Huh? “Blasphemy” on “Prairie Home Companion”? The Strib’s Paul Walsh says, “A performance by singer Robbie Fulks that aired live on public radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion” included a line in one of his songs that prompted an apology from Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) ahead of Sunday’s re-broadcast of Garrison Keillor’s show. Country songwriter Robbie Fulks sang ‘Where I Fell’ about 50 minutes into the nationally broadcast show Saturday evening at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, and with it the blasphemy that ends with the syllable ‘damn.’” Strangely, MPR reports nothing on the matter.
More oversight for MNsure? Catharine Richert at MPR says, “After a troubled 16 months operating, [DFL Sen. Tony] Lourey wants more accountability. His bill would dissolve MNsure’s board, put a commissioner in charge and have it run like other executive branch departments. Lourey’s bill is one of a drawer full of early ideas at the Capitol to overhaul MNsure. … State Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, has a bill that would preserve MNsure’s current structure, but make some key changes, including allowing insurance executives to sit on the board. It’s a controversial idea. Those who helped create MNsure say having an industry executive on the board presents a conflict of interest.”
In Madison’s Capitol Times, Mike Ivey writes, “No hint yet of how Gov. Scott Walker plans to address a $700 million shortfall in the state transportation budget. In Minnesota, however, Gov. Mark Dayton is out with a proposal to add a new 6.5 percent wholesale gasoline tax and hike license plate renewal fees, along with separate sales tax in the Twin Cities aimed at boosting mass transit service. … Wisconsin is in a different situation, in part because it’s facing a $2.2 billion budget deficit rather than a $1 billion surplus and can’t simply transfer money over. Instead, the Department of Transportation came up with a plan to raise fees and taxes by more than $750 million over two years. The proposal – which has drawn the wrath of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle – includes tying part of the state gas tax to wholesale prices along with an extra 2.5 percent sales tax on all new vehicle purchases and a $50 annual charge for owners of electric or hybrid cars.”
As always, among the best. Says Tom Meersman of the Strib, “A new report shows that Minnesota is a major workhorse when it comes to farming. Crop and livestock producers in Minnesota’s Seventh Congressional District, comprising the western third of the state, sold just over $11 billion worth of agricultural products in 2012, making the district fourth in the nation among 435 districts. Farther south, producers in the state’s First District — which stretches along the Iowa border — ranked ninth in the nation in the same category.”
Just 1098 days to go. The WCCO-TV story says, “Three years from now, Minneapolis will be hosting what’s likely the biggest crowd it’s ever seen. The 2018 Super Bowl will be played at the new Vikings stadium. This year’s game is being played Sunday in a much warmer place: Arizona. But several of the people leading Minnesota’s Super Bowl Committee are there taking notes. … Meet Minneapolis staff, along with the Super Bowl committee, hopes to showcase that by introducing visitors to cross-country skiing and the winter carnival in St. Paul. The Minneapolis Convention Center will host an indoor NFL experience and the soon-to-be renovated Nicollet Mall will be Super Bowl central.” I hope the NFL has been consulted on the Mall redesign plans. Will there be sufficient VIP seating?
Facts to impress your friends. Jean Hopfensperger of the Strib says, “The Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman began scouring the Bible three years ago to do something that apparently had never been done: the cataloging of every word uttered by every woman in the more than 2,000-year-old holy book. … Three years ago, the group started their work building on several known Bible facts: 93 women speak in the Bible. 49 have names. About 1.1 million words are quoted throughout the book. They later discovered that about 14,000 of those words were spoken by women in the Bible — at least in the English translation of the New Revised Standard Version.” Hmm. Remind me, how many women worked on the biblical canon, back in the day?
Could you live on $1,000 a day? The Strib’s Pat Pheifer says, “There’s yet another way to get rich quick, thanks to the Minnesota State Lottery. Minnesota last week joined 13 other state lotteries in offering the Lucky for Life game. The game’s jackpot prize is $1,000 a day for life, paid out at $7,000 per week. That requires players to match five numbers from 1 to 48 and one Lucky Ball number from 1 to 18; the odds are 1 in 30,821,472. Winners who match the five numbers get $25,000 a year for life. Odds of that are 1 in 1,813,028. Other prizes range from $4 for matching only the Lucky Ball, to $5,000 for matching four numbers plus the Lucky Ball.”
There’s a deja vu quality about this one. The AP says, “Police say a Fargo man was drunk while operating a Zamboni Friday night at a high school hockey game. Clay Whittlesey of the Fargo Park District says spectators alerted officials at the South Sports Arena that the Zamboni operator, Steven James Anderson, 27, was driving into the boards and appeared impaired.” Oh yeah. This guy.
My, GQ likes the new Dylan album. Bill Prince writes, “Firstly, this is not, as was heralded by many on its announcement late last year, Bob Dylan’s ‘Sinatra album.’ True, all ten songs — laid down live with his five-piece band (and additional horns) in Capitol Records’ legendary Studio B — have been previously recorded by Frank (among many others), but there the relationship between the two must end. … This is indisputably the singer’s most memorable vocal performance in years: irreducibly ‘Dylan,’ yet freighted with an unexpected beauty that powerfully reinforces these tales of love, loss and sorrow — and refracted through some of the most tantalising melodies ever committed to manuscript.”