Dennis McLellan of the Los Angeles Times covers the death of Russell Means, a longtime leader in the Minneapolis-based American Indian Movement, at age 72. He says: “An Oglala Sioux born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Means in his activist prime was called strident, defiant, volatile, arrogant and aggressive. He was frequently arrested and claimed to have been the target of numerous assassination attempts. A onetime con artist, dance-school instructor and computer programmer, Means was executive director of the government-funded Cleveland American Indian Center when he met Dennis Banks and other AIM founders in 1969. In joining the American Indian Movement at age 30, Means later wrote in his autobiography, he had found ‘a way to be a real Indian.’ In Cleveland, he founded the first AIM chapter outside Minneapolis, and he became the organization’s first national coordinator in 1971. In 1970, he was among a group of American Indian activists who occupied Mount Rushmore, where he infamously urinated on the top of the stone head of George Washington — an act he later said symbolized ‘how most Indians feel about the faces chiseled out of our holy land.’ ” Never one for half-measures, that Russell.
I suspect you’ve already seen the headline from Stribber Kevin Diaz with Rick Nolan polling 7 percent above Chip Cravaack in the 8th District. This was interesting: “The heavy advertising blitz in the Twin Cities and Duluth media markets has put the race on its own trajectory, with Nolan climbing above President Obama’s 47 percent level of support in the district, a traditional DFL stronghold that includes the Iron Range. Cravaack, for his part, polls below the 46 percent level of support for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the district, which also includes Republican-leaning counties outside the Twin Cities’ northern suburbs. The poll, conducted for the Star Tribune by Pulse Opinion Research, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percent. That means Obama and Romney, at 47 to 46 percent, are in a statistical dead heat in the district, compared to statewide polls that show Obama leading comfortably in Minnesota.”
The percentage of student loan defaults is startling, especially at for-profit universities. Jim Spencer’s Strib piece says: “State officials worry that roughly one in seven students who borrowed federally backed money to attend public two-year colleges are behind on loan payments, and the overall numbers at some individual schools are also a concern. At the largest Minnesota-based for-profit school, Capella University, nearly 1,000 student debtors — almost one in 10 — are in arrears. Both Capella and another for-profit school, Rasmussen College, have more students in default than all of the private schools combined. … Capella University spokesman Mike Buttry said comparing Capella’s 963 defaulting students to the 649 defaulting students at all of Minnesota’s private four-year colleges was ‘not apples to apples,’ because Capella’s student body is more than 36,000. Buttry also said a comparison to the University of Minnesota, where 213 defaulting students produced a 2.5 percent default rate in a student body of 65,000 was not right either.” As one of the for-profit schools’ premier legislative champions, a comment from Congressman John Kline might have been in order.
Related … a story from AP reporter Justin Pope about the decline in for-profit enrollment: “After years of explosive growth that really caught fire when the economy collapsed four years ago, for-profit higher education is shrinking fast. … the Obama administration’s regulatory pressure has also been a major factor, particularly its aggressive enforcement of rules preventing colleges of any kind from paying recruiters based on the number of students they enroll — once a common practice by for-profits. ‘Historically this had been a sector where it was a pretty hard sell,’ [BMO Marketing’s Jeff] Silber said. After the crackdown, ‘they’re not doing it anymore because the folks that were selling hard have moved on to selling something else.’ ” Probably your old gold jewelry, I’m guessing.
Somebody thinks SuperValu has found a buyer. Bloomberg is saying: “Supervalu shares saw their largest single day gain in more than three decades after a JPMorgan Chase analyst upgraded the company’s bonds on the possibility of a buyout. Shares were up 33 percent to $2.90 in afternoon trading Monday, Oct. 22. Earlier, they had risen 41 percent for the biggest intraday gain since at least 1980. The Eden Prairie-based grocer’s shares declined 73 percent this year through Oct. 19. There is a 50 percent likelihood of a leveraged buyout, and interest in Supervalu will support its debt, said JPMorgan’s Carla Casella, who raised the company’s bonds to a neutral rating from underweight.”
Not that I have a clue who this is … The AP says: “ The high-fashion Prabal Gurung label will be hanging at Target Corp. stores next February. The designer is the latest to plan a limited-edition collaboration with the Minneapolis-based retailer. There will be women’s clothing, including dresses and blazers, and shoes, jewelry and handbags. Products launch in stores Feb. 10. Trish Adams, Target’s senior vice president of apparel and accessories, says Gurung is a ‘modern visionary.’ ” I’ll have to take that on faith.
I assume there’ll be a complaint about this … . Tim Pugmire of MPR reports: “Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is calling on newspapers throughout the state to help inform voters about the two constitutional amendments on the ballot this year. Ritchie sent a letter asking editors to dedicate space to print the actual text of the two proposed amendments, one defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and the other requiring photo identification in order to vote. ‘Traveling throughout the state over the past few months I have talked to many Minnesotans who did not know that the actual language of what is being proposed by the Legislature to be added to our state’s Constitution will not be printed on their ballot,’ Ritchie wrote. ‘This seems odd to many voters given the importance of the Constitution as our state’s highest law.’ ” Well, it’s like this: If we fully understand the language, there’s less chance we can make a thoroughly emotional decision.
There’s a conference going on about Minnesota’s traffic issues. Rupa Chenoy’s story at MPR says: “The state departments of health, public safety and transportation are gathering 900 experts from across Minnesota on Monday to discuss new traffic challenges. Law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians, engineers and advocates will attend the Toward Zero Death conference in Bloomington. … [Public Health Department spokesman Nathan] Bowie added that roads have become safer in part because of safer vehicles, better driving habits and faster emergency response. But he said traffic deaths are already nearing 300 this year. ‘A lot of that we’re seeing is a huge increase in motorcyclist fatalities as well as pedestrian deaths,’ Bowie said. ‘But those deaths are also accompanied by again, drunk driving deaths, seatbelt non-use, speeding.’ ” And dare we say … “helmets”?
The pro-marriage amendment forces were quick to broad brush the paint attack on its Uptown billboard. Aaron Rupar at City Pages writes: “Over the weekend, the ‘Vote Yes’ marriage amendment sign across the street from Liquor Lyle’s in Uptown was vandalized with pink paint. And while vandalism isn’t a good thing, it’s a bit much to say, ‘The destruction demonstrates the kind of environment Minnesotans can expect if marriage is redefined in Minnesota,’ isn’t it? … It kinda seems Minnesota for Marriage was asking for it, doesn’t it? You plaster a ‘Vote Yes’ billboard in one of the most liberal parts of town, across from one of the most hard-drinking bars, this is what you get. It’s the old ‘mess with the bull, you get the horns’ thing.” No doubt Rupar is also cavalier about the inevitability of our children marrying each other and turtles if this thing doesn’t pass.