Today on MPR News Update the latest meeting between Rep. Keith Ellison and his Republican challenger, Chris Fields, proves to be more polite than their previous encounter. Also, we ask, "Where's the tea party?" The DNR sells mining leases. And, who's responsible for reporting suspected child abuse?
NO MORE 'SCUMBAG' TALK: Republican Chris Fields managed to dig deep under DFL Rep. Keith Ellison's skin last week in a campaign debate as the two traded barbs over ex-spouse restraining orders (Fields's) and child support payments (Ellison's), and the congressman ended up calling his challenger a "lowlife scumbag." Brandt Williams reports that yesterday, during a panel discussion in which they appeared together briefly, the two were far more subdued.
CRAVAACK OUT OF TEA? Two years ago, Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack unseated longtime Democratic incumbent Jim Oberstar after months of raucous tea party-inspired interruptions of political gatherings. This year, however, supporters of the tea party have been far less vocal, allowing the political cycle to run a more-typical course. That could be a bad sign for Republicans like Cravaack who rode the tea party wave to Washington, Mark Zdechlik reports.
STUDENT PROTEST: Students from public and private universities, along with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, spoke out yesterday against the proposed voter ID amendment to the state's constitution. Read the story by Tim Pugmire here, then take part in the debate over the question here.
THE POLITICAL CONDITION: MPR editor-at-large Gary Eichten and journalist and author Cokie Roberts were in fine form and familiar territory last night at the Fitzgerald Theater in downtown St. Paul, exploring the history and dynamics of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections. You can hear what they had to say at MPR News Presents.
DIG IT: Mining companies will bid Wednesday for rights to explore for copper, nickel, and other valuable metals in northeastern Minnesota. Last year's lease sale generated controversy when private landowners protested the sale of state-held mineral rights on their property. Stephanie Hemphill reports that this year, the DNR is offering 63,000 acres in Aitkin, Lake, and St. Louis counties.
THE HEALTH EXCHANGE CONDITION: The Dayton administration will seek between $60 million and $80 million more in federal grants to fund a cornerstone of the federal health care overhaul -- a state insurance exchange. Elizabeth Stawicki reports that Republicans in the Legislature aren't happy.
MANDATORY REPORTING: Rice County and Faribault officials investigating the allegations of criminal sexual misconduct by Lynn Seibel, a former teacher at Shattuck-St. Mary's boarding school, have questioned whether teachers and school officials reported the allegations as required by law. That got us wondering about the state's mandatory reporter law - what is it, and to whom does it apply? Liz Baier has that story.
NHL TALKS OFF: This is the kind of news that bar and restaurant owners near the Excel Center on St. Paul's West 7th Street - and Wild fans everywhere -- won't enjoy reading: The NHL and the players' association can't even agree to get together to talk. No talks have been scheduled, no last-minute discussions seem to be on tap, and the NHL season continues to be in jeopardy.
VIKINGS EYE GREEN: The next hurdle for a new Vikings stadium will be to make sure the facility doesn't turn out to be an environmental mess, so planner s are starting to take public comment on concerns including traffic, air and water quality, and the impact of stadium lights. Matt Sepic reports on what folks are saying.
HOME IMPROVEMENT: The latest figures from the Commerce Department show that new U.S. home sales have hit a two-year high, suggesting that the housing recovery is strengthening. The increase follows other reports that show home prices are rising more consistently, builders are starting to build more homes and sales of previously occupied homes have increased in the past year.
BLACK GOLD: More good economic news: U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer. This will be the fourth straight year of U.S. crude increases and the biggest single-year gain since 1951. The boom has surprised even the experts.
VINTAGE FRAC: We write a lot about the silica "frac" sand mining controversy in Minnesota - about the balance between economic opportunity and environmental concerns. A similar debate is happening in New York's Finger Lakes region, where wine makers are worried that the gas well drillers who use that sand will turn their region into an unattractive, unhealthy mud pit.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, CONSERVATIVE? News Cut's Bob Collins directs readers to a new post by Minnesota conservative blogger Mitch Berg making the case that The Boss - campaigning now for the president and previously for John Kerry - is really a conservative rock star. Quoting from "This Hard Land," Berg cites David Hume to make his case as he takes up a challenge from MPR News and The Current to name the best song summing up the election season.