Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


State’s uninsured reduced 40% post-Obamacare

Minnesota’s 2013 growth 13th in nation; Dave Brat’s Twin Cities connection; Hennepin County won’t honor ‘ICE holds’ requests; columnists take on the NFL; and more.

The uninsured in Minnesota? Down by 40 percent. Says Steve Karnowski of the AP, “The federal health overhaul has helped cut the ranks of uninsured people in Minnesota by about 40 percent, University of Minnesota researchers reported Wednesday in the first major assessment of the law’s effect in the state. The study estimated that the number of uninsured Minnesotans fell by 180,500 from Sept. 30 to May 1 — from about 445,000 people to about 264,500.” Aren’t we overdue for another “Repeal Obamacare” vote?

Like a broken record … Jean Hopfensperger of the Strib reports, “Thomas Adamson, a former priest in Winona and the Twin Cities, has testified in a court deposition that he sexually abused at least 10 boys as he moved from parish to parish in the 1960s through the 1980s. … he later admitted the abuse to the bishop of Winona — but no action was taken to remove him from ministry or to warn parents and children.”

Odd, I keep hearing the economy is completely in the tank … ? Evan Ramstad of the Strib writes, “Minnesota joined most other states in experiencing slower economic growth last year than in 2012, new data from the U.S. Commerce Department showed today, but it continued to grow more quickly than most states and the country as a whole. Minnesota’s gross domestic product grew 2.8 percent last year, the 13th-fastest pace in the nation. In 2012, the state’s economy grew 3.5 percent, which placed it fifth in the country.”

At Finance & Commerce, James Warden writes, “… Minnesota ranked 48th in entrepreneurial activity, the state’s worst performing category. Just 0.19 percent of residents started a business in 2012 compared with 0.3 percent nationwide. Bert Black, a legal adviser in the Secretary of State’s Office, said there are flaws in the study on which those rates are based. Just after that study was released in 2013, state officials criticized it for not measuring the success rates of those new businesses. An unprofitable business, for example, could boost a state’s score by changing hands several times in succession.”

Article continues after advertisement

Dave Brat, the Virginia Tea Party candidate who stunned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last night has … Minnesota connections. Doug Belden of the PiPress says, “David Brat grew up in Michigan, but the family moved to Brooklyn Park in 1978, said his dad, Paul, who lives in New Brighton. Dave went to high school at Park Center and then returned to Michigan for college after graduating in 1982. He didn’t talk politics in his high school days, Paul Brat said, but was mainly into tennis and playing trumpet in the school band.”

Tangentially related … Dave Chanen of the Strib says, “Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday that the sheriff’s office will no longer honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer requests. In the past, ‘ICE holds’ — requests to hold detainees an additional 48 hours beyond their scheduled release from jail — were considered mandatory. However, recent directives by ICE and federal court rulings have said the detainers are now discretionary.”

The adjuncts are rebelling. Christopher Magan of the PiPress says, “[Kara] ZumBahlen is among the growing ranks of part-time and non-tenured professors upon whom U.S. colleges and universities are increasingly dependent. Nontenured professors at three private colleges in St. Paul are trying to unionize as a way to fight what they say is low pay, uncertain employment and poor working conditions, which include limited professional development and little or no office space. Ballots for a vote on whether to form a union began arriving in the mailboxes of about 90 part-time and nontenured faculty at Hamline University this week, just days after their colleagues at Macalester College suddenly called off a union vote.”

Well … it seems the NFL’s freebie grab was a step too far for columnists at both local papers. In the PiPress Joe “Ol’ Sooch” Soucheray grumbles, “This is shaping up to be a high-end party only, and it might be useful to remember that it is being essentially brokered by the left, R.T. Rybak and Mark Dayton, etc. They have surrendered any credibility that would ever allow them to lecture the rest of us on the evils of the so-called 1 percent. No, instead, they will be required to be on duty to throw their parkas down on a slushy puddle so that [an NFL] Lord or Lady won’t get their feet wet crossing the street. Wait. I’ll bet it’s in the rider.”

Simultaneously in the Strib, Jon Tevlin takes a running kick at the big, fat, teed-up ball. “Perhaps the most impressive perk is the one where the NFL out-Shylocked the Shylocks. They demanded that even the ATMs at the stadium and other controlled areas be NFL-preferred, meaning they stole the money from bankers who normally steal it from customers simply trying to get their own money. I’ll make a wild guess here that the preferred bank will be U.S. Bank, whose CEO is chair of the Super Bowl Committee.”

Finally, just because I know you’re wondering … The Power Line boys aren’t exactly eulogizing Eric Cantor. Steven Hayward — at the beginning of a long screed about how to impeach Barack Obama for something he might do — writes, “I never found Cantor to be a very compelling political personality. I thought his speeches were too superficial and cliché (even if they were the right clichés), and his delivery flat.  It left me with the impression that the ratio of personal ambition to substance was out of whack.  But there’s more to being House majority leader than being a scintillating public speaker. We should not denigrate the ‘back room’ aspects of legislative politics just because it involves messy compromises and trimming. No one typically gets good marks for this from ideological purists. I’m inclined to think Cantor was fairly good at much of this thankless and unglamorous work.” Did he just say “compromises”?