Does it matter if college basketball players don't go to class, money for nothing in Moorhead, the carry-on fee cometh, remembering a flood fighter, and today's Norway moment.
Depending on whom you listen to -- if you're still listening at all -- the Vikings stadium bill is in trouble at the Capitol.
And a bill filed in the House today should stoke the flames a bit.
Filed by Bloomington stadium opponent Rep. Ann Lenczewski, it reads like this:
Section 1. ALTERNATIVE BACKUP FINANCING FOR A SPORTS STADIUM.
Construction of a new National Football stadium may not be funded from any tax imposed by Hennepin County. Notwithstanding any other law, or local government ordinance or charter provision to the contrary, any provision made in a law authorizing a new stadium that requires the imposition of a new tax or the diversion of an existing tax from its current authorized uses in Hennepin County as a backup revenue source is void, and is replaced with a requirement that a portion of the property taxes levied by and collected for the following jurisdictions be used as a backup revenue source instead:
(1) Cook County; and
(2) the cities of Fairmont, Blue Earth, Winnebago, Lake Crystal, Rochester, Moorhead, North Mankato, Worthington, Brooklyn Park, Preston, Lanesboro, La Crescent, Maplewood, Glenwood, Sauk Centre, Cottage Grove, Newport, and St. Paul Park.
The percentage of property tax remitted from each jurisdiction may not exceed... percent of its adjusted net tax capacity and the percentage must be the same for all jurisdictions. The appropriate county auditor for each affected jurisdiction shall calculate the allocated revenues and remit them to the commissioner of management and budget for deposit in the general fund. All the provisions regarding notification, administration, and use of a Hennepin County tax in the original authorizing legislation shall apply to the notification, administration, and use of local property taxes in this section.
EFFECTIVE DATE.This section is effective the day following final enactment.
Why would cities far away from a stadium location be asked to pay for a new Vikings stadium? Let's see:
Cook County -- Home of Sen. Tom Bakk, the Senate Minority Leader, who has tied the stadium to jobs.
Fairmont -- Represented by Sen. Julie Rosen, who is the chief Senate sponsor of a stadium bill.
Moorhead -- Represented by Morrie Lanning, chief House sponsor of a stadium bill.
Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park -- Represented by John Kriesel, a co-author of the Vikings stadium legislation
Preston -- Home of Rep. Greg Davids, a member of the committee that passed a stadium funding bill this week.
North Mankato -- Represented by DFLer Terry Morrow. "I do believe the team will leave if we do not pass this stadium bill," said Rep. Morrow told the Associated Press this week.
Brooklyn Park is a little tougher to figure. Sen. Benjamin Kruse, R-Brooklyn Park, leans in opposition to the stadium bill.
The bill isn't going anywhere, but it would be interesting to determine if legislators' positions would change if their constituents have more financial skin in the game.
Justice may be blind but it's got ears.
Today's big legal story is a group of Appeals Court judges who are ticked off at President Obama for his remarks Monday about the possibility the Supreme Court will strike down his health care law.
Yesterday, an appeals court hearing a health care coverage case, proved that while the branches of government are separate, one can still hit the other in a food fight.
As Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog tells it:
At Tuesday's hearing, Judge Smith, according to CBS News, said the President's suggestion that it would be unprecedented for "unelected judges" to strike down a federal law that had won passage in Congress was "not a small matter." He told government lawyer Dana Lydia Kaersvang: "I would like to have from you by noon on Thursday...a letter stating what is the position of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice in regard to the recent statements by the president. What is the authority of the federal courts in this regard in terms of judicial review?"
Today, the Justice Department lawyer is trying to figure out how to write a letter that, basically, says "my boss doesn't know what he's talking about."
Above The Law calls it a "benchslap."
Where do I come down on this? I confess that I'm of two minds. On the one hand, in support of the benchslap, I did get a chuckle out of this (somewhat bizarre) homework assignment. On a more serious note, to the extent that some members of the public might have been misled by President Obama's statements, there was nothing wrong with Judge Smith availing himself of this "teachable moment," to remind the public that federal judges not only have the right, but the duty, to strike down laws that are inconsistent with the Constitution.
On the other hand, President Obama's original remarks amounted to silly political posturing, and perhaps they should have been ignored. It's not shocking that the president made such comments in the first place; the executive is, after all, an icky political branch, and we are in the middle of an election year. But isn't it beneath the dignity of life-tenured Article III deities to dirty their gavel-wielding hands with such ridiculousness? Should Judge Smith have simply ignored the president's ill-considered comments?(8 Comments)
I walked into a Home Depot the other day and was greeted by a human being.
"Be sure to ask if there's anything we can do for you," he said
"There is something you can do for me," I said. "I need some Velcro tabs."
"Go down aisle 8 here by the blinds, and go straight across. There's an end cap there with all sorts of Velcro items," he said.
And, indeed, there was. Then I went through the self-service checkout and didn't speak to another human again.
So what's a better commentary on the state of technology and society? The human I talked to, or the automation I didn't?
David Brancaccio, of APM's Marketplace, had a great idea to travel across the country to see if it's possible to do so without ever having a transaction with a human.
"I wanted to know if technology has become so widespread, you can go 3,200 miles -- coast-to-coast -- and never have to do business with a human being," he said.
Presumably, this would prove that the robots are coming and this would affect us all....how, exactly?
Brancaccio is describing his experience this afternoon on Talk of the Nation, but on Marketplace Money on Saturday, he declared to host Tess Vigeland that he had, indeed, driven across the country without transacting with a human -- you didn't really think it was going to come out any other way, did you? -- while confirming he also had interactions with humans:
Brancaccio: Well, I know. It's hard to know exactly how to manage that social situation, even though I thought long and hard about what to do. She's the human who lords over the four checkouts at a Krogers store. She has a personality the size of Virginia and was very much intent on helping me get smoothly through the checkout with my corn. So I got out of their by the skin of my teeth. And I did manage to ultimately do it myself.
Vigeland: Did you talk to her at all?
Brancaccio: Yeah, words were exchanged.
Vigeland: Oh no.
Brancaccio: Yeah, what am I going to do, act like I'm mute? So yeah, there were words there. She's a lovely person. She didn't like the machines much. She said the software: not so good. So they have people like her watching over things.
Vigeland: And we mentioned that early on the show as well...that is one of the problems with the self-checkout. You mentioned you were in Oz, so... Kansas, I presume?
Brancaccio: Well, it was actually Oklahoma City. It was midnight the other night, and exhausted, I stumble in and I'm coaxing the self-check-in robot at the hotel to take my credit card when this smiling man shows up. His name is Oz, and he's apparently the night manager, and he's seen my name on the reservations, and Tess, he's a big fan of the show and wanted to say hi. So what am I going to do? So I shook his hand and then I checked in with the machine. But yeah, another encounter with a human.
This all proves, we imagine, that technology has, in fact, become widespread, more widespread than it used to be. But hasn't that always been the case with technology?
Left unresolved in all of this is the increasing importance of the humans who know instantly where the Velcro is, especially since it's becoming more obvious that people are often choosing good customer service over price and -- when they want to -- humans provide pretty great customer service.
What Brancaccio accomplished was proving that we can avoid human contact if we work unreasonably hard at it while driving coast to coast. But the question that might be more illuminating today, is whether you go out of your way to avoid human contact in daily transactions, not because technology is creeping into your life, but because you'd rather not deal with a human?
In Brainerd, a woodcarved statue, depicting an elephant sitting on a stump that has the name "Jack" carved on it, stands at the entrance to the property of Donna and Jim Larson on Sorenson Lake Road.
Or at least it used to.
The woodcarving commemorates the life of Jack Larson, a 3 1/2 year old who died in a traffic accident in May of 2009
"He couldn't go to sleep without that little stuffed elephant," Donna Larson, the boy's grandmother, told the Brainerd Dispatch.
Someone has stolen the statue, the paper reports.(2 Comments)
You know those people who walk around with the bluetooth earset? It should come as good news that Google appears to be well on its way to replacing them with this:
Today, Google unveiled Project Glass, which -- it says "helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment." Translated: It means you can always be connected .
Check out the official video:
Wired.com sees the benefits of this new world, and the drawback:
How can people maintain privacy when anyone can shoot video undetected? Will any teenager ever complete a face-to-face conversation when business e-mails, fresh family photos and Kardashian news spontaneously pop up in our fields of vision?
Really when you think about it, the possibilities of such systems are dazzling and dumbfounding. Consider that another paper co-authored by Parviz explores the idea of contact lenses that meter health issues by analyzing tear fluids "in a noninvasive and continuous fashion." The information is then sent wirelessly for medical analysis. It's easy to imagine a Glass-like connection as way to persistently jack into a vast informationsphere. It's also provocative to envision how Glass would enhance Girls Around Me.
The Bluetoothers are going to love this.(15 Comments)