The archbishop has spoken … or at least written. Madeleine Baran of MPR continues her coverage of the church’s local problems saying: “Archbishop John Nienstedt said he accepts responsibility for addressing the unfolding clergy sexual abuse crisis and regrets that a growing number of parishioners and priests in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have ‘lost confidence’ in him. However, he denied any abuse cover-up or illegal actions and repeated the archdiocese’s claim that there are no offending priests in active ministry. Nienstedt’s remarks came in an e-mailed response to questions from MPR News. It’s the first time the archbishop has answered questions about the scandal since MPR News began publishing investigative reports in late September. … Nienstedt wrote … ‘My highest priorities are to ensure the safety of our children and to restore the trust of Catholics and our clergy. I will do everything in my power to do so.’ ” Will this be before or after the next anti-gay campaign?
Because it’s Issue No. 1 with just about every constituent … . Brett Neely of MPR writes: “During the recent federal government shutdown, Republicans and Democrats in Congress went to war over GOP efforts to repeal or delay the Affordable Care Act. One front in that fight was the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices such as defibrillators and stents that manufacturers, including Minnesota-based companies, say has slowed the industry’s growth. Still, U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen said the effort wasn’t fruitless. … A House bill introduced by Paulsen has 266 co-sponsors, including six of Minnesota’s seven other U.S. House members. U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat who represents Minnesota’s 7th District, is not a co-sponsor. Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate passed a non-binding resolution to end the tax that drew the support of 79 senators, including U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota. … Topher Spiro, the vice president of health policy at the liberal Center for American Progress, points to analyses by banks such as Wells Fargo that suggest the flood of newly-covered patients under the Affordable Care Act will actually contribute far more to device companies’ bottom lines than the device tax will subtract.”
Unrelated … I think. Steve Alexander of the Strib says: “Medical device giant Boston Scientific Corp. said Wednesday it will cut 1,100 to 1,500 jobs worldwide through a combination of layoffs and attrition, but didn’t disclose how many would be in Minnesota. The company said in a regulatory filing that the reductions were part of a 2014 restructuring program designed to save $150 million to $200 million in gross annual pretax operating expenses by the end of 2015.”
Do we trust the U.S. House to do anything, including fighting back carp? Corey Mitchell of the Strib says: “The U.S. House approved a bill Wednesday that would close the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam to protect Minnesota’s northern waters from invasive Asian carp. Environmentalists and sportsmen praised the legislation but opponents worried about the precedent set by shutting down a working waterway over unwelcome fish. In an effort to blunt opposition, the bill would trigger the Minneapolis lock closure on the basis of its limited use, not the threat of carp. Proponents of closure say the effect on a handful of Minneapolis companies pales in comparison to what could happen to Minnesota’s $11 billion-a-year tourism industry if Asian carp, an invasive species that crowds out native fish, begin breeding in the state’s lakes and rivers.” Enviro-nazis gone wild! Oh wait, did you say $11 billion?
Heidi’s, the restaurant, has closed. Lee Svitak Dean in the Strib says: “Last week Stewart and Heidi Woodman announced they were closing their six-year-old restaurant Heidi’s at the end of December. But last night’s sign on their door indicated a change of plans. Today, via a press release, they announced that the restaurant was closed immediately and gave the reason: the end of their marriage.” We wish them both the best.
Dan Frosch of The New York Times files a piece on that pipeline break in North Dakota. He writes: “[A] Tesoro Logistics pipeline had ruptured, spreading more than 865,000 gallons of oil across seven acres of Mr. Jensen’s farm. The spill is one of the largest inland oil pipeline accidents in the United States. … fears have been heightened as the Obama administration nears a decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry a type of Canadian crude to American refineries on the Gulf Coast that is especially difficult to clean if spilled. … there are no minimum performance standards for leak detection, so there is no way of knowing how well a company’s system works.”
Pat Kessler of WCCO-TV found Congressman Rick Nolan in a PO’d mood: “Frustrated Democrats are complaining about the problem-plagued rollout of the new health care program known as Obamacare. And one Minnesota Congressman, Democrat Rick Nolan, says President Obama needs to ‘man up, step up’ and start firing people. … The plain-spoken Nolan says they can’t get good answers about what went so wrong. House Democrats left a closed-door briefing with administration health officials Wednesday, and they were uncharacteristically frustrated with the president. ‘I feel that the people responsible for this did a terrible disservice to the Affordable Care Act and to the president by allowing this thing to go forward when they knew it wasn’t ready,’ Nolan said.” Thirty days in the gibbet! Water and stale bread only!
St. Paul might be able to get a 3.90 percent rate on bonds for the new Saints stadium. Frederick Melo of the PiPress says: “The city of St. Paul moved a giant step closer Wednesday toward finalizing a deal with the St. Paul Saints for a new 7,000-seat municipal ballpark in Lowertown. With little fanfare, the city council voted to issue $8.5 million in bonds toward construction of the $63 million future home of the Saints. City finance director Todd Hurley told the council he once foresaw the city’s $8.5 million general obligation bonds drawing a 5.25 percent interest rate, equivalent to about $615,000 per year in city debt service. In his discussions with the private market, he has heard more favorable terms. ‘These investors are talking about buying these bonds under 4 percent, in the 3.90 percent range,’ Hurley said.”
Also, from a day back … not exactly inconsequential in Wisconsin. The AP story said: “A Madison judge on Monday found Wisconsin labor relations officials in contempt for enforcing parts of Gov. Scott Walker’s contentious bargaining restrictions despite a ruling that they’re unconstitutional, clearing the way for hundreds of school district and municipal worker unions to negotiate with their employers again. Dane County Circuit Judge Juan Colas ruled last year the provisions were unconstitutional as they applied to two unions representing Madison teachers and Milwaukee public workers, creating confusion about whether the ruling applied to all school and municipal workers across the state. Colas ruled Monday that his original decision wiped the provisions out of existence. He found the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission in contempt of court and issued an injunction barring it from enforcing the restrictions against any school district or municipal worker union.”
Minnesota cops are pleased with Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling. In the Strib, Abby Simons says: “Wesley Brooks agreed to provide the blood and urine samples that became the key evidence in each of his three drunken-driving convictions. But can Brooks, of Prior Lake, and thousands of others like him across Minnesota, truly be said to have ‘consented’ to providing a sample if refusing to do so results in criminal charges? Yes, the Minnesota Supreme Court said in a ruling Wednesday heralded by law enforcement, although many legal observers say it leaves unanswered questions about the constitutionality of Minnesota’s implied-consent law. That law, established in 1961, says anyone issued a driver’s license has automatically agreed to chemical testing during a DWI arrest and the results can be used against them in court. Refusal results in criminal charges.”