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Tax-exempt Center of the American Experiment says its donations are ‘nobody’s business’

Among a certain class, this is an interesting tussle. Kevin Diaz of the Strib reports: “A prominent Minnesota think tank says it will refuse a request by a top U.S. Senate leader to divulge whether it has given money to a conservative nonprofit that has championed ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws around the nation. ‘It’s nobody’s business,’, said Kim Crockett, chief operating officer for the Center of the American Experiment. The Senate inquiry came in an Aug. 6 letter signed by Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, assistant majority leader or ‘whip,’ who is holding a hearing next month on the laws, which some have blamed in the Florida shooting of Trayvon Martin. Durbin says he is ‘seeking clarification’ about the legislative positions of nonprofit groups with tax-exempt status that he believes have given money to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative group that has championed ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws now in effect in 26 states. But … but … I believe the CAE describes itself as “nonpartisan” … yes?

Deeper goes the Strib’s Jeremy Olson into the annual patient satisfaction survey: Patient satisfaction ratings for 651 primary care and specialty clinics were released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Health and a nonprofit called Minnesota Community Measurement, expanding the state’s eight-year effort to place health care quality data in consumers’ hands. … Only 26 clinics scored above average, statistically, in all four categories, although some small clinics had high scores but not enough survey responses to have a statistical margin of error that was above average. The ratings are based on surveys completed by 230,000 patients in 2012.” There is a similar rating for HMOs, right?

And now, a petition to stop the wolf hunt … At MPR, Elizabeth Dunbar reports: “Groups opposing Minnesota’s wolf hunt launched a petition drive Wednesday to stop the hunting season set for November. They also pledged not to disrupt the hunt if it happens. Howling for Wolves is leading the effort to collect more than 50,000 signatures in coming weeks to present to Gov. Mark Dayton. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ own wolf population survey showing a nearly 25 percent decline in the population in five years is reason enough to suspend hunting, Howling for Wolves President Maureen Hackett said.”

Dang, and I was already in training … . Pat Pheifer of the Strib says: “There won’t be a Great Bull Run at Canterbury Park in Shakopee next year after all, the park’s board of directors decided this week. Although 500 people had already registered for the event in May 2014, the board was worried about liability for the guests if a bull escaped into the crowd like one did at the Dakota County Fair last week, Canterbury spokesman Jeff Maday said Thursday. … The first American event will take place Aug. 24 at a drag-racing strip in Richmond, Va. Organizers said they will be partnering with ranches to provide bulls, which won’t be as aggressive as those used in the Spanish event, which draws about 20,000 runners every summer and has reported 15 deaths in its 102-year history.” On the other hand, in the context of bullish-ness, I would pay to see angry bulls chase a herd of Wall Street bankers through an obstacle course.

The GleanIt’s a $400,000 judgment in favor of the whistleblowing ex-dean at for-profit Globe University. Alex Friedrich of MPR reports: “Globe University / Minnesota School of Business unjustly fired a former dean when she exposed misleading and unethical practices in for-profit chain of schools, a Washington County jury decided this morning. The school must pay Heidi Weber approximately $400,000 in damages. Weber’s attorney, Clayton Halunen, had asked jurors to award her $36 million. Weber, who was fired in April 2011 after leading the company’s medical assistant program for about a year, says Globe misled students about things such as accreditation, externships and how a criminal record would affect their chances for employment. … The schools are part of a closely held family business owned and operated by the family of Terry and Kathryn Myhre. The Myhre family bought Globe in 1972 and the Minnesota School of Business in 1988.”

A little discord between DFLers Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison over how they’re handling their own health insurance. An MPR post says: “Appearing together on The Daily Circuit, U.S. Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison, both Democrats, agreed that the law establishing health-care exchanges does cover them and their staffs. But Ellison made clear that he considers the provision a political ploy and an inappropriate application of the law. … ‘The original law said that members of Congress and their employees would go out on the exchange and we’re following the law,’ McCollum replied. ‘We’re going to be going out on the exchange.’ Ellison, by contrast, said … ‘The original promise of health care reform is if you have health care, you could keep it,’ he said. ‘That’s not true for members of Congress and our staff. The bottom line is, the exchanges were to meet a specific problem, and that is the 50 million uninsured. That’s what it was to do. This piece of the law that was designed to address a specific problem is now being used as a political got-you. I just think it’s very unfortunate.”

Oh boy, get out your best suits and dresses … At the Strib, Sid (Hartman) says: “I have to believe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has talked to Gov. Mark Dayton about a lawsuit against the Wilf family by former business partners over an apartment project in New Jersey. And I expect Goodell will make a trip here soon to assure everybody that the multibillion dollar NFL operation will stand behind the Vikings owners.  Goodell also will assure local politicians and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority — who are calling the shots on everything connected with the building of the new Vikings stadium — that once the due diligence review of the Wilf family’s real estate business led by Peter Carter of the Dorsey & Whitney law firm is complete, final negotiations on a stadium agreement can proceed. … Believe me, NFL owners won’t allow the Vikings stadium to go down the drain. Once it is in operation, the Wilfs and all the other owners will make a lot of money.” That, sir, has never been in doubt.

OK, I gotta have one of these things. The “mystery” of the Loring Park UFOs has been solved. Here’s YouTube of footage from two amateur drones sent aloft from the Sculpture Garden. Very nice shooting by Josh Kunze …

Now … kids … . Nick Halter of the Southwest Journal says a couple of the mayoral candidates aren’t playing nice with each other: “The Betsy Hodges mayoral campaign isn’t happy with the way Mark Andrew handled himself in a debate on Monday night, and it’s using his comments to try to raise money from donors. ‘… I just wasn’t prepared for the shock I felt last night seeing Mark Andrew try to hijack a policy forum to engage in a relentless series of baseless attacks — while Betsy and the other two candidates calmly continued to have a rational discussion about their ideas for Minneapolis’ future,’ Hodges’ Communication Director Aaron Wells wrote in a fundraising email. … Andrew has recently given press conferences in which he, without solicitation from reporters, criticized Hodges. On July 29 he was asked about what he thought of municipalized energy, and he responded by saying his opponent doesn’t have the experience to negotiate with Xcel Energy. … Andrew criticized Hodges in late July for being irresponsible about Fire Department staffing. Hodges shot back at Andrew for his close association with Brian Rice, who represented the pension funds Hodges reformed.”

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 08/15/2013 - 03:39 pm.

    referencing a “prominent…think tank” mischaracterizes…

    …the Center of the American Experiment.

    This organization fits perfectly Paul Krugman’s definition of “policy entrepreneurs”, a shorthand for which might be: those who peddle ideological policy prescriptions which have a particular political popularity but are, academically speaking, wrong.

    Have you read any of their so-called white papers ? They typically start with some bold declaration of a conclusion, proceed to prove nothing, and you end wondering “how could they possibly think they’ve made a valid point here ?”

    A good example is one I read some months back about how people are just draining out of Minnesota, fleeing allegedly onerous tax burdens here. It was so filled with tortuous logic, hidden assumptions, and unsupported conclusions, the author should have been embarrassed to publish it. But of course, with no peer reviews, and publishing only through your own organs, there is no need for worry about getting caught publishing crap !!

    Calling this outfit a “think tank” is a vast exaggeration. To add the modifier “prominent” suggests the writer has no clue – to whom would they appear “prominent” ?? These people don’t do anything worthwhile at all.

    • Submitted by Alec Timmerman on 08/15/2013 - 07:31 pm.

      Obviously you have not been reading MinnPost lately

      They have been parroting the ideological education reform ideas of A.L.E.C. and other groups like it as if it is gospel, with no critical analysis, for months and months. Why would they start actually looking under the surface of these groups?

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/15/2013 - 09:00 pm.

    In a representative democracy

    legislation is submitted to the legislative body for consideration. If a majority of the representatives agree with its purpose and objective, they vote in the affirmative and it becomes law with the governor’s signature.

    It’s irrelevant where the idea or the wording of the legislation comes from. If a majority of the body agrees with it, it passes.

    It’s irony that the people who most fear democracy are those who belong to the party that has chosen that radical idea for its name.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 08/16/2013 - 07:53 am.

      No, Mr. Tester, it is not

      “irrelevant where the idea or the wording of the legislation comes from.”

      If the public knew that bills emanated from ALEC and not from the legislator(s) who dumped them in the hopper, then they would be subjected to a whole lot more scrutiny and likely be defeated based on ALEC’s record.

      This is why the right wing would just as soon not have anyone know of ALEC’s existence. And why they claim that ALEC is “non-partisan” which is a joke.

      What are you afraid of?

      • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 08/16/2013 - 10:09 am.

        “afraid of” ? These folks are afraid of their hidden agenda and

        …true “purpose and objective” seeing the light of day. The prefer working in the dark.

        A wonderful example would be the voter-suppression amendment on the ballot in the recent election.

        Mr. Tester was a vocal proponent of that amendment, and early on, was flush with the certainty of victory. And from the polls, it looked as though the scam would work, as it has in other states. The key was to claim that there was a significant problem with voter fraud, and the amendment’s purpose was to solve that huge voter fraud problem with a voter ID requirement.

        But when it became clear to Minnesotans that there was hardly any voter fraud problem at all, that the real purpose was to disenfranchise voters, and that the Minnesota campaign was spawned by ALEC, their opinion began to turn. And so the numbers in favor dwindled as people became more aware.

        By election day, the transparent falsehood of the Voter ID amendment’s purpose was plain enough that – well, you saw the result.

        This is EXACTLY what organizations like ALEC, Minnesota Majority, and supporters of legislation like the Voter ID Amendment – such as the commenter here – are afraid of, namely: exposure of their real purpose.

        In a hilarious postscript to the election, Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority, sticking to his song-and-dance and never admitting a thing, claimed that voter fraud was an operative factor in the defeat of the amendment !!! It doesn’t get any better than this !!

        Democracy sometimes works, Mr. Tester !!

  3. Submitted by Joe Musich on 08/15/2013 - 10:33 pm.

    Does not one or two of the local parties ….

    actually write opinions pieces fore the Strib ? Are they paid for these pieces ? And therefore is it a conflict of interest ?

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