Five at 8 – 9/29/09: Running on your dime?

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).


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.

  • Joseph

    I laugh every time I approach that stop sign on Valley Creek Road. And then I laugh at myself for stopping at it once again.

  • JackU

    Who better than Nixon to give advice? Now I’m not saying you take it. But he did have more experience with that kind of thing than most politicians.

  • nicki

    Yes, Bob, #5 was just what I needed during at work today. Let’s not even mention that the women in the study were working an average of 21 hours per week; I generally work at least 40, including evenings and weekends.

  • John P.

    I wonder if it’s really a question of whether Mom works, or if you get similar results if Dad stays home with the kids.

    Either way, both parents work out of necessity in almost every family that I know. So, what do we do? Make it illegal for one house to have two incomes? Maybe that would create a worker shortage and force wages up enough to make a single income practical. Or, perhaps it would force jobs overseas where Mom, Dad, and the kids all work for $0.30/hour. How about organized programs to keep kids active? I suppose the far right would call that socialism, and God forbid it cost tax money. Burn all the Playstations? I’m full of solutions that will not work. Given the realities of todays world I just don’t see how you solve this.

  • Alison

    ‘Now the traffic…’

    If a street closes in downtown St. Paul does anyone notice? Yawn…