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Bill Clinton coming to Minnesota Tuesday

Tactical advantages of employee lockouts; senior support seen for marriage amendment; Taylor Swift coming back to X; a movable billboard; a major mining fine; housing market improving; and more.

Romney and Ryan may come through, but Bubba is a for-sure. Don Davis of the Forum papers writes: “Former President Bill Clinton plans campaign stops in Minnesota Tuesday after appearing in Fargo, N.D., tonight. President Barack Obama’s campaign said details about Clinton’s visit would be released later, but he is expected to be in the Twin Cities and Duluth. There also were unconfirmed reports that Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney or his running mate, Paul Ryan, would stop in Minnesota this week. They have canceled some of the East Coast appearances due to Hurricane Sandy.”

BTW, Team Obama says Team Romney’s sudden interest in Minnesota is just spin. Catharine Richert at MPR is saying: “One week from Election Day, President Barack Obama campaign’s message to reporters is this: Don’t let Mitt Romney’s campaign fool you. ‘The final days of this campaign are data and facts on our side versus spin and wishful thinking on theirs,’ said Obama for America campaign manager Jim Messina on a Monday morning call with reporters. The campaign said that early voting numbers and data from key states show that they’re winning the race, despite tight polls in some swing states. … On Friday, the Romney campaign announced it would be spending about $30,000 on advertising in the Twin Cities market. It marks the first time Romney has spent any cash on advertising here since the start of the race, though groups critical of Obama’s record have been piling millions into the Twin Cities market for months. ‘The Romney campaign wants you to think it’s expanding the map, but it’s not’, said Messina. ‘A month ago they were going to surge in Michigan, and then they weren’t.’ “

The Strib’s Jim Spencer looks at the tactical advantages for employers in employee lockouts: “In his first 30 years as a labor lawyer, Harold Weinrich rarely advised corporate clients to lock unionized workers out of their jobs. In the last decade, labor law rulings favoring employers have changed his mind. These days, ‘the employer is in control,’ said Weinrich, who counsels employers on labor relations as a Washington-based partner at Jackson Lewis, a top workplace law firm. In lockouts, ‘the employer sets the time, and the employer sets the duration.’ As professional musicians and professional hockey players in the Twin Cities are just learning and as sugar beet processors in northwestern Minnesota have grasped painfully for 14 months, companies and even non-profits are getting more aggressive with take-it-or-leave-it offers.” And what, may I ask, happened to all those “jack-booted union thugs”?

Seniors are still a tough reach for opponents of the marriage amendment. Says the AP: “Elderly voters cite religious concerns most often. The volunteers’ script suggests this response: ‘I’m a person of faith. One of the values important to me is to treat people the way I would want to be treated. This amendment is hurtful to so many people, which is why I’m voting no. What do you think about that?’ These volunteers are also encouraged to improvise. They bring up their children and grandchildren, gay people they’ve known, how their own faith informs their support for gay couples. Minnesotans United for All Families, the lead group fighting the amendment, has also mounted phone banks micro-targeting other demographic slices: blacks calling blacks, Hispanics calling Hispanics and so forth.”

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Every teenage daughter in the state will want tickets … Ross Raihala of the PiPress reports: “Country crossover star Taylor Swift will return to town for a two-night stand at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center Sept. 7 and 8. Ticket details will be announced soon. The dates fall near the end of the first leg of Taylor’s upcoming world tour, in support of her latest album, “Red,” which hit stores last week. This will be the third headlining tour for the 22-year-old, whose first two outings hit the Twin Cities twice each, including a pair of nights at the X in June 2011.”  Wait a minute … that’s 10 months from now …

Peter Passi of the Duluth News Tribune has a story about a Woodbury guy who has turned his car into a rolling “Vote No” billboard: “In September, [Richard] Herod’s townhome association in the Twin Cities suburb ordered him to remove a sign from his yard urging people to vote no on a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage in Minnesota as only between one man and one woman. Herod complied, but he would not be silenced. Herod ordered up custom ‘Vote No’ decals for his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, applied them and then left the vehicle parked prominently in his driveway. He posted a photo of his car on Facebook and received 500 ‘likes’ the first day. Soon, he was receiving requests from around the state for the oversized decals.” You know somebody somewhere calls him “King.”

Northshore Mining will be nicked for a quarter-million-dollar fine by the PCA. The News Tribune reports: “Cliffs Natural Resources will pay a $242,973 civil penalty to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency for the improper monitoring and handling of leachate at Northshore Mining in Silver Bay. The company also announced today that it has agreed to submit to the MPCA plans describing the actions being taken to ensure leachate is properly monitored and handled at the facility. Leachate occurs when moisture seeps through the plant’s landfill and mixes with coal ash. It is captured on the bottom liner of the landfill and shipped to offsite containment.”

There’s continued steady improvement in the Twin Cities housing market. Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR says: “The Twin Cities housing market has continued its slow recovery this fall helped out by record-low mortgage rates. Some real estate agents say they haven’t seen the drop-off in buyer interest that usually comes when the weather gets colder. More homes are selling, and they’re selling faster — and at higher prices. The latest Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors data show the number of foreclosures on the market is 30 percent, the lowest level in five years. The national S&P/Case-Shiller index for home prices in the Twin Cities has been on the rise since March. According to the Twin Cities’ Realtors group, the overall median sales price was $174,000 in September, 12 percent higher than a year ago.”

Have you followed the story of the gay volunteer for a Wisconsin Republican who was beaten in his own home? Aaron Rupar at City Pages follows it, saying: “A full-time volunteer for a GOP congressional candidate says he was attacked at home by a man who was apparently upset an openly gay man would work on behalf of a Republican. The victim, 29-year-old Kyle Wood — staffer for 2nd Congressional District candidate Chad Lee — says his attacker told him, ‘You should have kept your faggot mouth shut.’ Wood says he was getting ready for work early last Wednesday when a man knocked on the door. When he opened it, the assailant suddenly wrapped a ligature around his neck, slammed his head into a nearby mirror, and then dropped the ‘should have kept your mouth shut’ line. … The Daily Caller, a conservative news site co-founded by former Fox News commenter Tucker Carlson, quotes the leader of a gay conservative group as saying the assault reflects the ‘hate and vitriol directed towards a gay conservative from gay liberals,’ despite the fact there’s no strong evidence a gay liberal was actually in any way responsible for the attack, which is still being investigated by police.”