Former Sen. Norm Coleman drops off a commentary for the Strib. The topic: All that’s good about the voting amendment: “Opponents of Minnesota’s constitutional amendment to require a valid photo ID prior to voting are increasingly crying wolf rather than focusing on the facts. The developing logic around their opposition suggests that they are of the opinion that some level of voter fraud is acceptable in Minnesota and that a photo ID is an impediment to voting. … opponents to photo ID requirements are now resorting to two specious arguments:
• One, that photo ID prevents people from voting.
• Two, that while there is fraud, there’s not too much fraud.
To the argument about suppressing voter participation, it should be noted that 31 states have a photo ID requirement, including, in 2011, liberal Rhode Island, which passed a voter ID statute with significant support from black and Latino legislators. In states that have photo ID, participation in elections has actually increased. Regarding opponents’ second argument: Suggesting that there’s not too much fraud has as much weight as suggesting there’s not too much drunken driving.”
Mike Parry rises! Tim Pugmire of MPR reports: “Two Republican lawmakers say they think DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has gone too far in his criticism of the proposed voter ID constitutional amendment, which is on the November ballot. Sens. Mike Parry of Waseca and Scott Newman of Hutchinson filed a formal complaint Thursday accusing Ritchie of using public money to campaign against voter ID and of spreading inaccurate information. The complaint, filed with the Office of Administrative Hearings, accuses Ritchie of multiple violations of state campaign law. Parry and Newman, who have hired attorney Fritz Knaak to represent them, claim that Ritchie traveled throughout the state in his official capacity and at taxpayer expense, to promote what they view as his personal anti-voter ID agenda.” And just for clarification, and peace of mind … I assume the state GOP is paying Mr. Knaak’s fee?
The Strib itself editorializes about Mitt Romney’s debate performance: “Romney was right and eloquent in framing public debt, and the burden it could place on future generations, as a moral issue. But he still needs to spell out which tax deductions and exemptions he would close in order to make his large reduction in tax rates revenue-neutral. He also needs to name, and sell, some of the painful spending cuts that the next president will need to ask of the American people if the nation’s fiscal affairs are to be put right. It’s easy to take aim at public broadcasting’s Big Bird. But what about the Air Force and other military spending, or a solid plan to curb costs on Medicare and other costly entitlement programs? Romney’s repeated promises to protect the Pentagon, Medicare and other programs, coupled with his tax plan, have led independent analysts to predict even more red ink. … Obama obfuscated on how his second term would achieve the policy compromises the country needs in order to avoid a European-style fiscal crisis. That is, unless the new Congress is decisively controlled by Democrats, hardly a sure thing.” I think a lot more on the details from both gentlemen is in order.
That’s full-out winter up north. The AP says: “On Minnesota’s eastern border, residents of Duluth who basked in 70-degree weather on Wednesday turned on the furnace for temperatures in the 40s and 50s the following day. About 4 to 6 inches of snow was in the forecast north of a line from Bemidji to Ely through Friday. The National Weather Service said an estimated 14 inches of snow had fallen 10 miles north-northwest of Badger as of 3 p.m. Thursday. Roseau reported 7 inches of snow, Karlstad 6 inches, Stephen 5 inches and Hallock 4 inches.”
Tim Nelson at MPR spent some quality time reading the architect’s contract for the new Vikings stadium. On Page 108, he found something possibly related to personal seat licenses. He says: “HKS [the winning firm] as you might expect, is taking the first job on the list — architect. But in the contract, they’re also tabbed for the LAST item, ‘demographic analysis for premium product.’ That’s a fairly cryptic listing — much as the Vikings have been cryptic about what may be one of the more controversial elements of a potential stadium financing plan, personal seat licenses. They’ve said they haven’t decided yet whether it’s something Minnesota Vikings fans will buy. But team vice president Lester Bagley says the design contract doesn’t have code for PSL’s buried in the fine print.” Just on Page 108.
A drug from a “specialty pharmacy” in Massachusetts is causing problems in a lot of places. Colleen Stoxen of the Strib writes: “U.S. health officials ramped up warnings Thursday about a Massachusetts specialty pharmacy linked to a widening outbreak of a rare kind of meningitis, urging doctors and hospitals not to use any products from the company. A steroid product has been linked to a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis infections, prompting Minnesota health officials to work with local clinics and track down patients who were injected with it. The Minnesota Health Department is working with Medical Advanced Pain Specialists in Edina, Fridley, Shakopee and Maple Grove, and the Minnesota Surgery Center in Edina and Maple Grove to contact the patients. The department says they are the only providers know to have used the product in Minnesota.”
Prepare to familiarize yourself with the notion of a “streetcar corridor.” Don Jacobson, in the Strib, writes: “The idea of establishing a streetcar or “enhanced bus” corridor along Nicollet Avenue through downtown Minneapolis and up Central Avenue NE. is drawing residents to open houses where city planners are asking for opinions. Minneapolis city planners carrying out the ‘Nicollet-Central Transit Alternatives Study’ want to know which mode of transit people would most like to see — fixed-rail streetcars such as those in Portland, Ore., and Seattle? Or perhaps ‘fancy’ buses that mix with traffic, like those found in Boston and Kansas City?”
You did catch GOP 1st District candidate Allen Quist’s gay marriage comments in Winona, yes? Mary Juhl of the Daily News reports: “Congressional candidate Allen Quist said Tuesday that government shouldn’t be involved in the gay marriage debate, one week after he declared his support for a proposed state constitutional amendment that would limit marriage to between a man and woman. ‘I think that government does not have a role in whether people should get married or not,’ Quist said at a public event in Winona. His words directly conflict with a statement the Republican, running against U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in the 1st District, sent the Daily News last week detailing his position on the state’s proposed marriage amendment. ‘I support the marriage amendment because for over a thousand years, Western culture has defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman,’ he said in the statement. ‘I don’t see a compelling reason to change that definition.’ Quist said in a subsequent interview Tuesday that the two statements are ‘paradoxical but not contradictory.’ ” Or, opposite and identical, if you will.
Here’s the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Mitt Romney’s tax plan: “Romney is proposing to cut tax rates by 20% (from 35% to 28% at the high end). He says his plan would be ‘revenue neutral’ because he would close tax loopholes and eliminate or limit deductions. He floated the idea of limiting itemized deductions this week, including the one for mortgage interest, but Romney has been reluctant to lay out a fuller proposal for fear of having it picked apart. That means we have no idea whether what he says is true or not. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has concluded that it’s impossible to make his tax plan ‘revenue neutral,’ and we suspect the center is right — unless Romney and his acolytes make unrealistic assumptions. We favor a flatter, simpler tax code for individuals. But we think it should produce more revenue and be more progressive (wealthy Americans should pay a bit more). Obama’s plan calls for raising rates on the rich, but no tax reform. Apparently, he’s satisfied with the same old Byzantine system.”