Shrieks of “fraud” will certainly follow this news. The AP story says, “Minnesota election officials have accepted significantly more absentee ballots this year than at this point in 2010’s midterm election. The secretary of state’s office announced on Thursday a more-than 60 percent jump in absentee ballots accepted so far over 2010. More than 38,000 have been approved this year compared with 23,237 in 2010. So far, voters have requested more than 110,000 absentee ballots total.”
The Irish have been feeling pressure, but: Jesse Marx at City Pages says, “Ireland announced earlier this week that the country will get rid of a corporate loophole scheme that allows American companies to skirt billions in tax revenue. … What does that mean for Medtronic? Little, apparently. Fernando Vivanco, a company spokesman, says the new rule won’t disrupt the company’s pending acquisition of Covidien. Beyond that, it’s unclear if the company is rethinking its tax structure.”
You may have noticed, Ebola politics have grabbed the stage. A PiPress story says, “With the election just weeks out, Sen. Al Franken and Republican challenger Mike McFadden are playing up emotional issues to motivate voters. McFadden is sounding the alarm about the country’s ability to handle an Ebola outbreak while Franken has continued to press women’s health and birth control access. McFadden says the U.S. should impose a temporary travel ban from West African countries where the virus originated. He also criticized Franken for focusing on other issues like women’s health amid more-pressing concerns. Franken has requested increased Ebola screening at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and says McFadden’s proposal should be considered.” I mean what’s scarier, Ebola or birth control?
Swank and glitz across from the X. Frederick Melo and Nick Woltman of the PiPress write, “Downtown Minneapolis has the Nic on 5th — luxury housing over skyway retailers. Uptown Minneapolis has its equally flashy Blue, Lime and Flux apartment buildings. Now, companies associated with the four projects have set their sights on the gateway to downtown St. Paul. St. Paul has chosen a familiar developer to build a hotel, ‘high-end market-rate apartment’ complex and retail destination across from the Xcel Energy Center.” Pretty soon we won’t recognize the place.
I did not know about Kansas Independent Senate candidate Greg Orman’s Mankato connection. David Lieb of the AP says, “Starting from scratch in 1992, Orman built Environmental Lighting Concepts into a multi-million-dollar business with 120 employees within four years. The lighting company is where Orman first tested the business acumen that he now touts in his campaign as an independent challenger to Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas. … He couldn’t afford to immediately quit his first job at McKinsey & Co. to start a lighting business. So he reached out to a cousin and a guy he had met during a high school internship at a bank in his hometown of Mankato, Minnesota.”
We’re entering the “liar, liar” phase of the campaign. Pat Kessler of WCCO-TV reports, “PreferredOne customers who go back to MNsure are facing sticker shock price hikes, and not the average 4.5 percent rate hike Gov. Mark Dayton is claiming. At a press conference where he received a small business group endorsement, Republican governor candidate Jeff Johnson said Dayton is ‘lying.’ ‘That 4.5 percent statistic is bogus. It’s meaningless. It’s nonsense. It was a blatant lie coming from the governor,’ Johnson said. ‘I believe the governor needs to apologize to the people of Minnesota for lying to us about the MNsure rates.’”
Minneapolis may be indifferent, but St. Paul loves birds. Frederick Melo (again) says, “The St. Paul City Council will vote next week on a resolution urging the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority to design a bird-safe football stadium across the river in Minneapolis. Why would St. Paul care about bird-safe glass on the other side of the Mississippi? According to the resolution, which will be voted on next Wednesday, St. Paul ‘plays host to many seasonal migrant bird species, who rely on the metropolitan area for critical stop-over habitat each spring and fall.’”Does Wanamingo want in on the action?
The latest polling out of Wisconsin. Says Mary Spicuzza of the Wisconsin State Journal, “Less than three weeks until Election Day, Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke are in a dead heat, the Marquette Law School Poll has found. Walker and Burke are tied 47 percent to 47 percent among likely voters, with 4 percent undecided, according to poll data released Wednesday. The poll also found attorney general candidates Republican Brad Schimel and Democrat Susan Happ are tied at 42 percent among likely voters, with 16 percent undecided.” Somebody better make another run at Voter ID.
It begins. Says Tim Harlow in the Strib, “ [Yesterday] marks the official start of the much-awaited Hwy. 610 extension project through Brooklyn Park and Maple Grove. … The $80 million project funded through the state’s Corridors of Commerce program will extend Hwy. 610 from its current terminus at Elm Creek Blvd. and County Road 81 west to I-94. This fall, MnDOT plans to clear the ground and demolish buildings. Most of the work will take place during the 2015 and 2016 construction seasons. The project includes building a bridge over Fernbrook Lane and an interchange at Maple Grove Pkwy.”
Mark Peterson, a faithful Catholic by the sound of it, has a commentary in the Strib taking the paper and other media outlets to task for their coverage of the Church’s numerous sex abuse scandals. “I believe that today’s media are painting a picture of the Catholic Church based on the actions of a minority of priests. The John Jay Report of 2011 estimated that about 4 percent of priests were accused of abuse between 1950 and 2002. On a regular basis, newspapers print front-page stories detailing the actions of the four among every 100 priests who went astray, while paying little or no heed to the 96 good and humble priests who have remained faithful and true to God and to their congregations. The story has become so distorted that it is like opening a Bible to the New Testament accounts and finding references only to Judas Iscariot, the one apostle of the 12 who went astray, while discovering that the references to the 11 who remained faithful have been expunged.”