The Minnesota House of Representatives has voted to permit same-sex marriage, clearing the way to add Minnesota to a string of states that have recently made it legal for gay and lesbian couples to wed.
The House, which is controlled by Democrats, approved the measure by a vote of 75-59, dividing mostly along party lines. In recent months, as the debate over same-sex marriage emerged in St. Paul, a capital newly dominated by Democrats, the outcome in the House had been seen as most uncertain. State Senate leaders say that the outlook is more assured in that chamber and that they expect to approve same-sex marriage next week. Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, urged approval and said he would sign the bill, which would allow same-sex marriages…
…Minnesota would become the 12th state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to permit marriages for gay and lesbian couples and the third to decide to do so, along with Delaware and Rhode Island, this month alone. Minnesota would also become the first state in the nation’s middle to make such a choice through legislative action. Elsewhere in the Midwest, Iowa allows same-sex marriage, but that was decided in the courts. In Illinois, which allows civil unions, State House members are considering a same-sex marriage bill already approved in the State Senate.
…Just a few months ago, in November, voters had cast ballots following a hard-fought campaign aimed at amending the State Constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The amendment failed, and, with Democrats winning control of both legislative chambers in the same election, a renewed effort to allow same-sex marriage emerged…
“This is a historic day for Minnesota,” Representative Karen Clark, a Democrat and the bill’s sponsor, said as House members debated the issue before the vote and as advocates on both sides crowded into the Capitol, chanting and cheering. “Freedom means freedom for everyone,” she said…
In the weeks before the vote, supporters of same-sex marriage said they were hoping to win support from at least a few Republicans and from Democrats who represent more rural districts, where the issue was more contested, far from the Twin Cities. In the end, four Republicans voted for same-sex marriage, officials said, and two Democrats opposed it.
“Sometimes,” said Representative Raymond Dehn, a Democrat who supported the measure, “it gets down to doing the right thing.”
Predictably, the opposition lay most of their hopes on folks refusing that anything should ever change. But, that isn’t how civil rights have had to grow and become part of law in the United States. If it wasn’t so, we’d still be a slave-owning nation and women wouldn’t have the right to vote.
Not that many of those opposing this change – feel those changes were appropriate either.
FBI officials said Monday they foiled a terrorist attack being planned in a small western Minnesota town, but they offered no details about the exact targets of the attack – or the motive of the man accused of having a cache of explosives and weapons in a mobile home.
The FBI said “the lives of several local residents were potentially saved” with the arrest of Buford Rogers, 24, who made his first appearance Monday in U.S. District Court in St. Paul on one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm…
“The FBI believed there was a terror attack in its planning stages, and we believe there would have been a localized terror attack, and that’s why law enforcement moved quickly to execute the search warrant on Friday to arrest Mr. Rogers,” said FBI spokesman Kyle Loven.
He said the investigation is ongoing, and agents are looking at the case as one of domestic terrorism…
Montevideo Police Chief Adam Christopher said a homemade sign in front of the mobile home that bore the letters “BSM” refers to a local anti-government militia group called the Black Snake Militia, which the Rogers family started.
“That is not a large scale, nationwide group, as far as I know,” Christopher said. “I think it’s kind of them, and their family, and a few of their friends…”
According to a federal affidavit, FBI agents from the domestic terrorism squad searched the mobile home in Montevideo and discovered Molotov cocktails, suspected pipe bombs and firearms. The affidavit said Buford was there at the time, and one firearm recovered from the residence was a Romanian AKM assault rifle.
In an interview with authorities, Rogers admitted firing the weapon on two separate occasions at a gun range in Granite Falls, the affidavit said. Rogers has a 2011 conviction for felony burglary and is not allowed to have a firearm.
Of the several flavors of outright crazy right-wingers clustered around profit centers ranging from the NRA to Fox Noise the militia-types are the most dangerous. Unlike true lone wolf terrorists, they feed each other’s paranoia constantly.
Just makes them all the more likely to start killing whoever they fear the most – this week.
NRA + the rest of the Old Right opposed him. He won by 9 points.
First elected to the House in 1974, Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., left after his third term ended in 1981–and now after a 32-year hiatus, Nolan is back. Much to his surprise, the biggest change he’s encountered was the work week, and he’s not happy about it…
“My first term, we worked 48 out of 52 weeks,” Nolan said on Friday’s edition of The Daily Rundown. “Most of those days were four and five day weeks. We were in committee virtually every morning, we were on the floor of the House throughout the afternoons and the evenings and we were working in the process of governing which is what we’re elected to do.”
He expressed his disappointment that Congress is only currently scheduled to work 34 out of 52 weeks and considers most of those days “not real.”
“We went into session Monday, for example, we don’t have any votes scheduled until 6:30 in the evening, we were also scheduled to work on Tuesday–which we did–and then we were scheduled to work on Wednesday and we took the day off,” Nolan said.
Nolan quickly agreed with the public’s sentiment “everybody’s campaigning and nobody’s governing,” saying Congress isn’t governing like they should especially with all the serious issues the country is facing. He told Todd that the time given for Congressional members to campaign and the money they use has become “toxic.”
“I mean, we’re told here two things,” he said. “One is the one with the most money gets the most votes and number two – you should be spending 30 hours a week in fundraising and call time–dialing for dollars.”
Though I would prefer it, we do not need a change to an elected parliamentary form of government to get rid of the overwhelming influence of money – and whose money it is – in our government. Simply limiting campaign time to the 60 days before an election, severely limiting the amount of money that can be spent during that time – and only that time – takes care of half the problem.
Add in the sort of regulations that governed lobbying 50 years ago and you remove the other half of the corruption equation. The problem facing both of these provisions is that it limits the profits from a congressional career. Not that it matters in the least to the actual governing of this nation.
What matters is having a Congress that isn’t for sale to the highest bidder.
A Minnesota casino has cooked up a world-record bacon cheeseburger that’s 10 feet in diameter and weighs more than a ton.
The behemoth burger was served up on Sunday at the Black Bear Casino Resort near Carlton in the United States. It tipped the scales at 914 kilograms.
Guinness Records representative Philip Robertson verified the record for biggest burger…He called the achievement a team effort, saying that the extraordinary burger tasted good as well.
“What I saw today was a feat of remarkable teamwork that resulted in a world record burger that actually tastes really good,” Mr Robertson said…
Black Bear’s burger included 27 kilograms of bacon, 23 kilograms of lettuce, 23 kilograms of sliced onions, 18 kilograms of pickles and 18 kilograms of cheese.
It took about four hours to cook the patty. A crane was used to flip it.
I can feel my arteries hardening just reading this.
A Scottish company has installed its second “Resomation” machine, in the US state of Minnesota…The new facility in Stillwater, Minnesota, has already processed the remains of 20 individuals.
Resomation involves the dissolution of the deceased in an alkaline solution, and is billed in the US as “green cremation” or “flameless cremation”.
A first machine was installed in Florida last year, and has been used on 10 bodies to date.
Sandy Sullivan, chief executive officer of Resomation Ltd, said the machine was running very efficiently after some fine-tuning…”We’ve developed the process to a stage where it’s running very well. I’m happy with where it is,” he told BBC News.
“There has been refinement in software changes and pipe work changes to make it quieter and things like that, but the machine is running very smoothly.”
Resomation involves the heating of the remains at some 300C in a pressurised vessel containing a potassium hydroxide solution…The process takes around three hours and reduces the body to skeletal remains which are processed into a white powder which can be given to the family, like ash from crematoria…
Its makers claim it produces a third less greenhouse gas than cremation, uses a seventh of the energy, and allows for the complete separation of dental amalgam for safe disposal.
Mercury from amalgam vaporised in crematoria is blamed for a proportion of airborne mercury emissions worldwide.
If they can keep the cost comparable to or below conventional cremation, I’m all for the idea. Though I live in a county which permits home burial and I may end up someday tucked away in a burlap sack out in the back meadow.
Accretive Health, one of the nation’s largest collectors of medical debt, has agreed to pay $2.5 million to the Minnesota state attorney general’s office to settle accusations that it violated a federal law requiring hospitals to provide emergency care, even if patients cannot afford to pay…
As part of Monday’s settlement, Accretive Health is also barred from contracting with hospitals within the state for at least two years, effectively ending its business at three Minnesota hospitals. For four years after that, the company will have to obtain permission from the attorney general before resuming business in the state.
In April, Lori Swanson, the Minnesota attorney general, disclosed hundreds of Accretive’s internal documents that outlined aggressive collection tactics, including embedding debt collectors in emergency rooms and pressuring patients to pay before receiving treatment…
In an interview Monday, Ms. Swanson said “a hospital emergency room should be a sanctuary for the sick and wounded, not a hunting ground for collectors.” The settlement will end a civil suit against Accretive, which Ms. Swanson filed in January after a laptop with patient information was stolen, saying that the company had violated state and federal debt collection laws and patient privacy protections…
The revelations in Minnesota have reverberated across the country because they raise concerns that such aggressive tactics have become widespread at hospitals. Accretive Health contracts with some of the largest hospital systems in the country to help them recoup money on unpaid bills that have piled up during the financial crisis and the economic downturn…
Hospitals have long hired outside collection agencies to pursue patients after they have received care. But mounting financial pressures have resulted in hospitals letting collection firms in the front door, turning over the management of their staffing, like patient registration and scheduling, along with their collection activities, according to Ms. Swanson…
Corrupt administrators of hospital systems have been turning over private records to Accretive to aid them in harassing patients. They are at least as slimy as the rest of the hustlers leading the parade of greedy healthcare providers.
RTFA for anecdotal tales of people lying bleeding in a hospital’s emergency room – instead of a caring nurse or doctor standing by their side, they found themselves questioned by an extortion specialist trying to pry their last dollar from their wallet or purse before allowng medical care. The ultimate Republican healthcare portable death panel.
These gangsters operate in nationwide hospital chains, attacking patients in almost every state. Where is the protection guaranteed by federal law? Why aren’t the state’s attorney generals protecting civil rights?
You don’t pay up, on time – we’ll remove your stitches with a rake!
Hospital patients waiting in the emergency room or convalescing after surgery could find themselves confronted by an unexpected visitor: a debt collector at bedside.
One of the nation’s largest medical debt-collection companies is under fire in Minnesota for having placed its employees in emergency rooms and other departments at two hospitals and demanding that patients pay before receiving treatment, according to documents released Tuesday by the Minnesota attorney general. The documents say the company also used patient health records to wrangle for more money on overdue bills.
The company, Accretive Health, has contracts not only with the two hospitals cited in Minnesota but also with some of the largest hospital systems in the country, including Henry Ford Health System in Michigan and Intermountain Healthcare in Utah. Since January, it has faced a civil lawsuit filed by Attorney General Lori Swanson of Minnesota alleging that it violated state and federal debt-collection laws and patient privacy protections…
An Accretive Health spokeswoman declined to comment on whether other states were looking into its practices. “We have a great track record of helping hospitals enhance their quality of care,” she said…
Indistinguishable from medical staff members, Accretive employees register patients, take down sensitive health information and champion aggressive bill collection goals with incentives like gift cards for staff members, the company records show.
“It is absolutely stunning that the company has systematically trampled on patient rights, perverting the charitable mission of a hospital,” Ms. Swanson said in an interview…
While hospital collections increased, patient care plummeted, the employees said. “Patients are harassed mercilessly,” a hospital employee told Ms. Swanson. Another hospital employee complained, “We were told if we don’t get money from patients, in the emergency room, we will be fired…”
By giving its collectors access to health records, Accretive violates the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, colloquially known as HIPAA, Ms. Swanson said.
Anyone surprised that hospital systems that often mimic criminal extortion would rely on tactics akin to loan sharks?
Daylife/AP PHoto used by permission
In this photo provided by Minnesota State Patrol, a semi truck is submerged in an icy pond in Monticello, Minn. on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012. The Minnesota State Patrol says the driver was taken to a local hospital, treated and released. Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske says the driver was pulling a Target trailer, left eastbound I-94, crossed over lanes of oncoming traffic and skidded onto the pond. Roeske says the semi skidded 100 to 200 yards across the ice before breaking through.
Looking at videos of the accident, the ice appears thick enough that the driver almost – that’s almost – made it across the pond.
Water discharged into lakes and rivers from municipal sewage treatment plants may contain significant concentrations of the genes that make bacteria antibiotic-resistant. That’s the conclusion of a new study on a sewage treatment plant on Lake Superior in the Duluth, Minn., harbor…
Timothy M. LaPara and colleagues explain that antibiotic-resistant bacteria — a major problem in medicine today — are abundant in the sewage that enters municipal wastewater treatment plants. Treatment is intended to kill the bacteria, and it removes many of the bacterial genes that cause antibiotic resistance. However, genes or bacteria may be released in effluent from the plant. In an effort to determine the importance of municipal sewage treatment plants as sources of antibiotic resistance genes, the scientists studied releases of those genes at the Duluth facility.
Although the Duluth facility uses some of the most advanced technology for cleaning wastewater — so-called tertiary treatment — the study identified it as an important source of antibiotic resistance genes. Sampling of water at 13 locations detected three genes, for instance, that make bacteria resistant to the tetracycline group of antibiotics, which are used to treat conditions ranging from acne to sexually transmitted diseases to anthrax and bubonic plague.
LaPara’s team says their research demonstrates that even the most high-tech sewage treatment plants may be significant sources of antibiotic resistance genes in waterways.
Crap! What will we do as an alternative? Do we add more chemicals to the process – possibly increasing dangerous materials in the effluent? Our population everywhere in the West adds pharmaceuticals that slide through sewage like grease through a goose. How much of that is involved in the processes which lead to these genes surviving, mutating?
The sludge being treated becomes more dangerous every year – as it is.
Here in pig country, the pigs are vanishing.
This month, 150 pigs — each one weighing more than an average grown man — disappeared from a farm building in Lafayette despite deadbolts on its doors. Farther north near Lake Lillian, 594 snorting, squealing hogs disappeared last month, whisked away in the dark.
And in Iowa, with added cover from the vast stretches of tall cornfields, pigs have been snatched, 20 or 30 at a time, from as many as eight facilities in the last few weeks, said the sheriff of Mitchell County, adding that among other challenges, the missing are difficult to single out.
“They all look alike,” said Curt Younker, the sheriff, who said he had only rarely heard of pig thefts in his decades on the job. “Suddenly we’re plagued with them.”
Some livestock economists pointed to the thefts in this hog-rich region as…a reflection of record-high prices for hogs this year and the ease of stealing pigs from the large barns that are often far from the farmer’s house.
“This is the hot commodity of the moment, like copper…and gold,” said Ryan Bode, whose family company, Rebco Pork, discovered that 150 of its pigs were missing on Sept. 16, shortly before they were to be taken to market…
Mr. Bode seemed doubtful about seeing his pigs again. “My guess is that they’re bacon and pork chops already…”
Investigators suspect that the pigs may have been taken to meat-processing plants or affiliated “drop-off” facilities or that they were sold at auction barns, which are less common these days as more large pig producers have direct arrangements with food-packing companies.
But that has raised an uncomfortable suggestion in an industry where many of the biggest farmers and pork buyers know one another personally and where a stranger pulling up to sell 100 hogs should give pause.
“Someone in the business somewhere has the answer as to who’s doing this,” said Sheriff Marc Chadderdon.
RTFA. Crime stories are a magnet for me. Not only catching the thieves; but, how the thieves pulled off the job.
Some of the article is hogwash. :) It’s absurd for an informed journalist to blame the lousy economy for the thefts – though she tries to. It’s the skyrocketing value of the pigs that motivates these crooks. Easy access to something worth stealing – and someone ready to buy.