Judge tosses Minnesota photographers’ suit over gay weddings


Tossed. Stephen Montemayor of the Strib reports, “A St. Cloud couple will not be able to refuse wedding videography services for same-sex couples after a federal judge on Wednesday dismissed their lawsuit challenging Minnesota’s human rights laws. In a 63-page ruling Wednesday, Chief U.S. District Judge John Tunheim wrote that a provision of the Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibiting discrimination by businesses was not unconstitutional and rejected the couple’s argument that the law amounted to ‘a state effort to stamp out expression opposing same-sex marriage.’” 

Six seems like a lot. City Pages Corey Zurowski reports: “With only six weeks until voters go to the polls, about a half-dozen members of Mayor Betsy Hodges’ campaign staff have resigned, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation. … Among those who have stepped away from the reelection effort are spokesperson Alida Tieberg and adviser Jim Niland, a former city council member who’s held in deep respect within DFL circles. The news comes just five months after the resignations of Jorge Contreras, Hodges’ first campaign manager, and organizing director Kyrstin Schuette.”

Have you tried to reach him on the plane? At MPR, Tim Pugmire reports, “Gov. Mark Dayton said Wednesday that his inability to reach federal Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price on the phone to talk about health care is unlike anything he’s ever experienced. Minnesota lawmakers passed a $542 million financial safety net for insurance companies last session that was aimed at stabilizing the state’s individual health insurance market. But the plan, known as reinsurance, is dependent on the federal government’s permission in the form of a waiver that has not yet been approved. And Dayton said he’s not getting any answers. ‘I can’t even get the secretary of health and human services on the telephone. I can’t even get a phone number to call him to raise the issue.’

That’s the sort of spirit that made America great. Says Merit Kennedy for NPR, “A dispute over a $75 speeding ticket has climbed through the levels of Iowa’s court system, reaching the lofty heights of the Iowa Supreme Court for oral arguments. Marla Leaf got a speeding ticket because a camera allegedly caught her driving 68 mph in a 55-mph zone on an interstate freeway through the city of Cedar Rapids in February 2015. It’s not typical for the state’s top court to hear small-claims cases. But in her case against the city of Cedar Rapids, Leaf argues that her constitutional rights and state law were violated because the city delegated police powers to the private company that maintains the speed cameras.”

Speaking of neighbors, the New York Times’ David Barboza is writing, “Before the Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn pledged to spend $10 billion and create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin, the company made a similar promise in Brazil. At a news conference in Brazil, Foxconn officials unveiled plans to invest billions of dollars and build one of the world’s biggest manufacturing hubs in the state of São Paulo. The government had high expectations that the project would yield 100,000 jobs. Six years later, Brazil is still waiting for most of those jobs to materialize.” 

Please, there isn’t a sauna joke he hasn’t heard. The PiPress reports, “As Finland celebrates its centennial, its President Sauli Niinistö and first lady Jenni Haukio are coming to the Twin Cities for FinnFest USA 2017. … The Finnish president will be in Minnesota Thursday, Sept. 21, through Saturday, Sept. 23. With nearly 100,000 descendants, Minnesota has one of the largest communities of Finnish immigrants in the U.S. Finns and their descendants have been living in Minnesota for 150 years, Ulseth said, and the landscapes of many counties are dominated by Finnish cultural geography.”

Clearly not on the same page as the President and his EPA chief. For the Forum News Service, John Myers writes, “State Auditor Rebecca Otto on Wednesday, Sept. 20, became the first and maybe only candidate for Minnesota governor to propose a state ‘price on carbon,’ part of a proposed multi-point energy independence plan that’s heavy on renewable energy. Her ‘RenewMN’ carbon tax aims to reduce carbon dioxide, the pollutant that the vast majority of scientists who study the issue say is causing global warming, but also aims to create Minnesota-based jobs in renewable energy and energy conservation industries.”

Where is the outrage? Says Bill Ward in the Strib, “marketing manipulation aside, wine is most of all a business, relying primarily on the old supply/demand rubric. And when it comes to Minnesota wines and Minnesota restaurants, the demand has lagged mightily, even in eateries that flaunt a locavore mind-set. ‘It really bothers me that there’s a lot of buy-local philosophy in restaurants, and it doesn’t carry over to wine,’ said Annette Peters, whose Bourget Imports wholesale house carries Saint Croix Vineyards wines from Stillwater.”

The market will provide … someday … maybe. Jeff Hargarten of the Strib reports, “Digital gaps still divide Minnesota and the nation along racial, economic and geographic lines, even as high-speed Internet becomes more widespread and indispensable to people’s lives. Nationally, about 77 percent of Americans have a high-speed internet connection, served up via broadband networks either on their home computers, tablets, phones or other devices, according to 2015 data released this month by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Minnesota, while slightly ahead of the national rate, lags behind many states on the West Coast and Northeast where home broadband is most common.”

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