A little perspective from Pat Kessler at WCCO-TV. “NASA scientists and planet lovers everywhere are cheering the Pluto space probe, which is now sending images of the dwarf planet back to Earth. The cost of the 10-year voyage is raising eyebrows, but not for the reasons you might think. The 10-year voyage by the New Horizons satellite was never a sure thing. … The edge-of-the-solar-system breakthrough cost $720 million. That’s less than the cost of the $1 billion Vikings stadium. And less than half the $1.7 billion price tag of the Southwest Rail Project.” That Kessler guy clearly doesn’t care if we’re major league or not.
This is why it was so pleasant in town this past 4th of July. Says Steve Karnowski for the AP: “Department of Natural Resources figures show occupancy at state parks hit 84 percent. Parks and Trails spokeswoman says Amy Barrett that’s the highest percentage of campsites and other park lodgings booked for any holiday weekend since the DNR launched its current reservation system in 2012, and probably ever.” And how was traffic back in on the 5th?
You mean it’s like … on paper? The Strib’s Tom Meersman tells us, “A new magazine launched this month highlights stories about the state’s farms, food and families. Minnesota Made is a free annual publication about the diversity of the state’s agricultural industry, which employs 340,000 people and contributes $75 billion to Minnesota’s economy each year. The inaugural issue features stories about the growing craft beer industry and the hops that supply it, century farms that are being honored this year, the state’s history as a leader in biofuels development, and pollinator protection programs.” The “Heifer of the Month” photo feature might make it NSFW.
At UrbanMilwaukee.com “Data Wonk” Bruce Thompson crunches actual numbers, looking to explain the disparity beteen our economy and Wisconsins. He ends up saying: “The data offer no support for conservative insistence that [Scott] Walker’s policies have improved the Wisconsin economy or that Dayton’s, including raising taxes and increasing the minimum wage, have hurt Minnesota’s. By the same token, the data suggest caution for those over-enthusiastic liberal organizations hoping to use the two states to prove the superiority of their preferred policies. Yet if the economic benefits of the Walker strategy are, at best, undemonstrated, the costs are not. The costs include less environmental protection, lower funding for education at all levels, lower wages and benefits for Wisconsin workers, and a more regressive state tax and spending system at a time when there is growing concern about economic inequality. A policy with demonstrable costs but unproven benefits strikes me as a bad deal.”
Who mentioned the Tea Party’s favorite governor? Frank Bruni of The New York Times, that’s who. “What I see in him is the kind of soullessness too common in American politicians and the kind of careerism that makes American politics such a dreary spectacle. I see an ambition even more pronounced than any ideology. I see an interest in personal advancement that eclipses any investment in personal growth.” Hey, if he’d bought me two Keystone Lights, I could’ve told him that.
Maria Bell and Gail Rosenblum of the Strib file a piece on what local grocers do with expired but still edible food. “Lunds & Byerlys, for example, will donate about 2.5 million pounds of food this year, most of it going to Second Harvest Heartland Food Rescue, and the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center, which serves hot meals to as many as 500 adults every night. … Kowalski’s also donates daily to Second Harvest, said spokeswoman Deb Kowalski, who noted that her former mother-in-law, Betty Kowalski, inspired the effort. ‘She hated waste,’ Kowalski said. ‘Her generation grew up with not enough.’ Milk from Kowalski’s is donated up to seven days before the sell-by-date. Sandwiches are pulled at the end of each day.”
Downtown Minneapolis yesterday, Brandt Williams of MPR reports, “More than 300 people rallied in front of City Hall on Wednesday to call on city leaders to pass a workers’ agenda. The demonstration coincided with the release of a report that highlights the struggles of some workers with low wages and difficult scheduling. The report by Neighborhoods Organizing for Change was based on surveys of more than 500 north Minneapolis residents. Of the survey’s respondents, 47 percent reported working in retail or food service jobs. Three fourths of people who included their racial or ethnic identity are African-American.”
Meanwhile in religion, Martin Moylan of MPR says, “Twin Cities parishes want the bankrupt Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to cover their costs in settling clergy sex abuse claims. Some 120 parishes are filing creditor claims against the archdiocese. The parishes want the archdiocese to reimburse the over-payments they made to church insurance plans. They also are seeking compensation for costs related to resolving sex-abuse claims against clergy the archdiocese assigned to parishes.” And good luck with that.
Annoying little buggers. An AP story from medical writer Mike Stobbe says, “The geographic areas where Lyme disease is a bigger danger have grown dramatically, according to a new government study published Wednesday. U.S. cases remain concentrated in the Northeast and upper Midwest. But now more areas in those regions are considered high risk. … Other states that saw expansion of high-risk areas include Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York along the Eastern seaboard, and Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota in the Midwest.” I’m pretty sure The Galleria is tick-free.
A Forum News Service story from Phil Pfuehler says: “A 20-year-old Little Canada man staying with family in River Falls is charged with crawling through a window at a River Falls apartment building and sexually assaulting a 46-year-old woman while her husband lay in bed next to her. … According to police, [Ching Leng] Her allegedly spoke about having sex with a woman and about his God being a ‘wrathful God’ who will ‘rise in three days’ and ‘have my revenge.’” Which is what they all say.
And here’s a bummer for everyone who wasted their time with yesterday’s Amazon Prime Day. The best action was the night before, right here in Minnesota. Kavita Kumar of the Strib reports, “The offer seemed too good to be true — and it was. For a period of time on Tuesday night, Best Buy’s website allowed shoppers to buy $200 gift cards for $15, leading to a frenzy of activity as the glitch was publicized on sites such as Reddit. The mistake was then caught and fixed. Jeff Haydock, a Best Buy spokesman, confirmed that it was indeed a mistake. So no, it wasn’t part of the one-day online sale Best Buy had on Tuesday in advance of Amazon’s much hyped ‘Prime Day’ … .” Which was like a cheesy garage sale.