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Seifert: Koch news ‘like finding Smokey Bear is an arsonist’


In The Marshall Independent, Per Peterson gets GOP Rep. Marty Seifert’s view on the Koch scandal: “Former gubernatorial candidate and House Rep. Marty Seifert of Marshall on Sunday called the news about Koch, the state’s first female majority leader, ‘shocking and debilitating,’ and said no one was more surprised to hear about it than he was. ‘To discover that Amy was involved in some sort of scandal — finding that out is like finding out that [Smokey] the Bear is an arsonist,’ Seifert said. ‘No one knows the true details of what went on, but she is probably the last person I would think would be involved in some sort of scandal.’ 

At the Rochester Post-Bulletin, Heather J. Carlson says Dave Senjum’s interest in Amy Koch’s job is getting warmer: “Senjem is among those mulling a possible run for the top post as Senate Republicans try to recover from last week’s bombshell that Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch was stepping down amid allegations of an ‘inappropriate relationship’ with a staffer. ‘I am considering it. I am getting a fair amount of encouragement — a number of calls over the last several days to do that,’ Senjem said.”

Who out there is looking for a deal on jail space? Elizabeth Baier of MPR writes: “In the last five years alone, 25 county jails have either been built or remodeled across Minnesota, according to the DOC. The jail construction boom happened in part because of state requirements that counties upgrade law enforcement facilities. This excess jail space means a loss in revenue for counties trying to pay for new jail construction. That’s because counties pay each other to house inmates when their own facilities are at capacity. While some counties have talked about closing their jails, there’s no easy solution to the issue of empty space, said Jeff Spartz, former Hennepin County commissioner and president of the Minnesota Association of Counties.” How about … maybe … you know … cheap holiday accommodations for visiting relatives?

British blogger Dylan Parry’s post supportive of Archbishop John Nienstedt’s recent letter urging Catholics to pray for traditional marriage is getting attention around the Internets. Says Parry: “It is a fact that marriage is neither owned by the state nor by any specific religion. Rather, it is grounded in a fundamental and intrinsic truth about humanity, namely that men and women compliment and need each other. Both sexes have a natural and properly ordered need to find an opposite sex partner (a husband or wife) so as to form a special, loving and life-giving bond. The name we give these special and exclusive bonds between men and women is marriage. There was a time, not so long ago, when everyone knew this. Sadly, we are now living in a world where people claim to know everything, although in reality lack basic knowledge about the simplest of things. We’ve forgotten the basics, whilst convincing ourselves that we are the wisest of all beings. Although it is true to say that there have been various different sexual unions between humans throughout our history — same-sex partners, multiple partnered unions and even so-called marriages between humans and animals — these partnerships either weren’t recognised as marriages within the societies in which they happened, or were aberrations from what has commonly and predominantly been defined as marriage throughout the centuries.”  I keep telling you … this close … to marrying turtles.

Draft who? … oh yeah, her. Mike Longaecker of the Woodbury Bulletin writes: “A push has begun to encourage Kelly Fenton to run for the party’s chairmanship. Fenton is serving as interim chairwoman while the party waits to elect a permanent replacement for Tony Sutton, who abruptly quit the position Dec. 2. Fenton was elected by party activists to the deputy chairman’s post and is serving as interim leader in absence of a permanent party chairman. ‘Whether or not Fenton is interested in running we do not know, but we will spread the idea of her possible candidacy to as many people within the party as possible,’ according to a news release from a group called Draft Fenton For Chair.” Remember, ma’m, not a dime less than $90K.

Another $1,000 has turned up in a Salvation Army kettle. Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “Saturday’s donation to a yet-undetermined kettle location in the north metro follows five others in the east metro since late last month. The first five donations involved fresh-from-the-bank $100 bills, and Salvation Army spokeswoman Annette Bauer says that the charity believes the same person is behind those grand gestures. This latest drop in the bucket, however, involved circulated $100 bills, ‘so that could mean the same donor or maybe a copy cat,’ Bauer said. ‘What a great adventure that would be,’ she said, ‘dozens of copy cat grand givers.’ “

The Lakeville dad who punched out his 8-year-old kid for screwing up in a hockey game? Well, now he’s got bigger problems. Dylan Belden of the Strib reports: “According to the complaint, Wilson told police that his son had started the fight by pushing him after the conclusion of the game, which his son’s team lost. But the boy and two witnesses told police that Wilson was the aggressor, ‘body checking’ the boy and slamming him against the wall and then punching him, all the while screaming at him. The boy said he tried to push his father away in self defense. While police were investigating and an officer was waiting with Wilson, ‘the defendant made several spontaneous statements using profanity,” the complaint says. When the officer told him to watch his language and reminded him that he was in a school with children, Wilson allegedly ‘took several steps forward and stood directly in front of the officer … leaned forward, looked the officer directly in the eye,’ and swore again. ‘Based on the defendant’s aggressiveness, the officer grabbed his arms and handcuffed him,’ the complaint said. Wilson apparently injured his fingers and elbow in the confrontation with his son and was taken to a hospital for treatment. The boy’s injuries did not require medical attention.”

The guy now charged in that Grand Marais courthouse shooting says he wasn’t trying to kill anyone. Dan Kraker of MPR reports: “Daniel Schlienz made his first appearance in court at the St. Louis County courthouse in Duluth, where bail was set at $2 million or $1 million cash. He has been in custody since Friday, when he is accused of bringing a gun into the Cook County courthouse and shooting Cook County Prosecutor Timothy Scannell and witness Greg Thompson. During a news conference in Duluth, Attorney General Lori Swanson said the incident “strikes at the very pillars of justice.” She said it will undoubtedly prompt a look at how security is handled at county courthouses. Assistant Attorney General Bill Klumpp said Schlienz is charged with two counts of attempted premeditated murder, despite having claimed that he didn’t intend to kill anyone. Klumpp noted that one gunshot just missed Scannell’s heart and another barely missed the femoral artery in his leg. Thompson’s wound also just missed the femoral artery, Klumpp said.”

There’s no end of criticism, second-guessing and mockery of the Vikings’ (on-field) performance. But Kevin Seifert at ESPN is always good: “Yes, Saints quarterback Drew Brees is having an MVP-caliber season. And it’s true that he put together the second-most productive game by an NFL quarterback this season, based on Total Quarterback Rating. But the Vikings’ pass defense has fallen into a state rarely seen in the history of the NFL. They now own an NFL record by going nine consecutive games without an interception, and their defensive passer rating has now jumped to 110.8. The league record for highest passer rating allowed in a season is 110.9, set by the Detroit Lions in 2009. Reports that defensive backs have openly disregarded coverage calls this season only add to the perception of chaos. … Defensive end Jared Allen made an interesting point to reporters, wondering aloud if the Vikings are making good use of the otherwise meaningless nature of the second half of their season. Allen: ‘At some point, you just have to say, ‘What the heck? We’re 2-12, what do we have to lose? Try to make every play.’ A lot of people are probably going to get fired at this point anyways. What are you going to lose?’ ” That includes being more aggressive on fourth down, opening up the offensive playbook and trying something different on defense as the pass totals continue to pile up. Coach Leslie Frazier is as traditional and conventional as they come, however, and doesn’t strike me as someone who approaches the game differently when out of the playoff hunt.”

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