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No jobs measure, but 'The Cheeseburger Bill' lives again


Again, nothing here to do with “jobs, jobs, jobs,” but under new legislation, it’s going to be like this: If you’re fat, it’s your fault and you’re not going to be able to sue McDonald’s or Matt’s for all the Juicy Lucys you’ve been pounding down. Paul Demko at Politics in Minnesota reports: “Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, who has repeatedly sponsored the legislation over the years, testified that it’s necessary to prohibit frivolous lawsuits and that 23 other states already have enacted similar measures. ‘Simply put if you eat too many cheeseburgers and get fat, you can’t sue the food retailer,’ Urdahl said. ‘This is about personal responsibility and reform.’ But Joel Carlson, a lobbyist for the Minnesota Association for Justice, argued that it’s a solution in search of a problem since no such lawsuits have been filed in the state. ‘This would be the first time in Minnesota history that our Legislature is granting civil immunity,’ Carlson said.”

Steve Sviggum and Laura Brod, two well-known former GOP legislators and a Duluth business executive are the new U of M regents. Jena Ross writes in the Strib: “[S]everal legislators said Sviggum's selection stemmed from a meeting to which DFL legislators were not invited. ‘The process was deeply flawed,’ said Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park. Republican lawmakers defended the nominees as strong, experienced leaders and said that in the past, DFL majorities made picks that didn't please the other side. DFLers on Monday tried unsuccessfully to bring forward alternative candidates, including Steven Hunter, secretary/treasurer for the AFL-CIO, who was seeking a second term on the board.”

The AFL-CIO wasted no time registering its displeasure with the choices. The labor website Workday Minnesota wrote: “Leaders of the Minnesota AFL-CIO sharply criticized the Minnesota Legislature’s decision to keep a labor representative off the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. This decision breaks with decades of tradition of giving labor a voice on the University’s governing board. ‘The campuses of the University of Minnesota play a key role in educating our state’s workforce and driving business innovation,’ said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson. ‘It’s just plain wrong that working Minnesotans will no longer have a say in how the University is run.’ ... ‘Republican leaders have decided to take the partisan low road and reward their political allies,’ added Knutson.”

John Brewer at the PiPress looks into the ongoing mystery of what’s happening to White Bear Lake: “"There's a lot of small issues going around the lake," said Perry Jones, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist putting together a $200,000 study proposal on groundwater interactions with White Bear Lake. The de-watering, or removal of water from the ground, will be taken into account as the study — if approved — moves forward. Details about the Metropolitan Council Environmental Services diversion sewer — built from 2006 to 2008 — and the amounts of water pumped away can be found in the records of a little-publicized lawsuit filed in Ramsey County District Court. A company that drilled for the project, Frontier Pipeline, sued the Met Council for more than $4 million, saying the project went over budget due to the excessive water found at depths of about 30 feet. ‘We had eight to 10 times more water than anybody anticipated,’ said Dan Baillargeon, head of Frontier, during the 15-day trial in summer 2009. ‘Everybody was in shock there was that kinda water.' " You'd think when the speedboat and water skier blew out of the pipe they'd have made the connection with the lake.

The folks down in the Quad Cities are getting as nervous about our snowpack as we are exasperated by it. Rebecca Smith at WQAD-TV says: " 'There could be some major flooding that takes place," said James Zahara, Chief Meteorologist for Ch. 8. Up north in parts of Minnesota, they've got between 20-40 inches of snow. ‘Rarely you see that much snow,’ said Zahara. Which translates into lots of water headed our way. ‘When you squeeze that out, you're talking about water equivalent to 10 inches,’ he said. ‘The water's gotta go somewhere, so it'll go into the Minnesota and eventually into the Mississippi.' "

Can you believe they’re still fightin’ over The Fightin’ Sioux? The latest is a bill in the North Dakota House to require the school to keep the nickname NCAA be damned. The AP story says: “The university has been preparing to drop the nickname and its American Indian head logo this summer as part of a negotiated lawsuit settlement with the NCAA, which considers both to be hostile and abusive to American Indians. House members voted 65-28 to approve legislation Monday that requires UND to keep the nickname and logo, and directs Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to consider an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA if any penalties result.” And that drunk-looking leprechaun guy isn’t offensive to the Fightin’ Irish?

Remember that fast food burger that never changed, never rotted, never shrank, never apparently even drew a fly over the weeks it sat out? You may be reminded when you hear that Cargill, according to an AP story, has come up with a new freezing technique that will keep burger patties viable for … 42 days: “The Minneapolis-based conglomerate's food service meat business is based in Wichita, Kan. But the new pressure frozen patties are being made at Cargill's Columbus, Neb., plant. Cargill says it adapted the pressure freezing technique from the avocado industry. Cargill vice president Brent Wolke says the new freezing method doesn't affect the burger's taste.” Right ... but you can take that at least two ways.

Rupa Chenoy of MPR files a story on the imminent release of two sex offenders back into the community. She notes that some communities take on more of such characters than others. “Many released sex offenders find housing in the Twin Cities — specifically in north Minneapolis and east [side of] St. Paul, and it's become a concern for some of the people who already live there. Next month, judges may permanently release the first two sex offenders from civil commitment in Minnesota, adding to the existing population of sex offenders who make their home in communities around the state. The Phillips neighborhood has one of the highest concentrations of sex offenders in the state. A 2010 Hennepin County report said six level three sex offenders, the most dangerous classification, live there. ... Last summer, there were 89 level three sex offenders living in Hennepin County. Thirteen level three sex offenders said they were living at a homeless shelter, and nine others gave their address as city hall and were also likely homeless.”

If you’re inclined to see larger forces at work in the Wisconsin stand-off between an allegedly budget-conscious governor and hopping made unionists, check out Rick Ungar’s column in Forbes magazine, no less, drawing attention to Mother Jones’ finger-pointing at ... the Koch brothers (of our own Flint Hills refinery and about $100 billion worth of other assets). Says Ungar: “The Americans for Prosperity group, a Tea Party group that is a Koch Brothers front, has put up a website and petition called The website attacks all collective bargaining — not just for public employees’ unions. Americans for Prosperity is also organizing a rally tomorrow in Wisconsin to support Gov. Walker. Why are the Koch Brothers so interested in Wisconsin? They are a major business player in the state. ... Koch owns a coal company subsidiary with facilities in Green Bay, Manitowoc, Ashland and Sheboygan; six timber plants throughout the state; and a large network of pipelines in Wisconsin.”

This morning's Glean is certified 100% Bachmann-free.

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Comments (10)

Re: Cheeseburger Bill

I guess the "nanny state" should be only for corporations.

There IS a real cost to obesity--about $1500 a year in extra medical cost per year per obese person (

Given the links between poverty, obesity and social service costs, Urdahl should instead consider the effect of obesity on the Minnesota state budget.

Urdahl says he is proposing the legislation to protect "family farmers". I guess he doesn't know much about the corporate food chains that supply the fast-food empires.

Only the rich have nannies.

What I don't get about the regents thing is why members of the anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-education party want to be on the board of a university. Don't these people have oil companies to lobby for?

While I agree with the sentiment that people should be responsible for what they eat - why oh why is Urdahl wasting time on such a bill? Not only because no such lawsuits have been filed - if they are, isn't it the role of the courts to decide if a lawsuit has merit or if it's frivolous?

I am so excited to read that this has become a low-Bachmann source of news! On my doctors orders I have been trying to get down to a low-Bachmann diet for months now. I find that it agrees with my digestion, particularly my bowels. I think it might make sense to develop a universal banner or identifier to accompany all low-Bachmann or Bachmann-free news sources, to permit easy selection. Who has time to red all the fine print on the labels, right? Maybe something like: "Stop Staring, You Only Encourage Her."

The residents of Grove City must now hang a banner..........."Mission Accomplished".

When, as the result of the psychological dysfunctions programmed into you by your family members, your friends, your community, even your church (in some cases), your "heart" tells you that the only means to happiness is making as much money as possible or cozying up to (and selling your soul to) those who are already fabulously wealthy...

you become VERY easy prey to those using their extreme wealth in ways that make it the equivalent of "the one ring of sauron" in "Lord of the Rings."

The reality of people like the Koch brothers is that they will never actually share their power with the likes of Gov. Walker, nor any of their other devote's.

They use their wealth always and only for their own purposes, which turn out to be ways which never build up a society nor it's people. Because of their dysfunctions, their wealth has only the power to destroy.

But by the time those now convinced that by impoverishing their friends and neighbors and destroying other people's livelihoods, they're proving they're willing to do whatever it takes to be allowed a ticket on the fast train to fame, fortune, and prosperity realize that they're actually riding the bullet train taking them to their own destruction there will be no way to get off that train.

What's happening now in Wisconsin (and Indiana, etc.) may very well be one of the last chances to apply the brakes before the Koch Bros. et al lock down the accelerator, disable the brakes and finalize the mechanisms of their project to profit from the death of America.

The Koch Brothers may not "share their power" with Governor Walker, but their money helped him get elected as a moderate leader. We are now seeing how "moderate" he is.

The Republicans who elected Brod and Sviggum to the Board of Regents have provided one more signal of the anti-union/anti-worker fervor heading all around the country, financed and propagandized by kazillionaires. Now that the war against private unions has been fought for over 30 years, public employees are, of course, the next target.

Anyone wishing to stand in solidarity with Wisconsin's public employees can show up at the Capitol for a rally this afternoon at four o'clock. Wear red!

"‘This would be the first time in Minnesota history that our Legislature is granting civil immunity,’ Carlson said.”

Discussions about Big Mac lawsuits and personal responsibility are moot. There is no need to grant first-ever civil immunity to one industry. If the lawsuits are frivolous, then the courts will turn them away. The system works.

Yet another further additional extra duplicate supplementary bonus initiative that has zip, zilch, nada, nil, zero, nothing--nothing--to do with jobs for Minnesotans.

"What I don't get about the regents thing is why members of the anti-intellectual, anti-science, anti-education party want to be on the board of a university."

Troubled Waters:

"The producers at the U's Bell Museum were informed that morning in a letter sent from University Relations: The film would not air on TPT and the party and premiere were shuttered. Later that week the Facebook invite for the premiere was updated to say the release was postponed "to allow time for a review of the film's scientific content.""

Don't like intellectuals? science? education? What better way to co-opt them than to be in charge of the U?

Have any of the voters who worked so hard to get MNGOP the majority noticed that JOBS, JOBS, JOBS has become BS, BS, BS?

Cheeseburger Bill is just smoke and mirrors keeping the real work from getting done.