The general, the other general, the woman and the other woman: A scandal spreadsby Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today on the MPR News Update: A sex scandal captivates and infuriates the nation's capital, the Minnesota construction sector is pulling out of a slump, U.S. Catholic bishops plan to stay the course after an Election Day thumping, and we hear from the author of "The Cursing Mommy."
MAIL DROP: Think your email is private? Ask David Petraeus about that. The downfall of the CIA director and former top commander in Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrates how easy it is for federal law enforcement agents to dig into your inbox if they believe a crime was committed.
SHOCKED: In the Petraeus case, his mistress was suspected of sending threatening emails warning another woman to stay away from him. When the FBI was called in, and Petraeus figured out what was going on, he was said to be shocked.
SNARED: In a new twist today to the Petraeus sex scandal, the Pentagon says the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, is under investigation for alleged "inappropriate communications."
WHO, WHAT, WHEN? As Congress and the press try to figure out the scope of the scandal, the FBI says it's preparing a timeline of its criminal probe into the Petraeus affair.
BUILDING JOBS: A few years ago, CJ Akins was laid off from her job as a telemarketer. Then she saw an ad for construction-related training. And at a time when thousands of workers were leaving construction for lack of work, she went running towards it.
PAYING MORTGAGES: On a related note, U.S. homeowners are doing a better job of keeping up with their mortgage payments, aided by an improving housing market and low interest rates that are making it easier to refinance.
NO CHANGE: Election Day brought big defeats for the Roman Catholic Church across the US. Despite its outspoken opposition, Maine, Maryland and Washington approved same-sex marriage by popular vote. Minnesota voted down an attempt to write a same-sex marriage ban into the state's constitution. And despite church leaders' open criticism of President Obama over birth control policies, Obama won the overall Catholic vote, 50 percent to 48 percent. But at their annual conference, the nation's bishops said they weren't changing their public policy strategy.
COSTLY VOTES: There are endless ways to slice and dice the numbers behind the 2012 election, but one way to ascertain the cost of the campaigns is to look at how much each candidate spent to win a vote. Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann spent more than $11 million from her congressional account. She received 179,241 votes, just a little more than 50 percent of the 6th Congressional District's support. That amounts to around $65 per vote.
THE BLIND SIDE: Dan McGrath, executive director of TakeAction Minnesota (not the same Dan McGrath who coincidentally managed the pro-voter ID campaign), spent months suggesting that Minnesotans would turn against the proposed photo identification requirement once they learn more about it. That seemed unlikely a year ago when public opinion polls showed overwhelming support for voter ID. But in the end, that support was just 46 percent, well below the threshold needed to amend the constitution.
ENERGY INDEPENDENCE? The United States will become the world's largest oil producer by around 2020, temporarily overtaking Saudi Arabia, as new exploration technologies help find more resources, the International Energy Agency forecast on Monday, as part of "a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy-importing countries."
MAN TO MAN: The Man-to-Man Sexual Health Seminars, a nearly 20-year-old HIV seminar program at the University of Minnesota, is being retired because attendance has dropped. As many as 300 men a year at the program's height, but those numbers have fallen to fewer than two dozen participants in recent years.
A HECK OF A DEAL: Ian Frazier is known to many as a non-fiction writer. His book, "Great Plains," is a classic, as is "On the Rez," about life on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and "Travels in Siberia," which is the result of 20 years of journeys and study. Now Frazier's out with a new book -- one that took him much less time to write. "The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days" is hilarious, profane and fictional journey through a woman's calamitous year.
110 AND COUNTING: Hunters have killed more than 110 wolves since the start of the state's first managed wolf hunting season 10 days ago. The agency's website shows more than 50 wolves have been killed in the northwest, more than 50 in the northeast, and fewer than 10 were killed in the east central part of the state. The kill number is higher than DNR wolf experts predicted.
CLEANED UP: The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is claiming a victory in the fight to reduce pollution in the Minnesota River, one of the state's dirtiest waterways. A study shows that efforts to limit phosphorous runoff into the river have significantly improved conditions in the waterway.
COOL TRANSIT: It looks like a minivan. It has sliding doors like a minivan. So why isn't Ford calling its new seven-seater a minivan? For the same reason some mom's don't wear "mom jeans" or listen to Barry Manilow: It's just not cool. But really, does a "Transit Connect Wagon" sound cool to you?
MONDAY'S MESS: The snowfall that paralyzed Monday morning's commute in the Twin Cities also resulted in about 20 minor bus-related accidents in the area, but no injuries. At its worst moments, the paralysis caused 40 percent of all Metro Transit's buses to run late.
Phil Picardi is a newscaster for MPR News, and occasionally fills in as Morning Edition host when Cathy Wurzer is away.