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Dog nose shuts down MSP

It may be comforting to know that all the appropriate procedures were followed in Tuesday's bomb scare at MSP. But someone is going to have to get to the bottom of what the sniffer dog was smelling in that "last bag" before what happened yesterday happens again. Naturally, everyone in town and every national news outlet jumped on the 90-minute closure of the airport. (Closing the airport is a big deal. But in newsroom-land any kind of airplane-related event is intrinsically more newsworthy than any other threat or accident.) Other than reporting what (little) happened and conjuring a lot of reaction quotes from befuddled travelers, there isn't much in the way of conclusiveness to be found in any of the myriad stories. Nevertheless, the Strib threw four reporters at the incident.

MPR gives a bit more information than others on Tuesday's other "terror" crisis, out in Bakersfield, Calif. This is the one where four bottles of honey tested positive for TNT. You read that right. Honey. The stuff bees make. But basically the take-away from the day might be "People, let's get a grip, already."

What everyone is really talking about are the #*@!!#*@! ice-covered streets all over town. What is this, Magnitovorsk? MPR's story by Tom Weber and Elizabeth Dunbar explains the inability of road crews to break down the ice sheets, ruts and crags making most city streets a deep-freeze version of the Oregon Trail. "Overnight low temperatures in the Twin Cities have been in the single digits or below zero since Dec. 27. And even if the mercury hit the 20s during the day, it hasn't been enough time for the ice -- which is several inches thick in some places -- to melt away. 'The stuff is like concrete. It doesn't want to go away,' said Kevin Nelson, the street and bridge maintenance engineer for the St. Paul Public Works Department." Yeah, so we've noticed. Nancy Ngo of the PiPress adds just a bit more to the saga.

Steve Perry at Politics in Minnesota interviews Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller. Both are trying to figure out exactly what Gov. Pawlenty is thinking by suddenly pushing for a legislatively anointed "shift" in education appropriations. (Pogemiller and Pawlenty have a scheduled meeting Friday.) The suspicion is that it is tied to Judge Gearin's challenge to the unallotment hammer the governor wielded so lustily, but how, exactly? Says Pogemiller, "I think it’s possible that he does question whether he has the legal authority to have done what he did. But it’s more likely that he’s just trying to figure out a way to re-characterize the unallocation. Because it’s clearly a cut to education. And I don’t think anyone sees a way in the foreseeable future that that’s going to be repaid. He won’t even be in office when that bill comes due. So all I can figure is that he’s trying to characterize it as something other than an unallotment."

CQ Politics and others report that Tarryl Clark, one of Michele Bachmann's DFL challengers up in the 6th District, has received the endorsement of EMILY's List, the national organization promoting pro-choice women candidates. Considering the ideological composition of the 6th, is this actually good news for Clark?

Also, in case you missed it over the break, Bachmann earned the title of CNN's "Wingnut of the Year", beating out liberals Ed Schultz and Alan Grayson and right-wingers Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. (... not that this will hurt her in the Sixth.) Congratulations, Congresswoman.

There is no end of wannabes posturing for Bachmann's title. Included in this pack might be Senate District 26 candidate, Republican Mike Parry, previously outed for scrubbing his Twitter account of "wingy" screeds about President Obama. The Waseca County News' Clare Kennedy files a report on Parry. She writes, "[B]loggers at the Minnesota Progressive Project contend that Parry's past posts were decidedly more controversial until the candidate erased 33 posts that might be perceived as offensive. As proof, they posted screenshots of two posts that have allegedly been removed from Parry's Twitter feed. The first appears to be dated May 6. In it Parry allegedly writes, 'what's with Dems and Pedophiles?' The bloggers contend that Parry was referencing the Matthew Shepard Act, legislation that is meant to beef up protections for hate crimes victims targeted because of their sexual orientation. The act became law in October. It is named for Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old college student who was brutally murdered in Wyoming in 1998. In another instance, Parry wrote, 'read the exclusive on Mr O in Newsweek. He is a Power Hungry Arrogant Black Man.' " I'd say the guy has a shot at the '10 crown.

Joe Friedberg to the rescue
! The cities' No. 1 barrister for when you're in really deep doo has been hired by William Wanner, the CEO (caught on camera) accused of fondling the 10-year-old daughter of a family friend twice at the Minneapolis Club. "Police examined surveillance video from the Minneapolis Club on Dec. 5 and Dec. 27. In the video, Wanner is seen touching the girl in a swimming pool and hot tub, and following her into the women's changing room, according to a criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court," says the Strib story by Chao Xiong. As you might expect, City Pages offers a more "unmediated" version of the incidents.

Most of the suburban news coverage in the two dailies is pretty snoozy
— unless you're an Eagan Sewer Board aficionado — but the item about the Edina first-grade teacher, by Allie Shah in Tuesday's Strib, is one of those stories that gets you thinking about what is not being said. The teacher is still on leave after getting pushed ... by a first grader ... on Nov. 9, and the outside investigation into the incident is the reason for this latest story. Basically, the Edina school system isn't saying anything. But there's plenty of legal-ness orbiting the incident. Writes Shah, "York was dealing with the student's behavior that day after he had pushed a classmate into a desk. York had emptied the classroom and was trying to talk to the student when the boy pushed York, causing her to sprain her neck and back, [attorney Marshall] Tanick said. At issue is whether York, in relaying to parents her concern for the safety of children in her classroom, crossed a line and violated the boy's rights."

Target's Wal-Mart-busting initiative of the month
involves a limited-time offering of bulk sales — like warehouse stores. In some, but not all Targets, you'll see — for a limited time — bale-sized packages of paper towels, granola bars, T-shirts, etc., says the Business Journal's John Vomhof Jr. "The move is the latest by Target to promote household staples — rather than the trendy clothing and housewares that it became known for over the past decade — to drive sales. The cheap-chic formula worked wonders before the downturn hit, but as money became tighter, customers shifted spending away from discretionary purchases such as clothing in favor of food and essentials."

It may be nearly impossible to imagine spring — warmth, green stuff outside, open windows — as you destroy your shocks and oil pan banging over the ice-encrusted streets, but the words "pitchers and catchers report" did appear in the Pioneer Press Tuesday. They were packed into one of those midwinter tantalizers where the one-time phenom has suddenly recovered his old form and is tearing up ... the Dominican League? The phenom in question is Twins lefty Francisco Liriano. also gets in on the wishful thinking.

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Comments (2)

MPR had a report from a retired security official suggesting that as the bag belonged to the airline or MSP that it had probably been used for hiding explosives in a training situation at some point. If that is the case someone should have known that it was contaminated and not use it again to signal the last bag on a flight. If true it doesn't speak well for the competence at MSP security.

Maybe Senator Pogemiller should consider the idea that the Governor is trying to balance the budget and since K-12 was pretty much untouched with the most recent budget, it may have to be altered to cover the revenue shortfall. I think that I liked it better when the Senator let his mouthpiece (Senator Clark) do the talking for him but it should make for better press if he starts speaking on his own.