House DFLers: Enough with the tobacco bonds already!

MORNING EDITION

Enough with borrowing against the tobacco money, say a few Minnesota DFLers. Bill Salisbury at the PiPress writes: “House Democrats on Monday urged Republican lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton to quit borrowing from future tobacco company payments to plug holes in the state budget. Last week, the state borrowed $640 million by selling tobacco bonds to help balance the current state budget. The state will pay $576 million in interest over the 20-year life of the bonds with proceeds from a 1998 tobacco settlement. With another budget deficit likely next year, House Taxes Committee Chair Greg Davids, R-Preston, said last week that lawmakers probably will look at more tobacco bonds to fix the state’s money problems. ‘We reject any idea of using appropriation bonds to solve any more state budget deficits,’ Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, said at a Capitol news conference. He and other DFLers said the money spent on interest could better be used for education, health care and other critical services.” Possibly. But has anyone asked the “job creators” at the banks how they feel about borrowing?

This sort of thing never happens with cyber-crime. Nicole Norfleet of the Strib reports: “Responding to an early morning burglar alarm at a south Minneapolis restaurant Monday, police found a man pushing a large object away from the building. It turned out to be the office safe. They also found the back door of Chris and Rob’s Chicago’s Taste Authority at 3101 E. 42nd St. pried open and several burglar tools, including a sledgehammer, strewn about the scene of the crime. Officers quickly arrested the 34-year-old St. Paul man, who has a history of criminal convictions including burglary.” That’s “convictions”, plural.

So … can we get a racino online? Interesting story from Baird Helgeson at the Strib on the state’s stealth Internet gambling business: “Without a single press release or announcement, the Minnesota State Lottery is nearly a year into an experiment to get more Minnesotans to gamble online through a subscription lottery service. Private online gambling is illegal in Minnesota and the state’s elected leaders have turned back various gambling expansion proposals and online gambling ventures. But in the waning months of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s administration, the Minnesota State Lottery took the first steps toward what could become a massive shift to Internet lottery play. Lottery officials are looking at the Internet to boost sales as more Minnesotans reject traditional lottery tickets and become more comfortable playing games and buying goods online. … The move has surprised some gambling critics. Several, including legislators, said they were deeply troubled by what they see as secrecy, aggressive tactics and a bypassing of legislative approval. ‘It’s reprehensible,’ said Assistant Senate Majority Leader David Hann, an Eden Prairie Republican who tried to abolish the lottery six years ago.”

Yeah, $525 million is a shocking number, in a corporate espionage-type case. Says the Strib’s Janet Moore: “Seagate Technology was awarded $525 million in an arbitration ruling following an action filed by a competitor and a former employee from Minnesota. Western Digital Corp., a computer hard-drive maker based in Irvine, Calif., said Monday it will fight the ruling. Disk drive maker Seagate is based in Cupertino, Calif., but has substantial operations in Bloomington and Shakopee. The case stems from a lawsuit filed by Seagate in Hennepin District Court in October 2006 against Western Digital and former employee Sining Mao, alleging misappropriation of confidential information and trade secrets. Mao, 48, was an engineering manager at Seagate before departing for Western Digital in October 2006, where he’s now a vice president. ‘I was shocked by the magnitude of the amount,’ said Mark Miller, an analyst with Noble Financial.”

You can take another $3 million out of Duluth’s budget. Dan Kraker at MPR reports: “The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has prevailed in its long-running dispute with the city of Duluth over revenue-sharing from the tribe’s downtown Fond-du-Luth Casino. Since 1986, the band has shared about $6 million in revenue annually with the city. Two years ago, the Band stopped making revenue sharing payments to the city. The city sued. The band argued their contract violated the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. In a decision Monday, federal district judge Susan Nelson agreed. She ruled the tribe did not have to continue sharing revenue for the next 25 years, as stipulated by the original contract. That’s left Duluth Mayor Don Ness puzzled. ‘How can an opinion by a political appointee undercut the foundation of a contract signed between two parties, and that opinion clearly benefits one party over another,’ Ness said.”

Are you a pro sports league? Are your owners and players suing each other? Then you need to get yourself to … Minnesota. First, the NFL — and now the NBA — decided to do its court battle here. Rachel Cohen of the AP writes: “After filing two separate antitrust lawsuits against the league in different states, NBA players are consolidating their efforts and have turned to the courts in Minnesota as their chosen venue. A group of named plaintiffs including Carmelo Anthony, Steve Nash and Kevin Durant filed an amended federal lawsuit against the league in Minnesota on Monday, hoping the courts there will be as favorable to them as they have been to NFL players in the past. The locked-out players filed class-action antitrust suits against the league last Tuesday in California and Minnesota. The California complaint was withdrawn Monday. ‘The likelihood was we’d get a faster result in Minnesota than California,’ players’ lawyer David Boies said. ‘I think the result would be the same.’ ” Yes, David Boies of Bush v. Gore.

Worst to first. Longtime Twins favorite Joe Nathan has signed with the Texas Rangers. The AP says: “Nathan, who turns 37 on Tuesday, missed the 2010 season following Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow and struggled to find his form with Minnesota this year. The four-time All-Star went 2-1 with a 4.84 ERA and 14 saves in 48 appearances, losing his job as closer early in the season before reclaiming it later.” You don’t need a saver when there’s so little to save.

Really, Officer, the 20,000 pumpkins? Fertilizer. And the courts bought it. Dave Orrick of the PiPress reports: “The Minnesota Court of Appeals has reversed the deer baiting conviction of a Hibbing farmer whose family had been cited at least twice for baiting deer with piles of pumpkins. The pumpkins, on a field within shooting range of deer stands, were fertilizer, the farmer-hunter and his attorney successfully argued. Today’s decision by the court declares a portion of Minnesota law that deals with illegal baiting ‘ambiguous’ and likely will prompt the legislature to revisit the law, a key lawmaker said. The case appears to negate — under certain circumstances — a portion of the state deer hunting regulations manual, which states: ‘Piling harvested pumpkins or other food from a food plot is one example of baiting.’ The Department of Natural Resources disagrees with the decision and is considering appealing it to the Minnesota Supreme Court, a spokesman said.” So when Boies is done with the NBA, maybe he can take State v. Pumpkin.

Today in Bachmannia: We all remember when Bill O’Reilly warned us that men would be marrying turtles if this gay marriage stuff didn’t stop. Well, not to be outdone, Our Gal’s Iowa co-chair, named Tamara Scott, warns that the Eiffel Tower is a more likely matrimonial attraction for those of the gay persuasion. The Huffington Post says: “In a new video, brought to our attention by RightWingWatch.org, Scott, who also serves as the director of Iowa’s Concern[ed] Women for America chapter, speaks with Bob Vander Plaats, the head of The Family Leader. The two worry that polyamory and ‘objective sexualism’ will run rampant if gay marriage becomes legal (or, in the case of Iowa, remains legal). RightWingWatch.org notes ‘last year [Scott] successfully fought to remove three justices from the Iowa Supreme Court after they legalized marriage equality in the state’ and that she has told supporters, ‘This is a battle for your future as Americans, for your future as a society and for your future someday when you stand before the Throne.’ ” And you wanna know something? That throne is looking pretty hot these days.

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/22/2011 - 08:13 am.

    Brian, you missed Shelly on Jimmy Fallon. Seriously, I’d be nervous if she were running for school board. The fact that she’s made it this far speaks volumes about the Republican party.

  2. Submitted by Abe Gurko on 11/22/2011 - 09:24 am.

    The fact that gay marriage is even part of the political conversation by Republicans in this election cycle proves how scary and out of order their priorities are. http://bit.ly/vBp4vI

  3. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/22/2011 - 09:40 am.

    re: City of Duluth.

    Those with the time and inclination to read Judge Nelson’s 29 page decision can do so here:

    http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/minnesota/mndce/0:2009cv02668/108927/231

    Although I’ve not made it through the entire discussion, the threshold contention by the City appears to have been that the National Indian Gaming Commission (NGIC) has no authority over the agreement between the tribe and the City. As the judge points out, however, that agreement specifically states that it was efective only upon “approval by the Secretary of the Interior . . ., and the
    issuance of a separate letter from the Chairman of the National Indian Gaming
    Commission indicating that the Sublease and the Related Documents are in compliance
    with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”

    It’s a complicated matter, which ultimately turns on actions of the NGIC, which is what gives rise to the mayor’s comments on the actions of political appointees.

    We haven’t heard the last of this one.

  4. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 11/22/2011 - 09:40 am.

    Duluth’s mayor clearly isn’t all that bright, is he?

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/22/2011 - 09:55 am.

    re: Pumpkins as bait:

    The Court of Appeals didn’t “buy” anything. The panel ruled that the statute under which the farmer was charged was so ambiguous as to prevent prosecution of this farmer.

    The full decision is here:

    http://www.mncourts.gov/opinions/coa/current/opa110546-112111.pdf

    There are simple solutions, if baiting is in fact a problem, including prohibiting the erection of a blind or stand within a specific distance of food placed by a human being, regardless of the purposes for which it was placed. In this case, the Legislature got so caught up in creating exceptions and conditions regarding baiting that it lost track of what it was doing. Sometimes you just have to look at things from a different perspective.

  6. Submitted by James Hamilton on 11/22/2011 - 10:00 am.

    I am so out of touch with the world. I had no idea what “objective sexualism” is.

    Frankly, if someone can get an inanimate object’s consent to marriage, have at it.

  7. Submitted by Jim Roth on 11/22/2011 - 12:25 pm.

    I have experience in this area and I think the Mayor and Duluth City Council should have sought advice about the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act before signing the contract.

  8. Submitted by Jim Roth on 11/22/2011 - 12:32 pm.

    I agree with James (#6) that I would like a clue about what “objective sexualism” is.

  9. Submitted by Ray Marshall on 11/22/2011 - 02:47 pm.

    I’m surprised that MPR and MinnPost are using the word “Chippewa” for the Ojibway/Anishinabe Fond du Lac band.
    ============================
    Just like it is OK to mock women politicians if they are conservative, it’s OK to dis-respect Native Americans, I guess.

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