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Tom Emmer accuses Hamline of anti-conservative bias

MORNING EDITION ALSO: New flu strain found in Minnesota; double-murder details; NFL weighs Vikings loan; Catholic League wants lawyer disbarred; Twins make a move; and more.
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Tom Emmer says it’s liberal bias that caused Hamline University to renege on a promise to let him teach at their business school. Dennis Lien in the PiPress writes: “Emmer said Tuesday the St. Paul school agreed to hire him for the job and to fill an “executive in residence” position earlier this fall. But the school backed away after a small group of staff, including business school professor David Schultz, objected to his political views, including his opposition to same-sex marriage. Emmer said the school should admit it did not honor the agreement because staff did not want a conservative like him teaching there. … Schultz, meanwhile, disputed Emmer’s characterization, saying he did not oppose Emmer’s hiring because of his political views and would not have objected to him teaching a business class. ‘I wouldn’t have cared one way or the other — if someone had actually asked me,’ Schultz said.”

The first human case of a new flu strain has been reported. Maura Lerner’s story in the Strib says: “A Minnesota baby with a mild case of the flu has attracted national attention after officials discovered the child had a rare strain of virus that normally affects pigs, not people. The baby, who fell ill in October, was only the second person in five years known to be infected with a novel strain of influenza A (H1N2) that is typically found in swine herds, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Health officials have been on the alert for cases like this because of concerns about new viruses spreading from animals to humans, especially since the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. But there’s no sign that this virus poses a danger to the public, because no one else in the child’s family got sick.”

The Duluth News Tribune has new ghoulish details on the Minnesota woman charged in a double murder case: “A woman charged with killing her ex-husband in Minnesota is now also charged with slaying her boyfriend in Wisconsin. Angelina Mae O’Mara, 37, was charged Monday in Ashland County Circuit Court with the first-degree intentional homicide of Michael Pies of Blaine, Minn., whose body was found inside the Anderson Motel in Ashland on Nov. 2. He died from a single gunshot to the head. O’Mara, who has addresses in Rice and Cold Spring, Minn., was charged Nov. 3 with second-degree murder in the death of her ex-husband, James Kelly O’Mara. He was found Nov. 1 in his Sauk Rapids, Minn., apartment with a gunshot wound to the head. … On Nov. 18, while being held on the Minnesota murder charge, O’Mara contacted an Ashland police investigator and admitted that she hadn’t been truthful during her earlier statements. She said she and the victim had been arguing but they weren’t physically fighting. She said she shot Pies between 3 and 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 31. She said she put the gun in her trunk, went back in the room and slept in the bed next to the victim’s body. … A St. Cloud Times report said O’Mara’s Minnesota attorney told a judge that his client has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and ‘has little time left.’ ”

I’d say $1.1 billion sounds about right. Brian Murphy at the PiPress says the other NFL owners were working on a number for “helping” Zygi Wilf build a new stadium in Minnesota: “A vote is expected … as league owners meet outside Dallas to decide whether to resurrect the so-called G-3 program to pay for stadium renovation and construction, loans that could fund about one-third of the Vikings’ contribution toward a $1.1 billion facility in Arden Hills. Wilf has pledged $407 million to the project but is counting on a cash infusion from the league to sweeten the private contribution to about $420 million. That would leave Ramsey County and the state to finance the remaining $650 million with no political consensus about how to raise the capital or select a site. … League officials have said the Vikings are at the head of the line for a stadium subsidy. Under the old G-3 terms, the Vikings’ proposed $407 million contribution to the Arden Hills site would be eligible for about $138 million in NFL loans.”

The Minnesota AG is dropping the hammer on some alleged Texas scoundrels. Abby Simons at the Strib says: “The Minnesota attorney general’s office is accusing a Texas company of stonewalling its investigation into whether it cheated a vulnerable adult out of thousands of dollars of her nest egg. The motion, filed Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court, asks RSL Funding and its related companies to comply with its investigation involving Tasheeka Griffith, a 21-year-old single mother who sold nearly all of her $786,000 personal injury settlement to two companies for a fraction of their long-term worth. The company has ‘utterly failed and refused to respond’ to at least three requests for information, the Attorney General’s office said. In 2009, RSL Funding bought $269,000 worth of Griffith’s future payments for $46,500. Last year, it was trying to buy $299,000 in future payments for $19,000 when a Hennepin County judge ordered an investigation and appointed a guardian ad litem for Griffith. When the company learned of the investigation, it sued Griffith to enforce its previous deal with her, saying the investigation constituted interference.” In Texas, I believe they call that “cojones.”

Not to be outdone … Dan Browning, also at the Strib, reports on a local boy: “By all appearances, Stephen Rondestvedt appeared to be a contrite ex-con trying to redeem himself from past frauds. … Rondestvedt, a Hamline University Law School graduate, first came to the attention of [prosecutor Hank] Shea when Shea prosecuted him for defrauding law clients of more than $700,000. When Rondestvedt admitted to that crime in 2003, he told Shea he’d like to be part of his ‘Lessons Learned’ program, run through the St. Thomas School of Law. Shea later left the U.S. attorney’s office to run the program full time. … The program calls on offenders convicted of financial crimes to talk with students in an effort to prepare them for the pressures they may face after graduation and to dissuade them from ethical and legal breaches. … But within a year of Rondestvedt’s release, he was already facilitating another fraud scheme that helped his former Golden Valley employer, Universal Home Health Care Agency Corp., steal more than $55,000 in Medicaid funds. The agency filed bogus bills for personal care attendants.”

Remember the attorney who dropped the line “bigoted Catholic beasts” into a bankruptcy brief? Well, the Catholic League wants her hide. Gregory Pratt at City Pages writes: “In the brief, filed November 25, attorney Rebekah Nett accuses Judge Nancy Dreher of being a ‘Catholic Knight Witch Hunter,’ declares that the court system is ‘composed of a bunch of ignoramus, bigoted Catholic beasts that carry the sword of the church,’ and even labels a bankruptcy trustee, Colin Kreuziger, ‘priest’s boy’. … In an official statement, [League president Bill] Donohue said ‘Nett should not only be sanctioned, she deserves to be disbarred. I’ve been doing this job for two decades, and we have seen some outbursts of anti-Catholicism in the courtroom, but this is the most egregious … I’ve never seen anything like this.’ Judge Dreher, handling the bankruptcy case, has ordered Nett and [her client] to defend themselves on January 4. Dreher might fine them up to $10,000 for the ‘unsupported and outrageous allegations of bigotry, deceit, conspiracy, and scandalous statements’ in the filing. ‘I have never been a Catholic,’ Dreher added.”

City Pages also has its annual list of the best Minnesota-made albums, expanded to 14 this year. Along with a few of the usual suspects (Low, Haley Bonar) there’s this, by Nikki Miiller: “Cactus Blossoms … It’s easy enough to phone in a cornball imitation of old country. Slap on a Western shirt and pair of cheesy cowboy boots, perfect a properly affected twang, and yodel along all the requisite themes: Mama, Trains, Trucks, Prison, Gettin’ Drunk (thanks, David Allan Coe). It’s another thing entirely to live and breathe the craft of writing and singing a good country and western song, as the Cactus Blossoms have done. The self-titled first release by close-harmonizing brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey features two traditional covers, but really takes wing in its eight originals, carefully smithed songs that prove these brothers are every bit as real-deal as their country predecessors.”

The Twins appear to have made the first truly significant acquisition of the off-season, if you don’t count 38 year-old shortstops. ESPN. com’s Jerry Crasnick reports: “Veteran outfielder Josh Willingham has reached agreement on a multiyear contract with the Minnesota Twins pending completion of a physical exam, according to a league source. Willingham, 32, is a career .262 hitter with 132 home runs for the Marlins, Nationals and Athletics. He batted .246 with a career-high 29 homers and 98 RBIS for Oakland in 2011. Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Colorado and Boston are among the other clubs that expressed interest in Willingham during the free agent process. Willingham’s decision to sign with Minnesota will probably spell the end for incumbent outfielders Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel in Minnesota.” The strike-out every four at bats statistic kind of jumps out at you.