Insurance company may deny 11-year-old $50K hockey prize


The 11-year-old kid who planted a nearly impossible hockey shot that apparently won him $50,000 … may not get the money. The Deadspin story says (in colorful, explicit language): “Little Nick and Nate Smith learned two valuable lessons about life. First, sometimes miracles do happen. From 89 feet out, Nate put a 3-inch hockey puck into a 3½-inch slot. But Nate also learned that insurance companies are the devil … (bleep) … At a charity hockey game in Minnesota last week, 11-year-old Nick Smith won a raffle. His prize? Statistically, almost nothing, since it’s a just a shade more possible than impossible to make that center ice shot that has entertained state fair and NHL intermission crowds for decades. But Nick wasn’t inside the arena when his name was called. So his twin brother Nate stepped up. … The insurance company is well within their rights, since the person who won the raffle wasn’t the person who made the shot, but c’mon — they want to use the money for college!”

The Boston Globe has a, shall we say, different view of our guy, T-Paw than many others. In an editorial, it writes: “Pawlenty was a credible contender. Unlike those who are showcasing their values and economic theories, Pawlenty built his campaign around people, working-class voters he called ‘Sam’s Club Republicans.’ In a field that is light in governing experience, he had spent eight years wrestling with a more liberal legislature in a state whose varied political passions mirror those of the country. Pawlenty wasn’t a perfect candidate — or even, necessarily, the best option for the GOP. That’s an assessment voters should make. Instead, he felt compelled to prove himself in a bogus forum and, when he lost, looked like a chump. It’s too bad, because he had more to offer.”

Minnesota has signed off on the deal that will squeeze Wisconsin kids attending school here $1,400 more per year. Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes: “Since 1965, Wisconsin and Minnesota have had a tuition reciprocity agreement that allows a student from one state to pay resident tuition rates at public universities and technical schools in the other state. More than 10,000 Wisconsin residents participate in the program. In recent years, Wisconsin has also subsidized tuition for those students so they pay the same amount in Minnesota as they would if they attended an equivalent University of Wisconsin school. For instance, Wisconsin this academic year is contributing $1,396 toward the $9,794 tuition charged to Wisconsin students attending the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Those subsidies will now end. Current Wisconsin students at Minnesota schools, as well as Wisconsin students who will go to Minnesota schools for the first time this fall, will receive the subsidies for the next five academic years. But students who start in the fall of 2012 will not be eligible. Wisconsin students who attend the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the future will see the biggest increase. This year, Wisconsin subsidizes those students’ tuition by $2,213.”

The Albert Lea Tribune editorializes on Minnesota opting out of No Child Left Behind: “Once upon a time, it was up to individual school districts and communities to set their own standards for education. That worked well enough in a pre-technology age when knowing how to read, write and do basic math, coupled with a working knowledge of history, set young people up for success. Today, the requirements for success are sterner. But trying to manage the process of education from Washington makes little sense. For starters, nothing managed from Washington is particularly efficient or successful. In the case of NCLB, addressing the complex and controversial issue of achievement testing with a blanket federal law seems particularly unlikely to produce good results.” Particularly if it’s inadequately funded.

With the tragic stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair fresh in everyone’s mind, Steve Karnowski of the AP writes: “The Minnesota State Fair has standards to keep stages as safe as possible for concertgoers and performers, fair officials said Monday, but acknowledged the company that erects its temporary stages faces charges in Canada for a fatal stage collapse during a storm two years ago. … Staging and lighting company Premier Global Production, of Nashville, Tenn., oversees local union stagehands who set up the temporary stages according to written standards, [Renee Pearson of the Minnesota State Fair] said. Premier Global Production’s Canadian subsidiary was one of three companies charged in Canada late last month after a stage collapse during a fierce storm killed a woman attending the 2009 Big Valley Jamboree annual country music festival near Camrose, Alberta.”

Car dealer Jim Lupient has died. Says Neal St. Anthony in the Strib: “Ralph Strangis, Lupient’s friend and business lawyer for 40 years, said Lupient was a sharp, intuitive businessman who always played fair. ‘His personality was that of a salesman, but he had the attributes of a visionary businessman with the sense of what would work,’ Strangis said. ‘He was in cars, he invested in apartment complexes, horses, other deals. Not every deal was a great deal for him. I told him that he only liked one line on a purchase agreement. The line that said ‘buyer’ and where he would sign his name. But he fundamentally had good business sense and made good deals.’ “

An email from Scott Johnson of Power Line chided me for not seeing either of two posts on T-Paw’s departure from the presidential race. Johnson says both were up Sunday. Johnson wrote: “Bachmann’s attacks on Pawlenty during the Republican presidential candidates’ debate this week were almost entirely false and demagogic. Those of us who admire her can’t help but think less of her as a result. It is disappointing that Pawlenty proved unable to maintain his campaign all the way to the Iowa caucuses next year. If Bachmann is highly unlikely to secure the Republican presidential nomination, Ron Paul, the second place finisher, is even less so. Pawlenty’s chances with Iowa Republican caucus participants would have been better than they were in the straw poll event. But it is too simple to attribute the end of Pawlenty’s campaign entirely to Bachmann and the straw poll. The Pawlenty campaign started its downward descent from the moment he refrained from confronting Mitt Romney — in the first candidates’ debate — with the assault he had leveled against ‘Obamneycare’ on one of the Sunday morning shows when Romney wasn’t in the room. Pawlenty never recovered from that momentary failure of nerve, which is what it appeared to me at the time, though the calculation that went into it probably belies that characterization.”

His cohort, John Hinderaker, chimed in: “[T]he bottom line is that this year, at least, what Pawlenty was selling wasn’t what the Republican base wanted to buy. Fairly or not, Pawlenty was never able to get past the first impression of him as just another guy in a suit. Most conservative activists are looking for something different this year, and they saw Pawlenty as more of the same, a perception that was reflected in Pawlenty’s persistent failure to gain traction in the polls.”

Hinderaker adds in a later post: “Here in Minnesota, there is a web site called MinnPost that is funded by rich liberals. You haven’t heard of it, but it serves mostly as a home for former employees of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which has down-sized due to declining revenues. Brian Lambert, formerly a television critic for one of our local newspapers, is now a political reporter for MinnPost. He frequently quotes and links to this site, for which we would be grateful if MinnPost had more traffic and if his references to us were more accurate.” For my part, I apologize for apparently not scrolling farther down the site, and I’m flattered John cares enough to describe me, inaccurately, as a “political reporter” to all you rich liberals.

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Comments (17)

  1. Submitted by Joseph Skar on 08/16/2011 - 07:23 am.

    Brian – What is your title news analyst, political commentator or reporter?

  2. Submitted by Tim Walker on 08/16/2011 - 09:09 am.

    Brian’s title?

    How about pixel-stained wretch?


  3. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 08/16/2011 - 09:14 am.

    Seriously, I think Powerline is really some Rich Liberal parody. You can’t make it up. Re-read Hinderaker’s attack on MinnPost…it’s “almost entirely false and demagogic”.

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/16/2011 - 09:30 am.

    The Power Line folks are just typical “conservatives” who accuse their opponents of what they know to be true of themselves and their own audience (while denying that such is the case).

    Somehow I suspect there are less than a dozen major supporters who, if they pulled their support, could shut down “Power Line” in the twinkling of an eye or replace it’s primary pundits.

    As to the Republicans wanting something different… I don’t see how the current infatuation with Rick Perry is anything but the desire for MORE of the same:

    for a return of the good old days of the Bush/Cheney regime when “deficits don’t matter” was the order of the day (as long as you’re punishing the poor and enriching the rich with government policies and government money).

    What the Republican base doesn’t seem to realize (or doesn’t even care about) is that, for the general public, those rose-colored glasses still firmly glued to faces of the 30% or so who still worship at the altar of “W” fell off their faces during Hurricane Katrina and it’s aftermath,…

    and suddenly the unnecessary, massively expensive, and unfunded war in Iraq was revealed for the deadly, jingoistic, outrageously expensive debacle that it was, (as Joshua, the supercomputer at the end of the movie “War Games” comments, “the only winning move” in THAT game would have been “not to play”)…

    the shameful neglect of the more justifiable war in Afghanistan – a war we had substantially won until we pulled massive numbers of troops out in order to send them to Iraq and, thereby, let the Taliban reassert itself through much of Afghanistan,…

    and the way Bushco’s massive neglect of its duty to enforce existing laws which regulated the financial markets led directly to the wost financial collapse since the great depression and necessitated that we, the average taxpayers, be placed on the hook for bailing out and vampire squids of Wall Street who had just ripped us all off so completely,…

    all came into focus and we couldn’t wait for Bush and Cheney to hit the road.

    Running Gov. Perry will do nothing but convince the general public that the GOP is trying to accomplish a third term for Bushco, and we’re NOT EVEN REMOTELY interested in going back to the badly-managed, pathetic mess that led to our diminished standards of living and the massive deficits we’re now suffering from that “W” represents for us (no matter how much “W” looks like the “good old days” to “conservative” Republicans).

    Former Gov. Pawlenty’s primary problem, other than making it far too clear that he was willing to sell his soul to whomever he might need to in order to become the GOP nominee, was that he seemed completely incapable of speaking passionately on any subject.

    He was quite good at saying the right things, but he was absolutely incapable of foaming at the mouth, sending spittle flying, or looking at least mildly crazy (especially around the eyes) while saying them.

    At this point in time, the Republican base WANTS (at least mildly) crazy candidates and Tim just couldn’t pull that off.

  5. Submitted by Jim Camery on 08/16/2011 - 10:03 am.

    I’m rich and liberal?

  6. Submitted by Sara Fleets on 08/16/2011 - 10:35 am.

    I must laugh at the “rich liberal” label as I paid for much of my $10.10 worth of groceries at Cub yesterday by putting coins into the self service checkout. Pretty sure those waiting in line behind me would disagree with the label.

  7. Submitted by Howard Salute on 08/16/2011 - 10:45 am.

    Insurance companies are all about putting a dollar value on their risk/probablility of loss. And I speculate that, prior to the shot being taken, the risk of loss was the same whether it was Nick or Nate taking the shot. Pay this kids!

  8. Submitted by Brian Lambert on 08/16/2011 - 11:31 am.

    Joseph: Regarding my title here at MinnPost … I have none at the moment. But I’m open to ideas. Personally, I’d like something that implies the messianic zealotry of David Koresh with the impervious certainty of someone like Sean Hannity. Feel free to offer your suggestions.

  9. Submitted by James Hamilton on 08/16/2011 - 11:35 am.

    It’s interesting that a boy who essentially cheated at the outset is seen as the victim of a heartless insurance company. How would people feel, I wonder, if he’d purloined the recent winning Powerball ticket?

  10. Submitted by James Hamilton on 08/16/2011 - 11:39 am.

    re: Gov. Pawlenty:

    The Globe’s piece is a good illustration of the perspective missed by not having followed a politician day after day for a decade or more.

  11. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 08/16/2011 - 11:42 am.

    PowerLine? Weren’t they the boys who felt “the presence of greatness” when President Bush entered the room? Are they still around?

  12. Submitted by scott cantor on 08/16/2011 - 12:29 pm.

    The story I want to read is: what was Pawlenty’s pay-off for quitting the race? There’s the public narrative that he, in a deeply introspective moment, realized that fundraising would become even more difficult and that he wanted to quit while it was still a positive experience for him blah blah blah.

    But let’s get real here. Who was he going to be a continued spoiler for if he stayed in, if even for another month? And how much did they need him to quit? My guess is that he would still shave a few points off of Romney, either directly or through people being undecided. I guess we’ll find out when he announces his next job in a few weeks and trace back the affiliation of his new patron.

  13. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 08/16/2011 - 12:49 pm.

    Is the insurance company that refuses to pay the $50,000 won fair and square by a mere boy a health insurer?

    Which would mean these boys are getting an early introduction to how insurers make such big profits: They employ over two million Denial Specialists across the United States whose work consists of finding reasons — any reasons, good or bad or patently insane — to deny payment of claims or coverage of any kind to people they fear may get sick.

    This tactic helped the country’s ten largest insurance companies gain pretty much complete control of the market in each state AND to increase their profits by 428% from 2001-2007.

    The boys should take this company to court.

  14. Submitted by Roy Everson on 08/16/2011 - 01:25 pm.

    I think by “rich liberal” they mean submissive and respectful, or something like that.

    BTW, what Republicans are looking for is a good-looking woman who supports policies that are essentially anti-women, so that they can get a pass from the low-information voters who will marvel at how “progressive” they are. And for extra credit, veep will be a black or hispanic conservative whose views are pro-rich, anti-poor, anti-immigrant and thinly veiled anti-Islamic bigotry. Unfortunately for the GOP, the only candidates who thus far fit those profiles aren’t ready for prime time.

  15. Submitted by Robert Langford on 08/16/2011 - 02:41 pm.

    I would like to know the name of that insurance company so that I can decide on whether they are good guys or bad guys when they make their final decision. Is there a reason there name is not used?

  16. Submitted by will lynott on 08/16/2011 - 03:23 pm.

    Don’t be so hard on the Globe. They got the chump part right.

  17. Submitted by will lynott on 08/16/2011 - 09:48 pm.

    I shouldn’t be, I suppose, but I’m still surprised when someone, this time the Albert Lea rag’s editorial board, complains that “for starters, nothing managed from Washington is particularly efficient or successful.”

    Naw, that federal highway system, the military services, the air traffic control system, FDA oversight of food and pharmaceutical quality, the Veterans Administration, the space program, national weather forecasting and storm tracking, medicare, social security–those sure are poster children for waste and inefficiency in government, aren’t they?

    Is it possible to outlaw willful ignorance? Because if it is, I think we should do it.

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