Political leaders join fight to save non-stop flights between MSP and Tokyo

A Delta Air Lines flight taking off from MSP International Airport
A Delta Air Lines flight taking off from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

This non-stop to Tokyo thing is a big deal to the big deals. Kristen Leigh Painter and Jim Spencer at the Star Tribune tell us, “Minnesota political leaders are pressing the Obama administration to save Minneapolis-St. Paul’s nonstop flight to Asia, hoping to influence negotiations next week that Delta Air Lines, which flies the route, said could reshape its Pacific network. Gov. Mark Dayton is flying to Washington Thursday to join Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken in a meeting with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on the matter.  Wow, that’s almost as much all-hands-on-deck attention as the medical device tax got.

Also in news of our not-all-that-beloved and really not-at-all-local airline, Scott Meyerowitz of the AP reports, “Richard Anderson, who oversaw Delta Air Lines’ transformation into one of the world’s most profitable airlines, will retire this May. His right-hand man, airline president Ed Bastian, will take over as CEO, the Atlanta-based airline said Wednesday. … While other airlines have been buying new, fuel-efficient jets at a hefty cost, Anderson has been seeking a mix of cheaper used models and smaller orders of new jets, when the price is right. He’s been able to raise fares, getting passengers to pay a slight premium to fly Delta over other airlines. And in the past year, Delta has canceled fewer flights that the competition. He’s managed to get workers to agree to more flexible work rules than at other airlines and successfully fought off an effort to unionize flight attendants.” Add on a fee for everything you touch other than oxygen and you’ve got some world class CEO-ing.

The Washington Post takes a look at problems on The Range. Says Ylan Q. Mui, “Three of the six iron ore mines here have been idled, forcing roughly 2,000 workers out of a job. Unemployment in Itasca County, in the heart of the range, has shot up to 8 percent over the past year. Many miners will run out of health and unemployment insurance this month. Booms and busts are part of the circle of life here in these frozen northlands, but never before has the cycle started half a world away. And never before have the residents here felt so helpless to stop it.”

MPR’s Tim Pugmire was on Chelsea Clinton watch. “Clinton spoke at a Women for Hillary organizing event Wednesday at the Minneapolis home of DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen. It was one of three scheduled events in the area. Fresh off her mother’s ever-so-narrow win over Sen. Bernie Sanders in Iowa, the younger Clinton took a veiled shot at her mother’s Democratic rival. ‘I think a real progressive is someone who has a record of making progress,’ Clinton said. Clinton also criticized Republican presidential candidates for what she called ‘a normalization of hate speech’ on the campaign trail.”

But you’re still being billed at $400 an hour. Paul Walsh and Nicole Norfleet of the Strib report, “Lawyers in the Twin Cities and across the United States cope with depression and anxiety at troubling levels and turn to alcohol far more often than the population as a whole. Those are among the results of a study released Wednesday that found 21 percent of practicing attorneys qualify as problem drinkers, 28 percent struggle with some degree of depression and 19 percent demonstrate symptoms of anxiety.”

So what do you think of the cost-efficiency of this report? Bill Salisbury of the Pioneer Press says, “A legislative review of Minnesota State Auditor Rebecca Otto’s office failed to reach a verdict on whether her staff is monitoring county government finances efficiently. Last year, lawmakers ordered the Office of the Legislative Auditor to examine the ‘efficiency’ of the audits Otto’s staff conducts on counties. ‘We were unable to reach a definitive conclusion about the efficiency of county audits conducted by the (state auditor)’ the legislative auditor said in a report issued Wednesday.” Good work, folks.

Landowner v. solar energy in Lyon County. Mark Steil at MPR says, “Solar energy may be a vital piece of southwest Minnesota’s future, but right now Chuck Muller is more concerned about the present. Muller’s among the most vocal critics of a massive 270-acre, $100 million solar farm being planned now near his home outside Marshall. He and other families nearby contend the project is too big, would lower property values and destroy the region’s rural character. They’ll take another shot to stop it on Thursday when the project comes before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.”

I took out another mortgage and bought two. Also at MPR, Tim Nelson says, “The Vikings said they have almost sold enough seat licenses to reach their $125 million goal. ‘It’s gone very well. We’re down to the less than 5,000 seat licenses to go, so about 90 percent sold to the $125 million program,’ said Steve LaCroix, a team vice president and head of marketing. LaCroix said all the most expensive and least expensive sections are sold out.” Super Bowl victory at last!

The International Business Times takes a run at our “war on Valentine’s Day.”  Says Alex Garofalo, “For children at Bruce Vento Elementary in Saint Paul, Minnesota, all those Valentine’s Day cards and candies will have to wait until after school. Principal Scott Masini sent a letter to parents this week announcing that the school will not be taking part in the holiday any longer, in the interest of being more culturally inclusive. … On its website, Bruce Vento Elementary School proudly notes that 63 percent of its student population identify as Asian-American, 24 percent as African-American, 10 percent as Hispanic-American and 4 percent as Caucasian. In Masini’s letter — which raises the idea of also nixing other culturally specific holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas — the principal expressed a desire to be more welcoming and inclusive to all of the cultures represented in the school.” What next? No John Wayne movies?

A primer from KARE-TV on Minnesota Nice snowblower etiquette. Says Rena Sarigianopoulos, “We went into North Minneapolis to see what we could learn about snow removal etiquette. Are you obligated as a snow blower owner to help everyone? ‘I just feel like if I’ve got the snow blower it takes me a lot less time, so I just do it,’ said Kate Johnson of Minneapolis. But how far down the block to you  have to go? One neighbor? Two? Jim and Carol Miller seemed to have all the answers. They live on a corner, which means you keep the walkways to the street clear as well as the fire hydrant. And those paths from yard to yard aren’t just for borrowing sugar. ‘Everybody for the most part makes a path for their mailman. It makes it easier for the guy.’” So I guess just launching it over into the neighbor’s driveway isn’t cool, right?

“No smoking” means no smoking, dammit! The Forum News Service has a story saying, “A college student here suffered non-life-threatening injuries when his roommate slashed his throat with a knife after an argument in their dorm last week, authorities said. Michael Mathias Connelly, 20, admitted to inflicting the Jan. 27 attack, which was precipitated by a dispute about smoking in a Vermillion Community College dorm room, according to a criminal complaint. … Connelly said he was a friend of the victim and that they had been living together for only about a week.” Usually a fight like this is over who does the dishes or the Death Metal music.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 02/04/2016 - 06:45 am.

    Snowblower etiquette

    “Snowblower etiquette” was something that never occurred to me until I moved here, and it can be tricky for non-natives. I usually clear the sidewalk in front of 7 or 8 houses on my block, including one on the corner, and none of the houses on my side of the street have curb cuts for driveways – all the garages are in back on the alley. A couple years ago, the crabby neighbor on the corner yelled at me because – per city ordinance – I was not directing the machine’s stream of snow to the street, but instead aimed it toward the front yards. Though I was clearing 50+ yards of sidewalk for him at no charge, he was furious because aiming the snow toward the yard, I’d added some snow to the 10 feet of 3-foot-wide walkway between the street sidewalk and his front door. He has since departed, and I’ve resumed clearing the sidewalk on the corner lot, as well as the others.The people who bought the crabby neighbor’s house came to my front door yesterday to thank me for clearing their sidewalk. We all have different priorities.

  2. Submitted by Pat Berg on 02/04/2016 - 08:28 am.

    Snowblower etiquette

    I still see people snowblowing their driveways out into the street. AFTER the plows have been by (it’s illegal either way, of course).

    Which means that not only does the snow not get removed, but as a driver, you’re moving steadily along on a smooth roadway and then suddenly you hit this soft “mountain” of snow in your path.

    It’s pretty visible. I can only hope tickets are being issued when it happens.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 02/04/2016 - 11:27 am.

      Hope springs eternal

      It’s bad enough as a driver. As a winter cyclist, the worse problem is when people plow their driveways into the street / bike lanes. In traffic lanes this snow gets squashed into merely annoying ridges. Nearer the curb, they freeze into hazardous ridges of ice.

  3. Submitted by Bill Willy on 02/04/2016 - 10:32 am.

    The Iron Bubble

    Anyone interested in the “unique circumstances” involved in the current state of boom/bust life on the Range will find these two articles interesting as can be. While I’m sure the Washington Post will send people who will do an excellent job, I can’t help but wish someone would have thought to call and send Matt Taibbi instead. He’s the journalist that wrote these two articles and while it should be noted his articles contain “adult language,” they also contain some of the best, most engaging non-fiction writing I’ve read. And, in this case, the subject he covers appears to be directly connected to the situation right here at home:

    The Great American Bubble Machine (April 5, 2010)

    “From tech stocks to high gas prices, Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression — and they’re about to do it again”


    The Vampire Squid Strikes Again: The Mega Banks’ Most Devious Scam Yet (February 12, 2014)

    “Banks are no longer just financing heavy industry. They are actually buying it up and inventing bigger, bolder and scarier scams than ever”


    If you decide to read them bare in mind that prior to 2005 the price of iron ore had been in the $13 to $16 per ton range for at least 15 years. Then, in January of 2005, the price suddenly increased 70% to $28 per ton and kept climbing from there to a peak of — get this — $187.18 per ton in February of 2011!

    So what on earth could have caused the price of iron ore to go from $16/ton to $187/ton in six short years (during “the great recession”) when it had been bouncing between $12 and $16 for years and years? Supply and demand? . . Hmmmmmm. . . Maybe not. See what you think.

    Anyone interested in the proposed Polymet/Glencore Xstrata copper-nickel project will find these articles interesting and potentially enlightening too: As you’re probably aware, the same economic circumstances affecting the iron ore industry are (really) putting the squeeze on those companies too. . . Now would be a (real) good time for copper mining opponents to contact the Governor to remind and encourage him to follow through on his October promise of having an independent outside firm do an evaluation of Polymet’s ability to finance the project. It MAY be that the bubble highlighted in the second article burst at just the right time (if that’s what it was, of course).

    And speaking of Bernie Sanders and Goldman Sachs paying Hillary (and Bill) Clinton millions of dollars in speaking fees, anyone interested in those things will find the articles more than a little interesting, no doubt.

  4. Submitted by Jim Million on 02/04/2016 - 12:12 pm.

    State Auditor’s Office Mission

    “to examine the ‘efficiency’ of the audits Otto’s staff conducts on counties.”

    The charge was not to examine the efficiency of the State Auditor’s Office. Perhaps the charge to audit “efficiency” was misguided. Process is not necessarily quantitative, or sometimes even qualitative with respect to outcomes.

    The Auditor’s Office most always performs decisively and conclusively.

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