It’s an interesting idea … Tim Pugmire of MPR writes: “If Gov. Mark Dayton has his way, next year’s legislative session will be unlike any other. Dayton has already dubbed 2014 the ‘unsession,’ because he wants legislators to spend much of their time eliminating old, outdated state laws rather than adding new ones. He’s been collecting suggestions on what to get rid of, as well as ideas for making government better, faster and simpler. … Dayton asked state workers and the general public to offer ideas, which were collected online and at the State Fair. The result was 1,579 suggestions. Dayton has been reading them. So has his chief of staff, Tina Smith. The ideas include one from an employee called ‘Plain Language Implementation’ that aims to cut jargon that many people might not understand from official statements.” So in other words, it’s an “un-lawyering” initiative?
Also from Pugmire … “Gov. Mark Dayton will undergo a medical procedure this week for his ailing hip. Dayton will be at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Wednesday for what his office described as a ‘platelet rich plasma injection.’ The procedure is designed to promote healing of the torn muscle in his left hip, according to a statement from the governor’s office. … The 66-year-old governor initially injured his hip back in June when he was hurrying down a flight of stairs.” I’m pretty sure that’s a different procedure than Keith Richards had done.
The guy accused in the death of one of Adrian Peterson’s sons has been indicted. Dirk Lammers of the AP says: “Joseph Robert Patterson, 27, is expected to be arraigned later this week in the death of 2-year-old Tyrese Robert Ruffin, who died two days after being hospitalized with severe head injuries. Investigators allege that Patterson, the boyfriend of the child’s mother, assaulted Tyrese on Oct. 9 while the two were alone in a Sioux Falls apartment. Patterson was indicted by a grand jury on Friday, Lincoln County state’s attorney Tom Wollman said. He was initially jailed on charges of aggravated assault and aggravated battery, though prosecutors pursued more serious charges after the boy’s death.”
Because folks won’t just write a check for a good cause? Jean Hopfensperger of the Strib says: “The universe of ‘causes’ has exploded so rapidly that it’s getting hard to stand out in the crowd — even if you’re on top of a mountain. ‘More and more people are becoming philanthropic with their extreme talents and endeavors, but the fundraising part is difficult,’ said Ettore Rossetti, digital marketing director at Save the Children. ‘A lot of people don’t have a huge fundraising network. Not everyone has rich family and friends. Not everyone has media attention.’ ” How many more people identify themselves as “fundraisers” than 20 years ago?
Jennifer Vogel of MPR finds an odd response to layoffs at the Boise Cascade paper mill in International Falls: “Since the Boise paper mill completed a round of layoffs on Oct. 1 that left 265 people without jobs, [Elena] Favela has been trying various ways of providing training and assistance. The school hosted a resource fair in early October, but only a handful of people showed up. Last Saturday, the school was scheduled to begin a day-long safety training course for ex-mill employees who plan to work in mining. Though Favela was told by union representatives the training was in high demand, few signed up and she canceled the first round.”
But … but … will Fox Sports ever hire a blimp to cover a performance of Berlioz? And will the local papers donate 30 pages of copy a week to hyping the next concert? The Strib’s Kristin Tillotson says: “Legislative and community leaders are considering giving more public money to the Minnesota Orchestra as its yearlong labor dispute leaves the future of the state’s largest arts organization — and its stellar reputation — in limbo. The orchestra seems no closer to settling than when the musicians were locked out on Oct. 1, 2012. Leaders, including former Gov. Arne Carlson, wonder why, if the Vikings stadium is getting $450 million in taxpayer money, the state can’t come up with at least a sizable chunk of the $6 million needed to resolve the orchestra’s deficit.” Maybe the national commissioner of orchestras needs to fly into town for a photop-op with awestruck legislators.
To the rescue … Bill Petroski of the Des Moines Register says: “A Minnesota contractor that searches for waste, fraud and errors in the Iowa Medicaid health care program has saved taxpayers more than $86 million the past three years, Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday. The savings were achieved from a three-year, $14 million contract with Optum, an information and technology-enabled health services business based in Eden Prairie, Minn. ‘The savings are six times greater than the overall cost of the program integrity contract, and $18.5 million above the savings target,’ Branstad said. ‘These savings help us provide better care for 400,000 Iowans in need, without reducing provider rates or trimming services.’ Jennifer Vermeer, director of the Iowa Medicaid program, which serves low-income people, said savings under the program integrity contract include ‘cost avoidance,’ which is money not spent because claims errors or fraudulent activities are caught in advance.” Optum is a “platform” of UnitedHealth.
We are, of course, stunned to hear from the AP’s Scott Bauer that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s new book, uh, glosses over some of the inconvenient stuff: “Gov. Scott Walker’s new book isn’t exactly a tell-all. In fact, it glosses over or just leaves out many pieces in the story related to Walker’s successful drive to take power away from public unions and the subsequent recall battle. … Some issues Walker avoids in the book include:
— JOBS PROMISE: Walker promised in his 2010 election campaign that after four years with him as governor the state would add 250,000 private sector jobs. It was a linchpin of that campaign, and Walker reiterated it during the recall two years, even though numbers at that point showed he was on pace to only add half that many. Walker never mentions his jobs creation promise in the book. Instead, the book focuses on how many jobs the state lost prior to his taking office.” Bauer may be able to claim he is the only person to have actually read one of these books.
They better make certain their content is irresistible … Aaron Rupar of City Pages notes: “Two years ago, the Star Tribune rolled out a paywall. On November 1, the Pioneer Press will follow suit. … According to a recent report in Newspaper Death Watch, more than one-third of U.S. papers have instituted some form of a paywall in recent years. But the report notes that a number of major papers, including the San Francisco Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News, have taken down or curtailed their paywalls this year as they struggle to compete with local outlets that continue to give away their content for free. On the other hand, the New York Times’ circulation revenue reportedly increased by $63 million the first year after it instituted a paywall. And Strib management hasn’t shown any indication it’s reconsidering its paywall, which, until about a week ago, was easy to circumvent with the help of the refresh and stop buttons on your browser.” Hey! Hey! That’s secret stuff, pally.