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Spanish-language ads hit Kline and Paulsen on immigration

A Brad Pitt look-alike in 8th District; St. Cloud’s missing grades; Wisconsin’s view of red and blue; Target janitors launch 48-hour strike; state’s May revenues up, too; and more.

National Democrats are targeting GOP Congressmen John Kline and Erik Paulsen on immigration. In the Strib, Kevin Diaz says: “Spanish language ads are coming to Minnesota, possibly a first in Minnesota congressional politics. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is going up Monday with radio ads targeting Minnesota Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen, who joined all but six House Republicans last week in voting for a measure that would restart deportations of illegal immigrants who were brought into the country as children. Last week’s 224-201 vote has been used by Democrats to bludgeon Republicans, who have had problems attracting Hispanic voters in recent elections. The House GOP provision, which has zero chance in the Democratic-controlled Senate, would block President Obama’s 2012 order ending deportations of so-called DREAM Act eligible young people.”

A Brad Pitt look-alike for the 8th District? Stu Rothenberg at Roll Call writes: “Stewart Mills III, sounds like a stereotypical Republican, but the shoulder-length hair is evidence that he might be a different type of GOP candidate. Mills is seriously considering challenging Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s 8th District, a large geographic district that includes The Iron Range. If he decides to run, as most observers expect, Mills will be a stark contrast to the 69-year-old congressman who is serving his first term after his first tenure in Congress in the late 1970s. According to one local Democratic source, Mills has ‘Brad Pitt kind of appeal’ but shouldn’t be dismissed because of his looks. He also has the potential to raise money from conservatives across the country. His YouTube video … ‘Duck Hunting Shotgun Proven to Be more Dangerous Than a Huldra AR-15,’ has more than 270,000 views.” The video is at the link.

Here’s another side of the grade-inflation controversy … Conrad Wilson of MPR writes: “Faculty members at St. Cloud State say they’re concerned that students’ grades have mysteriously disappeared from transcripts. Professors and instructors aren’t sure how widespread the problem is, but say — except in rare instances — the university’s failure to notify them of grade changes is an ethical breach. ‘A number of faculty members raised concerns that they believed from what they were seeing that student’s grades were actually disappearing off transcripts,’ said Stephen Hornstein, president of the university’s faculty association. ‘A student would take a course, get a poor grade and then a semester or two later that grade would not appear on the transcript at all.’ Students can petition the university for a late withdrawal or to have a course removed from their transcript.” Dang, I could have been Summa Cum Laude with a game like this.

In Madison’s Capital Times, Rob Thomas follows Stribber Jim Ragsdale’s report on the redness of Wisconsin v. the Blueness of Minnesota: “Beginning with the image of a forlorn Solidarity Sing-Along (‘a weak echo of the mass protests that ringed the elegant downtown building two years ago’), Ragsdale painted a stark picture of political life in Madison for progressives. Meanwhile, the Democratic-controlled Minnesota State Legislature just finished one of its most liberal budget sessions in ages, including a hefty tax on the wealthy, additional funding for preschool through college education, and expanded government health coverage for the uninsured through the federal Affordable Care Act. … Here, the Joint Finance Committee passed a huge tax cut that skews towards the wealthy, approved the expansion of school vouchers, and rejected a Medicaid expansion for the uninsured. Looking at the numbers, Wisconsin’s jobless rate stands at 7.1 percent while Minnesota’s is 5.3 percent. At the same time, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce put Wisconsin 44th in terms of overall economic performance, and ranks Minnesota 15th.” In other words, “It’s working …”

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The GleanThe Nation jumps on the threat from Target janitors to go out on strike. Alleen Brown writes: “Minnesota retail janitors called a 48-hour strike today, demanding that the cleaning subcontractors that employ them get out of the way of efforts to unionize. Maintenance staff that clean mostly Target stores but also Sears, Kmart, Kohl’s and Home Depot will picket outside Target’s flagship store in busy downtown Minneapolis, from 6 am to 10 am Tuesday. Janitors from 25 stores are expected to participate. Several workers will also attend Target’s annual meeting in Denver Wednesday to educate shareholders and executives about the reality faced by contracted cleaners. The growing movement against education reform is challenging a well-messaged behemoth funded by billionaires and sanctioned by both political parties. Unpaid overtime wages, denial of breaks, and retaliation against union organizers are among the problems documented by area janitors involving subcontractors like Prestige Maintenance USA, Diversified Maintenance, Carlson Building Maintenance and Eurest Services.”

On the legal blog Above the Law, David Lat taps into the PiPress database and reports: “[L]aw students at the University of Minnesota Law School are above average. Their academic qualifications help Minnesota Law claim the #19 spot in the U.S. News law school rankings. (In the Above the Law law school rankings — which focus on outputs, like job placement, rather than inputs — Minnesota also fares well, ranking #25.) The professors at Minnesota Law are above average too. The Minnesota faculty ranks #19 in terms of scholarly impact. … Regarding Minnesota Law, here are some highlights:

  • The sum of the listed salaries is $12,960,890.

  • The average salary on the list is $185,155. This is somewhat lower than prior figures we’ve seen, but note that the faculty list we’ve used for Minnesota includes some non-tenured or non-tenure-track teachers who drag down the average. (And also note all our earlier caveats about making apples-to-apples faculty salary comparisons.)”

And May was better than average, too … Says Jennifer Brooks in the Strib: “Minnesota brought in $1.4 billion into the state coffers in May, 1.9 percent higher than the February forecast had estimated. So far this year, the state has raised $324 million more in net general fund revenues than expected. The results are preliminary and could change when the final tax payments are calculated in July.”

The Strib editorial board takes a view of the NSA “scandal”: “What the nation needs now, and has a right to expect, is a more open, transparent and inclusive debate about the tradeoffs between security and civil liberties.  To date, the discussion has consisted of a closed feedback loop among the president, intelligence agencies, Congress and the judiciary. What’s been missing is an informed citizenry. … Whether it should exist is now the question. The Obama administration signaled that it ‘welcomed’ the debate. We do, too. Because what we don’t welcome is a sweeping, secretive surveillance regime that relies on elected officials saying, in effect, ‘trust us.’ ” In all, a nicely written piece.

City Pages’ Aaron Rupar runs a transcript of Sen. Al Franken’s thinking on the NSA matter. He quotes Franken saying: “I don’t believe that the American people should have to take the government’s word for it. I think there should be enough transparency so that the American people understand what’s happening. I think maybe they do to a greater degree now — understand. But I can assure you that this isn’t about spying on the American people. This is about having the data available so that if there are suspicions about foreign persons or persons that have connections with terrorist organizations, that we can connect the dots. … I think we haven’t quite hit the exact balance [between security and freedom from government observation] we want to. That’s why I’ve voted the way I have.”