Regulating Minnesota, outrage of the day, the future of Cirrus, Tsunami boosts dry casks, the dust that ate Phoenix and the Coon Lake water spout.
1) REGULATING MINNESOTA
This AP story accurately captures the frustration of the Minnesota government shutdown. Republican lawmakers, their leader suggested, are so ticked off that there is a government shutdown, that they are less willing to bend to help end it.
“They’re very angry and frustrated,” said Rep. Matt Dean, the second-ranking House Republican. “So I think it’s more difficult today than it was last week.”
Many of the problems facing people, the story suggests, aren’t so much about money as they are about licensing and oversight of regulations. A private eating-disorder clinic can’t open another clinic because there isn’t a state worker to inspect it. Hospitals can’t hire because they can’t get the state-required background checks of potential new employees. New cops can’t work because they need a license to be cops.
That’s the same situation at Canterbury Park racetrack. The horses are willing to race, so are the jockeys, but it’s a regulated activity. We got an e-mail yesterday from a man in Illinois who canceled his vacation to Minnesota because he doesn’t have a fishing license and can’t get one.
Unwittingly, perhaps, the shutdown is focusing attention on one of the issues in the Republican wheelhouse: regulations. Should horses, cops, hospitals, fishermen, and private eating disorder clinics be regulated during the shutdown?
Before you answer, consider this: If the shutdown extends to at least the end of this month, drivers whose tabs expire in July theoretically would have to take the car off the road unless the state decides not to enforce that which it regulates. Next month, the Minnesota State Fair would likely have no state food inspectors, who are assigned from the Minnesota Department of Health.
There are 300 food vendors at the Fair. With a shutdown, should they close down, too? Or should the state allow people to take their chances?
Of course, the shutdown is about the money and the impact of it is starting to trickle down from the state’s lofty perch. Washington County yesterday issued 30-day notices that it intends to cancel its contract with non-profits, including HSI, which provides several core services.
The county’s news release says:
Due to the current state government interruption, the Washington County Board of Commissioners took action to give notice to local nonprofit service providers that its contract with them may need to be cancelled, should the shutdown continue.
The County Board gave its approval to the notices as its meeting July 5.
The county has not received any assurance that the state grants currently provided to the county for these services will continue to be paid. The services are primarily funded by the state. The Community Services Department recommended that the following services purchased through a contract should stop. Should the state government shutdown end, or the county receives assurances that the money spent by the county will be reimbursed after the shutdown, the county will rescind the contract cancellation notices. These services are not deemed by the department to be essential to the life, safety, and well being of residents.
The required 30-day notice of contract cancellation will be sent to following entities:
East Suburban Resources (Dislocated Worker Program);
Family Support Grant recipients (state cash grant to families with a developmentally disabled member);
Human Services, Inc. (HSI) (Community Support Program, Basic Living Skills Program, Outreach Activities, Consumer Mentor Program, Social Recreational Services, Therapeutic Support Program, In-Home Services).
Critical safety net services provided by HSI and other vendors were recommended to continue without notice of cancellation due to the level of vulnerability of the clients. These services will be subject to ongoing review and consideration as the state government shutdown continues.
County Commissioner Lisa Weik was the only vote against the cuts, including Family Support Services, which pays families $240 each month for in-home care for a disabled member.
2) OUTRAGE OF THE DAY
(H/T: Jason Derusha)
3) THE FUTURE OF CIRRUS
Is Cirrus still a Minnesota success story if it’s now a Chinese company? The sale of the Duluth-based airplane manufacturer to a firm in China was finalized in late June, the company announced on Monday. In an interview with the Airplane Owners and Pilots Association, CEO Brent Wouters said the merger erases all of Cirrus’ debt. He says the company is making commitments to Duluth and Grand Forks to continue operations there, but says there may be a time when Cirrus aircraft are made in China, but not for planes that are sold in the U.S.
He also offered an interesting assessment of the difference between U.S. and China investors. China, he said, is interested in the long-term. U.S. investors are only interested in the short term and don’t have the patience.
Is it an American company or a Chinese company? If it’s the latter, the Air Force just bought a bunch of planes from the Chinese.
4) TSUNAMI BOOSTS DRY CASKS
The nuclear industry is starting to turn to “dry cask” storage of nuclear waste, the New York Times reports. Starting? Dry casks have been the preferred storage method at the Prairie Island power plant near Red Wing for decades. The original idea was it would be a temporary solution until the federal government creates a nuclear waste disposal area somewhere. It’s becoming clear, though, the nuke waste will never leave Minnesota.
The tsunami in Japan and resulting nuclear disaster has solidified dry cask storage as the new preferred nuke waste storage method, the Times says.
5) THE DUST THAT ATE PHOENIX
But it’s a dry dust…
Bonus: Here’s a pretty good video of a water spout/tornado on Coon Lake yesterday afternoon…
Former Gov. Arne Carlson and former Vice President Walter Mondale have established a blue-ribbon panel to help resolve the state government shutdown. Today’s Question: What do you think of the Mondale-Carlson effort to end the state government shutdown?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The recession started in 2007 when the housing bubble burst. Bad mortgages led to the banking crisis and then to Wall Street. Why has so little attention been paid to going after the leading figures in the financial industry?
Second hour: Academy award-winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Dr. Jon Hallberg.
Second hour: From the Aspen Ideas Festival: David Rohde, the New York Times reporter who was captured by the Taliban.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The week in politics with NPR political editor Ken Rudin.
Second hour: The state of teen fiction. Self-mutilation. Murder. Incest. Sadistic pranks. Chances are that book your kid has his nose buried in is pretty bleak.