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Kill … the new coach

MORNING EDITION ALSO: Gay marriage politics on the list, police chase problems, and Comcast outage outrage.Check back about 4 p.m. for the Afternoon Edition.

Pun-happy headline writers in every newsroom in town are beside themselves with giddiness, even if the average fan is saying, “Kill who?” The Gophers football team has a new coach, and his name is … Kill, Jerry Kill. Phil Miller of the Strib writes, “The university did not reveal Kill’s salary, but it figures to be a large increase from the $381,000 he was earning at Northern Illinois. Tim Brewster, who went 15-30 in 3 1/2 seasons, was paid roughly $1 million per year.”

Not that Patrick Reusse, who had been arguing for a coach with star power, is happy. “There’s reason to suspect that Maturi not only failed to make a hire that satisfied fans, but that it might have been a choice that failed to satisfy him. Maturi limited himself at the start of the search by stating that he wanted a man with head coaching experience in Division I-A. That eliminated [Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul] Chryst. And if The Director could have talked his way out of that one, he still feared the rips that he would receive for hiring the son of a longtime friend. Too bad the Gophers have such a hypersensitive athletic director, since if Kill and Chryst were the final options, Maturi made the wrong choice.”

The PiPress story, by Marcus Fuller, includes slices of immediate fan reaction. “In a statement, Gophers athletics director Joel Maturi said, “We cast a wide net in this search, but the name we kept coming back to was Jerry Kill. I’m confident we have chosen the right man.” The problem with informing the public about the decision on social networking sites was that it gave fans the chance to send instant feedback to Maturi and the Gophers on what they thought about the hire — and a majority of the feedback was negative. Comments ranged from “BUZZ KILL!!!” to “Are you kidding me?” to “BRING BACK BREWSTER!” and “Bring Glen Mason.” But hey, welcome to Minnesota and good luck, pal.

Never mind that $6.2 billion hole in the budget, the big issues, like gay marriage, must be addressed … now. MPR’s Tim Pugmire files a story on the Minnesota Family Council, no doubt fresh from resolving all serious conflicts between male-female couples in its respective parishes urging the new Republican majority in the state Legislature to finally protect traditional wedlock. “[Family Council President Tom] Prichard said he was as surprised as anyone by the election results, and he’s now preparing to take advantage of that open door. Prichard says a ban on same-sex marriage is needed to protect what he describes as a fundamental institution. The new Republican leaders have stressed that same-sex marriage and other divisive social issues are not a priority for the upcoming session. They say the focus must be on jobs and the economy. Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, the soon-to-be chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, agrees with those bread and butter priorities. But he’s also planning to once again sponsor a marriage amendment bill. Limmer says under the Democrats, the issue was too often denied committee hearings or floor votes. ‘Incumbent Republicans will never forget microphones being turned off on Michele Bachmann when she tried to bring this issue forward,’ he said. ‘So, we have long memories about that. And there’s no question that this is a much more advantageous body in both the House and Senate this year.’ ” How about a public referendum on turning off Michele Bachmann’s microphone?                                           

The record shows that the police were not in what you’d call “hot pursuit,” as in directly on the fleeing motorist’s tail, when a guy rammed a car in north Minneapolis Sunday killing a young mother and her two children. Fox9’s Mary Costello reports: “[A] state trooper was trying to pull over a man driving erratically on Interstate 94 just north of downtown Minneapolis.  [State Patrol spokesman Eric] Roeske says the driver exited at North Dowling Ave. in north Minneapolis, less than a minute after the chase began. The driver has been identified as 29-year-old Rufus Onel Victor. Roeske says moments later, Victor then went through a red light at 2nd St. N. and W. Broadway Ave. and crashed into two vehicles. Roeske says the crash happened far ahead of the state trooper.”

National Republicans successfully filibustered yet another bill Saturday, this one the multi-trillion-dollar co-called “Bush tax cuts.” Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken were among the 53 in favor of separating everyone under $250,000 from the (much fewer) above. But in the Senate, where the minority rules, they lost. Kevin Diaz blogs at the Strib’s Hot Dish Politics page: “Democrats want to let the current rates expire for the rich, and keep them for everyone else. But two separate votes failed. One would have set the threshold for families earning $250,000 (similar to a version passed by the House Thursday), the other at $1 million. Democrats could only muster 53 of the 60 votes needed to end debate. This puts the ball squarely in the court of President Obama, whose courtiers are known to be negotiating behind the scenes with ascendant Republicans on some kind of an extension — likely involving everyone, and also likely conjoined with an extension of federal unemployment benefits, which also expire this month.”
No, it wasn’t you this time. It wasn’t because you disconnected the modem when you reached down for the doughnut you dropped. There really was a large Comcast Internet outage last night. Julio Ojeda-Zapata, the PiPress’s tech guy, reports: “States affected by the outage included Illinois, Indiana and Michigan as well as Minnesota, he told the Pioneer Press in a Twitter direct message. The outage proved maddening for Twin Cities users, who expressed their displeasure on Twitter and other social networks via alternate Internet means, such as smartphones or wireless laptop modems. Trying to get information or help from Comcast was equally maddening for some of these folks. “I never could get through via phone, but their (extremely lame) live-chat support finally told me they have an outage ‘in my area,’ ” said White Bear Lake resident Mike Evangelist. Outage information offered by Comcast to the press was not particularly enlightening, either.” I must say I did enjoy my 12-minute chat with the automated tech voice … who doesn’t like the Kill choice, either.

If ridiculous ticket prices are one of the reasons you never even consider attending a Vikings game, you should have busted a move for Sunday’s face-off with the woeful Buffalo Bills. The Business Journal’s John Vomhof Jr. writes: “As of Friday afternoon, single seats were available for as little as $4.95 apiece and pairs started as low as $10.99. ‘Ticket prices start well below face value, indicative of the lack of demand and excess inventory,’ StubHub spokeswoman Joellen Ferrer said in an e-mail. Tickets for Sunday’s game are among the cheapest for any Vikings home game this season. The previous low was an average of $67 per ticket for the Sept. 26 game against the Detroit Lions. The high was $202 per ticket for the Nov. 21 game against the Green Bay Packers.” Those numbers will spike up for the Super Bowl, by god!