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Voter ID interpretation remains murky

Competing protests in Albert Lea; unique challenges for young HIV patients; social media impact on polling; state gives up line of credit; and more.

Good question … what exactly is a “valid, government-issued ID”? The Strib’s Jim Ragsdale guides readers through another thicket of murky verbiage attached to the GOP’s Voter ID amendmen: “Opponents of the amendment worry that poll workers could not possibly apply ‘substantially equivalent’ standards to voters who register on Election Day, because there would not be the time or resources to instantly run the checks that normal registrants are subjected to. They worry that some or all of the Election Day registrants — 542,257 in the last presidential election would be thrown into the ‘provisional’ pool, causing havoc with vote-counting and verification. … If the amendment passes in November, the 2013 Legislature will have to decide which IDs are acceptable, how to define ‘substantially equivalent’ eligibility and verification standards, how provisional voting and the counting of provisional ballots will work, and how Election Day registration will be conducted.”

That free-speech thing is getting a workout in Albert Lea. Elizabeth Baier’s story at MPR says: “About a hundred people marched on Monday evening to protest a sign that calls for the deportation of illegal immigrants. The rally and march through Albert Lea were organized by the Owatonna-based immigrant rights group Centro Campesino to denounce a scrolling LED sign that reads ‘check dictionary, illegal is criminal.’ The sign was put up on the outside wall of a local business. … ‘I recognize that this gentleman has every right to exercise his freedom of speech,’ [community activist Jeff] Jurewicz said. ‘However, we also have that right and so our goal really became to raise awareness and to try and change the culture about undocumented immigrants here in Albert Lea and to try and really shift attitudes.’ ” Of interest, MPR doesn’t mention the name of the business or its owner.

Aaron Rupar of City Pages does: “The sign, visible on the side of the Dima Corp. building, which is owned by adult entertainment businessman Mal Prinzing, reads: ‘Catch and release — no! Deport Illegals — Si.’ Prinzing’s anti-illegal immigrant message hasn’t been contained to the side of the Dima building. His company also rents the large yellow signs that are seen trailing behind airplanes, and last Thursday, the ‘Deport Illegals’ message was scrawled on a banner flying above Albert Lea.”

Nick Ferraro of the PiPress reports on an Eagan guy who’d have been better off keeping his mouth shut: “A 56-year-old Eagan man arrested on a misdemeanor warrant allegedly made references to the Joker and the Colorado theater shooting suspect while threatening to kill police officers and his neighbors, authorities said. Thomas Michael Casper was charged last week with one count of felony terroristic threats. He remained in jail late Monday, Aug. 6, in lieu of $80,000 bail. … According to a criminal complaint, as Casper was being put into a squad car, he said he was ‘the Joker’ and yelled at neighbors, ‘I’m coming back. You guys are done.’ On the way to the Dakota County Jail, he allegedly threatened the two officers and his neighbors several times. At one point, according to the complaint, he told them he didn’t have a gun, but that if he did have one, ‘I would kill you. I should have dyed my hair orange. Let me out. I’ll kill you.’ ” By the mug shot, I’d say he’d first have to buy some hair.

At the Strib, Daniela Hernandez files a piece on younger-generation HIV patients living with the disease: “One risk for kids who are born HIV-positive is that they may have a higher risk of their virus becoming resistant to drugs because they take medications much longer than people who get HIV as adults, said Dr. Laura Hoyt, a pediatric HIV specialist at Children’s. The virus can replicate millions of times a day. As it multiplies, its genetic material gets peppered with mutations, or genetic errors. If a mutation lets a virus evade a drug’s ability to stop it from churning out progeny, it can have a ‘survival advantage,’ unless other medications are there to suppress it, Hoyt said. That’s why HIV patients take a cocktail of drugs. In the long term, the medications can also have side effects, including anemia, bone-development problems and high cholesterol.”

At MPR, Emily Kaiser looks at changes coming to political polling in the age of social media: “A developing model for measuring public opinion is through social media streams. Philip Resnik, linguistics professor with a joint appointment at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, is looking at ways to capture those views based on what people post online. ‘There’s a difference between asking people what they think and looking at what they’re talking about,’ he said on The Daily Circuit Monday. ‘Increasingly people are starting to move from landlines to cell phones to online conversations. The water cooler conversations people used to have are now increasingly taking place online. This enables you to get to a finer grain sense of what people are talking about… There’s opportunity for deeper insight if you can tap into this source of information.’ ” May I suggest that “finer grain” has already become treadworn?

The Strib editorial page expresses concern and sadness over the latest mass-murder rampage, this at a Sikh temple in Milwaukee. It concludes by saying: “Since 9/11, Americans have been focused like never before on the dangers of international terrorism. While that’s understandable, we are reminded once again that some of this country’s worst acts of violence, such as Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and now the attack in Wisconsin, were committed by our own citizens.” And then there’s the routine mayhem …

Minnesota’s money manager says we can do without our line of credit. The AP story says: “A $600 million line of credit that has served as a safety valve for Minnesota’s cash-strapped government has expired and won’t be renewed. John Pollard of the Minnesota Management and Budget Department says officials decided the state’s finances had stabilized enough to do without the credit line. Minnesota paid nearly $4 million to open and maintain it for two years even though it was never tapped.”

The Feds want a 10-year sentence in that elaborate check-kiting scheme involving Pinehurst Bank in St.Paul. John Welbes of the PiPress writes: “Federal prosecutors are seeking 10-year prison terms for John Markert and George Wintz, who were convicted in April on charges related to a $1.8 million check-kiting scheme at the former Pinehurst Bank in St. Paul. … Wintz’s attorney, Andy Luger, is asking for a “creative and unique” sentence for his client. He argues that Triangle Warehouse — Wintz’s trucking and warehouse company in Northeast Minneapolis, which employs more than 130 people full-time — shouldn’t have to go out of business. Luger requests a prison sentence for Wintz that runs on weekends, confines him to his home when he’s not working, and suggests a court-appointed financial monitor to watch his business dealings. ‘In his few remaining productive years in business, Wintz requests that he be allowed to serve a sentence that allows him to save the jobs and careers of his employees,’ Luger argued in his position paper.”