“The Beverly Hillbillies” once sang about “Texas Tea,” but Michele Bachmann did her best to make Rick Perry Texas Toast in last night’s Tea Party debate. Her cudgel was not, as previously announced, Social Security, but Perry’s executive order requiring girls to get vaccinations against human papillomavirus. Bachmann contended this was a drug company payoff, and a post-debate email stated, “I’m offended … To have innocent little 12-year old girls be forced to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat out wrong.”
Between that and ripping Perry for allowing illegal immigrants to get college aid, Ms. 4 Percent (CNN poll) was judged to have won the debate (ABC’s Amy Walter); Reuters, with possibly coincidental religious allusions, said she “comes back to life”; Talking Points’ Josh Marshall said Bachmann “ran circles” around Perry. WashPo fact-checker Glenn Kessler says Bachmann is incorrect (again) about her claim Obama cut Medicare, and still is confused that a “blank check” can’t have a number filled in. Will it matter? We await the verdict of an audience who thinks ill uninsured 30-year-olds should die.
Here’s a verb you don’t want to read for a forest fire: “exploded.” The Duluth News Tribune’s John Myers says the Pagami Creek Fire has “exploded in size”; it’s spreading outside the BWCA and now covers more than 31 square miles. (This time yesterday, it was 7.) It’s the largest wildfire since the May 2007 Ham Lake Fire, which burned 120 square miles. More than 60 firefighters are battling it with 100 more on the way. The Strib’s Bill McAuliffe contends 150 firefighters are in on it, and adds there is only a slight chance of rain today. BWCA entrances are closed and there’s a “precautionary evacuation area.”
The Strib’s Jim Spencer passes along White House calculations that the newly proposed American Jobs Act “would support” 18,400 Minnesota jobs. The state has 71,000 long-term unemployed and 213,370 total, so we’re talking enough to nearly fill Target Center but still less than 10 percent of the problem. Road and transit spending account for 7,900 jobs; we’d get 6,900 more teachers, police and firefighters, plus 3,600 jobs from school renovations. The single economist quoted doesn’t quibble with the math; no political opponents are heard from. By the way, if Minnesota got a proportional share of the estimated 1.9 million created jobs (1.7 percent) it would equal 32,300. So why are we getting about half that? Minnesota is nearer the bottom, per capita.
Meanwhile, the Strib’s Dee DePass says just 12 percent of local employers will hire in 2011’s fourth quarter, nosing out the 11 percent who will lay off. It’s the worst Manpower Employment Outlook in at least a year, and Minneapolis-St. Paul is weaker than our ag-booming state as a whole. St. Paul-based Cerenity Senior Care got a jump on the layoffs, ejecting 300 workers and 187 residents while closing two east-metro nursing homes, the PiPress’s Christopher Snowbeck reports.
It’s not every day a crime reporter finds a friend’s name in a death investigation. Monday was that day for the PiPress’ Brady Gervais.
Remember the jerks who pried letters off a 35W memorial wall? KARE has a pretty good explainer of how the letters are being more securely attached.
Despite allowing lakefront property owners to pave over more surfaces, MPR’s Jennifer Vogel reports, Crow Wing County has gone from lax to having “one of the most progressive” shoreline development ordinances in the state. The runoff-related rules are modeled on statewide standards former Gov. Tim Pawlenty rejected. After succumbing to the development boom, lake associations are having a positive impact on water quality, Vogel adds. Stephanie Hemphill describes the scope of the problem, and Vogel chronicles farm runoff.
The Strib’s Pat Doyle reports that the Metropolitan Airports Commission paid a $95,512-per-year employee $20,000 during an 11-week work release term for possessing child porn on his home computer. State law “prevents firing a convicted employee unless the crime relates to his job,” so the MAC paid Avery Davis his full pay to stay away. That may be more generous than state law, and Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles says the airport needs a formal policy on such cases.
Mayo Clinic makes a New York Times roundup of health-related campaigns that are giving ad agencies a “shot in the arm.”
Nort spews: The Timberwolves shock the world by hiring the right coach; the Strib’s Jerry Zgoda notes Rick Adelman has a .600-plus winning percentage as an NBA coach and a rooter in Kevin Love, the Wolves’ best player. AP sportswriter Jon Krawczynski helpfully forwards articles on Adelman’s problems in his last stop, and how his protect-the-rock, avoid-fouls style fits with the Wolves. Meanwhile, midwifed by the Strib’s Joe Christensen, Joe Mauer tries again to explain his way out of the p.r. disaster sprung from this very real disaster of a season. Jerry Kill could coach Saturday. Bachmann may have bested Perry, but a Texas team bested our St. Paul Saints for the American Association championship.
Glean creator David Brauer returns to fill in for vacationing Brian Lambert.