B. Todd Jones out at ATF

REUTERS/Jason Reed
B. Todd Jones, right, with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, is shown during a speech by the president at the White House in 2013.

B. Todd Jones, we hardly knew ye. After less than two years as the top official at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, B. Todd Jones — formerly U.S. Attorney for the Minnesota District — is resigning, effective March 31 the AP’s Alicia Caldwell reports. Jones was the first director of ATF to be actually approved by the Senate since 2006. “Jones was nominated to the post in the aftermath of the December 2012 mass shooting at a Connecticut where 26 people, including 20 children, were killed. The appointment was part of the Obama administration’s efforts to push for tougher gun control laws. Multiple bills failed in Congress, but Jones’ approval was considered a rare victory in the gun control debate.”

Shenanigans at the Legislature. Democrats were outraged after House Speaker Kurt Daudt adjourned the body for the weekend without observing lawmakers procedural call for a roll call vote, reports Ben Johnson in City Pages. “ ‘Are you kidding me?’ asked House Minority Leader Paul Thissen (D-Minneapolis), incredulous at Daudt’s blatant flaunting of procedure. ‘ARE YOU KIDDING ME MR. SPEAKER? THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS,’ he shouted.” There’s a video.

This is why you want to do more than a couple Google searches when making legal arguments. The Pioneer Press’ Rachel Stassen-Berger fact-checked a video made by a group seeking repeal of Minnesota’s ban on Sunday liquor sales that highlighted Minnesota’s most ridiculous laws. But as Stassen-Berger found out, the laws cited in the video weren’t, in fact, real laws. “Asked via email for any documentation of the laws the video alleged were on the books, the MN Consumers First Alliance, which put together the video, responded: ‘When we created the video, we searched the internet and found several links that reference these laws.’ ” Sounds legit.

There’s a vault containing thousands of unreleased Prince songs. The BBC’s Mobeen Azhar talks to former Prince sound engineers, band members, and others, about the existence of this great purple treasure chest. Composer Brent Fischer has worked with Prince since the 80s: “I think over 70% of the music we’ve worked on for Prince is yet to be released. There are lot of songs that were sent to us clearly with the idea that they would never be released. They were almost comical songs that he would work out with his horn players. There was lot of wild horn parts and experimentation with samples.

Minneapolis’ two-sailboat logo is safe, for now. The city had briefly considered updating the logo to a simpler, one-sailboat design created by city staff, but on Friday the city council blocked the move. The reason? MPR’s Curtis Gilbert tells us, “Members expressed concerns that moving to a single boat would create confusion.”

Further in City of Lakes news, Minneapolis is getting out of the petroleum business it was never in in the first place. “The City Council voted 11-2 on Friday to approve a resolution making it city policy to divest from fossil fuel companies,” the Southwest Journal’s Sarah McKenzie reports. She adds, “The City of Minneapolis doesn’t currently have any investments in fossil fuel companies, according to city finance staff.”

In other news…

Minneapolis/St. Paul could be a lot gayer. [NYT’s TheUpshot]

…but we have plenty of bartenders. [Huffington Post]

An effort is afoot to increase penalties against careless drivers who kill people in Minnesota [House Public Information Services]

Wanda Davis talks about returning to the stage and the studio 40 years after ‘Save Me’ ” [Local Current Blog]

Reefer madness in Sioux Falls [Argus Leader]

Presented without comment: The Timberwolves Signed A Guy Because He Was Nearby [Deadspin]

“Ex-NFL player [and former Viking] Darren Sharper charged with rape in Las Vegas” [AP]

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 03/20/2015 - 08:53 pm.

    Shenanigans?

    Sad to think that for the next few years these people who show no class will be making laws that affect me. I can’t get out of this state fast enough.

    • Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/21/2015 - 08:18 am.

      Decorum

      Unless you’re moving out of the country (and in most cases, even that won’t make much difference), it won’t help to go elsewhere. Every state has a legislature. Every legislature has members who are… um… more – or less – thoughtful and mature than other members, more – or less – convinced that God is on their side, etc. Human institutions are typically populated by flawed humans, some more flawed than others.

      • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 03/21/2015 - 05:04 pm.

        Moving ……

        to Idaho in the near future.

        The participants in the campfire scene of Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles probably showed more class than any of our state legislative sessions do.

        • Submitted by Hal Davis on 03/23/2015 - 12:41 pm.

          Have fun in Idaho

          Its legislature seems a bid lackadaisical, to judge by this editorial in the Idaho State Journal:

          Why does Idaho Legislature tackle priorities last?

          When Idaho’s lawmakers arrived in Boise in early January, we all heard that the two most pressing issues facing our state were education funding and shoring up the Gem State’s transportation budget.
          All the legislators from Southeast Idaho told us these were the No. 1 and 2 priorities. As the session sails into the last week of March we have to ask ourselves, “What happened?”
          What hasn’t happened is any solid plan to increase funding for public schools or teachers’ salaries. There also hasn’t been any working compromise on a way to bring in more revenue to fix Idaho’s roads and bridges….

          http://www.idahostatejournal.com/members/why-does-idaho-legislature-tackle-priorities-last/article_cdec4b04-d06c-11e4-ba27-ef5b470f121d.html

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 03/21/2015 - 09:19 am.

    Following Roberts Rules of Order

    It may seem silly when not examined carefully,…

    but the requirement that there be a motion to adjourn and a vote of the body to affirm that motion is an absolutely necessary part of the orderly functioning of any body using democratic principles to govern itself.

    Lacking that, the chair of the body can simply shut things down whenever he/she decides to do so,…

    say when they’re about to lose a vote on a subject about which they feel strongly, but can’t convince the rest of the body to agree with them.

    When the chair successfully claims the right to adjourn the body,…

    even for a weekend,…

    WITHOUT a vote of the body to affirm that vote, he or she claims for himself considerably more power than a any chair should have,…

    and sets a precedent that could far-too-easily allow a chair with a very small majority to run roughshod over an almost equal minority at some future date.

    These small details are vitally important to the functioning of a democratic body of ANY sort,…

    and the refusal to follow such basic rules speaks volumes about the willingness of those casting them aside to do so in the future,…

    in far more important situations,…

    if and when it suits their purposes,…

    (especially when those purposes run counter to the interests of the persons whose interests are represented by that democratic body).

    “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” [Luke 16:10]

  3. Submitted by richard owens on 03/21/2015 - 11:38 am.

    I watched some of the Thissen debate…

    The House Minority Leader was advocating for a 5% raise for the State’s nursing home workers, and finding some opposition from the Majority members.

    So he singled-out a few of them, and tried to ask a series of questions to show them their hypocrisy (feelings were hurt I think!)

    He asked individual members if thy had talked about “Wasteful Spending” while campaigning.

    Then he asked if they thought giving these workers a 5% raise was “wasteful.”

    Then he asked if they had submitted any legislation to actuall y address ANY specific “Wasteful Spending”.

    It was horrible! SO much embarrassment ensued that the GOP veterans needed to counter-attack the Thissen line of questioning with parliamentary objections, complaints and repeated calls to stop the Thissen questioning.

    It was close. If the Majority Leader hadn’t stepped in, more embarrassment was sure to have followed.

    Personally, I still wonder if the GOP has any real specific examples of “Wasteful Spending.”

    They sure want that cushion spent and spent quickly! If it isn’t returned to taxpayers they might have to do some legislating!

    Don’t worry, they won’t use it in time to plan road and bridge construction for 2016. By then the MN Republican Party will be even more in debt from the expensive ads Daudt didn’t want.

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