1) MPR's Tom Scheck says he was invited to look into gubernatorial candidates who were taking per-diem payments from the Legislature. Rep. Marty Seifert reportedly was displeased that lawmakers were scheduling trips around the state to get publicity for their gubernatorial campaigns. So Tom checked:
And it turns out it was Marty Seifert who claimed more money for expenses over the last four months than any other House member running for governor. The only candidate for governor in the Legislature who claimed more than Seifert was DFL Senator Tom Bakk. Expense reports show that Seifert took $6,081 for travel, lodging and daily expense payments. There's nothing illegal about state lawmakers filing expense reports, but they could run the political risk of appearing to campaign on the public dime.
Could? No, no. They do appear to be candidates running on the public dime. Many of the same lawmakers spent much of last session running around the state on "listening tours."
2) Bookmark this. Letters of Note publicizes letters and memos from history. Today's posting is a classic. Richard Nixon offers advice to Ronald Reagan on how to handle scandal:
(Click image to enlarge)
3) Sweet story from the Pioneer Press.
Tracy Mengelkoch, 41, is blind and has a mental disability. At games, her father, Jim, who lives in Minnetonka, calls the play-by-play for her, the story says. Have you ever noticed you don't see stories like this set in any other sports? Only baseball.
4) 44 Days in Iran. The New York Times' Lens blog looks at the infancy of this Iran, and it looks unbelievably similar to that Iran.
5) Well, isn't this just what you needed on the way out the door today? A study in the UK says children of mothers who work are less likely to live healthy lives than the children of stay-at-homes.
Now the traffic...
Robert St. in St. Paul is a mess, thanks to the utility work in advance of light-rail. It'll close on October 5. In the meantime, cross streets have been closed near Kellogg, but the traffic light remains in operation. So you get to sit there at an intersection that isn't an intersection.
Update 5:22 p.m. 10/1 This from the LRT office:
The lights are still needed for pedestrian crossings. That is why they are still working.
It's reminiscent of another infamous non-intersection. At the top of Valley Creek Road in Woodbury, there's a stop sign, but no intersection. The intersecting road -- Cottage Grove Drive -- was removed years ago. The sign stayed. People still stop; in fact, it's one of the few stop signs or red lights that Woodbury drivers actually stop for.
But I digress...
Bonus: Children's play tackles childhood mental illness (Duluth News Tribune).
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: A dozen Minnesota nonprofits will receive federal stimulus money to address short-term homelessness. But will this money really work to stimulate the economy, or simply help the state plug holes in budget cuts to social services?
Second hour: Entomologist Jeffrey Hahn joins Midmorning to talk about his new field guide and explain that while all bugs are insects, not all insects are bugs. We'll also get an update on the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer in Minnesota.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour:
Second hour: In an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, six experts discuss whether "Buy American/Hire American" policies will backfire. That brings up this question: Do you think you can live for an entire week without buying anything NOT manufactured in the U.S.?
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: The U.S. Census must count every person in the country every 10 years. It's in the Constitution. But some advocacy groups - from conservatives to Latinos - have concerns about whom the government should count and what questions should be asked. Neal Conan and guests discuss why the Census is so politically charged...and has been since George Washington authorized the first one. Plus, Michael Moore on his latest film -- Capitalism: A Love Story.
Second hour: David Crystal says his job as a linguist takes him far afield from his home
in Wales. In his new book, Walking English, the peripatetic author travels from his native Great Britain to Poland and across to San Francisco in search of the many accents of spoken English. Host Neal Conan talks with David Crystal about the linguistic idiosyncrasies he stumbled upon.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Minnesota's oldest national monument is also a working quarry where American Indians are allowed to dig - hand tools only - for pipestone. The material has cultural and spiritual significance for Indians and many people wait years for their turn at a digging permit. MPR's Mark Steil will report as part of our series on national parks and monuments in Minnesota.
MPR's Euan Kerr profiles Ed Asner, the central character in "Up," who's coming for a screening of the film in Minneapolis tonight.
He was, of course, Lou Grant. He had spunk:
NPR has John Kerry analyzing Obama's Afghanistan strategy choices. Reporter Larry Abramson follows a woman who's making a career change and getting into teaching. He examines alternative teacher licensing programs.(5 Comments)
|City||Change June/ July|
The debate continues - is the price increase because of the seasonal mix (distressed sales vs. non-distressed sales), the impact of the first-time home buyer frenzy on prices, and the slowdown in the foreclosure process (with a huge shadow inventory), or have prices actually bottomed? I think we will see further house price declines in many areas.(1 Comments)
A few days ago, I posted something about St. Paul's continuing battle to get rid of billboards.
A link sent to me by The Current's Barb Abney today, however, reminds me that sometimes billboards can be public art:
A few years ago the Walker commissioned five artists to create billboard art, and it turned out to be nowhere near as interesting as when the professionals are unleashed.
Besides, St. Paul, today's eyesore might be tomorrow's art exhibit.
Tomorrow marks the end of the quarter for politicians to report their campaign contributions, so today their fundraisers are sending out solicitation letters to try to pry money out of some wallets by creating straw men and challenges.
Rep. Keith Ellison raised the specter of "special interests."
"Special interests," of course, are in the eye of the beholder. This summer, Ellison was in the spotlight for accepting a privately-funded gift of a trip to Mecca.
Rep. Michele Bachmann meanwhile is using Nancy Pelosi as the "boogeyman" in her fundraising letter.
"I must show a solid bank account to keep the Democrats from pouring millions into my opponents' campaigns," Bachmann said in her letter, as if anything could prevent Democrats from pouring millions into the 6th District race.
If you've gotten a fundraising e-mail today, please forward it to me.(1 Comments)
The so-called "public option" component of health care reform died today when the Senate Finance Committee's Health Care Subdivision (essentially the entire committee) rejected an attempt to include it in legislation the panel is considering. Other bills circulating at the Capitol still have "public option," but Sen. Max Baucus removed it from his bill under pressure from Republicans, who considered it Socialist. The number of Democrats refusing to support the idea pretty much sinks it.
The vote was 15-to-8, with Democrats Baucus, Sen. Tom Carper, Sen. Kent Conrad, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, and Sen. Bill Nelson joining all of the committee's Republicans with "no" votes.
Most of the Democrats voting against the bill, were among the biggest Democratic recipients of health care cash in campaign fundraising. Coincidence? Who can say? The campaign finance system is such that one can only speculate what role it plays when legislation is considered that affects the campaign contributors. So you have to decide.
Here's the breakdown by committee members. The numbers in parentheses represents its rank for that senator in the grouping of contributions by industry. Keep in mind, these numbers are the amount raised through the end of June, well before the health care issue dominated the national dialogue.
John D. Rockefeller, West Virginia (Chairman) - $255,950 from health professionals (2nd),
Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico - $210,563 from health professionals (3rd) and $92,000 from pharmaceutical industry (7th).
Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota - $239,533 from health professionals (3rd), $233,625 from the insurance industry (4th).
John Kerry, Massachusetts - $91,036 from insurance industry (7th). $64,948 from health professionals (13th)
Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas - $298,700 from health professionals (2nd), $153,304 from pharmaceutical industry (5th) and $131,850 from insurance industry (8th).
Ron Wyden, Oregon - $173,475 from health professionals (1st), $83,299 from insurance industry (7th).
Charles Schumer, New York - $155,300 from insurance industry (5th) , $108,650 from health professionals (9th).
Debbie Stabenow, Michigan - $338,455 from health professionals (4th). Second-biggest contributor was Blue Cross Blue Shield ($59,700)
Robert Menendez, New Jersey - $256,950 from health professionals (7th)
Thomas Carper, Delaware - $238,680 from insurance industry (2nd), $139,520 from pharmaceutical industry (7th).
Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa - $241,856 from health professionals (1st), $201,148 from insurance industry (2nd), $152,650 from pharmaceutical industry (3rd), $139,137 from hospitals and nursing homes (4th). Blue Cross Blue Shield ($26,750) is second-largest contributor. Select Medical Group is third-largest contributor ($23,000).
Orrin G. Hatch, Utah. Ranking member - $481,081 from insurance industry (1st), $242,550 from health professionals. Blue Cross Blue Shield is second-largest contributor ($45,603)
Olympia Snowe, Maine - $174,074 from health professionals (2nd), $163,585 from insurance industry (3rd). Aetna Inc., is second-biggest contributor.
John Ensign, Nevada - $269,325 from health professionals (3rd), $211,462 from insurance industry (7th).
Michael Enzi, Wyoming - $218,700 from pharmaceutical industry (1st), $144,049 from health professionals (2nd), $124,250 from insurance industry (4th). Blue Cross Blue Shield is fifth-largest contributor ($15,000).
John Cornyn, Texas - $759,113 from health professionals (4th), $350,294 from insurance industry (9th).
John Kyl, Arizona - $649,383 from health professionals (4th).
Jim Bunning, Kentucky - $86,433 from insurance industry (1st), $63,650 from health care (3rd). Kindred Healthcare is fourth-largest contributor ( $12,100).
Pat Roberts, Kansas - $178,299 from pharmaceutical industry (9th).
(Source: OpenSecrets.org)(7 Comments)