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Poll finds Minnesota voters resigned to weak economy

T-Paw’s new job; dog “adopts” cat; a turkey tale; Saints stadium shortfall; area’s strong dairy numbers; that Green Bay game ending; and more.

And why would they think otherwise? Adam Belz of the Strib reports: “The prolonged lethargy of the American economy is sinking in for Minnesotans like [Jeff] Slitka, according to a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. Just over half the respondents don’t expect their personal financial situation to change significantly in the next year, and only one in four expects it to get better. Almost half of likely voters — 48 percent — say they will vote for the presidential candidate they believe can fix the economy, making it by far their biggest concern in the election, according to the poll of 800 likely voters conducted last week. The poll’s margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. In general, Minnesota’s economy has fared better than the rest of the nation’s. The state’s unemployment rate is under 6 percent, the economy has recovered more than half the jobs lost in the recession and most Minnesotans don’t think the economy is getting worse.”

Andrer Ross Sorkin of The New York Times looks at Wall Street’s new front man: “To say that the choice of Mr. Pawlenty to represent the banking industry is odd would be an understatement, but his appointment is the clearest sign yet of the flexible ethic that makes the revolving door in Washington spin faster. Consider many of Mr. Pawlenty’s previously espoused views, which are likely to need to change when his new job begins in November: Mr. Pawlenty has repeatedly said he was against the bank bailouts that some say helped save many of the member firms of the lobbying organization he just joined. ‘I don’t think the government should bail out Wall Street or the mortgage industry or for that matter any other industry,’ he told Fox News in January 2011 when questioned about his final position on the matter, which appeared to shift at times. … So how exactly was it that Mr. Pawlenty, who has no financial industry background, got the job? He declined to comment for this column.” My guess would be: Well-connected friends in leveraged buy-outs/private equity.

It’s amazing how far some stories travel. The Daily Mail in Britain runs the following story, which I suspect made every TV news show in the Twin Cities: “Cats and dogs aren’t traditionally known for being the best of buddies, but something maternal just clicked in Mittens, a 4-year-old Pekingese, when she encountered a stray gray kitten called Bootsie. Mittens’ owner Pat Weber says she was shocked when her small dog began caring for the abandoned kitten, then started producing milk and nursing the fuzzy baby back to health. The kitten was just days old when Pat’s grandson found it in the family’s barn in early September in Jordan, about 40 miles southwest of Minneapolis.” What next? Phyllis Kahn buying Steve Drazkowski a beer?

You were hit by a what? Joseph Lindberg of the PiPress reports: “A wild turkey hit a car traveling south on Interstate 35, injuring the passenger’s face. The 2003 Honda Civic hit the wild turkey just after 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24. Mary Haukoos, 66 of Bricelyn, suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.” Did she get to freeze the turkey?

That extra $2 million to do the new Saints stadium right could be a tough haul. Frederick Melo of the PiPress writes, “[W]hat happens if they can’t find the cash? Most city officials have shied away from saying as much in public, but they’re privately acknowledging that if the Saints don’t pitch in the $2 million themselves, the city’s ballpark plans will somehow have to be trimmed. … Some city officials are quietly saying that slashing $2 million from the ballpark might not much matter. The cut would amount to a 3.7 percent budget reduction, which could possibly be covered by contingency funds and other simple tweaks.” Would Ecolab like some naming rights?

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The GleanBob Shaw of the PiPress offers up another semi-eulogy for the Cottage View Drive-In: “The sun is setting at the drive-in movie. Cars line up, forming an impromptu neighborhood of barefoot kids, small dogs and beer-drinking parents. Kids in pajamas lie on the warm hoods of cars, inhaling the fragrance of popcorn and grilled hot dogs. Jen Rondestvedt of Edina parks her SUV backward, tailgate yawning wide to reveal a nest of children in sleeping bags. ‘This place is a landmark,’ she said. She was part of a pilgrimage to the Cottage View Drive-In on a recent Saturday night, clinging to a dying piece of Americana. The 46-year-old theater soon will be replaced by a Walmart, joining the other relics from a bygone era.”

Milk production is up both here and in Wisconsin! The AP story says: “Milk production continues to improve in Wisconsin and Minnesota, where dairy farmers had a stronger August this year than they did last year. Wisconsin dairy farmers harvested 2.3 billion pounds of milk last month. That was 5 percent better than in August of last year. And in Minnesota, production totaled 753 million pounds, a 3 percent improvement. California is easily the nation’s top milk-producing state, but No. 2 Wisconsin is closing the gap. In August 2011, California produced 59 percent more milk than Wisconsin did. Last month, California’s margin was down to 43 percent.”

I don’t usually bother with sports … but that call against the Packers last night was … really, really bad. At MPR, Paul Tosto writes: “The NFL likely won’t take back the bad call last night that led to the Seattle Seahawks beating the Green Bay Packers on game-ending play. But it seems some of the gamblers who put money on that game will get their cash back. A Canadian journalist this morning is reporting that one site refunded his bet on the game, with the company saying it’s ‘the right thing to do.’ He also notes ‘fine print’ that indicates Canadians may be the only ones to get the benefit.” What is THAT all about? A casino with a heart?

Sam Borden in the New York Times goes on a bit further: “The Packers were generally favored by about 3 points in the game, depending on when and where the bet was placed. With the Packers leading, 12-7, as Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson heaved his desperation pass toward the end zone, it seemed virtually certain that Green Bay would cover. More important to the oddsmakers, it was also almost assured that the Packers, who are known as a public team, or one that always attracts action from casual bettors regardless of the line, would beat the house for the night. But after the contentious decision gave the Seahawks a 2-point victory, everything changed. One Las Vegas oddsmaker, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss figures publicly, said his sports book enjoyed a swing of at least $100,000 because approximately 85 percent of the bets it received were on the Packers.”