Minnesota not even close to meeting state emission goals

Nope, not even close. At MPR, Elizabeth Dunbar says, “Minnesota is not on track to meet greenhouse gas emissions reductions aimed at addressing climate change, state officials said Thursday. The state’s Next Generation Energy Act set goals to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels. It also requires utilities to produce 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. But a new analysis shows the state is on track to reduce emissions only by 3 percent by 2030 from 2012 levels, said David Thornton, an assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.”

At City Pages, Ben Johnson looks at Al Franken rattling the trendy ride-sharing company Uber’s cage and says, “Franken wants some answers from Uber after a BuzzFeed story quoted one of Uber’s top executives suggesting the company should dig up dirt on journalists critical of the company. Franken, the chair of a Senate subcommittee on privacy and technology, sent a letter to Uber’s CEO yesterday asking 10 pointed questions about Uber’s privacy policy. Franken raised concerns over a clause in the privacy policy that states the tech giant can share customers’ personal information and usage with ‘parent, subsidiary and affiliates for internal reasons’, and asked why Uber riders can’t, at bare minimum, opt out of information sharing.”

Really. Now that the election is over, can we find something else to caterwaul about? The Strib scolds the GOP saying, “As Republican candidates faulted DFLers for misplaced priorities during a 2014 campaign that resulted in a GOP takeover of the Minnesota House, one DFL move was their Exhibit A. DFLers had spent $90 million on a luxury office building for the state Senate, voters were told in nearly every district. Those voters — and maybe a few new Republican legislators — may be surprised to learn that those words aren’t technically true.”

Also, tucked in a commentary from Dimitri Drekonja, a staff physician with the Minneapolis VA and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota is this factoid. “[GOP Sen. David] Hann cites the Kaiser Family Foundation as his source that health insurance premiums are increasing by 20 percent in the last year. On the face of it, this seems noncontroversial. Kaiser is a well-respected nonpartisan organization that many rely on as a source of high-quality analysis of health policy, and an annual increase of 20 percent seems high. However, I happened to be catching up on my journal reading last night, and a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) had an update on health insurance costs, provided by Kaiser. … For the last five years, the increase in premiums agrees with Hann’s number: 26 percent. However, what Hann chose to leave out is that from 1999-2004, premiums rose 72 percent, and from 2004-2009, the increase was 34 percent. So over the last 15 years, the lowest increases in health insurance costs came during the period in which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began to be implemented.” Which is why Obamacare must be repealed before cost increases cease completely!

An MPR trio offers some valuable information on what a bankruptcy by the Archdiocese might mean. “If the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis were to file for bankruptcy, chances are good, based on what we know from most other cases, that the doors of its churches and schools would remain open. … The latest report shows an operating deficit of about $9.1 million for the 2014 fiscal year. It reported total assets of about $32.5 million — a drop of about $8 million from the previous year. It’s important to note that this report is just on the finances of the archdiocese’s administration. It doesn’t include parishes, Catholic schools and nonprofits like Catholic Charities. Those are separate legal entities, not considered part of the archdiocese.”

The GleanSince he’s got it working in Wisconsin. James Hohmann at Politico reports, “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, pivoting from his bigger-than-expected reelection win this month, is taking active steps toward a presidential campaign that would launch next summer and contrast his record of conservative achievements in a swing state with paralysis in Washington. … ‘I think there’s going to be a hunger for a leader who can actually can get things done,’ Walker said by phone Wednesday.” What’s that deficit projection again?

You know how you so often hear that “both sides are guilty of inflammatory rhetoric”? The Strib’s Jennifer Brooks reports, “A Minnesota Republican Party official issued a ‘call to arms’ against Muslims Thursday, calling them ‘terrorists’ and ‘parasites’ and suggesting that someone should ‘frag ‘em.’ Jack Whitley, chairman of the Big Stone County Republican Party, had no apology for the series of inflammatory posts on his personal Facebook page — remarks the state party leadership condemned as ‘outrageous.’” The irony is that the guy sees no irony in essentially calling for jihad against the impure.

His wanderin’ days are over. Says Tom Weber of MPR about the moose strolling around down by Sleepy Eye, “A wayward moose that drew attention last week for showing up on a farm in southern Minnesota has died. Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said he got word from fellow DNR colleagues in southern Minnesota Thursday morning that the animal was dead and had been found ‘in someone’s yard.’”

MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone still has as few friends. Tad Vezner and Josh Verges of the PiPress say, “As faculty and some students continue to question his leadership, trustees and school presidents are standing firmly behind Steven Rosenstone, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. … Student leaders representing the system’s two-year colleges have sided with Rosenstone, saying Charting the Future holds a lot of promise despite Rosenstone’s missteps. Additionally, MnSCU’s board and presidents have consistently supported Rosenstone and his plan over the past months.”

Correction: In an earlier version of the Glean, the MPR item on emissions goals incorrectly referred to national standards; the state is not on track to meet state goals. 

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/21/2014 - 10:29 am.

    Jack Whitley

    It is good to see the state Republican Party denounce Mr. Whitley’s remarks as strongly as they did. Now, let’s here from the rank-and-file Republicans of Big Stone County, since they are the people who put him in his leadership position .

    • Submitted by Mike Worcester on 11/21/2014 - 11:09 am.

      How About?

      How about a condemnation from Rep.-elect Jeff Backer, whose district (12A) includes Big Stone County also?

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/21/2014 - 12:27 pm.

        Good idea

        And let’s hear a real condemnation without the weaselspeak about the right to free speech, unfortunate choice of words, what about terrorism, etc., etc.

  2. Submitted by Eric Snyder on 11/21/2014 - 12:49 pm.

    The Republicans have a much bigger problem than just Whitley

    A longer comment submission of mine was inexplicably not published, so here’s another, abbreviated, attempt.

    Readers may want to peruse the following repository of extremist, paranoid and bigoted language from conservative and right-wing politicians, talk radio hosts and writers to get a feel for the background to Republican Jack Whitley’s comments: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/topics/anti-muslim

    Whitley is obviously not isolated among conservatives in his sentiments about Muslims. So, the question for the MN Republican party as well as the Republican party nationally, not to mention Americans who want to live in a tolerant and peaceful society, is much of this bigotry and extremism has penetrated into Republican ranks.

    We have to assume that many Republican officials and politicians listen to and read these extremist voices because they pervade the right-wing media universe. Comment boards on right-wing sites not infrequently mirror Whitley’s views.

    The GOP has a much larger problem than just this single loose cannon.

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