Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon is standing up against gun, uh, “enthusiasts.” In the Strib, Jim Ragsdale writes: “Prettner Solon, who is chairing hearings into the popular practice of citizens carrying guns at the State Capitol, weighed in on the side of limiting gun-carrying on Tuesday. ‘We are an anomaly among other states,’ she said, referring to state law that allows permit-holders to freely carry guns at the Capitol. One man carried his Glock openly during the committee hearing that was discussing the issue, standing a few feet away from the committee table. ‘I do not want to be in a position where we have an incident at the Capitol and we have not thoroughly looked at the situation to determine whether we are providing for the safety of the public,’ she said.” She did not say, “Bottom line, these people creep me out.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Dayton is defending the Paul Bunyan ads for MNsure. Jennifer Brooks of the Strib says: “Paul Bunyan took one for the team, says Gov. Mark Dayton. ‘The purpose of the ads is to attract attention and get a buzz going and I think they’ve achieved that,’ said Dayton … Dayton said the cheeky Bunyan ads are a way to show people the positive side of a system he says has been under ‘a vicious, ongoing assault’ from critics for years. ‘I’ve never seen a public policy issue in this nation get the kind of just vituperous attacks the Affordable Care Act is still receiving,’ Dayton said. ‘From people who clearly want the exchanges to fail so they can go in and pick up the pieces afterward. I don’t know how they think that’s going to benefit people who don’t have healthcare now, people who have it and stand to lose it, and I don’t see how they think that benefits the country.’ ” Of course, the question is, “How does it benefit ‘the party’? Not ‘How does it benefit the country?’ ”
This time it’s an action flick for Minnesota … . Lareesa Sandretsky of the Duluth News Tribune writes: “The Iron Range will play a supporting role in an upcoming action movie set in Eastern Europe. ‘Sdanka’s War’ follows a victim of human trafficking and the only survivor of a deadly attack on her family who becomes a highly skilled, for-hire sniper. The film begins production next month on the Range. Ryan Kern, president of Kernz & Kompany, which puts on the Duluth Airshow and other local events, is moonlighting as the producer of “Sdanka’s War” through his second company, Rylinn Entertainment. … Kern describes ‘Sdanka’s War’ as a mix of ‘LaFemme Nikita,’ ‘Predator’ and ‘The A-Team.’ Tino Struckmann of Almighty Dog Productions, who has created a number of low-budget war and action movies, will direct the feature, and Kern said they’ve already signed some ‘recognizable names’ to star in it.” Is it too much to hope for Jesse Ventura and Mr. T?
Stribber Adam Belz looks at the uptick in government hiring … “After a deep dive that started about a year after the drop in private sector employment, local government payrolls appear to have bottomed, a good sign for an economy that needs more people employed and spending money. Local officials are feeling more comfortable adding people amid rising property values, stabilizing budgets and some restoration of confidence in the broader economy. ‘It’s a big sea change there and that’s making overall job growth numbers better month to month,’ said Scott Anderson, chief economist for Bank of the West. ‘We’ve stopped the bloodletting.’ ”
The dry-out is on … again. Steve Karnowski of the AP reports: “Cornfields and pastures are drying out across parts of central and eastern Minnesota, leading some cattle producers to thin out their herds. There hasn’t been significant rain in parts of the region for several weeks, and corn and soybeans are wilting on land that’s not irrigated, said Dan Martens, a University of Minnesota Extension educator. Growth in hay fields and pastures there has come to a halt, he added. ‘In this part of Minnesota, the low-moisture situation is very real and very significant,’ Martens said. Statewide, an average of only 0.10 inches of rain fell last week.”
Margaret Kelliher is taking up with the GOP over a telecom tax. The AP story says: “The chairwoman of Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s Broadband Task Force has echoed Republican criticism of a new state sales tax on telecommunications equipment. Margaret Anderson Kelliher, a former Minnesota House speaker, said the tax could be an obstacle to new broadband infrastructure and lead to fewer jobs in that sector. She has written to Dayton about the tax and told Minnesota Public Radio News that the tax should be repealed. Kelliher is a Democrat and currently directs the Minnesota High Tech Association. She argues the tax will make it harder to reach a state goal of having border-to-border broadband by 2015. The tax moves in the opposite direction of a task force recommendation to expand an exemption so it would cover more types of telecommunications equipment, such as fiber-optic cable.”
The Forbes story on Wild co-owner Phil Falcone’s SEC fine says: “Billionaire Philip Falcone will not have to go to the penalty box, but he and his hedge fund, Harbinger Capital Partners, will pay $18 million to settle SEC charges over Falcone’s use of firm money and other accusations, regulators said Monday. SEC: ‘Falcone and Harbinger engaged in serious misconduct that harmed investors, and their admissions leave no doubt that they violated the federal securities laws,’ said Andrew Ceresney, co-director of the SEC’s enforcement division.” More amazing than the fine is that he actually had to admit he did something wrong.
Remember the story about “patent trolls”? Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib says: “The state has settled with a Delaware company accused of trying to wring money out of hundreds of Minnesota businesses on claims the firms were infringing on patent rights by using basic office equipment. The Delaware company, MPHJ Technology Investments LLC, and a host of its subsidiaries agreed to stop their campaign and to not restart without approval from the state Attorney General. The firm also agreed to pay a $50,000 civil penalty and refund all money should the state discover than any Minnesota residents or companies actually paid MPHJ Technology money for either a license or an alleged infringement. ‘Patent trolls shake down small businesses to pay ‘license fees’ they may not owe to avoid threats of costly litigation,’ Attorney General Lori Swanson said.”
At MPR: “In his recent speech kicking off the Aspen Music Festival, Alan Fletcher singled out Minneapolis-St. Paul for a harsh appraisal. ‘We’ve been seeing some terrible fractures in the historic cooperation that is needed to create music,’ said Fletcher, president and CEO of the Aspen Music Festival and School. ‘For me, the very worst of it has been in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where two great orchestras were locked out of their halls.’ The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has settled on a contract; the Minnesota Orchestra lockout continues. ‘This is not the place to try to describe fully what has happened — the complexity of the problem is intense — but what happened, and is still happening, has no place in our art form,’ Fletcher said at the festival. ‘A strike is a very unhappy thing, but a lockout is unworthy of us all and unworthy of our beautiful profession’.”