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GOP senator wants hearings on e-pulltabs

Scary plane trip; new Viking uniforms teased; smoke-free U of M pushed; E85 sales slip; Nazi card played; Twitter “barrage” greets grandson news; and more.

Oh yeah! An investigation … ! Jennifer Brooks of the Strib reports: “Minnesota’s decision to legalize electronic pulltabs was based on revenue numbers provided by the gambling industry, and one state lawmakers wants to know why. … State Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, is calling for Senate hearings into the Minnesota Gambling Control Board’s decision to base its revenue estimates on numbers provided by the gambling industry. … ‘The Dayton administration provided these estimates and testified before your committee last year that the were solid estimates which could be trusted,’ Nienow wrote in a letter to the Senate Finance Committee, requesting an oversight hearing into the issue. ‘I never believed that and clearly I was wise to be so skeptical! At the time, I referred to the estimates as based on ‘Fairies an(d) FuFu Dust.’ ” And don’t forget a couple of guys in Florida.

It’s a trip they won’t soon forget … Jeff Brown of the La Crosse Tribune writes: “For the Winona State University men’s basketball team, the phrase ‘happy to be here’ took on an entirely new meaning Tuesday. Off the court, that is. The Warriors, who flew from Minneapolis to Detroit and then to Louisville Tuesday for their appearance in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Tournament, were a bit unnerved for about 15 to 20 minutes when the landing gear on their plane malfunctioned — it would not lock into place — as they were about to land at the Louisville airport. That led to some anxious moments on board, especially when one of the flight attendants was in tears as she demonstrated to the passengers what the ‘crash’ position was, then told them to assume it.”

New uniforms = new merchandising opportunities, right? Matt Wilhalme of the Los Angeles Times says: “Though the Miami Dolphins might have unceremoniously announced their uniform changes thanks to a few leaked images, the Minnesota Vikings have taken a decidedly different route to unveiling their new duds and turned it into a game. The Vikings will officially debut the team’s new look during the team’s 2013 NFL draft party at Mall of America Field on April 25. Until then, fans can unlock special previews of the new uniforms by connecting with Minnesota’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts through the Vikings Uniform Insider, where engagement will result in teasers about the new garb.” At first, I thought this was a prank.

A couple of local health-care execs write a Strib commentary arguing for a smoke-free U of M. Mike McAvoy and Tim Tilstra say: “Kicking tobacco off campus is part of a fast-growing national movement that has proven popular with students, staff and faculty — more than 1,100 American colleges and universities now have smoke-free or tobacco-free campuses, including 32 schools in Minnesota. Unfortunately, the state’s largest institute of higher education, the University of Minnesota, is lagging behind. Frankly, it’s hard to understand why. … There simply isn’t any good reason why the U should not adopt a strong policy about tobacco use on its Twin Cities campuses, and there are many good reasons in favor of the move. This is the year the U should give tobacco the boot.”

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E85 isn’t doing well. Dave Shaffer of the Strib says: “Minnesota sales of the high-ethanol gasoline blend called E85 have dropped dramatically. New data from the state Commerce Department showed a 26 percent decline in E85 sales last year, to 14.7 million gallons, compared with 2011.For the state’s gasoline retailers, it represented the weakest sales of the corn-based fuel since 2005, and only the second time the annual E85 volume has dropped in 17 years of usually steady growth.” Somebody should tell Judi Dutcher.

Meanwhile, drilling down into national figures released earlier, Tom Webb of the PiPress writes: “Amid strong prices and drought concerns, Minnesota farmers intend to plant the largest corn crop in state history in 2013, growers told the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Minnesota farmers expect to plant 9 million acres in corn this spring, a massive crop that’s 4 percent above last year’s record. In its annual spring plantings report issued Thursday, March 28, USDA said farmers nationwide intend to plant the most corn acres since the 1930s. For Minnesota, it’s the most corn ever. Minnesota soybean acres will fall 4 percent. ‘The profitability of corn was just too hard to pass up for producers,’ said Brian Basting of Advance Trading.”

The Nazi card has been played, again … . Tom Scheck at MPR says: “Minnesota for Marriage, which is working to defeat state efforts to legalize same-sex marriage, released information to pastors urging them to speak out against same-sex marriage on April 7th. In their documents to pastors, the group released talking points suggesting that ‘there is no gay gene.’. It went on to criticize gay rights groups and the media for promoting what it says is debunked science. ‘Third, there is a definitive problem. Homosexuals claim: ‘We were born this way; it is in our genes; God made us gay.’ They cite old ‘gay gene’ studies predominantly conducted by researchers who are homosexuals; studies that have been repudiated by credible research. Yet these same biased and discredited studies have been widely publicized by the liberal media as true and factual. They essentially practice Joseph Goebel’s (sic) Nazi philosophy of propaganda, which is basically this: Tell a lie long enough and loud enough and eventually most mindless Americans will believe it.’ ” And what would Heinrich Himmler do with people who think that?

Gov. Mark Dayton became a grandfather Wednesday by scheduled C-section, so a couple of weeks ago he sent word that his chief of staff would be filling in for him at a Chamber of Commerce event. But … as Sally Jo Sorensen chronicles in her Bluestem Prairie  blog, that was no reason for a Twitter barrage to break out among a few hardened partisans: “The substitution became a ‘cancellation,’ without stopping to learn the circumstances of the birth, it became ‘induced labor,’ and, the lack of interest by the press about the alleged snubbing of the business community became occasion for outrage. Yes, really.  Presented in their self-evident glory, here’s that gentle chorus of family values …
JohnGilmore @Shabbosgoy
BREAKING: Gov. Dayton has cancelled his speech to St. Paul Chamber luncheon. Do we have media that are curious about this pattern?

SheilaKihne @SheilaKihne
So, did we get an answer on why Mark Dayton skipped Chamber lunch last minute?

JohnGilmore @Shabbosgoy
I’m sure one of our curious journalists will have a multi-part series about why Dayton has pattern of last minute cancellations

John Rouleau @John_Rouleau
@jpkolb @shabbosgoy Maybe specific date to induce labor but no decency to announce cancelation? I’m sure the media is on it?”