Warren Buffett calls, thanks 19-year-old Dairy Queen manager

Some good deeds actually are rewarded … On the matter of 19 year-old Joey Pusak, the Dairy Queen employee who reimbursed a blind man the $20 he dropped and a woman pocketed, an AP story by Amy Forliti says: “Prusak has received loads of praise since a customer’s email about him to Dairy Queen was posted online. Now, people are calling the store, thanking Prusak and even offering him jobs. Customer traffic at the Hopkins Dairy Queen has doubled, and many people are leaving large tips — money that Prusak says he will donate to charity. Prusak said he even got a call Thursday from billionaire Warren Buffett, whose company owns Dairy Queen. ‘He called and thanked me for being a role model for all the other employees and people in general,’ Prusak said.” Hey, Warren, how about giving the kid one share of Berkshire Hathaway A-stock?

At Midwest Energy News, Dan Haugen does a post-mortem on the collapse of that big Goodhue County wind project: “A group of citizens fought the project from the beginning on every front. Early testimony focused primarily on health and financial fears, with residents raising concerns about spoiled views, property values, and so-called wind turbine syndrome. Ultimately it was flaws in the developers’ wildlife impact studies and protection plans that did in the project. Minnesota regulators rejected the developers’ eagle protection plan in February 2012 after objections were raised by opponents and the state Department of Natural Resources. … the controversial case revealed a flawed and unpredictable process for permitting wind farms in the state — one that he hopes regulators will be motivated to fix in its wake.”

So what was going on nine months ago in St. Cloud? Frank Lee of the Times says: “Dr. David Kroska wasn’t looking to put any storks out of business, but he gave them some serious competition when he recently delivered more than a dozen babies while on call. The board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with CentraCare Clinic delivered 13 babies — a personal record — in a 24-hour period that ended Friday the 13th. ‘They just came in the door — spontaneous labor,’ said Kroska, medical director of the L.I.F.E. program at CentraCare Clinic. ‘They were all single babies; they weren’t twins or triplets.’ The lineup included two cesarean section deliveries.”

For those who say racism is a thing of the past … Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “A woman lost her job at a small industrial company in Buffalo, Minn., because she defended her recommendation to her boss that a black worker be permanently hired, according to a federal lawsuit. When the owner rebuffed the recommendation, he punctuated his point with racist language, alleges the suit filed Thursday by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Izza Bending Tube & Wire. According to the suit: Myrna Peltonen recommended to owner Scott Landgraf that he offer a permanent job to Randall Smith, a temporary employee who had logged 500 hours with the company. Instead, Landgraf directed Peltonen not to hire Smith, his order accompanied by racist language for emphasis, and then told her to let him go. When she refused, Peltonen was demoted to an office position and had her pay cut.” Classy. Very classy.

There’ll be 20 percent fewer hires by Target this holiday season. Anne D’Innocenzio of the AP says: “Target plans to hire about 70,000 seasonal workers for the holiday shopping season, down about 20 percent from a year ago. The discounter is aiming to be more efficient in its hiring practices. The move to hire 18,000 fewer temporary holiday workers versus last year’s 88,000 comes as the Minneapolis-based chain saw that its own permanent employees wanted to get first dibs on working extra hours for the holiday season.”

Now we’re talking … Dee DePass of the Strib says: “Honeywell launched its own version of Siri on Thursday when it introduced its industry’s first voice-activated thermostat, a system that will heat up or cool down homes with the simple chirp of ‘Hello, thermostat’ followed by a request. Honeywell’s new “Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat with Voice Control” recognizes a list of voice commands such as ‘make it 4 degrees warmer’ or ‘make it much cooler,’ even when the request is uttered from across the room. Once installed, the cloud-based system is programmed to recognize the homeowner’s voice. Over time, Honeywell officials said, the device will accept an increasing number of verbal commands as it interacts more and more with the homeowner. The temperature also can be changed remotely through a smartphone.”

The GleanBlogger Rob Levine, a critic of the so-called school reform movement, has this to say about the positions of the many Minneapolis mayoral candidates … On The Uptake, he says: “Like a tent revival, the education forum had an audience — congregation? — of true believers, more like a sect, really. Only instead of being united in a belief in God, the reformers — I call them ‘deformers’ — are united in a belief in a specific set of education policies we’re all familiar with: Pressurizing teachers, “school choice,” standardized testing, ‘accountability,’ charter schools, and vouchers. The comparison of education reform advocacy with religious faith only goes so far. This event, after all — sponsored by MinnCan, Teach For America and a host of other education reform lobbying groups — was aimed at political, not spiritual transformation. The real underlying purpose of the meeting was to vet and pressurize potential leaders and to try and shape the mayoral campaign in Minneapolis.”

Sheriff Rich Stanek’s recent obsession with marijuana as a violence-inducing drug is making him a prime target for jokes … and science. In a Strib commentary, an Oregon talk radio jock writes: “Stanek even dusts off an oldie but goodie, saying, “Marijuana is an addictive gateway drug.” This despite every major organization that has studied this since our own Institute of Medicine in 1999 agreeing that the gateway theory is a myth. Countries like the Netherlands that have separated ‘soft’ drug markets for marijuana from ‘hard’ drug markets have seen much lower hard-drug addiction problems. ‘Drug task forces here have linked marijuana to assaults and homicides,’ warns Stanek, which is doubtlessly true, since prohibited markets settle their disputes not with courts and lawyers, but with guns and bribes. Nobody sees Leinenkugel and Pabst Blue Ribbon dealers shooting it out on the streets of Minneapolis, do they? Can you recall the last major assault case over a pack of cigarettes?” How does the sheriff of a major metropolitan area even get to that point of view?

Sen. Al Franken has some concerns about the new iPhone’s fingerprint password technology. He fired off a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook saying: “Passwords are secret and dynamic; fingerprints are public and permanent. If you don’t tell anyone your password, no one will know what it is. If someone hacks your password, you can change it — as many times as you want. You can’t change your fingerprints. You have only ten of them. And you leave them on everything you touch; they are definitely not a secret. What’s more, a password doesn’t uniquely identify its owner — a fingerprint does. Let me put it this way: if hackers get a hold of your thumbprint, they could use it to identify and impersonate you for the rest of your life.”

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