Cravaack-Nolan race third most expensive House contest

All this to oversee a district full of Rangers, lakes, moose and trees. Brandon Stahl of the Duluth News Tribune reports: “Look out, Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District: Minnesota’s mighty 8th is coming for you. As the race between incumbent Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack and Democrat Rick Nolan heads into its final days, the amount of outside campaign money being spent in the 8th District has continued its upward trajectory — with nearly $3 million spent in the past two weeks alone. The combined $8.6 million spent in outside money from SuperPACs and other groups is the third-largest amount spent on a congressional race in the country, according to Federal Election Commission reports. The outside spending in the 8th trails only Pennsylvania’s 12th and Ohio’s 16th districts, both of which share a similarity to ours: They feature one-term incumbents battling to hold onto seats in races that polls say are dead heats.” Saving Tea Party freshmen is proving to be pretty expensive for all concerned.

Under the heading of “Wasteful Government Spending That Does Nothing for Job Creators,” Tim Harlow of the Strib writes: “A year’s worth of work to improve biking and walking opportunities in Roseville, Lauderdale and Falcon Heights comes to fruition today with the grand opening of the Northeast Suburban Campus Connector trail. The trail connects Rosedale mall with the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus where a celebration to mark the opening will take place with a ceremony at noon … Paid for by $1.3 million in funding from Bike Walk Twin Cities, a program of Transit for Livable Communities, and $330,000 in local funding, the new trail runs along Larpenteur, Fairview and Gortner avenues. It will allow riders (and walkers) to access the U’s St. Paul campus and transit way, which leads to downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, along with shopping destinations, area attractions, parks and libraries.” Terrific. But where are the tax cuts?

It’s a catchy headline on this Forbes story: “In Minnesota, Obamacare to Increase Individual Insurance Premiums by 29%, Says Obama Adviser.” Contributor Avrik Roy says: “With the Presidential election less than one week away, it’s worth reviewing how Obamacare will impact the residents of key swing states. In Minnesota, as elsewhere, Obamacare will drive up the cost of private health coverage, especially for those who buy insurance on their own. One of Obama’s key health-care advisers, Jonathan Gruber, found that by 2016, individual-market premiums in Minnesota will increase by an average of 29 percent. In addition, Obamacare will deeply cut Medicare Advantage for more than 380,000 Minnesota seniors enrolled in the program. And 25 percent of Minnesota physicians say that they will place new or additional limits on accepting Medicare patients. Read on for more details. (DISCLOSURE: I am an outside adviser to the Romney campaign on health care issues. The opinions contained herein are mine alone, and do not necessarily correspond to those of the campaign.)” But in this case they probably do …

There’s a job opening for a new transportation commissioner. Bill Salisbury at the PiPress says: “Minnesota Transportation Commissioner Tom Sorel is resigning to become president and CEO of AAA Minneapolis. Sorel, who has headed MnDOT since April 2008, announced … he will start his new job at the regional travel organization Dec. 1. … Dayton appointed Bernie Arseneau to serve as acting commissioner. Arseneau, MnDOT’s current deputy commissioner and chief engineer, has served the agency for nearly 30 years.”

The GleanManufacturing has contracted in the nine-state region. In a PiPress story, Julie Forster says: “An economic indicator of factory activity in a nine-state region, including Minnesota, slipped again into contraction territory, data out Thursday, Nov. 1, show. For the third time in the past four months, a Midwest business conditions index declined below growth neutral, slipping to 46.5 in October from September’s tepid 50.4. Minnesota followed the same trend, slumping below growth neutral again to 47.1 from 47.2. Any reading below 50 indicates economic contraction in the coming months. Readings above that mark indicate growth. ‘What we’re seeing is that businesses are pulling back on their investments and not hiring,’ said Ernie Goss, a professor of economics at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., who compiles the monthly index. ‘Once we get beyond the election, it will be better. Businesses are looking at the fiscal cliff and a global pullback, and that’s having an impact on their willingness to invest.’ ” It’s almost like someone built in chronic uncertainty.

Considering the neighborhood, I certainly hope it was a boutique operation … Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “A large marijuana-growing operation in Edina was uncovered this week near the 50th and France business district, and a death is part of the investigation, authorities said Thursday. Hundreds of plants and powerful heat lights were found Tuesday inside the home in the 4200 block of W. 50th Street, said Edina Sgt. Brian Tholen, who said the Southwest Metro Drug Task Force is leading the ‘open and active investigation.’ Tholen declined to reveal any more about the case, but he did say there is a death connected to the task force’s investigation centering on the home.”

MPR weather guy Paul Huttner offers a climate change explanation for Superstorm Sandy: ” ‘Blocking pattern’ steered Sandy in unusual NW direction into Jersey Shore … Warmer arctic linked to more frequent jet stream blocking patterns …. Record Arctic Sea Ice loss in 2012 may have enhanced blocking pattern this fall … Warmer waters caused Sandy’s “intensity flare” just before landfall. … There is a growing body of evidence that blocking patterns may be increasing as the Arctic warms. In weather geek speak we call these highly amplified jet stream patterns ‘blocking patterns’ because they force the jet stream to meander into big north-south kinks and loops instead of flowing more rapidly from west to east. … Sandy’s unprecedented storm track suggests climate change may be be affecting basic weather patterns in a way that’s rewriting many of the things we used to call ‘Meteorology 101.’ ” These “hoaxers” get all the ink. What does Dave Dahl say?

RIP, Office of Academic Administration. Mila Koumpilova of the PiPress writes: “The University of Minnesota is taking what it touts as its most decisive step to shrink administrative expenses — a move supporters and critics alike have called for in recent years. The university is eliminating its Office of Academic Administration, to coincide with the departure of Robert Jones, the vice president in charge of that office. Jones is leaving to take on the presidency of the University of Albany in New York. The University of Minnesota estimates doing away with that office and divvying up its roles among other departments will save about $1.6 million, including $1.1 million in recurring annual expenses.”

It’s kinda like blowing stuff up. Nick Ferraro of the PiPress says: “Don’t throw away your pumpkin — fling it through the air with a catapult to see how far it will fly. That’s the advice of the South St. Paul Mayor’s Youth Task Force, which on Saturday, Nov. 3, will host its second-annual pumpkin-chucking event, featuring a giant catapult. … Last year, the smaller, more compact pumpkins flew the farthest — more than 150 feet, said Deb Griffith, South St. Paul’s community affairs liaison. The pumpkins — or what’s left of them — will be recycled by Troje’s Trash after the event, which runs from 1 to 3 p.m. at South St. Paul High School’s football practice field. ‘Last year we did 3,600 pounds of pumpkins’, Griffith said.”

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