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Minnesota to investigate American Legislative Exchange Council

Don’t get your hopes up too high, but Catherine Richert of MPR reports: “The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board says it will investigate the American Legislative Exchange Council's lobbying status in Minnesota. The board disclosed the investigation in a letter to Common Cause Minnesota, the local arm of a national group that is asking many states to probe whether the conservative organization has violated its tax-exempt status. Earlier this month, Common Cause Minnesota filed two complaints regarding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).” I anticipate a blast e-mail from the ALEC to its foot soldiers suggesting elimination of the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board.

Peter Passi of the Duluth News Tribune follows his story on the beating of a gay man in Proctor over the weekend. He writes: “Pelofske said he was assaulted by several young men after one of them asked him if he was gay. But accounts vary, and Megan Bird, a Proctor senior who reported being five to 10 feet away from Pelofske when the tussle began, said he instigated a short-lived altercation. Cody Mercier, another Proctor senior, said some partygoers confronted Pelofske for allegedly stealing alcohol from the largely underage group. Mercier said he became involved after a pushing match ensued and Pelofske threw a beer can at one of his buddies. Mercier said he intervened only to calm the situation. …  Although the altercation involved several people, he said it never involved anywhere near the nine to 13 people described in some local news reports. … ‘I know for a fact that no one would touch him just because he was gay,’ he said. ‘This all happened because he was stealing alcohol.’ Pelofske’s friend, Kelly Johnson, who was at the party with him, refuted that contention, telling the News Tribune on Sunday that Pelofske was attacked by a large group, not a single individual, and never attempted to fight back or to throw anything at anyone. Johnson also said she and Pelofske had not been drinking that night.”


Juuuuuust a little over the limit. The AP reports: “A fisherman faces thousands of dollars in penalties and the confiscation of his boat and other gear for allegedly taking hundreds of panfish over the legal limit. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says a conservation officer confronted 39-year-old Chien Van Tran of Otsego on Pelican Lake in Wright County April 4. The officer found 134 sunfish and 19 crappies on his boat, and more in a freezer in his home, for a total of 413 sunfish and 30 crappies over the legal limit. Minnesota's daily and possession limits are 20 sunfish and 10 crappies.” His excuse is what? "I’m bad at math”?

It’s amazing what a little bad publicity can do. Anthony Lonetree of the Strib follows his story about The Neighbor from Hell in White Bear Lake, saying: “A White Bear Lake woman accused of ongoing harassment of her neighbors will be prohibited from returning to her home this week — except once with a police escort, a judge ruled Tuesday. The order by Ramsey County District Judge George Stephenson will be in effect until Friday when the judge has scheduled a hearing to determine whether Lori E. Christensen, 49, violated probation by allegedly videotaping her neighbors and calling authorities about suspected code violations at the neighbors' home. … She described herself as a single mom with a ‘great job,’ the sole supporter of her family. ‘I'm just trying to fight for myself,’ she said. ‘I want to give my daughter back her childhood.’

The U.S. Supreme Court is backing up its Minnesota brethren. The AP story says: “The Supreme Court will not block Minnesota’s lawsuit against a California design firm over the deadly 2007 interstate bridge collapse in Minneapolis that killed 13 people. The justices did not comment Tuesday in turning down an appeal by Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. of Pasadena, Calif., arguing that too much time has passed since the bridge was built in the 1960s. The Minnesota Supreme Court earlier ruled that the lawsuit could go forward, relying on laws the state legislature passed in 2008 allowing Minnesota to seek reimbursement from parties that may have contributed to the 2007 collapse.”

The GleanA report confirms the focus predatory lenders gave to low-income neighbors during the frenzied days of liars loans and collateralized debet obligations. In the PiPress, Frederick Melo writes: “In the days before the foreclosure crisis, when credit was easy to come by and home-loan regulations were looser, predatory mortgage lenders didn't just target anyone and everyone. In St. Paul, they focused more heavily on vulnerable, low-income and minority populations in just a handful of neighborhoods. That's according to a new report from ISAIAH, a Minneapolis-based coalition of faith groups, which finds that a majority of residential subprime mortgages in St. Paul were issued on the city's East Side. Not surprisingly, the East Side also is home to a majority of the city's vacant houses. … The ISAIAH report maintains that the two statistics are no coincidence. It says the East Side's most vulnerable residents were targeted by lenders with questionable or outright crooked lending practices.”

David Hanners and MaryJo Webster of the PiPress did a little checking on other cases like Amy Senser’s. The results confirm suspicions: “An analysis of the 17 criminal vehicular homicide cases filed in Hennepin County from January 2009 to Sept. 15, 2011, the date Senser was charged, shows she was the only defendant who didn't spend at least a day in jail after arrest or while awaiting trial. For the others, jail time ranged from a day to 290 days. The average criminal vehicular homicide defendant spent 75 days in jail; six of them spent more than 120 days in jail. Four of the 17 defendants were women, and their average stay was nearly five days. Each pleaded guilty and wound up behind bars for anywhere from a year to eight years.”

Bob Dylan received his Medal of Freedom from President Obama today. Britain’s Guardian writes: “Renowned singer-songwriter and Victoria's Secret spokesman Bob Dylan joins the ranks of Warren Buffett, Stephen Hawking and George Bush Sr as one of the newest recipients of the 2012 presidential medal of freedom. In a White House ceremony, Dylan and the 12 other award recipients will receive the highest civilian honor in the US, established by president John F Kennedy in 1963. According to the White House, the presidential medal of freedom is given to individuals who make especially meritorious contributions to US security, world peace, culture or ‘other significant public or private endeavors.’ ”

From up on The Range, Aaron Brown writes:We just wrapped up Dylan Days in Hibbing this weekend. Among other things, we were happy to note this honor for the kid known locally as Bobby Zimmerman. The story of Dylan and his relationship with his home state (and region) is fodder for much writing. Be it known today that such a high honor for a product of Iron Range schools is a cause for celebration. Perhaps if this were a hockey star or labor politician they'd have parades scheduled. But I doubt Dylan would much care for a parade anyway.” No, I don’t see Bob riding a float …

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