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U.S. Supreme Court waves off Minnesota music downloader

Phone companies transition to data storage; wolves add to moose toll; I-94 expansion stuck in slow lane; HPV vaccination rate drops; Tea Partier’s black/red Obama comments; and more.

There will be no U.S. Supreme Court for Minnesota’s most notorious music downloader. The AP says: “The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal from a Minnesota woman who has been ordered to pay record companies $222,000 for the unauthorized downloading of copyrighted music. The justices did not comment Monday in letting stand the judgment against Jammie Thomas-Rasset of Brainerd, Minn. She claimed in court papers that the ordered payment was excessive.” Blood from a turnip …

Steve Alexander of the Strib writes that big telephone companies, like CenturyLink, are turning their sights on data storage, instead of land lines: “Corporate data services are on the rise at CenturyLink as consumers drop their land lines in favor of cellphones. Much of the focus is on Savvis, a St. Louis company that CenturyLink bought in 2011. Savvis aims to be a major player in the $110.3 billion market for ‘public cloud computing,’ in which corporate customers share rented computers and software in remote data centers. ‘It’s a natural evolution,’ said Duane Ring Jr., president of Louisiana-based CenturyLink’s Midwest region. ‘Ten years ago we were the phone company. Now we’re a network and broadband company, and the phone is just a product we sell.’ The business proposition of 18-year-old Savvis is this: Customers can avoid the expense of running their own computer operations, and instead rent the same computing capacity in one of 54 Savvis data centers worldwide.”

There’s a lot of wolf news lately … John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune writes: “The first messages from dead moose to Minnesota researchers have been coming in, and early results show wolves are taking their toll on the state’s beleaguered moose herd despite an easy winter. … While wolves were the ultimate cause of death for those moose, Butler said both of them, and even some of the moose that died from capture-related stress, had lower-than-usual body fat in what has been a fairly normal, if not mild, winter in moose country. ‘When we are capturing them in January, that’s early enough in winter that they should still have some good body fat, and three of these didn’t. That’s not normal,’ Butler said. A reduction in nutrition, possibly from warm weather in the summer when moose are too hot to eat, or from habitat issues, is one theory why moose are having problems making it through winter.”

Despite heavyweight political support, that I-94 expansion doesn’t seem to be going anywhere too fast. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib says: “Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, backed by a bipartisan cohort of about three dozen lawmakers, local elected officials and business folks, came to the Minnesota Capitol to offer support for about $400 million worth of improvements to I-94 and Minnesota Highway 10. ‘This is one of the supreme duties of government, that no one can do privately is build roads and bridges and interchanges and we are woefully behind on infrastructure,’ Bachmann said. Bachmann, Democratic U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen have all signed letters of support for the build out project on I-94, which would add lanes on the interstate between the Twin Cities and St. Cloud. Kevin Gutknecht, Minnesota Department of Transportation spokesman, said the project is not top priority right now.”

MPR’s Curtis Gilbert looks at St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman’s record as he mulls a third term: “At the moment, the DFL incumbent appears to be a shoo-in in this one-party town, in spite of a record that includes substantial tax increases and weak job growth.         Numbers help to tell the story of the Coleman years in St. Paul. Coleman inherited a $16.5 million projected budget deficit when he took office in 2006. His solution included a nearly 9 percent hike in the city property tax levy, and subsequent years brought more increases. When Coleman came into office, the city’s total tax levy was about $66 million and now stands at about $100 million. City Council President Kathy Lantry, who supports the mayor, said he had no other choice.”

The GleanThe number of parents who will not have their teenage daughters vaccinated for HPV is … increasing. Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR says: “A larger percentage of parents say they won’t have their teen daughters vaccinated for human papilloma virus, or HPV, a Mayo Clinic study has found. Forty percent of parents surveyed in 2008 said they would not vaccinate their daughters against HPV. In 2010, 44 percent said they wouldn’t have their girls get the vaccine. ‘That’s the opposite direction that the rate should be going,’ said Dr. Robert Jacobson, a senior researcher and pediatrician with the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center.” I wonder where they got the idea the vaccination was a bad idea?

While conservatives (and archer-then-arch conservatives) rallied outside D.C. over the past weekend at their CPAC bash, a prominent Tea Partier wowed an audience in Bemidji. Justin Glawe of the Bemidji Pioneer writes: “Bill Whittle, in his online role as “virtual president,” impressed Barb Chervestad enough for the member of the Northern Minnesota Tea Party Patriots to invite him to Bemidji. Whittle did not disappoint. … If shades of gray do exist in solving America’s problems, they may not be easily found. Well before one member of the audience made known his belief that President Barack Obama is a Marxist, Whittle addressed the lack of those intermediary tones — there is only black, white and red. ‘I don’t hate Obama because he’s black,’ Whittle said, fighting back against charges of racism among members of the tea party levied by many on the left. ‘I hate him because he’s red. He’s a Communist.’ Whittle played to a room of like-minded individuals, concerned with the purchase of a massive amount of ammunition by the Department of Homeland Security, the effects of the Affordable Care Act on religious institutions, what was mentioned as a creeping influence of the United Nations and what was viewed as a media and pop culture skewed to favor liberalism.” Which is why they need Ted Nugent on “The Voice” …

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The James Beard foodie awards are a bit arcane — and multitudinous — to an outsider. But the Strib’s Rick Nelson says a couple of local chefs are up for some spotlight time: “The James Beard Foundation announced nominees in its restaurant and chef awards categories — along with nominees in book, journalism, design and broadcast categories — this morning in Charleston, S.C. Minneapolis is being represented at the Oscars of the food world with two nominees for Best Chef: Midwest: Jack Riebel, chef/co-owner of Butcher & the Boar, and Michelle Gayer, chef/owner of the Salty Tart.”

In case you’ve forgotten that human-caused climate change is a vast left-wing conspiracy of fraud by thousands of international scientists, noted climatologist John Hinderaker slaps you back to your senses in a Power Line post: “If this is not flat-out fraud — which, sadly, has come to typify the climate alarmism movement — then what is the justification for [geologist Shaun] Marcott’s wholesale re-dating of samples? We are reminded of the NOAA/NCDC weather data on the U.S., which are routinely relied on by alarmists who claim that the last few years have been the warmest ever. In order to justify this assertion, NOAA has gone back and revised the data for prior decades. Instead of reporting temperatures for prior decades, like the 1930s, as it did at the time and for many years thereafter, NOAA has now changed those temperatures downward to support the politically-motivated claim that the last years of the 20th century were the warmest ever. If you look at NOAA data today for the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, etc., you will have no idea that the numbers NOAA now reports are not the ones that were measured by thermometers at the time. In short, the global warming movement is corrupt to the core. Billions of dollars in government funding — I am too polite to say ‘bribes’ — have bought not just the acquiescence but the eager collaboration of many scientists in a massive fraud.” John forgets to mention that the guy leading the attack on “the hockey stick” is a former mining exploration employee now working for an institute powered by Exxon funding. But you probably already assumed as much …