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Senate committee questions Medtronic's role in 'research'

Cynics will likely assume this goes on all the time. But James Walsh of the Strib reports: “A U.S. Senate Finance Committee report alleges that Medtronic was heavily involved in drafting, editing and shaping the content of medical journal articles authored by its physician consultants involving its InFuse bone growth product used in spine surgery. Medtronic's role in shaping those articles was not disclosed, however, raising serious questions about the research conducted by physicians who were paid $210 million over many years by Medtronic through royalties and consulting fees.”

So, let me get this straight, a guy put a camera in the women’s shower … at a hog farm? That’s what Dan Nienaber’s Mankato Free Press story says: “Felony charges have been filed against a man whose face showed up on footage recorded by a video camera found hidden in a women’s shower at a Nicollet County hog farm. A woman brought the camera to her supervisor after she found it hidden in the facility’s shower area on Sept. 19. She told him she looked at the camera and realized it had been recording for about 14 minutes before she realized it was there. Hog barn employees are often required to shower before and after work to reduce the chance of germs and diseases getting into or out of a barn. … A male employee, 53-year-old William Craig Rolloff, also appeared in the recordings, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Nicollet County District Court. The supervisor told sheriff’s investigator Kip Olson he interviewed Rolloff after he admitted to putting the camera in the shower area.” It puts a different spin on “pig behavior” doesn’t it?

As of Wednesday, close to 115,000 votes already have been cast in Minnesota. The Alexandria Echo Press story says: “Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced today that over 180,000 Minnesota voters have requested absentee ballots. Of the ballots requested, 114,383 have already been returned by the voter and accepted. Ritchie also reminded voters that the absentee ballot period ends November 5.”

The Strib’s Kelly Smith says cops in Chaska aren’t exactly buying the story about the tipless arrow that accidentally killed a 16 year-old 10 days ago. “Nearly two weeks after an arrow shot by his best friend struck and killed Spencer Swanson, Chaska police said they're still investigating. But they say the shooter's arrow didn't ricochet off the ground like the teen has reported. Swanson, 16, died Oct. 15, two days after his friend fired the arrow that struck Swanson's head. Attorney Marsh Halberg, who is representing the 16-year-old shooter's family, has said the arrow was tipless and ricocheted off the ground in a ‘tragic accident’ that didn't involve horseplay. In a statement Wednesday, police said the investigation doesn't support the teen's version of what happened.”

Classy. Paul Walsh of the Strib tells the tale of a North Oaks couple’s adventure in Medicaid fraud: “A well-to-do North Oaks couple are admitting they left Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, settled in Minnesota with their triplet children — two of them severely disabled — and defrauded Medicaid and Social Security out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. James N. Hood, 69, and Cynthia M. Hood, 55, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Minneapolis to mail fraud, health care fraud and theft of public money. Cynthia Hood also pleaded guilty to making a false statement while seeking Social Security benefits for the children, who are now 14 years old. … In court Wednesday, the Hoods repaid to the state and federal governments all of the money they illegally claimed, about $483,000 in total, defense attorney Jean Brandl said Thursday.”

The Glean“Risk” is most likely the real reason tremulous newspapers are getting out of the endorsement business. Mediawatcher Jim Romenesko notes the case of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — Wisconsin’s largest and most influential news organization — won’t be endorsing in the very tight presidential and Senate races this year. … Inside the paper, I’m told, there’s the feeling that ‘we have two tough picks to make and we’re taking a pass,’ and the paper is less relevant because of it. Five years ago, a Journal Sentinel staffer told Milwaukee Magazine that ‘we should endorse for president or get out of the editorial business.’ In the same media column, the head of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee journalism department said: ‘If you’re not going to editorialize on the most important topic of the day, and if you’re not going to take a stand in the most important presidential election of our lives, what’s the point?’ ” Yeah, I mean we’ve already got alleged news organizations too fretful to take a stand on what they know. They’re called TV stations.

I hope you bought stock in Arctic Cat … a few years ago. Jim Buchta of the Strib writes: “Strong sales of off-road vehicles helped boost sales at Arctic Cat 12 percent during its second quarter, pushing earnings to a new record. The Plymouth-based maker of snowmobiles and off-road vehicles, which manufactures its machines in Thief River Falls and St. Cloud, has been on a financial roll with several quarters of strong sales. In the latest quarter (the company's fiscal year ends March 31) net sales totaled $229 million, operating profit rose 18 percent to $38 .8 million and earnings increased 17 percent to $25 million. The company raised its full-year sales and earnings outlook for 2013.”

At Bluestem Prairie, Sally Jo Sorensen has fun working up a “where are they now?” on seven former Minnesota legislators that marriage amendment supporters are proudly touting as in their camp. A sample: “Let's work down the list. Joe Bertram left the senate after a scandal. The Paynesville Press reported in Six biggest stories of 1996:
1) The Bertram brothers, Joe and Jeff, were both called before the ethics committee in the Minnesota House and Minnesota Senate. Prior to Senate Ethic Committee hearings on Jan. 9, Senator Joe Bertram, 41, resigned his District 14 Senate seat. Local residents testified before the Senate Ethics Committee on Jan. 3 concerning shoplifting and alleged bribery charges against Senator Bertram. Senator Bertram pled guilty to reduced charges of shoplifting in Stearns County District Court on Sept. 29 but the Senate Ethics Committee wanted to learn more about the alleged bribe which he had made to Chuck Koshiol, owner of Zapf Leather and Western Wear, Paynesville.”

And where were you 25 years ago tonight? At TCMediaNow, Tom Oszman has video clips of the reaction captured by local TV stations to the Twins winning their first World Series.

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Comments (1)

Newspaper Endorsements

Do newspaper endorsements still have an impact on voting behavior (I'm assuming they did have an impact in the past)?

And is there a reason for a newspaper to make an endorsement if the endorsement does not impact the way people vote?