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Anoka-Hennepin superintendent now concedes anti-gay influence in bullying

More on Castle Doctrine and Hoffman; one dog’s 300-mile journey; health exchange gets $26M; Morneau mentions retiring; and more.

Everyone uncomfortable with the suggestion that anti-gay bullying played a role in some of the teen suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin school district will be disappointed to hear that the superintendent up there has amended his thinking. Sarah Horner’s PiPress story says: “For the past year, Dennis Carlson has been consistent in his message about the role anti-gay bullying played in the string of student suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin school district. Despite claims to the contrary by some community members, the superintendent said the district’s investigations into the tragic deaths found no link to bullying. That message changed in a statement Carlson posted on the district’s website Thursday. ‘Although no one can ever be absolutely certain of the specific event that leads to a student’s suicide, there can be no doubt that in many situations bullying is one of the contributing factors. Gay students are especially vulnerable to anti-gay bullying…’ , Carlson said in the one-page statement. He explains that his earlier remarks were made because the district was unable to find evidence to suggest bullying was ‘the main reason’ for the suicides and to encourage others who knew or believed otherwise to come forward. Of four who did, he says, two backed down and the other two didn’t provide evidence.”

At the Rochester Post-Bulletin, Heather Carlson reports that her area’s senators are all on board with the expanded Castle Doctrine: “The Senate passed the bill 40-23. All five senators from southeastern Minnesota voted for it. Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, co-sponsored an earlier version of the bill. He said the legislation makes sure people have the right to protect themselves. Critics have dubbed the measure the ‘shoot first’ bill and say that it gives people the right to kill people if they believe they are threatened — even if no actual threat exists.”

I thought dogs were supposed to have this infallible sense of direction? The AP story says: “A Siberian husky who broke loose from her chain in rural Duluth on New Year’s Day was found safe seven weeks later — almost 300 miles away near the Iowa border. Teresa and Nick Musel searched for 1-year-old Chassis by snowmobile, four-wheeler, truck and on foot, and also pored over online postings. They got nowhere until getting a tip from a Cloquet woman who had seen a Craigslist post for a husky found in southern Minnesota.”

The priest found guilty of an affair with a young “penitent” had another bad day in court Thursday. Emily Gurnon of the PiPress writes: “[Christopher] Wenthe had particular concerns about the prohibition on contact with minors because it would prevent access to his nieces and nephews, as well as church acquaintances with children … [Judge] Marrinan clarified. ‘It means no contact with minors, period,’ she said. Wenthe also balked about the prohibition on counseling, because he remains a priest for the time being. ‘Well, you know what?’ the judge asked. ‘I don’t care what you are. I told you very clearly: no counseling. You are a sex offender.’ Wenthe must have no access to the Internet, except at work, assuming he continues working for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Marrinan said. She noted that pornography was found in his possession during the investigation, though that was not brought out at trial. [His attorney] read each of the specific recommendations to Wenthe. Wenthe said he understood them. He then signed the forms. His attorney told the court that Wenthe’s status as a priest is ‘under review.’ “

Bullwinkle’s future in Minnesota is more dire than we first thought. The AP’s Steve Karnowski adds to the story of our declining moose population. He writes: “[S]cientists have speculated that disease, parasites and a warming climate are affecting the animals. ‘We’ve basically lost half the moose population in northeastern Minnesota and unless we see a change in the mortality rates or improvements in reproduction, this population is going to continue down that path,’ Mark Lenarz, leader of the DNR’s forest wildlife and populations research group, said in an interview with The Associated Press. ‘We’re probably not going to have moose in Minnesota that much longer.’ ’’ Better bag one and get it mounted while you still can.

The check has arrived. Big Gummint has dropped another $26 million on Minnesota. Elizabeth Stawicki’s MPR story says: “The federal government has awarded Minnesota a $26 million grant to help fund the creation of the state insurance exchange — a key part of the federal health care law. An estimated one million Minnesota consumers and small businesses are expected to use the online marketplace to evaluate and purchase health plans within a couple of years. Minnesota is one of 10 states to receive federal money in this latest round of grant, It’s a substantial award — until now, the federal government has awarded Minnesota two grants totaling a little more than $5 million. This latest grant will fund the development of software that will enable Minnesotans to make apples-to-apples comparisons of different health plans, State Commerce Commissioner Michael Rothman said.”

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau talked specifically about retiring if he can’t overcome effects of his concussion two years ago. ESPN 1500’s Phil Mackey writes: ‘What happens if the concussion symptoms come back? I don’t think there’ll be a career if it’s something I’m dealing with,’ Morneau said. ‘That’s the reality of the whole thing. I’ve kind of come to grips with that. I’m obviously not going to continue to mess around with this if it continues to be a problem. There comes a point when you can only torture yourself so long. It’s something I love to do, but you keep preparing and keep being let down, that’s something that nobody wants to go through, obviously. It’s been a tough winter that way. I try not to think about that kind of stuff.”

Radio host Mike McFeely up at KFGO in Fargo has his fun with Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, co-sponsor of the free-fire, expanded Castle Doctrine. Says McFeely: “ Hoffman says We The People should be able to fire away at people who ‘invade’ our cars, tents, yards, boats, fish houses and other personal property away from our homes. And, really, what could wrong with that? Other than a million things, not much. Certainly, you could never have a situation where Neighbor A is feuding with Neighor B, so Neighbor A calls Neighbor B into his yard. Then Neighbor A guns down Neighbor B and tells the cops he felt threatened. No, that could never happen. But flying under the radar so far is Hoffman’s co-authorship of an equally wacky bill that would force spouses who want to get a divorce to stay married for two years if they have minor children. It is S.F. No. 1966 and it has been referred to committee in the Senate. … perhaps where Hoffman and her conservative ilk are most open to criticism, is the obvious intrusion into people’s personal lives. Doesn’t that run counter to what conservative values are allegedly all about — to have government stay out off our backs? Of course, with Hoffman, the attempt at legislating ‘morality’ (by her definition) supersedes government intervention. If we can preserve the ‘sanctity’ of family, apparently Hoffman believes that is a good use of government intrusion. Aside from that hypocrisy, the potential for ugliness that exists if the law forces a couple to stay together when it doesn’t want to be together is astounding. Arguing, bitterness, violence, verbal abuse – all in front of the children the law is supposed to protect – is just the beginning.”

Over at Power Line today, Steven Hayward, forever beating the tom-toms of (human instigated) climate change denial, prints a fascinating back and forth between Peter Gleick, a “genius grant” recipient, as well as president and founder of the Pacific Institute, a prominent force in disseminating scientific climate change information and a conservative “institute.” Gleick is in trouble for posing as someone else to obtain internal documents from The Heartland Institute, a climate change “skeptics” organization. The correspondence between the two has to do with Gleick’s request for disclosure of Heartland’s donors prior to his accepting their invitation to speak before the group. Good stuff.