There’ll be more winners than not when “Obamacare” takes full hold. That was the opinion of experts meeting in St. Paul Thursday. Christopher Snowbeck of the PiPress writes: “Young, healthy and wealthy folks who have saved money in the past by purchasing skimpier health insurance coverage could be among the losers, said Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That’s because individuals who fit that description likely will have to buy richer coverage without seeing tax benefits from the law, which Congress passed in 2010. But there will be a much bigger group of winners in the state, Gruber said during a meeting of the state’s Health Insurance Exchange Advisory Task Force at the St. Paul RiverCentre. Winners will include relatively low-income people with a history of health problems, he said, because they will be able to spend less money out-of-pocket for better coverage thanks to federal tax subsidies. … Reached by phone Thursday, Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said he couldn’t comment on Gruber’s analysis, except to say he believes the overhaul ‘will create nothing but losers.’ That’s because the nation needs a free market for health insurance, Hann said, adding that the federal law features mandates to individuals and benefit structures to insurers. ‘If you want efficiency, if you want lower cost and you want variety, you have to let people be free to make decisions,’ said Hann, chairman of the Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee.” Sen. Hann is Mr. Go-To for your upbeat appraisals.
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch shows up on the Strib’s Op-Ed pages explaining her responsibilities in the Vikings stadium (or)deal: “While Gov. Mark Dayton is focused on a deadline (“It’s time to get serious about Vikes stadium,” Nov. 13), my goal is working with our caucus lead — Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont — to identify a plan that has broad, bipartisan support and the backing of the public. … As with any piece of legislation, in order to discover if we have consensus for further action, we need to vet the issue publicly. When Republicans took the majority in the Senate for the first time in 38 years, we made a commitment to increase transparency and accessibility to the legislative process. One example was our immediate streamlining of the committee structure to make it easier for citizens to participate.” So please, please, don’t make us decide this on our own.
Editors love “news you can use.” Whenever I hear that I think of … pie. As in, “Tell me where.” Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl at MPR offers up her list of the best pies-to-go for Thanksgiving. Just a few:
“BARS BAKERY, ST. PAUL
St. Paul’s newest great bakery is known for its high-quality but delightfully simple baking. They use Hope Creamery high-fat butter from southern Minnesota, eggs from Tangletown Gardens, apples from Whistling Well Orchards near Afton, and Wisconsin cranberries. For Thanksgiving this year they’re offering four pies: apple-cranberry; apple; pumpkin; and bourbon-pecan. All pies are $20, and the last day for orders is Sunday, Nov. 20.
NEW SCENIC CAFE, DULUTH
Duluth’s New Scenic Cafe is one of the best locavore restaurants in the state, and they’re doing all their famous pies to go: Apple; apple-cranberry; chocolate-pecan; bourbon-pecan; and their most popular, a North Shore triple-berry blend of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. All priced at $25. The last day to pre-order is Monday, Nov. 21.
PATISSERIE 46, MINNEAPOLIS
The winner of Minnesota Monthly’s award for best bakery this year, Patisserie 46 is offering some very over-the-top foodie flights of fancy, like a pumpkin tart with Italian meringue; 24-hour slow-roasted apples in an apple tart made with hazlenut and almond flours; pecan tarts; and chocolate tarts. Most pies are priced at $25. Last day to pre-order is Sunday, Nov. 20.”
How long have you heard the name Rottlund Homes? Well, it’s over. Annie Baxter at MPR says: “Rottlund Homes is liquidating its assets because of sluggish demand for new homes and difficulty procuring loans from banks. ‘The bank syndicate we currently have no longer wanted to support the housing market, and really there are no banks that want to invest in private homebuilders,’ said Steve Kahn, chief financial officer for Rottlund. ‘They felt it best if they just sold off the remaining assets that the company has.’ ” The company largely builds townhomes. Kahn said at the height of business, the company had more than 200 workers spread across offices in Minnesota, Florida, and Iowa. Now only 18 workers remain. Kahn said Rottlund used to do $350 million in sales, but that’s dropped off to about $50 million.”
Not to quarrel, but isn’t the news here that Mitt Romney needs money? The AP is reporting that the presumptive GOP front-runner is postponing a Minnesota fundraising stop: “Former rival Tim Pawlenty and others had planned a high-dollar event for Romney in Minneapolis on Monday. But a Pawlenty adviser says the event is being postponed due to a scheduling conflict.”
The “two-month anniversary” of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Minnesota-style, resulted in 11 arrests Thursday. Steve Karnowski of the AP reports: “The protest on the 10th Avenue bridge was to call for jobs and racial equality. Nick Muhammad, from a group called Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, said the people arrested sat down in the middle of the bridge. Police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer said in a Twitter feed that 11 were arrested. Sgt. Steve McCarty, another police spokesman, said they were cited for impeding traffic and public nuisance. Earlier Thursday, about 40 protesters rallied at the University of Minnesota in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement and other demonstrations nationwide. That protest was peaceful and there were no arrests, University Police Chief Greg Hestness said.”
The Strib editorializes on GOP House Tax Chairman Greg Davids’ plan to create $80 million in property tax relief, and manages to see a mountain in a molehill: “DFLers have been blasting Republicans for repealing the state’s homestead credit program, which will mean a property tax increase for many homeowners unless their local governments slash spending. Republican legislators have responded by faulting already strapped local governments for not slashing spending enough. Davids’ proposal breaks that pattern. It doesn’t quite own up to the impact of the homestead credit repeal, or, with an $80 million price tag, doesn’t make up for the $538 million that the loss of the homestead credit is slated to cost local governments over the next two years. … Spending cuts have been the order of the last decade in St. Paul. That approach to balancing the state budget is reaching the end of its political rope, as a 20-day government shutdown in July attested. One reason tax reform is needed now is to choose the smartest ways to make the tax system produce a larger, more reliable revenue stream. Tax reform is bound to produce both winners and losers. Davids and his GOP colleagues are right to suggest that job-producing businesses ought to be among the winners. We’ll know Republican lawmakers are truly serious when they also talk about which taxes should go up — or, better still, which tax breaks should go away — in exchange.”
Today in Bachmannia: Our Favorite Congresswoman was down at Drake University Thursday, doing a town hall forum with college kids. It got good. Shannon Travis of CNN writes: “Another student questioned Bachmann on national service programs, such as AmeriCorps: ‘You’ve gone on record as opposing those. So just wondering, if elected president, you might make that a part of your agenda? And if you think it’s a good idea, during this economy, to take away opportunities for young people to serve their country?’ ‘Well it isn’t the idea of young people not serving their country,’ Bachmann said. ‘The point is, we’re broke. I don’t know if you all have gotten that message yet from me this morning,’ Bachmann said.
Arguably the most tense exchange came as Bachmann restated her opposition to ‘Obamacare.’ As she criticized specifics of the nation’s health care law, one student shouted: ‘So screw the sick and homeless’? ‘Who said that’? Bachmann asked. ‘You have,’ the student said. ‘You could not be further from the truth,’ Bachmann shot back. ‘You’re looking at someone who lived below poverty. Have you ever lived at that?’ Bachmann continued: ‘I know what I had to do. I got a job. That’s what you need to do. You need to figure out how to get a job and make your way.’ ” In other words, Mr. Lebowski, “The bums lost.”
PZ Myers in his blog, “Pharngyula,” expresses, um, skepticism that the Kensington Runestone was signed by the farmer on whose land it was found: “Martin Rundkvist is reporting that [Olof] Öhman’s signature has been found on the stone. Unfortunately, I find the evidence for that even more weirdly unlikely than that Vikings carved it. There are various numbers scattered around in the account written on the stone — the number of Vikings, the days spent traveling, that sort of thing — and the guy who claims to have detected the signature uses these numbers in a bizarrely oblique way.
The inscription has twelve lines. Larsson counts the words from the left on odd-numbered lines and from the right on even-numbered lines…
Uh, why? What if you counted from the left on even lines and from the right on odd lines? What if you counted characters up from the bottom, or whatever other random number-juggling you could do. This reeks of post-hoc fitting of an interpretation to the data set, and I don’t believe a word of it.” On the other hand it makes as much sense as the average GOP debate.