Thursday morning update: Carp alert, wars, nurses, more

Carp alert! The latest on the Asian carp fight comes from the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal, reporting a letter from MN, MI, OH, and PA attorneys general to the Army Corps of Engineers, demanding stronger action to keep the giant Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.  The feds start poisoning the Little Calumet River near Chicago today, but the AGs want them to also close two navigation locks. For more background, go to Carp Watch.

More Minnesotans are heading off to war, in what MPR headlines as the largest MN National Guard deployment since World War II.  MPR quotes National Guard spokesperson Kevin Olson as saying that 2,700 MN soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team have been put on alert to go to Iraq and Kuwait in 2011:

“This will be the second mobilization for the 1st Brigade combat team,” Olson said. “You’ll remember that in 2005, the 1st Brigade deployed about 2,600 Minnesota citizen soldiers in support of operation Iraqi Freedom. That was the group whose tour was extended during the troop surge and ultimately they earned the distinction of the longest serving combat tour of any unit in Iraq.”

Yesterday’s News Day post reported on local protests against the wars, and on the continuing downhill slide in the AfPak war that has now claimed more than 1,000 U.S. military lives.

As expected, Twin Cities nurses voted overwhelmingly (more than 90 percent) to reject the hospitals’ pension cuts and to authorize a one-day strike after their contract expires on May 31. Background here.

The jobs are coming back in Minnesota, according to this morning’s news from the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Unemployment dipped slightly, from 7.3 percent in March to 7.2 percent in April, and the state added 10,200 jobs in April.

That leaves Minnesota down 21,700 jobs over the past 12 months, down 0.8 percent since April 2009.  But that’s good news, says DEED, at least compared to the worst of the recession. In the 12-month period ending in September 2009, job losses were 5.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of labor released its weekly initial claims report, showing 471,000 initial claims for unemployment compensation, up 25,000 from the week before.

No Race to the Top funding for Minnesota – the T-Paw administration won’t apply for funding. The governor blames the teachers’ union, and the legislature’s failure to pass his plan. Of course, the legislature did pass a plan, as part of the omnibus education legislation, which he vetoed.

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