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WCCO-TV drops anti-Cravaack ad

This doesn’t happen very often. Kevin Diaz of the Strib says: “WCCO, the CBS affiliate in the Twin Cities, acceded to a demand by freshman Republican Chip Cravaack to stop airing an attack ad that suggests that ‘instead of town hall meetings, you had to pay to see him.’ The spot, which went up on the air in the Twin Cities on Thursday, is sponsored by the House Majority PAC, a political organization dedicated to winning control of the U.S. House for Democrats. Although the two-week, $250,000 ad buy is running on Twin Cities’ television stations, it is aimed at the Eighth Congressional District in northern Minnesota, where Cravaack is fending off a spirited challenge by former DFL congressman Rick Nolan. ‘CCO apparently stopped airing the House Majority PAC spot on Friday, the same day the Cravaack campaign complained in writing that it is ‘a blatant attempt to defame Mr. Cravaack.’ … House Majority PAC spokesman Andy Stone said the group ‘unquestionably stands behind the content of the advertisement.’ The ad remains up on three other network affiliates in the area.”

Tim Pugmire of MPR covers GOP Senate candidate Kurt Bills’ Humphrey School comments expressing concern for the First Amendment rights of the “filmmaker” who made the inflammatory anti-Muhammed Internet video. “Bills said the treatment of a filmmaker linked to an anti-Islamic movie that has sparked protests across the Middle East raises concerns. Federal authorities in Southern California interviewed the filmmaker, who is now in hiding, over the weekend at a Los Angeles sheriff’s station. Bills said the action is an example of what he views as the nation’s ‘liberty deficit.’ ‘We had him taken out of his home by federal agents to be questioned,’ he said. ‘So, will there not be a first amendment any longer in this contry? I would have to ask that. It really bothers me.’ Bills later clarified that his concern is specific to the first amendment questions raised by the incident.”

Martin Moylan of MPR has a story about Target and Best Buy trying to jump-start a new smartphone-based retail payment system. “[B]efore most people can pay with their phones, there are many technical, business and other issues to sort out. ‘This is not even a nascent industry yet,’ said David Robertson, who publishes the Nilson Report, which tracks the payment card industry. ‘There’s still jockeying for position. Maybe your bank will provide the ‘wallet.’ Or maybe the telecom companies. Or maybe Google.’ Or Apple. Or PayPal. Or perhaps Target, Best Buy and other major retailers that have joined forces to develop a mobile payment network of their own. The big retailers have not set a launch date but they’re confident e-wallets will be a hit with consumers.”

Influential Republican Jeff Johnson writes a Strib commentary defending anti-tax crusaders: “Government spending grows year after year; its reach expands without restraint; we see endless examples of our money being wasted, and then politicians opine that those of us who question higher taxes must be somehow ‘corrected’ or we will destroy America. The truth is, many of us who are conservatives would not oppose higher taxes if the ruse that government has ‘cut to the bone’ were true. The fact, however, is that government spending at nearly every level has been increasing at rates greater than inflation for many decades — even during the past few years of supposed austerity.” In sum, it is what is called a nuance-free argument.

It’ll be official Sept. 28. Dee DePass of the Strib says: “Tyco shareholders have given the Pentair deal the nod of approval. Shareholders voted Monday to break off Switzerland-based Tyco into three pieces, including one that will merge with Golden Valley-based Pentair Inc. in an all-stock deal worth an estimated $4.9 billion. … Pentair’s U.S. shareholders approved the merger Friday. And now that Swiss shareholders have given the green light, the transaction is slated to close Sept. 28.”

We’re probably at the point in time when a private equity firm buys up another functioning company and we start the layoff and reduced benefit clock. DePass also reports: “The private equity arm of Wells Fargo Bank has purchased Minnesota Rubber & Plastics for an undisclosed price, officials announced Monday. Under terms of the deals, the private equity firm, Norwest Equity Partners, gains control of Minnesota Rubber & Plastics plants across the United States, Europe and China. Minnesota Rubber & Plastics has about 1,100 employees globally, including about 100 employees at its Plymouth headquarters, 200 at its Litchfield, Minn., factory and another 200 in River Falls, Wis.”

They say they’re a victim of LRT. Jess Fleming of the PiPress reports: “If the owners of Mai Village can’t come up with the $150,000 they owe the bank before Oct. 24, their University Avenue restaurant will be sold at a sheriff’s sale. Mai Nguyen and her husband, Ngoan Dang, say light-rail construction has whittled their business down so far that they are behind nearly six months in mortgage payments. They are asking for help from customers and community members via a Facebook page and trust fund set up to save the restaurant. ‘We think after the light rail is done, we will see the light,’ Nguyen said. ‘So we cannot give up.’ The Vietnamese restaurant has been a fixture on University Avenue since 1992, when the owners ran a smaller cafe next door to their current $3.8 million sprawling and ornate dining room, which opened in 2004.”

The school superintendent who had responsiblity for that infamous $255K pay-out to a short-lived administrator is now departing himself. Christopher Magan of the PiPress says: “Randall Clegg, superintendent of the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school district, wrote board members a letter announcing his intention to retire just a day before the board made public a critical performance review. In February, complaints against Clegg were at the center of a $254,814 separation agreement district officials approved for former human resources director Tania Z. Chance. … Past reviews of Clegg during his four-year tenure have been stellar, but his latest found he failed to meet three of seven goals. Board members declined to say which of the benchmarks, including such qualities as ethics, management and shared vision, Clegg failed to meet.”

Like community, like community employees? Not so much. Dave Chanen of the Strib says: “In Carver, Scott, Washington and Anoka counties, minorities hold between 2 and 5 percent of county jobs, while the overall minority populations range from 9 to 15 percent. The 849-member Carver County workforce included 16 people of color this year; just 56 of 1,760 Anoka County workers are minorities. Officials cite familiar reasons for the numbers: tight budgets that have curtailed hiring or caused job cuts, commuters who face limited transportation options, and resources that remain scarce for outreach in minority communities. One county also acknowledged that its top officials haven’t pushed diversity hiring as a high priority.”

“Activism” is a dirty word again, on conservative blogs. At, Adam Freedman writes about the latest in Wisconsin’s collectrive bargaining battle: “The decision is a thinly veiled piece of judicial activism by Judge Juan Colas, who was appointed by the former Democratic Governor, Jim Doyle. How exactly does Governor Walker’s reform infringe the ‘associational and speech rights’ of municipal union members? Well, it prohibits municipal unions from collectively bargaining on non-wage benefits (they can still bargain on wages); it prohibits unions from forcing non-union members to pay part of the union’s expenses (for the privilege of being represented by a union they want no part of), and it prohibits unions from automatically deducting union dues from payrolls. Got that? It’s a violation of free speech to make the union ask its members for their dues. I confess, I had to read Judge Colas’ opinion several times to discover his rationale. The heart of the decision appears to be this single sentence on page 15: ‘Although the statutes do not prohibit speech or associational activities, the statutes do impose burdens on employees’ exercise of those rights when they do so for the purpose of recognition of their association as an exclusive bargaining agent.’ What a gloriously convoluted sentence! The reality is: the law dethrones municipal unions in Wisconsin from their former status as all-powerful closed shops, and finally gives employees the freedom to join, or not, municipal unions.” Since he never resorts to “jackbooted union thugs,” we’ll have to consider his opinion “restrained.”

Comments (19)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/18/2012 - 07:13 am.

    “their current $3.8 million sprawling and ornate dining room”

    Heh…leftist dog whistle?

    These business owners have a lot going against them in leftist circles….They came here legally and most damning, they have committed the unforgivable sin of aping a successful business….obviously they are aiming to join the ranks of 1%ers and must be crushed.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/18/2012 - 01:10 pm.

      Talk about whistles.

      Was yours a Pavlovian response?

      How you got from a comment on size and decor to “leftist circles” is beyond me, Mr. Swift. Do you happen to know the reporter in question or to have studied his or her articles? Perhaps it’s the editors of the PiPress you question, editors who give more space to the right on the editorial pages today than ever before in the paper’s history. Or, more likely, you are simply omniscient.

      Obviously, the writer couldn’t have been suggesting that the owners may have over-reached in their ambitious expansion. Personally, I suspect that the double-whammy of the recession and the light rail construction are as much at play here as any over-reaching.

    • Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 09/19/2012 - 04:08 pm.


      I’ve been hassling City Council members and jawing with Walsh Construction folks and letting the Met Council have an earful about light rail construction for years now, but have never run into Mr. Swift.

      Light rail construction is a disaster. The Met Council has exercised zero oversight, probably because Ted Mondale was too busy lobbying for a taxpayer-paid Vikings stadium to notice that Walsh Construction apparently only hires illiterates, or at least workers who haven’t a clue about signage (signs for access roads are often placed so as to block access to access roads!).

      But it will all be worth it when that first SUV-full of suburban Twins fans park in a free lot and ride the train to see the Twins lose to Kansas City. Those will be the days. I hope they enjoy the view as the train takes them past all the boarded up businesses who could not survive months upon months of impossible access conditions thanks to construction crews who get bonuses for speed whether or not that kills local businesses.

      Light rail was a good idea. The execution of how they’re going about it is a crime. The Met Council is doing to Midway what the interstate highway builders did to Rondo.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/18/2012 - 07:19 am.

    We’re from the government, you can trust us!

    Anyone care for a little trip down memory lane?

    Central Corridor report: Businesses’ revenue losses would be minimal
    (MPR) March 1, 2011

    A [Metropolitan Council and the Federal Transit Authority] report on the Central Corridor light rail project says the average impact of construction on businesses in the area will be minimal.

    The report estimates that the average revenue loss among small businesses would be 0 to 2.5 percent during the construction period from 2011 to 2014, when the light rail line is completed.

    And ObamaCare is gonna be even *better*!!!

  3. Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/18/2012 - 08:20 am.

    Oh boy!

    Now can we expect WCCO to lead the charge and start refusing to air ALL attack ads that might reflect poorly on the candidate they are meant to denigrate?

    Wouldn’t THAT be something!

  4. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 09/18/2012 - 08:50 am.

    Apparently Mr. Bills…

    You only read part of the Constitution and have virtually no experience with law. Now you want to be a national lawmaker? The Supreme Court decided decades ago that shouting fire in a cinema is not free speech and there needs to be some responsibility. The filmmaker violated terms of his parole, the film was irresponsible and equal to shouting fire, and now we have widespread destruction of American property. I would think as a law and order person you would want some civil suit recompense from this irresponsible person to pay for the damage to American property and the loss of life of four innocent Americans. Or is your excuse that this is what your high school class wants? Who cares what they want, what matters is what adults who are charged with responsible leadership DO. Unfit to govern, MR. Bills, and likely unfit to teach, as well.

    • Submitted by Doug Hutchinson on 09/18/2012 - 12:52 pm.

      Bills comment

      It must also be pointed out that the man brought in for questioning may have violated his parole requirements in some of his actions re the film. It’s not as if this was done BECAUSE he made the film, rather did some of his activities violate the terms of his parole/probation. Bills got it wrong on a couple counts…

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/18/2012 - 01:32 pm.

      I respectfully disagree

      with your conclusion that this piece of trash was akin to shouting fire in a cinema. Foolish and offensive (on more than the religious front) the 14 minute trailer avaiable on the internet was a juvenile bit of video work which didn’t merit a mention in the press, but which received its first public mention beyond youtube only after persistent efforts by a person not involved in its creation. If we’re going to pillory anyone for inciting riots, we may as well look to the media which promulgated its existence rather than let it die the death it so mightily deserves.

      • Submitted by Don Medal on 09/18/2012 - 03:12 pm.

        not so different

        I’ve read published reports that the maker of the film stated the film was made to incite a reaction, to produce conflict. Would it be free speech if I create a film about you that incites others to shoot you, based on falsehood? (probably, yes). I don’t know, but I wouldn’t champion this case as free speech. In any event, it seems the questioning of the man relates more to his parole status than speech.

      • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 09/18/2012 - 03:48 pm.


        I was referring to his statements and the actions of the Hemet, CA insurance agent and the pastor in FL, they stated their intent was to inflame. So they got it and let us hold them to the consequences of their actions. Accountability anyone?

  5. Submitted by Solly Johnson on 09/18/2012 - 09:39 am.


    Several residents in the 8th state that it is true that Cravaack’s town hall meetings were simply GOP sessions; for instance, one at Northland Country Club in Duluth simply had Republican business people attending.

    The news media, which is owned by corporate interests and slants its news to the right, definitely is not the liberal press that so many right wingers claim. WCCO is a good example.

  6. Submitted by Susan McNerney on 09/18/2012 - 01:06 pm.

    That ad was nowhere near as bad as the one

    currently running against Nolan. What on earth standard did they apply? That ad seems positively minor compared to the GOP stuff that’s running. Sad to see WCCO sink to that level.

  7. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/18/2012 - 01:15 pm.

    Getting lazy?

    When discussing something like the House Majority PAC’s current ad on Cravaack, it only takes a minute to pull up the clip on youtube and provide readers a link.

    Some of us don’t watch broadcast television and/or aren’t in the market(s) in which the ad is being run.

  8. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/18/2012 - 01:21 pm.

    Endless examples

    Mr. Johnson has a point, though I’d prefer he focus on making specific spending cuts he’d prefer to see rather than simply bitching about the increasing tax total. He is, after all, on the Hennepin County Board.

    Of course some of his complaints, such as $1 million in art for a new public building, may be beyond local control. If federal funds are involved in the project he mentions, then some money must be set aside for public art. If he wants that changed, he should talk to the Republican leadership in the House. I suspect he knows some of them.

  9. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/18/2012 - 01:26 pm.

    You gave short shrift

    to Dave Chanen’s Strib piece on diversity in metro area public employment. The depth of the full article and the complexity of the problem was not remotely suggested by your “Like community, like community employees? Not so much.”

  10. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 09/18/2012 - 07:39 pm.

    Thanks, James Hamilton, for providing the link to the anti-Cravaack ad.

    This is not among the rough ads I’ve seen from the right. What in the world frightened WCCO? Will the formerly-proud station pull all negative ads for the rest of the season?

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