If you're commuting home right now, chances are good that you'll see some ads on the road. Some of those ads are on Metro Transit busses. An ad for Lavender magazine, which markets itself towards Minnesota's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community has become the focal point in a discussion about an employee's rights in the workplace.
One Metro bus driver objects to that ad, on religious grounds. Metro Transit has accommodated the driver's objections by assigning her to drive busses with different billboards.
The driver's union, the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005, says the special assignments amount to Metro Transit condoning intolerance.
Tom Crann talked with Joe Schmitt, an expert in management-side employment law with the Halleland law firm in Minneapolis, and co-author of the Minnesota Employer's Survival Guide.4:50 p.m.
Local governments could be "crushed" by debt, auditor says A new report says local governments in Minnesota may be crushed by a huge weight of unfunded debt. These are obligations for retirees in the range of $3.3 billion. Unfunded liabilities include promises to provide things like retiree health care.5:20 p.m.
Reaction to auditor's report
Ramsey County has a large OPEB liability. It's the second largest county government in the state, and owes more than any other Minnesota government. It has a liability of $530 million. Tom Crann talked with Julie Klienschmidt, the director of finance for Ramsey County. (Audio is available in the story link above).5:23 p.m.
Gov. Pawlenty's campaign returned some donations from leaders at UnitedHealth Group months before the company said CEO Bill McGuire would step aside. The Pawlenty campaign returned about $6,300 in July amid an investigation of stock options at the Minnetonka-based insurer.
Legal experts say a recent review of the company's practices may help federal regulators, prosecutors and the Minnesota attorney general pursue their own ongoing investigations. The report, produced by an outside law firm the company hired, says many of the company's stock option grants were likely backdated. But analysts say that's just one of the potential problems the report found.
Minnesota Public Radio's Annie Baxter has more.5:52 p.m.
Wild about hockey
The Minnesota Wild are back and they're on a streak. The Wild are undefeated as they head into their first road trip of the season. They take on the Kings tonight in Los Angeles. The Wild made some changes in the off season. They've spent some money and added new players. Now they hope their winning streak extends to their west coast match-ups in L.A., Anaheim and San Jose.
Tom Crann talked with Doug Johnson, the publisher of Let's Play Hockey magazine.6:20 p.m.
National Public Radio Stories
Republicans Zig; Will Christian Conservatives Zag?
Conservative Christian voters are widely credited with helping bring the Republicans to victory in 2004. But as midterm elections near, religious conservatives appear to be splintered in different and surprising directions.
Ohio Leans Toward Democrat for Governor
Ted Strickland, the Democrat in Ohio's gubernatorial race, now holds a two-to-one lead over Republican Ken Blackwell. Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, has spent the past two days in Ohio, polling for statewide races. Robert Siegel talks with Brown.
Satire: A Campaign Pitch for Mark Foley
Despite his resignation, former Rep. Mark Foley will remain on the ballot this November. That led satirists Kluger and Slavin to create a fake campaign ad for the controversial congressman.
Islam and Extremism: 'Reformation' in the Making?
In the Muslim world, radicals, reformers, activists and academics are all struggling to reshape their religion. The debates often take place in cyberspace, or on Arabic-language satellite broadcasts. Some scholars say the debate is an "Islamic Reformation."
Suburban Lawn Run-Off Poisons Aquatic Life
Pyrethroids, the synthetic cousin of a pesticide made from chrysanthemum flowers, are in many household products -- everything from lawn-care products to dog shampoo. California is the first state to closely examine the environmental impact.
Declining Bee Population Threatens Major Growers
A National Academies report says bees and other important pollinators are being lost to development and disease. Investigators say the losses could have a big impact on some farmers, such as the almond growers of Central California.
Feeling the Emptiness, Even at a Gas Station
Listener Kevin Seaman plays us his recording of a lonely Wyoming wind blowing at a gas pump when he took a cross-country trip. He says it captures the essence of the empty West.
The Green Card: Ticket to a Life in America
Among the 300 million people living in America are hundreds of thousands who won green cards through a lottery run by the State Department. Lois Wamaitha of Kenya and Hiroaki Honshuku of Japan both received green cards through the program.
From Gashouse to Stuyvesant to Luxe Condos
MetLife has sold Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village Apartments in Manhattan for $5.4 billion. It's one of the largest residential real-estate deals ever. Robert Siegel, who grew up in the postwar complex, has a remembrance of life in Stuyvesant Town.
Iraqi Leader Frees Sadr Aide Held by U.S. Troops
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki orders the release of a Shiite cleric who had been detained by U.S. forces on suspicion of running death squads, creating fresh tension between the U.S. military and the Iraqi government. The Baghdad-area cleric is an aide to Muqtada al-Sadr, a key ally of Maliki.