Posted at 6:05 AM on September 8, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The Mall of America is getting plenty of attention today and it has nothing to do with shopping. NPR reported yesterday that MOA security has been disrupting innocent people's lives by tracking mall visitors and reporting their "suspicious activity" to law enforcement like the Bloomington Police Department, the state of Minnesota and the FBI. In many instances, the suspects did nothing wrong.
The second part of the report says most of those targeted by MOA security have been minorities.
A USDA report says 1 in 10 Minnesota households struggle with hunger.
Conservationists are seeking Legacy money for riverside land and moose habitat.
A Revenue Department employee has been sentenced to five years for tax fraud.
Surly is starting to look for a new home.
President Obama will speak before Congress tonight to outline his plan for the economy. His plan is expected to cost $400 billion.
The New York Times says his economic plan is aimed at independents.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann will attend Obama's jobs speech.
Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke speaks in Minneapolis today. There are low expectations for his speech.
Businesses have posted the most job openings in three years.
The deficit commission will also hold its first meeting today.
Federal agents charged 91 in a Medicare fraud case.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he's putting a FEMA bill that would help pay for damages caused by Hurricane Irene on the fast track.
NPR says Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones is inheriting the ATF that is fighting for survival. Jones will be interim director of the agency.
Medical technology firms continue to fight a tax on devices. GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen is mentioned.
MinnPost writes what you can expect from Congress this fall.
GOP Rep. John Kline held a closed door meeting with school officials late last month.
MPR says DFL Rep. Keith Ellison's Muslim faith helps build bridges to the Muslim world after 9/11.
Race for President
Several GOP candidates for governor participated in a debate in California. The debate was the first time Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined the crowd.
Mitt Romney and Perry sparred over jobs and Social Security.
The PoliGraph fact-checked the debate.
The Fix calls Bachmann a "non-entity" during the debate.
Politico says Bachmann is all alone on her $2/gallon gas pledge.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was nominated to be Vice Chair of DNC. Expect to see him a lot more on cable TV.
Tim Pawlenty gave a subtle endorsement to Mitt Romney by saying the former Massachusetts Governor can appeal to independents and conservative Democrats.
Race for Congress
MinnPost says GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen's "Opie routine" didn't work at Tuesday night's town hall.
Republican Chris Fields will challenge DFL Rep. Keith Ellison.
Posted at 9:20 AM on September 8, 2011
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Mark Dayton
Gov. Mark Dayton is scheduled to speak next week to members of the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce.
The luncheon is Wednesday, September 14, at Olympic Hills Golf Club. A news release from the chamber said attendees will have a chance to ask questions and "hear the latest updates on the budget, setting priorities and other hot topics in Minnesota."
The cost of the event is $35 for members and $60 for non-members.
WASHINGTON - GOP presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann will deliver a response immediately after President Obama's speech before a joint session of Congress tonight on job creation.
The event is officially being billed as a press conference but responding to the president is a role she's assumed before. Last January, Bachmann delivered a tea party response to the president's State of the Union address.
Unlike many presidential addresses, House Republicans have declined to issue a formal response to Obama's speech, offering Bachmann a chance to briefly regain the media spotlight.
Bachmann's response comes after a debate performance last night that was described by some commentators as disappointing. While the Stillwater Congresswoman won the Ames Straw Poll last month in Iowa, since then she's been contending with the entrance into the race of Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Last night's debate centered around Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. At one point, Bachmann did not get a chance to speak for 20 minutes during the nearly two hour debate.(1 Comments)
WASHINGTON - Tonight's speech by President Obama before a joint session of Congress is quickly turning into a miniature version of the annual State of the Union address.
The latest sign, a list of guests invited by First Lady Michelle Obama, including Burnsville resident Darlene Miller.
Miller is the owner and CEO of Permac Industries, which makes machine tools, and she also serves on a presidential panel on jobs and competitiveness so her invitation makes sense in the context of the speech, which will emphasize ways to create jobs and bring down unemployment.
Her company was also a beneficiary of a subsidized job program that was part of the 2009 stimulus act.
Miller has also contributed to Republican candidates in the past, including Rep. John Kline and former Sen. Norm Coleman, so her presence as a guest of the First Lady serves another of the President's themes: the need to for bipartisanship.
Other guests include GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, AOL co-founder Steve Case and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
During the Republican presidential debate at the Reagan Library, Rep. Michele Bachmann raised a talking point that's become standard fare at her campaign events:
Government regulation is expensive for businesses and will result in job losses.
Bachmann hinted that even President Barack Obama agrees.
"I think it's important to note that the president recognized how devastating the [Environmental Protection Agency] has been in their rulemaking, so much so that the president had to suspend current EPA rules that would have led to the shutting down of potentially 20 percent of all of America's coal plants," she said during last night's debate.
Bachmann is overestimating.
Bachmann's spokeswoman did not respond to an email to clarify her boss's statement, but it appears Bachmann is talking about Obama's controversial withdrawal of a rule that would have put stricter regulations on smog.
In that case, Bachmann's context is correct. In a statement, Obama said he stopped the proposed rules from moving forward because he's worried about the impact on the recovering economy. The administration estimates that the rules would have cost between $19 billion and $90 billion.
But Bachmann is conflating her facts.
First, this is just one rule, not several as Bachmann said. It's one of four the coal industry is especially worried about, the rest of which are still in the works, according to Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association.
All together, the impact of those rules could close 20 percent of the nation's coal-fired plants, according to the trade organization. Other studies support that figure, though it's important to note that 20 percent is on the high end depending on the scope of the new rules. And it appears that much of the impact would come from a rule dealing with mercury and air toxics standards for power plants.
The coal industry is worried about several proposed rules, not just the smog rule that Obama shelved. If all those regulations go into effect, upwards of 20 percent of the nation's coal-fired power plants could close.
For getting her facts mixed up, Bachmann's claim rates a false.
The New York Times, The Republican Debate at the Reagan Library, Sept. 7, 2011
Minnesota Public Radio News via the Associated Press, Concerned about jobs, Obama ditches tough EPA smog rule, by Julie Pace and Dina Cappiello, Sept. 2, 2011
The White House, Statement by the President on the Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards, Sept. 2, 2011
Charles River Associates, A Reliability Assessment of EPA's Proposed Transport Rule and Forthcoming Utility MACT, Dec. 16, 2011
Reuters, U.S. rules seen shutting 20 percent of coal power capacity, July 27, 2011
Environmental Protection Agency, Air Toxics Standards for Utilities, accessed Sept. 8, 2011
ICF International, Retiring Coal Plants While Protecting System Reliability, July 26, 2011
WASHINGTON - Before a special joint session of a bitterly divided Congress, President Obama laid out his agenda for creating jobs and reducing unemployment through a $450 billion package of targeted tax cuts and infrastructure investments.
Lawmakers' reception to the plan was partisan, albeit somewhat more cordial than last month's legislative food fight over raising the debt ceiling.
Here are the responses from Minnesota lawmakers to the plan:
Rep. Michele Bachmann - Rep. Michele Bachmann did not arrive back in time to be present for the speech. Her staff said torrential rainfall in the Washington area delayed her flight from the West Coast, where she attended a GOP presidential debate yesterday. She did arrive in time to hold a press conference after the speech to offer a rebuttal, something the Republican leadership declined to do.
Before a small group of reporters, she said, "While the President's speech comes on the heels of a trillion dollars of failed stimulus, bailouts, and temporary gimmicks aimed at creating jobs, the President continued to cling to the idea that government is the solution to creating jobs."
Rep. Chip Cravaack - None of the four reporters for Minnesota-based outlets who were in the House chamber spotted the freshman Republican. Cravaack's spokesman, Michael Bars, via email said "Rep. Cravaack was huddling with his team listening carefully to the President's speech."
Bars emailed a short statement about the speech, writing, "Rep. Cravaack will examine all pro-growth proposals that mitigate excessive, job-destroying regulations that saddle small businesses and job creators."
Rep. Keith Ellison - "I like most of what I heard, and I'm ready to vote for the American Jobs Act," Ellison told reporters immediately after the speech. When asked whether he thought a bill could be moved through Congress, Ellison said, "There was stuff in there Republicans clapped for."
Sen. Al Franken - "Our top priority must be getting people back to work. The President presented a smart plan that will create needed American jobs and won't add a dime to the deficit. This plan will benefit Minnesota, and Congress needs to act on it quickly. This package would put lots of Minnesotans back to work, including teachers, first responders, and construction workers, and put more money in the pockets of our state's working families," according to a statement released by the DFL senator's office.
Rep. John Kline - "I was pleased to hear the President heed the call of Americans by expressing a desire to work together to promote long term economic growth," the Republican lawmaker said in a statement. "Unfortunately, his call for more stimulus-type measures ignores the reality that people - not government - are our nation's true job creators. The private sector doesn't need Washington to tell them how to create jobs; they need Washington to get out of their way."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar - "I thought it was incredibly realistic that he tied it to having to be paid for," said Klobuchar, a DFLer, referring to the President's proposal that the costs of his new stimulus program be offset with additional deficit savings by the special bipartisan, bicameral "Super Commission" that's meeting this fall. "If it's not paid for, it's not going to get done," Klobuchar told reporters.
Rep. Betty McCollum - "For the past eight months, the world has witnessed an out-of-control Tea Party majority in Congress, harming our economy and stalling job growth with their posturing and political games," said McCollum, a liberal DFL member from St. Paul, in a written statement. "The American people want jobs, not dangerous and harmful Tea Party schemes to protect polluters, bust unions, eliminate Medicare, and outsource more jobs."
Rep. Erik Paulsen - "Neither party can escape blame for our nation's economic turmoil. Republicans during the Bush years made mistakes, spending lots of money the country didn't have. But a few of my colleagues and I want to reform Washington's reckless, unsustainable ways," the Republican said in a written statement. "I'm always willing to work across the aisle on good ideas to revive the economy. Unfortunately, the President's remarks tonight were more of a rehash of previously failed policies. He and we can do better."
Rep. Collin Peterson - The DFL Congressman's office did not issue a statement on the speech.
Rep. Tim Walz - Asked about the deep political divisions in Congress, the Mankato DFLer said, "We're going to have to overcome it. The bottom line is the President was very conciliatory, he brought up big issues like Medicare reform and was willing to go there. I'm optimistic about it. I heard it in August, the American people want action, they're not concerned with the political divide other than getting it fixed."