Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


The AG’s office takes an I-Team hit

WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler delivers a tough I-Team report with on-camera interviews with two attorneys slamming former Attorney General Mike Hatch and current AG Lori Swanson for grandstanding for publicity and deceiving federal authorities. The dumping of what sounds like a promising case against a major pharmaceutical corporation needs a lot more explication from someone in the AG’s office. Neither Swanson nor Hatch commented.

There are reasons why that story ran in the 10 o’clock show and a shameless kiss-up to a car dealer ran in ‘CCO’s six-o’clock show.  Anchor Frank Vascellaro voiced the story about a Subaru shop’s LEED status, and the only thing missing was a promise to throw in a set of free floor mats and lifetime oil changes. Whoa! I hope someone billed the dealer for that ad.

Why does Fox9’s Tom Lyden reporting on the bust of a cock-fighting ring make me laugh? Lyden obviously relishes these stories and invariably delivers the memorable detail, like for example, how the cops got on to this ring up in Anoka County. It seems a couple of prospective customers looking for a good fight showed up at the wrong house — next door to where the real action was going down — with a couple of roosters in their fists. Also — who knew they goose these birds with steroids? Lyden, that’s who.

Bob Kelleher has a story on MPR relating claims by a Duluth mining operation that a “complex” of minerals stretching from Ely to Aitkin contains more copper, nickel and other valuable minerals than any place on the planet other than South Africa. No dollar figures were bandied, but an expert from UMD agrees with the company’s assessment. Of interest to anyone who saw last Sunday’s “60 Minutes” is the inclusion of palladium among the valuable minerals. The startling “60 Minutes” piece mentioned palladium as a key component in a series of new experiments that have — and continue — to produce modest total increases in net heat, i.e. “cold fusion,” often regarded as the Holy Grail of clean energy.

Budget-cutting at the Legislature may also include reductions on minimum sentencing for crimes like multiple DUIs, repeat drug offenders and predators who fail to register. The changes are so unappealing even the bill’s sponsor doesn’t much like it, reports Mark Brunswick for the Strib. As is his wont, Sen. Dick Day of Owatonna gets off a good line, cracking, “What do you have to do to go to jail in Minnesota? Quite a bit.”

Paul McEnroe and Tony Kennedy’s “Wire”-like four-part series on police informant Taylor Trump and levels of dysfunction in the Minneapolis cop shop continues this morning … in print only. Today’s edition paints a bit of an aura around Lt. Mike Keefe, but much like we’ve learned from a hundred TV  cop shows and movies, internal affairs is the department where candor and transparency go to die.

House DFLers dropped the big one Monday — actual, gasp! tax increases — on the wealthy and various sins. MPR’s Tim Pugmire notes a section of the bill allowing counties to levy a half percent sales tax, and Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, arguing that it gives counties a sustainable stream of income not subject to state — read “the governor’s” — fiat. The Strib’s Pat Lopez draws attention to the proposal to eliminate the very popular home mortgage deduction — replacing it with a maximum credit of $420. (There’ll be howling over that one.) She also points out Senate Taxes Committee Chairman Tom Bakk’s proposal to nail banks charging more than 15 percent interest on credit cards with a 30 percent surcharge. Will Tea Party protests march against that one?

Pugmire’s colleague, Elizabeth Stawicki, provides straight nuts-and-bolts coverage of Norm Coleman’s formal filing of appeal to the state Supreme Court. She notes that none of his arguments have changed and all have previously failed. The Strib’s Kevin Duchschere (with Bob Von Sternberg) reports that the always-quotable Joe Friedberg will return to the arena to argue this next phase of Coleman’s fight. The PiPress’ Jason Hoppin covers the story and offers a good quote from Marc Elias, Al Franken’s attorney. “When it comes to disenfranchisement,” says Elias, referring to Coleman’s rote argument about voters, “no one holds a candle to the legal team put together by Senator Coleman.” (MinnPost coverage here.)

Maura Lerner at the Strib files a story declaring Minnesota the “worst” in the country at disciplining bad doctors. The head of our local medical review board dismisses the knock — the sixth time in as many years we’ve been at or near dead “worst” — pointing out that Alaska is ranked “best.” You want medical attention from anyone close to the Palin-Johnston soap opera, go right ahead.

Joe Mauer is on schedule to return next week, reports LaVelle E. Neal III for the Strib. These optimistic medical reports from the ailing athletes themselves always require multiple grains of salt, but Neal is normally pretty good about calling “gimp” when he sees one. He says Mauer could be ready for the Kansas City series on the 30th. Not that we have anything against Mike Redmond, you understand.

Both papers continue to cover this coming weekend’s NFL draft with the intensity — and edit hole — of a presidential election, drawing attention again to the absolutely vital newspaper demographic that is Vikings fans. Just when you thought beat writers had analyzed collegiate jocks from every conceivable angle short of their preference in fast food — Chinese or Mexican — each paper delivers still more … and more … In what feels like deja vu … vu … the PiPress’ Sean Jensen breaks down the “needs” of each NFC North team. Over at the Strib, Chip Scoggins looks into the abundance of tackles. Did either paper cover Bill McGuire or Tom Petters this closely?

Comments (3)

  1. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 04/21/2009 - 02:13 pm.

    While I generally watch the WCCO news at 6:00 pm, I find myself flipping channels constantly at 6:30 am. All I want is the day’s weather and maybe the breaking news. What I get from all of the MSP channels is fluff, crap, weather for the rest of the state, cutesy chatter, and LOTS of commercials. Has anybody run any signal to noise analysis of AM news or is it such a wasteland that nobody cares?

  2. Submitted by Boa Lee on 04/21/2009 - 04:35 pm.

    Lyden’s story: perhaps he could’ve taken five seconds to call and ask someone about how to pronounce the names of the alleged suspects. For example, Kou is not pronounced “cow” but is pronounced “coo.”

  3. Submitted by Rod Loper on 04/22/2009 - 09:19 am.

    The coverage of the Target shareholder fight is
    under the radar as well. Irwin Jacobs makes Akerman sound like an example of what has driven our economy into the tank. Check out his Op-ed
    in today’s Strib.

Leave a Reply