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Experts struggle with McFadden’s Obamacare math

Plus: Why one prominent private school may give up on football; MN youth programs garner wide support; Cargill fights suit alleging link to child slavery; and more

Mike McFadden
MinnPost file photo by Brian Halliday

Today’s “not-exactly-a-shocker” story. At MPR Mark Zdechlik reports that some experts see no reality to the math of GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden’s health insurance alternative. “McFadden takes advantage of every opportunity to slam the Affordable Care Act as bad for the nation. In advocating for a replacement for the federal health care law, McFadden opposes a national solution. He would leave most of the decisions up to states, including whether to require people to buy health insurance. … MIT health economist Jon Gruber helped write the Massachusetts health care plan that then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, enacted in 2006. He said the nation’s health care system could not pay for the benefits McFadden wants to offer without requiring everyone to buy into the insurance pool.”

Football seems to be a dying thrill at St. Paul Academy. Tim Leighton at the PiPress says, “St. Paul Academy plans to study the future of its football program in the wake of forfeiting its Class 4A Section 3 quarterfinal game against Highland Park. Citing a lack of numbers, Spartans activities director Peter Sawkins wrote in a letter that was posted on the St. Paul-based private school’s website that the game, scheduled for Tuesday night, was forfeited because the team had only 14 players available.”

Tough news for white supremacists. KARE-TV’s Lindsey Seavert reports on a new USA Today study of diversity trends in America. “Fast forward more than four decades to the year 2060, and imagine your grandchildren’s Minnesota. A state once founded on Scandinavian immigration will have a far more diverse future and chances are your neighbor will be of a different ethnicity than you, according to USA TODAY’s newly released nationwide Diversity Index.”

Forces opposed to unionizing home health care workers will have to go shopping for another judge. The AP is saying, “A federal judge has dealt another loss to opponents of a Minnesota unionization drive by refusing to halt the launch of a home-care union while a lawsuit proceeds. Federal Judge Michael Davis denied the request of nine plaintiffs Wednesday, saying they haven’t adequately shown their First Amendment association rights are infringed upon.”

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Off a tweet by the Strib’s LaVelle E. Neal Sports Illustrated’s Scooby Axson is saying the Twins have narrowed the field of contenders for their manager job to three. “The Minnesota Twins are down to three candidates for their open managerial position, according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minnesota Star Tribune. … According to the report, Paul Molitor, Torey Lovullo and Doug Mientkiewicz are the candidates that remain for the job. Molitor met with the team on Tuesday for the third time, but according to the paper he was not offered the job.” I think Molitor gets it and if he doesn’t turn it around in 4-5 years you go back to Mientkiewicz.

Gee, thanks. At CNN Money Steve Hargreaves and Dominic Aratari give us big props for “getting transit right.” “The 11-mile, billion dollar Green Line opened in June. Not everyone loves it — the chief complaint is that it’s too slow. But many are hailing it as a model urban project. Supporters successfully addressed many of the concerns of people along the route, and there are many benefits. … Development is taking place all along the Green Line. Since the engineering began five years ago, over $2.5 billion in investment has been announced within a half mile of the tracks, according to the Metropolitan Council, which runs the line.” Proving again that “government doesn’t create jobs,” right?

What?! More gummint spending on wasteful social programs? The AP says, “Statewide law enforcement groups in Minnesota say they support community-based youth programs as a way to keep young people out of trouble. A 2012 report from the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs shows that 90 percent of youth involved in intervention programs do not receive tickets, citations or new delinquency charges while receiving programming. Members of the statewide County Attorneys Association, Sheriffs Association, Police Chiefs Association and other groups are joining the Minnesota Youth Intervention Programs Association on Wednesday to show support for programs.”

Another AP story says, “Democratic secretary of state candidate Steve Simon wants Minnesota to join the 33 states that allow early voting. Simon says it would ease congestion at polling places and expand on the state’s new no-excuse absentee voting law, which he helped pass. More than 111,000 absentee ballots have been requested this year, but Simon says early voting would assure voters their ballots are counted. Absentee ballots aren’t examined until Election Day.” What’s going on here? Are we really going to let every Tyrone, Muhammed and Jennifer vote?

We’re getting into executive bonus time at local TV stations. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says, “Before Election Day, the Minnesota Republican Party plans to spend more than $100,000 going after both Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Al Franken. Ads will focus on Dayton’s term in office and accuse Franken of hiding from his support for President Obama, according to Republican Party spokeswoman Brittni Palke. The party plans to spend six figures on television ads in each race by Election Day, Palke said. The spots will be the first television ads the Republican Party has broadcast during this year’s election.” Don’t expect to see a lot of aggressive fact-checking of those ads on the same stations.

That proposed luxury apartment complex across from the Xcel Center is getting a hearing this afternoon. MPR’s Jon Collins says, “City staff selected a proposal last week by The Opus Group and Greco Development for the Seven Corners Gateway site, which is now a parking lot. The 2.38 acre lot borders Smith Avenue, Kellogg Boulevard and Fifth Street. … City documents describe the centerpiece of the development as a ‘public plaza and activity center’ and envisions ground-floor shops and restaurants with patio seating. It ‘will contribute to the sense of place and provide
eyes on the street,” creating an urban experience that does not currently exist in St. Paul.’ Say what?

Big companies run into all sorts of accusations and legal problems, but child slavery is getting pretty close to as bad as you can imagine. Cathy Wurzer at MPR says, “Minnetonka-based Cargill is asking a federal court to overrule a court decision that links the firm to child slavery on cocoa farms overseas. Cargill was among the defendants in a 2010 lawsuit from three men who said they were abducted as children and forced to work on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, where much of the cocoa bought by Cargill is produced. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that Cargill and other firms may have tolerated abusive work conditions, including child slavery, in order to keep costs low.”

Pretty much an “only in Rochester” story: Elizabeth Baier of MPR reports, “Anyone who has spent much time in Minnesota’s Med City’ can’t help but notice that wheelchairs are everywhere, often in unusual surroundings. From city parking ramps and downtown sidewalks to park trails and the local mall, the chairs have an inescapable presence. … The big curiosity is how they end up all over the city with their users nowhere in sight — a slice of life that some local residents can be oblivious to.”