Eric Kaler’s inauguration as the U of M’s president was anticipated not just for the pomp and formalities but for hints from him of where he intends to lead the sprawling school. At MPR, Tim Post writes: “The focus of Kaler’s speech was on the hard work he sees in changing how things operate at the U of M. He promised to cut administration costs every year. And he called for the U to re-examine everything it does in order to find more efficiencies. ‘In every aspect of university operations, we need to question what we do. We need to see if it has the intended outcome, if we could do it better, or not at all.’ Kaler offered a blunt message to faculty: Pick up the pace and do better work. ‘To my faculty colleagues, your work drives this university. But if your research is stale, if your classroom is boring, if your community engagement is ineffective, you must reinvent yourself or frankly, step aside,’ he said. … Kaler also called for greater collaboration between the university and Minnesota businesses. And he pleaded with alumni and others to give more of their time, and their money, to support the U of M.” Businesses’ most productive contribution to the U may be in aggressive lobbying in St. Paul.
At the Strib, Jenna Ross blogs: “Kaler also called for a change in culture — ‘a re-set that drives us to be more entrepreneurial, less risk-averse and better partners. ‘We must reduce bureaucracy, focus on shared values and, as you have heard me say before, pick up the pace.’ “
Dag blame it, there’s hog rustlin’ down on the border! Kyle Munson of the Des Moines Register reports on large-scale bacon thievery: “Hundreds of little piggies have disappeared from confinements here, with hundreds more also snatched from at least two counties in southern Minnesota. No clear connections have been made thus far between the various cases, and no rustlers have been arrested in either state. City dwellers reading this over their breakfast bacon might assume that a hundred hogs more or less seems a statistical pittance compared with the 19 million beasts that dwarf Iowa’s human population, making us the No. 1 pork-producing state in the nation. But trust me that these farmers don’t appreciate tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of ham hoofing it out the door.” I say we organize a posse …
Former GOP gubernatorial candidate and now talk radio host Tom Emmer can breathe a bit easier. Brian Bakst of the AP says: “A lawsuit accusing Republican Tom Emmer of legal malpractice has been tossed out about a year after it became a distraction late in his Minnesota gubernatorial campaign. Emmer’s allies were incensed by the lawsuit, which became public about three weeks before the election. Schwartz called it a “shakedown” and others worried it would inflict political damage even if the case ultimately went away. Roofing company owner Steven Hackbarth had argued that Emmer put up a shoddy defense for him in a 2009 civil case. Emmer was the lawyer for Hackbarth Enterprise Corp. in a case where Hackbarth was a separately named defendant. In that case, Hackbarth was hit with a $30,000 judgment for not paying for roofing supplies; he didn’t fulfill the judgment, so the state revoked his contractor’s license.”
The website of Heavy Duty Trucking magazine reports on a judge’s order admonishing the Minnesota Highway Patrol: “A judge has issued orders telling the Minnesota State Patrol how to change its practices in order to stop violating truckers’ Fourth Amendment rights with its fatigue enforcement program. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association had sued the MSP, alleging that the patrol’s roadside inspections to determine fatigue violated truckers’ Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. In January, a judge ruled in favor of OOIDA, but left it up to both sides in the lawsuit to work out, under mediation, how the program would be changed. They weren’t able to reach an agreement. So on Wednesday, Sept. 21, U.S. District Judge Donovan W. Frank issued a court order. The judge’s final order enjoins the state patrol from violating the Fourth Amendment Rights of [plaintiff Stephen] House and members of OOIDA and from modifying the current General Order that governs the fatigue enforcement program.” I shouldn’t have let my subscription lapse — the 18-wheeler of the month was always a knock-out.
Our Favorite Congresswoman’s “struggles” with medical veracity vis a vis the HPV has been goosed back up by one of the super PACs supporting her. Sarah Huisenga at CBS News reports: “A new ad created by a political action committee supporting Michele Bachmann reiterates the GOP presidential candidate’s controversial assertion that the cancer-preventing HPV vaccine is dangerous, despite abundant scientific research showing the claim to be false. The ad, created by the independent super PAC calling itself Keep Conservatives United, hits Texas Gov. Rick Perry for his 2007 executive order mandating that girls entering the sixth grade receive the HPV vaccine, which prevents cervical cancer later in life. ‘Rick Perry says his vaccine mandate on young girls was about cancer,’ the ad begins. It goes on to say, ‘Only doctors opposed Perry’s order for safety reasons.’ ” There’s a link to the ad.
I guess we should be grateful the Strib cares enough to speak up for the USDA’s food safety regulations, but really, did anyone take Ms. Bachmann seriously on that one? The paper editorializes: “University of Minnesota infectious-disease expert Mike Osterholm says there’s no question that the USDA measure is an improvement in food safety, though he rightly says that a much more effective step is needed: irradiation. As for Bachmann, this is the second time she’s displayed startling disregard for public-health safeguards. She recently denounced the HPV vaccine after one unvetted account about a side effect. Now, food safety equals big-government intrusion? That may fly with ideologues, but it only raises further questions about Bachmann’s broader appeal.” Not to be presumptuous, but I kind of think all our “further questions” about Congresswoman Bachmann were answered several years ago.
Quite the police action and traffic tie-up on 394 Thursday. Paul Walsh and Kelly Smith of the Strib report: “A Golden Valley police officer shot and killed an armed motorist along Interstate 394 near the Minnetonka border Thursday afternoon during a traffic stop, backing up vehicles on the busy west-metro highway for hours, officials said. The officer stopped the car shortly after 1 p.m. on westbound I-394 near Hopkins Crossroad, Golden Valley police said. The driver, a woman traveling alone, had a handgun and was shot dead by the officer, police said. … As Jessica Brown of Plymouth drove home, she was stuck in traffic that was at a standstill on westbound I-394. Brown pulled over to see the scene and was alarmed that a shooting had occurred on the busy road. ‘It shouldn’t be happening over here,’ Brown said. ‘I mean, hello — we’re by Minnetonka.’ “
If you have a thing for sheer homicidal craziness, read Dan Nienaber’s Mankato Free Press story about a murder trial involving a Russian Internet bride, Easter baskets and something like out-of-body travel: “Joel Munt told a jury there were only two things that seemed real 18 months ago as something he described as “It” shot his ex-wife, Svetlana Munt, to death while their three young children watched. Those two things were the bloodied face of his youngest son, Matthew, and ‘the look of pure hatred that was on (Svetlana’s) face as she grabbed for the gun.’ … Munt said he never planned to kill Svetlana Munt when he left his residence in Burnsville the morning of the shootings. After watching the start of a movie with his fiancee, he packed up his ‘visitation box’ full of Bible lessons, music, art supplies and snacks for his three young children, Joan, Marvin and Matthew. Munt said he always arrived early for his weekly two-hour visitations, which shifted between the CADA House in Mankato and another facility in Belle Plaine. … He said he didn’t recognize Svetlana Munt’s car in front of them before he somehow left his body and became a bystander as ‘It’ took over. ‘It’s hard to describe it,’ he said. ‘It was like being pushed aside or ejected from your body.’ ” I suspect he and “It” will be sharing a cell.
Say what? Buttoned-down General Mills has hired Cheech and Chong to hype their “magic” brownies? Tom Webb of the PiPress says: “The stars of 1980s stoner comedies are featured in a funny promotion for Fiber One brownies, a new high-fiber snack targeted at aging baby boomers. The online-only commercial resembles a movie trailer, and the twist comes at the end: the ‘magic’ ingredient turns out to be fiber, not marijuana. ‘Fiber — because now that you’re getting older, you need a new kind of magic from your brownies,’ the announcer says. Cheech’s response: ‘This is the weirdest movie ever, man.’ The ad campaign began when the General Mills marketing team was brainstorming about the June launch of Fiber One brownies. When a New York ad agency, Modem, floated the magic brownie concept, ‘We loved the idea and that’s kind of where we started,’ said Jim Wilson, a General Mills marketing manager.”