It was, I’m sure, entirely inadvertent … Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib says: “About 2.7 million people have received notifications this month that U.S. Bank owes them refunds as part of a $55 million overdraft settlement. … The deal settles claims that the Minneapolis-based lender for years wrongfully boosted the overdraft fees it charged on debit card transactions by reordering transactions to post charges from largest to smallest amount instead of when they occurred. That type of resequencing can draw down customer accounts faster and more frequently, multiplying fees. … People won’t get back all the money they paid for reordered transactions, Gilbert said. In U.S. Bank’s case, the $55 million represents just 13 percent of the estimated total damages that could have been recovered had the overdraft case gone to trial.”
Meanwhile, next door … Todd Richmond of the AP writes: “Republican legislators in Wisconsin introduced a bill Thursday that would make it harder to strip public schools of race-based nicknames and would allow schools ordered to abandon such nicknames to keep them. The proposal, which one Native American official described as racist, was co-sponsored by a lawmaker whose school district about 20 miles southwest of Milwaukee is fighting a state order to replace its ‘Indians’ moniker. The bill, which is almost certain to pass in the Republican-dominated state Assembly, comes amid renewed debate about the use of race-based nicknames, including calls for the Washington Redskins to assume a new name. It would require those who want to change a nickname to gather enough petition signatures from school district residents to equal or exceed one-tenth of the number of district students.”
And, even better … another AP story says: “A Wisconsin lawmaker is introducing a bill, no pun intended, that would legalize duck races. Well, not real ducks but the plastic ones with numbers on the bottom. Nonprofit organizations commonly race the little plastic ducks as fundraisers. Participants usually buy a raffle ticket corresponding with a duck’s number. The first to float across the finish line wins. State Rep. Andre Jacque circulated a proposal Thursday to legalize the races. He says the village of Mishicot was warned by the Wisconsin Department of Justice that its annual rubber duck race amounts to illegal gambling. Jacque’s bill creates an exemption for duck races, similar to laws in Minnesota and Michigan.” What!? We have this? I mean if we do it right, it’d have to kick back at least as much cash as e-pulltabs.
A “flight risk” … to Saudi Arabia? Stribber Paul Walsh says: “A 23-year-old Roseville woman accused of robbing five banks in roughly three weeks remains in custody out of fear she will flee to Saudi Arabia, which has no extradition pact with the United States, according to court documents. The ruling this week by U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Rau means that Ranya Al-Huthaili is still in the same Ramsey County jail where she was first booked upon her arrest at Rosedale Shopping Center on Sept. 10. In finding for the prosecution that Al-Huthaili was a flight risk if released, Rau wrote in his detention order: Someone who recently became romantically involved with Al-Huthaili called the defendant’s mother and asked whether Al-Huthaili could flee to Saudi Arabia to ‘make this all go away.’ ”
Also from Walsh (who always gets the good stuff) … . “Two pigs on the loose in a north Minneapolis residential neighborhood were corralled by authorities Friday morning, and we’re not talking about the porky, little pet variety. These were ‘two farm pigs, not [the] pet type, running loose’ and ultimately rounded up about 8 a.m. in the 2300 block of Emerson Avenue N., said police Sgt. William Palmer.” No relation to a bull in Washington County the other morning I assume …
More animal news. Pity the moose … In the Duluth News Tribune, John Myers reports: “Minnesota’s dwindling moose herd has a year off from human hunters in 2013, but that doesn’t mean life for the big north woods critters is a walk in the park. Moose are still being hit hard by disease, injury and parasites, and they are still prey for four-legged hunters that don’t need licenses. And there are still far more dying than should be. Researchers studying calf moose in Northeastern Minnesota have so far found more than two-thirds of the young moose died during their first four months of life, leaving far fewer young moose than needed to sustain a healthy population.”
Oh, baby … let’s go cruisin’ … Tim Harlow of the Strib reports: “Commuters on eastbound I-694 were greeted with a pleasant surprise this morning as most of the road work has lifted and the traffic lanes from Hwy. 252 to I-35W were open. There’s even better news. According to MnDOT spokesman Kent Barnard, most of the ramps along that segment are or will open today.”
The local Fed Reserve chair approves of the plan to continue bond buying. Also in the Strib, Adam Belz reports: “The president of the Minneapolis Fed said Thursday that the job market remains in bad enough shape that the Federal Reserve should not pull back its efforts to stimulate the economy, and instead should do more. In a speech to the Rotary Club in Houghton, Mich., local Fed leader Narayana Kocherlakota said that instead of scaling back its massive bond-buying program, the Fed should set the goal of a ‘fast return to maximal employment.’ He said the Fed should do “whatever it takes” to reach that goal, even as the economy starts growing faster.” I doubt he’s been consulting with Rand Paul …
The restoration tour begins … At City Pages, Aaron Rupar interviews Michael Brodkorb. A small sample:
“CP: You’ve taken a lot of heat for the fact that taxpayers are on the hook for roughly $300,000 in legal fees associated with the case. What do you have to say to the people who criticize you for that?
Brodkorb: Well, first and foremost, the framework of America’s judicial system is, generally speaking, each side pays for their own legal fees. First and foremost, Aaron, I would remind you that I’m a taxpayer. So, you know, I technically helped pay for and paid for the legal fees of all the attorneys and all the parties in this case, as I am a taxpayer. How the Minnesota Senate chose to process their legal fees, pay their legal fees, and hire their attorneys is their responsibility to deal with. They chose to spend the money that they did in this case and they’re accountable for those decisions. …