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Zebra mussels appear in far northern lakes

Some in GOP worry about “Bachmann 2.0”; more Bachmann — pro and con; Minnesota’s “best political reporters” list; few Latino models for ads; costly “lover’s revenge”; and more.

Zebra mussels are almost to Canada. Rupa Shenoy of MPR reports: “The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed finding zebra mussels in two lakes in Itasca county. DNR spokeswoman Cheri Zeppelin said a man who lives on Sand Lake was installing a dock last week when he found dried, dead adult zebra mussels attached to it. She said the mussels probably were there last fall. … The Big Fork River flows north through Koochiching county up to the Canadian border.”

Oh, we’re not done with Our Favorite Congresswoman just yet. I mean, she’s got 19 months to go. At Roll Call, Emily Cahn writes: “Republicans exhaled this week when vulnerable Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., announced her retirement from the otherwise reliable GOP district. Their relief might not last long. In Minnesota, some Republican strategists fret that the state party’s quirky endorsement process could yield a ‘Bachmann 2.0’ candidate — and put the seat in play again. ‘The wrong candidate could lose this for Republicans,’ said former Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republican who preceded Bachmann in the 6th District. ‘And that would be a key concern for whether the endorsing process delivers the right candidate.’ … already, the cast of GOP candidates considering campaigns to succeed Bachmann suggests the party might be headed towards a contentious and unpredictable convention fight. State Rep. Peggy Scott, a fiery conservative who consultants said has tried to model herself after Bachmann, is interested in the race. Former state Rep. Phil Krinkie, a fiscal hawk who lost the endorsement process to Bachmann in 2006, has also expressed interest in running. Republican strategists said the state GOP’s strong libertarian faction — many of whom supported former Rep. Ron Paul’s presidential bid last cycle — could push a candidate through the endorsement process.”

For The Atlantic, Nicole Russell says: “If only Bachmann had waited longer, said less, and accomplished more. Unfortunately, her biggest asset — herself — turned out to be her biggest nemesis. When James Carville is sad to see Bachmann retire and her departure relieves the “headache” of GOP leaders — both for nearly identical reasons, well, that’s not a good thing. Bachmann was a leader on several important conservative stands, most prominently Obamacare, but in her hurry to become something she didn’t yet have experience for, she failed to beef up the resume that would have helped her accomplish that goal. … Between her impatience, inexperience, and inconceivable gaffes, Bachmann — and fellow conservatives who loved her — missed out on the opportunity to see what she could become, to grab hold of the hope she might have offered for conservative ideals. It’s not only her loss, but a loss for conservatives as well.”

Republican consultant Pat McFerron is given space in The Washington Post for his thoughts on Ms. Bachmann: “When thinking about the long-term health of the Republican Party, I think Bachmann’s legacy could be more damaging.  There is no doubt, she has been able to activate and mobilize primary voters.  But her ability to tap into this conservative network has shown other candidates that you don’t have to appeal to a broader middle to be successful.  She has also demonstrated that in today’s social media world you can find even a small niche of supporters that can make you relevant to the national debate. Within today’s Republican Party, one no longer has to have the ability to lead to be personally successful — you just have to be able to tap into the lifeblood of politics.  Because of social media, that lifeblood is no longer confined to Main Street and personal relationships,  but instead can be reached through any number [of] Internet Superhighway exit ramps.”

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The GleanAnd also, from an embarrassing vacuum, a voice supporting Ms. Bachmann. In a Strib commentary attorney, Mark Miller writes: “Her lifelong dedication to prolife values reflects her commitment to the sanctity of human life. I have often said that Michele Bachmann is a woman for all seasons, for her core convictions and principles never waiver with the times. Her public life, both in the Minnesota Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, reflects her unrivaled honesty and integrity. I know that she insists that all who work for her strictly adhere to the highest ethical standards. The recent desperate and lamentable attacks upon her are crude, despicable attempts to defame her for purely partisan political objectives. As a member of the pro-Israel community, I have been inspired by her steadfast commitment to Israel’s security and recall the many occasions when she spoke out passionately against anti-Semitism in all its manifestations throughout the world.”

Also in the Post, Chris Cillizza runs a list of the best political reporters in every state: “After weeks of sorting and such  … we are ready to unveil our 2013 list of the best state-based political reporters in each of the 50 states.  (A reminder: These names are gathered from nominations we received via the blog, Twitter and Facebook.)” … For Minnesota, he lists Briana Bierschbach of Politics in Minnesota, Pat Kessler of WCCO-TV, Tom Scheck of MPR, Heather Carlson of the Rochester Post-Bulletin, Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib and Brian Bakst of the AP.

Rupa Shenoy (see also above) has another story, this on the paucity of Latino models around here. “Although Minnesota has long been home to the headquarters of big companies and the Twin Cities has a flourishing advertising production industry, modeling and casting companies have hit a hurdle. They say it’s very hard to find Hispanic models. That’s causing them to lose business. [Paola] Cardenas said she’s one of only four professional Latina models in the Twin Cities. From 2000 to 2010, Minnesota’s Hispanic population grew by 74 percent to more than 250,000, according to the U. S. Census Bureau. … From 2000 to 2010, Minnesota’s Hispanic population grew by 74 percent to more than 250,000, according to the U. S. Census Bureau. In 2011 nearly 5 percent of Minnesota’s 5.3 million residents were Hispanic. The growing Latino population in the United States has an annual buying power of more than $1 trillion.”

A 21st century act of lover’s revenge will cost you … a year in jail. Richard Chin of the PiPress writes: “Posting nude photos of an ex-girlfriend can land you in jail for a year, if the St. Paul city attorney has her way. A 19-year-old St. Paul man became the second person charged this year with criminal defamation, a gross misdemeanor, after he posted nude photographs of his ex-girlfriend accompanied by a ‘lewd comment’ on a photo-sharing website, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court. Dylan Richard Henry Bendix posted six photographs of his former girlfriend on Flickr.com on Aug. 30, 2012, according to the complaint. The former girlfriend had sent the photos to him in late 2011 at his request, the complaint said. The rare charge was brought by the St. Paul city attorney’s office. City Attorney Sara Grewing said her office has made a commitment to prosecute defamation cases in domestic situations.”

At Bloomberg News, Alex Nussbaum reports: “UnitedHealth Group Inc. has trimmed its plans for selling to the uninsured under President Obama’s health care overhaul, in the latest sign large insurers see little gain from quickly plunging into the new market. The nation’s biggest health insurer will offer plans in about a dozen of the online insurance markets set to open in states on Oct. 1, Chief Executive Stephen Hemsley told investors Thursday at a conference. That’s down from an earlier company estimate of as many as two dozen. The decision reflects the insurer’s concern that the first wave of newly insured customers may be the costliest, Hemsley said during the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. conference in New York. … The conservatism “has probably been the biggest surprise” as the health law moves toward Jan. 1 when many of its major provisions, including the exchanges, are scheduled to start, Milton Johnson, the chief financial officer at HCA Holdings Inc., the biggest U.S. hospital chain, said in an interview. ‘It’s a new marketplace, a new risk pool, new regulations, and I think many of the payers have decided to just wait and see.’ That may suit investors, who don’t want companies stuck with too many sick customers with uncertain costs, James said.” Adequate health care … it’s all about shareholder value.