There is a point when metro areas become overextended in terms of supporting pro sports. At ninth worst, we’re getting close. In the Business Journals, G. Scott Thomas writes: “Denver is under more financial stress than any other professional-sports market in North America, according to a new On Numbers study. Denver heads a list of 20 overextended markets, all of which have insufficient income bases to support their existing major-league teams.” Phoenix is eighth and Cincinnati is 10th.
Rupa Chenoy of MPR takes a look at T-Paw’s employment possibilities: “For Pawlenty supporters, this weekend’s Iowa straw poll results means the end of a promising national campaign. For local Republicans, it signals a possible beginning. ‘Like my mom always used to say, things always work out for the best in the end, and maybe this is an opportunity for Minnesota,’ said Tony Sutton, chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party. Sutton said he hasn’t talked to Pawlenty yet, but knows what he’ll say when the time comes. ‘Now that he’s not running for president, I sure hope he’d consider running for U.S. Senate,’ said Sutton. ‘I think he’d make a heck of a candidate.’ “
That’s an interesting piece from MPR’s Dan Gunderson on research to replace petroleum-based paints with crop-based compounds: “Researchers at North Dakota State University say they’ve developed a way to make high quality paints and coatings from soy oil and sugar. Most paints, coatings and glues are petroleum based, but there is great interest to develop plant-based products that are environmentally friendly. The worldwide market for biorenewable chemicals will reach $5 billion by 2015, says one industry estimate. Efforts to develop plant-based alternatives and replacements have sometimes resulted in products that don’t last or wear as well as their common counterparts. North Dakota State researcher Dean Webster has been working on a solution since 2008, and he says a breakthrough in his lab created a soy and sugar based coating that’s just as tough as petro chemical paints.”
The mom charged in the case of the kid accused of running down three people in Dinkytown last spring, killing one? She’s free to go. Says Abby Simons of the Strib: “Diane Bakdash, 66, was initially charged with accomplice after the fact, a felony. On Aug. 11, the county attorney’s office filed an amended complaint, adding an additional charge of aiding an offender, a felony, and obstructing the legal process or arrest, a misdemeanor. The dismissal on Monday of all but the misdemeanor charge came after a motion filed in June by Bakdash’s attorney that included an interview with the witness identified in court papers only as B.B. … The witness said in the interview that he told police ‘at least three times now that when I was on the phone with Bakdash, that I overheard a woman. Whether it was his mother, I don’t have a clue.’ “
Way to go, Chanhassen. In this week’s “Best Places to Live” poll (courtesy of CNN Money), the little suburb claims 10th place: “Chanhassen has plenty going for it – -including good jobs right within its borders (manufacturing and technology company Emerson is based here), evening diversion (the Chanhassen Dinner Theater is the nation’s oldest and largest), and nature galore (34 parks, 11 lakes, and the enormous Minnesota Landscape Arboretum).”
In another quasi-scientific survey, the Twin Cities are the fifth-safest metro area for pedestrians. Says Mike Mullen at City Pages: “Minneapolis-St. Paul is one of the safest pedestrian cities in the United States, according to a new study from Transportation for America. The study ranked the Twin Cities 48th out of 52 major metro areas in the ‘Pedestrian Danger Index.’ That is, if you flip the study order from most dangerous to least dangerous,Minneapolis-St. Paul is the fifth-safest place to walk. The Twin Cities rates well thanks to a relatively high percentage of citizens who walk to work, and a low number of pedestrian fatalities. The study does not account for ‘Minnesota nice’ drivers literally stopping, right in the middle of the road, to let someone to cross the street, but that probably plays into it.”
Our Favorite Congresswoman’s gaffe-of-the-day involves her hero … Elvis. Writes Rachel Stassen-Berger at the Strib: “When presidential candidate Michele Bachmann takes to the stage, she is often accompanied by a blast of Elvis Presley’s ‘Promised Land. So, it would stand to reason that she knows a bit about the king. But apparently, she doesn’t know enough not to confuse the anniversary of his birth — January 8 — with the anniversary of his death — August 16. According to CNN, on Tuesday as she started a rally in Spartanburg, South Carolina, she said: ‘Before we get started, let’s all say ‘Happy Birthday’ to Elvis Presley today … We played you a little bit of Promise Land when we pulled up. You can’t do better than Elvis Presley and we thought we would celebrate his birthday as we get started celebrating taking our country back to work.’ ” But she will never confuse Good Friday with Christmas.
When Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s supporters say his reforms are working, this might be what they have in mind. The AP reports: “Wisconsin’s powerful statewide teachers union said 40 percent of its staff members were laid off Monday as a result of the law pushed by Gov. Scott Walker and passed by the Legislature curbing collective bargaining rights. Wisconsin Education Association Council executive director Dan Burkhalter said the laying off of 42 workers resulted from what he called Walker’s ‘union-busting’ bill. Opponents had argued one of the law’s goals was weakening the power of unions like WEAC, which is typically one of the biggest spenders in campaigns on behalf of Democrats. The law takes away the right of teachers and other public workers to collectively bargain over anything except salary increases no greater than the rate of inflation. It also disallows the automatic withdrawal of union dues from workers’ pay checks and requires unions to vote annually on staying organized, making it tougher for public sector unions to stay viable.”
Robert Yoon at CNN looks at the Bachmanns’ family finances. You know, that stuff the average American is always handling better over the dining room table than the government? “Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and her husband own assets worth up to $2.8 million but also owe up to $750,000 in outstanding loans, according to a federal financial disclosure report filed Friday. The Republican presidential hopeful reported owning assets totaling between $1.3 million and $2.8 million, including her husband’s psychotherapy practice and office space worth between $600,000 and $1.3 million and a family farm valued between $500,000 and $1 million. The clinic drew $50,000 to $100,000 in gross income in 2010, while the Independence, Wisconsin, farm generated income between $5,000 and $15,000.” Wait a minute … gross income of “$50,000 to $100,000”?