Climbing on the GOP’s to-do list for this coming session: scrutiny of the state high school league. The AP says, “A top Republican is calling for more scrutiny of the Minnesota State High School League. That follows the league’s approval last week of a policy to let transgender athletes play on the sports teams that best align with their gender identity. State Rep. Joyce Peppin of Rogers, who is set to become House majority leader next month, told a group of GOP activists Saturday that she thinks the league needs legislative oversight.”
We’re No. 5! 24/7 WallSt’s annual assessment of the best and worst run states has been released. We did pretty well. A quartet of writers say, “Minnesota residents are among the nation’s wealthiest. A typical household reported income of $60,702 in 2013, among the highest nationwide. Similarly, the median home in Minnesota was valued at more than $180,000 that year, among the higher home values in the nation. Valuable property partly explains the state’s strong tax revenue — the state generated nearly $3,800 per capita in fiscal 2012, more than all but a handful of states. Also, Minnesota’s unemployment rate of just 5.1% in 2013 was among the nation’s lowest. Minnesota also boasts a highly educated workforce. More than 92% of adults 25 and older had attained at least a high school diploma, while 33.5% had at least a bachelor’s degree, both among the highest rates nationwide.” Wisconsin, where they have that pesky $1.8 billion projected deficit? No. 29.
A Rose would have been sweeter, but the Gophers will play on New Year’s Day. George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel says, “The things you can do with a $207-million budget. A 20,000-square- foot Plaza Deck, perfectly configured for the party crowd. Three huge LED screens, including one that is 88 feet wide and nearly four stories high. Molded plastic chair-backs and 6 extra inches of legroom. And bathrooms without those disgusting troughs. Oklahoma and Clemson, come on down. You too, Missouri and Minnesota. That’s the dance card for the two bowls coming up in a few weeks — the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 29 and the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day. Missouri and Minnesota will be first-timers here for that game. And like most folks, they should be awed by the venue. Oklahoma and Clemson have been here for bowl games as well, but the stadium should definitely have a ‘wow factor’ for fans and officials from both schools.”
Strib business columnist Neal St. Anthony echoes the message of last week’s jobs numbers. “Small business is back. Anecdotal evidence and some hard data indicate that the five-year economic recovery is being boosted, finally, by small firms that employ several to several hundred employees.”
Our Favorite Congresswoman has been talking to people other than those in the conservative echo chamber. Brett Neely of MPR reports, “[Michele] Bachmann, 58, announced her retirement from the House last year after a surprisingly close re-election campaign in the district she had represented for four terms. In an interview, Bachmann said she has no regrets. ‘I’ve given it absolutely everything for eight years and done the best I possibly could and now it’ time to start another phase’, she said. ‘I don’t look back, I look forward. I’m grateful.’ … she insists that with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the odds-on Democratic nominee, there’s a potential case to be made for another Bachmann candidacy. ‘People want to know will there be a female on the Republican side,’ Bachmann said. ‘And since I ran in 2012, people obviously wonder will I be running in 2016? There’s been no final determination made on that.’”
Speaking of the echo chamber, Jazz Shaw at the conservative Hot Air site writes of Rep. Bachmann, “Honestly, I think there’s a window of opportunity here, but it’s not as a 2016 candidate for the presidency. Ed [Morrissey a Minnesota native] and I debated this extensively in 2012 and my opinion has not been overly swayed since then. Bachmann has a lot of baggage from her headline grabbing early days which the media will always keep in the ammo bag and it’s just too easy to run her up the flagpole for the MSM barrage. She did surprisingly well in the debates last time around, but the numbers show that it was never enough to build up a national following beyond the confines of Ed’s home stomping grounds.” Would love to hear their criteria for “well”?
An eye-misting moment at yesterday’s Vikings game. In the PiPress, Brian Murphy writes, “Richard Thill survived Pearl Harbor and waited 73 years for an ovation many of his comrades would never hear. So a stubbornly long New York Jets drive and icy wind at TCF Bank Stadium could not ruin his moment. The Vikings salute military veterans during the first television timeout of the second quarter each home game. Thill was a special honoree Sunday, Dec. 7 — a solemn anniversary in U.S. history, one he hopes never fades from memory. The 91-year-old St. Paul native was introduced with a video tribute that included an interview and familiar black-and-white newsreels that showed the destruction caused by the Japanese surprise attack. With the aid of a walker, Thill stood in the east end zone, smiled broadly and waved to the crowd of 52,152, which rose to its feet and cheered in unison — ‘USA! USA!’ ‘That was outstanding, to say the least,’ Thill said later.”
The Chinese elite at the U of M. Says Josh Vergas in the PiPress, “At a new program in the University of Minnesota’s School of Kinesiology, no one gets in without either an Olympic medal or a world championship in an individual event. The first cohort of 11 elite student-athletes and coaches from China’s Beijing Sport University arrived at the U in mid-October. They’ll take classes in English as a second language and American culture and a kinesiology seminar this semester. In the spring, they’ll study nutrition, sports management and physical education instruction before returning to China to wrap up their master’s degree programs.”
Further proof of the boom times in North Dakota. Says James MacPherson of the AP, “Reported income by all North Dakotans has more than doubled to a record $30.4 billion since the infancy of the state’s oil boom in 2006, tax return filings show. Tax Department figures released to the Associated Press show the number of taxpayers in the state has jumped 37 percent since the state’s oil bonanza began, from 339,000 in 2006 to 466,000 in 2013. Just over 440,000 tax returns were filed in 2012. Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger said the increase in income and the number of taxpayers contributes heavily to the state’s robust economy.” Uh, yeah … .