The AP’s Brian Bakst had no luck trying to nail down how much the Senate, (i.e., the taxpayers) is paying to defend itself against Michael Brodkorb’s legal barrage: “The private attorney hired by the Minnesota Senate to handle fallout from the former majority leader’s extramarital affair said Tuesday she doesn’t have a formal contract outlining her duties and refused to say how much she is being paid. The Associated Press approached attorney Dayle Nolan after a Senate ethics hearing related to the affair … Nolan’s advice has been cited to justify limiting testimony in the ethics hearing related to the affair and actions GOP senators took in response. … Nolan’s arrangement has been extraordinarily opaque for one involving a public body. Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman, who retained Nolan, has denied requests to view materials connected to her hire, won’t answer questions about her rates and deems most inquiries off-limits under the guise of attorney-client privilege.” Is there detectable “outrage” from the fiscally conservative, small-gubmint crowd on this one?
So … can they make even one deal? Bill Salisbury at the PiPress writes: “Gov. Mark Dayton says he’s willing to cut this deal with Republican lawmakers to end the legislative session: He’d accept the tax cuts for businesses that they want if they agree to spending more on the public works projects that he desires. During a press briefing Wednesday, Dayton said he and Republican leaders traded offers during three private meetings on Tuesday, but by the final session he and the lawmakers were farther apart. At that point, the DFL governor said, he told the GOP leaders that if their latest offer was as far as they were willing to go, ‘let’s agree to respectfully disagree and let this (session) conclude.’ No further negotiations are scheduled.” If this session were a lame horse, it’d have been walked out behind the barn weeks ago.
A good dog could flush a couple of hundred down off Capitol Hill … Doug Smith of the Strib says: “Wild turkeys — native to Minnesota but wiped out by settlers — now can be found, and hunted, in three-quarters of the state, thanks to decades of trap-and-transplant efforts by the Department of Natural Resources and the National Wild Turkey Federation. As the turkey population expanded, the DNR has gradually relaxed its conservative management. This season, the DNR collapsed the 81 separate turkey hunting zones to only 12, which will allow hunters the freedom to roam far and wide instead of being confined to relatively small areas.”
We’ve had the War on Christmas, the War on the Constitution, the War on Women … now … The War on Public Nudity and Sex. Todd Richmond of the AP follows the Wisconsin-based story no one can resist: “Nudists from around the country have flocked to a section of soft, sandy Wisconsin River shoreline for decades, confident police and prosecutors won’t go after them for leaving their Bermudas and bikinis behind. But the fun doesn’t stop at volleyball and sunbathing — many people are slipping off into the woods for sex. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden reports read like pornographic novels, but the agency can’t seem to halt the hookups. The agency said Tuesday … that it plans to close woods around the beach to the public this week in an attempt to force people to stay in view and show some decorum. But residents say they’ve been shocked by things people do out in the open. ‘They were having sex right on the islands, the sandbars, when the river was lower,’ said Ruth Bender, who owns property directly across the river from the beach. ‘People can’t understand something like that is going on. That’s a nice section of the river. I don’t know what fun they get out of that.’ ” Well, you see, ma’m, it’s like this …
At Slate, tech writer Farhad Manjoo offers some advice to stumblin’, bumblin’ Best Buy: “America’s largest electronics retailer made its fortune by offering lots of choices. Now, on the way to its grave, it is still waving the banner of endless selection. My local Best Buy carries nearly a dozen nearly identical 32-inch TVs, a similar number of 42-inch sets, and no fewer than 20 different 55-inch TVs. You’ll find the same bounty in other product categories. … Best Buy is in a lot of trouble. … it’s time to abandon the idea of endless selection. If Best Buy wants to survive, it’s got to replace its hulking, teeming stores with smaller, less crowded, more intimate spaces. When you walk in to buy a 32-inch TV, the guy in the blue shirt shouldn’t make you choose between a dozen nearly identical models. Instead, he should show you a single set, a TV that Best Buy’s experts have determined offers the best features at the best price. … In this way, Best Buy would transform itself from a supermarket into a boutique — a place with fewer things for sale and lots of friendly, sophisticated, helpful experts who’ll save you the hassle of researching your next TV or PC purchase. They’ll do all the work for you.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker actually is a terrifically popular guy … in Oklahoma. Scott Bauer and Sean Murphy of the AP report: “The preacher’s son laughed and joked as he took a seat among the biggest players in Oklahoma politics, some of whom paid $10,000 to break bread with their conservative hero and get a photo snapped. … A year after his showdown with labor protesters, the Wisconsin governor has become one of the most sought-after figures in the Republican Party, keeping a jet-setting travel schedule more akin to a presidential candidate than a governor trying to survive a recall challenge. ‘He’s exactly what this country needs in terms of leadership,’ said banker Bob Emery of Enid, Okla., who was seated at a nearby table, clearly in awe. … Walker now regularly huddles with the wealthy and the famous. He attended a Christmas party thrown by Grover Norquist, the conservative power broker, and raised money with Hank Greenberg, founder and former CEO of American International Group, at his Manhattan office.” A fellow gets known by the company he keeps …
Remember that classic OR nurse-to-patient line, “I’m going to need you to man up”? Maura Lerner at the Strib has more on where that all came from. “The number of drug thefts reported at Minnesota hospitals and nursing homes has more than doubled since 2005, according to a new report by a coalition of law enforcement and health officials. The report, said to be the first of its kind, found 250 cases of prescription drugs that were stolen or reported missing at Minnesota health care facilities from 2005 to 2011. They reflect what experts say is a nationwide surge of prescription-drug abuse — in many cases by the very people entrusted with caring for patients.”
Note that I refrained from making the usual cheap and easy generalization. The Duluth News Tribune reports: “Drinking and driving for the ninth time netted a Lake Nebagamon man a six-year prison sentence. Norman Everett Erickson, 73, pleaded guilty to one count felony operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, ninth offense, in January in Douglas County Circuit Court. Monday, Erickson was sentenced to six years of imprisonment with three years of confinement and three years of extended supervision. Conditions of supervision include maintaining absolute sobriety, providing a DNA sample, paying court costs and undergoing an alcohol assessment. … The Lake Nebagamon man told the deputy that he did not know how he ended up in the ditch.” It took a year and half to get that one through the system?
I’ll leave it to you follow and discern the logic, but Steven Hayward at Power Line is whipped up about “warmists” and witches: “As we know courtesy of The Warmlist, climate change is implicated as the cause or contributing factor to everything from Afghan poppie crop failure to zoonotic diseases, but did you know it can also be implicated in outbreaks of witchcraft in the Middle Ages? Thats the argument of two recent academic papers, which attempt to connect the nearly 1 million women put to death for witchcraft in the Middle Ages to the Little Ice Age that, ironically, the climateers have tried to deny or minimize for quite a while now. Now, of course, the argument is being reversed if we don’t pay heed to the climateers warnings, witchcraft might return? … Wait! I thought the weather anomalies of our time — global weirding some are calling it — were the result of global warming, but you mean they can happen because of cooling, too? Or is it just climate change? Anyway, the complete range of ironies is totally lost on the warmists today, who constitute the most zealous cabal of witch hunters against any dissidents from green orthodoxy.” A ninth-grade science teacher would require Mr. Hayward to move to the front row and show his notes after class.