MnSCU administrators are taking heat from union employees over what the latter are calling “bonuses.” Don Davis of the Forum papers writes: “Union members Tuesday particularly blasted a $50,000 payment made to Chancellor James McCormack after he retired this summer, but also criticized other high-level system workers and campus presidents’ extra pay. While MnSCU officials said the payments are part of their salaries, made when all job expectations are met, union workers called them bonuses that are not proper when staff and faculty are being laid off.”
The big Pagami Creek fire up north got some rain Tuesday, and MPR’s Tom Robinson says outfitters are still seeing business: “About 40 miles east of Ely, Bill Hansen runs Sawbill Canoe Outfitters on the southern edge of the Boundary Waters area. Last week, the Sawbill was in the direct line of the fire, and for a while things looked bleak, he said. But the rain is easing his concerns, and today the place is open for business for the first time in eight days. … Even though some campers might stay away for awhile because of the fire, Hansen expects others will be curious to see the fire damage and the gradual rejuvenation of the forest. ‘Our experience from the big Gunflint fires is that the business builds back fairly quickly,’ he said. ‘There’s definitely a downturn the year or two after a devastating fire, but then everything turns green again. It’s a different kind of forest but it has its own beauty and people very quickly adapt.’ “
At the Minnesota Daily, David Steinberg is the latest to swat at GOP candidates running against science: “With one irresponsible comment, [Michele] Bachmann managed to contradict every reputable medical organization. What’s most surprising, however, is that despite insisting she is not a scientist or doctor, she feels the need to speak with the same authority. … And earlier in this election cycle, [Rick] Perry said that evolution is another ‘theory that’s out there,’ that it has ‘gaps in it,’ and that they teach both evolution and intelligent design in Texas’ schools. One should consider, however, that only one of these concepts actually has evidence in its favor, and only one is based on scientific fact.”
Oh, and you need to know that the point of Our Favorite Congresswoman posing with butchered cattle and carving ribeyes Tuesday was to complain about … gummint regulation. Thomas Beaumont of the AP writes: “Bachmann says, as do most of those in the GOP field, that a lightened regulatory load would allow employers to spend money on expansion rather than federal compliance. But the Minnesota congresswoman is the first to focus the argument on the food-processing industry. ‘That’s part of the problem, the overkill,’ Bachmann told reporters during an appearance in which she posed with huge slabs of beef. ‘And when they make it complicated, they make it expensive and so then you can no longer stay in business.’ The Agriculture Department said expanding testing of E. coli in meat from one strain to seven would hasten recalls of tainted products and help officials identify more foodborne illnesses. However, the meat industry opposed the move as too expensive without enough benefit.” Besides, if someone in your family dies of E. coli, you still have the right to sue, assuming you can hire a good trial lawyer.
Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald has a couple of new heroes: “Steven Miles and Arthur Caplan are my new heroes. They should be yours, too — if you hold the radical opinion that facts matter. Dr. Miles, a University of Minnesota bioethicist, offered $1,000 to charity if Michele Bachmann can prove a link she suggested between vaccinations for human papillomavirus and intellectual disability. Dr. Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bioethics, upped the ante on Miles’ offer, adding $10,000 of his own. …the fact is, facts don’t matter much to Bachmann. She is the avatar of a slimy ethos newly prominent in American politics and life. It is the elevation of end over means, the binding of conscience and the gagging of integrity. It is permission to say whatever outrageous thing will give you advantage, to lie your natural backside off if it will win the argument. Facts? True believers don’t need no stinking facts.”
At the take-no-prisoners lesbian site, Autostraddle, blogger Riese writes: “We are officially at the point in this bizarre campaign when absolutely every word that comes out of Michele Bachmann’s mouth is probably total [bleep]. Amazingly enough, her former supporters are pulling their heads out of their asses, checking the weather, and running vigorously away from her collapsing campaign. The most recent USA Today/Gallup Poll shows Bachmann plummeting from 10 percent in August to a measly 5 percent this time around. … She seems unfazed by the abysmal past week of her campaign — starting with the backlash to her outrageous and catastrophically irresponsible claim that the HPV Vaccine causes mental retardation … which inspired even Mary Matalin (Bachmann’s co-star in the triumphant documentary film ‘From the Heartland’) to declare that Bachmann ‘is in perilous danger of branding herself batty.’ ” That Matalin, always months ahead of the curve.
Oh, and in the realm of “How Much Worse Can It Get?” Our Gal is now down to 4% … in South Carolina. Kevin Diaz of the Strib says: “The poll of South Carolina Republicans and independents who lean Republican found that Rick Perry — who entered the race for the GOP nod during an appearance in the Palmetto State — leads Mitt Romney by 30.5% to 27.3% — within the margin of error. Bachmann registered at 4.2 percent, behind Godfather’s Pizza guy Herman Cain, at 6.8 percent. (Undeclared Sarah Palin also did better in the poll at 6.3 percent). … South Carolina, with its strong base of evangelical voters, was once seen as fertile ground for Bachmann. According to the Winthrop poll, almost 75 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners there say the term ‘Socialist’ describes the president well or very well; 36% say he was definitely or probably born in another country; and nearly 30% say Obama’s a Muslim.” If those kinds of numbers don’t scream “Michele’s People,” I don’t know what does.
The defense wanted a mistrial in the Seward triple homicide case. David Hanners of the PiPress reports: “The defense attorney for triple-murder defendant Mahdi Ali asked for a mistrial Monday, claming a homicide detective’s offhand remark during her testimony was improper and prejudicial. Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said that although ‘it would’ve been better’ had the detective not made the comment, he denied the motion … Prosecutors had called Minneapolis Police Sgt. Ann Kjos to the witness stand to testify about the early leads police had received in the Jan. 6, 2010, slayings of three people at Seward Market & Halal Meat … She said … ‘After seeing the video…I believed at that time that Abdisalan [Ali] was not one of the two people who entered the market’ with the intent of robbing and killing three people, she testified. Defense attorney Frederick Goetz immediately objected, and the judge told jurors they must draw their own conclusions about who is depicted in the video. Kjos’ testimony continued, but after the judge sent the jury of seven men and five women and an alternate home for the day, Goetz made his motion for a mistrial. He argued that the detective’s testimony speculated about something she couldn’t know: the intruders’ intent.”
The Strib’s Mary Abbe is impressed with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ near-term calendar: “Ancient Chinese warriors, Rembrandt portraits, sports photos, Japanese pop art and a dash of Stephen Colbert’s ‘truthiness.’ That’s the dazzling menu of populist and high culture that the Minneapolis Institute of Arts will serve up in the next 19 months. The five shows announced Tuesday signal the ambition of a museum that is aiming to muscle into the American art scene’s top league.”