Zellers for governor? Tom Scheck of MPR reports: “Kurt Zellers, the former Republican Speaker of the Minnesota House, is set to announce his political plans on Sunday – and it appears he intends to run for governor. Zellers has told reporters that he’s interested in running. A check of the website, Zellersforgovernor.com, also directs people to his political page. … Zellers isn’t the only Republican set to announce his political plans next week. GOP state Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, told MPR News that he’ll make an announcement on Wednesday morning. Thompson is also considering a run for governor.” Will Bradlee Dean give the invocation for either announcement?
I’ll have to check the records, but I believe it has been a while since the phrase “voice of reason” has been used in connection with Our Favorite Congresswoman … At TIME magazine’s “Swampland,” Michael Crowley writes: “This might come as a surprise to many readers, but one of the most effective lines of questioning about the government’s secret anti-terror surveillance programs at [Tuesday’s] House Intelligence Committee hearing came from a woman famous for repeating false information and fringe theories: Michele Bachmann. In lawyerly style, the GOP Congresswoman and former 2012 presidential candidate asked three witnesses … a series of questions designed to show that that federal surveillance is not as broad, intrusive or alarming as many Americans – presumably including many of the Tea Partiers who supported her 2012 presidential bid, seem to believe.”
Another Minnesota pol gets kudos, this time from Matt Yglesias at Slate, who says: “Ben Bernanke’s appearances before Congress are usually a parade of clueless questions, but Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota just asked him a great one. Noting that some members of Congress think the Fed should drop its dual mandate on inflation and unemployment and just focus on price stability, she asked Bernanke to explain what he would do differently if the mandate changed. Bernanke hemmed and hawed a bit, but the crux of his answer was: nothing. He seemed to interpret the question as perhaps an attack on his inflation record, but his answer was a damning attack on his growth record. … Members of Congress should be following up on Klobuchar’s groundwork and asking him about this. So far, though, it’s been crickets.”
No change in the unemployment rate. Says the AP: “Minnesota’s unemployment rate is unchanged in May compared to the previous month, as employers added 8,400 jobs. That’s according to the state Department of Employment and Economic Development. The agency says the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May was 5.3 percent, the same as it was in April. The state also lost fewer jobs in April than originally estimated.”
Finally! Some respect for our constitutional rights! Nick Ferraro of the PiPress reports: “A tea party group is organizing in the south metro. The group, which is calling itself the ‘South Metro Tea Party,’ will hold its first event next week in Burnsville, with state Sen. Dave Thompson as the guest speaker. Thompson, a Republican from Lakeville, will announce his future political plans at the event, according to the group’s news release. Its sister organization, the East Metro Tea Party, began meeting in April at the Machine Shed in Lake Elmo.” There’ll probably be a cash prize for whoever wears their “Keep Yer Gummint Hands Off My Medicare” T-shirt.
Today’s Minnesota Poll in the Strib shows significant rising confidence in personal finances. Adam Belz writes: “A new Minnesota Poll shows that 61 percent of Minnesotans rated their financial situation as good or excellent in June, a huge jump from February, when 45 percent gave their finances positive marks. An additional 29 percent rated their finances as fair, while 8 percent said their finances are poor. A booming stock market and rising home prices are likely behind the shift in sentiment, although Minnesota’s economy was also the fifth fastest-growing in the nation in 2012, and unemployment is more than two points below the national average.”
We are close to the end of days for the Isle Royale wolf population. Stephanie Hemphill of MPR says: “The wolf population on Isle Royale is down to eight individuals and for the first time in 50 years of intense study there is no evidence of reproduction over the winter. … In considering what to do next, the National Park Service is investigating three options: the first is to do nothing, let nature take its course. The wolves may or may not die out. The second option is to introduce one or more new wolves to provide fresh genetic material. The third option is to wait until the current population dies out and then introduce a new group of wolves.”
Some interesting feedback on an MPR show about “disengaged workers”: “The conversation was sparked by a recent Gallup Poll that found Minnesota workers were the least engaged employees in the United States. The findings were part of Gallup’s ‘State of the American Workplace’ survey. The numbers showed that U.S. workers are more disengaged than ever. … Heidi in St. Cloud knows what happens when an employee’s opinion doesn’t seem to count. “What completely disengages me from my job is that at my place of employment they’ll ask, ‘What can we do to help you, what can we do to make things better around here?’ And we tell them, and we’ll have a meeting. And after that, absolutely nothing happens and nothing changes. … Jacob Cockram @goldencamel85 [says] ‘… it comes from a lack of incentive. If how hard I worked had a direct effect on how much money I made, that would engage me.’ ”
Some thoughts from MPR weather guy Paul Huttner on the anniversary of that monster storm in Duluth: “It is now increasingly clear this type of event ‘fits’ in the overall picture of Minnesota’s changing climate. The evidence shows extreme rainfall events are increasing in frequency in Minnesota, and that climate changes favoring a warmer wetter atmosphere may have enhanced or ‘juiced’ rainfall totals delivered in the flood. … We know, and I have blogged/discussed on MPR, that rainfall events of 3 or more inches have doubled in frequency since about 1960. Trends observed by Mark Seeley and others show Minnesota is getting a larger percent of our annual rainfall through thunderstorms. According to a report from climatenexus.org there has been a 31% increase in extreme rainfall events in the Midwest since 1958.” Has any meteorologist at KSTP-TV mentioned this?