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LA Times questions Bachmann’s collegiality and effectiveness

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: More stadium maneuvering; a high-cost Duluth casino disagreement; GOP’s Dayton charge ruled “misleading”; state’s job vacancies climb; and more.
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LA Times questions Bachmann’s collegiality, effectiveness

This is not exactly news here, but Kathleen Hennessey of the Los Angeles Times files a report on Our Favorite Congresswoman’s collegiality and effectivess as a legislator: “With its firm hierarchy, Congress is a difficult place to rack up accomplishments quickly — or to launch a presidential bid. But what sets Bachmann apart is how her legislative colleagues view her. It is difficult to find Republicans willing to discuss her on the record. House leaders have kept their distance and rarely rewarded her with legislative responsibilities. Bachmann was recently criticized by other Republicans in a private meeting where members blamed her near-constant cycle of television appearances for undermining the House Republican message. … Bachmann’s office declined an interview request. Asked to describe the congresswoman’s chief legislative accomplishments, Bachmann spokeswoman Becky Rogness pointed to her votes in opposition to major legislation — the Wall Street bailout passed during the George W. Bush administration, and the stimulus package, auto industry bailout, cap-and-trade regulation and others. Rogness noted that Bachmann was first to introduce legislation to repeal the health care law and has since introduced another piece of health care legislation that has broad GOP support.” Now that is what I call “gittin’ ‘r done.”

Jim Hightower, the progressive pundit, writes in The Austin Chronicle: “The higher the monkey climbs, the more you see of its ugly side. So here comes Rick Perry of Texas, trying to climb the national political ladder all the way to the presidency. He’s really two candidates in one suit. On the surface, Perry is vying to be the furthest out of the tea party Republicans’ far-out right-wingers – sort of Michele Bachmann with better hair. He wants to scuttle Social Security and Medicaid. Also, he says the federal government should not be ‘regulating the environment … protecting civil rights … [or even] creating national minimum wage laws’.”  Whatever … but did he just diss Our Gal’s hair?

In the scramble to seal a deal before Ramsey County goes all crazy and lets voters have a say on getting taxed for a football stadium, the Vikings are working a new roof/no roof angle. Tim Nelson of MPR reports: “[Vikings stadium point man Lester] Bagley said another matter open for negotiation includes whether to make the roof retractable. The team wants to be able to open up the stadium to accommodate a major league soccer franchise, but a fixed roof, which would be less expensive, ‘would cost us the opportunity to bring in an MLS team.’ And the clock is ticking. ‘We’ve got to get the project done, we’ve got to bring the costs down, we’ve got to get a package done together and get in front of the legislature,’ he said. News that the team might consider upping its contribution follows a Ramsey County Charter Commission meeting Wednesday night in which members put off new restrictions on local funding through taxes or bonding, and called for two hearings for the public to weigh in on the proposed sales tax to build the stadium.”

Nice little fracas on Superior Street in Duluth. Don Kraker of MPR writes: “A long-running and contentious dispute between the city of Duluth and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is back in federal court, where a judge could determine if a revenue-sharing agreement is legal. The legal battle is over tens of millions of dollars in casino revenue the Band once agreed to share with the financially struggling city. In a one-of-a-kind arrangement in 1994, the downtown casino signed a contract that gives Duluth 19 percent of gross revenue from slot machines — about $6 million a year. City officials use the money to maintain city streets. Fond du Lac Chairwoman Karen Diver said the city has received way too much, and the Band doesn’t owe it a penny more. ‘To date the city has gotten over $80 million,’ she said. ‘I would think that the tab is clear.’ “

And still at MPR, Catharine Richert on its PoliGraph site gives the state GOP a “misleading” rating for its recent shots at Mark Dayton’s “anti-job” administration: “During the legislative session, Dayton wanted to raise taxes on the state’s wealthiest, which the GOP said would discourage businesses from hiring. To make their case, the Republicans say in the flier that, ‘After cutting taxes and declaring the state ‘open for business,’ Wisconsin created 12,900 new private-sector jobs in June. … This represents the largest one-month gain of private-sector jobs in Wisconsin since 2003’. The Senate GOP gets its numbers right, but the job situation in Wisconsin is far more nuanced than the flier lets on. … It’s true that Wisconsin added 12,900 private sector jobs in June — the largest since 2003. In fact, the state’s Department of Workforce Development later increased that figure to 14,800 private sector jobs. These numbers are seasonally adjusted, but economists in Wisconsin point out that many jobs added in June were food service and leisure positions, which tend to disappear once the weather gets colder. Economists also highlight that in July, the previous gains in the private sector were wiped out when Wisconsin lost 12,500 jobs from nearly all the state’s industries.” In politics, “misleading” is kind of like saying, “Mission accomplished.”

That is one big, furry mosquito … Sam Cook of the Duluth News Tribune reports: “At first, Mason Cavanaugh thought the irritation on the back of his neck was another mosquito. The bugs had been bad that evening. But when he reached around to slap the offender, he realized it was something else entirely. ‘I felt something wet and furry,’ said Cavanaugh, 20, who lives with his parents in Melrude, just north of Cotton. It was a black bear. A large black bear. And now it was standing on its hind legs. ‘I want to say it was close to 7 feet tall,’ said Cavanaugh, who is 6-foot-3 himself. ‘It was a lot taller than I was.’ ”

I’ll have to let it go, but this not giving the kid who made the hockey shot the $50K bugs me. And it’s not just me. Glenn Davis on the SportsGrid blog writes: “[T]his release from Odds On Promotions — even though the intentions are good — probably won’t help.

” ‘We greatly respect the eventual honesty of the Smith family. Although we’re unable to pay the claim on Nate’s incredible shot, we are confident our donation will foster a positive environment for present and future youth hockey in Minnesota.’

“It’s tough to read that and not think, ‘Yeah, you respected their honesty so much that you didn’t give them the money.’ But they probably did respect their honesty. And the twins’ father, Pat, said the boys ‘understand,’ so hey, what’s the point in getting too mad? The company did make the donation. But, damn: the kid made a near-impossible shot, and the impression here is that inflexible rules and bureaucracies ruined it for everybody. We don’t doubt the people involved were doing what they had to (and not necessarily wanted to) do, but … man. Safe to say we have no desire to work in the insurance business.”  A vernacular note here … “eventual honesty” and “we’re unable to pay”? Really?

So what is it today? Not enough — or too many jobs? The Alexandria Echo Press has a story up saying: “Job vacancies in Minnesota climbed 32.1 percent in the second quarter of 2011 compared with the same period a year ago, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The agency said employers reported 54,700 openings during the period, compared with 41,400 openings one year earlier. The Job Vacancy Survey, conducted twice annually by DEED in the second and fourth quarters, also found that the state had 3.6 unemployed people for each vacancy, compared with 4.8 unemployed people for each vacancy during the same period last year.

What more do you have to do to get rid of a guy? Bill Hanna of The Mesabi Daily News reports: “Police Chief Dana Waldron is back on the job in charge of officers who voted unanimously earlier this year that they didn’t want him as their boss. The Virginia Police Civil Service Commission, after a seven-month saga that included the chief being put on leave and the focus of four days of a trial on charges of workplace misconduct and insubordination, ruled Wednesday morning that the city needed to reinstate Waldron as chief, with back pay. And he was back at City Hall at work later in the day.” … And what’s next? He leads a “team-building” retreat this weekend?