Dayton rips Norm Coleman in interview

MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
Gov. Mark Dayton

Word is that the holidays are over, the relatives have gone home and it’s safe to come back out. Maybe. 

As the legislative session approaches, Don Davis of the Forum News Service has a story up: “Mark Dayton has emerged from his campaign shell. The 67-year-old governor, preparing to start his final elective term, was at times funny and a couple of times harsh during a recent interview with Forum News Service and St. Paul Pioneer Press reporters. He fulfilled what a Minneapolis editorial writer somewhat jokingly predicted would be ‘Dayton unbound’ (not to be confused with the Dayton Unbound Ministries in Ohio). At his harshest, Dayton attacked former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, whose term overlapped with Dayton’s time in the Senate.”

A Tim Pugmire/MPR story says, “A projected $1 billion budget surplus has many state lawmakers looking for ways to return some of that money to taxpayers. There are plenty of competing ideas for tax relief. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton has already made it clear that child care tax credits are on his list. … Before tackling new tax issues, [GOP Rep. Greg] Davids said his panel will act early in the session on language needed to keep state money flowing to Mayo Clinic’s Destination Medical Center in Rochester. Once that’s done, Davids said he’d like to help businesses by phasing out the commercial property tax. He wants to discuss whether placing levy limits on local governments as a condition of state aid would hold down property taxes.”

Today will not be a good news day for our (version of) Scottish royalty. Paul Walsh of the Strib says, “Colin Chisholm, who lived the life of a Lake Minnetonka millionaire with his wife while collecting welfare benefits, leaves jail long enough to hear on Monday that he’ll be moving to his new digs in prison. … According to state guidelines, the presumptive sentence would have been probation and no prison time. But the prosecution argued that the dollar amount of the theft, the length of time over which it occurred and the frequency of the crimes called for an upward departure.”

Also from Walsh, this story of how much wimpier we are here compared to back when I walked five miles to school. Uphill. Both ways. In 50-below weather. “Severe cold throughout the state is having an impact, starting with a Duluth area ski resort closing Sunday because of ‘extremely low temperatures and intense wind chill factors.’ … Spirit Mountain’s operators pointed to ‘guest and employee safety’ for their decision to close the slopes and its Adventure Park on Sunday ‘due to the incoming extremely low temperatures and intense wind chill factors.’ As of 10 a.m. Sunday, the temperature was minus-8, with a wind chill of minus-28, the Weather Service reported.”

A new story — a series, in fact — about sex trafficking amid the Bakken oil field. This one from Ann Dalrymple and Katherine Rymn of the Forum News Service. “Seven men — some enraged, some embarrassed, some ashamed — crowd holding cells in the jail just across the interstate from the Best Western hotel in Dickinson, N.D. Two other guys, the latest would-be ‘johns’ caught in a prostitution sting, sit on a hotel room floor at the Best Western, handcuffed and dazed. Across a parking lot from the hotel, still two more men are detained at the Astoria Hotel. All of the men were arrested after responding to a fake ad offering sex for money. And the messages kept coming. ‘We could’ve got 10 more that night,’ said Rob Fontenot, a North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent who led the operation, one of several that authorities have conducted in western North Dakota.”

According to Mara Gottfried at the PiPress, the State Patrol is still looking for the person who hit and killed a woman crawling on I-35. “Emily Boone, 28, entered the freeway near Grand Avenue on foot, according to State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson. She didn’t jump from the overpass, but it’s possible she fell from the retaining wall on the west side of the freeway, Nielson said. The State Patrol doesn’t know whether it was Boone’s intention to jump or if she fell onto the road. Boone was in a crawling position when a vehicle struck her on the left shoulder or left lane of southbound I-35E just south of the Grand Avenue overpass, the State Patrol said. It happened about 9:40 p.m. Friday. Boone, who was from Maple Grove and had been living in St. Paul, died at the scene.”

Just because the calendar has flipped to 2015 doesn’t mean the daily flow of lists has abated. For example, here’s one where we are … wait for it …  No. 1! The Strib’s Tim Harlow writes, “Believe it or not, Minnesota has the best drivers in the nation. That came as a big surprise to me, since on a daily basis I see motorists cut off other drivers, tailgate, drift into other traffic lanes, chat or text away on their cellphones, and engage in countless other menacing behaviors that don’t epitomize ‘Minnesota Nice.’  But those were not the criteria that carinsurancecomparison.com looked at when it published its 2014 Worst Drivers by State in mid-December.”

Or, if not No. 1, then … No. 9! Tipster Ray points us to this one. “The Safest States in the Union.” Tom Frolich and Alexander Kent at 24/7 Wall St. say, Minnesota households had a median income of $60,702 in 2013, more than $8,000 higher than the national benchmark. Additionally, state residents were quite educated, as 33.5 percent of adults aged 25 and older had obtained a bachelor’s degree as of 2013, well above the 29.6 percent of adults nationwide. The strong socioeconomic environment likely contributed to the low violent crime rate of only 223.2 incidents reported per 100,000 residents in 2013. Overall, the state’s violent crime rate fell 3.3 percent despite incidents of murder and non-negligent manslaughter increasing more than 14 percent between 2012 and 2013.” Try remembering that when you’re driven into a guard rail by a texting soccer mom.

On a site called Distractify, Beth Buczynski comes up with a list of “50 Americans Summarize Their Home State In One Perfectly Sarcastic Sentence.” For us? “10,000 Lakes and 10,000,000,000,000 Mosquitoes.” Which is still better than (guess the state): “Way too cold to be sober.”

Speaking of probably not sober: The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says, “Germantown police are trying to solve a strange mystery after they found a diamond ring placed on a branch of the police department’s Christmas tree. Chief Peter Hoell posted a note on the Germantown Police Department’s Facebook page Saturday, asking if anyone knew where the ring came from. The diamonds are real, he said, and police think someone intentionally placed the ring on the tree that sits in the police department’s lobby.”

Oh, and happy new year.

Comments (31)

  1. Submitted by Jeffrey Swainhart on 01/05/2015 - 07:34 am.

    Infrastructure

    Rather than return that surplus to the taxpayers, why not put it toward fixing our crumbling infrastructure. Bridges, roads, water & sewer pipes, etc all need attention. If not now, when?

    • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 01/05/2015 - 12:19 pm.

      That won’t…

      happen either. Every politician in St. Paul has their own special cause for the budget surplus (result of overtaxation) and it is highly unlikely that those causes would be of benefit for you or me.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 01/05/2015 - 02:37 pm.

        Heh

        And, every commentator has their own spin as to how we arrived at the budget surplus, too (result of overtaxation)!

        More broadly, you could simply say that the reason for the budget surplus is a DFL dominated state government.

    • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 01/05/2015 - 12:30 pm.

      Surplus

      I would say sock away every last red penny. The rosy economy we have today is not going to last forever and someday we’ll wish we had those funds to cover yet another budget shortfall.

      Which isn’t to say that bridges, roads, and other infrastructure items don’t also need to be addressed. But the surplus is small compared to those needs. Ignoring sewer and water lines for the moment, bridges and roads alone will gobble up an extra billion dollars a year–in addition to the funds we’re already feeding that budget item. And that’s just to keep up with the roads we currently have. It does not include adding anything more.

      Those areas need their own funding sources. Throwing a billion at them is like spitting into the wind.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 01/08/2015 - 03:19 am.

      Isn’t there a legal requiement?

      Isn’t there a legal requirement that overages be returned instead of repurposed?

  2. Submitted by Joe Smithers on 01/05/2015 - 11:02 am.

    entrapment

    This is probably going to be argued by legal teams but it seems like the ads for sex with minors are entrapment since if there was no ad then there would have been no solicitation. I think they’d be better off prosecuting the traffickers to stop this rather than catch a few would be johns. If it wasn’t there and available then the johns would not be there either. Kind of chicken or egg but you shouldn’t be out there tricking people in order to arrest them either.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/05/2015 - 11:49 am.

      Entrapment

      This would depend on what “responding to the ad” was.

      Prosecuting the johns is less satisfying than prosecuting the traffickers, but I think it would be more effective in stopping the trafficking. As long as there is a demand, someone is going to step in to fill it. This is true for any illegal product or service: prohibition doesn’t work, unless the demand for the illicit product or service is stopped. Prosecute and shame the johns, and make the next batch think twice before answering an ad like that.

      • Submitted by Todd Hintz on 01/05/2015 - 12:26 pm.

        Entrapment

        While you can reduce the number of people (men) who solicit prostitutes by shaming some of them, you’re never going to eliminate the trade or even put a significant dent in the industry. You have a who lot of guys in North Dakota who are hundreds of miles from home and there’s a dearth of women to even look at, let alone date. Sex is a basic human need, even before you branch out into the psychology of companionship. People need to be loved, touched, and have someone to talk to, even if it’s someone they pay to perform those services for half an hour.

        Obviously abstinence doesn’t work or teen pregnancies would be at rock bottom levels.

        My inclination would be to take the same approach as we do for pot: legalize, regulate, and tax it. Take the criminal element out of the industry and put the profession where it belongs: as a legitimate enterprise and a contract between two consenting adults. Stop with the stigma for sex workers and the shame for johns and just let people get on with their lives.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/05/2015 - 01:20 pm.

          Well, yes

          What you say about legalizing, regulating, and taxing makes more sense than keeping a widely (if covertly) condoned practice illegal. If society is not ready to do that, and if we want to continue the idea that it is condemned, trying to go after the kingpins is a waste of time.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 01/05/2015 - 02:49 pm.

          On abstinence:

          Yes, abstinence as policy doesn’t work, but we know that comprehensive sexual education and access to contraceptives DOES drive down the teenage pregnancy rate.

        • Submitted by kelly barnhill on 01/06/2015 - 12:33 pm.

          Rock bottom levels.

          Actually, teen pregnancies ARE at rock bottom levels. This is due partly to more teens delaying sex, as well as a wider access to contraception. Here’s the stats: http://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/longdescriptors.htm

          But really, when people seek out prostitutes, they are not buying sex. They are buying control and power. That’s the allure – the sex is just a bonus. And when they are requesting – as these men did – children as young as ten, they are similarly not interested in sex. They are interested in perversion. They are actively seeking to harm a child. There is no “basic human need” in that.

      • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 01/05/2015 - 01:57 pm.

        entrapment

        “As long as there is a demand, someone is going to step in to fill it.”

        That is exactly the point of my comment. I think it is silly to create ads to increase the number of johns responding to them. All this does is increase the number of would be johns and does nothing to actually stop the trafficking. Unless you stop the traffickers you are not stopping the issue but instead creating one by luring men ( and sometimes women) into committing a crime just to “pad your stats” while the criminals they should be after continue to operate and bring women in for sex.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 01/05/2015 - 04:16 pm.

          Entrapment?

          Give me a break…the miscreant that lead this story ASKED for a 13 year old girl and requested someone even younger. As far as I’m concerned they can entrap as many of these sick, twisted freaks as possible.

          • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 01/06/2015 - 09:13 am.

            entrapment

            Let’s not assume I think what he did was ok and that he shouldn’t go to prison. My point simply is that the police were the ones posting the ad and in essence doing the soliciting of johns. Posting the ad is creating more temptation and creating demand for it. I’m not saying the men would not have tried to solicit someone else if the ad wasn’t there but having additional ad’s creates a false abundance of the girls to tempt more men into doing something they would not normally do and it also does nothing to stop pimps from bringing girls to the area. If the police were to reduce the pimps bringing girls to the area the amount of temptation and availability is reduced and crime reduced.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 01/06/2015 - 01:26 pm.

              Posting the ad doesn’t create any more temptation

              than the opening of a new fast food joint does to a person with an eating disorder. The ad doesn’t create the demand, the the ad is reacting to the demand. Your assertion that this entices men into pedophilia is ludicrous.

              • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 01/06/2015 - 03:41 pm.

                demand

                A person can be pre-disposed to having an eating disorder but without having easy access to fast food joints won’t act on it. The same could be said for johns. Pedophilia aside, the issue is that access to prostitution is relatively easy in that area. The police should be making it harder to find prostitution not soliciting men with ads offering prostitution.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 01/06/2015 - 01:54 pm.

              Here’s the rub though

              “If the police were to reduce the pimps bringing girls to the area the amount of temptation and availability is reduced and crime reduced.”

              Here’s the rub though. It’s really up to men to stop treating women as objects, and to adjust their behavior away from the idea that they can purchase a woman’s body for period of time as if it were a commodity. The police respond to the activity, but it’s men who create the demand, and it’s men who offer the supply.

              • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 01/06/2015 - 03:45 pm.

                the rub

                I don’t disagree that they need to stop treating women as objects. It starts with the pimps and boyfriends of the women to stop doing that so that there are less women involved in prostitution. With less women access to prostitution declines and it becomes less socially acceptable and easy to solicit a prostitute. It’s the police response to the activity that is questionable since they are actively soliciting men to engage in an illegal activity rather than responding by cutting down the number of prostitutes and pimps.

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 01/06/2015 - 04:40 pm.

                  I disagree about where it starts.

                  It starts with you and me, and what we teach our children. Yes, we need to be incarcerating the people who make this industry run, but we also need to be raising generations of conscientious men and women who will speak against things like this, so that the demand itself is reduced. It’s not enough to blame pimps and prostitutes alone.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/06/2015 - 03:15 pm.

              Reducing the number of pimps

              How do you propose to do that? Arrest one, and another will take his place.

  3. Submitted by jody rooney on 01/05/2015 - 11:25 am.

    When I see the rude drivers

    particularly the ones that honk rudely I always assume they are from somewhere else because a Minnesotan would know better.

  4. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 01/05/2015 - 12:34 pm.

    Property Tax

    How come the GOP is talking about phasing out commercial property taxes? I thought they were for the little guy! You know–people like me who are working stiffs. Couldn’t we phase out or at least reduce residential property taxes? Aren’t the business owners rich enough as it is without further reducing their burdensome taxes?

    • Submitted by John Peschken on 01/05/2015 - 04:34 pm.

      Don’t worry

      It will “trickle down” to the rest of us, just like it has since the 80’s when this notion first became popular.

  5. Submitted by Brenda Kroeten on 01/05/2015 - 03:14 pm.

    Entrapment

    According to the Pioneer Press article published yesterday one of those “entrapped” was asking for a 13 year old. And then asked if a 10 year old could be procured and inquired about other details such as whether they would run. This from a man who went to the oil fields to make enough money so he could obtain custody of his five year old daughter…. “Entrapment” may have saved his daughter from horrors no child should ever experience.

    I know of no little girl who when asked what she wants to be when she grows up, says her dream is to be a sex worker. Regardless of money being exchanged for a “service” prostitution is NOT a victimless crime.

    • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 01/06/2015 - 09:17 am.

      entrapped

      Nobody said what he did was right and that he didn’t deserve to go to prison. Is it right for police to put an ad up soliciting johns? What makes the police exempt in their attempt to pad their stats? Why don’t they reduce the number of girls prostituting in the area or pimps rather than leading men into replying to ads.

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