On the heightened security at the Mall of America after a video, purportedly released by a Somali militant group al-Shabaab, mentioned the mall by name: John Bacon and David Jackson of USA Today write, “[DHS] department spokeswoman Marsha Catron said in a statement, ‘We are not aware of any specific, credible plot against the Mall of America or any other domestic commercial shopping center.’ … Mall officials issued a statement saying they take any potential threat seriously. ‘Mall of America has implemented extra security precautions. Some may be noticeable to guests, and others won’t be,’ the statement said. ‘The safety and security of our guests, employees and tenants remains our top priority.’”
In the Strib, Paul Walsh says: “By midafternoon, drivers were jostling for spots in the parking ramp and the mall’s four levels were crowded with shoppers. Several store clerks said it seemed to be a typical Sunday. … From outside the mall Sunday, there was no overt sign of intensified security as visitors arrived. Mall spokeswoman Sarah Schmidt said that it unfolded just like any other weekend day at the destination popular with tourists and locals alike.”
This is reassuring. The AP tells us, “The federal government predicts that trains hauling crude oil or ethanol will derail an average of 10 times a year over the next two decades, causing more than $4 billion in damage and possibly killing hundreds of people if an accident happens in a densely populated part of the U.S. The projection comes from a previously unreported analysis by the Department of Transportation that reviewed the risks of moving vast quantities of both fuels across the nation and through major cities.”
This will be the hot topic at the cool kids’ table: In the Strib Loren Neslon writes, “An ugly, game-ending brawl that punctuated No. 1-seeded Eden Prairie’s 1-0 victory over No. 4 seed Benilde-St. Margaret’s in a Class 2A, Section 2 semifinal led to the disqualification of three top Eagles players from Wednesday’s section title game against No. 2 seed Minnetonka. Two nights after a similar game-ending melee between Bloomington Jefferson and Holy Angels in a Class 2A, Section 2 quarterfinal resulted in no penalties, much less game disqualifications, Eden Prairie learned first-line wing Marc Sullivan, second-line wing Riley Argetsinger and top-four defenseman Louie Roehl all must sit out Wednesday’s game against the Skippers because of their roles in the brawl. A combined 18 penalties were assessed to eight players (four on each team).”
What is this? A variety of nihilism? Brian Bakst of the AP says: “If a Minnesota state senator gets his wish, a faceless and nameless force would give political candidates extra reason to sweat at election time. They’d have to compete against ‘None of the Above,’ with the threat of a new election featuring all-new candidates if that option prevails. GOP Sen. Branden Petersen’s proposal is certainly a longshot, even by his own admission. But he’s hoping the bill he introduced last week at least stirs some serious talk and gives frustrated voters an idea to rally around.” Who will run the “NOTA” Super Pac?
Related? Frederick Melo of the PiPress says, “Three DFLers — Rebecca Noecker, Marit Brock and Darren Tobolt — are poised to face off for the Ward 2 seat on the St. Paul City Council in November. At the Ward 2 DFL convention, a four-way endorsement contest ended Sunday without a nomination for the city council seat after seven ballots. Candidate Louis Garcia conceded after the first ballot, having garnered six votes.”
Broken through. Randy Furst of the Strib says, “The legal profession has undergone a transformation in the past 65 years, and the advances of female lawyers will be celebrated in the lobby of the U.S. Courthouse in Minneapolis at 4:30 p.m. on Monday. Pioneers will be honored, and an exhibit will be on display for two weeks, highlighting the history of women in Minnesota law — and some of the barriers women faced. Organizers of the event say despite the breakthroughs, there is still a glass ceiling.”
Too good for Breitbart to ignore. Michael Patrick Leahy says, “The Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) is blasting the performance of Minnesota’s health exchange, MNsure, in a report that focuses on the disastrous launch of the exchange’s website, the poor performance of its former executive director and a faulty organizational structure. … The Congressional Budget Office used an economic modeling tool largely based on the proprietary [Jonathan] Gruber Microsimulation Model in preparing its cost estimates for Congress. Critics say that Gruber’s 2009 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services was apparently for the purpose of helping the Obama administration to write the bill in such a way so as to trick the Congressional Budget Office to give it a positive economic modeling review.” I’d say it’s time to introduce another bill to repeal Obamacare.
Federal highway money is running thin. The MPR story says, “Federal figures compiled by The Associated Press bear that out, showing the total amount of money available to all states from the Federal Highway Trust Fund has declined 3.5 percent during the five-year period ending in 2013, the latest year for which complete numbers were available. In Minnesota, the drop is even more severe on its face — 33 percent — but there’s much more to the story.”