GOP’s ex-candidate Nguyen, Sen. Senjem have intriguing links

In one of the rare Politics in Minnesota pieces available outside the paywall, Steve Perry suggests the story of erstwhile GOP secretary of state candidate Dennis Nguyen and the strip club is not the most interesting part of that story: “In the hoopla over the strip club visit, most onlookers seem to have read past the most interesting part of the story, which had less to do with strip clubs than with how [Nguyen and GOP Sen. Dave Senjem] came to be there together … : ‘Nguyen had also asked Senjem to consider serving on the corporate board for New Asia Partners, which owns and operates a restaurant chain in Vietnam. The Rochester Republican traveled to Vietnam to see the restaurant operations for himself.’ ” The part where Senjem hangs up on Perry is pretty good.

Our Devin Henry and others cover Collin Peterson’s announcement that he will run for re-election. At the Strib, Rachel Stassen-Berger says: “Even if Republicans fail in their attempt to oust him, Peterson said he does not believe Democrats will take the U.S. House. But, he said, he will continue to work with the Republicans in charge on issues that should not be partisan. In recent years, Peterson, known for playing rock guitar and not holding back with his opinions, has publicly grumbled about his frustrations with Congress. … ‘It’s been a challenging and sometimes frustrating few years. I’ve described the process as lunacy, Never-Never Land, and have lamented being caught in farm bill hell.’ ”

Or roughly a quarter of what MnDOT paid Clear Channel for a bunch billboards … The AP says: “The Minnesota Department of Human Services has budgeted $1.8 million for the possible costs of a court-ordered evaluation of the state sex-offender program. U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank … said he could rule the program unconstitutional if those experts find that the program actually provides no treatment for patients, provides no way for sex offenders to graduate from the program and forces them to endure prison-like conditions.”

As if Monday mornings weren’t bad enough … Paul Walsh of the Strib says: “Armed robbers Monday morning struck a restaurant and bar down the street from two schools in Minnetonka, and the hunt is on for three suspects, authorities said. The men entered through the back door of the Lone Spur Grill and Bar at 11032 Cedar Lake Road shortly before 10 a.m., about an hour before the business opens, said Police Chief Mark Raquet. The men ‘may have assaulted employees’ as they took the victims’ wallets and cellphones.”

Because appearances count … The AP says: “A Minnesota Senate subcommittee on elections has unanimously approved restoring a gift ban that was softened last year. The exception passed last spring allowed lawmakers to get lobbyist-purchased meals at receptions as long as all legislators were invited.”

Grab the dog, dear — we’re outta here … Paul Huttner at MPR tells us: “[T]he March weather lion is about to roar. The only remaining question appears to be exactly who will get the heaviest snowfall? Winter storm watches and warnings are flying for much of central Minnesota for Tuesday. … the heaviest snow axis in Minnesota sets up from Ortonville, through Morris, Alexandria, St. Cloud, Mille Lacs, Brainerd to Duluth and the North Shore. That’s the zone most likely to get 6 to 12 inches of heavy wet snow with this system.” If we leave now, we can have a late dinner at Arthur Bryant’s in Kansas City.

But stay sober on the drive to Iowa … Bob Collins at MPR writes: “A handful of cases from federal and state judges has sought recently to clarify a long-standing argument: When you drive a car, is it constitutional that you automatically submit to chemical testing for DUI when an officer asks you to? Despite the rulings, the question has not yet been put to rest. Today, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reinstated charges against a man who was criminally charged for not submitting to a chemical test. It’s the first case since the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled on the issue last fall, and it’s a case that probably will end up at the Minnesota Supreme Court.”

This may become a factor in some thinking here in Minnesota. Matthew Perrone of the AP says: “The federal government has signed off on a long-delayed study looking at marijuana as a treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, a development that drug researchers are hailing as a major shift in U.S. policy. The Department of Health and Human Services’ decision surprised marijuana advocates who have struggled for decades to secure federal approval for research into the drug’s medical uses.”

Finally, even though the explanation makes sense, anytime you hang out a Nazi flagAt Gawker, Adam Weinstein picks up on Emily Eveland’s City Pages story about a WWII re-enactors party at the Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit last December: “When you head out to Minneapolis’ premier German restaurant, Gasthof zur Gemütlichkeit, you expect brats and bier and kraut. You might not expect the Third Reich. But then, Christmas is a time for special celebrations. City Pages got an anonymous tip last week in the form of a photo that appeared to show a Nazi hootenanny at the convivial Teutonic eatery. This week, they heard from a reader who was at the Sieg Heil hoedown — and there’s a perfectly good explanation!” Thanks, but I’ll stick with Lebowskifest.

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