And we’re not even a battleground state … MPR’s Catharine Richert reports: “The election so far in the Twin Cities in a nutshell: More than $13 million, at least 11,634 television spots, eight races and two constitutional amendments. Four weeks from the general election, those figures offer a snapshot of the cash that’s being poured into the Twin Cities television market on ads targeting the top of the ticket down to the legislative races. Using documents posted for the first time on the Federal Communications Commission website, MPR News analyzed political ad buys through Oct. 5 at WCCO, KARE11, KSTP, FOX9 and, for groups working to defeat or promote two constitutional amendments, WFTC. While $13 million may seem staggering — and that figure is certain to climb as Election Day gets closer — it pales in comparison to the $42 million spent in the Twin Cities broadcast market in 2008. … ad buys by groups involved in promoting or opposing two constitutional amendments are incomplete. While KARE11 and FOX9 are making that information public, WCCO and KSTP are not.”
What took so long? The Reuters story by David Bailey says: “A Minnesota woman who says she received injections of the steroid at the center of a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis in the United States on Thursday sued the company that made the suspect medication. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, said that Barbe Puro of Savage, Minnesota, suffered ‘bodily harm, emotional distress, and other personal injuries’ after being injected on September 17 with doses of the steroid medication. Puro is the first apparent victim of tainted steroid injections to sue the Framingham, Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center (NECC).”
Better here … much better … than most every place else. The AP says: “Despite the drought that parched much of the rest of the country, 2012 is shaping up as a pleasant surprise for many Minnesota farmers who are expected to harvest record corn and sugarbeet crops. They report decent corn and soybean yields even in southern counties that are deep in drought. Farmers say the combination of good spring rain and some timely precipitation in July and August saved their crops. And they’re profiting from high prices caused by the drought’s ravages in states like Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana. … Minnesota farmers expect to harvest a record 1.39 billion bushels of corn, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimates released Thursday. That’s up 15 percent from 2011.”
Even Dear Abby has come out against the GOP’s marriage amendment. The Wisconsin Gazette reports: “The woman behind Dear Abby, the widely syndicated advice column, has added her voice to those opposing a discriminatory constitutional amendment that would outlaw marriage equality in Minnesota. Jeanne Phillips, who writes Dear Abby, sent out a fundraising letter on behalf of the pro-gay group Minnesotans United for All Families. The letter asks Minnesotans to oppose the amendment and give a donation to the group fighting it. Phillips, who was born in Minneapolis but now lives in California, now writes the popular advice column that was started by her mother Pauline Phillips. The elder Phillips, now 94, was an early equality supporter.“
The Strib’s Maura Lerner checks out how new Medicare penalties on readmissions are working: “Until now, hospitals have had little incentive to keep patients away. But last week, the federal Medicare program started imposing financial penalties on hospitals that, in its view, have too many repeat customers. The change, part of the 2010 federal health reform law, was prompted by research showing that 20 percent of Medicare patients who leave the hospital are readmitted within 30 days — often because of medication errors or other missteps. And that has shifted attention onto what hospitals can do differently to help patients after they go home.”
Laura Wang of the League of Women Voters counters a previous Strib opinion piece by Norm Coleman, saying: “An Oct. 5 commentary from former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman requires clarification, both in terms of his assessment of how our election system works and in his characterization of the opposition to the voter-restriction amendment. … We all agree that confidence in our election system and the accuracy of election results is important if voters are to have faith in our system. Nobody disputes that or believes that there is an ‘acceptable’ level of fraud, as Coleman says about the opposition. Quite the contrary, opposition to the amendment is based on sound research that shows that the amount of voter fraud is dramatically overstated, and that a photo ID requirement is an ineffective and costly solution to any fraud that may exist. … elections officials around the state are expressing serious concerns about this proposal. It is becoming obvious that the amendment is much more complicated than supporters claim, with unknown and unintended consequences. Nothing about this amendment makes our system easier, more accessible, or more secure.” But that’s hardly the point, is it?
And the cost — in defense jobs in Minnesota — if sequestration goes through as planned? Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib writes: “Minnesota has few military bases and no traditional guns-and-planes defense plants, but that doesn’t mean the state won’t take a big hit if Congress fails to halt automatic spending cuts later this year in dealing with the so-called fiscal cliff. Under some estimates, the state could lose more than 4,000 defense-related jobs and nearly $350 million in revenue for each of the next nine years. The hits could come in the unlikeliest places: Farley’s & Sathers Candy Co. in Round Lake, Minn., has sold millions of dollars’ worth of Chuckles, Red Hots, gummies and chocolates to the U.S. Department of Defense in the past few years; the sweets are stocked in military commissaries. Minnetonka-based UnitedHeathcare is on track to scoop up billions in defense cash to oversee military and family care in coming years.” But … wait a minute … government doesn’t create jobs.
Stassen-Berger also tells us that after his experience with Our Favorite Congresswoman, veteran GOP tactician Ed Rollins isn’t fatigued with Minnesota: “National political operative Ed Rollins has joined the board of A Stronger Minnesota, a new independent spending group aiming to elect conservative majorities to the Legislature. Andy Parrish, who started the Stronger Minnesota group in late September, worked with Rollins on U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s presidential campaign. He calls Rollins, who worked for President Ronald Reagan and led the National Republican Congressional Committee and many other campaigns, ‘a living legend.’ Parrish said Rollins will be an active part of the organization. Earlier, 2010 gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer joined the Stronger Minnesota board.” If Rollins misses Bachmann, he’ll love Emmer.
“Exultant” last week, but after last night’s VP debate … not so much. John Hinderaker at Power Line writes: “I thought Paul Ryan’s performance was highly disappointing. He came across as weak and submissive. There were many opportunities for him to turn to Biden and say, ‘Joe: shut up! It’s my turn.’ But he never did it. I can’t imagine why. Maybe Ryan and his advisers thought Biden would come off poorly because he was such a jerk, but this strikes me as a poor strategy. No one votes for a presidential ticket out of sympathy. Frankly, I expected much more from Ryan, and he let us down. A disengaged viewer would have seen Joe Biden as the much more forceful, much more knowledgeable candidate. Worse, Biden’s victory gives the Democratic media exactly what they were looking for: an opportunity to declare the beginning of the Obama comeback.” It might have been better if Mr. Ryan actually answered a question …