Rep. Betty McCollum was the only member of Minnesota’s delegation in the House to vote against a Republican bill to put up new barriers to Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Says Allison Sherry in the Strib, “Senior White House officials whisked to Capitol Hill this morning ahead of the vote in attempts to assuage potential Democrat defectors —including Reps. Rick Nolan, Collin Peterson and Tim Walz — to no avail. In statements after the vote, Walz and Nolan say they felt it was more important to assure their constituents that safety was the biggest priority in screening incoming people into the United States.”
And while we’re at it, someone might want remind these folks that this stuff is being recorded. Pat Kessler’s WCCO-TV story on the Syrian immigrant hysteria says: “Minnesota’s top Republican lawmaker Thursday said Democratic Governor Mark Dayton should stop accepting Syrian refugees for resettlement in the state. House GOP Speaker Kurt Daudt says he wants assurances that the federal government has sufficiently investigated the backgrounds of Syrian refugees to make sure they do not have connections to terrorism. Earlier this week, he sent a letter to Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton asking him to halt resettlements. … The Minnesota Office of Resettlement reports the state accepted nine Syrian refugees since 1979, including seven in 2015 from one family.”
Another busy day in the Jamar Clark episode. Dave Chanen and Paul Walsh of the Strib say, “The head of the national NAACP said Thursday that a “criminal justice crisis” is bringing him to Minneapolis, where he will join with activists angered over the fatal police shooting of Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man who was wounded on the street late at night in an encounter with officers. Cornell William Brooks, president of one of the nation’s oldest and most influential black civil-rights organizations, will attend a rally and candlelight vigil at 4:30 p.m. Friday outside the Police Department’s precinct headquarters in north Minneapolis. …”
Before that, though, your spit take moment of the day. In the Strib, Michael Brodkorb reports: “The attorney for the mother of the two Lakeville sisters, who were found yesterday living at a ranch in western Minnesota after a two year search, is demanding her legal bills be paid, which total over $200,000. Michelle MacDonald is the attorney for Sandra Grazzini-Rucki, who was charged in August with three felony counts of deprivation of parental rights involving the disappearance of her two daughters, Samantha and Gianna Rucki in April 2013 … Public records filed in Dakota County show MacDonald has filed two attorney liens against her client Grazzini-Rucki for legal fees totaling $222,730.92, despite claiming in a recent hearing that she was providing ‘pro bono’ legal services to Grazzini-Rucki.”
Trending better. A Pioneer Press story says, “Homelessness is declining in Minnesota, according to the latest national estimates released Thursday. In Minnesota, a survey found 7,546 homeless statewide, a 9.9 percent decline from the year before, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s latest report on homelessness. The national figure fell 2 percent.”
Hot and randy in Newport. Scott Wente in the Grand Forks Herald writes, “A Newport patrol officer and a custodian were caught on surveillance video entering a city administrator’s locked office after hours, and separate surveillance footage shows another police officer having sex in a public works office, a report says. The details come just after a report of missing drugs, guns and other items from the department’s evidence storage locker. … The report includes information about video reportedly captured in Hansen’s office that shows another officer ‘having a sexual liaison’ while he was on duty. The report does not name the officer, but the city previously disclosed that officer David Crist was suspended for two days for ‘improper use of break time.’” Oh, so that’s what they call it.
Also in the realm of protecting and serving, KMSP-TV’s Jonathan Choe and Rachel Chazin report, “A Farmington City Council member is facing charges after impersonating a cop and driving with flashing red and blue lights on his vehicle in Apple Valley, Minn. A siren and PA box similar to ones found in police squad cars were also found on the car belonging to Jason Bartholomay, 41. … his defense attorney Hillary Parsons said this was all a misunderstanding. She said her client is a licensed psychotherapist and responds to suicidal patients and other emergencies all the time.”
In the wake of Donald Trump accusing Iowans — to their face — of being stupid for supporting Ben Carson, Philip Bump of The Washington Post slapped together a list of test score data and came up with this: “To create an intelligence score, we determined the percentage-point difference between a state’s score and the national median score. Then, since IQ seemed to be the most on-the-nose metric, we doubled that value and then added it all up. The results? Iowa is the eighth-smartest state, behind, in order: Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Kansas and Vermont. Donald Trump’s home state of New York came in 17th. The bottom five states were Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Nevada and, in the 50th spot, Hawaii.” You just know Wisconsin was peeking at our exam sheet.
Jim Hammerand’s Business Journal story says, “Sun Country Airlines is adding daily, year-round flights between Minneapolis and Denver starting May 2. One-way fares for the non-stop flights start at $94 when purchased by Dec. 10, the Mendota Heights-based carrier said. Sun Country Flight 655 will leave Minneapolis at 10:20 a.m. and arrive in Denver at 11:25 a.m. Sun Country Flight 656 will leave Denver at 12:15 p.m. and arrive in Minneapolis at 3:10 p.m.” Free peanuts, coffee and edibles on the return trip?
In the Strib Kristen Leigh-Painter says, “For years, Hubert’s Cafe & Sports Bar was the only restaurant choice near the Metrodome in Minneapolis, serving no-frills fare to a no-fuss crowd. Now, the restaurant is getting a modern makeover to match the sleek image of the angular U.S. Bank Stadium rising across the street. … [Erik] Forsberg currently owns and operates Devil’s Advocate on 10th Street S., which will soon close down as the building is slated for historic renovations. The new, yet-to-be-named restaurant will have a similar vibe, with quality food items, craft beer (including its own) and craft cocktails.” I believe the goal for downtown Minneapoilis in 2020 is to never walk more than five steps in any diurection without access to a craft cocktail.