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Neiman Marcus to leave Minneapolis

It’ll be tough filling this hole … Janet Moore’s Strib story says: “Upscale retailer Neiman Marcus said Monday it plans to close its downtown Minneapolis store at Gaviidae Common in July 2013. … The store’s first lease ran 15 years. It was renewed in 2008 and is set to expire next year. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak says the news comes as no surprise. Neiman Marcus was expected to depart as early as 2005, but the mayor said he lobbied to extend the retailer’s lease. ‘It’s a sad, but expected, turn of events,’ Rybak said. The Minneapolis store employs about 107 people.” Is there enough space there for a stadium? Or a casino?  

Your Monday “Veep-stakes” update. This from Micah Cohen at Nate Silver’s “Five Thirty Eight”: “By most accounts, Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, is one of the top names on Mitt Romney’s list of potential vice-presidential nominees. Mr. Pawlenty is liked, though perhaps not loved, by the main pillars of the Republican Party — social conservatives, the Tea Party and establishment Republicans — making him a safe choice for a risk-averse Romney campaign. But if Mr. Romney is looking for a vice-presidential nominee that might also bring along votes from their home state, Mr. Pawlenty might be a poor choice compared to someone like Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who comes from a state that is a genuine tossup. … Look to Blue Earth County, anchored by Mankato, for an approximate measure of the final statewide margin between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney on Nov. 6. Blue Earth, an area with rich farmland that produces soybeans, corn and hogs, has roughly matched the final vote of the state in the past three presidential elections.”

Reacting to the weekend’s Survey USA/KSTP-TV poll, Alexander Burns at Politico says: “Six points may be as close as it gets for Romney here, and that number may make the race sound closer than it actually is at this stage (we’ve seen polls showing Obama within single digits of Romney in Arizona, too, but the question is: how do you make up the rest of the difference in a state that leans the other way?) In any case, the trend in the poll is consistent with the tightening-up of the race across all the swing states since the end of the GOP primaries. SurveyUSA hasn’t had a pronounced partisan lean one way or the other: Just this weekend, it gave Obama a 5-point lead over Romney in Florida. Interestingly, there’s only a modest demand for a Romney-Pawlenty ticket among the voters who know their former governor best.”

At The New Republic, Nate Cohn writes: “Why isn’t Minnesota a swing state? The state voted for Obama by just 10 percent in 2010 — closer than Pennsylvania, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and quite comparable to New Hampshire and Iowa. The demographics would seem to advantage Romney in an overwhelmingly white state where Democrats depend on a strong performance among rural voters. Yes, the Minnesota Republican Party is a disaster, but the Romney campaign has the money to build infrastructure, and that doesn’t explain why the polls show Obama with a big advantage.

An independent audit is usually the better way of handling these things. Christopher Snowbeck’s PiPress story says: “The Minnesota Department of Human Services is commissioning an independent audit to respond to lingering questions about how the state’s Medicaid program paid rates to private HMOs between 2003 and 2011. The rate-setting process in Medicaid is also the subject of several federal investigations. Questions have swirled at the Capitol this year about whether Minnesota officials had been manipulating the rate certification process in Medicaid to wrongly gain excess federal money.”

The Glean “Dump me and I’ll burn down your church.” At the PiPress, Emily Gurnon reports: “A Maplewood man has pleaded guilty to setting fire to a St. Paul church when his estranged girlfriend was inside with her youth group. No one was injured in the fire at Faith Alliance Church set by Tou Chai Lee, then 19, on Nov. 12, 2010. But because he set the blaze near the front entryway, the youth group had to find other ways to exit the building, according to a criminal complaint. About 15 people were in the church basement at the time, Ramsey County prosecutor Sarah Cory said. According to the plea agreement, Lee, now 20, will get a four-year stayed sentence and six months in the workhouse.”

You know it’s bad when people like this are going on record scolding you. The AP says: “Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen says the comments made by fellow Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann about Islamic fundamentalists infiltrating high levels of U.S. government are ‘not appropriate’ and ‘not accurate.’ Paulsen weighed in on the Bachmann flap on Monday after an unrelated legislative hearing in St. Paul. … Paulsen says it’s up to Bachmann to decide how to respond and he doesn’t plan to speak with her about the issue.

Target is throwing its muscle behind opposition to that swipe-card fee settlement. Patrick Kennedy of the Strib writes: “On July 13 Visa, MasterCard and 13 of the country’s biggest banks agreed to what would be the largest antitrust class-action settlement in U.S. history regarding accusations by retailers that they engaged in price-fixing on credit card transaction fees. Target said in a statement that ‘the proposed interchange fee settlement is bad for both retailers and consumers. The proposed settlement would perpetuate a broken system, restrict retailers from any future legal action and offer no long-term relief for retailers or consumers. In addition, Target has no interest in surcharging guests who use credit and debit cards in order to allow VISA and MasterCard to continue charging unfair fees. We will continue to explore our options while working toward a solution that represents true reform.’ ”

I’m not sure why this story gets as much attention as it does. but it may have something to do with that indomitable entrepreneurial spirit we hear so much about. Peter Passi at the Duluth News Tribune writes: “Although a new state law designed to crack down on sales of synthetic marijuana will take effect Aug. 1, Jim Carlson, owner of the Duluth head shop Last Place on Earth, expects it will have little effect on his sales of those products. The new law adds 20 chemicals to a list of prohibited substances, but Carlson said: ‘When one gets banned, they’ll switch to a new one.’

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/23/2012 - 08:55 pm.

    Erik Paulsen

    is either uninformed or a coward. I’ll let him tell you which one he is.

  2. Submitted by Dave Eischens on 07/23/2012 - 11:22 pm.

    Erik Paulsen – Heretic

    M Bachmann is looking more and more like a modern day Abigail Williams and sadly some fearful people are following her lead. History repeats itself. Monty Python gets more material. Major networks rejoice over another controversy. The markets plunge because, well, it’s really just gambling after all.

    Wonder if he’ll get the dunking or burning test?

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