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MPR President Bill Kling rallies faithful for state funds

MORNING EDITION ALSO: Mystic Lake considers adding booze; bills deal with public union dues and deadly force; Medtronic layoffs; Minnesota food; NFL court action; and more.
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MPR President Bill Kling, in person, in public, rallying the faithful — and the Legislature — for $3.3 million in taxpayer money is … well, an irony-rich environment. Mike Kaszuba of the Strib covers the scene: “For now there are few outward signs that MPR is being targeted. Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, who spoke at Wednesday’s rally, said there has been some grumbling over Kling’s $376,904 annual salary. Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Brainerd, one of the new conservatives who helped propel Republicans to their first Senate majority in more than a generation, expressed general support for MPR but cautioned the radio network not to cast itself as being targeted by conservatives who may see it as a liberal-leaning media outlet. ‘I hope it doesn’t become political [because] if it becomes political, I don’t think they win,’ said Gazelka, who sits on the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, which is now considering MPR’s request. But Sen. Chris Gerlach, R-Apple Valley, was more blunt. ‘If they weren’t [biased in favor of liberals], why is there a broad-based perception nationwide that they are? Where does that come from? It’s certainly not a vast right-wing conspiracy,’ he said.” Define “vast.”

One sure bet is that if the state gets into the gambling business, the Indian tribes are going to go after some kind of new revenue action. Paul Walsh and Eric Roper of the Strib write: “The state’s most popular casino could start serving alcohol if the Legislature turns aside objections of tribal leaders and expands gambling in Minnesota, a lawyer for the tribe that runs Mystic Lake Casino said Wednesday. Mystic Lake is barred by tribal ordinance from offering alcohol at its casino complex in Prior Lake, but bills that would bring video gambling to nearby Canterbury Park or to bars and restaurants across the state have tribal leaders reconsidering their position. … In Minnesota, 14 of the state’s 18 tribal casinos already serve alcohol, but none are in the metro area. Red Wing’s Treasure Island Resort and Casino is closest … Shakopee tribal leaders decided 20 years ago, when opening Mystic, that the casino would be dry. They wanted … to keep the property as clean as possible, to keep down associated expenses.”

Today’s jobs-generating legislation is a bill to restrict public unions from spending member dues on political activities. The AP story says: “The legislation from Republican Sen. Pam Wolf of Spring Lake Park cleared a state government panel Wednesday on a 6-5 vote. It would block public employee union dues from supporting political action
committees, foundations and magazines unless the employee submitted a written request to contribute to those items. Unions for teachers, police, firefighters and other public employees oppose the bill.”

But then maybe this one will create some work … for unemployed coroners. WCCO’s Pat Kessler reports: “The Minnesota Legislature opens hearings on a bill Thursday expanding the right of Minnesotans to use deadly force against intruders in their home, sometimes called the ‘Castle Doctrine.’ But it’s a bill opponents say could decriminalize some forms of murder. Right now in Minnesota, if someone breaks into your home and you feel threatened with bodily harm, state law allows you to shoot the intruder to defend yourself. This bill proposed at the Capitol allows deadly force not just against a violent attack, but also against an intrusion that may lead to a violent attack.” It is otherwise known as the “Get Off My Lawn Doctrine.”

Following through on a previously announced round of layoffs Medtronic will do without 468 employees in the Twin Cities. Martin Moylan’s MPR story says: “Overall, Medtronic says it’ll be reducing its workforce by some 2,100 people through layoffs, as well as some early retirement and buyout offers.The company wouldn’t say where the cuts are coming by division or location within the Twin Cities — or how many Twin Cities employees are leaving voluntarily. Overall, Medtronic is eliminating 2,100 jobs through layoffs, as well as some early retirement and buyout offers.”

The University of Cheese-istan Wisconsin paper The Isthmus reviews “Minnesota Lunches,” the latest book by Jim Norton of the always-entertaining Heavy Table blog. Says Linda Falkenstein: “[L]ocal to Minnesota is a sausage called the Hot Dago and the lauded stuffed bar burger known as the Juicy Lucy. A chapter on Sambusa pays tribute to the local Somali population, and finally, a grab bag chapter at the end covers bratwurst and other beef sandwiches. The book is nine parts food narrative to one part recipe, but there is a recipe, or recipes, for each of the star sandwiches. … The essay on the Jucy Lucy (or Juicy Lucy) is a great chapter of food history. The burger with a molten cheese center began as a way to lure diners into taverns known as 3.2 bars — not a Wisconsin tradition — that could serve nothing stronger than beer with a 3.2% alcohol content after Prohibition. Various legendary spots to purchase them in the Twin Cities are profiled, as well as methods to keep the cheese from leaking out onto the grill.”

Federal Judge Susan Nelson in St. Paul all but ordered the NFL’s owners to hop on their private jets to St. Louis and the Court of Appeals. She refused their request to freeze her lock-out-lifting order of earlier in the week. The Washington Post story, by Mark Maske says: “Nelson’s ruling, issued late Wednesday night, does not necessarily mean that the sport will be back in business immediately, as Nelson ordered Monday when she granted the players’ request for a preliminary injunction to end the NFL’s shutdown. That’s because the NFL will now head to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit seeking a stay of Nelson’s injunction. Several legal experts said this week that the league has a better chance of winning a stay at the higher court. … If the league is unable to hold off Nelson’s injunction via the appeals court, the sport would begin operating again. Free agent signings and trades of players could resume. The league would have to put rules in place governing free agency. Sources previously have said the NFL likely would use last season’s rules, which did not include a salary cap, under those circumstances. It is unclear how long it will take that court to rule. It also is not clear what will happen in the meantime.”

You do want to know: “How long?” KSTP’s story about the body found in a chimney says: “Police say they were called by the apartment building’s management around 10:00 a.m. about a squatter who had been seen hanging around the property.  The building is located on the 5300-block of Russell Avenue. When they investigated, they saw a roof access door had been broken into.  Up on the roof, they saw a pile of clothing near a chimney, and found a man’s body down inside it.”

I apologize for not getting to this Wednesday. It comes from “Nihilist in Golf Pants” on the conservative blog “Fraters Libertas.” He’s upset with the dismissiveness of the left. He writes: “One interesting thing about Democratic operatives has been their success in unfairly defining opponents. Consider the characterization of leader of significantly below average intelligence that was applied to Ronald Reagan, George W Bush, Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle, to name a few. There’s also the characterization of an evil mastermind working behind the scenes to screw the regular guy that was applied to Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich and Richard Nixon. Both of these charges have been generally thrown out at the highest levels, against sitting and aspiring Presidents, Vice Presidents, and their most senior advisers.”  For the record, I believe I said Palin, George W. and Dan Quayle were the brightest the party had to offer. And Rove the most honest.