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U of M faculty to vote on forming union

Plus: Delta may halt nonstop flights from MSP to Tokyo; four Minnesota hospitals among best places to have a baby; Board of Teaching appeals licensing decision; and more.

University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

This could be interesting. At the Star Tribune Maura Lerner reports, “For the first time in nearly 20 years, faculty members at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus are calling for an election to form a union. Organizers say they plan to file a formal petition Wednesday on behalf of some 2,500 full- and part-time instructors at the U’s largest campus. If the vote goes their way, this would become one of the largest faculty unions in the country, according to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is sponsoring the organizing effort.”

Beloved quasi-local formerly hometown airline, Delta, has a Tokyo problem. Says Kristen Leigh Painter in the Strib, “Minnesota’s only nonstop flight to Asia could end, a Delta Air Lines executive warned Tuesday … . The airline, which picked up the route along with a hub at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport in its 2009 acquisition of Northwest Airlines, says those operations could ‘quickly unravel’ if transportation authorities in the U.S. and Japanese governments approve an expansion of international routes at another Tokyo airport.” 

Four best hospitals to have a baby. Dave Aeikens at KSTP-TV says, “Four Minnesota hospitals are among the best places in the country to have a baby, according to The Women’s Choice Award. The group listed 431 hospitals that are the best in America for obstetrics. … The list includes Fairview Northland Hospital in Princeton, Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina. Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby and University of Minnesota Hospitals in Minneapolis.”

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What does Breitbart News think of Wilhelmina Wright’s ascension to the U.S. District Court? About what you’d imagine. Mike Flynn writes, “Wright is only 52 and has been mentioned as a possible future nominee for the Supreme Court. Set aside the question of whether Senate Republicans ought to be approving any Obama judicial nominations while the White House actively pushes the constitutional bounds of the President’s executive actions. The legal opinions of Wright ought to give even moderate Democrats pause, never mind conservative Republicans.”

Esquire is on the frozen pants story. Says Matt Miller, “In Minnesota — where one can safely assume that it’s cold as f*** all the time — folks are placing slightly damp pants outside, allowing them to freeze, and then standing them in their front yards. This is unsettling for a number of reasons. When you’re driving through icy winter conditions, you don’t want to be distracted by disembodied pants silently judging your commute. You don’t want to constantly be reminded that your neighbors are somewhere out there, possibly not wearing pants.  … We already get it: It’s cold outside. We don’t need these pants to once again point that out. Please stop with the creepy frozen ghost pants.”

The Strib has something to say about racial disparities. Mainly, they’re bad. “Racial disparities are not a small irritation for this state. They’re a prosperity-threatening disorder. Minnesota is now home to more than 1 million people of color. They comprise the fastest-growing segment of the state’s 5.5 million total population and an even faster growing share of the working-age population. If they don’t reach their full potential, the entire state will be poorer for it. If Minnesotans think like other Americans, their appetite for government action to close racial gaps is also growing. A Pew Center survey released in August found that 6 in 10 Americans say the country needs to make more changes to achieve racial equality.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m still coming down from the rush of the big Marco Rubio show yesterday. His home state paper, the Tampa Bay Times followed the frenzied action. Says Alex Leary, “With time running down, Rubio is veering sharply right, using tougher rhetoric and going hard at opponents from both sides of the GOP that Rubio hoped to bridge: Cruz and Chris Christie. Once dismissive of Trump, Rubio has adopted the businessman’s bleak view. … The Florida senator has begun to touch on fears of terrorism, touting his Christmas Eve purchase of a handgun as the last line of defense for his family against ISIS. In the last debate, Rubio declared, ‘I am convinced if this president could confiscate every gun, he would.’” It’s never too early, or too late, to play the “gun grabbin” card.

MPR’s Tim Nelson says, “Rubio told the Minneapolis crowd the Republican Party needed to attract voters beyond its base. ‘Our nominee must also be someone that can attract new people into our cause, and we will,’ he said. ‘That’s why we spend time talking about college loan debt and what students are facing and young Americans. Because we are going to win more young voters.’” Cool. Give the kids more talk about college loan debt.

The Board of Teaching is not pleased. In the Pioneer Press, Christopher Magan says, “The Minnesota Board of Teaching plans to appeal a judge’s order to immediately reinstate a teacher licensing system that allows candidates to prove their qualifications with a portfolio of their past work and training. The board said in a notice filed Jan. 12 with the state Court of Appeals that it also will challenge Ramsey County District Judge Shawn Bartsh’s decision not to dismiss the case entirely.”

A new committee is always good news. The Forum News Service says, “The Minnesota House has launched a new committee to look into affordable child care. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, announced the formation of the committee Tuesday. It will partner with providers and parents to help find solutions for more affordable child care choices for Minnesota families. Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, will lead the committee.” Oh, reeeeally?

This is a start. Says WCCO-TV, “A police officer accused of telling drivers to run over protesters, has resigned his position with the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police. … Until he resigned today, [Jeff] Rothecker was the 2nd Vice President of the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police.”