Thousands of rape kits in Minnesota never tested

This is appallingMary Jo Webster and Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib say, “More than 3,400 rape kits collected from victims were never tested and sit in law enforcement storage around Minnesota, with some kits dating to the early 1990s. The tally represents the first hard numbers for Minnesota in a continuing national scandal over the neglect of evidence that could put rapists behind bars. … The agencies offered numerous explanations why rape kit exams were done but never analyzed for DNA, Oliveira said. The reasons include: the kit adds no value to a case, the case was closed, a suspect confessed, a criminal complaint was never filed, prosecutors declined the case, investigation revealed the sex was consensual and the victim either refused to participate or filed a false report.”

If only delegates were corn kernels. Patrick Condon of the Strib says, “Go to the State Fair and you’ll quickly understand why [Donald] Trump has for weeks now inhabited the front-runner spot over more than a dozen GOP governors, senators and other party veterans vying for the nomination. Interviews with visitors to the GOP booth turned up support for Trump that spans political and demographic divides. Most Trump fans cited reasons that had little to do with his bold pronouncements on issues like immigration and trade policy, and more to do with his confrontational style and TV-minted fame. … While nowhere close to scientific, visitors who fill out a survey or buy Republican-branded merchandise at the booth are being given a small cup of corn kernels. They can then distribute the kernels among 17 beer growlers — one for each candidate. By midweek, Trump was sitting on a healthy lead. The other two non-politicians in the race, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina were second and third.”

Can you dance for three days? The Current’s Jay Gabler says, “To celebrate the Monday release of his new album HITNRUN, Prince has announced a ‘three-day international dance party’ to be held at Paisley Park this coming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday—September 4-6. The party is billed as ‘presented by Tidal,’ the streaming service where the album will exclusively premiere. On each of the three nights, the doors of the Chanhassen music mecca will open at 9:30; for a cover charge of $40, attendees will enjoy ‘food & beverage’ (hopefully pancakes), ‘live music’ (hopefully Prince), tunes spun by the aptly-named DJ Kiss, and ‘advance listening’ – presumably to the new album, which debuts Monday exclusively on Tidal.” 

The Glean

Yeah, clearly there’s no pressing need. Mary Lynn Smith of the Strib reports, “A Minnesota medical marijuana manufacturer will delay opening additional dispensaries until spring in hopes that patient numbers will grow. Minnesota Medical Solutions, which opened dispensaries in Rochester and Minneapolis in July, had planned to open one in Moorhead and another in Eden Prairie this fall, according to CEO, Dr. Kyle Kingsley. ‘The patient numbers just don’t justify immediately opening these satellite locations’, he said.” Is it just me or is there an e-pulltab quality to this business?

If he keeps this up we’ll name a stadium after him. Fox Sports North says, “Even after the month ended, Miguel Sano’s hot August continued. On Wednesday, the Minnesota Twins third baseman/designated hitter was named the American League Rookie of the Month. He led all rookies in runs scored, home runs, RBI and walks in August. Sano hit .278 with seven doubles, nine home runs, 18 runs scored and 26 RBI over 27 games.” He homered last night, too.

How long does it take him to recover from the heat? Nancy Ngo of the PiPress writes, “Happy 30th anniversary to Corn Roast, the stand serving sweet corn doused in butter at the Minnesota State Fair. We chatted with owner Brad Ribar, 59, about how his kernel of an idea turned him into the State Fair’s corn king. … How has Corn Roast evolved since it first opened in 1985? It took me five years to get into the Fair. They questioned whether people would eat sweet corn at the Fair because it was so plentiful this time of the year. And they worried about corncobs littering the ground. Fairgoers’ acceptance has really evolved over the years, too. What makes our corn different from what you make at home is it has a richer, deeper flavor. We roast it and it starts to turn brown and caramelize. When we started, we served cobs with burned kernels on purpose and people would ask for a different one. Now, they ask for corn that is caramelized. It was a completely new idea for this area at the time. We sell about 200,000 ears of corn and go through 400 pounds of butter each year at the Fair.”

Not the kind of guy you want swinging a machete. Mike Longaecker of the Grand Forks Herald says, “When a woman arrived at Baldwin Area Medical Center with a deep cut in her arm, the suspect, her husband, couldn’t explain the source of the injury. But he knew it happened while he was holding an axe, a machete and a rifle, according to court documents. … According to a criminal complaint, Lagrander took the woman’s child camping on Aug. 14 near 50th Avenue and 315th Street in the town of Cady, WI. The woman said phone calls and texts throughout the day from the 31-year-old suggested he had been drinking — an activity from which he was prohibited, as part of probationary terms of a 2013 DWI conviction in Minnesota. Concerned about the behavior, the woman drove to the campsite, where she allegedly found Lagrander drunk with empty beer cans in the area … .” And then it got worse.

Also at City Pages, Cory Zurowski enjoys several bites of John Kline-on-a-stick. “As Rep. John Kline, Minnesota’s Most Reprehensible Congressman (TM), spends time campaigning at the great annual get-together, millions of working stiffs hump at single digit wages or as independent contractors without the protections traditionally afforded in the boss/grunt accord. That Uber driver who picked you up in Dinkytown doesn’t work for the parent company. He’s a contractor. The nice crew at the McDonald’s drive-thru in Bloomington aren’t employed by the Hamburglar. They’re often on the payroll of a local franchise owner. … After the ruling was announced, Kline said in a statement that Republicans ‘will work to roll back this flawed decision,’ essentially arguing that empowering more workers will somehow lead to the ruin of American capitalism. ‘The [National Labor Relations Board] has set a dangerous precedent that will lead to higher costs for consumers and fewer jobs for workers,’ said Kline.”

Is he still running? In the Strib, Michael Brodkorb writes, “New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will visit Minnesota next week to raise money for his presidential campaign. Christie will attend a fundraiser on Thursday, September 10, at the Minikahda Club, said businessman Scott Honour, who is co-hosting the event with Wheelock Whitney and Bonnie Speer McGrath.” Right. But who is in charge of the traffic up and down Excelsior Blvd?

Been wondering what GOP operative Andy Parrish is up to these days? His by-line is on a Planned Parenthood story at “Somebody in the abortion industry is breaking a Minnesota law that bans the sale or donation of aborted babies’ body parts. That’s the conclusion of numerous elected officials, who are renewing calls to investigate Planned Parenthood in the wake of undercover videos about the harvesting and sale of fetal organs and tissue. Dozens of Republican state legislators asked Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to investigate the abortion provider after the Center for Medical Progress released videos detailing the little-known practice.” I like authoritative sound of “numerous elected officials.” Elected to what? County commissioner in Koochiching County?

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/03/2015 - 07:47 am.

    Medical marijuana =/= e-pulltabs

    The low enrollment rates were almost designed into this whole system rather than being a case of the overblown optimism that surrounded the whole e-tab fiasco.

    To begin with, the low numbers were almost guaranteed with such a short list of qualifying conditions.

    To complicate things even more, doctors of patients who DO have qualifying conditions are not required to agree to participate and many decline due to fears of liability given the grey areas of legality around the whole subject.

    And since the patients have to have “an established relationship” (or whatever the wording is) with the doctor who prescribes it, even patients with qualifying conditions can’t go shopping around to find a doctor who will prescribe – at least, not in the short term.

    And finally, it’s EXPENSIVE. And not covered by insurance. So that’s going to cut back even more on who can participate.

    I fully expect that pretty soon some politician (almost certainly a Republican) is going to declare the entire experiment a “failure” and introduce legislation to repeal the whole thing. Hopefully they won’t succeed and we will instead continue to expand the program until it is reasonably available to a reasonable number of people under reasonable conditions.

  2. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 09/03/2015 - 10:53 am.

    Medical marijuana is getting a bit far ahead of the science– and in large part that’s because the science is stifled by how it is currently regulated. But the solution isn’t to create a special case for this substance, where it can be used with far less evidence than any FDA licensed drug– it is to change the regulatory status such that the science can be done. Which conditions do show a benefit from marijuana? What harms occur? What is the most effective route (oil, smoke, edible products, patch, etc)? What is the dose? Does it vary for different conditions? As a physician, I want to know these things before I prescribe a product– no matter if it’s a pill from pfizer, or a plant grown at a greenhouse. Medicine is littered with treatments that people swore by, that later proved to have no benefit, or even do harm (stem cell treatments for breast cancer, knee arthroscopy for osteoarthritis with meniscal tear, etc).

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 09/03/2015 - 12:31 pm.

      That’s a good point

      In the best of all possible worlds, we’d be basing decisions about this substance on sound scientific practice. But that’s kind of hard when the scientists are dealing with the possibility of going to jail for working with the substance in question and are therefore quite understandably hesitant to do the work.

      Certainly the situation as it stands is far from optimal, but with the momentum towards legalization growing across the country, trying to go the route of a return to full prohibition is probably pretty unlikely.

      The tough stance on marijuana – even for research – was one of the things that disappointed me about Obama’s administration early on. But perhaps – just as happened with gay marriage – his views are “evolving”. There are signs that that’s happening, and he’s not out of office yet!

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