The case against the 94-year-old Minneapolis man accused of being a Nazi SS leader has gotten stronger. David Rising and Randy Herschaft of the AP say: “A retired Minnesota carpenter, shown in a June investigation to be a former commander in a Nazi SS-led unit, ordered his men to attack a Polish village that was razed to the ground, according to testimony newly uncovered by The Associated Press. The account of the massacre that killed dozens of women and children contradicts statements by the man’s family that he was never at the scene of the 1944 bloodshed. The June story prompted official investigations in both Poland and Germany. On Monday, the prosecutor leading Germany’s probe revealed to the AP that he has decided to recommend that state prosecutors pursue murder charges against 94-year-old Michael Karkoc. … Karkoc continues to live quietly in Minneapolis as he has for decades.”
At least a third of what we throw in the trash should go someplace else … Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR says: “Food waste and other organic material made up nearly a third of what Minnesotans sent to landfills in 2012, according to a new study state officials released Monday. The Waste Composition Report, released by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, found that organics accounted for 31 percent of the waste stream; 25 percent of the waste stream was paper and 18 percent was plastic. A category called ‘other wastes,’ which includes things like furniture, appliances and carpet, also accounted for 18 percent, and metal, glass and electronics were in the single digits. The last time the MPCA conducted such a study was in 2000. Since then, plastic has made up a bigger part of the waste stream, but the percentage of paper being thrown away has decreased, likely because there are fewer newspapers, the study concluded.” … or fewer bird cages.
There’s no doubt which side of the Orchestra fight The New Yorker’s Alex Ross is on: “The formidable Finnish conductor Osmo Vänskä, who had been working wonders as Minnesota’s music director, resigned on October 1st, after a yearlong labor dispute. Citing deficits, the Minnesota Orchestral Association had announced a thirty-two-per-cent pay cut; the musicians balked, and the management locked them out. In the war of words that followed, the musicians easily held the high ground: the management had stooped to ruthless union-busting tactics. … George Mitchell, the Northern Ireland peacemaker, tried to mediate a compromise: the musicians accepted his proposal, but the M.O.A. rejected it. A number of players have taken jobs elsewhere, although those who stayed have been mounting concerts on their own. The swift plunge of this magnificent orchestra looks to be one of the most flagrant cases of mismanagement in the recent history of American classical music.”
MPR’s Martin Moylan has a piece on the resurgence in Best Buy’s stock price: “[I]nvestors have become bullish on Best Buy once again and they’ll be looking for some confirmation of their renewed faith in the retailer when the company reports quarterly earnings on Tuesday. At $43.61 a share on Friday, Best Buy’s stock has almost quadrupled in price from late December, when some thought the company was doomed, fated to die at the hands of Walmart, Amazon.com and other powerful low-price competitors. Now Best Buy is looking like a firm that has stopped the death spiral, thanks to what analysts praise as smart moves by management.”
Stribber Pam Louwagie continues her grim series on sex trafficking. In the latest, she says: “The true scope of the problem is elusive. Reliable statistics do not exist, and estimates on the number of underage trafficking victims range from 1,400 to 2.4 million, according to a September report from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimates 100,000 kids a year are victims of sex trafficking in the United States. … In 2010, the Women’s Funding Network, an advocacy group, commissioned research on how many underage girls were being trafficked in three states, including Minnesota. Based partly on subjective attempts to gauge the age of girls in photographs in online ads, researchers concluded that on any weekend night in Minnesota, about 45 underage girls are exploited through websites and escort services.”
Construction on the new Vikings stadium will seriously impact local zombies. Nicholas Hallett of the Minnesota Daily says: “One of the largest outdoor events in Minneapolis could be on the move, and it isn’t due to a lack of brains. The Zombie Pub Crawl has amassed a record-breaking following since it started in 2005. The West Bank business district near the University of Minnesota has served as the primary hub for the event, but that could change for the pub crawl’s 10-year anniversary. Construction of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium could encroach on the crawl’s route. ZPC co-founder Charles Terhark said losing the parking lots on Portland Avenue and South Fourth Street — known as the ‘Quarantine Zone’ for this year’s rendition of the crawl — would force organizers to find another place to hold thousands of zombies.” That’s the quarantine zone? I thought those were Strib employees eating lunch al fresco?
So when’s the auction? Abby Simons of the Strib says: “Vehicles made up most of the $6.6 million in cash and property seized by law enforcement last year, according to a Minnesota State Auditor’s report released Monday. In 2012, 310 state law enforcement agencies reported 6,851 incidents of property seized, a slight jump from 6,338 incidents reported by 292 agencies in 2011. …
• The value of the seizures ranged from $1 to $78,845. The average forfeiture was valued at $1,263.
• The Minnesota State Patrol performed the most seizures, with 948. Next came the St. Paul Police Department with 690, followed by the Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division at 441 and the Minneapolis Police Department, which performed 281 seizures.
• Of the seized property, 71 percent was cash or sold, with the exception of guns, which are destroyed. The law enforcement agency that initiates the seizure gets 70 percent of the proceeds. The prosecuting agency gets 20 percent with the remaining 10 percent going to the state’s general fund.”
As he preps the press for a presidential bid, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is taking shots from his favorite newspaper. Tom Kertscher and Dave Umhoefer of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel PolitiFact Wisconsin desk write:“In his memoir due out Tuesday, Gov. Scott Walker recounts how he secretly crafted a plan ‘that gets rid of the unions and eliminates collective bargaining.’ He dwells on the state of state government’s finances prior to his election and argues for how much better they are now. … Claim: ‘We were broke and just could not afford’ a Milwaukee-to-Madison train. That’s the defense Walker gives in the book for refusing $810 million in federal money to build a high-speed rail line between the two cities. We’ve rated two Walker claims that the state was broke. He earned a False for saying in February 2011, as he refused to negotiate over his plan to force state employees to pay more for health care and pensions: ‘We’re broke. We don’t have any more money.’ … Seven months later, Walker got a Pants on Fire for saying in a fundraising letter that the state was broke and $3 billion in debt. Not only was Wisconsin not broke, but it was never $3 billion in debt. Rather, the state faced a $3.6 billion budget shortfall — the difference between tax revenue projections and what agencies planned to spend in the next budget.”
Speaking of … . A Wall Street Journal editorial is stirring passions in Wisconsin. Dee J. Hall of the Wisconsin State Journal reports: “The campaign of Gov. Scott Walker, the Republican Party of Wisconsin and more than two dozen conservative political groups are the targets of a secret Milwaukee County probe, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. The newspaper reported that ‘some 29’ organizations were being targeted, and it quoted Eric O’Keefe, an official with Club for Growth Wisconsin, as saying his group was among them. ‘In recent weeks’, the newspaper reported, ‘special prosecutor Francis Schmitz has hit dozens of conservative groups with subpoenas demanding documents related to the 2011 and 2012 campaigns to recall Governor Walker and state legislative leaders’. The Wall Street Journal opinion piece marks the first time that a named source has identified a target of the probe, which began in February 2012 but came to light just last month.”
There are several versions of the story of legal gadfly Larry Klayman losing his case against City Pages, but Rebecca Schoenkopf at Wonkette has the most fun with it. She writes: “First he lost Bradlee Dean’s suit against Rachel Maddow, then he called the judge in the Maddow case a ‘woman scorned,’ then he lost his own child custody or alimony case (we forget), then he called the judge in that case a Jew! It is weird how everyone is always out to get Larry Klayman, with their Jewishness and scorned womanness. And now he has lost another! It is like he cannot even wildly sue people for defamation for no reason without losing! Poor Larry Klayman. The most recently dismissed lawsuit, against Minneapolis’s City Pages and a whole bunch of other Village Voice Media properties … stems from coverage of the custody or alimony case (we forget), in which the magistrate found evidence Ol’ Lar-Bear might have touched his children grossly inappropriately. CityPages and the others (and your Wonket!) reported on this, and — pro tip! — court proceedings are privileged, which means you may report on allegations and findings without getting sued for it! (Unless — pro tip! — you don’t report it accurately, obviously.)” Ms. Schoenkopf hat-tips Sally Jo Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie.