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KQ’s Tom Barnard melts down, seeks ‘anger management’

E-pulltab legislative hearing possible … later; columnist suggests ripping up stadium agreement; feds expand “Twin Cities area”; severe-weather warnings tweaked; and more.

Radio jock Tom Barnard says he needs anger management treatment. Paul Walsh’s Strib story says: “Tom Barnard, the longtime king of morning radio DJs in the Twin Cities, told listeners Friday that he’s going to be treated for substance abuse and hopes to get a grip on his fits of anger. The 61-year-old KQRS host (92.5 FM) said that drinking wine and taking pills to help him sleep and wake up were part of what led him to this decision. Early on during the show, he said he would be taking a leave from the air, but his attorney said late Friday morning that would not be the case. That anger apparently spilled out overnight on Twitter, with Barnard expressing in profanity-punctuated terms.”

Aaron Rupar at City Pages has a long chunk of the tweets. A sample:
Tom Barnard @radioTomBarnard
I know a lot of advertizers are concerned about my longevity on The KQ Morning Show. I will tell you this,our sales dept. Is totally [bleeped]! …
Tom Barnard @radioTomBarnard
Our sales dept, other than a few, like Pat Ebertz have totally stabbed me in the back. [Bleeping]  losers! …
Tom Barnard @radioTomBarnard

Diana, I am going to leave KQ the SECOND I possibly can. A bunch of backstabbing [bleeps]!”
Steady, dude. Billions have it much worse.

Today in e-pulltabs … Jennifer Brooks of the Strib says: “Senate Finance Committee Chairman Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, agreed “there might be some legitimate questions to ask” about the numbers the state used in its pulltab estimates. But not this month, when the Finance Committee members and staffers are tied up working on the budget bill. ‘These aren’t congressional committees with 25 staffers. Everyone’s overwhelmed with the budget bills,’ said Cohen, who didn’t rule out the possibility of hearings at a later date. ‘Maybe at some point. But I’d sure want more information before I went off on some kind of a witch hunt … Now, at some point down the road if this continues and it looks like there’s some significant problem, sure we’ll have to have some discussions.’ ” How many other items in the budget bill are larger than $348 million?

At the PiPress, Ruben Rosario writes: “Rip it up. Shred it. Scrap the whole thing or start again from a position of strength. I’m talking here about the flawed deal state legislators and the governor were bamboozled into making to help build a new Vikings stadium. Since there’s really no contract or written agreement to this public fleecing, I’m strongly suggesting an extreme makeover. … Dayton told folks this week not to panic over whether electronic gaming revenues will cover the state’s total share for the proposed stadium. He raised the prospect of a sports-themed lottery and a stadium suite tax as public-revenue backups. Well, the panic button was pushed by many well before last year’s legislative action, and it was ignored. And sure, let’s go out and further blow our paychecks on gambling to help build a stadium. That makes sense. There is nothing except embarrassment stopping the state Legislature from scrapping this deal and starting over. I say lock up the public henhouse and blow this deal up before the first shovel strikes ground next fall.”

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The GleanFor statistical purposes, the Twin Cities metro has grown, again. Dave Peters at MPR says: “In the eyes of the federal government, urban Minnesota has just pushed a little farther into the countryside. What used to be a 13-county metropolitan statistical area now contains 16 counties. Mille Lacs, Sibley and Le Sueur counties, which still look pretty rural if you go driving around the likes of Milaca or Winthrop, are now considered by the federal Office of Management and Budget part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). … The government uses these statistical areas to make comparisons across the country’s urban areas because they are defined more consistently than the legal boundaries of cities and counties. A county is added to an MSA when more than a quarter of its workforce commutes to the ‘core counties’ of the statistical area.”  I assume that does not mean … telecommuting.

There will be a new set of severe weather warnings next month. The AP story says: “The National Weather Service will provide more detailed severe weather warnings beginning Monday, April 1, in 14 states, including Minnesota and Wisconsin. Forecasters say the more descriptive information is aimed at getting people to safety sooner when severe weather approaches. The expanded warnings have been tested in Kansas and Missouri and will be expanded to a dozen other states. Tornado warnings will be issued based on three tiers of information. When a tornado is possible based on radar data, the warning will clearly communicate hazards and possible impact.” And how about a warning siren for another dreary, gray 30-degree day?

And just as ski season is winding down … Dee DePass of the Strib reports: “U.S. Marshals transported disgraced auto mogul Denny Hecker to his ninth prison in eight months, this time to a low-security facility called Englewood in Littleton, Colo. The move marks the third since March 8, as Hecker was shuttled from his prison in Loretto, Pa., to one in Canaan, Pa, and then to Oklahoma City, and now Littleton, Colo.” Just think of Denny re-setting his Rolex for all those different time zones.

“Convoluted” doesn’t begin to describe the state’s health insurance arrangement for the poor. Jackie Crosby of the Strib says the arrangement is getting more attention with news of higher-than-allowed profits … for the nonprofit plans: “A long-awaited auditor’s report has found that health plans serving Minnesota’s poor through state contracts collected nearly $207 million more than planned between 2002 and 2011. The excess revenue allowed the plans to post a 2.4 percent profit on that care — twice the targeted amount set by the state of 1.2 percent. The care for Minnesotans covered by taxpayer-funded Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare for those years gave the health plans an operating profit of $430.5 million on revenue of $18.2 billion. That profit total was $206.9 million greater than expected.” But as long as we ignore the actual cost of procedures and services … what else can we expect?

Monday’s Twins season opener could be semi-ridiculous. At MPR, Cathy Wurzer and Tim Nelson chatted about it:
Cathy Wurzer: We’re talking baseball here, so let’s run down the statistics. How cold has it been for a Twins opener, and how does that compare with the forecast on Monday.
Tim Nelson:
Well, let’s start with the forecast. I just checked the National Weather Service seven-day forecast before I came in here. And Cathy, they’re using the word “flurries” for Monday. The weather service actually dropped the projected high temperature for that day by a degree since last night and sprinkled in a little snow. And remember, that’s the high. The overnight low from Sunday to Monday is supposed to be 22 degrees, so it could very well be BELOW the freezing mark and even snowing when Twins pitcher Vance Worley throws his first pitch to Joe Mauer.  …
What about the field?
Well, I ran into Twins head groundskeeper Larry DiVito out there yesterday, and he was watering the grass and raking out the base path along third base there. I asked him how they’re coming back from that late snow. ‘Snow melts pretty quick. With the field heating system, we have temperatures in the low 60s, so getting rid of the snow wasn’t really a big deal,’ DeVito said. … And that heating system, by the way, is under the turf. The Twins are not going to be toasting their fans in the seating bowl on Monday, although there are heat lamps at the top of the seats on the lower concourse. And, as they’ve done in past years, they’re going to have vendors with hot chocolate walking around. It’s not just any hot chocolate, either. It’s souvenir hot chocolate, and it comes in an insulated mug, and it’ll cost $8.”
Every crisis is an opportunity …