The GOP has returned to its convention script, even as Isaac is upgraded to hurricane status and heads for New Orleans. The debunked claims about rape and pregnancy from a Republican Missouri Senate candidate have migrated to Minnesota's congressional races. The marriage amendment campaign's focus shifts to Latino voters. The state Supreme Court hands Republicans two ballot question victories. And we explain why the Twin Cities needs two world-class orchestras. All that and more on the MPR News Update.
Republicans return to script
For the thousands of Republican convention-goers who've been cooling their heels in Tampa, the party is finally on. But with New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast waiting fearfully to see where a massive storm makes landfall, politics has become an awkward enterprise and no one knows what sort of party it will turn out to be.
Awkward opposition to disaster aid
As tropical storm Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast, there should be plenty of money -- some $1.5 billion -- in federal disaster aid coffers, part of a system that Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee-to-be for vice president, had hoped to scrap as a way to make his House GOP budget look smaller by about $10 billion a year.
Rape, abortion controversy color Minnesota races
Meanwhile, in Minnesota's congressional races, Democrats are linking Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin's debunked views on rape and abortion to Republican Reps. Paulsen and John Kline, in an effort to appeal to female swing voters.
Do the Twin Cities need two orchestras?
Both the Minnesota Orchestra and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra are in the middle of negotiating new contracts with their musicians. Both organizations face multi-million dollar deficits, and as the bargaining proceeds, some people are asking whether Minnesota needs two world-class orchestras. The answers aren't easy.
Marriage debate shifts focus to Latinos
Minnesota voters are deeply divided over the proposed amendment on the November ballot that would define marriage as only between a man and a woman, a restriction already in state law. In a tight race, every demographic group counts and the state's roughly 100,000 Latino voters are being courted by both sides
Roseville votes against marriage amendment
On a related note, the Roseville City Council has gone on the record unanimously opposing the marriage amendment. The move means the council joins 12 other Minnesota cities that have approved resolutions opposing the amendment. No cities have voted to endorse it.
Voter ID challenges turned back by high court
The Minnesota Supreme Court has denied an effort by voter ID opponents to remove from the November ballot a constitutional amendment that would require voters to show identification at the polls, and reversed the Secretary of State's decision to reword of the titles of both the voter ID and marriage amendments.
All-Star game at Target Field?
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is expected in Minneapolis Wednesday to announce that the Minnesota Twins will host the All-Star Game in 2014. A league spokesman in New York declined to confirm or deny Selig's travel schedule, but he confirmed that the game's location will be named Wednesday.
Metro Transit's new top cop
Retiring state Sen. John Harrington, DFL-St. Paul, is heading back to law enforcement. He has been named the next Metro Transit Chief of Police. Prior to being elected in 2010, he was chief of the St. Paul Police Department from 2004 to 2010 and was with the department for 30 years.
Duluth holds budget line
Never mind the floods: In another sign of Duluth's ongoing fiscal turnaround, Mayor Don Ness presented a budget for next year that preserves city services while calling for the smallest increase in the property tax levy in more than a decade and the fifth consecutive year of decreases in general fund expenditures.
Ethanol plant closings
Across the nation, spiking corn prices and limited supply are forcing a growing number of ethanol plants, including the one here, to temporarily close -- yet another symptom of the worst drought in half a century. Outside the Central Minnesota Ethanol Co-Op in Little Falls, it's clear there's not a lot going on.
Good news on Minneapolis home prices
U.S. home prices rose in June from the same month last year, the first year-over-year increase since the summer of 2010, in the latest evidence of a nascent recovery in the housing market. All 20 cities tracked by the index also rose in June from May. Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago and Atlanta recorded the biggest one-month gains.