If you’re reading this and the sun has risen, I guess we’re all still here. There’s nothing about the mysterious planet Nibiru looming in on radar. So apparently the Mayans’ 13th baktun is going out with a whimper? Well, up in North Dakota, the Forum papers say: “Minot Public Schools cancelled classes Friday because of growing rumors about the Mayan calendar’s supposed prediction that the world will end and concerns for student safety. It’s only one of several school districts in North Dakota and Minnesota grappling with rumors of school violence that have combined with heightened fears in the wake of a shooting last week that took the life of 26 students and teachers at a Newtown, Conn., school. At Moorhead High School, a threatening rumor prompted extra security Thursday. Police said they looked into the rumor on Wednesday and found it to be false, but added an extra officer for peace of mind. At Bemidji High School, police spent Thursday trying to get to the bottom of a threatening rumor, found it baseless, but added security just in case.” Just in case a Mayan high priest comes looking for a fresh sacrifice …?
It’s a fair question … Pat Kessler at WCCO-TV says: “When the Minnesota Orchestra got $14 million in taxpayer funds to renovate its Minneapolis concert hall, they vouched for its financial stability at the time, citing “three balanced budgets in a row.” Now, some lawmakers want a hearing to investigate whether that was truthful. More than a dozen House lawmakers signed on to a letter to Minnesota Orchestra management, calling for a hearing to find out if they were misled before awarding millions of dollars to the Orchestra. The stinging letter from 14 Democratic House members raises questions about the ethics of Minnesota Orchestra management.” Which is kind of getting up in the grilles of some the town’s corporate royalty.
Jesse Ventura’s case against the world’s greatest sniper got a green light Thursday. David Hanners of the PiPress says: “A federal judge has refused to dismiss most of the claims in Jesse Ventura’s defamation suit against an ex-Navy SEAL sniper who says he punched the former Minnesota governor. The former sniper, best-selling author Chris Kyle, had asked U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle (no relation) to throw out Ventura’s claims of invasion of privacy and ‘unjust enrichment,’ arguing there was no legal basis for them. But in a ruling Thursday, Dec. 20, the judge said the suit should proceed as-is. … The author’s ‘argument depends entirely on his own version of the facts and ignores Ventura’s,’ the judge wrote in his nine-page order. ‘His statements are not protected by the First Amendment if they were knowingly false and defamatory, as Ventura claims.’ ” Who pays court costs on this thing?
Don’t we all wish we could be as cool as West St. Paul? Nick Ferraro of the PiPress writes: “The streets of West St. Paul are taking on a different look at night — turning from a warm amber glow to a cool, whiter hue. A two-year pilot project under way in the first-ring suburb involves swapping out 529 traditional high-pressure sodium streetlights with LED fixtures and then monitoring and evaluating them for performance and cost-effectiveness. It is the largest installation of LED streetlights ever taken up in the state by a utility company, said Ed Bieging, project coordinator for Xcel Energy’s outdoor lighting department, which is partnering with GE Lighting Solutions and the city on the study. ‘A lot of utilities and even some cities kind of dabble with them — maybe 10, 20, 100 lights — but they don’t get into that larger scale where we’re at right now’, Bieging said.”
The hardly reassuring practice of cops and other authorities looking up driver license information … for the hell of it … gets more play in a piece by the Strib’s Eric Roper: “A top Minneapolis employee facing a criminal charge of misusing driver’s license records argued in court Thursday that he’s being unfairly targeted for a practice that was rampant at City Hall. Deegan’s position often required him to look up driver’s license records, but prosecutors claim that at least some of his 3,370 queries over 5 1/2 years were unauthorized. … They cite Deegan’s frequent queries of his own file, in addition to those of his deceased family members, which could fall outside the law. After 37 years as a city employee, housing inspections director Tom Deegan was put on paid leave in September when prosecutors charged him with accessing driver’s license records without a business purpose. … They point to the city’s decision to pay Anne Marie Rasmusson $392,500 this fall to settle a lawsuit which claimed that many Minneapolis officers — as well as those in other jurisdictions — snooped into her DVS [Driver and Vehicle Services] records.”
It was a long, crazy ride … Kevin Diaz of the Strib checks in with the departing Chip Cravaack: “The one-term Republican, who stunned the political world when he defeated DFL stalwart Jim Oberstar two years ago, now says he will likely put politics and Minnesota behind him to be reunited with his wife, Traci, and their two young sons, who have moved to New Hampshire. … Despite a political legacy that will be remembered for his historic upset two years ago, it has come to this for the retired pilot and stay-at-home dad: Having been beaten by 9 percentage points in one of the most costly House races in the nation, he’s been relegated to finishing his term in a basement cubicle in a House office building cafeteria.” Who’s he bunking with? Joe Walsh and Allen West?
Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson is standing with the NRA on assault rifles. The AP says: “Peterson, the dean of Minnesota’s congressional delegation, said Thursday that reviving a ban on military-style assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips won’t solve the problem of gun violence. The conservative Blue Dog Democrat has long been a staunch supporter of gun rights and has an ‘A’ rating from the National Rifle Association.” Does he wear that “A” stitched on his suit coat?
Twenty-five vehicles piled up in the Iowa blizzard. David Pitt and Margery Beck of the AP report: “The first widespread snowstorm of the season crawled across the Midwest on Thursday, with whiteout conditions stranding holiday travelers and sending drivers sliding over slick roads — including into a fatal 25-vehicle pileup in Iowa. … As far as the region’s drought, meteorologists said the storm wouldn’t make much of a dent. It takes a foot or more of snow to equal an inch of water, said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center.”
Oops, a little late getting to this one. On his Minnesota Conservatives blog, John Hugh Gilmore writes about his pal Michael Brodkorb’s lawsuit: “Any lawyer surely understands a client’s thunderous yelp of ‘thousands for defense, not a dime for settlement.’ Sometimes it’s actually true, warranted. Most times, just so much bravado the client needs to tell himself or her board of directors or whomever. Real life and economics eventually intrude into this high minded, self-regarding attitude toward litigation. At some point, continued litigation is not worth the candle. That point has been reached and passed in the Brodkorb litigation. Spare me your dislike of the man personally or your ersatz repulsion over the nature of his claims (so genteel), as if knowledge of the inner-workings, so to speak, of the Minnesota legislature on either side of the aisle was news to you. As if Michael Brodkorb & Amy Koch were the first. As if. … If Brodkorb pulls the deposition trigger, look for these gutless wonders to fashion a deal. Local media will report process but probably would be squeamish to report substance. I would share that feeling. Settle with Brodkorb to make him go away, at least on the litigation front.” Uh-huh. And who’s writing that check?