Excuse me? New Gophers football coach Jerry Kill, with a 1-6 record, has been signed to a new … seven-year contract. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reports: “Kill had been coaching without a signed contract. He signed a memorandum of agreement when he was hired in December, but unresolved details of the contract prevented the signing for more than 10 months. Minnesota is 1-6 and has been outscored 144-31 in three Big Ten losses. So it’s odd timing for a seven-year contract extension. But the Gophers have faith that Jerry Kill can rebuild the struggling program … The two parties originally discussed a five-year contract, but two years have been added to the final deal. ‘This contract represents a significant commitment to coach Kill and our belief in his vision for Gopher football,’ athletic director Joel Maturi said in a prepared statement. ‘He has proved over the past 10 months what a great fit he is at the University of Minnesota’ … Minnesota is 1-6 in Kill’s first season and has dropped each of its first three Big Ten games by 27 points or more. … Kill’s initial contract announced in December included a salary of $1.1 million, with $800,000 in athletic performance and academic incentives.”
Paul Walsh at the Strib adds: “The new deal also includes a buyout of $600,000 per season for each year unfulfilled. There are also numerous performance-based incentives including winning the Big Ten ($150,000), reaching five conference victories ($50,000) and additional bonuses of $25,000 for the sixth and subsequent victories in a season. There are also bonuses spelled out based on the team’s academic achievements.” Let’s just say I would make a terrible athletic director.
Speaking of … football. Walsh also has some of the gory details behind Viking player Chris Cook’s arrest last week: “Shortly after 1:40 a.m. Saturday, police were called to Cook’s home concerning a domestic assault complaint. Police located a woman sitting on the living room floor, crying and holding the right side of her head. Her nose was bleeding. She told officers that Cook, her boyfriend of 10 months, had assaulted and tried to strangle her because she had spoken to a former boyfriend. She said that Cook grabbed her, swung her onto a bed and choked her. She said she grabbed Cook’s long hair to free herself. When she stood up, Cook struck her on the side of the head, sending her into a wall. She fled to the living room, where Cook again tried to ‘inhibit [her] breathing by squeezing her neck with his hand,’ the complaint read.” He’s no Ben Roethlisberger, but he seems close.
Of course Minnesota would be “ … on the high side of average.” Chris Newmarker at Finance & Commerce covered today’s “Jobs Summit” and reports: “Judy Poferl, president and CEO of Northern States Power Co., was one of four executives participating in a “Minnesota Jobs in the Global Economy” panel this morning at the Job Summit that Gov. Mark Dayton convened in St. Paul. … one of the other panelists asked her about the cost of electricity, and how that was helping or hurting businesses. Poferl’s response was that rates in Minnesota are competitive, ‘on the high side of average.’ If rates are higher than other places, it’s only because utilities (partly because of state regulations) have spent a lot to diversify power sources. Minnesota has coal, gas and nuclear power sources, and is ramping up wind farms. ‘We’re not dependent on any one fuel. We have a very diverse supply,’ Poferl said.”
What? Nebraskans think we are boring? A Strib piece by Wendy Lee looks at our tourism challenges: “The North Star State is boring. Unsophisticated. Downright old-fashioned. And that assessment comes from residents in neighboring Michigan, Illinois and Nebraska. In places farther away such as Dallas, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, the perception gets even worse. ‘We think we’re fun and exciting. They think we’re dullsville,’ said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism, the group that funded the study. Changing Americans’ attitudes about Minnesota won’t be easy. Only 22 percent said they would consider traveling to Minnesota in the next two years, according to the national survey of 844 people.” Yeah, and I’m on the next plane to North Platte.
Oops. The FDA is not cool with Medtronic’s heated catheter. The AP story says: “Federal health regulators say an experimental catheter from Medtronic Inc. that uses extreme heat to correct irregular heartbeats caused safety side effects in nearly one-fifth of patients treated, far exceeding the study’s safety goal. Medtronic has asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve its device for atrial fibrillation, which causes the heart’s upper chambers beat rapidly and ineffectively. About 2.2 million adults in the U.S. have the condition, which accounts for about 15 percent of strokes, according to the American Heart Association. … In a review posted online Tuesday, FDA reviewers said about 56 percent of patients treated with the catheter saw their heart problem corrected. But FDA regulators note that more than 21 percent of those patients experienced a serious side effect shortly after the procedure, including stroke, heart failure and pneumonia.”
Also from the Strib’s Wendy Lee: “Delta Air Lines, the largest carrier at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, will pay off a loan it owes to the Metropolitan Airports Commission, freeing it of its job commitments to Minnesota. The commission said the airline plans to pay off the $175 million loan this week. Delta has previously said that it will move several hundred training and technical jobs from Minnesota to Atlanta to save money and that is seen as a catalyst for the loan repayment. But the decision to pay off the loan spurs fears that Delta will eventually whittle away at its Minnesota presence. The airline has said it is committed to its Minneapolis-St. Paul hub. ‘We’re very committed to Minnesota,’ said Delta’s CEO Richard Anderson on a conference call on Tuesday. ‘We made a lot of investments there and we will continue to make a lot of investments there.’ ” I believe George Steinbrenner said exactly the same thing to Billy Martin.
Best Buy will ship for free all of its holiday gifts you buy online. Tom Webb of the PiPress says: “Best Buy today unveiled free holiday shipping on everything purchased at its website, BestBuy.com, during the eight weeks leading up to Christmas. For the Richfield-based consumer electronics retailer, the offer raises the bar on what promises to be a fiercely competitive season. During last year’s disappointing season, Best Buy offered free shipping on some items, but for a shorter time and with many exclusions, like appliances. This year’s free-shipping offer includes all of the 400,000-plus items at BestBuy.com, if purchased between Nov. 1 and Dec. 27. There is no minimum purchase required.”
Currently, there are no skid loaders on the Best Buy web site. But Matt Peterson at the Austin Daily Herald writes: “Jake Stier will soon find out if he is the fastest man in the U.S. — in a skid loader. New Holland Construction announced that Stier, of Racine, Minn., is one of 32 semi-finalists who will compete at the New Holland Construction North American Skid Steer Championship Oct. 27 at the 2011 Green Industry and Equipment Expo in Louisville, Ky. Stier works for Stier Farm in Racine. He will face off against the best compact equipment operators in the nation in a series of skill-testing challenges using a New Holland Construction skid loader. Of more than 2,000 participants who competed in New Holland Construction Super Boom Road Show events across the U.S. and Canada this year, Stier and the other semi-finalists will battle for the title of North American Skid Steer Champion and the grand prize of a new, fully loaded New Holland Construction 200 Series skid loader — valued at $35,000, plus $5,000 and New Holland Construction gear.” Oh, baby, I want one of those things so bad …
Today in Bachmannia: I think Our Gal needs some chill time on a beach. Amanda Marcotte at Slate writes: “Michele Bachmann noticed Herman Cain’s surging poll numbers and decided she wanted a little bit of the ol’ Cain magic. The Cain-owned territory she intends to poach? Incoherent babbling on abortion rights! The conventional wisdom is that constantly shifting around, directly contradicting yourself, and hedging your bets on abortion rights is a political misfire, but I disagree with the conventional wisdom on this. Logical consistency on an issue that’s dictated by a mish-mash of paranoia about female sexuality and 8th-grade-style existential crisis is way overrated. Still, Bachmann may have stepped in it this time by seeming a tad cavalier on an issue she’s made central to her campaign. Bachmann claimed in Iowa to be a ‘leave it to the states’ anti-choicer, which tends to fly in the face of her previous stances and actions supporting federal restrictions on abortion, including her introduction of a federal bill that would force women seeking abortion to undergo a medically unnecessary vaginal probe ultrasound. Worse for her, she embraced this states-should-decide argument on late term abortion, anti-choice protesters’ very favorite kind of abortion to freak out over, even though they are exponentially more likely than early term abortions to be medically indicated. She even said that it’s up to the states on video, making it hard for her to walk back from it, though she’s certainly trying.”
Also, at Talking Points Memo, Evan McMorris-Santoro grades the second-tier/”Minor Leagues” of GOP presidential candidates, which, of course, includes you-know-who. Of her he writes: “Bachmann, the tea party superstar from Minnesota, came into the race with a bang. She then saw her campaign collapse shortly thereafter. Bachmann has failed to grab the support of either of her natural bases. Tea party types seem to be flocking to Cain, while the religious conservatives who she’s been close to since before there was a tea party don’t seem too interested anymore. On that rickety foundation, Bachmann built a campaign that is much more soap opera script (or SNL sketch) than halfway credible political organization.
Entered the race: June 13, 2011
Best moment: Winning the Ames Straw Poll
Worst Moment: Every other moment
Best Quote: “Before we get started, let’s all say ‘Happy Birthday’ to Elvis Presley today.” [On the day he died.]
Endorsed by God?: “I can tell you, yes, I’ve had that calling and that tugging on my heart that this is the right thing to do.”
TPM Grade: D. Honestly, no one expected Bachmann to get the nomination, but no one expected she’d lose tea partiers.