I’m really bad at math, but I think this is like six cents on the dollar … The MPR story by Tim Pugmire on Michael Brodkorb’s settlement with the Senate (i.e., taxpayers) says: “The Minnesota Senate will pay former Republican staffer Michael Brodkorb $30,000 to settle a wrongful termination lawsuit. The settlement announced [Thursday] heads off a trial that was set to begin next year. It was also far less than the half million dollars in damages that Brodkorb had been seeking. … Senate leaders from both parties maintained all along that the termination was legitimate, because Brodkorb was an at-will employee. The Senate has already spent more than $300,000 in legal fees for its defense. A joint statement, Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, and Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said the Senate previously offered Brodkorb $30,000 as a severance payment.” I suppose this means we’ll never get to read all those juicy depositions …
For KMSP-TV, Tom Lyden reports: “Terms of the agreement outlined by the chamber say that Brodkorb acknowledges that the facts of his case do not support a sex discrimination claim, nor do any of his other claims. The Senate will withdraw the pending motion for sanctions and will not look to regain attorney fees incurred in the case. … His attorney Greg Walsh now admits they didn’t have the goods. ‘We took some depositions and realized there were problems meeting the elements of a gender discrimination claim,’ Walsh said. … Brodkorb said he’s lucky to be walking after a drunk driving crash in January, and at 39, he still believes his best years are ahead. For those who care about soap operas, it sounds like the affair is over, and Brodkorb’s happy to have his family’s support.”
At the end of Baird Helgeson’s Strib story, a commenter with a dry, ironic touch says: “The low amount clearly indicates that it was never about the money, but rather about standing up for what’s right. We will all benefit from this fine man fighting the good fight. As a result of this action, everyone of us will stand a better chance of being treated equally in the workplace. If [another commenter’s] speculation is correct (and it probably is) Mr. Brodkorb will find himself in the service of one of the finest employers there is. The Koch brothers have always been social activists and true agents of change. There is so much to look forward to.”
In Winona, Tesla Rodriguez of the Daily News reports: “The … Winona fire earlier this month that destroyed two downtown buildings began between the ceiling and roof of the Winona Islamic Center and was not set intentionally, according to officials. Winona Assistant Fire Chief Jim Multhaup said Thursday that the Winona Fire Department, the state’s fire marshal office, federal investigators along with private investigators and electrical engineers all reached the same conclusion, two weeks after the early-morning blaze that destroyed the Islamic Center and the Brosnahan Law Firm building and damaged several other neighboring properties. Multhaup said throughout the investigation there was no evidence of foul play.”
Ouch. Calling it “Walmart U” is hitting pretty low … Alex Friedrich of MPR reports: “Union clerical workers at the University of Minnesota rallied on Northrop Plaza [Thursday] to protest proposed rate increases to their employee health care plans. About 200 people gathering in front of Morrill Hall, the main administration building — some carrying signs saying, ‘Stop cost shifting to employees’ and ‘Wal-Mart U / Rolling Back Benefits.’ They opposed a move the union says will save the U $1.8 million by, among other things, forcing employees to pay higher insurance premiums, copays and deductibles. Many of those, they say, are employees who can afford it the least.”
The mystery of what happened to Anarae Schunk hasn’t been resolved by details in the police complaint. In the Strib, Pat Pheifer says: “Anthony Lee Nelson, also known as Shavelle Chavez-Nelson, shot Palagor Obang Jobi eight times in the parking lot of Nina’s Grill in Burnsville early Sunday morning after the two argued in the bar about Jobi talking to Nelson’s girlfriend, according to criminal charges filed in Dakota County District Court. The argument continued in the parking lot after Nelson left the bar with the girlfriend — Ashley M. Conrade — and Anarae Schunk, the 20-year-old University of Minnesota student who has been missing since that night. … he and the women went to Conrade’s home in the 14500 block of Shannon Parkway in Rosemount, where Nelson stayed until his arrest. Neither the complaint against Nelson nor the one against Conrade says when Schunk left or what happened to her.”
A “signing bonus”? Graydon Royce of the Strib says: “The Minnesota Orchestra sweetened its offer to locked-out musicians Thursday, after an 11th-hour fund-raising effort led by Marilyn Carlson Nelson, one of Minnesota’s wealthiest people. The latest proposal in the bitter year-long dispute includes a $20,000 one-time bonus to each musician, to help offset a pay cut that would reduce base salaries over three years, ending at 25 percent below current levels. Money for the bonuses would come from the Carlson Family Foundation, 14 other Minnesota foundations and the community group SOS: Save Osmo. … The $20,000 bonus mitigates dollars lost in the contract by the musicians. The orchestra board says the proposal would mean a net 17.7 percent reduction in average salary.”
Elsewhere … a cruel mocking of Our Favorite Congresswoman … by the president himself. Kevin Diaz of the Strib says: “President Obama’s speech in Maryland Thursday defending his health care overhaul from a host of GOP critics homed in on an utterance of one of his biggest detractors, Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann. ‘I mean these are quotes,’ Obama said. ‘I am not making this stuff up. And here’s one more that I’ve heard. I like this one. We have to, and I am quoting here. We have to ‘repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens.’ Now I have to say that that one was from six months ago. I just want to point out that we still have women. We still have children, and we still have senior citizens.’ The president was quoting a speech Bachmann gave on the House floor six months ago … .” You don’t have to make it up, sir. She’ll take care of that.
Finally, the Strib editorial board risks annoying its exurban readership by saying: “The doubleheader of a crisis now playing out as Congress tries to avert a partial federal government shutdown over the weekend and then begins talks to raise the debt ceiling by mid-October isn’t just irresponsible. It isn’t just reckless. It isn’t even government by tantrum, which is what some observers have begun to call the maneuvers by some in the Republican Party to derail the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at any cost. Instead, these maneuvers deserve to be called out for what they are: congressional malpractice. It’s a harsh but an apt descriptor for the current Republican strategy of bowing to extremists within the party.” Shall we check endorsements the Strib made in favor of some of those local “extremists”?