What!? First gun control, now … immigrants? Kevin Diaz reports on the Strib’s latest poll. “A clear majority of Minnesotans favor some system of legalizing undocumented immigrants, according to a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll that mirrors growing momentum in Congress for stronger border security and a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already here. Although their attitudes about illegal immigrants vary widely, 64 percent of Minnesotans polled believe the federal government should provide some way of making illegal residents into legal citizens while beefing up enforcement along U.S. borders. Only 24 percent said they disagree, while 12 percent said they were not sure.” I sure hope they’re talking about the … Canadian border.
Incivility and the Internet are practically synonymous. But in … Edina? At the Strib, Mary Jane Smetanka writes: “Snarkiness and the Internet seem to go hand in hand, as the city of Edina recently found when it tried to engage residents in an online discussion of housing redevelopment policies. After a civil start, a few outspoken participants dominated the discussion, which became a back-and-forth between a man posting detailed complaints about construction and people who used sarcasm to poke fun at him while hiding behind online aliases or first names. … Edina has been a technology pioneer among Minnesota cities, leading the way in use of social media and having city department heads blog. The city previously experimented with an online discussion site with an active moderator that focused on specific issues, but it got little use outside a circle of involved residents.” I’d get on and say something, but you first have to show an American Express black card.
An “audit” you say? Ross Raihala of the PiPress says: “A group of state legislators is asking the Office of the Legislative Auditor to audit the Minnesota Orchestra, which has been silent this season after failed contract negotiations led to canceled concerts and a lockout of the orchestra’s musicians. ‘Because public dollars have been invested in the Minnesota Orchestra, the lack of an orchestral season gives cause for concern,’ said Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, in a statement. ‘We would like to see the situation resolved as quickly as possible so that we can return to having this world-class performing arts organization as an educational and entertainment resource in Minnesota.’ Dozens of legislators signed a letter Thursday, March 7, urging legislative auditor Jim Nobles to investigate, citing the $16 million the state has invested in Orchestra Hall renovations.”
Again …. The Alexandria Echo Press runs an alert from the MPCA saying: “The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air pollution health advisory for the southern two-thirds of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metropolitan area and Rochester, effective Friday, March 8 through midday Saturday, March 9. Air quality monitors indicate that fine particle pollution is increasing across the southern two-thirds of the state. On Friday, early morning fog, high pressure, and light southerly winds are expected to cause fine particle pollution to approach a level considered unhealthy for sensitive groups. These conditions are expected to persist until midday Saturday, when increased wind speeds are expected to improve air quality conditions.” Take the 405 to the 101 to the Encino exit and buy a respirator.
So it isn’t so much of a skills shortage? John Welbes’ PiPress story says: “Nursing jobs in Minnesota aren’t so hard for employers to fill, relative to several other types of jobs. But if you’re looking to hire a skilled machinist or production workers in a manufacturing plant, that might be more of a challenge. A recent survey of Minnesota employers in nine occupations found that hiring difficulties were reported in 45 percent of the vacancies. The survey focused specifically on nursing, engineering and production-related work — fields where anecdotal evidence pointed to a shortage of workers. The challenges of matching qualified workers to employers included applicants who had the wrong skills, employers who didn’t offer competitive wages or a mix of similar factors that kept positions unfilled.”
It’s a no-go for the West Concord wind farm. Dave Shaffer of the Strib reports: “EDP Renewables, a Houston-based wind power developer, has ended efforts to build a large wind farm in southeast Minnesota, a company spokesman said Thursday. The West Concord Project was proposed for the corner of Goodhue, Dodge, Steele and Rice counties. At the time the site was chosen in 2008, a new electric transmission line was proposed to run nearby, said Adam Renz, an EDP spokesman. But the final route of the planned CapX2020 transmission line shifted too far away from the site, making it too expensive to connect the wind farm, he said.”
You knew the case of 86-year-old Margaret Schneider, the (exceedingly) rare person actually charged with voting fraud, would be fodder for the snarky bloggers. Wonkette’s Doctor Zoom writes: “Drudge Sirens! We have finally found some voter fraud! And we mean REAL voter fraud, unlike a GOP guy throwing away voter registration forms, GOP voter suppression efforts, an election worker adding GOP votes to blank absentee ballots, or idiot Fox News fans ‘testing’ whether vote fraud was possible. No, by ‘voter fraud,’ we mean ‘someone who wanted to vote for Obama (though it was actually just the primary).’ Duh. Margaret Schneider, an 86-year-old woman in St. Peter, Minnesota, voted twice in the 2012 primary elections: once by absentee ballot on July 13, and a second time on election day, Aug. 14. The fraudster admits that she double-voted, but the liberal media merely winks at this crime against democracy with a lot of phony excuses, parroting some nonsense about her having been ‘diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease’ and claiming that ‘dementia is one of her symptoms.’”
Baird Helgeson drew the straw to cover yesterday’s “traditional marriage” rally at the Capitol. The Stribber says: “The group trying to block same-sex marriage in Minnesota vowed a tenacious battle Thursday, saying their opponents’ push to rewrite the state’s marriage laws is at odds with the beliefs of most Minnesotans. ‘We will not stop fighting for the truth,’ said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. Brown was a featured speaker at a Capitol rally that drew about 1,000 residents who oppose same-sex marriage, many carrying signs saying, ‘Don’t lie to children.’” Apparently they went with the “truth” theme, because the usual “freedom” babble sends the wrong message.
Here’s a flammable mix … psychiatrists and lawyers. Madeleine Baran of MPR says: “A former state psychiatrist has filed a lawsuit accusing the Minnesota Department of Human Services and two officials of defaming his reputation and violating the state’s data privacy law. The lawsuit, filed in Ramsey County by psychiatrist Michael Harlow, claims the Department of Human Services, the department’s deputy commissioner Anne Barry and former Minnesota Security Hospital administrator David Proffitt defamed Harlow by criticizing his handling of a violent incident involving a patient in statements to MPR News last year. It further alleges the defendants violated state law by disclosing information to MPR News about an active licensing investigation.”