Missouri has stalled Voter ID for … six years

The reality of Voter ID isn’t easy. Go ask Missouri. Jim Ragsdale of the Strib writes: “The “Show Me State” of Missouri has a lot to show Minnesota about the travails of trying to require voters to show a photo ID before casting ballots. Short version: It won’t be easy. Six years after the law first passed in Missouri, the state’s voter-friendly courts have kept photo ID and related election-law changes off the books and even off the ballot. Minnesota advocates on both sides have taken notice. … ‘The Missouri legislature really screwed up,’ responds Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority, which supports the photo ID requirements. ‘The Minnesota Legislature didn’t make the same mistake.’ The two states are on a parallel path. Both have Republican-controlled legislatures that support the photo ID requirements and Democratic governors who oppose such changes. Both have sought to skirt the governor’s veto — and court opposition — by offering photo ID to voters as a proposed constitutional amendment.”

Terri Bonoff, Tom Horner and Dave Durenberger push ranked-choice voting as a way to take some of the (hot) air out of partisan demagoguing. In their joint Strib commentary, they write: “A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that Americans are more divided along ideological lines than at any point in the past quarter-century. More than race, religion, income, gender or education level, it’s politics that has us bitterly divided. And the growing partisan extremism is making it harder for those who remain and come into office to govern. … When we need maximum effectiveness, we are afflicted with suffocating rigidity and inflexibility. A big part of the problem is that candidates are now typically elected by a narrow base of voters; they do not need to appeal to a majority (50 percent plus one) to win. … We’re more convinced than ever that it’s time to make RCV a reality for our state elections and at the federal level as well. RCV aligns the candidates’ interests in getting elected with the electorate’s interest in having a functioning government after inaugural day.”

It’s the church that gay marriage or the opposition to gay marriage killed. Frederick Melo of the PiPress reports: “Grace Community United Church of Christ [was to] close its doors this weekend, but the pastor who says his decision to publicly support gay-marriage rights unwittingly thrust it on a path toward financial ruin plans to find a new home for his small congregation. He has faith that his flock will follow. The Rev. Oliver White, 69, had hoped fundraising would keep the predominantly African-American church on St. Paul’s East Side open after a Seattle investor demanded full payment on a high-interest loan. But after a well-publicized Internet campaign raised only about $56,000 of the $200,000 the church needs to pay off its debt, White has decided to call it quits.”

For KMSP-TV, Maury Glover further reports: “Church leaders took out a loan with a high interest rate to keep the doors open, but the much smaller congregation fell behind in the payments and [has] until the end of the month to pay more than $170,000 or hand over the keys. ‘I knew so many gay and lesbian people as people and I couldn’t for 1,000 years imagine why they shouldn’t have the same privileges that heterosexuals have,’ said the former civil rights and now self proclaimed social activist. Rev. White’s plight drew national attention and contributions from across the country, but he only raised about $55,000. Church leaders ultimately decided to put that money towards a new building instead of re-paying the loan. ‘I came to the conclusion I wasn’t going to give him another dime. Whereas I know I could have. I wasn’t going to be victimized by a predator any longer. He’s not going to tether me to something that’s unfair to me and my people,’ said Rev. White. Even though he’s preached his last sermon in the building his congregation has called home for the last 12 years, Rev. White has faith that the power of prayer will get them through.”

Also at the PiPress, Christopher Snowbeck adds a bit more to the state GOP’s plans to foot-drag on creating the health insurance exchanges required by “Obamacare”: “On Medicaid, the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton remains committed to a full expansion of the Medicaid program as was envisioned by the 2010 health law. But the court’s ruling Thursday made the expansion optional for states — and leading Republicans think Minnesota would be wise to put the brakes on a further expansion. As for health exchange planning, some Republicans have called for engaging the Dayton administration in talks on the subject in hopes of promoting free-market elements in the plan. But Sen. David Hann, a leading Republican on health issues from Eden Prairie, said he and others in his party remain focused on what they see as fundamental flaws in the law — not the need to try to make it work. On Friday, Hann said voters in November will clearly register opposition to the health law and put Republicans in a position to repeal it. ‘People do not want this law,’ Hann said.” Be careful what you wish for on that election business, Senator.

Seventy dollars more than average? The outrage! Christopher Magan of the PiPress writes: “Minnesota puts more of its education funding per student into the classroom and spends more on district administration when compared with most other states. But the state spends less on principals and student support services. And overall, Minnesota spends more than the national average by $70 per pupil — $10,685 a year to educate the typical student. When federal, state and local funding sources are combined, Minnesota public schools spend more than $10 billion annually. Those statistics are found in the pages of financial data released by the U.S. Census Bureau in its annual state-by-state survey of public K-12 education funding. The numbers provide a detailed look at how schools across the country spend their money, but they don’t necessarily shed much light on how funding and spending affect performance.”

It’s forensic anthropology front and center in Joy Powell’s Strib story of a skull discovered 10 years ago: “The skull, found off Anderson Scout Camp Road, is stored in the evidence room of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office in Hudson, Wis., waiting for identification and a proper burial. It’s likely the victim was slain and her body dismembered to hamper identification, Shilts said. Other body parts were never found. Leslie Eisenberg, a forensic anthropologist from Wisconsin who examined the skull for St. Croix County, determined that the woman was Asian or possibly American Indian, at least 35 years old, with mousey brown hair 2 1/2 to 3 inches long. She could have stood out in a crowd as looking different, investigators say.”

Security at the Duluth Zoo is under scrutiny after so many animals escaped/died in last month’s flood. Brandon Stahl of the Duluth News Tribune writes: “No one knows whether three hours could have made a difference to the animals that died in flash flooding 11 days ago at the Lake Superior Zoo, but that’s how much time passed between the sounding of an alarm at the Polar Shores exhibit and the time zoo officials knew they had a serious problem. The alarm sounded at midnight in the midst of a torrential rain. Following protocol, the zoo’s security company notified Peter Pruett, director of animal management. Protocol next called for the security company to contact Duluth police and have them go to the zoo and check on the exhibit. But the police didn’t get there. Meanwhile, the downpour, combined with a plugged culvert, caused the zoo’s concave landscape to fill like a bowl.”

Since I was at the game — well over half of the fans in Sun Devil Stadium that day were cheering for the Vikings — I didn’t hear Paul Allen’s call … of the last play of the 2003 season live. But “PA” has achieved legendary status, as Aaron Rupar of City Pages writes: “December 28, 2003. The Vikings were playing in Arizona against the lowly Cardinals, needing a victory to cap off a 10-6 season and an NFC North championship. The Vikes were up 17-6 with less than two minutes to play. Then the Cardinals scored a seemingly meaningless touchdown to cut the lead to 17-12 (a two-point conversion failed). After a successful onside kick gave the Cardinals possession with a chance to win the game, Vikings fans began to feel their snake-bite scars aching again … and we all know what happened next. Paul Allen, calling the game for local radio, perfectly captured the anguished disbelief Purple fans felt after Josh McCown’s no-time-on-the-clock touchdown pass to Nathan Poole knocked the Vikes out of the playoffs. In fact, Allen captured those emotions so well that his call of the play and its aftermath was named the greatest call of all time by NFL.com. Referring to Allen’s infamous “No! No!” call, NFL.com’s Adam Rank writes:

The desperation in Allen’s voice is so evident when the clip first starts (along with the color commentator imploring the Vikings defenders to get back into the end zone). Seriously, when this clip arrived in-house, you could hear people playing it over and over again. It’s that good. A truly painstaking moment for the Vikings (and a true delight for Packers fans). Noooooooooooo!

So yeah, they lost, but as I told my kid, “You’ll always remember that one.”

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 07/02/2012 - 09:50 am.

    “Free-market elements”?

    Maybe the leading Republican expert on health care issues didn’t get the memo but the “business of insurance” has been regulated in Minnesota for about at least sixty years. So is he saying that the crappy system of health insurance is because of the crappy regulation? The R’s have been talking about some vague plan they have as an alternative to the plan which was adopted that was their plan to begin with from 1989. The R’s are always amazing: I always thought people could only talk out of only two side of their mouth at the same time.

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