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American Indian Movement’s Russell Means dies at 72

Dennis McLellan of the Los Angeles Times covers the death of Russell Means, a longtime leader in the Minneapolis-based American Indian Movement, at age 72. He says: “An Oglala Sioux born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Means in his activist prime was called strident, defiant, volatile, arrogant and aggressive. He was frequently arrested and claimed to have been the target of numerous assassination attempts. A onetime con artist, dance-school instructor and computer programmer, Means was executive director of the government-funded Cleveland American Indian Center when he met Dennis Banks and other AIM founders in 1969. In joining the American Indian Movement at age 30, Means later wrote in his autobiography, he had found ‘a way to be a real Indian.’ In Cleveland, he founded the first AIM chapter outside Minneapolis, and he became the organization’s first national coordinator in 1971. In 1970, he was among a group of American Indian activists who occupied Mount Rushmore, where he infamously urinated on the top of the stone head of George Washington — an act he later said symbolized ‘how most Indians feel about the faces chiseled out of our holy land.’ ” Never one for half-measures, that Russell.

I suspect you’ve already seen the headline from Stribber Kevin Diaz with Rick Nolan polling 7 percent above Chip Cravaack in the 8th District. This was interesting: “The heavy advertising blitz in the Twin Cities and Duluth media markets has put the race on its own trajectory, with Nolan climbing above President Obama’s 47 percent level of support in the district, a traditional DFL stronghold that includes the Iron Range. Cravaack, for his part, polls below the 46 percent level of support for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the district, which also includes Republican-leaning counties outside the Twin Cities’ northern suburbs. The poll, conducted for the Star Tribune by Pulse Opinion Research, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percent. That means Obama and Romney, at 47 to 46 percent, are in a statistical dead heat in the district, compared to statewide polls that show Obama leading comfortably in Minnesota.”

The percentage of student loan defaults is startling, especially at for-profit universities. Jim Spencer’s Strib piece says: “State officials worry that roughly one in seven students who borrowed federally backed money to attend public two-year colleges are behind on loan payments, and the overall numbers at some individual schools are also a concern. At the largest Minnesota-based for-profit school, Capella University, nearly 1,000 student debtors — almost one in 10 — are in arrears. Both Capella and another for-profit school, Rasmussen College, have more students in default than all of the private schools combined. … Capella University spokesman Mike Buttry said comparing Capella’s 963 defaulting students to the 649 defaulting students at all of Minnesota’s private four-year colleges was ‘not apples to apples,’ because Capella’s student body is more than 36,000. Buttry also said a comparison to the University of Minnesota, where 213 defaulting students produced a 2.5 percent default rate in a student body of 65,000 was not right either.” As one of the for-profit schools’ premier legislative champions, a comment from Congressman John Kline might have been in order.

Related … a story from AP reporter Justin Pope about the decline in for-profit enrollment: “After years of explosive growth that really caught fire when the economy collapsed four years ago, for-profit higher education is shrinking fast. … the Obama administration’s regulatory pressure has also been a major factor, particularly its aggressive enforcement of rules preventing colleges of any kind from paying recruiters based on the number of students they enroll — once a common practice by for-profits. ‘Historically this had been a sector where it was a pretty hard sell,’ [BMO Marketing’s Jeff] Silber said. After the crackdown, ‘they’re not doing it anymore because the folks that were selling hard have moved on to selling something else.’ ” Probably your old gold jewelry, I’m guessing.

The GleanSomebody thinks SuperValu has found a buyer. Bloomberg is saying: “Supervalu shares saw their largest single day gain in more than three decades after a JPMorgan Chase analyst upgraded the company’s bonds on the possibility of a buyout. Shares were up 33 percent to $2.90 in afternoon trading Monday, Oct. 22. Earlier, they had risen 41 percent for the biggest intraday gain since at least 1980. The Eden Prairie-based grocer’s shares declined 73 percent this year through Oct. 19. There is a 50 percent likelihood of a leveraged buyout, and interest in Supervalu will support its debt, said JPMorgan’s Carla Casella, who raised the company’s bonds to a neutral rating from underweight.”

Not that I have a clue who this is … The AP says: “ The high-fashion Prabal Gurung label will be hanging at Target Corp. stores next February. The designer is the latest to plan a limited-edition collaboration with the Minneapolis-based retailer. There will be women’s clothing, including dresses and blazers, and shoes, jewelry and handbags. Products launch in stores Feb. 10. Trish Adams, Target’s senior vice president of apparel and accessories, says Gurung is a ‘modern visionary.’ ” I’ll have to take that on faith.

I assume there’ll be a complaint about this … . Tim Pugmire of MPR reports: “Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is calling on newspapers throughout the state to help inform voters about the two constitutional amendments on the ballot this year. Ritchie sent a letter asking editors to dedicate space to print the actual text of the two proposed amendments, one defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and the other requiring photo identification in order to vote. ‘Traveling throughout the state over the past few months I have talked to many Minnesotans who did not know that the actual language of what is being proposed by the Legislature to be added to our state’s Constitution will not be printed on their ballot,’ Ritchie wrote. ‘This seems odd to many voters given the importance of the Constitution as our state’s highest law.’ ” Well, it’s like this: If we fully understand the language, there’s less chance we can make a thoroughly emotional decision.

There’s a conference going on about Minnesota’s traffic issues. Rupa Chenoy’s story at MPR says: “The state departments of health, public safety and transportation are gathering 900 experts from across Minnesota on Monday to discuss new traffic challenges. Law enforcement officers, emergency medical technicians, engineers and advocates will attend the Toward Zero Death conference in Bloomington. … [Public Health Department spokesman Nathan] Bowie added that roads have become safer in part because of safer vehicles, better driving habits and faster emergency response. But he said traffic deaths are already nearing 300 this year. ‘A lot of that we’re seeing is a huge increase in motorcyclist fatalities as well as pedestrian deaths,’ Bowie said. ‘But those deaths are also accompanied by again, drunk driving deaths, seatbelt non-use, speeding.’ ” And dare we say … “helmets”?

The pro-marriage amendment forces were quick to broad brush the paint attack on its Uptown billboard. Aaron Rupar at City Pages writes: “Over the weekend, the ‘Vote Yes’ marriage amendment sign across the street from Liquor Lyle’s in Uptown was vandalized with pink paint. And while vandalism isn’t a good thing, it’s a bit much to say, ‘The destruction demonstrates the kind of environment Minnesotans can expect if marriage is redefined in Minnesota,’ isn’t it? … It kinda seems Minnesota for Marriage was asking for it, doesn’t it? You plaster a ‘Vote Yes’ billboard in one of the most liberal parts of town, across from one of the most hard-drinking bars, this is what you get. It’s the old ‘mess with the bull, you get the horns’ thing.” No doubt Rupar is also cavalier about the inevitability of our children marrying each other and turtles if this thing doesn’t pass.

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Comments (22)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/22/2012 - 02:20 pm.

    “It’s the old ‘mess with the bull, you get the horns’ thing.”

    We’ll be looking for that in the report from the Gov’s “anti-bullying” strike force.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/22/2012 - 05:08 pm.

      Not there, Mr. Swift

      Have a look for yourself:

      Prevention of Bullying Task Force Delivers Recommendations to Governor Dayton

      There’s a place in the link where you can download the final report.

      Or perhaps you think this report is some sort of joke?

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/22/2012 - 08:27 pm.

        Thank you Bill

        Can you direct us to exactly where the report recommends against messing with the bull?

        • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/23/2012 - 12:05 pm.

          Just to repeat, Mr. Swift.

          Apparently you didn’t read very carefully. The report does NOT recommend against “messing with the bull.”

          Do you think this is some sort of joke, Mr. Swift?

      • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/23/2012 - 12:27 am.

        First, you must determine

        who was on the “Task Force” and what is their politics, their memberships in relevant organizations or non-profits, and do they have any socio-political agendas?

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/22/2012 - 03:17 pm.


    don’t prevent internal injuries, broken necks, riding while intoxicated or simple stupidity.

    As a helmet-wearing motorcyclist, I’d like to see all riders wearing them but that’s not going to happen. It might help, however, if news reports not only mentioned whether the rider was wearing a helmet but whether, in the opinion of law enforcement, it would have made any difference if he or she had been.

    • Submitted by John N. Finn on 10/22/2012 - 07:44 pm.

      Loud pipes

      And besides whether news reports mention the wearing of a helmet, whether the motorcyclist had a muffler on his motor would be informative. Because loud pipes are supposed to save lives, we are told.

      Seriously though, and as I’ve said before, if you seek payback for all of the Harley bikers you have had to listen to, support mandatory helmet laws.

      • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 10/23/2012 - 08:46 am.

        Actually John

        …as a “Harley rider” I dumped my bike 2 years ago when a vehicle pulled out in front of me. When I upgraded my bike, I purposely bought loud pipes as an added safety feature in addition to the helmet I ALWAYS wear. Seriously though, the loud pipes are a payback for all the moronic drivers I’ve had to put up with.

  3. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 10/22/2012 - 03:21 pm.

    I’d take issue as to whether it’s “hard drinking”..

    after all, it’s just a little pink paint. If they’re really hard drinkers, they’ll prove it by voting Yes.

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/22/2012 - 03:26 pm.

    Minnesota for Marriage

    recently launched its third television ad, this one filled with a parade of horribles it claims will follow should gay marriage ever be recognized in Minnesote. You can watch it here:

    Not being one who is inclined to take anyone’s word on just about anything, I decided to look into the claims made. Here’s what I found.

    #1. Small businesses fined in Vermont:

    “A former Wildflower employee sparked the lawsuit when she falsely claimed that the inn would not allow a same-sex reception,” the alliance said in a statement. “The inn’s actual business practice, which the Vermont Human Rights Commission approved in 2005, was to honestly disclose its owners’ religious convictions to potential customers while agreeing to serve everyone in accordance with the law.”

    The law in question prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, not marital status. Minnesota law does as well.

    #2. Broadcaster fired:

    “Rogers Sportsnet cut ties with Damien Goddard, a host on Rogers Sportnet, after he tweeted his support for Todd Reynolds’ comments about being disappointed in Avery for supporting gay marriage. For those unfamiliar, the Rogers is one of the biggest communications companies in Canada, and more or less Ontario’s equivalent of Cablevision.”

    Canandian law permitting gay marriage was not stated as a reason for the company’s decision.

    #3. D.C. Catholic Charities closes adoption program:

    “The D.C. City Council’s law recognizing same-sex “marriage” required religious entities which serve the general public to provide services to homosexual couples, even if doing so violated their religious beliefs. Exemptions were allowed only for performing marriages or for those entities which do not serve the public.”

    #4. Worcester Diocese sued for refusing to sell mansion:

    The Diocese refused to sell a mansion to a group which intended to use it for wedding receptions because the Diocese was afraid it might be used for receptions for gay marriages, among others. Again, it was a question of discriminatiing on the basis of sexual orientation, in an area unrelated to church doctrine (i.e., the use of real property).

    #5. Parents not entitled to notice of what their children will be taught or to pull them out of class to avoid it:

    Parents sued because their child was required to read a book in whih a character had same sex parents. The court dismissed the case under federal law but permitted state law claims to be re-filed in state court. Again, the legality of gay marriage had nothing to do with the case.

    “Massachusetts law prohibits discrimination in public schools based on sex or sexual orientation. It also requires that public school curricula encourage respect for all individuals regardless of, among other things, sexual orientation. Pursuant to these directives, the Massachusetts Department of Education has issued standards which encourage instruction for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students concerning different types of people and families.”

    “The defendants have moved to dismiss this case. As explained in detail in this Memorandum, plaintiffs have not alleged facts which constitute a violation of the Constitution or any law of the
    United States. Therefore, their federal claims are being dismissed with prejudice. Plaintiffs’ state law claims are also being dismissed, but without prejudice to their being reinstituted in the
    courts of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

    In summary, the court must dismiss plaintiffs’ federal claims because this case is not distinguishable in any material respect from Brown v. Hot, Sexy and Safer Productions, 68 F.3d 525 (1st Cir. 1995). In Brown, the First Circuit held that the constitutional right of parents to raise their children does not include the right to restrict what a public school may teach their
    children and that teachings which contradict a parent’s religious beliefs do not violate their First Amendment right to exercise their religion. Id. at 534, 539. The reasoning and holding of Brown have been reaffirmed by the First Circuit, have been found to be persuasive by many other Courts of Appeals in comparable cases, and have not been undermined by any decision of the Supreme Court. Therefore, Brown constitutes binding precedent which dictates the decision to dismiss plaintiffs’ federal claims in this case.”

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/22/2012 - 04:40 pm.


      “ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Two upstate New York women turned away from a potential wedding site because they are gay have filed a discrimination complaint, setting up a possible precedent-setting battle involving the state’s new same-sex marriage law.
      One prominent gay marriage opponent said the case could test the breadth of the law’s religious freedom language.”

      Just when you were really rolling, James.

      None of these things are an issue in states that do not recognize SSM, that is an indisputable fact.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/22/2012 - 04:52 pm.

        Except . . .

        . . . the New York wedding venue is not a church. It is a regular for-profit business that rents space to wedding parties. It’s a public accomodation, bound by New York laws prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in public accomodations. The fact that it may vioate the owners’ religious convictions to have a wedding between two women there doesn’t make it not a violation of the anti-discrimination laws.

        The reason “these things” do not happen in states that do not recognize same sex marriage is that those states don’t have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. The lawsuits are not based on same-sex marriage laws. One may dislike anti-discrimination laws (and those of us who recall your postings on the unmoderated MNPublius site know the depths of your disagreement), but they are still part and parcel of state law. A church may refuse to perform or recognize a same-sex marriage. A for-profit business cannot turn it away.

        • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/23/2012 - 12:41 am.

          Competing interests

          Are you willing to send Jews and Christians to jail because they won’t buy into the “same sex marriage” fraud, RB Holbrook?

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 10/23/2012 - 05:41 am.


            You are aware of the difference between civil and criminal judgement right? Talk about exaggeration. Though in my heart of hearts I would have to think a night or two in the hoosegow might lead to an improved perspective regarding learning when to just let it go and get along.

            • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/23/2012 - 04:31 pm.

              Can I quote you?

              Mr. Haas stated:

              “Though in my heart of hearts I would have to think a night or two in the hoosegow might lead to an improved perspective…”

          • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 10/23/2012 - 09:14 am.


            Ponder the sanctity of marriage claims with a divorce rate above 50%

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/23/2012 - 09:38 am.

            What on earth do you mean?

            No one is sending anyone to jail. These are civil lawsuits. They are not based on anyone’s beliefs, but on their actions running a for-profit business.

            • Submitted by Neal Krasnoff on 10/23/2012 - 04:33 pm.

              NYS law

              Depending on the complaint to the state agency, it may be a criminal complaint pursuant to NYS Civil Rights Law.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/23/2012 - 05:12 pm.


                The issue is not whether someone is being pubished for their beliefs. The law does not say that a person has to agree with same-sex marriage. The issue is whether a person may act on those beliefs in a manner contrary to law.

                The penalties, incidentally, are the same for any type of discrimination, including discrimination based on race or religion. The owner of a wedding venue who refused to rent to a Jewish couple, because of a religious objection to the continued practice of their faith, faces the same penalties as a person who discriminates based on sexual orientation. Would you have a problem with that scenario?

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/22/2012 - 05:02 pm.

    My Heavens!

    You’d think the school in the Massachusetts case had forced these parents’ little snowflake to sit next to a black kid!

  6. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/23/2012 - 01:43 pm.

    James Hamilton

    Do you mind if lift your well researched post and put it on my blog? with proper attribution of course? I think it should be made available to a wider audience.

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