The superintendent of Anoka-Hennepin schools appears in the Strib ripping the Strib for ripping him and accusing his administration of tolerating a “neutrality” policy regarding homosexuality. All erroneous, says Dennis Carlson. “So far, the role of those in media has been to pick a side and ignore all who might present information that doesn’t conveniently fit the one-sided story or editorial they are creating. The Star Tribune’s editorial added fuel to the fire that brings out the worst in people, increasing the hate mail I now receive on a regular basis, which sometimes describes how I should die, even in obscene detail. … Another fact repeatedly overlooked by the media is that the policy allows discussion of sexual orientation in class provided that it is age-appropriate, fact-based and connected to curriculum. Throughout this very contentious discussion, we have stressed that our anti-bullying and harassment policies do not have neutrality clauses, as one might believe after reading the editorial.”
The New York Times hosted a “discussion” of Our Favorite Congresswoman, her stated opposition to just about everything the government spends money on … and that $700 million bridge over the St. Croix. Among those involved is Ryan Alexander of Taxpayers for Common Sense. He says: “Our nation’s transportation program is lagging. The primary funding mechanism (the tax on gasoline) collects far less than is needed to repair and maintain existing infrastructure. The Stillwater Bridge issue highlights both challenges. The current lift bridge is outdated and needs to be replaced. Almost nobody doubts that. But the proposal currently on the table — a four-lane, interstate-style bridge — is bigger and more expensive than common sense would allow and a lousy deal for federal taxpayers. The primary Congressional champions for this project — Representative Michele Bachmann, the avowed fiscal conservative from Minnesota, and Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat — want to push this project forward to resolve a years-long debate. But the rush toward wasteful bipartisanship needs to stop. This bridge will require $160 million or more in federal funds and consume a significant portion of Minnesota’s and Wisconsin’s federal highway funding, leaving less for other worthy projects. Every day, drivers in the two states make nearly six million trips over more than 2,000 structurally deficient bridges. … The calculation is simple: a less expensive bridge leaves more money to do more projects.”
MPR gathers up its forces and produces a profile of … Tim Pawlenty. Frankly, there’s no new “there” there. After a lot of “critics say,” there is this moment: “Pawlenty also highlights his efforts to make Minnesota more prosperous. But the numbers seem to contradict his claims. During Pawlenty’s tenure, Minnesota lagged in job growth, with only 6,200 more workers at the end of his tenure than when he took office in January, 2003. During that same period, Minnesota fell from eighth in the nation in per capita income to 14th — even when accounting for the national downturn. According to Education Trust, a national group that focuses on the achievement gap, Minnesota did not make much progress raising the test scores of minority and disadvantaged students compared to white students during Pawlenty’s two terms.However, the state’s high school graduation rate has improved since 2002. And Minnesota has the highest ACT scores in the nation. Meanwhile, 9.1 percent of Minnesotans did not have health insurance in 2009, up from 6.1 percent in 2001, according to state officials. In part, that trend is the result of cuts Pawlenty made to state-subsidized health insurance.” Strangely … no quotes from Larry Jacobs.
And you thought it was bad when the Packers came to town … now Scott Walker is coming to Minnesota. Says Tom Scheck at MPR: “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be crossing his state’s border with Minnesota to attend a GOP gathering in October. The first term GOP governor, who has been heavily criticized by Democrats and unions for his work to change collective bargaining laws in Wisconsin, will be one of the keynote speakers at the Midwest Leadership Conference on October 7 and 8. ‘We are honored and excited to add Gov. Scott Walker to the list of speakers for the Midwest Leadership Conference,’ said Minnesota GOP Chairman Tony Sutton in a statement. ‘Despite millions of dollars and man hours spent by the Democrat Party and its allies on the Wisconsin recall elections, Republicans maintained their majority status in the Wisconsin Senate.’ ” Personally, we are disappointed chairman Sutton could not find a way to work the word “outraged” into his statement.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com gets some good quotes out of ex-Vikings coach Brad Childress. He writes: “Childress said it was a no-brainer to chase Favre, rather than go into 2010 with Tarvaris Jackson at QB. ‘[Favre] had his best season ever his first year (in Minnesota),’ Childress said of Favre’s 33-TD, seven-INT campaign. ‘Could you do more with Brett Favre? Absolutely you could.’ It’s easy to criticize in hindsight, after Favre stumbled through a 24-turnover, injury-marred campaign. ‘We made a conscious effort to bring everybody back,’ Childress said. ‘What did we get for it? I got fired, and [Favre] got hurt. Did I feel like he was as sharp as he could’ve been? No.’ As for the Moss fiasco, Childress said he wanted to acquire a player who would be a difference-maker for the Vikings after they got off to a disappointing 1-2 start. They needed a player who could stretch the football field while Sidney Rice recuperated from an injury. Enter Randy Moss. He made a difference all right, unfortunately tipping the needle in the wrong direction. ‘He called me and said, ‘I can’t wait, I can’t wait. I feel like I’m coming home again,’ Childress recalls. Despite Moss’ reputation for loafing and being a distraction, Childress felt Moss would be more mature with 12 seasons under his belt. He thought Moss would not be a distraction in the locker room. Uh, not so much. ‘We had good guys, by and large,’ Childress said, ‘[but Moss] walked in the locker room and vomited on it.’ “
The Vikings stadium update du jour from ESPN’s Kevin Seifert says: “Dayton hasn’t shut the door on calling a session, but convincing Dayton to do so is only part of the battle for the Vikings. To me, the real wild card is whether the proposal would get the necessary support from a state legislature that just got done backing Dayton down from every tax increase he proposed during a recent budget showdown. When we last saw the financing proposal, Dayton had committed $300 million in state money through user fees, while Ramsey County was on the hook for $350 million via a half-cent sales tax increase. Would Republican state legislators sign off on that after fighting so hard to eliminate new taxes in the in the budget?” They’ll have to call Grover Norquist and ask for a ruling.
$16.2 million looks like the revenue “loss” you can put on the shutdown. Baird Helgeson of the Strib says: “The state took in $954.1 million during the month, $16.2 million below expectations, according to a state financial report released Wednesday. Sales tax collections took the biggest hit, falling 19 percent below estimates. Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter said the state government shutdown ‘almost certainly’ affected state receipts during the month as the state lottery blinked off and auditors were out of work. State economists say the combined July and August receipts will provide a more accurate measure of how revenues are tracking compared with expectations.”
With all this, you’d think our neighbors would be a lot mellower. Says the AP: “Authorities say they discovered and destroyed a large-scale marijuana growing operation in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin. One man was arrested at the site, U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil said, and four more were being sought. Vaudreuil said the site had thousands of plants over an area of several acres about 25 miles northwest of Park Falls, Wis., and included a camp for people who cultivated the marijuana as well as loaded firearms.”
And … we have an Awkward winner! Amy Nelson of the PiPress reports (proudly, no doubt): “When it comes to being awkward, Minnesotans are winners. On Wednesday, Derek Larson of St. Paul was named winner of the Embassy Suites Awkward Family Vacation Photo Contest for a decades-old image he had submitted of his family all wearing matching shorts, tube socks and decorated hats. The Pioneer Press wrote about his quest for the title last week. Larson’s photo originally was a Top 20 finalist selected from more than 1,300 submissions. After voting closed Tuesday, the photo had received 9,439 votes (nearly 1,500 more than the second-place winner) for the grand prize of $15,000 and a two-week trip to Hawaii. ‘We’re shocked and overwhelmed with the votes and support from friends, family, the Pioneer Press, Twin Cities media, and the state of Minnesota,’ Larson wrote. ‘Thank you!! Your votes have helped to confirm that the Twin Cities is — indeed — home to the most awkward family in America.’ ” I always knew that, except that I thought it was mine.