What's the strangest thing on your school supplies list? What's it like to be homeless? Farewell Tettegouche arch. Steam engines in western Minnesota. And four protests that won't depress you as much as the one in New York yesterday.
It's been a lousy week already for nature's icons. First the Tettegouche arch up on Lake Superior collapsed (See Five by Eight today). Now comes word that a chestnut tree in Amsterdam has fallen.
"Nearly every morning I go to the attic to blow the stuffy air out of my lungs," she wrote on Feb. 23, 1944. "From my favorite spot on the floor I look up at the blue sky and the bare chestnut tree, on whose branches little raindrops shine, appearing like silver, and at the seagulls and other birds as they glide on the wind."
Anne Frank wrote that. It was that chestnut tree.
There appears to be a disconnect somewhere between Washington and Main Street; not that Main Street in Nantucket is Anywhere USA. But Politico todaysays Democrats are ticked off at President Obama for not "taking a stand."
In interviews, a variety of political activists, operatives and commentators from across the party's ideological spectrum presented similar descriptions of Obama's predicament: By declining to speak clearly and often about his larger philosophy -- and insisting that his actions are guided not by ideology but a results-oriented "pragmatism" -- he has bred confusion and disappointment among his allies, and left his agenda and motives vulnerable to distortion by his enemies.
Meanwhile, at a B&B in Nantucket, where Obama is -- as we say in New England -- summering.
It didn't take long for Pawlenty-appointee Lorie Gildea, the new chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, to pick up on her predecessor's theme -- funding cuts are killing Minnesota's justice system.
According to the MinnLawyer blog:
Gildea called on the criminal law bar to join in grassroots effort to educate the public on the situation. "We must take our case to the people," she said.
In a panel discussion on the funding crisis following Gildea's remarks, State public Defender John Stuart outlined the dire situation faced by resource-starved public defenders. More funding cuts would likely mean defenders would no longer be able to handle cases involving out-of-custody defendants or to cover first appearances.
Gildea's predecessor, Eric Magnuson, a former law partner of Pawlenty's, spent much of his term railing against the lack of adequate funding for Minnesota courts.
"As delays in criminal case processing grow, so do the threats of having cases dismissed or convictions overturned because the state failed to provide a constitutionally guaranteed speedy trial. It happened twice last year on appeal in significant felony cases, because the courts were compelled to follow the provisions of the state Constitution," Magnuson wrote in an MPR commentary earlier this year.
The issue has yet to come up in this year's gubernatorial campaign.
(Justice Gildea will be on MPR's Morning Edition with Cathy Wurzer on Tuesday)
(Update 10:11 a.m. 8/24) - I asked Stuart what sort of crimes should be "decriminalized." He e-mailed a starting list:
Sure: I think we should use the "petty misdemeanor" treatment (like a speeding ticket) for most cases involving:
--theft under $100
--fishing law violations
--driving with a suspended license (currently this is a "payable misdemeanor")
--NSF check under $100
I'm sure there are a few more, this is for example.
The U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled a Minnesota case for its fall term.
The question: Are medical residents students who don't have to pay Social Security taxes, or are they working professionals?
The Mayo Foundation and the University of Minnesota claim resident researchers are students, and are exempt from Social Security and IRS taxes. The IRS says if they work more than 40 hours a week, they're not different than any other working stiff.
"Mayo and the University permit their residents to care for patients purely for educational purposes," lawyers for the two argued in a brief filed with the High Court. "The educational program of a medical resident is indistinguishable in nearly all respects from the educational program of third- and fourth-year medical students."
The Supreme Court has previously ruled that third- and fourth-year medical students are students.
Mayo and the U will start with one strike against them. "The word 'student' is most commonly used to refer to a pupil receiving formal instruction in an academic setting, not a full-time employee who learns by doing," the government said in its brief.
That was written by Elena Kagan, the former U.S. solicitor general. She sits on the Supreme Court now.
The Court today scheduled oral arguments for Monday November 8th.(2 Comments)
Concert-goers, what would happen if the world adopts the Bob Dylan method of selling concert tickets?
Dylan -- and I'm ignoring the Minnesota law that requires me to preface his name with Hibbing native -- is appearing Wednesday night at a concert in San Francisco. There are no convenience charges, no handling fees, and no other add-ons to the $60 ticket. There are no tickets. It's all a cash deal, says Spinner:
The line will officially be allowed to form beginning at noon on the day of the show, with the doors opening at 5:30PM and the show beginning at 8:00PM. It's going to be a long day for Bay Area Dylan fans but the wait will be worth it for the 2,250 lucky attendees -- it's been 15 years since the iconic folk singer has performed at the legendary theater.
A statement by promoter Goldenvoice's David Lefkowitz, on the company's website, reads, "Given the state of touring and how fees have escalated, it was a real breath of fresh air to do something very consumer oriented by eliminating all ticketing charges. It's almost a throwback to another time." Almost. The last time Bob Dylan played the Warfield, for a two-night stand in May of 1995, tickets were half that price -- including all fees. Guess the times really have been a-changing.
Suffice it to say, the system will be... inconvenient. Who's got time to wait in a line all day for a concert you may or may not get to see? Oh dear, I've just defended Ticketmaster.(6 Comments)