Gentlemen, there’s no fighting, this is the NFL! CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora writes, “The decaying relationship between Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson and the organization took a dramatic turn during the combine last week in downtown Indianapolis: Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, had to be separated from a member of Minnesota’s front office during a heated verbal altercation about the former Pro Bowler, according to numerous sources with knowledge of the situation. According to the sources, Dogra engaged in a heated exchange with Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski during which the agent made it clear that Peterson would never play there again.” So trade him to the Cowboys, already.
In the Strib Pat Reusse writes about his dust-up with Brzezinski, 14 years ago. “I’m not surprised that Rob Brzezinski, the Vikings’ chief negotiator, got into it with Adrian Peterson’s agent at an Indianapolis restaurant last Friday. Brzezinski can get a little riled up when things aren’t going his way. That’s based on a run-in that Brzezinski and I had on Jan. 14, 2001, during the afternoon’s football entertainment at Giants Stadium. … During a timeout, I crossed paths with Brzezinski and he expressed his unhappiness with my participation in the guffaws aimed at the Vikings. He laid a few choice words on me, and I said something such as, ‘You should be mad at your team, not us,’ meaning the Twin Cities sports writers. And then we told one another to perform an anatomically difficult act and went back to our seats.” Difficult, but not impossible.
Restaurant owners showing their muscle at the state Legislature. Ricardo Lopez of the Strib says, “After pointed testimony by restaurant operators and servers, a House committee on Monday approved a bipartisan measure, 10-6, that would allow employers to pay tipped workers a lower base wage, an effort unlikely to gain much traction in the DFL-led Senate. Sponsored by Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo of Farmington, the bill is an effort to revise the minimum-wage law passed last year by a DFL-controlled Legislature. Crafted and supported by the Minnesota Restaurant Association, Garofalo’s bill would cap the minimum wage for tipped employees at $8 an hour. The proposed pay change would apply only if those workers earned a total of at least $12 an hour in a two-week pay period, after factoring in tips.”
You try running a dairy operation and see how you like it. At AgWeb.com Jim Dickrell writes, “Dairy farm numbers have dropped 75 percent to just 3,500 herds. Cow numbers have dropped 30 percent. The result: The state has not maintained market share, dropping from the nation’s 6th largest milk producer to 8th. And while Wisconsin and Iowa have increased milk production 16 percent since 1992, Minnesota has declined more than 7 percent. Minnesota’s milk per cow is also 10 percent below neighboring states, and 20 percent below Michigan (which has grown its milk output 77 percent since 1992). There’s a whole host of reasons Minnesota has lagged behind. It’s far easier to grow corn and soybeans (and spend winters in Texas) than milk cows. Hogs, broilers and turkeys are also far less labor and capital intensive.” Try taking the weekend off to go fishing.
Legislators listening to gun-grabbers. Susie Jones at WCCO-AM says, “At a rally Monday, members of ‘Protect Minnesota’ talked about the need for a uniform background check on all gun sales. ‘The message from today is that every life matters, and that every life we can save from gun death is an important life to save,” group spokeswoman Heather Martens said.
UMD’s mess with the firing of hockey coach Shannon Miller isn’t what you’d call “clearing up.” The AP says, “Democratic state senators are pressing for more answers on why the coach of Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey team is being let go. Shannon Miller has coached UMD to five NCAA national championships but the university isn’t renewing her contract after this season. School officials have cited a $4.5 million budget deficit as a primary reason. Miller’s $215,000 salary makes her the highest-paid coach in women’s hockey. Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport, and other Democratic senators sent a letter to university officials last week. They point out Miller’s salary is $20,000 lower than the school’s men’s hockey coach.” What do they pay their top Humanities professor?
The Strib’s story on the terrible mistreatment and death of little Eric Dean has legislation moving at the Capitol. Don Davis of the Forum News Service says, “On a 130-0 Monday vote, the House approved legislation that would put into law the provision that a child’s health and safety are paramount concerns when making child protection decisions. It also reverses a law passed last year that bars consideration of some child abuse reports. Current law puts emphasis on keeping a child in his or her family, often with health and safety concerns secondary.”
Our friend Scott Walker continues to capture headlines as he prepares for his White House run. Over the weekend he was interviewed and asked whether he believes Obama is a Christian (insert eye-roll). He said he didn’t know, launched into a rip on the media and then had his staff clean things up for him. In the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza writes, “Here’s the thing: If you are going to take a stand on principle against questions from members of the media you don’t like, then stand on principle. That’s not what Walker did. … So, Walker took a ‘principled’ stand. Then, realizing that said principled stand was going to create a bunch of unnecessary controversy, the Walker campaign-in-waiting moved in to clean up the spill. Why, you might be tempted to ask, did Walker not simply say what his campaign eventually did?”
In the Christian Science Monitor Husna Haq says, “While some conservatives say that Walker was simply refusing to engage in ‘gotcha’ questions from a press fishing for controversy, others in the Republican Party appear concerned that, in a field in which handling tough questions with aplomb is part of the job description, Walker flat out failed. Walker has branded himself as a man with ‘big, bold ideas and the courage to act on it.’ Problem is, a refusal to engage on questions about the President might cast doubt on the ‘big,’ the ‘bold,’ and the ‘courage.’”
Meanwhile, back in Wisconsin, Hunter Walker of Business Insider reports, “In the Walker campaign’s fundraising email, they described the negative press as evidence of liberal media bias. ‘When you have a record like President Obama and the Democrats’, the last thing you want to talk about are results. That is why their defenders in the mainstream media love to distract the public,’ the email said. The email went on to argue donating to Walker would send the media a message. ‘Your support will show the clueless and mindless journalistic herd that you know what matters most and that it is not the pointless minutiae that they are pushing,’ the email said.” It sounds as though Michele Bachmann lost her playbook somewhere south of the Dells.
The libretto will of course include, “Hair of the dog that bit me, Lloyd!” At City Pages, Jessica Armbruster tells us, “Violent deaths. Evil ghosts. Men in rabbit masks. Madness. These are all things that one could expect to see at the opera, right? This weekend, the Minnesota Opera announced its 2015-16 season. One of the more interesting offerings is the world premiere of The Shining, an operatic treatment of Stephen King’s horrifying tale of the Overlook Hotel. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec, who is making his company debut, will be turning the best-selling novel into an opera. Playing the iconic role of Jack Torrance will be baritone Brian Mulligan, last seen locally in Hamlet. Soprano Kelly Kaduce will play his terrified wife, Wendy.”