Strib says ‘No’ on marriage amendment

The “game changer” impact of newspaper endorsements may be a phenomenon of a past century, but the Strib is opposed to the marriage amendment: “Marriage is the voluntary union of two loving, consenting adults who want to make a legal commitment. Religions can and do limit matrimony to heterosexuals, and it is their right to refuse marriage to whomever they please. But it is not government’s role to deny rights based on religion. As to the ‘defense’’ of traditional marriage: There is no legitimate proof that same-sex marriages have any impact whatsoever on other families or relationships.”

Mike O’Rourke of the Brainerd Dispatch does a feature-ish piece on 8th District Democratic candidate Rick Nolan: “Nolan said reasons why compromise is so difficult in Congress are because the elected representatives work a short work week, get their marching orders from party leaders and never get to know each other. Areas of possible compromise are never discovered, Nolan said, ‘if you don’t sit down and talk to each other.’ He advocates a five-day work week for Congress. Describing himself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, Nolan said he has concerns about government intruding on citizens’ personal lives. As a businessman, he said he knows the importance of cutting spending where there is no return on investment and in spending more where there is a return.”

A D.C. big shot is parachuting into Minnesota to help Nolan. Catharine Richert of MPR says: “A top Democrat is in Minnesota to raise cash for three of the state’s Democratic congressional candidates. … Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Rep. Steve Israel says that Nolan is poised to win. … The DCCC raises and spends cash on behalf of select Democrats running for U.S. House. It has budgeted about $2.6 million to help Nolan win the 8th. Outside political groups supporting Cravaack have also been spending heavily there. For instance, this week, the American Action Network, which is a Washington, D.C., based group supporting Republicans, announced that it plans to spend an additional $500,000 on Cravaack’s race.”

Minnesota’s public pension issues get a mention in a Washington Post commentary by Joshua Rauh, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institute: “We studied how much additional money would have to be devoted annually to state and local pension systems to achieve full funding in 30 years, a standard period over which governments target fully funded pensions. Or, to put a finer point on it, we researched: How much will your taxes have to increase? We found that, on average, a tax increase of $1,385 per U.S. household per year would be required, starting immediately and growing with the size of the public sector. An alternative would be public-sector budget cuts of a similar magnitude, or a combination of tax increases and cuts adding up to this amount. For some states these numbers are much higher. New York taxpayers would need to contribute more than $2,250 per household per year over the next 30 years. In Oregon, the amount is $2,140; in Ohio, it is $2,051; in New Jersey, $2,000. California ($1,994), Minnesota ($1,928) and Illinois ($1,907) are not far behind.”

And … that’s another lockout. The SPCO has joined American Crystal sugar, the NHL and the Minnesota Orchestra. Graydon Royce’s Strib story says: “The Twin Cities’ distinctive status in the world of classical music took a turn towards dubious Sunday. As of 6 p.m., members of both world-class orchestras that call Minnesota home were locked out of their concert halls in contract disputes. Union players at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra failed to vote on an offer from management, and the board of directors shut the doors and canceled concerts through Nov. 4.”

The list of everything Congress didn’t do this session just gets longer and longer. Lisa Rathke of the AP reports: “Small dairy farmers in the Northeast and Wisconsin say a tough year has been made worse by Congress’ failure to pass a new farm bill before the old one expired. Many dairy farms were already struggling with low milk prices and high fuel and feed costs as the worst drought in decades helped push up the price of hay and feed. Dozens in states like California, the nation’s leading milk producer, have filed for bankruptcy. In Vermont, the end of the milk income loss contract, or MILC, program, which paid dairy farmers when milk prices fell below a certain level, has created another wave of panic after more dairy closures earlier this year.” Apparently dairy farmers are not the heroic small businesses we’ve heard so much about.

Fargo” … the TV series has NoDak-ians excited. Dave Kolpack of the AP writes: “ … Fargo awaits the debut of a new cable television show by the same name, and many residents here are less apprehensive about how their hometown will be portrayed this time around. … Sixteen years later, travelers looking to see the real Fargo still swing through, with many flocking to take a picture next to the iconic wood chipper, autographed on the chute by the Coen brothers and displayed at the city’s main tourism center. Tourism staff hand out ear-flap hats to tourists and take pictures of them stuffing the leg of a mannequin into the Yard Shark. … City boosters hope the TV show, which will be produced by Minnesota-born filmmakers, Joel and Ethan Coen, will add to the notoriety. No timeline has been announced by the FX Network, and John Solberg, FX’s senior vice president of public relations, did not return messages left by The Associated Press.”

Want some drought statistics? Here’s Paul Huttner of MPR:
• Nearly 12 years last time [Minne]Tonka’s water level was lower — November 14, 2000 (927.67′)
• 927.74 feet above sea level — Water level in Lake Minnetonka this week
• Down 19.44″ drop in Lake Minnetonka water levels since 2012 high point on June 22nd (929.38′)
• White Bear record low? Water levels near record low level on White Bear Lake now (919.61′)
• 919.43′ lowest recorded water levels on White Bear (October 2010)
• 100% of Minnesota now in drought
• 30.18% of Minnesota now in extreme drought!”

Another AP story — by Michael Schneider and Tom Beaumont — notes the high number of Wisconsin counties on the national list of “swing counties” likely to control the coming election: “The race may come down to an even narrower slice of the electorate than the nine most contested states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. The outcome probably will depend on what happens in the 106 counties that Republican George W. Bush won in 2004 and that voted Democrat Obama in 2008, according to an Associated Press analysis.”

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by LynnMarie Lindl on 10/22/2012 - 07:32 am.

    Another ‘NO’

    Once again another company says “NO” to the marriage amendment. Reason, equality, common sense prevails. I can only hope the majority of voters agree and vote “NO” also.

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/22/2012 - 10:29 am.

    Pensiona estimates

    I don’t trust the Washington Posts pension anaylisys anymore than I trusted their claims that Iraq had WMDS. The state department of finance and our own accountants have documented good performance of our state pensions even during the recession and predict no such additional spending requirements. This was simplistic analysis, not a serious audit.

  3. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/22/2012 - 12:10 pm.

    “Union orchestra”

    Sounds a lot like “meat ice-cream”.

    Some things should just never be mixed.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/22/2012 - 02:00 pm.

      Au contraire, Mr. Swift

      Unions and great orchestras go together in the US like apple pie and coffee, Imp and Iron, and Swift and Berg.

      Practically all of the mainline orchestras in the US are unionized. You will have to go elsewhere to find a fall guy or gal to blame for the plight of US orchestras.

      Some clues may be found in a recent post by NPR:

      During Lockout Season, Orchestra Musicians Grapple With Their Future

      “Minnesota has raised somewhere between $50 [million] and $75 million for a hall renovation,” says Hair. “We know that their financial condition at the end of August of 2011 — that’s right around a year ago — we know that they had assets of $192.5 million on hand, which is an increase of $9.4 million from the year prior. We know that their president and CEO earns $390,000 a year. And we know that the music director, Maestro [Osmo] Vanska, we know that his base salary is $1 million per season. Now, does that sound like an orchestra that needs to lop off 30 to 50 percent from all of its musicians? I don’t believe so.”


      I guess it is “duh unions” again, Mr. Swift…

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/22/2012 - 10:09 pm.

        You missed the point, Bill

        …as usual.

        I wasn’t blaming unions for the fall of the SPCO. I was merely recognizing the incongruity of sensitive artists aligning themselves with the likes of the purple shirted thugs we’ve come to recognize unions with.

        The notion of “duh unions” does indeed find a place in the mystery.

        • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/23/2012 - 12:10 pm.

          I am glad to hear that you are not blaming the

          unions for the “fall of the SPCO.”

          That being the case, why did you make your comment?

          And I am sure that the union organizers for the SPCO are not “purple shirted thugs.”

          When are you going to stop the gratuitous insults, Mr. Swift.

          And when are the comment moderators going to call you on this, I wonder?

  4. Submitted by Barbara Skoglund on 10/22/2012 - 12:21 pm.

    Missing facts

    Why is it always missing that Minnesota employee pensions aren’t “free.” I don’t pay “low contribution levels” as indicated in the article. I contribute nearly $5,000 a year. I haven’t had a COLA any where near inflation in my 17 years of state service. My salary is flat and payroll deductions increase – leading to annual pay cuts. I pay over $6,000 a year for health insurance. While I can “retire” at 55 – that’s without any health care and with a pension below the poverty level.

  5. Submitted by rolf westgard on 10/22/2012 - 01:04 pm.

    Actuarial reality

    Those state and local pension deals are political agreements with no actuarial basis. The deficits are real.

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