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U of M suing giant cell-phone companies

Plus: NFL rebuffs idea of immediately reinstating Peterson; MnSCU chancellor seeks mediation with faculty; social issues’ effect in House turnover; and more.

The U wants its cut! Matt Sepic at MPR says, “The University of Minnesota is suing the nation’s largest cell phone companies for patent infringement. In four separate lawsuits, the university claims Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T are illegally using technology developed at the U of M. General Counsel Bill Donohue said the litigation involves five separate wireless communications patents that engineering professor Georgios Giannakis developed. Donohue contends the cell carriers are using the technology to improve the reliability of their 4G wireless data services without paying royalties to the U.”

Well, if they’re going to cause accidents, of course … Paul Walsh at the Strib tells us, “Days after a Minneapolis squad car caused two trailing Washington Redskins buses to crash while heading from an Edina hotel to the game against the Vikings, the Police Department said Thursday it is temporarily suspending its escorts of visiting NFL teams. … [Officer Yolanda] Wilks said she was ordered by the ‘motorcade supervisor’ to move from behind the two buses to the front. As she sped up to pass the buses on the left on a grassy median, she lost control and hit the ramp’s left guardrail. Seeing the police car blocking the ramp, the first bus braked, prompting the trailing bus to strike the one ahead.” Not to be forgotten anytime soon back at the precinct station.

On the importance of familiar social issues in the turnover of the Minnesota House, Catharine Richert of MPR says, “[GOP winner Tim] Miller said social issues ended up being a bigger issue in his district. [DFL incumbent Andrew] Falk was among those who voted to legalize same-sex marriage, and voters were concerned about that, Miller said. ‘The general issue at the door was, ‘Where do you stand on the same-sex issue?’ and ‘Our representative did not listen to us,’ Miller said. Indeed, the Minnesota Family Council, which was a leading opponent of legalizing same-sex marriage, said victories like Miller’s were a referendum on liberal marriage and abortion rights policies. Several DFLers who bucked their constituents and voted to legalize same-sex marriage, including Joe Radinovich of Crosby, Jay McNamar of Elbow Lake, and Tim Faust of Hinckley, lost on Tuesday.”

Power Line’s John Hinderaker works off a map of voting in congressional districts across the nation and says, “ … maps like this one are misleading because the small blue areas are basically the cities, where lots of people live. But what this map does reveal is that the Democrats are no longer competitive in rural and small-town America. It is now rare for a district dominated by small towns not to be Republican. But there is one major swath of blue that seems out of place: Minnesota, where five of eight Congressional districts are still held by the Democrats. Minnesota largely resisted the Republican wave this year, although Republicans did capture the state’s House of Representatives. What’s the matter with Minnesota? That’s a long story, involving Scandinavian political traditions and the state’s remarkably resilient economy – try as hard as they might, the Democrats can’t quite kill it – among other things.”

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Speaking of maps, here’s one with all the addresses in Minneapolis whose owners didn’t shovel their sidewalks last winter. Jon Collins and William Lager of MPR report, “The city of Minneapolis issued 741 fines for failure to shovel sidewalks last winter at a cost of more than $130,000 to Minneapolis property owners, according to city records. … Fines issued last winter ranged from $31.50 for a house on a corner lot in south Minneapolis to $745.80 for the sidewalk outside Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen in north Minneapolis. An MPR News analysis of fines shows that most citations are given out to property owners in poorer neighborhoods.”

The GleanIn a word, “No.” Fox Sports Mike Garafolo reports, “The NFL rejected an attempt by Adrian Peterson’s camp for immediate reinstatement following his plea agreement on Tuesday and refused to engage in discussions regarding a settlement over his playing status, two sources informed of the discussions told FOX Sports.”

Clearly, a crowd that needs counseling: Alex Friedrich at MPR reports, “The chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system says a state agency has agreed to mediate faculty unions’ dispute with MnSCU leaders over how to carry out an overhaul of the system. Steven Rosenstone says he has invited union leaders to join him in talks with the state Office of Collaboration and Dispute Resolution. ‘We clearly have some disagreements,’ he said, ‘and we’re clearly not making the progress I’d like to see in reaching a shared understanding of how to move forward.’ ” Damn, I love a good gross understatement.

Would we really be that much worse off if every race were decided by a coin flip? John Myers of the Duluth News Tribune writes, “Voters in eastern Cook County, the very tip of Minnesota’s Arrowhead, deadlocked Tuesday on who should be their next county commissioner.

Frank Moe, a dog musher, former state lawmaker and environmental activist, received 246 votes — exactly the same as Kristin DeArruda Wharton for the 1st District commissioner seat that includes Grand Portage, Hovland and Colvill. Braidy Powers, Cook County Auditor/Treasurer (who won re-election unopposed), said state statute calls for the tie to be determined by “lot,” such as the flip of a coin or drawing straws … .” Heck, a Congress of dog mushers would be better than what we’ve got.

For Madison’s Isthmus alternative paper, Ruth Conniff looks at election night and writes, “At the Overture Center on election night, Mary Burke gave a concession speech in which she quoted Vince Lombardi about getting knocked down and standing back up again. Burke cited the enduring progressive values she championed in her campaign. The biggest applause lines came when she mentioned ‘women’s rights to control our own bodies,’ collective bargaining and the minimum wage. Over at Gov. Scott Walker’s victory party in West Allis, the crowd booed these same lines as they watched Burke concede on the big screens. The Walker supporters even booed Vince Lombardi, which, one Twitter user pointed out, shows how much Walker has divided Wisconsin. It was telling that women’s rights, collective bargaining and the minimum wage came in for particular cheering at the Burke party in Madison, and particular derision at Walker headquarters. These are the fault lines of our national politics.” And therefore a solid basis for productive “divided government.”