You know the old adage about how if you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging …? Following Tuesday’s news out of the archdiocese, Tom Scheck and Madeleine Baran at MPR write: “St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith said the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is not cooperating with an ongoing criminal investigation into clergy sexual abuse. … In a statement released after the news conference, archdiocese officials said they hope to better understand police requests for information at Wednesday’s meeting.”
The PiPress story, by Nick Woltman and Emily Gurnon, says: “A clearly frustrated St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith said Tuesday that investigators have not gotten cooperation from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on sexual abuse cases. ‘We have through written and verbal requests made clear our desire to speak to individuals connected with the archdiocese, and we’ve been told no,’ Smith told reporters at a news conference. At the same time, the archdiocese has made repeated statements that it is working to assist police on the abuse cases, Smith said. If that’s the case, ‘you need to have access to individuals that work within that institution,’ the chief said. … During Tuesday’s press briefing at police headquarters, Chief Smith named one archdiocesan official who had declined — through his attorney — to talk with police. That official is the Rev. Kevin McDonough, who served for years as vicar general, the archbishop’s top deputy, and was deeply involved in many of the archdiocese’s decisions about accused priests.”
The AP story says: “Another, Bishop Thomas Dupre in Springfield, Mass., was indicted in 2004 on a child rape charge, becoming the first bishop in the nation to be indicted on an abuse claim. However, the case was dropped after the prosecutor concluded the statute of limitations had expired. There have also been high-profile cases of bishops being falsely accused, including Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago in the 1990s. Bradford Colbert, a resident adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law, said such allegations are difficult. ‘You shouldn’t be able to convict someone just because someone says it happened, but it becomes a matter of who do you believe’? Colbert said. ‘It can be really difficult on both sides. … I think the thing to do is just to wait and see and not assume that he’s guilty’.”
Good column by the Strib’s Jon Tevlin. In addition to a nearly hysterical e-mail from a brother at St. John’s Abbey, the column includes this: “Coming just days before Archbishop John Nienstedt’s absurd no-questions-please ‘news conference,’ the hostile e-mail suggests a culture that exists apart and above any other, and a community still deeply in denial. Tuesday’s allegation just made the situation more bizarre. ‘The archdiocese and abbey only act following abuse reports or lawsuits,’ said [former Abbey board of review member Patrick] Marker. ‘I have yet to see any action motivated by the church’s teaching of compassion. The archbishop is trying to do what the abbey is trying to do.’ In other words, deny, cover up, minimize losses.’ So the archbishop went to one of the area’s wealthiest Catholic churches [Edina’s Our Lady of Grace] days before the giving season and claimed that ‘when the story started to break at the end of September, I was as surprised as anyone else.’ ”
MNsure’s executive director has stepped down. (Our James Nord has coverage here.) The AP-KARE-TV story says: “April Todd-Malmlov submitted her resignation Tuesday evening during a closed session of MNsure’s governing board. She had been under increasing pressure over insurance sign-up problems. She also failed to get a vote of confidence from Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton last week. She was a key figure in Minnesota’s adaptation to the federal health overhaul since 2011. But after the Oct. 1 enrollment launch, MNsure’s website encountered technical issues. A backup call center didn’t fare much better. Questions over Todd-Malmlov’s leadership ramped up after disclosure of an extended trip to Costa Rica in late November, as critical insurance enrollment deadlines neared and issues were unresolved. The MNsure Board has named Scott Leitz as Interim Executive Officer.”
For MPR, Elizabeth Stawicki and Catharine Richert say: “Sen. Tony Lourey, D-Kerrick, wrote the bill that authorized MNsure. He said that he respects Todd-Malmlov’s smarts. ‘That said, issues have been mounting and transparency is a problem that we’ve been trying to work on,’ Lourey said. Lourey said that he’s pleased with the board’s choice of Leitz because he’s worked on many health care initiatives over the course of many years. Meanwhile, state Republicans who have long been critical of a health insurance exchange said the announcement is too little, too late. ‘Tonight’s news offers no comfort to hardworking Minnesotans who are still unsure if they’ll have insurance coverage on January 1st,’ said Kurt Daudt (R-Crown).” Just once I’d like to hear a politician express concern for Minnesota’s layabouts, slackers and goldbrickers.
Sort of a “slick road app” … The AP says: “Four states will be using new technology this winter that federal officials say they hope will reduce traffic crashes and save on road maintenance costs. Sensors are going on snowplows in an effort to continually measure road and weather conditions. The system is being deployed on highways across Michigan, Minnesota and Nevada, as well as on Long Island, N.Y. If it passes certain tests, the technology will be transferred to private vendors and become available to additional states in time for next winter. The system is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation … .” Still more reckless government spending!
St. Louis Park’s Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, are not what you’d call classic Hollywood-style interview subjects. But NPR’s Terri Gross got some funny stuff out of them. Their new movie, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” opens Friday, and it features a subplot involving a cat.
“Ethan: We used the advice of the cat trainer … [to get] a kind of orange, marmalade tabby cat, just because they’re common, so easy to double, triple, quadruple — there were many cats playing the one cat. It comes across pretty well in the movie, but the whole exercise of shooting a cat is pretty nightmarish because they don’t care about anything. They don’t want to do what you want them to do. …
Joel: What you have to do is basically find the cat that’s predisposed to doing whatever particular piece of action it is that you have to film. So you find the cat that isn’t afraid to run down a fire escape or the cat that’s very docile and will let the actor just hold them for extended periods of time without being fidgety. … And you keep just swapping them out depending on what the task at hand is.
Ethan: In ‘True Grit’ we had a vulture, a trained vulture … that was a pain and that was even — by vulture standards — probably a stupid vulture, and that was frustrating. But I would take a vulture over a cat. The cat was just horrible.”
Also in movie land, “Anchorman 2” has finally arrived. Maybe you’ve seen a commercial or 300? Attempting to convince us it is not a documentary, Colin Covert of the Strib writes: “ ‘Anchorman 2’ communicates an almost childlike delight in big, silly, naughty jokes. Ferrell, who again shares writing credits with director Adam McKay, salts some savvy satire into the script. Ron accidentally invents every pernicious, substance-strangling trend in today’s ratings-driven TV news ecosystem. The cable news channel is even owned by a greedy, corrupt Australian (Josh Lawson). I wonder who inspired that? The film’s strong suit, however, is its unhinged, anything-for-a-laugh audacity.” Think of the laughs if Ron won an Emmy for a piece on the “Smiley Face Killer”?