It looks like that racino idea is dead for good — at least at Canterbury. Paul McEnroe of the Strib reports: “The Canterbury Park horse-racing track and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community have reached a historic agreement that calls for the tribe to contribute tens of millions of dollars over a 10-year period to track purses in return for Canterbury officials dropping racino legislation efforts, sources familiar with the deal said Monday. Owners of the track in Shakopee have agreed to join forces with the tribe, which operates the nearby Mystic Lake Casino, to block the expansion of gambling in the Twin Cities metro area, including any proposals to build casinos in downtown Minneapolis or the Mall of America in Bloomington, sources added.”
A New York Times story lays out the vending machine approach that deceased hockey player Derek Boogaard’s employers took in terms of medicating players. Says John Branch: “In his final three seasons playing in the National Hockey League, before dying last year at 28 of an accidental overdose of narcotic painkillers and alcohol, Derek Boogaard received more than 100 prescriptions for thousands of pills from more than a dozen team doctors for the Minnesota Wild and the Rangers. A trove of documents, compiled by Boogaard’s father, offer a rare prescription-by-prescription history of the care given to a prominent, physically ailing athlete who struggled with addiction to some of the very drugs the team doctors were providing. The scores of prescriptions came before and after Boogaard’s entry into the league’s substance-abuse program in September 2009 for an addiction to painkillers and sleeping pills. Among the findings: In a six-month stretch from October 2008 to April 2009, while playing 51 games, Boogaard received at least 25 prescriptions for the painkillers hydrocodone or oxycodone, a total of 622 pills, from 10 doctors — eight team doctors of the Wild, an oral surgeon in Minneapolis and a doctor for another N.H.L. team.” I’m surprised the guy could remember his own name, much less skate.
Rick Nolan has received the blessing from the maestro, so to speak. Tom Scheck at MPR reports: “Longtime DFL Congressman Jim Oberstar endorsed Rick Nolan today in his bid to unseat GOP freshman incumbent Chip Cravaack. Cravaack beat Oberstar two years ago by fewer than five thousand votes. In accepting the endorsement today at the Minnesota Mining Museum in Chisholm, Nolan said Oberstar’s endorsement matters even though he lost the last election. ‘He lost it because Democrats got complacent,’ Nolan said. ‘94,000 of them didn’t show up for the election.’ “
In a MPR commentary, taxpayer-subsidized-stadium foe, Sen. John Marty lays out one for the record:. “Wilf’s heavily funded lobbying effort was also successful in convincing politicians that it was a good way to create construction jobs, twisting the numbers in a manner that convinced some public officials that it would create far more than the equivalent of 700 full time jobs over the three years of construction. Yes, Minnesota has an urgent need to create more building trades jobs, but we would create far more jobs using public dollars to fix our public infrastructure, such as the numerous public schools in Minneapolis that are several times as old as the Metrodome and in much worse shape. The lobbying campaign was aided by heavy media coverage which frequently played the role of cheerleader, rather than asking tough questions. After the fact, sportswriter Patrick Reusse observed: ‘We in the Twin Cities sports media were so amped up over getting a new stadium … that not much time was spent looking at the financial realities. We have allowed owner Zygi Wilf to be crowned as a patient, generous hero in the proceedings that led to the approval of the stadium…’. Reusse acknowledged the deal was a ‘bonanza’ for Wilf.” Just one correction … there was plenty of attention paid to the “financial realities” of the deal, just not by people of any great influence.
Suitable for framing … Janice D’Arcy at The Washington Post writes: “A perennial question for parents: How to explain a school absence for something other than sickness? Tell the truth? Tell a white lie? Get the president to vouch for you? ‘Mr. Ackerman, please excuse Tyler. He was with me!’ reads a note President Barack Obama wrote on behalf of a fifth grader in Minnesota who skipped school Friday. Tyler Sullivan had gone to witness his father, Ryan Sullivan, introduce the president at an appearance at a Honeywell factory. The son shook Obama’s hand and Tyler said the president greeted him by noticing that ‘you must be out of school, then,’ according to ABC News.”
Wait a minute! I thought we were guaranteed both a Super Bowl and a Super Bowl victory? Christopher Gates of the fan site SB Nation writes: “The NFL schedules the locations for the Super Bowl a few years in advance, but if recent history is any indication, once the new stadium opens, it will be in line to host the big game in short order. Lucas Oil Stadium, which opened in time for the 2008 season, hosted this past year’s Super Bowl. Cowboys Stadium opened in time for the 2009 season, and was hosting the Super Bowl in February of 2011. University of Phoenix Stadium, which opened in 2008, hosted a Super Bowl in 2008 and will host the game again in 2015. If the stadium opens in time for the Vikings to use it for the 2016 NFL season, the earliest it would be able to host the game would be 2017, which would be Super Bowl LI (or 51 for you non-Romans).”
MPR’s Cathy Wurzer interviewed a UW-River Falls prof on the voter turnout for Tuesday’s recall election. A couple of outtakes:
“Wurzer: You mentioned last summer, and there was an awful lot of attention. Do you think that there’s some voter fatigue around this whole issue?
Kraus: I do. It’s been a year-and-a-half, and I think a lot of folks are quite honestly just exhausted at this point. I would argue that if the recall were several months ago, that the results might well be different, but I think a lot of people, really on both sides, and even more so maybe people that are not firmly committed, are kind of tired at this point and want this to be done with.
Wurzer: I’m curious to ask this. Have you run into anybody who’s not firmly committed? It seems like everyone’s either in one camp or the other, very few undecideds in this race.
Kraus: I don’t think I have, at least nobody who has said that to me. I’ve certainly talked to a lot of folks who are committed but still want it to be done and want to vote and get over, sort of get over the hump here. The polls indicate very small percentages of people who are undecided. My hunch would be that a lot of those folks are probably not going to vote tomorrow, but again we’re talking 2, 3, 4 percent or something.”
Last week, the congressional GOP members didn’t have a plan for paying for the $29 billion in tax cuts they want to give the medical device industry. Now they do. Kevin Diaz of the Strib writes: “U.S. House Republicans are proposing to trim health insurance subsidies for low- and middle-income taxpayers to pay for a bill sponsored by Minnesota Republican Erik Paulsen that would repeal a new tax on medical device makers under President Obama’s health care overhaul. The plan could be a breakthrough for the two-term congressman, who has defined himself as a champion for the state’s medical technology sector. But it could also open a new front in the ongoing battle over the federal health care law, which is now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court. The $43.9 billion plan would ‘recapture’ overpayments under a new health insurance tax credit to offset the estimated $29 billion in revenue that would be lost over the next decade by repealing the medical device tax. The repeal of that tax is a top priority for Minnesota’s large medical technology industry.” Sens. Klobuchar and Franken are in an interesting bind on this one.
At The Washington Post, Marc Thiessen writes: “The president was just a short helicopter ride away from the Badger State this weekend. He attended three events in Minnesota and then traveled to nearby Chicago to take some time off in his home state. But he didn’t come to Wisconsin. … Why? The answer is inescapable: Barack Obama is afraid of Scott Walker. … It is precisely because Obama remains popular in Wisconsin that he has not come to campaign for Walker’s opponent. Walker is leading Barrett 52 to 45 percent — virtually the same margin by which Obama is leading Mitt Romney. That means there are a significant number of independents in Wisconsin who support both Scott Walker and Barack Obama. The president does not want to alienate those voters by getting into a fight with Walker. The last thing Obama wants is to force those Walker-Obama independents to choose. But there is someone who would love to force them to choose: Mitt Romney. And that is precisely why Romney may put Scott Walker on the GOP ticket this November.”