The Strib’s man in D.C., Kevin Diaz. files a story about legislators — Republicans primarily — stepping in to stop car dealership closings in the wake of that Congressional tour dealers made last week. Rep. John Kline is one guy introducing a bill. Diaz quotes Kline saying, “”What we’re trying to do is slow down the process. It doesn’t put a final resolution on this issue.”
Pat Kessler of WCCO-TV puts up an interview with Gov. Tim Pawlenty — truncated to 115 seconds for TV news — in which the gov frets about President Obama “nationalizing” the U.S. economy, and commends the clear-headed thinking of Dick Cheney on national security issues. I have to believe the unedited version, with Kessler’s actual questions and follow-ups, was more, um, skeptical. But hey, enough of that boring governor stuff. Did you see the video of the dive-bombing blackbird in San Francisco?
On the topic of teachers, MPR’s Tom Weber has a story about school districts slogging through the ever-changing protocols to get and spend the $828 million in stimulus money promised to Minnesdoa. According to Weber, “Charlie Kyte, with the Minnesota Association of School Administrators, says while other parts of the stimulus call for money to be spent quickly, there’s logic to not rushing on education spending. ‘Waiting a little bit kind of goes against the whole federal government’s idea of spending the money fast, but ultimately it’s going to allow us to spend it more wisely.'”
What is it? Spring? The recession? The nearness to the end of the Mayan calendar? Whatever is going on, Minneapolis cops have taken down another prostitution ring, just days after the Minnesota Nice Guys bust that still has locals buzzing over names of those high-end “business owner” johns. The Strib’s Dave Chanen tells this latest story. This time the head pimp is a 46-year-old woman, and the tipster was a mortgage broker from Minnetonka. (I mean, the guy’s got nothing else to do all day, right?) Chanen writes, “Among the johns officers identified on the database [found in the bust] was a local Cub Scout leader and they notified the organization’s national office.” D’oh!
KMSP’s Tom Lyden — you knew he’d be on this one — says the mortgage banker showed up for a “date” in his father-in-law’s Lexus and actually is in dutch with the cops because he tipped the madam — one “Tiger St. Clair” of Woodbury — instead of the police.
Emily Gurnon of the PiPress has one of those stories that whets your appetite for more background. It seems a 57-year-old California woman, Jo Vanderbeek, spent years commuting into Golden Valley for therapy sessions with 68-year-old psychologist, Judith Henderson, who billed her for $300,000 in services which included, as Guirnon reports, “Other activities [which] included, on ‘multiple occasions,’ dinners, lunches and concerts during the therapist-patient relationship. Vanderbeek paid Henderson for her time on each occasion, the suit said. Henderson also went with Vanderbeek when she looked for a house in Minnesota. Vanderbeek wanted a second residence here so she would not have to stay in a hotel when attending her therapy sessions in Minnesota.” Sounds to me like someone was renting a friend.
Friday is “D” day, as in “digital,” the moment when — for real this time — the whole country flips from analog to digital TV transmission. Neal Justin and Jackie Crosby of the Strib pitch in a story on people making the switch. If the world really is just an extension of high school, this digital switch is preaching hard and heavy to the kids in the back rows. You know, the ones who just never get it? The Stribbers say local stations will staff up in expectation of irate calls over the weekend. Many will come from people like the guy described by one station manager. “I talked to one elderly gentleman in Iowa. As I was talking him through it over the phone, he seemed to have the converter box set up properly. Then I told him to point to ‘scan channels’ on the screen. There was a long silence and he said, ‘Nothing happened.’ Turns out he was pointing at the screen with his finger.”
It’s been so long it’s hard to remember when newspaper editorials actually took positions on important issues. The Strib’s lead editorial this morning, “Teacher pay freeze is leading indicator,” is a case study in saying nothing other than reiterating that times are tough. Never mind there might be an “unallotment” question here. In short, the editorial’s point is that Forest Lake teachers will accept a pay freeze. This may set a precedent for other districts. Other professions have had to take cuts. Now it’s the teachers’ turn. And in conclusion … “It’s difficult to put a price tag on the value of talented, dedicated teachers, and surely many will suffer through this economic downturn with many of their private sector counterparts. But it’s understandable that administrations are taking a hard line on compensation.” Wow! You gotta know THAT will set off a firestorm of reader reaction.
Personally, I’m waiting for summer to start before I get wistful about State Fair food. But The PiPress’s Tad Vezner has a story about new food items being approved for sale by the fair board … including the “fry dog,” “a french-fry-encrusted hot dog bound together with a light batter.” Another, he reports, is the “‘Texas tater dog,’ a German sausage poked through a spiral-cut spud.” Mmm, mmm, mmm. But have they ever considered a glob of lard, deep fried in bacon grease and then served on an open-faced Little Debbie with caramel topping?
Brett Favre? Who said Brett Favre? Yesterday’s story was that the deal was cooling off after Favre failed to meet some kind of deadline from the Vikings to show up at one of their spring camps. Stribber Judd Zulgad, who might as well get a cot and a sleeping bag and live outside Brad Childress’s office, writes, “Pat Kirwan, a former NFL executive who now works for Sirius NFL Radio, later refuted that information, saying there was no deadline and that Favre would join the Vikings around July 15 or earlier.”