Well, that’s odd, because there seems to be quite a few … . Andy Greder of the PiPress writes: “In response to alleged incidents of off-duty Minneapolis police officers using racial slurs, the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said in a statement Sunday that ‘there is no place for racist or bigoted officers.’ … ‘Racism and discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated within the MPD,’ said federation president John Delmonico in the statement. ‘We must have the community’s trust that we will impartially and objectively protect the public, and all forms of racism and discrimination prevent us from attaining our responsibility to protect and serve.’ “
The Bradlee Dean v. Rachel Maddow lawsuit has not been forgotten by Sally Jo Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie. She writes: “You may remember that toxic metal Christian pastor Dean sued Rachel Maddow and local journalist Andy Birkey, as well as their venues for defamation after they reported things that he said on his radio show. The defendants considered the filing to be ‘strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP), a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition’ … Dean, represented by Larry Klayman — who himself is now suing local cartoonist Ken Avidor and City Pages for blogging about a judge’s ruling in an unrelated case — is appealing the case on grounds that have little to do with the anti-SLAPP act.” As Sally Jo goes on to report, Dean is now pleading for donations to cover his legal expenses.
About the time you think breast-feeding as an issue was finally behind us … Jeremy Olson of the Strib writes: “Even though the practice has proven health benefits for infants and backing from the U.S. surgeon general, advocates have discovered pockets of skepticism and outright resistance in Minnesota’s increasingly diverse population. Some immigrants, they say, view baby formula as medicine or a symbol of the American ideal. Some African-Americans, scholars say, associate breast-feeding with slavery and black women who were forced to nurse their masters’ children. … Since 2000, breast-feeding rates have increased nationally, according to a federal report released Wednesday in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week. Minnesota remains below average, and behind other states in the number of hospitals that use practices such as ‘rooming-in’ to help mothers adjust to their babies’ feeding cycles.”
So I assume we can expect a flood of “second-term scandals,” right? The AP reports: “A 4-year-old has been re-elected as mayor of the tiny tourist town of Dorset in northern Minnesota. Robert ‘Bobby’ Tufts’ name was picked Sunday during annual Taste of Dorset festival. Bobby was only 3 when he won election last year as mayor of Dorset (population 22 to 28, depending on whether the minister and his family are in town).”
Pat Doyle of the Strib has a downbeat piece on the Southwest LRT project: “For supporters of the Southwest Corridor light-rail project, events this summer in Washington state offer a cautionary tale. A light-rail transit project runs into criticism over its cost and value. Despite millions of dollars spent and endorsement by the federal government, the project collapses in the face of political opposition. The specific problems that plagued the bridge and transit project in the Pacific Northwest differ from those now confronting planners of the LRT line between downtown Minneapolis and the southwest suburbs. But the experience demonstrates how a transit project can run off the rails after years of detailed planning and preparation. … ‘I’m deeply discouraged at this stage,’ said Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman, who has spent years working on Southwest.”
If you quit tomorrow, would your boss spend $120,000 to find your replacement? Brian Bakst of the AP files a piece on a uniquely vital public employee: “Wanted: Prudent, investment-savvy individual to manage $65 billion in state assets. Decisions scrutinized by top Minnesota leaders. Results affect pension accounts for thousands of retired public workers. A nationwide hunt is on for a successor to Howard Bicker, who is leaving his post as State Board of Investment executive director this fall. Bicker has spent more than four decades in the overlooked but important wing of state government, the last 32 years at the helm. As just one indication of how critical the job is: The state will pay a search firm about $120,000 — the equivalent of a year’s salary of the governor — to help find the right person.” Does Tony Sutton have a shot?
The protest movement to boycott Russian vodka hasn’t caught on yet in the Twin Cities. Bill Ward of the Strib says: “In June, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed laws prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting Russian children and banning gay ‘propaganda.’ As a result, several gay bars in San Francisco and West Hollywood, Calif., and Chicago have stopped carrying Stolichnaya, a Russian vodka. Last week in New York, gay rights advocates gathered outside the Russian consulate and emptied bottles of Russian vodka onto the pavement. So far, the response in Minnesota has been more tempered. Gay bars, including the 19 and the Saloon in Minneapolis, haven’t pulled the product from their shelves. Instead, they’re ‘letting the customer decide.’ ” This will affect Minneapolis’ standing as “America’s Gayest City.”
Jim Lenfesty returns to the Strib with a commentary on the Keystone XL pipeline: “[T]he much larger, $7.3 billion Keystone XL pipeline … will carry dilbit, the nasty goop produced from tar sands that requires diluting with other fuels and high-pressure pumping for transport, meaning that if a spill occurs, the results are far more expansive and dangerous. Second, the pipeline services Gulf Coast refiners, and given the much higher value of oil on the world market vs. the glutted U.S. domestic market, the refined products certainly will be exported, with the paradoxical effect of raising U.S. gasoline prices — hardly in the national interest.”
There was a lot of classic Ol’ Soochiness in the Sunday PiPress. A few gems from Joe Soucheray’s column about Minneapolis (and not St. Paul) getting all that attention from the Wall Street Journal: “For my money, the Wall Street Journal is the best newspaper in the country. Best editorial pages, hands down. … I even made a note to myself to have what we in St. Paul would call supper at Burch Steak and Pizza on Colfax Avenue. I’d probably have to show up on cross-country skis or one of those dorky lime-green rent-a-bikes, but I would be so Minneapolitan. … The EP [Sooch-speak for The Enemy Paper aka the Strib] , which covers its city in such a way that everybody is 28, jogs, is about to enjoy a gay marriage ceremony and has enough money for gardening and kitchen renovations, didn’t toot the town’s horn over the WSJ piece. No, they burst their buttons when a social-content website called Buzzfeed had one of those ‘25 signs you’re from Minneapolis’ blogs. … I’m thinking along the lines of Groucho Marx. We don’t want to belong to any club that would have Minneapolis and its bloggers as members.” Joe’s so lovable when he does his “get off my lawn” thing. But I would like to see him in a fey hipster fedora pedaling a rent-a-bike.