Our “Occupy Wall Street” protest, which will require camping out in front of the Hennepin County Government Center, got an OK from the cops. Says the Strib’s Randy Furst: “Local Wall Street protesters who plan to descend on the Hennepin County Government Center plaza Friday met with the Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan today in separate meetings as the activists geared up for what they hope to be a large multi-day ‘occupation’ of the plaza. ‘We have come to an agreement that we will be free to exercise freedom of speech in a safe environment as long as people follow the rules,’ said Todd Dahlstrom, a security representative for OccupyMn, one of the protest representatives at the meeting. The sheriff appeared to be pleased with the meeting. ‘They’re nice people,’ he said. ‘They’ve got a mission, we’ve got a job to do … As long as we keep the lines of communication open, we’ll be fine.’ ”
Arizona authorities are calling the deaths of three members of a Minnesota family at the Grand Canyon a murder-suicide. Says the AP: “The investigation into the deaths of three people whose bodies were found inside a charred motor home at the Grand Canyon points to a possible murder-suicide, National Park Service officials said Wednesday.”
Minnesota businessman and inadvertent Watergate character Ken Dahlberg has died. Paul Walsh of the Strib writes: “As the Midwest finance chairman of President Richard Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign, Dahlberg was pulled into the Watergate scandal even though he didn’t engage in any wrongdoing. He became linked to the scandal after a check he delivered to the Nixon campaign turned up in a Watergate burglar’s bank account, tying Nixon to the break-in. The contribution, which was legal, had come from Dwayne Andreas, a native of Worthington, Minn., and former chairman of Archer-Daniels-Midland. Dahlberg was cleared by a grand jury of any wrongdoing, but his role in Watergate was parlayed into a moment of high drama for the movie that documented the scandal, ‘All the President’s Men.’ One scene shows Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward phoning Dahlberg to ask about the check, eliciting a tense standoff, though no allegations are made against Dahlberg. At one point, as the White House tapes later revealed, White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman mentioned Dahlberg’s role to Nixon, to which the president responded, ‘Who the hell is Ken Dahlberg?’ “
There are more than a few classic Great Recession-era facets to the current Regis Hair vs. hedge fund fight. Tom Webb of the PiPress continues his reporting, saying: “Against Regis’ wishes, Starboard and its affiliates are attempting to elect three members to the seven-member Regis board, and have unleashed an attack against Regis’ leadership and its performance. On Monday, Regis leadership announced a series of changes, similar to ones sought by the activist hedge fund. That included selling off non-core assets, naming a new CEO and further cutting expenses. But the hedge fund registered in the Cayman Islands wasn’t impressed, and has been blasting away ever since. In today’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Starboard criticized Regis’ moves as ‘transparent attempts by the company to win votes in the upcoming election contest. When the pressure is off, what will keep the board from returning to its past practices of complacent oversight and weak governance’? Today’s filing contained Starboard’s most caustic language to date, lashing out at the board for ‘sitting idly for years while shareholder value deteriorated.’ ”
On the matter of the giant St. Croix River bridge moving to the floor of the House, Jeremy Herb and Kevin Giles of the Strib say: “The vote in the Natural Resources Committee broke almost entirely along party lines, with most Republicans favoring and most Democrats opposing. The bill was authored by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.
It seeks a congressional exemption to the U.S. Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the law that protects the St. Croix and 202 other rivers nationwide. It would give Minnesota and Wisconsin a green light to build a $690 million bridge at Oak Park Heights to divert vehicle traffic from the 80-year-old Stillwater Lift Bridge. … Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, referring to the Sierra Club, said bridge stakeholders had worked for years to arrive at a compromise but ‘then a radical group stepped in and sued.’ The bridge would be built among existing ‘sewer plants and smokestacks,’ he said, dismissing environmental concerns.”
A long-range forecast says we’re looking at the coldest weather of any major U.S. metro area. Andy Rathbun of the PiPress writes: “Wednesday marked four days in a row of temperatures in the Twin Cities reaching the 80s. The high of 88 degrees measured at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport broke the record for the day — 87 degrees set in 1879. But now comes the bad news: you might want to soak up the sun and warmth while you can, because this winter is forecast to be a cold one. ‘We are expecting below normal temperatures throughout the winter, the worst of it coming December into January,’ said Steve Travis, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.com, which released its long-term winter forecast Wednesday. Of all major U.S. metro areas, the Twin Cities is forecast to have the worst of below average temperatures this winter, Travis said. Mean monthly temperatures are expected to be several degrees below normal. The metro should expect to see above normal snowfall again this year, but in smaller, more frequent amounts, he said.”
According to census figures, gay couples like the city life, and lesbian couples are OK with the country. Jeremy Olson of the Strib writes: “There were almost twice as many male same-sex households as female same-sex households in Hennepin County (3,479 and 1,859, respectively). And the gender split was relatively even in Ramsey County (746 male versus 873 female). But in the rest of the state, the number of female same-sex households outpaced the number of male same-sex households by 17 to 1. There were an estimated 3,080 female same-sex households in the rest of the state last year, compared to 174 male same-sex households.”
This was before last night’s shocking news that Sarah Palin would not be running for president this year … unless perhaps drafted at the GOP convention. But even women are now abandoning Our Favorite Congresswoman. Says Alex Pappas of The Daily Caller: “Conservative women are now supporting Herman Cain’s presidential bid, even over Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin, according to the group Concerned Women for America (CWA). The most recent online polling of the group shows that 36.3 percent of its members favor Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. Trailing Cain in a distant second is Palin, the former governor of Alaska, at 9.7 percent. ‘Deep doubts about Mitt Romney continue as now Cain has almost pulled even with Romney on the question of who do people think will win the nomination,’ said Penny Nance, CEO of CWA’s Legislative Action Committee. ‘That is a significant shift from previous surveys which showed while most preferred someone else, they thought Romney would win. The ground is shifting.’ ”
What safety net isn’t stronger with a few strands of cord yanked out of it? Over in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker’s latest plan involves … well, here’s how the AP puts it: “Walker said his administration’s proposed cuts to Medicaid are designed to preserve a basic safety net. State health officials released a series of proposals last week designed to generate $554.4 million in Medicaid savings. The centerpiece calls for winning a federal waiver that would allow the state to stiffen eligibility requirements for people with some employer-based insurance and force young people to join their parents’ insurance. Without the waiver, provisions in the state budget would lower eligibility minimums to the point where 53,000 people would lose their coverage. Regardless of whether the state gets the waiver, 215,000 people would see reduced benefits.” See … “less” plus “fewer” plus “reduced” = stronger.