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Dayton says Sen. Hann is holding up $25M in federal funds

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Franken op-ed defends net neutrality; Bachmann suggests Coolidge for Mount Rushmore; DNR shakeup; deer hunt numbers down; Dayton urges stadium action — again; and more.
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Gov. Dayton is accusing one guy of holding up $25 million in health care money. Don Davis of the Forum papers writes: “Dayton this morning criticized Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, for blocking the state from getting federal funds for programs ranging from regulating water wells to those that would keep elderly Minnesotans in their homes longer. The Democratic governor called Hann’s action ‘undemocratic and unconscionable.’ Hann had no immediate comment. The senator is a member of the Legislative Advisory Commission and requested more information about some federal programs, a request that under state law stopped the state from receiving the federal money.” Later, Hann responded, saying “he was merely exercising legislative oversight. He said Dayton’s comments were ‘irrational,’ ” the Strib reported. “Dayton said Hann, as a member of the Legislative Advisory Commission, which reviews expenditures and grants between Legislative sessions, asked for ‘further review’ of $25 million in federal funds granted to the state over a five-year period.”

Al Franken has a commentary up on the Huffington Post alerting readers to the latest assault on net neutrality, the arcane but vital concept of a “free” Internet: “In a procedural move, Senate Republicans are trying to overturn the rules that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put in place late last year to help protect net neutrality — the simple idea that all content and applications on the Internet should be treated the same, regardless of who owns the content or the website. The House already pushed through this dangerous legislation, which would effectively turn control of the Internet over to a handful of very powerful corporations. … Last year, the FCC took action to protect net neutrality, establishing a set of rules designed to preserve the status quo — the rules under which YouTube and thousands of other start-ups flourished. While those rules didn’t do nearly as much as I would have liked to protect consumers, encourage innovation, and keep the Internet fully free, they at least laid a foundation to preserve the basic principles of net neutrality. These are the rules Republicans in the House have already voted to overturn.”

Today in Bachmannia: Our Gal would add … Calvin Coolidge … to Mount Rushmore, if she could? Amy Bingham of ABC News writes: “When asked which former president should be the fifth face on Mt. Rushmore, Bachmann passed over GOP-darling Ronald Reagan in favor of James Garfield, America’s 20th president. Ronald Reagan would be a good choice, but I think that Garfield was the last member who was from the House of Representatives who became president of the United States,’ said Bachmann, who is serving her fourth term in the House. ‘And he was a very wonderful man.’ Garfield was in office a mere 200 days before he was assassinated in 1881, making his term the second-shortest in American history. Only William Henry Harrison, the ninth president, served a shorter term at 32 days. Bachmann also singled out Calvin Coolidge as Mt. Rushmore-worthy, ‘because Calvin Coolidge was able to get the United States budget way on track and he really was a taking care of business kind of guy.’ ”

A bit more significantly, in the same interview, Our Favorite Congresswoman expressed her thoughts on dealing with a nuclear Iran: “As Israel flirts with the possibility of using military force against Iran, GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said if elected she would stand with America’s ally and consider ‘every military option’ to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. ‘As president of the United States I will stand with Israel’, Bachmann said in an interview today with ABC News/Yahoo. ‘I will not do as this president has done and put daylight between the United States and Israel. That was a foolish decision. I also will put every military option we have on the table to deal with an Iran that seeks a nuclear weapon.’ Bachmann said President Obama has ‘taken his eye off the ball’ when it comes to Iran’s nuclear aspirations and created ‘tremendous heightened hostilities’ in the Middle East by distancing America from Israel. ‘The president has failed the American people in perhaps almost every way the president could,’ she said.” Let’s imagine, for a moment, President Bachmann in conversation with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“Last month”? John Myers at the Duluth News Tribune reports on the reassigning of two top DNR officials … a couple weeks ago: “The state’s top two foresters were removed from their jobs last month in a major shakeup at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said Dave Epperly, Forestry Division director, will be transferred within the division while Bob Tomlinson, assistant director, was transferred into the DNR’s Division of Lands and Minerals. The changes were announced to DNR staff but weren’t made public at the time. … Landwehr said some of the changes, including moving from two to one assistant division directors, began before he became commissioner early this year. But he added that a change in leadership was needed, especially to more quickly get timber from state lands through the pipeline to loggers and mills.”

The state’s deer hunt isn’t bagging as many animals as experts expected. Sam Cook at the News Tribune writes: “[T]he deer kill across Northeastern Minnesota appears to be down from last year. Minnesota’s 16-day firearms deer season opened Saturday and continues through Nov. 20. Typically, 65 percent of the total kill occurs during the first three days of the season. ‘We’re down quite a bit. It seems like everyone is,’ said Rob Parrott of the Bear’s Den in Twig. The shop processes deer for hunters. ‘We’ve got 120 right now,’ Parrott said Tuesday morning. ‘Last year at this time, we had over 200.’ ”

Stadium Watch: Tim Pugmire at MPR notes Dayton is demanding the GOP take up the issue directly: “Dayton said it’s time for them to show some leadership, because several thousand of private, sector construction jobs are on the line. During a news conference Tuesday, the governor told reporters he was mystified by some lawmakers’ reluctance to move forward on a stadium bill before the next regular session begins in January.  … Dayton said he favors an expansion of pull-tab gambling to help finance the stadium, along with taxes of tickets and memorabilia. He said the proposed use of legacy funds is a bad idea.” Well, thank you for that.

Bob Sansevere at the PiPress interviews legendary St. John’s coach John Gagliardi on the sex abuse scandal at Penn State: “BS: If, as reported, Joe Paterno is forced to step down at Penn State do you think the circumstances will overshadow his career? Or that, in time, what people will remember is the success he had on the field? JG: Well, that’s what I hope. I don’t know the whole story. I understand Paterno told his boss what happened. I just hate anything to happen to him. I’d hate anything to happen to all those poor kids. That’s the saddest part of all. It’s beyond belief, absolutely beyond belief. There’s so many ways they could have stopped it, I guess. Who knows what the hell they thought? How could you believe a guy you worked with for 30 years would be involved in this? I understand the guy was married. How does a guy who’s married and went out of his way to take care of needy kids, how the hell could you suspect that guy? Those kind of monsters, they should have a new penalty for them, something that would be horrible because of the way they scar people and families.”

David Pitt of the AP files a report on the latest multimillion-dollar judgment against Wells Fargo … this time for bid-rigging government contracts: “Wells Fargo & Co. said Tuesday it has agreed to pay at least $37 million in a lawsuit which alleges several banks rigged bidding competitions to win business from state and local governments. Banks help municipalities invest the money they raise from bond offerings to earn interest before paying for projects. They compete by submitting to state and local governments the best yield they can offer. The lawsuit alleges several banks rigged the process and deprived governments of a true competitive process that would produce the best returns on their investments.” I’m not certain, but I don’t think my credit union is exposed in quite that way.