The collapse of the Metrodome roof spawned a furious run of speculation before the New York Giants game was rescheduled for 6:20 pm tonight in Detroit, which means, as Drew Sharp, columnist for the Detroit Free Press, sees it, there’ll actually be two teams on the field in Motown worth watching for a change: “Detroiters should be forgiven if they’re initially confused at the sight of a big play-making running back wearing the dark home uniform. Unfortunately, the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson will only be on loan for one evening. Although Minnesota hasn’t come anywhere close to its preseason championship expectations, the possibility of quarterback Brett Favre’s career-long record consecutive 297-game starting streak concluding in Detroit on Monday (Favre has a sprained shoulder) could provide an enticing appetizer to an even more historic main course Jan. 2 — Favre’s anticipated final game — no, really, he’s serious this time — during the Vikings’ regularly scheduled visit to Ford Field.”
We got your chopper footage of the collapsed roof right here, courtesy of FOX9. If you look closely, I believe you can see Zygi Wilf with a box cutter rappelling down the north side. Obviously this building has to be replaced.
WCCO runs an AP story on the “got to get a new stadium” effect of the collapse. The money quote: “ ‘We’ve worked particularly close with the Vikings over the last two or three years on plans and designs and steps and obviously it can’t help but call attention to the fact that the facility is 28 years old,’ Terwilliger said. ‘It’s one of the oldest facilities in the NFL. There’s a problem when we run this risk of not being able to play a game, because it’s a huge economic hit to the team. But the policymakers will handles these issues.’ ” Remind me again how old Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are. Last time I checked, the Red Sox weren’t threatening to move to the City of Industry.
Tom Rock, covering the Giants for Newsday, writes: “[Giants player Justin] Tuck said he thinks the scheduling fiasco slides the advantage to the Giants. Not only does it rob the Vikings of a home game, but there will be plenty of Green Bay Packers fans left in Detroit who can go to the game Monday night and probably root for the Giants, even though the two teams are in competition for a postseason berth. ‘They really hate the Vikings’, Tuck said.” Admission to the game will be free, and fans with Metrodome tickets who get to Detroit will be given preferential seating along the 50 yard-line. (Last night, Sun Country Airlines announced it was already busy filling its third special Vikings charter plane to Detroit for the game.)
Among the anecdotes coming out of the weekend blizzard was the PiPress’ Richard Chin writing: “Twenty years ago, Minnesota adventurer Will Steger and five fellow international explorers endured a 60-day blizzard in their sled-dog trek across Antarctica. But a reunion event scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Hamline University was ‘canceled due to weather conditions.’ ‘Can’t believe such a great opportunity was canceled. We’re not talking about 5 ft. of snow. Why do so-called Minnesotans have all these worries and ruminations and heart attacks when they say snow is coming? I don’t get it,’ according to an Internet posting from a member of the Outdoor & Snow Lovers Meetup Group who had planned to attend the Steger event.” One suspicion is that all the weather people are from The Sun Belt and are freaked out of their mind by snow of any depth.
It’s very wonky stuff and nowhere near as “understandable” as getting serious about deficits by extending tax cuts for millionaires, but if “net neutrality” went away tomorrow, the howl that would go up would be worse than a werewolf victim’s. Al Franken gave an interview to the AP Friday on the topic: “Since he took office in July 2009, Franken has pushed to force network providers to allow open access to legal content, without favoring one service over another. He opposed the merger of Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal TV, saying their combination is the beginning of a consolidation of Internet service providers that will lead to more corporate control of online content. ‘Ultimately I see a world where we have four or five companies controlling everything, with all their interests aligned and their interests will not be net neutrality,’ Franken said. He added: ‘I fear for the flow of information in this country’.” Senator, you’re not alone.
The Winona Daily News serves up a nice piece of work by Dustin Kass and Patrick B. Anderson on the decline of charitable gambling over the past decade: “More than $893 million was spent on the game in Minnesota in fiscal year 2010, according to Minnesota Gambling Control Board figures released Friday. The state ranked second in the country in pull tab sales in 2008, according to the National Association of Fundraising Ticket Manufacturers. But charitable gaming totals in Minnesota have fallen steadily since peaking near $1.5 billion in 2000. In fact, 2009 marked the state’s lowest total in 21 years. In Winona County, the recent decline is even steeper. Charitable gaming proceeds dropped nearly 19 percent in just the past two years. And lower pull-tab revenue leads to less money donated to the growing number of groups asking for financial help. Local gaming organizations gave out nearly $250,000 less in charitable contributions in fiscal year 2010 than 2008.” Maybe they need to think about booking a reunion tour of Foghat or Three Dog Night?
A PiPress editorial breaks down the budget deficit in somewhat more comprehensible chunks. “SO: In the current two-year period, Minnesota spent or promised to spend $34.5 billion from its general fund (counting the one-time federal money and the delay in payments to schools). It’s fair to say that the new governor and Legislature are inheriting about $4 billion of the projected deficit from the old governor and Legislature. That doesn’t make it any less of a deficit; it just paints a clearer picture of the structural problem in the state budget. AND: Looking at current spending that way (by counting the $1.9 billion in delayed payments to schools) means that the gap between spending this biennium and that projected for next biennium shrinks to about $2.5 billion. That’s more evidence of structural budget problems; and it shows that even after massaging the numbers to account for one-time revenue and one-time cuts, Minnesota’s state spending is projected to grow faster than revenue.”
The New York Times “Media Decoder” blog covers Gov. Pawlenty’s book tour. “Like Ms. Palin’s tour, Mr. Pawlenty’s will take place far from the usual book-buying cities of San Francisco, Chicago and New York. He will visit places more popular on a national presidential campaign: Tampa, Fla.; Cincinnati; Des Moines; and Bedford, N.H. South Carolina, another state that holds its primary elections early, is tentatively on the schedule for early February. The book is mostly autobiographical, featuring stories from Mr. Pawlenty’s childhood ‘in the gritty, meatpacking town’ of South St. Paul, Minn., with a special focus on his time spent as governor. Religion is a theme throughout, familiar territory for Tyndale, which is a Christian publisher based in Illinois.” He will make an appearance on “The Daily Show,” where maybe Jon Stewart will ask him about the “surplus” he left us with here in Minnesota.
Good story by Bob Shaw of the PiPress on the St. Anthony Residence one of the state’s four so-called “wet houses” where chronic drunks are allowed to drink. The hook, a bit like European programs that supply heroin to addicts, is that it is less costly this way than taxpayers picking up the tab for the fights and damage they do on their own. Writes Shaw: “Some experts say Minnesota’s four “wet houses” — in St. Paul, Minneapolis and Duluth — are inhumane because they offer alcoholics little hope of recovery. Others argue that it’s compassionate to house drunks who would otherwise be homeless. While the morality is debatable, the savings are not. The worst alcoholics cost the public an average of $100,000 a year, according to St. Anthony Residence manager Bill Hockenberger. Week after week, they steal booze, stagger into hospitals, panhandle on sidewalks, vomit in bus stops and pass out on park benches. And society is powerless to stop them. Consider Marion Hagerman. In his 39 years of drinking, the 54-year-old has been arrested about 60 times. He has kept drinking despite six drunken-driving convictions and six 28-day treatment sessions. His drinking has cost the public more than $450,000. And since he was admitted to St. Anthony’s two years ago? Nothing. Not a single arrest, detox stay or emergency-room visit.” And please note, for the record: There is no Wisconsin joke here.