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Judge refuses to block Medtronic execs’ tax payouts

Plus: Duluth loses court fight against casino; flight service from St. Cloud to Chicago to end; 10 theaters now planning to show ‘The Interview’; and more.

A judge couldn’t see the point in an an injunction on those juicy payouts to Medtronic execs facing excise taxes on their Irish move. In the Strib Joe Carlson says, “A federal judge will not block $63 million in payments to Medtronic executives tied to the Fridley-based device maker’s plans to move legal headquarters to Ireland. But the company’s shareholders will get their own opportunity to pass judgment on the payments, including $24.8 million to chief executive Omar Ishrak. The money is intended to offset the special federal excise taxes imposed on executives and directors that relocate their companies overseas through complex acquisitions known as corporate inversions. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled on Monday that a three-month-old lawsuit to block the payments was unlikely to succeed, and therefore she denied a request to impose a preliminary injunction ahead of the Jan. 6 shareholders’ vote to approve the deal. But she noted that company officials plan to hold a second vote that day to approve the excise-tax payments.”

Judge Nelson also ruled against the city of Duluth. Tom Olsen of the News Tribune says, “A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the city of Duluth seeking to block a potential future expansion of the Fond-du-Luth Casino. The city in April filed the suit against the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in a dispute over the band’s attempt to enlarge the parcel of sovereign land it oversees in downtown Duluth. The suit stemmed from the band’s efforts to place the Carter Hotel property, 29 N. Second Ave. E., in trust and have it declared as ‘Indian country,’ exempt from local property taxes and zoning jurisdiction.”

Direct flights from St. Cloud to Chicago are in peril. Patrick Kennedy of the Strib says, “SkyWest Airlines plans to end service between St. Cloud and Chicago on April 6 unless state and local officials come up with a way to make the flights economically feasible. The plan to end service was disclosed during a conference call Wednesday among airline officials, Gov. Mark Dayton and St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis. … Kleis said that passenger load factors started out around 20 percent when service launched in May. They reached about 60 percent in August.”

Another child has succumbed to the flu. Matt Sepic at MPR reports, “Minnesota Department of Health officials on Wednesday said a third person under the age of 18 has died of influenza since the start of the flu season. That brings the number of pediatric deaths in Minnesota to three so far this flu season. The child had an underlying health condition, state infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann said.”

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 Yeah, you can probably bet against a North Korean terror attack. Euan Kerr at MPR follows the decision by theaters around the state to show … a dumb comedy. “At least 10 theaters in the state that will be showing the controversial movie ‘The Interview’ appear unfazed by the threats that led Sony to cancel its release. … A theater in International Falls has asked police to keep an eye on the cinema when the movie premieres Thursday. Chuck Wiser, manager of The Quarry Cinema in Cold Spring, said he’ll warn staff to be on alert but isn’t too worried.”

The GleanThere’s always the possibility the legislature will raise taxes. Don Davis for the Forum News Service says, “In most years, Republicans could be expected to reject any tax increase proposal. But some in the GOP, including a leader or two, say there could be tax increases for priority items such as nursing homes and transportation. Democrats in general are much more open to raising taxes to fund new or expanded programs. … Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls …  promotes the type of revenue increases generally favored by Republicans: Find ways businesses can make more money, allowing the companies to pay more taxes, along with employees who are earning higher wages.”

Really, walk him three times a day and keep him groomed, he’ll be a great pet. Bill Glauber of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes, “The other day, a mason from Pewaukee contacted the Humane Animal Welfare Society in Waukesha and asked: “Does the humane society take a scorpion?” Humane society official Mark Hess paused and said, ‘Yes. It would be a first.’ On Wednesday, in walked the mason carrying a small fish bowl that contained what was believed to be a Chinese golden scorpion. ‘It’s eating a cricket as we speak,’ Hess said. ‘It is getting its Christmas dinner.’ Hess said the mason told him that he came upon the scorpion while building a fireplace with stone imported from China. The stone had come in a box that was sealed and taped shut.”

At LeftMN, (yes, a lefty site), Steve Timmer goes after the Bloomington City Attorney determined to wreak vengeance on protesters who sullied the sacred halls of the MOA. “In my long years of observation, whenever someone tries to use the law to make an example of people or to send a message, he — or she — usually winds up stepping on a rake. There is a reason for this. It’s called crusader’s myopia, and yes, I coined the term; it makes the teacher or messenger forget the elements and legal requirements of the case in favor of the desired message. … Some of you may remember the case that [attorney Sandra] Johnson relies on. There were a handful of protesters who gathered at a second floor entrance to the MOA, near the Macy’s store entrance, to protest the destruction of fur bearing animals for ornamental garments, which Macy’s sold. The mall cops told them to get out, and when they didn’t, the mall cops called the real cops and had the protesters arrested. Everybody, up to and including the Minnesota Supreme Court, said, Private property. Lock ‘em up. Never mind that there is a bazillion in public subsidies in that sucker.”

Also on blogs … at the other end of the spectrum: PowerLine’s Steve Hayward gets interested in a new paper bemoaning the lack of political diversity in social sciences. He writes, “A forthcoming article in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (yeah, it’s not on my regular reading pile either, but it’s a Cambridge University Press journal) is attracting a lot of pre-publication buzz, because it argues that the field of social psychology—but really extending to social science generally—is badly hobbled by its liberal monoculture. … there’s a lot of rich material, including a thorough knocking down of the liberal excuses and rationales for why there are so few conservatives in academic social science.” Who doubts the peer review of ideologically-tainted scientific analysis and interpretation is pretty rough?