It’s not likely they’ll frame this one for the office wall. In the Washington Post, Valerie Strauss writes: “[A]nd, now, the Bunkum Awards. Presented by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder, the awards are given for what the presenters say is bad educational research. How bad? Given that a great deal of educational research is bad, the winners have to shock the sensibilities of the awarders. … The “Scary Black Straw Man” Award goes to Katherine Kersten and the Center [of] the American Experiment for “Our Immense Achievement Gap: Embracing Proven Remedies While Avoiding a Race-Based Recipe for Disaster.” From the policy center: Using apocalyptic language throughout her report, the author alludes to a ‘train wreck’ and massive ‘liabilities’ and a ‘race-based recipe for disaster’ if state policymakers, in their zeal to pursue race-based school reform policies, continue colluding with advocates for desegregation, busing and school funding. … ‘What brought tears of appreciation to our judges’ eyes was the lengthy, heart-rending and compassionate soliloquy about the need to rectify the injustice of the achievement gap – followed by an equally passionate rejection of initiatives sensibly designed to close it.’ ” We’re so proud to call them ours.
So, put another way, this guy is a recidivist raw-milk pusher? The AP says: “A Minnesota farmer is accused of violating his probation by selling unpasteurized milk. Prosecutors say Michael Hartmann once again is facing charges of selling raw milk in his long-running legal battle over state regulations. KEYC-TV says the 59-year-old rural Gibbon farmer is charged with selling raw milk, improper food labeling and selling produce without a license. Hartmann was fined $585 last year and placed on probation after pleading guilty to two misdemeanors in an agreement with prosecutors.”
Apparently it’s back to 2007, if you’re a community bank. The Strib’s Jennifer Bjorhus writes: “Lower loan loss provisions helped bolster profits at Minnesota’s community banks last year, with earnings reaching their highest point since 2007. Year-end profits jumped by half to $603 million in 2012, according to fourth-quarter numbers out Tuesday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). The FDIC report shows continuing improvement among the state’s 350-plus community banks. It’s the 11th consecutive quarter that combined profits have increased.”
Related … Annie Baxter of MPR says: “Home prices in the Twin Cities finished 2012 with their strongest gains in more than a decade, according to a new report Tuesday. Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index show Twin Cities home prices in December up 12 percent compared to the same month the previous year. That is the Twin Cities’ biggest annual price gain since 2001.”
A 30% mix of biofuels is called “aspirational.” In the PiPress, Leslie Brooks Suzukamo says: “Minnesota legislators will get a chance Wednesday, Feb. 27, to look at a bill that would allow a different kind of corn-based biofuel besides ethanol to be mixed with gasoline. The bill also would set an ‘aspirational goal’ of displacing more petroleum use by calling for Minnesota gasoline to contain a 30 percent mixture of biofuels by 2025, said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, a state trade group. The proposed 30 percent blend is not a mandate, Rudnicki said.” Voluntary compliance has worked so well on environmental issues.
WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler aims his Reality Check at the GOP’s intramural fights over gay marriage. He says: “[F]or Republicans, there’s a generation gap. Only 30 percent of the overall party favors gay marriage; but 70 percent of Republicans under the age of 30 support it. … The Washington-based Democratic think tank Third Way says 98.5 percent of state legislators who voted for gay marriage were re-elected. Out of 196 elections in New York and Washington state, only five pro-gay marriage lawmakers lost their seats — four in New York and one in Washington. And in three of those elections, other factors — like corruption– might have played a bigger factor.”
In a PiPress commentary, veteran GOP figure Pat Anderson steps up and writes: “Republicans in Minnesota and across the country, many are rightfully asking: What went wrong? And perhaps more importantly, how do we move forward? We’re not losing elections because our principles are weak, and we’re not losing young voters because our message isn’t relevant to them; indeed, conservative principles of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility are more important now than ever. We’re struggling as a party because we continue to dangerously alienate significant groups of Minnesotans — including same-sex couples and the people who know and love them.” What percentage of “the base” would you say is gay?
It’s a Minnesota takeover in the White House. MPR’s Brett Neely reports: “A Minnesota native already runs the White House staff. Now another will become the top national security aide to Vice President Joe Biden. Biden named Jake Sullivan to be his new National Security Advisor on Tuesday. Sullivan, who’s from Minneapolis, comes to the White House from the State Department, where he served as the head of the highly influential Policy Planning Department and also worked as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff. Sullivan also worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and served briefly as U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s chief counsel.” Maybe this is how the Vikings win a Super Bowl.
Is that Nancy Grace landing at Holman Field? Mara Gottfried of the PiPress says: “Kira Trevino’s husband reported his 30-year-old wife missing Friday, Feb. 22, setting off frantic pleas from friends and family on social media for help to find the St. Paul woman. Trevino’s car was found unoccupied at the Mall of America, where she worked, and police searched the couple’s Payne-Phalen home Monday. Police ‘located enough evidence to show that a crime had been committed in the house,’ St. Paul police Sgt. Paul Paulos said Tuesday. He didn’t elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation. Police arrested Jeffery Trevino, Kira’s husband, Tuesday on suspicion of homicide. Kira Trevino hasn’t been found and Paulos said they still consider her a missing person.”