The insurgency will have to wait. Bill Salisbury’s PiPress story says, “Minnesota’s 10 Democratic electors were required by state law to vote for Clinton and vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine because the Democratic ticket carried the state in the November election. … Minnesota’s vote was not without a hiccup. Muhammad Abdurrahman, the 5th Congressional District elector, cast a ballot for Bernie Sanders and was deemed a ‘faithless elector’ and disqualified. The alternate 5th District elector, Jill Garcia, replaced him and voted for Clinton. A handful of protesters in the Senate hearing room pleaded with electors not to vote. They cheered when Abdurrahman refused to vote for Clinton.”
Very directly related. Christopher Snowbeck in the Strib says, “Twice as many health insurance shoppers this year have turned to the state’s MNsure exchange compared to 2015, likely in response to skyrocketing premiums in the state’s individual market. State officials said Monday that more than 54,000 people purchased through the exchange by Thursday’s deadline for coverage that starts Jan. 1 … .”
Also in the PiPress, John Shipley walks readers through some of the legal fine points of the latest U of M athletics department scandal. “Players and the public have struggled not only with the disturbing nature of the incident but with subsequent decisions and discipline by law enforcement and the school. … The university, for instance, did not decide arbitrarily to investigate the alleged assault; it was bound to do so by Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in all schools receiving federal funding, and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization (2013).”
At Sports Illustrated, Andy Staples explains why that boycott thing was misguided. “There will come a time when a group of major college football players will sit out a game to take a stand. Fortunately, this was not that occasion. This wasn’t the stand to take to that extreme, and cooler heads prevailed. The suspended players faced expulsion or suspension from the university because some had been accused of taking part in a gang rape in September and some, while not directly accused, had been in the apartment where the incident took place while it took place. … At some point, a team will stare down its administration for a longer period of time and put all of this to the test. The television programmers that run college sports will face tough choices as long as the public believes the team’s cause is just. That wasn’t the case with Minnesota’s cause. Fortunately, the players realized this before they made an ugly situation much, much worse.”
There’s plenty more where this came from. U of M professor Keya Ganguly lets fly in a Strib commentary about the latest scandal. “This is enough. … The stakeholders of the university — every student and faculty member to the administration and the regents — have to be the ones to take back the program from those who think that they can act with impunity and intimidate everyone with the threats of bogus lawsuits and game boycotts. Eliminating an athletics program is possible; it was done at the University of California, San Diego (a highly reputed institution where the administration had the courage to say basta! to the degraded culture of Division 1 sports).” But professor, revenue sports are a ritual bonding experience for the community and the students.
Speaking of … here’s Strib columnist Chip Scoggins. “Seven months into his job, [Athletics Director Mark] Coyle faces a critical decision in assessing how to proceed with his top revenue-generating program. There are qualities about [football coach Tracy] Claeys that I admire and respect, but his program is in chaos right now and the anger coming from Gophers fans can’t be ignored. Anyone still believe that Claeys will receive a contract extension after the bowl game?”
Reporters don’t always get this kind of reaction to a story, or even a series of stories. Stribber Andy Mannix says, “New York-based Vera Institute for Justice announced Monday it has selected the Minnesota Department of Corrections to take part in its 21-month initiative, with the goal to work with prison administrators to find and help implement alternatives to long-term isolation — a practice that can take a severe mental health toll on prisoners — without sacrificing facility safety. … Earlier this month, the Star Tribune published a four-part series examining the state’s use of solitary confinement, which found more than 1,600 inmates spent six months or more in isolation over the past decade … .” Mannix wrote the series.
Deja vu is beginning to vu again already. Says Brian Edwards for the PiPress, “The Minnesota Legislature could be about to finally legalize Sunday liquor sales next year. Lawmakers have repeatedly voted against allowing liquor stores to sell on Sundays. But some legislative leaders say they’re reconsidering as another applies his political heft to try to secure passage for the popular but contested measure. ‘I think we are going to pass Sunday sales out of the House this year,’ said House Speaker Kurt Daudt, a Sunday sales supporter who suggested he’d placed other Sunday sales supporters on the important House Commerce Committee.”
Likewise, we have this from Elizabeth Dunbar at MPR. “This summer, environmental groups and DFL lawmakers were generally optimistic about getting back on track with the Minnesota’s climate change goals. In July, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith declared support for raising the state’s renewable energy standard from 25 to 50 percent. … Then came the Nov. 8 elections. … Now that Republicans control Minnesota’s Legislature, they’ll have to find common ground with DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on both budget and policy, and that could leave little room for progress on climate change.”
Today in protecting and serving. Nick Ferraro in the PiPress reports, “Amanda Barnes has good days and bad days. On the good days, she excels in her online college classes and spends quality time with her son. On the bad ones, she replays in her head the sexual comments and inappropriate touching that she says she endured from co-workers over a five year-span while employed by Apple Valley as a police records technician. … Barnes, who worked for the city for eight years before resigning May 16, said she was subjected to sexual harassment or unwanted sexual contact by current or former co-workers — including police officers — on and off city property.”
Why not? It hasn’t exactly been a pristine wilderness for 150 years. Josephine Marcotty of the Strib says, “The National Park Service has proposed transplanting up to 30 wolves to Isle Royale, a historic decision that concedes that extraordinary steps are needed to restore a healthy balance of predator and prey on the wilderness island in Lake Superior.”
You didn’t put the lawnmower away did you? MPR’s Paul Huttner says, “Christmas rain? Did I just type that out loud? File this under still too early to express high confidence, but sloppy slushy wet now looks more likely than white on Christmas Day. Monday’s Euro model now agree with NOAA’s GFS model, rain is a distinct possibility for Minnesota on Christmas Day. The Euro model output cranks out nearly an inch of heavy rain for MSP on Christmas Day.”