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Minneapolis virtually guaranteed MLS expansion team

Plus: lawmakers consider lifting Minnesota’s silencer ban; Big Data drove Target layoffs; the new Tom Emmer; and more.

Break out the scarves. MPR’s Bob Collins noticed a report on the soccer website American Soccer Now that claims that Minneapolis “… is the frontrunner for one of two expansion teams. … In attaining ‘near lock’ status, Minneapolis has leapfrogged over Miami, American Soccer Now says.”

From Dennis Brackin in the Star Tribune, we learn that Major League Soccer favors the bid from the group led by Minnesota United owner and former United Health CEO Bill McGuire over the other bid by the Wilf family. That means that rather than playing in the new Vikings stadium, a potential Minneapolis soccer team is more likely to play in a new stadium built on the current site of the Minneapolis farmers market.

Those deer will never hear it coming. State Rep. Tony Cornish’s Public Safety and Crime Prevention committee held a hearing today on a proposal to lift Minnesota’s ban on gun silencers (suppressors). According to City Pages, ubiquitous gun-rights advocate Andrew Rothman had this to say about lifting the ban: “No there won’t be a rash of ninja-related shootings. There haven’t been in the 39 states where suppressors are legal and there won’t be here.”

Is Hillary Clinton the one thing standing between us and a Minnesotan president in 2017? The New York Times’ The Upshot speculates on what the race to be the democratic presidential nominee in 2016 would look like if the heavily favored Clinton were not running. Both Minnesota senators got a mention:

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Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, and Kirsten Gillibrand, of New York, both occupy ground near the center of the party. Either could make history as the first female nominee — and many Democratic voters seem eager to co-educate the presidency.

And might Al Franken, of Minnesota, be tempted to make a run? He wouldn’t be the first former entertainer.

Those laid-off Target employees may be the latest victims of Big Data. Says Tom Webb in the Pioneer Press, “The rise of computer algorithms, data analysis and Big Data are more and more displacing the corporate taste-makers that for years served large retailers. … What drew less notice Tuesday was Target’s announcement that, in a few key categories, it would be hiring workers: in digital, data and analytics, personalization and engineering.” I, for one, welcome our new algorithmic overlords.

Meet the new Tom Emmer. In the wake of the 6th District representative’s rebuke of his party’s tactics during the fight over Homeland Security funding earlier this month, the Star Tribune’s Allison Sherry catches up with a very different politician from “the man who for years made headlines for his conservative fire and edgy ideas.” The reason for the change? “ ‘Before, probably because of my training, being an advocate, before I had a different approach,’ Emmer said. ‘In a legislative forum, this environment, it’s more about winning people over and not running them over. … I think I had to learn that.’ ”

In other news…

“Near-Universal Enrollment In All-Day Kindergarten [WCCO]

“Twin Cities home prices post biggest gain in a year [Star Tribune]

For the love of God, clean up after your dog. [KSTP]

Finally, college athletes are getting the recognition they deserve. “University of Minnesota shows off Athletics Village complex design” [Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal]

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Rep. Erin Murphy for mayor of St. Paul? [MPR]

50 Beagles Rescued from Filthy Polk County Home” [KSTP]