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State trust pays out $2M in data snooping

And with it comes a hit to the state’s premiums … Eric Roper of the Strib says: “An insurance trust representing Minnesota counties has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a potential class action lawsuit over drivers license data snooping. The proposed settlement, presented Thursday in federal court, is the largest payout so far over misuse of drivers license files — which has spurred a raft of lawsuits in recent months. The impact on taxpayers will likely be felt through governments paying higher insurance premiums to the Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust, which provides liability coverage to all but the state’s largest counties.”

So you get … 30 days … for stealing $95,000? Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “After Lakeville bank employee Leah M. Bremner was confronted about discrepancies in her paperwork, she told a colleague she lost her job over a ‘stupid decision’ and ‘will have to pay the consequence.’ On Tuesday, the 32-year-old Farmington woman learned her consequence for stealing $95,000 from the bank where she used to work. A Dakota County District Court judge sentenced Bremner to 30 days in jail and another 90 under home monitoring. She’ll also have to pay back what she stole.” But then … it’s more than any major Wall Street bank executive.

According to Pat Pheifer in the Strib, Anarae Schunk was most likely killed in Rosemount and dumped later in Rice County: “Based on the investigation, Schunk, the 20-year-old University of Minnesota student whose body was found Monday in a roadside ditch near Lonsdale, is believed to have died at the Rosemount townhouse where she went with her ex-boyfriend, Shavelle Chavez-Nelson, and his girlfriend after they left Nina’s Grill in Burnsville. In a news release, police said charges in her death are not expected to be filed ‘for several weeks.’ ”

For a little perspective, let’s go to Ivan Hewett of Britain’s Telegraph: “The Minnesota Orchestra hasn’t played a note since October 2012. The reasons for this reveal the mind-set of greed and astonishing complacency that has brought several top tier US orchestras to the brink of ruin. … none of the commentary in the US points to a single overwhelming fact that to an outsider appears blinding obvious: the top tier of American orchestras overpays its players. … An aspiring orchestral musician has to start in a ‘feeder’ orchestra — Nashville, say, or Colorado — but sees this only as a stepping stone to a ‘destination’ orchestra.i.e. one of the Big Twelve orchestras, such as the Chicago, Cleveland or New York Philharmonic. The top orchestras are determined to hang on to their status as a ‘destination’ orchestra — but what if (say) the Minnesota Orchestra ends up becoming a ‘feeder’ for the Chicago or Los Angeles orchestras?”

If you’re big on symbolic gestures … The AP reports on shutdown pay decisions. A sample:
“• Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, 5th District: Keeping his paycheck, and in a statement said, “I oppose the shutdown, don’t believe in it and did not cause it.”
• Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar: Donating her full pay to the Foundation of the National Institutes of Health because medical research is affected by the shutdown.
• Democratic Sen. Al Franken: Donating his full pay to Second Harvest Heartland, a hunger safety-net organization he thinks might see extra traffic during the shutdown.
Requesting that their paychecks be withheld during the shutdown are Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson of the 7th District and Republican Reps. John Kline of the 2nd District, Erik Paulsen of the 3rd District and Michele Bachmann of the 6th District.”

The GleanMPR’s Brett Neely wades back into that medical device tax so reviled by just about every Minnesota politician: “[O]ne possible area where Democrats and Republicans could find some common ground appears to be on the medical device tax that helps pay for the Affordable Care Act. No one seems to like it much and repealing it could be a boon for a Minnesota businesses. … The logical link between ending a budget shutdown and repealing a tax that affects a prosperous industry isn’t clear to Paul Van de Water, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Instead, he says it’s part of a Republican strategy based on hostage-taking, in this case the operation of the federal government. … As for the tax and its supposed ill-effects on the medical device industry, ‘there’s no evidence at all that any of these dire predictions have come to pass,’ he said.” Silly man. Let’s just concentrate on who wants it gone and why our representatives agree with them.

The Des Moines Register story, by Jennifer Jacobs and Jason Noble, on the one-time Michele Bachmann aide, collaborator and corporate interactor Kent Sorenson, says: “The investigation originated with a complaint from Peter Waldron, a political consultant from Florida who worked on Bachmann’s campaign in Iowa throughout 2011. In a statement to the Register on Wednesday, Waldron said he was ‘vindicated’ by the report but regretful that Iowa’s first-in-the-nation status had been ‘soiled’ by its findings. ‘The people of Iowa must now change the ethics rules by which they control the behavior of their senators in both parties,’ he said in the statement. ‘No payments of any kind, directly or indirectly, can flow to senators if Iowa wishes to preserve it unique role in the presidential nominating system in America.’ ”

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Further proof that “it’s working” in Wisconsin. Cheryl Corley of MPR reports: “The United States prison population is still the world’s highest, with more than 1.5 million people behind bars. Black men are more likely to be sent to prison than white men, and often on drug offenses. A study from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee looked at that state’s incarceration rates and found they were the highest in the country for black men. The University of Wisconsin researchers say their analysis was truly eye-opening. They found that Wisconsin’s incarceration rate for black men — 13 percent — was nearly double the country’s rate. ‘We were so far above everybody else. That just sort of stunned us when we saw that,’ says Professor John Pawasarat, who studied two decades of Wisconsin’s prison and employment data.”

My apologies for not getting to this one earlier. John Gilmore, at Minnesota Conservatives, is not an admirer of Tom Emmer. The latest: “If you’re small, petulant and thin skinned, he’s your guy. Emmer’s hard core supporters, generally a dim-witted and unsophisticated group, hate it when his conduct is brought up. Bombast and no substance impresses them; they’re at a loss as to why it doesn’t everyone. … His campaign put out a statement that Tom simply made a video at the request of the company. That no money, in kind contribution or quid pro quo was involved misses the point entirely: Emmer has neither the judgment nor personal integrity for elected office of any kind.” 

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by tim johnson on 10/03/2013 - 05:20 pm.

    music hall pay

    Don’t worry about the cancelled Carnegie Hall concert for the defunct Minn. Orchestra….
    it’s closed because of strike by stage hands..\Y
    You know, what’s the old joke about how a stagehand gets to Carnegie Hall???
    or what’s a Grecian urn?
    $400,000 a year….. stagehands. At Carnegie Hall.
    I’m startin’ to practice right now; I’m worth half that, I’m sure. Cause I will stay, just a little bit longer, so they can play, just a little bit….

  2. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/03/2013 - 05:29 pm.

    Violated again.

    Note that “Plaintiffs in the case are attempting to certify it as a class action, which would cover anyone who Patten illegitimately looked up during the specified time period.” With this settlement, we can count on the state trust supporting class certification.

    A $300 payout for violation of privacy laws is well under what the individuals are entitled to under state and federal law. Yet the lawyers probably will walk away with 25% or more of the $2 million settlement and the state trust will save a bundle.

    Fortunately, individuals will have the opportunity to opt out of the class action.

  3. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/03/2013 - 05:33 pm.

    I’m still waiting for an explanation

    of how the medical device tax affects anyone but the purchaser of the device.

    “As for the tax and its supposed ill-effects on the medical device industry, ‘there’s no evidence at all that any of these dire predictions have come to pass,’ he said.”

  4. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 10/03/2013 - 07:04 pm.

    Data Snooping

    Does anyone, who ignores the warnings about proper use, ever get fired for this?

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