Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Minnesota winters warming faster than in any other state

Schulze may back off Best Buy board; Bachmann is state’s lone vote against VAWA; state background checks problematic; gun permits top 30,000 last year; and more.

We’re No. 1 … in higher temperatures. MPR’s Paul Huttner says: “A new study from Climate Central shows that Minnesota winters have warmed more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970. Winter nights in Minnesota have warmed the most, on average over 5 degrees Fahrenheit. … Since 1970, winters in the top 5 fastest-warming states — Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Vermont and South Dakota heated up four-and-a-half times faster than winters in the 5 slowest-warming states: Nevada, California, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington. The five fastest-warming states have seen at least 4F warming in winters since 1970. Winter nights have warmed in all but one of the lower 48 states since 1970. Across the continent, winter nighttime temperatures have warmed about 30 percent faster than nighttime temperatures over the entire year. Since 1970, overnight winter temperatures in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Vermont have warmed faster than 1.29°F per decade, or more than 5°F in just 43 years.”

With his deal to buy the company back all but completely dead, Richard Schulze isn’t even sure he’ll hang around Best Buy’s board. Thomas Lee of the Strib says: “Schulze said he has not yet decided whether to fill the two board seats Best Buy had granted him. Should Schulze decline the seats, the founder who launched an aggressive campaign to buy back the company would fade into the background — for now. Schulze had until midnight Friday to submit an offer, but analysts doubted whether Schulze had raised the money. In the end, Schulze pursued control over the board rather than borrow billions of dollars to finance a buyout.”

Maybe she sniffed out some hint of Sharia Law in the thing. Corey Mitchell’s Strib story says: “U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann was the lone member of Minnesota’s congressional delegation to vote against the Violence Against Women Act, a law credited with raising awareness about abuse of women. The House vote was 286 to 138, with 87 Republicans, including Minnesota U.S. Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen, joining Democrats to pass the bill. The legislation authorizes funding for programs that aid domestic violence and sexual assault victims, including shelters and support hotlines. It also covers funding for programs to prosecute people charged with committing the crimes. … ‘Rep. Bachmann recognizes the importance of giving local law enforcement and nonprofit programs the resources they need to fight against domestic violence and sexual assault, which is why she supported the stronger House version of the Violence Against Women Act,’ said Bachmann spokesman Dan Kotman.” Bachmann spokespeople must be dizzy at the end of the average day.

There’ll be no gun-grabbin’ this year in Minnesota, if you believe Tom Bakk. The AP says: “Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk says a proposal to require background checks on all firearm purchases probably lacks support to become Minnesota law. Bakk, a Cook Democrat, said Friday that opposition from Republicans and fellow rural Democrats will make it ‘tough to get the votes to pass that.’ Bakk said he supports requiring background checks for firearm purchases at gun shows, but doesn’t think the same should be required of personal transfers.”

Article continues after advertisement

The GleanMeanwhile, Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “Permits granted in Minnesota for individuals seeking to carry a firearm surged past the 30,000 mark last year, with very few applicants being denied, state officials said Friday. There were 31,657 permits granted by county sheriffs in 2012, up from 20,772 in 2011, according to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). There were 285 applications denied last year. There are still some applications from 2012 that have yet to be processed, meaning more approvals are in the bureaucratic pipeline.”

But six cases of Keystone Light are still a legitimate business expense, right? Walsh (again) says: “The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA), in a recent survey of its members released Thursday, is giving some clients an ‘A’ for imaginative thinking but a failing grade for their ‘deductive’ reasoning. For example, it was a bit tutu much when a ballerina tried to claim the cost of a tummy tuck. ‘Creativity is rewarded in many parts of society, but not by the IRS,’ MNCPA Chairwoman Barbara Steinhauser said in announcing the list of strange tax deductions. … Among the other bizarre — and bogus — write-offs that MNCPA members have seen for 2012:
• A pianist tried to claim manicures as a business expense.
A farmer tried to claim food and veterinary expenses for his toy poodle as a farm-building ‘guard dog.’ ”

At USA Today, Chuck Raasch takes an interest in our moose problem:  “[M]ilder winters in recent years are raising the survival rates of blood-sucking ticks that attack moose by the tens of thousands and that warmer-than-normal summers have further stressed the animals. … biologists have found as many as 120,000 ticks on a single moose. The insects not only cause anemia but force moose to rub, reducing their coats and making them susceptible to hypothermia.” Nobody believes me when I throw that factoid at them.

No surprise here. Scott Bauer of the AP reports: “A secret investigation into Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s former aides and associates closed last week without any charges being filed against Walker. … The investigation has hounded Walker — a possible 2016 presidential candidate — throughout his first two years in office. Walker steadfastly and repeatedly denied he had done anything wrong, even as six people around him were charged with crimes stemming from activity in the Milwaukee County executive’s office when Walker held that position. … Democrats insisted that evidence uncovered during the investigation showed that Walker was involved in illegal campaigning.” Are national Democrats already pushing the “Walker for President” buttons?

For those of you who recall how the death of Princess Di was an existential crisis for some women you know … MPR producer Mark Sanchez comments on his daughter’s dive into “the princess culture”: “On September 25, 2011, life with my 2-year-old daughter couldn’t have been more blissful. She had been a fairly good sleeper as an infant, didn’t really cry much, and had a budding vocabulary. But on September 26th, a new word entered her lexicon: princess. Not only that, but she strung it together in this turn of phrase: ‘I love the princess.’ The sentence made me take a seat. Who was ‘the princess?!?’ I thought about ignoring it… maybe she’ll forget. She didn’t. … My run-in with royalty is probably why a recent Atlantic article by Andy Hinds caught my attention. Hinds and his wife were of a similar mindset, but they were getting hit twice as hard from their twin 3-year-old girls. Just plug ‘television’ or ‘sugar cereal’ or ‘trying out for the football team’ into the equation instead of princess, and watch the mighty cliffs of parental morality slowly erode.”

Without having to look directly at Keith Ellison, Sean Hannity laid into our local congressman last night on … FoxNews. As Jillian Rayfield writes in Salon: “In a segment on his show Thursday, Hannity accused Ellison of having ‘a host of radical of connections,’ and revived attacks made during Ellison’s 2006 campaign about ties to Farrakhan and the Million Man March. ‘The reality is, the Congressman not only associated with these radicals — but he spent years spewing their hateful rhetoric,’ Hannity said. He continued: ‘What is the difference, I mean, do we have somebody then in Congress that is the equivalent of one side of what the Klan is? Because I view the rabid ranting of Khalid Mohammed as frightening in terms of racism, anti-Semitism’. … MediaMatters points out that this is not the first time Hannity has attacked Ellison for reasons related to his religion. In 2006, when Ellison was sworn into office and took his oath on a Quran, Hannity compared it to using ‘Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which is the Nazi bible.’ ” If you’re known by the hyperbole of your enemies, the congressman is a blessed man.