Bakk and Thissen step up to majority leadership roles

No surprise here. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Star Tribune writes: “Even as veteran DFLers assumed new leadership roles at the Capitol on Thursday, familiar issues loomed on the legislative horizon. “The top of agenda is to get our arms around the state’s budget challenges. We have had, going back to 2003, serious structural budget problems in Minnesota,” said Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, who was elected majority leader in a daylong caucus meeting. … In the House, Rep. Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, a former health committee chair and longtime proponent of expanded access to health care, was the DFL’s choice for speaker of the House, a post considered second in power only to the governor.” What chance “The Draz” gets a better title with the GOP?

Do you think … ? Amy Forliti of the AP reports: “Officials are asking a judge to terminate the parental rights of a Minnesota couple accused of starving one of their four children, saying the 8-year-old boy suffered egregious harm and it’s not in the best interest of any child to be in their care. The boy, who weighed less than 35 pounds last month, was released from the hospital Wednesday, Mayo Clinic officials said Thursday. He’s now in foster care, and his siblings remain with their parents, Russell and Mona Hauer. The Hauers, of North Mankato, are charged with six felonies, including neglect and malicious punishment of a child. Authorities said they spanked the boy with a 2-by-4, made him sleep in a sled because he wet the bed and put an alarm on his door so he would not steal food. He was given a bucket to urinate in, and was taken outside to be hosed off on some mornings, the complaint said.” And the other kids are where?

This guy needs an agent to get him on one of those cheesy “World’s Dumbest …” shows. Says David Hanners at the PiPress: “Antonio “Savage” Jenkins Jr. was proud enough of the new tattoo on his left bicep to stick a photo of it on Facebook. ‘My tattoo iz a pig get’n his brains blew out,’ read the caption. The tattoo depicted a person holding a pistol into the mouth of a pig dressed in a Minneapolis police uniform with the badge of Officer Jeffrey Seidel. But Hennepin County prosecutors say Jenkins’ tattoo crossed the line from body art to crime. On Thursday, Nov. 8, the reputed member of the Bloods street gang c currently on probation for armed robbery — was charged with making a terroristic threat for the benefit of a gang.” Next time, a simple “Mom” in a Valentine heart.

This is pretty vague … The Mercury News, out in the Bay area, reports: “Court documents show former Minnesota Vikings player Bernard Berrian has reached a settlement with an East Bay couple who found his BlackBerry and allegedly threatened to sell its contents unless the wide receiver paid them $30,000. The settlement between Berrian and the couple, Ron Jones and Clarice Lankford of Oakland, was reached Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota. The documents say the terms of the deal are confidential.” Just guessing, but there might have been better stuff on it than Brad Childress’ home phone number.

Some more climate change factoids from MPR’s Paul Huttner:
• “35th year in a row above 20th century global temperature average
• 45% of land use on earth has changed in past 100 years
• 53% of USA’s residents live in “oceanfront counties”
• “Weather” is the new “Fire.” Insurance companies in Canada have paid more for weather losses than fire losses in the past 10 years for the first time ever
• March 2012 heatwave most anomalous extreme heat event in North American history
• “Quickening” Climate is changing so quickly that climate “normals” are less valuable as predictors of future climate. Look at last 6-10 years to best predict future climate trends
• Minnesota near ground zero? Greatest warming signal occurring in center of continents…less near oceans.”
Do the climate deniers get their info from the same secret pipeline as Karl Rove’s polling data?

The GleanGood eyes, weird judgment. Nicole Norfleet of the Strib writes: “A school bus driver’s judgment was under scrutiny Thursday after he instructed a Robbinsdale middle schooler to retrieve something lying on the side of the road. The obedient student ended up bringing back a gun. About 8 a.m. Thursday, a bus driver en route to Robbinsdale Middle School spotted something on the side of the road near the intersection of 25th and Irving Avenues N. in Minneapolis, said Tia Clasen, spokeswoman for the Robbinsdale schools. He made an unscheduled stop and asked a seventh-grader to get off the bus and pick up the object, Clasen said.”

At the Rochester Post-Bulletin, Jeff Hansel files a piece on Mayo’s CEO urging communication with the hospital by President Obama and other leaders: “On the day after Obama was re-elected, Mayo CEO Dr. John Noseworthy invited him and members of Congress to work with Mayo on fixing the U.S. health care system, which he called ‘unsustainable’ in its current form. ‘To preserve and strengthen our nation’s economy, it is imperative that we take action now to create a new health care model for America,’ Noseworthy said. Although the wide-ranging Affordable Care Act, which Obama signed during his first time, is being implemented, Noseworthy was critical of remaining problems. Care for patients is fragmented, reimbursement inequitable and imprecise,’ he said. ‘An uncertain economy, challenges of an aging population and the federal deficit have combined to put even greater pressure on our nation and the country’s not-for-profit health care organizations.’ “

If they take this to heart, we really should have quotas on New Yorkers and Californians. At Slate a couple of days ago, Matt Yglesias writes: “A reader asked me the other day for a Rent Is Too Damn High perspective on what city he should live in. On one level, it’s a complicated question. On another level, the answer is that you should move to Minneapolis. Of the 15 highest-income metropolitan areas in the United States, 14 are in high-cost coastal areas. The other one, clocking in at No. 12 with a median household income about 23 percent above the national average, is the Minneapolis-St Paul MSA with its low low Midwestern prices. People appear to be deterred from moving to Minneapolis on the grounds that it’s very cold, but David Schkade and Daniel Kahneman have found that people’s thinking about weather and happiness is dominated by ‘focusing illusion’ in which ‘easily observed and distinctive differences between locations are given more weight in such judgments than they will have in reality.’ They specifically looked at the weather gap between California and the Midwest and found that while Midwesterners thought the good weather in California would make a huge difference in people’s lives, it doesn’t in reality.” Yeah, but wait until they realize Wisconsin is right next door.

Blog posts from bubble creatures in the wake of Tuesday’s very-well-predicted election makes for fascinating/hilarious reading. At his Let Freedom Ring blog, Gary Gross is currently on some kind of voter fraud kick. But the best is his election prediction titled “Why Mitt Romney Will Win Big”: “Newt Gingrich is one of the best political strategists of our time. Whether you agree or disagree with his policies, whether you think he’s too temperamental or whether you think he’s utterly brilliant, there’s no denying the fact that he’s got a fantastic knack of understanding main street. … This statement spoke volumes to me:

NEWT: I was struck by something Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times, hardly a right wing reporter, said that the states he’d been in this week, his phrase was “The organic enthusiasm was for Romney.” There was a mechanical machine for Obama but there was an organic enthusiasm for Romney. My experience in politics is that organic enthusiasm,. the whole wave effect, always defeats the mechanical machine.

Notice that Newt didn’t criticize the machine. He simply said that a mob of genuinely enthusiastic voters will defeat the machine every time. I couldn’t dispute that if I wanted to.”  What was Albert Einstein’s line about insanity?

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