GOP’s crackdown on protestors draws noisy opposition

MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Minnesota State Capitol

Well, most of the legislative agenda is written elsewhere, isn’t it? Says Randy Furst in the Strib, “A confrontation between protesters and legislators in St. Paul on Tuesday underscored the nation’s deepening political divide in which lawmakers in at least eight states are considering crack downs on demonstrations. Chants and shouting erupted after a House committee voted to pass a GOP-led measure that could make protesters financially liable if police must intervene. Minnesota is joining a growing number of states looking to discourage large, disruptive protests. Measures aimed at toughening laws against demonstrators have been introduced in North Dakota, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, Colorado, Virginia and Washington state … .”

And here’s another example. The AP writes, “A national battle over education made its way to the Minnesota Capitol on Tuesday, as lawmakers considered a measure to extend an education tax credit to cover private school tuition payments. The proposal would allow parents to include private school tuition payments when calculating an educational expenses tax credit. Supporters, including bill author Rep. Ron Kresha said it would give parents more options for educating their children. Opponents, including teachers union Education Minnesota, say it would sap resources from public schools.”

The Strib thinks a “public option” for Minnesota is worth consideration. “[Republicans] seem particularly resistant to Dayton’s proposal to turn MinnesotaCare into a full-blown ‘public option’ that can compete with the not-for-profit health insurance plans currently on offer at the MNsure exchange. Dayton’s proposal was denigrated by Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, as ‘doubling-down on government plans that will lead to fewer providers and scarcer care’. That’s one view of the possible consequences of a MinnesotaCare expansion, but it’s not the only one. Others see lower costs for consumers, increased competition and the assurance of at least one individual health insurance option in every corner of the state — something not guaranteed today.”

For Wired, Brendan Koerner digs into Minnesota’s ISIS recruitment problems. “Like most high school seniors, Abdullahi Yusuf tried to avoid hugging his father in view of other teens. But on the morning of May 28, 2014, as he was being dropped off in front of Heritage Academy in southeast Minneapolis, the rail-thin 18-year-old, who went by the nickname Bones, startled his dad with a tender good-bye embrace. Unbeknownst to his father, Yusuf believed he’d never see any member of his family again.”

Let’s just not get too far out in front of our skates, ok? Fox Sports gushes, “The North Stars might still be remembered fondly by some in the State of Hockey, but the Minnesota Wild are well on their way to overtaking the Stanley Cup-contending North Stars teams of the early ’80s as Minnesota’s most successful pro hockey team. With just over half the season in the books the Wild are 30-11-5, beating the 1980-81 North Stars for the best record through 46 games in the state’s NHL history.”

Remember all those pythons in the Everglades? Bill Hudson at WCCO-TV reports, “At Aquatropics in Crystal, tanks are filled with a colorful array of aquatic life: fish, frogs and plants. Owner Kevin McMenamy says his store has a simple policy: If you ever get tired of any fish or aquatic plant, they’ll gladly take it back. ‘If you have fish that you no longer want to care for, bring them in here,’ McMenamy said. ‘We’ll take them off your hands no problem at all.’ That is because exotic creatures end up too often in Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. There are many examples of local ponds infested with goldfish. Just as concerning are the many marshlands and lakes where invasive plants choke out native vegetation.”

Sadly, this doesn’t surprise me. Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib writes, “A comprehensive new study finds the majestic [Mississippi] river under growing threats from changes in the landscape of central Minnesota and warns that growing levels of nitrates, primarily from fertilizer, threaten its safety for drinking. The two-year study, released Wednesday by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is the first comprehensive look at the health of the upper Mississippi, the entire 510-mile stretch from Lake Itasca to the Twin Cities and its surrounding landscape. As a result of new measurements, 274 more miles of the river will be added the state’s ‘impaired waters’ list, bodies of water that fail to meet at least one water quality standard.”

Not a lot of surprise here, either. Stribber Brandon Stahl says, “A Burnsville police officer testified Tuesday that he exchanged racist texts with Allen ‘Lance’ Scarsella, the man standing trial on felony assault and riot charges in the shooting of five Black Lives Matter protesters. Brett Levin said he was friends with Scarsella since high school and the two stayed connected after Levin joined the Mankato Police Department. In 2015, Levin said Scarsella frequently sent him ‘racially charged’ text messages, and that the texts were ‘negative about black people.’ When asked if he replied with similar texts, Levin replied, ‘Yes I have.’ ‘How we were talking was more along the lines of locker room talk,’ he said.” I know a few locker rooms he wouldn’t walk out of with an attitude like that.

Meanwhile, Brandt Williams at MPR reports, “A judge on Tuesday sentenced former Minneapolis police officer Jordan Davis to two years in prison for his role in defrauding Community Action of Minneapolis, a nonprofit once run by his father, Bill Davis, who’d earlier been convicted of fraud. Jordan Davis had managed a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop in Minneapolis funded by the nonprofit from 2002 to 2006. Prosecutors said he left after that to become a Minneapolis police officer but still received payments from the nonprofit totaling $140,000 over four years for what was a ‘no-show’ job at the ice cream shop.”

Competition. It’s supposed to be good for all involved. Alex Van Abbema of the Strib says, “US Internet will expand its optical fiber network in southwest Minneapolis this year, after overcoming an obstacle from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Over the last three years, the Minnetonka-based company has placed fiber under streets in much of the southern half of the city. But its entry into the southwest corner, particularly the Fulton and Linden Hills neighborhoods, was slowed when the Park Board last spring denied its initial application to take fiber through parkland and under Minnehaha Creek.”

Maybe he was just trying to open his students’ eyes to some alternative facts. Josh Verges of the PiPress says, “A St. Paul high school teacher was docked 15 days’ pay for what a supervisor called ‘extremely poor professional judgment’ in using his math class to discuss Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and his personal views on abortion, gay marriage and the Black Lives Matter protest movement. Bruce Ringaman, a 50-year-old Como Park Senior High teacher, was placed on administrative leave Nov. 15 while the school district investigated a complaint against him. He’s been reassigned as a substitute teacher for the rest of the school year … . [he] had his second-period class make a list of bad things about Trump and Clinton on the class white board, telling students that, in [assistant superintendent Theresa Battle’s] words, ‘if they need help thinking of bad things for Clinton, (he) could help them’. He said he voted for Trump and that Clinton and former president Bill Clinton were worse than Trump. He told an investigator that his intended message to students was that, in his words, ‘Given the crap choice, in my opinion, you have to vote for one.’ He further acknowledged that, in Battle’s words, he ‘lectured to the students on these topics and did not encourage discussion or dialogue.’

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Pat Brady on 01/25/2017 - 06:32 am.

    Are alternative facts the same as alternative numbers?

    Math teacher holds a political discussion, instead of teaching math!
    What is wrong with this picture… everything.
    BTW, my grandchildren go to Como Park High School.
    I will ask them about this teacher and his ability to teach math.

  2. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 01/25/2017 - 06:53 am.

    Civil liberties and the right of dissent,,,

    It happens so slowly or is it happening so quickly many may not believe what is happening?

    There is a small out-of-print book written by Hermann Glaser, “The Cultural Roots of National Socialism”…well worth the reading as we watch the madness of Trump choreograph the demise of our blessed democracy?

    How long will we wait to realize what is happening as Trump builds a wall to keep others out and other walls to keep the people in as docile followers?

    Razor wire may be a good investment in the market place these sad days if you are an investor in the future under the growing tyranny…speak up please…

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/25/2017 - 07:32 am.

    Maybe Teachers Such as Mr. Ringman

    are the reason why our Republican “friends” in the legislature,…

    when confronted with what amounts to nothing more than a complex math problem,…

    such as helping those whom the A.C.A is leaving with very high insurance premiums for the foreseeable future,…

    a complex math problem well solved by Gov. Dayton’s “single payer” proposal,…

    IMMEDIATELY switch from doing math to spouting ideology,…

    as if their ideology somehow cancels out the reality of mathematics.

    I’d invite my Republican friends to lay down their ideology,…

    which seems to completely “Trump” their connection with reality,…

    and move them into “magical thinking,”…

    and see if they can find their way BACK,…

    to the ACTUAL reality lived in by those with a better grasp of facts, evidence, logic, and math.

    Everything just works better, here,…

    and makes FAR BETTER sense:

    problems get examined,…

    solutions are devised based on evidence and logic,…

    problems get solved,…

    previous solutions get tweaked to work better as needed.

    The citizens of the State of Minnesota need you here,…

    with us,…

    firmly grounded in reality,…

    NOT doing as you’ve been doing for the past thirty-plus years,…

    pretending that actual reality can be forced to match your ideology,…

    if you just FORCE everyone (not in the top 1%) to behave as you think they should.

    When it comes to the way things actually work,…

    and humans ACTUALLY (and quite predictably) react,…

    you have a nasty habit of trying to force a square pegs into round holes,…

    and blaming everyone but yourselves when that doesn’t work,…

    as it clearly NEVER will.

    Minnesota does not WANT to be Kansas.

    (Kansas doesn’t even want to be Kansas).

    Stop using the suggestions of ALEC and the Koch Bros…

    to try to transform our beautiful and compassionate state,…

    into the opening scenes of the Wizard of OZ.

    We have NO interest in going there,…

    and we wonder what was done to you by those who raised you,…

    that makes YOU want to live is such a dismal and depressing place.

  4. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 01/25/2017 - 07:55 am.

    Fox Sports using alternative facts?

    This is just a discussion some of us had the other day. The comparison to the between the Wild and North Stars is flawed because of the rule change from tie games to OT and shootouts determining a winner. Winning percentages now are completely distorted.

    The theory behind winning percentage is the overall % will be .500, because for every win there is a loss. A team winning 9 of 10 will have a winning % of .900, while the corresponding team will have a win % of .100. Compare teams over .500 mvs. under .500, it’s always pretty evenly split. If you look at “old time” hockey or any of the other sports, you’ll see the above is true. But now look at the NHL numbers. Most teams are well over .500, a few around .500 and literally 2 of 30 teams well below .500. It’s really apples and oranges.

  5. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 01/25/2017 - 07:59 am.

    ”Noisy opposition”?

    Well maybe that should reassure us…or otherwise… that dissent will become another marketplace item…pay as you protest for a quasi military police state in the making?

    Or just forget dissent…and invest in the growing market in razor wire…so much for Civil liberties slowly becoming an agenda with a price on its head…way to go hey?

  6. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 01/25/2017 - 08:19 am.

    Fox Sports using alternative facts?

    This is just the discussion some of us had the other day. The comparison to the between the Wild and North Stars is flawed because of the rule change from games allowed to end in a tie to now using OT and shootouts determining a winner. Winning percentages now are completely distorted.

    The theory behind winning percentage is the overall % will be .500, because for every win there is a loss. A team winning 9 of 10 will have a winning % of .900, while the corresponding team will have a win % of .100. For the league as a whole, if you compare teams over .500 vs. under .500, it’s always pretty evenly split. If you look at “old time” hockey or any of the other sports, you’ll see the above is true. But now look at the NHL numbers. Most teams are well over .500, a few around .500 and literally 2 of 30 teams well below .500. It’s really an apples and oranges comparison.

    I’m thinking someone from Fox News slipped into the Sports Dept. to present these “Alternative Facts”?

  7. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 01/25/2017 - 09:48 am.

    Stifling protesy

    Isn’t this an extreme case of government overreach? The senator bringing this bill forward is from Elk River, not too many highway protests there.

    The concerns about the city always seem to be coming from rural and suburban districts. Maybe they should stick to their district issues and quit sticking their noses into Metro politics.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 01/25/2017 - 11:44 am.

      Ahh… But “Sticking Their Noses Into Metro Politics”

      allows them to give the appearance that they’re doing something,…

      while, they, at the same time, completely ignore the needs of their own rural constituents,…

      far too many of whom are gullible enough to believe them when they later claim,…

      that it was the big city DFL “elites” that prevented them from doing anything about the problems of the residents of their own districts.

      The irony, of course, is that it is the Republican’s desire to protect the already grossly overstuffed pockets of the big city FINANCIAL elites,…

      in Minnesota, Washington D.C., and on Wall Street,…

      and the financial backers of A.L.E.C….

      that keeps them from spending a single penny to help the folks back home.

  8. Submitted by Bill Willy on 01/25/2017 - 12:13 pm.

    Law and Order: Special Republican Unit

    In tonight’s episode, people accused of organizing a public demonstration (that attracted so many outraged tax-paying citizens that they clogged up the streets and interfered with the Free Flow of Commerce), are taken to court and forced to pay thousands of dollars to cover the cost of protecting protester’s freedom to exercise their constitutional right of free speech.

    Meanwhile, just across the river, officer Soucheray punches-out handcuffed 14 year-old girl in the back seat of his squad car, faces paid leave and possible misdemeanor charges and, later (after second round of Chamber of Commerce commercials), when the young woman beaten by Soucheray is awarded multi-million dollar judgment in the law suit against his employer, taxpayer’s foot the bill.

    Also in tonight’s episode, high-ranking city officials get inside wind of swirling rumors of possible Presidential Order to suspend voting until dishonest intelligence agencies can figure out what’s going on and come up with plan for vetting all U.S. voters that is extreme enough to ensure no repeat of mass voter fraud committed by three to five million illegal immigrants in last election. City Hall tension and drama ensues.

    Check local listings, popcorn and beverage supply.

  9. Submitted by Jan Arnold on 01/25/2017 - 04:26 pm.

    Locker Room Talk

    Sexual predator remark is “Locker Room Talk”

    Racist remarks are “Locker Room Talk”

    Are all derogatory comments now considered “Locker Room Talk” and are therefore acceptable?

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