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Carlson, Mondale rip Voter ID, ‘fine print’

Fatal shooting of 5-year-old boy; flood waters crest; marriage amendment supporters to boycott General Mills; life expectancy improves; and more.

Not content to merely editorialize against the GOP’s Voter ID amendment, former Gov. Arne Carlson and former VP Walter Mondale are going to lead a campaign against it. Tim Pugmire’s MPR story says: “A coalition opposing the voter ID constitutional amendment has picked former Vice President Walter Mondale and former Gov. Arne Carlson to help lead its statewide campaign. Officials with the ‘Our Vote Our Future’ group are trying to convince voters to reject a proposed requirement for all Minnesotans to show photo identification at the polls. During a news conference today, Mondale said said he’s offended by the amendment. Mondale said the two recent statewide recounts proved to him that Minnesota doesn’t have any election problems. ‘There wasn’t one suggestion, one hint, one whiff of a problem in the processing and the casting of the ballots’, Mondale said. ‘We passed this test many, many times. This is a clean, solid, exemplary state.’ Carlson said he thinks Minnesotans should be skeptical of the amendment, which he claims is an attempt to prevent some people from voting.”

For the Strib, Jim Ragsdale writes: ‘It terrifies me,’ said Carlson, governor from 1991-1999. He said it was an attempt by a national organization funded by the conservative Koch brothers to influence elections around the country. ‘It comes from the Koch brothers,’ said Carlson, adding that there was no legislative research or evidence that suggested there were problems the amendment is needed to solve. Carlson said voters need to understand the fine print behind the ‘photo ID’ label, which includes limits on same-day registration, significant changes to absentee balloting and a system of ‘three-step’ voting for those without government-issued identification. This system of ‘provisional’ voting would require a first vote, which would not be counted; then a search for the required IDs; then a confirming visit to show officials the government-issued documents, opponents of the amendment said. ‘How many of you would vote if you faced a three-step process?’ Carlson asked the news conference.”

Again … The Strib story by Matt McKinney and Paul Walsh says: “A bullet went through a north Minneapolis home Tuesday morning and fatally struck a sleeping 5-year-old boy in the back, authorities and a relative said. The shots from outside the home were fired shortly after 8:35 a.m. in the 4500 block of Bryant Avenue N., police said. The boy, Ninzel Banks, was asleep on a couch when he was shot, said Robert Tolliver, who’s staying at the home and is an uncle of the boy’s mother. ‘I heard him cry out,’ Tolliver said. Ninzel was taken to North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale and died there, police said. There have been no arrests.”

The GleanFlood waters up north have crested, says John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune: “Water levels on the reservoir lakes north of Duluth that feed into the Cloquet and St. Louis rivers finally are starting to drop after last week’s record rainfall. Minnesota Power reported late Monday … that the levels of Fish, Boulder, Rice and Whiteface lakes dropped Monday and that Island Lake, which had been rising for days even after the rain, finally stabilized and is expected to begin falling soon. ‘It looks like we’ve turned the corner,’ said Amy Rutledge, Minnesota Power spokeswoman. Rutledge said most people expected Island Lake to begin dropping sooner, but the amount of water flowing in from points north still was more than could be released by the dam, and the lake continued to rise even days after the rain stopped.”

So who will dump their Cheerios? Julie Forster of the PiPress has a story about pro-marriage-amendment types working up a boycott of … General Mills: “Earlier this month General Mills came out in opposition to Minnesota’s marriage amendment ballot measure. Now supporters of the proposed amendment have launched a boycott of General Mills. … The National Organization for Marriage said Tuesday … that it is initiating a protest of General Mills, and has launched a website with an online petition in response to General Mills taking a public position on the amendment, which seeks to preserve marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The website is at It says almost 6,300 signatures had been gathered by Tuesday afternoon. ‘We’d like them to step back and say they respect the views of all of their customers and employees’, said Jonathan Baker, director of the Corporate Fairness Project for the National Organization for Marriage. ‘Eating Cheerios for breakfast shouldn’t have to be a moral choice about marriage.’ ” Hey, don’t look at me, that’s what they actually said.

Is there a 12-step program for … Freon? Maricella Miranda of the PiPress reports: “A judge has ordered an Apple Valley man to pay $1,521 in restitution and serve 10 days of community service for inhaling Freon from his neighbors’ air conditioners. Brentyn E. Krueger, 37, pleaded guilty to felony theft in Dakota County District Court for inhaling the substance from five units near his home. A criminal complaint gave this account: Police first found Krueger in November 2010 ‘slumped over the air-conditioning unit’ of a neighbor’s home, ‘his torso lodged between the unit and the house.’ Krueger, found unconscious, quickly became lucid and told officers he had been inhaling the coolant from the air-conditioning unit. The next night, police found Krueger in the same neighborhood. He became confused and wandered into another neighbor’s house when he thought police were coming. Again, he told police he had been inhaling Freon.”

Assuming you don’t have a Freon problem, your life expectancy is increasing. Christopher Snowbeck, also in the PiPress, writes: “Average life expectancy is improving in the Twin Cities, and the gap in expectations for those living in richer and poorer communities has narrowed a bit. Those are two key findings from a report released Tuesday … from a foundation at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, an Eagan-based health insurance company. Average life expectancy in the region is 81 years, which is higher than the national average of 76.5 years, according to the new report, which draws on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources. In high-income neighborhoods, average life expectancy is 84 years, the report found, compared with 76 years in the lowest-income neighborhoods. Between 2000 and 2007, the gap in life expectancy rates among residents of neighborhoods with the highest and lowest concentrations of poverty narrowed from 8 years to 6.6 years.”

This is both sad and curious. Amanda Tatro, the U of M mortuary science student involved in a Facebook-related case the state Supreme Court ruled on only last week … was found dead this morning. Aaron Rupar of City Pages says: “Tatro, the former University of Minnesota graduate student who challenged the school in a high-profile legal battle, was found dead this morning. She was 31. Longtime friend Eric Thompson said her death is a shock. ‘Nobody should die at [31]’, he said. According to Thompson, Tatro stayed up watching TV last night after her husband went to bed. When her husband got out of bed this morning, he found Tatro still on the couch and unresponsive. She was later pronounced dead. Thompson believes Tatro’s death is ‘likely due to complications from her RSD.’ Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a nerve disorder causing sensations of burning pain. It can negatively affect circulation. ‘She had been dealing with [RSD] for six or seven years and had several surgeries to get electronic stimulators to deaden the pain,’ Thompson said. ‘She just had an extensive surgery in January or February.’ ”

This week’s weather apocalypse? A “heat storm,” scheduled for Wednesday. Says Paul Huttner at MPR: “50/50 shot at 100 degrees tomorrow for metro southern Minnesota.” More details:

“95 to 100 degrees likely for the Twin Cities by 5pm Wednesday
‘Thermal Ridge’ — hottest plume of air right over the Twin Cities from 2-6pm tomorrow
7 days at or above 90 degrees in the metro so far in 2012
3 more days possible Wednesday-Friday?
14 long term average number or 90 degree days in a Twin Cities summer
77 degrees GFS dew point forecast at 10pm Wednesday evening.” That’s it. The cover’s coming off the air conditioner.

For those moments when you take stock of what is truly precious in lifeA City Pages story about a guy saving his collection of records and rock posters from flood damage in Duluth: “As I turned down some streets, they were closed with sewage spewing out of them. Other streets were closed off as giant sinkholes formed and some even swallowed entire cars. I called my wife to see if I should stop at the store for some food, and she told me that our street was now under several feet of water, my car was under too, up to its roof, and the basement was under six inches of water and rising. … When the main floor was again emptied, I went to finally check on my two crates of collector LPs. It was devastating. The Beatles’ White Album, a first pressing with all the posters and never played, was stuck to the Doors’ first album still in its original shrink wrap. The covers for all of the albums had gotten wet and then stuck to the ones next to them. With album collecting the record itself is only part of the value. The artwork and covers are half of what makes an LP so valuable. The records will play, but years of searching for hidden gems untouched by pens, scratches, or torn labels all went to waste. My concert poster signed by Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie, as well as an early 1980s Siouxsie and the Banshees concert poster from Dallas had extensive water damage.” This persuades me to get my Smithsonian-worthy collection of J. Geils Band LPs off the basement floor.