In the end, Minnesota’s congressional split votes on new trade agreements with foreign countries. Andy Birkey at The Minnesota Independent reports: “Free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama passed the U.S. House and U.S. Senate on Wednesday, with much of the Minnesota delegation supporting at least one of the deals. The bills were supported by corporations, including Minnesota-based Cargill, while labor and human rights groups opposed the measures, particularly the deal with Colombia. … All of Minnesota’s [congressional Democrats] voted against the deal with Colombia citing concerns of government violence against the labor movement in that country. Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum voted against all three free trade agreements.”
In a trade-related move, Brett Neely of MPR notes: “Two new bills from Minnesota’s Congressional delegation would make it easier for the state’s medical device companies to get their products to market. The first bill comes from [Democratic] Sen. Amy Klobuchar, along with co-sponsors from both political parties. It would make changes to the way the Food and Drug Administration approves medical devices to speed up a process that’s gotten increasingly slow.” Third District Congressman Erik Paulsen is down with that one, too.
The arcane market value homestead credit, eliminated in last summer’s budget compromise, continues to throw a Halloween-like scare into property owners. Tom Robertson of MPR reports: “Tax officials say a Bemidji business worth $300,000 will see taxes go up 8 percent, almost $700. Figures are similar elsewhere, a check with county auditors shows. A similar property in Duluth will see a 9 percent increase, in St. Paul 11 percent, in Hibbing 13 percent. Those figures are based on preliminary tax levies that school, city and county officials have approved. They could lower them when they determine their budgets in December. Business owners are just beginning to learn how changes lawmakers and the governor made last summer are going to affect them. The July compromise that ended the state government shutdown included eliminating the market value homestead credit, which for years lowered property taxes on lower value homes. Many property owners are likely to see tax increases, but owners of business property will be hit the hardest.” But remember, “job creators” were protected.
Birkey of the Minnesota Independent also notes the latest union ad up against 8th District Congressman Chip Cravaack: “American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is launching a television ad against Chip Cravaack this week targeting his opposition to Pres. Barack Obama’s proposed jobs bill.” The ad is at the link.
Anna Polta of the West Central Tribune writes: “Minnesota has recorded its first case of influenza for the 2011-12 season in a 26-year-old woman from Olmsted County, the state Department of Health announced today. The Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory confirmed the woman’s illness was caused by the A (H3) strain of the virus, which appears to be covered by this year’s flu vaccine. The woman, who had no underlying health conditions and was not hospitalized, had not yet been vaccinated this season, state health officials said.”
Don Davis of the Forum papers detects no new optimism for a Vikings stadium: “Rural lawmakers contacted today, after two major stadium developments this week, generally were pessimistic about stadium chances. Some said a special session is not appropriate for a stadium issue. In the past, rural lawmakers have been critical in stadium votes, especially for the 2-year-old Twins baseball facility. This year, Lanning and Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, are the main stadium sponsors. While there is rural support from many for a Vikings’ stadium, there also are plenty of unanswered questions that supporters fear could delay or kill a stadium bid. … Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said about 70 percent of his constituents oppose any state funding for a stadium, but at the same time want Minnesota to keep the Vikings.”
Authorities have concluded that a Woodbury father shot and killed his two children before setting fire to their RV at the Grand Canyon last week. MyFox-TV in Phoenix says: “Based on the evidence, investigators said they believe 35-year-old Anthony DeHaven, of Woodbury, Minn., fatally shot his two children — Jace and Jersey — before starting the fire and turning the gun on himself. … Investigators stress that they are still examining all potential leads in this case, but have not yet commented on how the police report filed with the Woodbury Police Department is connected to the case other than to say it is related to the deaths.” Say what?
PiPress food writer Kathie Jenkins asked readers for tips on shaving grocery bills and got a small flood of ideas. Among them:
“I plan meals for the week and shop at the local grocery store on Wednesday, which is Senior Day. This is the day a 5 percent discount is offered to senior citizens. I’m a retired teacher … This planning keeps me on track, helps me avoid impulse shopping and gets me the discount.
— Joan Boe, Amery, Wis.
When bell peppers go on sale, I buy several. At home, I wash, seed and slice them, then freeze them in an airtight container. I love bell peppers, but they seem outrageously priced at times … With my frozen cache, I don’t feel like I’m splurging when I use them.
— Sue Kittams, Burnsville
I try to buy in bulk. Since ground bison has gone up to $10 a pound at some stores, we now buy it from the vendors at the farmers’ market because they sometimes give a discount if you buy 10 pounds or more. We’ve been using one pound of bison and one pound of tofu in our regular chili recipe and love it!
— Connie DeMillo, White Bear Lake” Bulk bison … mmmm, mmmm.
Today in Bachmannia: Elizabeth Snead of The Hollywood Reporter (of all things) looks at the collapse of Our Gal’s presidential dreams and wonders if it has anything to do with her … fashion sense. The result is a slide show of fashion ups and downs. Included:
#5, “Influence Peddler
Michele Bachmann attended Time’s Most Influential People party wearing a sophisticated black strapless dress. Bravo. Then she totally destroyed it with a sad limp turquoise doily. A sheer shawl is not worn for warmth. Therefore, it sends a message that means you lack confidence. And in a roomful of perceptive, influential people, that’s not smart.”
#15, “Getting Nailed
At another GOP debate, Michele Bachmann flaunts her incredibly long French tipped nails. The problem is that a French manicure is supposed to look natural. These do not. They just look dangerous. Her talons look like she could poke her own eye out and may not even be able to button her own jackets. This screams helpless female, not a get-their-hands-dirty POTUS.”
Now, I ask you, have the Fashion Police ever done this to Rick Perry?