Interesting piece by Bob Shaw of the PiPress on commuting patterns in the metro area: “…information comes from a Census report called the American Community Survey, based on information gathered from 2006 to 2010. Unlike the comprehensive once-a-decade national surveys that try to contact every household, the Community Surveys sample 250,000 households per month on an ongoing basis. The report also ranks the area’s ‘bedroom communities,’ which send the most net commuters to jobs in other cities. The daily exodus from Oak Grove, Vadnais Heights, Mounds View, Crystal, Andover and Little Canada is more than 40 percent of each city’s population. Of cities larger than 30,000 population, the biggest losers are Cottage Grove, Apple Valley and Lakeville, each of which has a net loss of 25 percent or more due to commuting.”
Some more statistics… via the Strib’s Bill McAuliffe. “A new interactive website will allow citizens of 20 Minnesota cities to track how their communities are reducing greenhouse gas emissions — and how they are not. The Regional Indicators Initiative (RII) site, a vivid and easy-to-use key to a huge storehouse of local energy data, is an outgrowth of several climate change mitigation initiatives by the state Legislature, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Green Step Cities program and the Regional Council of Mayors. … A few clicks on the site reveal that among the 20 cities analyzed:
• Duluth had the highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita from 2008 through 2011;
• Lake Elmo had the highest residential energy use per household in that period;
• Minneapolis had the third-lowest energy costs per household of the 20 cities — less than half those of Lake Elmo households.”
The Catholic church’s sex problems do not appear to be close to going away. M.L. Johnson of the AP reports, “As the national clergy sex abuse scandal mounted following revelations in Boston in 2002, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan faced increasing pressure as the archbishop in Milwaukee to cut costs by defrocking problem priests and pushback from his staff when he hesitated, according to newly released records. … The archdiocese didn’t push out all the abusive priests, however. Dolan recommended in a 2004 letter to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI, that some men who were very old or extremely ill be spared expulsion, which he said ‘could be tantamount to a death sentence.’ Ratzinger led the office handling clergy sex abuse cases at the time.”
The Strib editorializes on the Departrment of Revenue’s “scoring” of the latest round of tax legislation: “…results are in from the nonpartisan scorekeepers at the state Department of Revenue. Their analysis shows that while Minnesota’s overall state and local tax scheme remains somewhat regressive, a significant move was made in the right direction. By the numerical score economists use, Minnesota tax burdens have been reset to their 2000 and 2004 levels, undoing a decade of drift away from fairness. … By 2015, state-plus-local tax burdens as a percentage of incomes are due to increase by 0.13 percent or less for households with incomes between $35,601 and $202,407 — and in the middle of that income range, by much less. More noticeable will be the 1.4 percent increase projected for people with incomes in excess of $510,000. That’s an uncomfortably big step to take in one year. This newspaper would have preferred a mix of tax increases that included a sales tax on clothing, thereby spreading the increase more widely and allowing for a new top income tax rate lower than the uncompetitively high 9.85 percent that now applies to the state’s highest incomes.” Yes, we do remember “this newspaper” saying that… like a drumbeat.
Richard Chin of the PiPress writes: “When St. Paul police arrested four people in the city’s North End last September after residents reported a car crash and people running around with guns, the suspects had a novel excuse: They were just making a film. It turns out they really were making a film. ‘The Minnesota Delivery,’ a low-budget feature film, premieres Friday at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall in downtown St. Paul. … The police were summoned to the 300 block of West Maryland Avenue at about 11 a.m. Sept. 27 where they found ‘four individuals in the area, some armed with handguns, running through a yard, taking cover behind a vehicle while pointing the weapon,’ according to a police incident report. The police drew their own weapons and ordered the individuals to get on the ground. The police found the four armed with realistic-looking Airsoft pellet pistols and a 35 mm camera.” Imagine if they were shooting a zombie movie.
Here’s another stat… 50% less. Emily Cutts of the PiPress writes, “This spring’s awful weather put St. Paul’s city golf courses in the rough. Golfers played 50 percent fewer rounds than last spring, a fact the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Commission is set to discuss Wednesday at its monthly meeting. … Three of the four city courses — Phalen, Highland National and Highland 9-hole — opened April 26, nearly a month and a half later than the 2012 season. The Como Park course didn’t open until April 30, according to the Overview of Golf Saint Paul Performance Plan report. As of May 31, only 16,530 rounds had been played, compared with 34,073 in 2012, according to the report. Revenue also was down about 41 percent from $743,299.91 in 2012 to $436,250.17 in 2013.”
And still more stats… The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the Twin Cities have the lowest unemployment rate of any major metro area. We had a 4.7 rate. Thirty notches down was Milwaukee, where last we heard, “It’s working.” The rate there is 7.3.
At Bluestem Prairie Sally Jo Sorensen covers a mini tour of Minnesota by anti-Muslim Tea Party darling Brigitte Gabriel. “News of the Little Falls event is found on the Central Minnesota Tea Party Patriots’ blog, though the invite is boilerplate adapted for dozens of similar events around the country: …Gabriel will speak on the rise of Islamic radicalism in your community and in our nation. Her story of survival as a persecuted Christian living in a bomb shelter for 7 years will have you captivated and inspired. … This isn’t the first time Gabriel has spoken in Minnesota. She appeared at a June 12, 2011 ‘Honor Israel: speaker Brigitte Gabriel’ event at Mac Hammond’s Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park. In the audience? North Star Tea Party Patriot and future Minnesota state Cindy Pugh (R-Chanhassen) who had her photograph with Gabriel posted on the wall of Lynne Torgeson for Congress 2012 Facebook page… . Bluestem is curious about the choice of locations for Gabriel’s two appearances in Minnesota. Morrison County is in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District; Little Falls is home to fewer than 10,000 people. The nearest significant Muslim population is St. Cloud, where a small but robust community of Somali-Americans dwell. Mankato is many times larger, at nearly 40,000 people, and the First CD is home to Muslim communities in Rochester (Minnesota’s third largest city), Faribault, Owatonna and Mankato, where an Islamic Center opened in April 2012. Owatonna’s mosque has been vandalized repeatedly in the last year.”
Also, veteran rocker Henry Rollins keeps himself occupied writing editorials for the LA Weekly. In his latest he goes after Our Favorite Congresswoman in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s vote on DOMA. “Michele Bachmann is always a great person to go to for an opinion about anything. She has a very active and interesting mind. She was out there in front of the cameras, no notes that I could see, speaking from her huge, humanitarian heart. ‘This decision is one that is profound because the Supreme Court not only attacked our Constitution today, they not only attacked the equal-protection rights of every citizen under our Constitution, they attacked something that they have no jurisdiction over whatsoever, the foundational unit of our society, which is marriage.’ …it’s a strange place Ms. Bachmann is coming from. In a written statement issued on that auspicious Wednesday, she also said this. (When she goes into the God thing, she loses all constitutional traction with me.) ‘Marriage was created by the hand of God. No man, not even a Supreme Court, can undo what a holy God has instituted.’ What is with these people? In many cases, sure, it could just be a generic cocktail of hatred and intolerance, but I wonder if there’s something more because the anger is so fierce. Perhaps there’s some past trauma that’s not being addressed, or a life issue not being dealt with. Send in Dr. Drew!”