Want some numbers? The Star Tribune’s Christopher Snowbeck reports, “More than one-in-five Minnesotans under age 65 had health problems last year that would give them a personal stake in the debate over repealing and replacing the federal health law. That’s the conclusion of a report released Monday from the California-based Kaiser Family Foundation that estimated about 744,000 Minnesotans under 65 had a health problem that would block them from coverage if insurance companies reverted to rules that were in place before the Affordable Care Act (ACA).”
It appears to be one of those “with-no-admission-of-guilt” deals. Rochelle Olson of the Strib reports, “Members of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) could no longer bring family and friends into two free luxury suites at U.S. Bank Stadium under a proposal announced Monday in response to the public outcry over the practice. The MSFA also released the names of dozens of people who had been guests in the two suites since the building opened Aug. 3 … Michele Kelm-Helgen, MSFA chairwoman, and Ted Mondale, its executive director, say the proposed change … is not an admission of wrongdoing but a response to ‘all the interest and consternation and concern’ about friends and family attending games.”
And look who is mentioned first. Amy Davidson of The New Yorker writes about the next women in contention to be you know what. “Hillary Clinton will not be the first woman President. But Americans are ready to elect one: despite the real misogyny that Clinton faced, this was a close election. And they should do it soon. … Here is a list of potential candidates to get started. But the premise — that there is room for a woman who isn’t one of the very few that party leaders and commentators think of as “ready” — means that there are a lot of names missing from it. Send them in. 1. Amy Klobuchar, senior senator from Minnesota. Popular, practical, appealing, progressive — picture her, for a moment, on a debate stage with Donald Trump, cheerfully taking him down.”
Speaking of … Christopher Magan of the PiPress reports, “Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken want federal student loan relief for students who attended Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business after a court found the for-profit schools defrauded students. In a letter to the U.S. Department of Education, the Democratic senators urged federal officials to make all students who attended the Woodbury-based schools during the fraud eligible for ‘borrower defense to repayment,’ a program that allows federal loans to be forgiven.”
A couple Standing Rock stories. First, at Slate, Christian Hansen and Susan Matthews write, “The man now preparing to take office embodies the antithesis of the protesters’ vision. Trump is pro-pipeline generally, and he stands to gain financially from this one specifically. He will be the only world leader to deny the reality of climate change and the first president to have been elected without prior government experience. He is the short-termer–in-chief, having attained the office in part by running on his corporate experience, his supposed ability to get results. That’s what the protesters are up against: the elevation of the American belief that government ought to run like a corporation, one that prioritizes short-term results over long-term progress. On Wednesday, Trump named a climate change denialist to head his EPA. Oil executive Rex Tillerson is the leading front-runner for secretary of state. Short-termism is running the country. Standing Rock is not going away.”
Also in pipeline news. For CNBC Tom Dichristopher reports, “A pipeline leak has spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek roughly two and a half hours from Cannon Ball, where protesters are camped out in opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux and other tribes, as well as environmentalists from around the country, have fought the pipeline project on the grounds that it crosses beneath a lake that provides drinking water to native Americans. They say the route beneath Lake Oahe puts the water source in jeopardy and would destroy sacred land. North Dakota officials estimate more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil leaked from the Belle Fourche Pipeline into the Ash Coulee Creek.”
For the AP, Jim MacPherson reports, “Electronic monitoring equipment failed to detect a pipeline rupture that spewed more than 176,000 gallons of crude oil into a North Dakota creek, the pipeline’s operator said Monday. It’s not yet clear why the monitoring equipment didn’t detect the leak, Wendy Owen, a spokeswoman for Casper, Wyoming-based True Cos., which operates the Belle Fourche Pipeline, said.”
Looking at downtown without department stores, Martin Moylan at MPR says, “If Macy’s leaves Minneapolis, it won’t be a shock. Big Retail has been dying for years in downtowns here and across the country as suburban and online shopping explode. Experts say Minneapolis must find a way to recreate a vibrant shopping district and lure back the region’s shoppers knowing the department store giants won’t be returning. City and business leaders say they’re working on the revival. … City leaders see plenty to work with as they rebuild. Minneapolis job growth is steady, the unemployment rate is just 3 percent and downtown residency is booming. Consumers are moving into the area.” We may not have yet reached Peak Brewpub.
Now that the horses have jumped the corral fence. The Reuters story says, “Wells Fargo & Co said on Monday it has suspended referrals of a low-cost life insurance policy to Prudential Financial Inc and renters’ insurance to another carrier, pending a review of how the products were sold by the bank. Wells Fargo spokesman Mark Folk declined to name the Wells Fargo partner that sells renter’s insurance, but the bank’s website indicates it offers the policies through Assurant Inc . An Assurant spokeswoman said the company did not comment on clients. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones told Reuters on Monday he had ordered an investigation into allegations, the latest regarding Wells Fargo’s sales practices, that retail bankers signed up customers for life insurance policies from Prudential without their permission.”
Higher over Calhoun. Says Stribber Jim Buchta: “A Denver-based developer on Monday unveiled three designs for a 200-unit residential project that would replace a 1950s office building on the north side of Lake Calhoun. Brickstone Partners told the Cedar-Isles-Dean Neighborhood Association it wants to construct a 13-story building that would take up a minimal amount of the building site, which is already flanked by two high-density residential developments. The firm said it is willing to consider a nine-story or six-story building as an alternative, though both would.” It’s the price of density.
On the Crooks & Liars site, local guy Rob Levine has a piece about drone photojournalism and the government’s squeeze on it. “Drone photojournalist. That’s a new term describing photojournalists who cover news events using small drones. The potential to cover news events with these amazing new – and affordable – machines has the potential to revolutionize journalism by opening up new avenues for coverage to individuals and organizations that previously did not have the means to either own or hire a helicopter or small plane. Despite this new potential there is one organization that has the ability to thwart this kind of coverage – the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).”
Uh, oh … Congress. The Strib likes the idea of a Minnesota World’s Fair, but says, “Much credit is due the blue-ribbon Minnesota World’s Fair Bid Committee, headed by former Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, for advancing an ambitious idea this far. But it’s too soon for the committee’s civic visionaries to rest on their laurels. Not only must they prepare to sell the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) next year on the value and appeal of Minnesota’s proposed theme, ‘Wellness and Well Being for All.’ The project’s boosters must also secure permission from Congress for the United States to renew its membership in the BIE, which was withdrawn for cost-cutting reasons in 2002.” I feel confident they will find something about “wellness” that makes it a liberal notion that must be stamped out before it endangers job creators.