 80 percent chance, what matters right now is we need people who stand up for what they believe in,’ said state Rep. Richard Corcoran of New Port Richey, a Pawlenty supporter in line to be speaker of the Florida House.”

After the success of the no-new-taxes ethos in St. Paul, city officials are predicting … new taxes. KAAL-TV’s Dan Conradt reports: “Six weeks from now, we should have a better idea of how Minnesota cities plan to raise and spend money for the next year. September 15th is the deadline for cities to submit their 2012 budget and levy proposals to the state. And there are already signs that tight budgets are about to get even tighter. … raising revenue is part of the Austin city council’s preliminary plan for making up the difference. ‘About a 15 percent tax levy increase for the city of Austin for the payable 2012 year,’ [Austin finance director Tom] Dankert said. That means about $43 a year for a typical home valued at $105 thousand. ‘Back in the ’90s we went for a number of years with no tax increase. we had some years when we actually decreased property taxes,’ said city administrator Jim Hurm.” That beast needs to be starved … get me Norquist STAT.

Another sign of the money soon to flow … to Minnesota TV stations. The AP reports: “One of the nation’s leading gay-rights groups has formed a political action committee in Minnesota in preparation for next year’s statewide vote on whether the state Constitution should prohibit gay marriage. The Human Rights Campaign filed its ‘Minnesota Family Freedom’ PAC on Monday with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board. A finance officer with the Washington-based organization confirms it’s in preparation for the 2012 vote, which is expected to draw large donations from both supporters and foes of gay marriage.”

The guy who was guzzling vodka and Gatorade and hitting speeds up to 115 mph before killing another kid in a collision got a lengthy prison sentence. Emily Gurnon of the PiPress writes: “Fabrizio Montermini, the Eden Prairie man convicted of third-degree murder in a drunken car crash in St. Paul, was sentenced Monday to 14-1/2 years in prison. … Witnesses, including two teenage girls in Montermini’s car, said he drove at speeds up to 115 mph. The girls said he refused to let them out when they became afraid. After the crash, Montermini got out of of the car to urinate, got back in and drove his three unconscious passengers to a Maplewood church. There, he pulled them out of the car and left them in the freezing parking lot. Fitzpatrick died of a brain injury. Backseat passengers Monica Carlson, 19, and Amy Schmitt, 16, were injured. Carlson suffered a badly broken leg. Four people in the other car, including a pregnant woman, were injured. The baby was not hurt.”

This year’s BobFest will play in two locations. In the Strib, Mara Van Ells writes: “Soon the strains of both well-known and lesser-known Bob Dylan songs will be echoing in the parks of two west-metro suburbs. For the third year, ‘Blood on the Tracks Live’ will be staging a tribute to Bob Dylan at the Veterans Memorial Amphitheater in Wolfe Park in St. Louis Park. And this year, a show also has been scheduled for Maple Grove’s Town Green. ‘We get together because we’re longtime musicians,’ band member Billy Hallquist said. ‘This is a labor of love as opposed to something we do week in, week out to make money.’ The group got its start in 1974, when Bob Dylan recruited six musicians from the Minneapolis area to back him up on his ‘Blood on the Tracks’ album.”