Not that this will get any further than immigration reform or an overhaul of the VA. Micheal Shear of The New York Times reports, “President Obama on Thursday called for Congress to strip away tax advantages that have encouraged a rush of mergers and acquisitions that give companies an overseas base while they maintain their presence in the United States. … Earlier Thursday, Mark J. Mazur, the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for tax policy, made the case that any new laws targeting inversions should be backdated to May 2014, potentially affecting a number of multibillion-dollar deals.” Like Medtronic’s.
For the conservative Weekly Standard, long-time Twin Citian Barry Casselman semi-predicts another GOP sweep this November. “With first-time GOP candidate Stewart Mills mounting a serious challenge to DFL incumbent Rep. Rick Nolan in the state’s northeastern 8th Congressional District, and the likelihood of GOP gains in, even possible renewed control of, the state house of representatives, 2014 is taking shape as a potentially good year for Minnesota Republicans, although perhaps not as good as 1978. President Obama’s popularity (he carried the state twice) has plummeted thanks in large part to Obamacare. Minnesota’s high taxes (raised even higher by the Dayton administration) are causing many affluent individuals, small businesses, and corporations to leave the state. A recent incipient economic recovery in the largest cities has not reached the rest of the state.” How many does it take to qualify as “many”?
Meanwhile, another veteran political prognosticator, Larry Sabato, has downgraded Al Franken’s reelection chances. On his blog he writes, “ … we’re changing the rating from Likely Democratic to just Leans Democratic. But hear us out: While polling doesn’t really support such a move, history suggests this race won’t be a cakewalk for Sen. Al Franken (D). … Franken is still the favorite, given his gigantic war chest and the power of incumbency, but McFadden appears to be positioned to run a moderate-conservative campaign that could allow him to compete with Franken while not alienating his base.” Which is the tricky part.
Speaking of what it takes to run for statewide office: Tom Scheck at MPR says, “Republican Scott Honour has spent another $500,000 from his personal fortune on his campaign for governor. Honour, a former director of a California-based global investment group, has spent $901,000 on his campaign over the last two years. Honour’s campaign adviser, Pat Shortridge, emphasized Honour’s outsider status when confirming the latest report.” That’s certainly outside my circles.
And as further proof of the unpopularity of Obamacare: Christopher Snowbeck of the PiPress tells us, “One health insurance company is issuing $523,254 in rebates to Minnesota customers this summer to comply with the federal Affordable Care Act, the federal government announced Thursday. A subsidiary of Connecticut-based CIGNA is issuing refunds on behalf of 1,915 consumers who were covered during 2013 through the company’s ‘large group’ employer plans in Minnesota.”
PiPress columnist Ruben Rosario continues his barrage against Archbishop Nienstedt, this time with reader response: “I got quite a few responses to last week’s column. Most sided with me, but there were also strenuous disagreements. The following are but a handful of emails I received:
‘You are ignorant and (Jennifer) Haselberger (former chancellor for canonical affairs who revealed the mishandlings after she resigned in 2013) hates the church for some reason,’ wrote one reader. ‘There are a lot of people who want the Archbishop to ‘go’ because of his conservatism, particularly his support for traditional marriage. Don’t be another hater.’
‘It is you and people like you who should resign from the Church,’ fumed one letter writer from Woodbury. ‘I feel sick every time you and one of your ilk refer to themselves as ‘Catholics.’ I feel sullied and fouled by associating yourselves with my most basic beliefs.’“
More from Stribber Matt McKinney on the surge in break-ins in south Minneapolis. “The burglary spree comes as the latest bad news for south Minneapolis. A rash of robberies has pushed up violent crime in the area by 13 percent, the sharpest rise of any area in the city this year. Police Chief Janeé Harteau said Wednesday that she will have four extra police officers work overtime shifts in south Minneapolis until Labor Day as part of a $300,000 plan to fight a summer crime wave. Among the most recent burglaries, thieves are vastly preferring garages over houses.”
While the news on residential sales and construction has been generally good, the “vacation home” market is filled with a bit more trepidation. For MPR, Matt Sepic says, “As the economy continues to improve, real estate agents say sales of vacation homes are picking up. But with memories of the housing bust still fresh in their minds, many buyers are treading carefully into the market — with good reason. … The economic recovery unleashed a lot of pent-up demand for primary residences in the Twin Cities, said Jim Eisler, managing broker for Edina Realty’s Brainerd-area office. But people now considering a second house are just dipping a toe into the lake home market.”
UMD will go drilling in Antarctica. WDIO-TV in Duluth says, “The University of Minnesota Duluth was recently awarded nearly $9 million to construct a new drilling platform for research in Antarctica. The Office of Polar Program at the National Science Foundation says the $8.97 million grant will build what’s called the Rapid Access Ice Drill, called the RAID for short. … RAID will be able to take sample cores in less than 200 hours, according to UMD. That means a crew will be able to gather a sample in about 10 days before moving on to the next drilling site.”