Torii’s homecoming press conference did not go smoothly. The PiPress’s Mike Berardino writes, “Twins outfielder Torii Hunter has received criticism from national media outlets such as Deadspin.com for publicly expressing his opposition to gay marriage, most recently while endorsing Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) in his successful re-election bid last month. … Hunter, 39, became agitated at the line of questioning and called this reporter the same epithet four times.”
Specifically, WCCO-TV says, “Hunter answered Berardino by saying he supported Hutchinson because he felt he was the right candidate, and not due to any party affiliation. The reporter then directly asked Hunter about an article on the sports website Deadspin concerning the athlete’s stance on gay marriage … . A few seconds later, Hunter turned his attention back to the reporter. ‘Hey, Mike is kind of a prick, huh? No, seriously. You’re a prick, man. I don’t even know you. You’re a prick, seriously,’ Hunter said. ‘Ain’t nothing wrong with that, man, that’s your job. He’s definitely a prick, though.’” Fair enough question, Torii.
A settlement has been reached in a different KSTP-TV fiasco. Nick Woltman of the PiPress says, “A man who was arrested for and later cleared of killing a Minnesota police officer has reached a settlement with KSTP-TV in a defamation lawsuit over on-air statements that identified him as the officer’s killer. The lawsuit, filed in April, ‘has been amicably settled on a confidential basis and the parties will not be disclosing any of the terms of the settlement,’ according to a joint statement released Wednesday by the legal teams for Ryan Larson and KSTP. … Larson filed a similar suit against WCCO, which was settled several months ago, his attorney Stephen Fiebiger said Wednesday.” He may still go after others.
Ok, so now we have (the strictest) medical marijuana law in the country. Lots of controls. But what about, you know, getting it to the people who need it. Or them to it? Kyle Potter of the AP writes, “Jeremy Pauling is staring down four hours round trip to the nearest site that would sell medical marijuana for treating his daughter’s chronic seizures. Others in greater Minnesota could face an even longer drive, and that needs to change, the Montevideo man said Wednesday. … ‘I’m concerned about the cancer patient in … the southwestern part of the state that cannot. You forgot a quarter of the state of Minnesota.’”
At The Huffington Post Rebecca Klein notes criticism of the Strib for printing that “boys showering with girls” ad. “Activists are criticizing the paper for printing the ads, which they say contain blatantly transphobic messages. … Christina Kahrl, a sports writer for ESPN.com and member of the LGBT Sports Coalition, an advocacy group that works to end anti-LGBT bias in sports, told The Huffington Post that the ad misrepresents the policy. Kahrl also faulted the paper for printing the advertisement in the first place, saying that it likely would not have been printed had it targeted another group of people. ‘If they had published ads from the Nazi party about B’nai B’rith, or something from the [Ku Klux] Klan about race relations — the kind of editorial decision that makes you wonder. It’s not just a matter of ‘we take money and we run ads,’ said Kahrl by phone. ‘They’ve accepted responsibility of demonizing trans people.’”
In a Strib commentary against the Minnesota State High School League’s proposed policy on transgender athletes (another group of writers’ offers a “pro” commentary), local attorney John Hagen writes: “The policy is meant to look as if it gives schools a measure of discretion. But it contains a clause that any capable lawyer can drive a truck through. It virtually guarantees that any school denying a boy the right to compete as a girl will face a lawsuit. … Imagine the following scenario. An adolescent counterpart of Clay Matthews (the very long-haired, very burly linebacker for the Green Bay Packers) comes before your school board. He declares: ‘I always have had a feminine self-image. I never told anyone, because of society’s expectations, but I’m revealing it now. My long hair is evidence of my sincerity and my feminine self-expression.’ The High School League’s pending policy would compel the school to let this boy play power forward on the girls’ basketball team, regardless of safety considerations.”
Mediation on farm loans gets a look from MPR’s Mark Steil. “The number of notices for mediation of problem farm loans in Minnesota rose only slightly over the past year, a sign that the state’s farmers are so far weathering tougher times. … For the year ending Sept. 30, total mediation notices rose only 1 percent from the previous fiscal year. But the numbers for both years are the lowest since the program was established nearly three decades ago, and the amount of debt involved dropped by nearly one quarter to $70 million. David Werner, chief financial officer of the University of Minnesota Extension, which administers the mediation program, said the mediation numbers are at historic lows in part because the livestock and dairy sectors of the farm economy have had a mostly profitable year.”
Remember the episode last winter with soon-to-be House Speaker Kurt Daudt and the gun-waving pal in Montana? The Strib’s Abby Simons says, “A man charged with pulling a gun during a dispute in Montana where then-House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt was present was found guilty of felony assault last month. Daniel Benjamin Weinzetl, 25, of Cambridge, pleaded no contest to assault with a weapon in Park County District Court Nov. 17. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dismissed additional felony charges of aggravated assault and criminal endangerment. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.”
“The Wizard” has retired. Bill Salisbury of the PiPress reports, “When Minnesota’s latest state budget and economic forecast is released on Thursday, it will bear the fingerprints of a bureaucrat who is virtually unknown outside the Capitol but is renowned by government insiders for his deep knowledge of the state’s finances. For the past 38 years, Charlie Bieleck has taken a lead role in crafting the twice-a-year forecasts that tell governors and legislators how much money they have available to spend during the next two-year budget cycle. … Minnesota is losing that knowledge. Bieleck, the third-ranked official in the state Management and Budget Department, retired this week after putting the finishing touches on the latest forecast.”
Walking to his own beat. In the Strib Allison Sherry says, “Rep. Keith Ellison was the only Minnesota House member Wednesday to vote against extending for one year more than 50 expired tax credits for special interests, individuals and businesses. The tax-extenders package, which gives breaks for 2014, costs $44 billion a year and isn’t ‘paid for’ which means it contributes to the national debt. It includes a range of boons for both liberals and conservatives including tax breaks for state and local sales taxes paid and breaks for renewable fuels, wind production and medical research.”
First Bobby Keys, now Ian McLagan. The Strib’s Chris Riemenschneider reports, “On the day he was due to perform at First Avenue in Minneapolis, where his legendary group the Faces once played in the 1970s, British rock vet Ian McLagan died Wednesday after suffering a stroke at his home near Austin, Texas. He was 69. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame keyboardist and bandleader — who also played with the Rolling Stones and got his start with the Small Faces — was supposed to be in Minneapolis on Tuesday to rehearse for tonight’s show with Nick Lowe, the kick-off to a holiday-themed tour.”