Do we hate Comcast so much we’ll miss them when they leave?

Service could only get … [fill in the blank]The AP says, “Comcast customers in Minnesota would get a new cable company as part of a national three-company deal being proposed to push through Comcast’s proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable. Time Warner customers in Wisconsin also would get a new provider: Charter Communications. … .” Al Franken’s comment on this move — contingent on the Comcast-TWC merger he opposes —should be interesting.

Minnesota spends 33 percent less on each public college student than before the recession, MPR’s Alex Friedrich notes. The state spent $4,600 per in 2013 compared to $6,900 in 2008, the nation’s 10th-steepest decline. Appropriations went up after the study ended, but there’s no info on how much the gap closed.

A victory for the GOP. The Strib’s Rachel Stassen-Berger says a judge ordered Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to immediately shut down online voter registration. “The decision supports the position of Republican lawmakers who challenged Ritchie’s authority to launch the website. … Importantly for the the thousands of Minnesotans who have registered online since last year, the judge said his order ‘does not invalidate any on-line voter registration accepted prior to midnight on April 29, 2014.’

Wilfs making money coming and going. The Strib’s Mike Kaszuba reports that the heavily subsidized Vikings owners are getting $90,000 more in return for letting their stadium-area land be used as a staging area to haul away dirt. The Sports Facilities Commission says the move saves $1 million on the $1 billion project, which is sort of a 1,100 percent return. Still, “Officials … concede that it included a potential PR headache,” Kaszuba writes.

At MPR, Paul Huttner talks water … . “This long-duration soaking rain should pretty much wipe out some areas of drought and dryness in Minnesota. … This is already the fourth-wettest April on record at MSP Airport. We may be gunning for number two by Wednesday night. … I don’t think I’ve seen such a persistent rainmaker system across Minnesota in a few years.”

In the St. Cloud Times Mark Sommerhauser recaps movement on the bill for funding for environmental projects. “A $109 million package for outdoor conservation projects easily cleared the Minnesota Senate on Monday. … The bill includes more than $5.2 million for Central Minnesota projects to combat aquatic invasive species and protect forests and stream buffers. … Both the Senate and House bills fund a range of projects to preserve Minnesota’s forests, prairies, wetlands, and fish and wildlife habitat.”

The GleanStatutory compensation rates … . Doug Belden of the PiPress writes, “Those who are wrongfully convicted could get $50,000-$100,000 for each year they spent in prison plus reimbursement for other costs under a bill passed overwhelmingly by the Minnesota House on Monday. The bill, which awaits action in the Senate, would also pay $25,000-$50,000 for each year spent on supervised release or as a registered offender.”

Stribber Jon Bream thinks on what Prince might release now that he’s kissed and made up with Warner Brothers. “The only certainties are a deluxe edition of his bestseller ‘Purple Rain’, which marks its 30th anniversary this summer, and an album of new material with 3rdEyeGirl. What else might emerge from Prince’s long-touted vault of unreleased music? Album projects that were abandoned? Outtakes? Demo recordings? Live albums? … Whatever rarities are released, they belong to Prince, not the label.”

The Wild beat Colorado 5-2, forcing a Game Seven in their first-round playoff series. Luxuriate in the victory via Tom Powers and Brian Murphy.

Shades of Cliven Bundy, anti-citizen. Paul Walsh of the Strib reports, “A Twin Cities woman failed to pay income taxes for many years in connection with her family excavation and sewage treatment business, saying she and her husband are not U.S. citizens but permanent residents of the ‘Kingdom of Heavenm,’ according to federal charges. In an indictment unsealed Friday in federal court in Minneapolis, Tami M. May, of Anoka, was charged with obstruction of due administration of IRS laws and 15 counts of filing false tax returns.”

Now if the could only get in a round … . At Josh Sens looks at a Minnesota idea for cutting oh, two and half hours out of a round of golf. “The experiment took place Saturday at Deer Run Golf Club in Victoria, Minnesota, where twosomes were dispatched with a simple mandate: play 18 holes in two-and-a-half hours or less. … By morning’s end, golfers who normally shoot in the 70s completed their rounds in 2:04; 80s golfers wrapped up play in 2:15-2:20; and 90s golfers finished in 2:20-2:27. According to Unterreiner, none of the golfers reported feeling rushed.”

Funny commentary piece by retiring Southwest High teacher Dick Schwartz. In the Strib he writes, “And there was my teaching gig at an Orthodox yeshiva: One morning, several rabbis huddled in the corner of a hallway, presumably ‘davening’. Not wanting to disturb their prayer, I walked quickly past them, but not so fast that I didn’t hear them chuckling. Later, one of them confided that they were ‘debriefing’ about the previous day’s Howard Stern radio show.”

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Comments (20)

  1. Submitted by Steven Bailey on 04/29/2014 - 07:06 am.

    All cable warnings were true

    It wasn’t too long ago that a few honest politicians and consumer rights groups all warned against the result of reduced competition in the cable industry. Sadly they were all correct. Today due to monopolization of cable we have low quality service at obscenely high prices. It will get worse and there is nothing we can do about it.

  2. Submitted by Pat Berg on 04/29/2014 - 07:16 am.

    Charter Communications lousy reviews

    I hate Comcast, but I’m not sure Charter is going to be any kind of an improvement. Just Google “Charter Communications reviews” and what comes up is pretty overwhelmingly negative. Here’s just one example:

  3. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 04/29/2014 - 07:31 am.

    This is what “choice” in the cable industry is.

    Someone somewhere will choose which cable company will have a monopoly in the local market.

    How will it be decided ? It doesn’t really matter whether they flip a coin, use a Ouiji board, or commission a marvelous expert analysis. In any case, you, the customer, will have nothing to say about it.

  4. Submitted by Laurie Zelesnikar on 04/29/2014 - 11:36 am.

    Charter < Comcast

    Believe it. Moved from Mpls/Comcast to Oregon/Charter in 2011. Yes, it can get worse, much worse. Higher cost, less choice, abysmal service. Good luck. I sure miss the Mpls USI access.

  5. Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 04/29/2014 - 12:12 pm.

    We’re Screwed!

    Going from Comcast to Charter is truly going from bad to worse! The cable industry is arguably the least competitive sector of our economy so companies like Charter are free to abuse customers and there is virtually no recourse.

    Sen. Franken is right to oppose this merger and the entire cable industry needs much greater legislative and regulatory scrutiny. Only when subscribers have a choice of cable operators or can choose the channels they wish to purchase will there be even whiff of competition.

  6. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/29/2014 - 12:27 pm.

    You people are joking, right?

    Choice of cable companies? Why do you think you have no choice of cable TV providers in your town?

    Because your local government decided to treat cable TV as a utility and decided there was room for only one provider in the marketplace.

    So who made that call? The local mayor and city council made that call and it was probably based on which cable company offered the biggest kickback.

    Al Franken’s not right about anything. He apparently thinks you have a choice of cable companies. Here’s your choice in Saint Paul: Comcast or Comcast.

    Or you could do what I did and get DirectTV for TV and CenturyLink for internet service, avoiding Comcast altogether.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/29/2014 - 12:56 pm.

      Really Dennis

      So what should you do if you are unhappy with your DirecTV service? Perhaps you are unaware of the concept of a natural monopoly, or perhaps you’d prefer 100 different sets of power and cable lines crisscrossing our streets and constant excavation for the latest internet startup’s proprietary lines. They are regulated as utilities because they have the advantage of existing infrastructure. Don’t worry though, soon you’ll only have one choice for cable, internet, and phone, just like your free market intends, I’m sure you’ll take your gouging happily.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 04/29/2014 - 01:01 pm.

      CenturyLink availability

      CenturyLink is not available in all areas. My only “choice” (for a landline) is Comcast.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 04/29/2014 - 01:07 pm.

      Funnier still

      is who gave local government that right…your God, Ronald Reagan.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 04/30/2014 - 12:38 pm.


        If I remember correctly it was George Latimer.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 04/30/2014 - 02:56 pm.

          The Cable Communications Act of 1984

          which Barry Goldwater wrote and Reagan signed. The act gave municipalities, governing bodies of cities and towns, principal authority to grant and renew franchise licenses for cable operations.

    • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 04/29/2014 - 03:23 pm.

      Yeah really

      Tester. Directv and CenturyLink are similarly poor choices and great at gauging subscribers after the initial period. Treat them all like the gas and electric corporations.

  7. Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 04/29/2014 - 03:57 pm.

    Treat Cable Companies as Utilities

    The ideal solution in my opinion is to treat cable operators as public utilities and require them to submit proposed rates to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to approve, modify or disallow just as we do now for natural gas, electricity, and telephone service. The PUC may also set service standards and can order compliance or penalties.

    Municipalities granted cable operators monopolies back when the system was being constructed and most of those original companies have since been bought or merged. Now that the infrastructure is built we should require that in exchange for their monopoly, cable operators should be regulated by the PUC.

  8. Submitted by J'M S on 05/05/2014 - 12:48 pm.

    Cable, as it is, was, will become

    I was there back when Paragon wanted access into our community and they set up tables at the local mall and begged residents to sign their petitions — of course to the refrains of glowing promises of nice behavior, etc,

    To my experience and observation, unrestrained, unregulated, business – – read CAPITALISM – – is at the basis of the destruction of almost every culture and country on the planet. “Deregulation” is an all-out proclamation of the “right” to get as greedy, mean, nasty, amoral and inhumane as any company or entity can get away with before critical mass demands a more upstanding change – – and then the decadent, dysfunctional, circle starts all over again. When will people learn?

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