Election contest minute: Texas U.S. Sen. John Cornyn — who got the national fundraising job Norm Coleman wanted — says federal appeals could take “years” and Minnesota shouldn’t get a second senator until then. Politico reports Republicans will block any attempt to seat Franken until the federal courts are all done, even if Al has a signed election certificate.
If you’re bored by the often-attenuated editorials of our local dailies, check out this stiff shot of policy whiskey castigating Gov. Pawlenty’s deficit-laden budgeting from the Ely Timberjay. The guv’s plan for “tobacco bonds” is probably unconstitutional, likely unwise, and nearly certain to make things worse next biennium, the paper bluntly states.
Highly related: The Strib’s Pat Lopez explores DFL infighting over preserving medical assistance over education funding. Gov. Pawlenty built the box by holding ed spending harmless but cutting “welfare” health outlays by double-digits; as DFLers attempt balance, they’re angering their ed-friendly base. A DFL legislator says an ed-union leader is in “la-la land” about budget realities, and rips him for asking for better health care while indigents suffer. Another DFLer blithely says five or six added kids per classroom is OK because “nobody’s going to die.” That cackling you hear is coming from the guv’s office.
I have been properly chastened about how Red River geography practically mandates floods, but how come so few people there have flood insurance? AP says people who aren’t required to, don’t; only 586 in Fargo, 145 in Moorhead have policies. Coverage costs about $800 a year, meaning careful homeowners would’ve forked over about $10K since the 1997 floods.
Related flood coverage: MPR’s Jessica Mador says even though the Red River is dropping, dikes remain fragile. The PiPress’ Tad Vezner and Andy Rathbun agree, noting that “after a day of cautious skepticism, Fargo city officials grudgingly agreed with Friday’s prediction by the National Weather Service that the Red River’s crest had come and gone.” The Strib staff notes a coming blizzard helps because it slows the water flow while allowing enough to drain north. Everyone’s Sunday-news theme: prayers answered.
Like Minnesota Democrats Exposed in its heyday, new anti-GOP attack blogger Dusty Trice has managed to penetrate the mainstream media. Today, it’s news, onpassed by the Strib’s Jim Foti, that GOP Rep. Tom Emmer has a couple DWI-related tickets in his distant past. That’s newsworthy because Emmer is proposing a bill that would prevent license revocations until the alleged perp is found guilty of something, rather than pre-emptively after arrest. One DFL legislator says it doesn’t change his mind that Emmer’s proposal is just; Emmer says he now has some explaining to do to his kids.
AP’s Martiga Lohn says some Minnesota National Guard troops are glad to be called up to Iraq, since they’ve been unemployed for weeks. Others are even more worried than usual they won’t have jobs when they get back. The state does keep a list of military-friendly state employers for the inevitable returns. The PiPress’ ScottTakushi photographs a dad on his way to a fourth Guard tour, his second in Iraq.
The Strib’s Steve Brandt, who’s so good at this sort of thing, chronicles the demise of the last single-family home in Minneapolis’ downtown core. The 130-year-old Park Avenue home (note: not a mansion), vacant for five years, is destined to meet the wrecking ball in the next few weeks. The once-beloved structure was like hundreds that abutted City Hall. A pair of sisters lived there for 60 years, but an investor-owner let it decay, possibly for an alternative use that never materialized.
Another good read: The Strib’s James Walsh recounts the extremely strange case of an odd-duck Minneapolis cop who killed an innocent during a 1997 pursuit but now awaits sentencing for evading taxes and helping others to do so. Douglas Leiter left the force in 2002 after removing records about a housemate ex-priest accused of criminal sexual conduct. Five years earlier, he hit and killed 27-year-old Steven Winkel while pursuing a burglar, but wasn’t convicted of malfeasance. On the tax stuff, he’s a “true believer,” friends say.
Related, in a good way: KSTP’s Mark Albert profiles 17 Minneapolis cops who paid their own way to a Mexican backwater, where they helped build a school and train local police. They want to go back next year and do it again.
Nostalgia note for U alums: The West Bank’s venerable Global Village is closing, reports the Minnesota Daily’s Hillary Kline. The place was unique 40 years ago; not so much these days.
Nort spews: Hey, this Gaborik guy is good! Wild beat Edmonton 3-2 backed by Marian’s goal and assist; guess he’ll have no problem luring free-agent dough now, right? Minnesota remains three points out of the playoffs; Sore Loser here. And what’s this? The Wolves won? They beat a heartless Nets team 108-99; Britt Robson’s take here; Sore Loser here.