Daily Digest: Poverty, Perry and a burning car

by Kyle Potter

Here’s your Daily Digest for Wednesday, Sept. 14:


Data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Tuesday indicates Minnesota is faring better than the nation on average when it comes to poverty, but that’s not much to cheer about. The latest reports from the Census Bureau clearly show the 2008-2009 recession’s toll on income and poverty in the state and nationwide, as reported by the Star Tribune. Here are some quick statistics from the census:

  • 10.8 percent of Minnesotans are living below the poverty line, a 1.2 percent increase from 2007-2008. In all, 544,000 people in the state are living in poverty. Compare that with the poverty rate, which rose to 15.1 percent.
  • Average household income in Minnesota dropped 3 percent to its lowest in 15 years – $54,785. The national average is $50,222.
  • The Census Bureau says 46.2 million Americans are living in poverty.


Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry has stronger financial ties with pharmaceutical company Merck than he has let on. At the Republican debate in Florida Monday, Perry said the company, which produces the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil, had contributed just $5,000 to his gubernatorial campaigns. But Merck has contributed nearly $30,000 since 2000, not to mention more than $380,000 to the Republican Governor’s Association, which has contributed heavily to Perry over the years, according to the Washington Post. Perry’s attempt in 2007 to mandate HPV vaccinations for young women in Texas has become a sticky issue on the campaign trail. Fellow candidates have questioned his financial interests as well as the idea of a mandated vaccination. He has since relented that his attempted mandate should have been funneled through the Legislature.


On a bright note, some real heroism near Salt Lake City, Utah saved the life of a man who was trapped beneath a burning car. 21-year-old Brandon Wright collided with a BMW on his motorcycle Monday, and somehow wound up pinned underneath the nearly 4,000 pound vehicle. Watch below as a group of bystanders rushed to free him while risking their own lives.


Wright is currently in the hospital with two broken legs, a broken pelvis and some other bumps and bruises.

Sept. 14 in history

-1901: Theodore Roosevelt was sworn in as U.S. President following the death of William McKinley, who was shot nine days earlier by Leon Frank Czolgosz at a speech in Buffalo, N.Y.

-1984: Dan Akroyd and Bette Midler hosted the very first Music Television Awards. Cyndi Lauper won “Best Female Video” for her hit “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and Madonna performed “Like a Virgin.”