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Daily Glean: ‘Dammit, Jim, I’m a doctor, not a backdating expert!’

Somewhere in the future, Leonard “Bones” McCoy is telling James T. Kirk, “I’m just a simple country doctor.” That, apparently, is Bill McGuire’s defense against a UnitedHealth Group shareholder suit for improperly backdated stock options, the Strib’s David Phelps reports. McGuire, you might remember, was once master of the medical-systems universe, but something as inconsequential as his compensation was apparently too much for the man to understand. Those precisely ill-timed options? I was hands-off, says the otherwise controlling CEO.

I know it has its faults, but today, thank God for DNA testing. That’s why Matthew Gretz finally admitted to murdering his wife, Kira Simonian, an MCAD art student, writes the Strib’s Terry Collins. The hook here is narcissistic gall: after stabbing and hammering Simonian last June, Gretz went all weepy to vigils in the much-covered aftermath. Objectivity is OK at times, but Jason DeRusha rightly abandoned it with this blunt take: “Evil Liar Admits to Killing His Wife.”

OK, Republicans, we get it: Al Franken has juvenile sexual fantasies and tells a ribald joke or two. You know you’ve entered the rabbit hole (Alice in Wonderland, not Playboy) when Republicans stage a press conference highlighting Franken’s allegedly “homophobic” lesbian jokes. City Pages’ Jeff Severns Guntzel bodychecks the hypocrisy by cross-referencing the intolerant GOP platform. Perhaps with recent Republican sex scandals in mind, the Mississippifarian blog noted, “Republican officeholders do what Al Franken only fantasizes about.”

More Franken: Here’s what I still haven’t seen adequately explained — why are Republicans doing their document dump now? Why not at least wait for the DFL to endorse? Or after filings close? Perhaps they think the guy is so formidable they have to start taking him down now? I know political reporters have taken some runs at this, but it doesn’t add up.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, a Hillary Clinton backer, will endorse Barack Obama at tonight’s Xcel Energy Center victory rally, the PiPress’s Dave Orrick reports. Coleman is a member of Clinton’s Minnesota steering committee. The story doesn’t say if he’s a superdelegate.

Strib Washington guy Conrad Wilson reports that last year’s record corn harvest expanded the nitrogen-rich Gulf of Mexico “dead zone.” The “Massachusetts”-sized zone (which looks bigger on a Strib map) will get larger because of high commodity prices. Fertilizer use rose 6-7 percent last year, and ethanol gets blamed, but that production should fall; the question is whether farmers keep planting corn, which requires more nutrients than other crops. Marshland destruction hasn’t helped.

Shocker: Prius sales in our area are down 2 percent, writes the Strib’s Emma Carew. That’s because they’re in such short supply, even though Prius production is up 23 percent in the past year. Fewer people buy hybrids in the Midwest than nationwide, so manufacturers send fewer our way. (Nissan doesn’t even sell the Altima hybrid in the Midwest.) Still, if production’s up, shouldn’t we be getting more cars even with our smaller share? Confused.

Whoa: U researchers may have a stem-cell therapy for kids whose skin falls off “at the slightest touch,” the Strib’s Josephine Marcotty reports. Kids usually die before adulthood, but the mouse-tried bone-marrow transplant “apparently cured” Nate Liao this winter; his brother Jake got the transplant Friday. Marcotty says its the first time a transplant has cured a non-blood or non-marrow disease, expanding the universe of diseases that could be treated.

The Strib’s Steve Brandt offers a nice report on the detritus of the condo boom: projects that have popped out of the ground but remain indefinitely unfinished. Neighbors get to look at chain-link fences, ill-parked sales trailers, taunting ad banners and collapsing sidewalks. There’s similar crud downtown. How can the city get blood out of stone? One councilmember suggests shaming by posting developer phone numbers, but that gang seems pretty thick-skinned. Fines?

Today’s talker: Car thieves drive off with sleeping 5-year-old; pops was in the liquor store. The miscreants drove five miles before they “tossed” the girl into a yard, the PiPress’s Tad Vezner and Mara H. Gottfried report. Doofus dad left the car running and unlocked. His reward: his girl “slung … over on the grass. Just threw her on the ground,” says one eyewitness. Cops arrested one man, are looking for another, and we don’t know if they tagged the father.

Talker II: A Shakopee man will make 100 skydives in 12 hours, the PiPress’s Kevin Harter writes. The jumps will raise $40,000 for Parkinson’s research; Kevin Burkart’s dad has the disease. Each 2,200-foot jump will take six minutes to accomplish; he’ll use two plans, six skydiving rigs and up to eight parachute packers. The event happens tomorrow, beginning at 6 a.m.

Nort Spews: So that’s what a Joe Mauer homer looks like! Twins beat the Yanks 6-5 to salvage a home split. Sore Losers everywhere: here, here and here. And God bless Pat Reusse for questioning the absolutely stupid Metrodome habit of throwing the other team’s homers back. It’s a Cubs idea, we look like desperate, imitative weenies, and why give up a souvenir? Think about it the next time you’re doing the wave.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 06/03/2008 - 11:27 am.

    I’m curious as to why you’re calling the current Franken flaps a “document dump.” I suspect the state GOP could come up with crap at this level on a daily basis from now until November.

    Before deciding to stay on the fence, I did about 3-4 hours of research on Al. Just using Google and YouTube I found about one jaw-droppingly hard to defend comment, joke or skit every thirty minutes.

    I thought the idea of Al running was brilliant, but the reality of Al running is not the same thing as the idea of Al running.

    I’m hoping for a Democratic landslide this fall, as that’s the only way I can see Franken beating Coleman.

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