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Minnesota is dead last in white/minority financial gulf, ranking says

Plus: Ventura takes to airwaves on ‘American Sniper’; Fitch gets life in prison; suburban drama ends in death at Jordan house; and more.

We’re #51! And it’s really nothing to brag about. At City Pages, Ben Johnson picks up on (yet another) survey and writes, “It seems like once a month a new study or list will come out ranking Minnesota as a great place to live, in one form or another. Minneapolis has the best parks, St. Paul is the most romantic, Duluth is the best outdoors town, Minnesota is the best overall state, etc. Those lists aren’t wrong. Minnesota has great parks and outdoor scenery, low crime and cost of living, and a solid, diversified economy. But things aren’t great for everybody. A new study by WalletHub, a personal finance site that does a ton of these types of state-by-state analyses, found that in Minnesota the financial gap between whites and minorities is the biggest in the nation. The study used data from the US Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to measure each state’s (and District of Columbia’s) gap between whites and minorities in four main categories: median income (4th highest), home ownership (3rd), poverty rate (3rd) and education level (14th). Taken altogether Minnesota’s composite score put us dead last.”

Jesse isn’t letting up on “American Sniper.” In his latest broadside he calls in to a Fox radio show to give ’em another piece of his mind. This via the Inquisitor site: “Ventura also compared America’s foreign policy with Nazism and Communism during the phone interview with [Alan] Colmes. ‘A hero should have honor. A hero is not how many people you’ve killed. You know he’s obviously a great sniper. He’s obviously a great shot. He obviously did his job correctly. Alan let me fire this one at you: Do you think the Nazis have heroes? ‘[…] When they invaded a country, when they invaded Poland, when they invaded France, and if a Nazi soldier killed a hundred people that had lived there, would he be classified a hero in Germany?’ ” When asked by Mr. Colmes about whether he thought America was really like Nazism, Ventura dug in his heels and answered in the affirmative. ‘Well, and the Communists, yeah. We behave the same way now. I said this before, I said, ‘That’s how George Bush killed my American dream.’ I never believed that my country would line our military up at the border of another sovereign nation, invade that country, overthrow its government, occupy them without being asked. We invaded, and all on lies.’ ” Well, all right then.

Another native son is getting some attention. At, Stephen Silver writes, “A [Bob “Better Call Saul] Odenkirk adaptation of [New York Times media comunist David Carr’s] ‘Night of the Gun’? Sign me up for that one for sure. The Night of the Gun, published in 2008, is an incredible book – it’s a memoir by Carr, the highly respected New York Times media reporter, in which he looked back on his days as a young drug addict in Minneapolis, and went back and re-reported all of the stories. It’s incredibly searing and vivid, and while making it cinematic would be a challenge, I’d love to see a daring director try. The note indicates that, since Odenkirk is only ‘considering’ adapting the book and just now starting to read it, the project is quite a ways from fruition. But if Odenkirk pursues this, one request: It’s the druggy ’80s and ’90s in Minneapolis. Use lots of Replacements songs.”

Swift justice. Matt McKinney of the Strib says, “Brian G. Fitch Sr. was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Wednesday in Hastings. Fitch was found guilty Monday of the first-degree murder of Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick … . Fitch, his hands bound and wearing a gray sweatshirt, proclaimed his innocence. About 150 people, many in uniform, were in the standing room only courtroom. … Fitch was sentenced to 216 months for each of the three attempted murder charges.”

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The Glean

Also departed, that guy who caused such a scene yesterday. Paul Walsh and Kelly Smith of the Strib say, “A police shootout and daylong manhunt Tuesday from the western Twin Cities suburbs south to Jordan kept heavily armed SWAT teams on the move, frightened hundreds of grocery shoppers and ended in the middle of the night with the suspect’s apparent suicide. The drama played on for many hours as officers from multiple law enforcement jurisdictions and SWAT teams surrounded a house in Jordan where 41-year-old David M. Winters was hiding. Early Wednesday, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office said authorities found him dead inside at 1:15 a.m.”

Good and not so good. MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar writes, “As rains have gotten heavier, Minnesota farmers in recent years have been expanding a 150-year-old drainage system, pulling billions of gallons more water off soggy land and letting the state’s corn and soybean fields thrive. They have laid thousands of additional miles of water-absorbing plastic tubes underneath their fields and, as a result, they have pushed upward the number of bushels per acre of the crops that dominate Minnesota’s agricultural landscape. … More intense drainage practices are a case in point, because while the popular approach makes crops and soil more resilient in a changed climate, all that extra water draining from fields can cause problems downstream.”

It’d be nice if they got tougher on this stuff. Says Dave Chanen for the Strib, “The man who supplied guns to a friend who later shot two New Hope police officers was charged by the U.S. attorney’s office Wednesday with making false statements on his background form. Michael Garant, 42, of Golden Valley, picked up three guns at a Princeton gun shop for Ray Kmetz, who later shot two officers after a swearing in ceremony at the City Council chambers last month, the charges say.”

Sorry, Gov, the public is OK with that “idiotic” Wisconsin ad. The Strib is asking: “Question Poll: Do you agree with Gov. Dayton that Wisconsin’s tourism ad is ‘idiotic’? Related content: Dayton critiques Wisconsin ads.

  • Yes, the ‘Airplane’ ad is idiotic
  • It’s neither good, nor bad

  • I like the ad.”

And the latter has a narrow lead.

MPR’s Martin Moylan tries to explain the likely impact of mediation over the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis’ myriad sex abuse scandals. “How do insurers fit into the picture? Insurance coverage is always a major factor in church bankruptcies. Carriers claim church officials voided their dioceses’ policies when they turned a blind eye toward clergy sexual abuse. In mediation, though, the Twin Cities archdiocese and its insurers might determine that it’s better to compromise than fight it out in court, [Ford Elsaesser, the Helena diocese’s bankruptcy attorney] said. An insurer could determine it has no legal obligation to provide coverage, but might decide to contribute money to a settlement, rather than spend money fighting a claim. The archdiocese, for its part, could decide to settle for less insurance money than it figures it is owed, rather than risk getting little or nothing in court.”

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Finally thanks to tipster Jay for this one, from your friendly MnPASS folks. On their site they’re telling drivers looking to buy in, “Due to a shortage of toll reading equipment, we cannot accept new MnPASS customers between Feb. 4 and late March/ April 2015. Existing MnPASS customers, please call the MnPASS Customer Service Center at 1-866-397-4334 to manage your account during this time. We apologize for the inconvenience.”


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