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Minnesota schools need more ‘patriotism,’ GOP leaders say

Minnesota State suspends beleaguered football coach; health exchange advances; holiday hiring boosts job numbers; Minnesota United readies lobbying effort; and more.

Not enough “patriotism” in our schools for the local GOP. Says Tim Pugmire at MPR: “The new Republican leadership in the Minnesota House wants DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to reject the new social studies standards crafted by the state education department. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, and Assistant Minority Leader Kelby Woodard, R-Belle Plaine, sent a letter to Dayton today urging him to veto the proposed standards. They contend the standards do not reflect ‘what Minnesotans expect our students to learn and comprehend in the subject areas of history, government and economics.’ … ‘Throughout the entire set of civic and history standards there is virtually no mention of the values of American patriotism,’ they wrote. The GOP leaders also noted that there are no mentions of Osama Bin Laden, the war on terrorism or the events of Sept. 11, 2001.” I hope it at least mentions the NRA.

Isn’t this like bayoneting the wounded? The AP story says: “A Minnesota college football coach who was cleared of child porn charges is fighting his suspension. Connie Howard, general counsel for the Inter Faculty Organization, says Todd Hoffner received written notice from Minnesota State University, Mankato, late Tuesday afternoon. She says in an email to The Associated Press that the notice calls for a 20-day unpaid suspension starting Jan. 7. The Inter Faculty Organization is a union representing faculty in Minnesota’s state universities. Howard says they’ve filed a grievance challenging Hoffner’s suspension. She says the university failed to follow progressive discipline and did not have just cause to suspend him.”

The feds have said “OK” to a Minnesota health insurance exchange. Dave Shaffer of the Strib says it “was one of three additional states whose exchanges were conditionally approved. The others were in Delaware and Rhode Island, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS). Eight states and the District of Columbia won approval for exchanges last week. The exchanges, or marketplaces, are a key part of the federal health care law, allowing consumers and small businesses to compare online or by phone the costs and options among private health insurance plans starting in 2014. Most of the exchanges approved so far, including Minnesota’s, are state operated.”

Yeah, it’s holiday hiring. But there was a lot of it. Adam Belz of the Strib says: “The biggest holiday hiring spike in a decade headlined a Minnesota job report full of good cheer, as the state added 10,800 jobs in November. Stores, delivery companies and similar businesses drove the gains, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. ‘We’ve seen strong retail sales this holiday season so far,’ said Steve Hine, a labor market economist for the state. ‘November’s job gains on an unadjusted basis was the strongest we’ve seen in about ten years’. Also pointing to the strength of consumer spending were hiring gains in leisure and hospitality, a category that’s suffered most of the year.

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The GleanDespite the onerous burden on our millionaires and job creators, the Minnesota job market continues to improve. Bill Catlin of MPR reports: “The state has gained more than 55,000 jobs in the past year, a growth rate of 2.1 percent. That’s well ahead of the national pace of 1.4 percent during the same period. … ‘This employment report on net was quite strong and quite frankly was a relief, considering the weakness we had initially reported in October,’ DEED economist Steve Hine said. Hine said Minnesota has regained 64.5 percent of the jobs the state lost in the recession.”

The latest from the “The Only Solution to Too Many Guns in Schools Is More Guns in Schools” lobby … Says John Hinderaker at Power Line, noting the Strib piece mentioning the legality of guns in Minnesota schools: “I think everyone would agree that our first choice is ‘keeping guns out of schools.’ The problem is that people come and go from schools all the time. It simply isn’t possible to ensure that all of them are unarmed, and none of them are crazy. That being the case, it seems rather pathetic to take comfort in the fact that guns are ‘banned’ from schools. Murderers don’t obey signs. But practicality — actually improving safety, as opposed to feeling self-righteous — is not much in evidence:

‘I cannot even imagine a situation where we would consider giving people permission to carry guns in school,’ Richfield Schools Superintendent Robert Slotterback said. ‘You’re not going to have a gun drawn. If they walk up to you, point a gun and fire, it doesn’t matter if you have a gun in your pocket or not.’

So self-defense is impossible, apparently. This really is the mentality that we are dealing with in trying to improve school safety. Unfortunately, now that Minnesota’s governor and legislators are aware of the provision that creates at least the possibility of protecting students from armed predators, it likely will be repealed.”

On the storm rolling through to the South, East and Midwest, Paul Douglas reports closer to home: “1-3″ amounts for the southern and eastern suburbs, closer to 6″ for Rochester, maybe 8″ at La Crosse. The heaviest snow bands are forecast to set up from the Quad Cities to the Wisconsin Dells and Madison, to the suburbs of Milwaukee, where some 10-14″ amounts are possible. Winds gusting past 35 mph will carve out some 2-3 foot drifts from Iowa into southern Wisconsin. Great fun.”

In addition to what our Beth Hawkins says here at MinnPost, Baird Helgeson of the Strib writes: “Minnesotans United, which raised millions of dollars and united tens of thousands of volunteers, is in the early stages of converting from a statewide campaign into a Capitol lobbying effort. The group plans to continue to urge supporters to have conversations around the state about the need to legalize same-sex marriage. … ‘The new DFL majorities will burn enormous political capital ending the conversation and imposing same-sex marriage,’ [Minnesota Catholic Conference’s Jason] Adkins said. ‘It could undermine the rest of their legislative goals.’ Democratic legislative leaders have so far not embraced plans to change the definition of marriage this session. They say the focus will be on wiping out a $1.1 billion budget deficit, overhauling the tax system and stabilizing education funding.”

But then … as T.W. Budig writes for the ECM papers: “Supporters of legalizing same-sex marriage hope to speedily pass legislation in the first weeks of the upcoming legislative session. That is, they hope to send a bill to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk prior to the release of February budget forecast. ‘This kind of closes the loop of the election,’ said Rep. Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul, who looks to carry same-sex marriage legislation in the House. Hausman, like Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, who plans to carry a same-sex marriage bill in the Senate, points to the failure of the Republican-sponsored marriage amendment last election as evidence of the state reaching a consensus on same-sex marriage.”