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Nicole Helget’s blog is getting attention. It’s getting under MnSCU’s skin, not to mention under Annette Parker’s skin:

On Thursday, a group calling itself Minnesotans United for Higher Ed, published similar allegations against another college president, also unnamed, with numerous examples of what it calls “intellectual fraud.” “We’ve uncovered two academically dishonest presidents, and there are more,” said Nicole Helget, a former South Central teacher and spokeswoman for the group. If the pattern continues, she said, “MnSCU will be the national laughingstock of higher education.”

MnSCU issued a brief statement Friday, saying: “We fully support all our outstanding presidents. It is disappointing that people with unknown motivations and a blog can repeatedly level baseless and reckless accusations against people they don’t like until they get the attention they seek.”

Others say that the allegations should be taken seriously. “It is an understatement to say that Annette has ‘borrowed heavily’ from our work,” said University of Richmond professor Jeffrey Harrison, co-author of an article Parker is accused of plagiarizing, in a written statement after reading the blog. “Nobody with her background and training could have engaged in such gross misconduct innocently.”

MnSCU’s statement shouldn’t be taken seriously. Talking about “our outstanding presidents” at a time when 11 of MnSCU’s institutions have to submit plans to fix their schools’ finances is foolish. If these colleges have outstanding presidents, why are their colleges in such dire financial shape? But I digress.

Here’s the heart of the Strib’s article:

In one example, Parker wrote: “More loosely formed partnerships also may be formed for strategic reasons such as the American Booksellers Association, a non-profit trade association that represents the owners of independent bookstores (Barringer & Harrison, 2000).”

The original source, the blog shows, appeared in the Journal of Management in 2000 with much the same wording: “More loosely coupled alliances may be formed for similar strategic reasons. For example, the American Booksellers Association is a not-for-profit trade association that represents the owners of independent bookstores.”

Harrison, who co-authored the 2000 article, said that it’s not unusual for academics to “paraphrase a couple of paragraphs” and credit each other. “However, in my opinion Annette has gone far beyond what is acceptable … she did not use quotations where she should have, and it appears that she did not even include citations for much of what she took from our article.”

MnSCU’s statement of support is worthless in light of this specific example of President Parker’s use of similar phrasing in her dissertation.

“We support all our outstanding presidents” doesn’t mean anything when the accuser presents irrefutable proof of a president’s plagiarism. At that point, “We support all our outstanding presidents” sounds more like spin than anything.

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Gov. Dayton, the DFL and their allies are doing everything they can to rationalize Gov. Dayton’s decision to dramatically increase his commissioners’ pay:

Members of Gov. Mark Dayton’s Cabinet are getting raises of tens of thousands of dollars, a move the Democrat says is necessary to “keep and attract” the best candidates to the jobs. The pay hikes range between 19 percent and 58 percent, WCCO-TV reported Thursday. Lawmakers were notified of the raises 30 days after they took effect. “In state government we need to keep and attract the best, talented people. … It’s essential to pay them closer to what they are worth,” Dayton said. He added that commissioner salaries have not been raised in 10 years and said he thinks lawmakers deserve a raise, too.

The smallest raise was $22,407 to the Ombudsman for Mental Health, who will now earn $119,997. Top commissioners got 30 percent raises. Also getting a boost is the chairman of the Metropolitan Council, the regional planning agency for the Twin Cities. The job changed from part time to full time, and the pay increased by $83,577 to $144,991.

First, it’s outrageous that the ‘Party of the Little Guy’ quietly raised the pay for people making close to $100,000 a year in salary by 20-75%. House Republicans should immediately pass a bill retroactive to January 1, 2015 that rescinds Gov. Dayton’s pay increases for bureaucrats making $100,000 a year. They should immediately send the bill over to the Senate for their consideration.

When the Senate refuses to debate the bill, House Republicans should insist on its inclusion in the final budget. Let’s see if DFL legislators are willing to fight for those raises heading into an election year. The DFL might be willing to fight that fight. If the DFL is willing to fight for those overpaid bureaucrats’ raises, that’s fine. The House and Senate Republican campaign committees should hire Derek Brigham to create individualized mailers that highlights these DFL legislators as fighting for pay increases for bureaucrats and higher taxes for Minnesota’s small businesses (2013) and the middle class (2013 and 2015).

This table should be part of those mailers:

This warped thinking is what I’d expect from Gov. Dayton:

But Dayton defended the increase as necessary to keep and retain top executives given competition from the private sector.

“There’s no controversy as far as I’m concerned. They haven’t had raises for 12 years,” he said. He acknowledged the salary “are a lot of money” but added that state staffers have left state employ and been able to make twice as much in local government or at universities. The salary increases, he suggested, would stop that drain.

Put differently, Gov. Dayton just gave Myron Frans a huge pay increase:

For those that don’t remember, Commissioner Frans was the person who accepted as Gospel fact that e-tabs would produce enough revenue to pay off the state share of the Vikings stadium. He was off by a paltry 95%.

That makes Commissioner Frans the poster child for Gov. Dayton’s pay raises. Commissioner Frans is the perfect example of why we need to raise public employees’ pay to “attract and keep the best, talented people.”

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It’s getting tiresome listening to Bill Belichick’s spin. Thankfully, Jay Glazer’s article sheds new light into #DeflateGate. First, though, here’s Belichick’s latest offensive spin:

New England head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady both have proclaimed innocence and said they were unaware how the footballs became underinflated.

“At no time was there any intent whatsoever to try to compromise the integrity of the game or to gain an advantage,” Belichick said in an unscheduled availability on Saturday afternoon.

“Quite the opposite: we feel like we followed the rules of the game to the letter,” he said. “We try to do everything right. We err on the side of caution. It’s been that way now for many years. Anything that’s close, we stay as far away from the line as we can.”

Notice Belichick’s weasel words in that last paragraph. “We feel like we followed the rules of the game to the letter.” That’s totally irrelevant and subjective. The NFL has confirmed that the Patriots’ footballs a) complied with the NFL’s rules before the game and b) didn’t comply with the NFL’s rules at halftime. That’s an objective standard. Either the Patriots’ footballs complied with the NFL’s rules or they didn’t. In this instance, they didn’t.

That isn’t the only objectionable thing Belichick said. Here’s another statement worth ignoring:

“We try to do everything right. We err on the side of caution. It’s been that way now for many years. Anything that’s close, we stay as far away from the line as we can.”

Coach Belichick, are you saying that the Patriots stay well within the lines of the NFL’s rules? If that’s what you’re insisting, I’d love hearing your explanation for how the Patriots organization was fined for videotaping the Jets’ defensive signals, which isn’t permitted by the NFL’s rules. It isn’t permitted because it gives a team a major competitive advantage.

If the Patriots knew what the Jets were doing before they did it, the Patriots could install plays to take advantage of the Jets’ play-calling. That’s a major advantage.

What’s insulting is that Coach Belichick was personally fined $500,000 and the NFL confiscated the Patriots’ first round draft pick for breaking the NFL’s rules. So much for the Patriots erring “on the side of caution” and staying “as far away from the line” as possible.

Tom Brady used some slippery words in his attempt to explain this away:

“I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” Brady said. “I have a process before every game where I take the footballs I want to use for the game. Our equipment guys do a great job breaking the balls in for the game. Our equipment guys have a process they go through.”

Nobody accused Brady of altering the balls. Here’s what John Madden said:

“That would have to be driven by the quarterback,” Madden told The Sports Xchange on Wednesday. “That’s something that wouldn’t be driven by a coach or just the equipment guy. Nobody, not even the head coach, would do anything to a football unilaterally, such as adjust the amount of pressure in a ball, without the quarterback not knowing. It would have to be the quarterback’s idea.”

Madden’s position makes a lot of sense. Quarterbacks are particular about their footballs. Anybody doing anything to the footballs without the quarterback’s knowledge or consent would be asking for a tongue lashing. In Brady’s case, his tongue wouldn’t be needed to formulate the various “F” words that would be hurled at he who messes with the quarterback’s primary tool.

“He is the effected,” Madden said. “He is the only guy. I heard some of the pundits saying the ball is easier to catch, but that would never, ever, ever be done for that unless the quarterback wanted it. You wouldn’t do something for a receiver to catch the ball if the quarterback couldn’t throw it. So it’s going to be done for the quarterback.”

Brady and Bill Belichick. One lies. The other one swears to it.

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Thursday afternoon, Patriots QB Tom Brady held a press conference in his attempt to put the #DeflateGate scandal behind him and the Patriots. He failed miserably. Here’s one of Brady’s quotes from the press conference:

“I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” Brady said. “I have a process I go through before every game where I go in and pick the balls — the footballs that I want to use for the game. Our equipment guys do a great job of breaking the balls in. They have a process that they go through. When I pick those footballs out, at that point, to me, they’re perfect. I don’t want anyone touching the balls after that, I don’t want anyone rubbing them, putting any air in, taking any air out, to me those balls are perfect and that’s what I expect when I’m on the field.”

Later in the press conference, Brady said that he prefers the footballs to be precisely 12.5 psi. At another point in answering questions, he said he couldn’t tell the difference between the balls he described as perfect and the footballs that were checked at halftime and found to be 2 psi light of the minimum psi allowed by league rules.

How can someone say that he wants game footballs to be a specific psi, then say he can’t tell the difference between footballs that feel and weigh dramatically different? The panelists of NFL Live on ESPN have an opinion on the matter:

Here’s what Mark Brunell said on whether he believed Tom Brady:

“I did not believe what Tom had to say,” Brunell said. “Those balls were deflated. Somebody had to do it. And I don’t believe there’s an equipment manager in the NFL that would on his own initiative deflate a ball without his starting quarterback’s approval. I just didn’t believe what Tom Brady had to say.”

Brunell explained that starting quarterbacks (and he started 151 games in the NFL) routinely check the balls to ensure that the balls have the right feel, from an inflation standpoint. “That football is our livelihood,” Brunell said. “If you don’t feel good about throwing that ball, your success can suffer from that.”

Prior to this week the average football fan didn’t pay attention to the footballs used in games. They couldn’t have told you a thing about the NFL regulations on footballs. It’s different with QBs, though. As Brunell said, “That football is our livelihood.” Using footballs that they don’t feel comfortable with is foolish.

At this point, we have a substantial base of information that’s been verified. There’s still some things that aren’t known. On another front, some of the details aren’t important to the NFL handing down a ruling.

When Sean Payton, the Saints’ head coach, was asked what he knew about BountyGate, he said he didn’t know anything about it. Commissioner Goodell suspended him for an entire year because, in Goodell’s words, he should’ve known. It’s possible Belichick didn’t know about DeflateGate. That’s irrelevant because making sure the team plays within the rules is the head coach’s responsibility.

It isn’t possible to believe that Tom Brady prefers his footballs to be inflated to 12.5 psi but then he can’t tell the difference between footballs inflated to 12.5 psi compared with footballs inflated to 10.5 psi.

Finally, this is the second time this season that the Patriots used underinflated balls that we know of. The Patriots’ footballs for their regular season game against Indianapolis were underinflated, too. That’s before considering the fact that Baltimore suspected the Patriots of using underinflated footballs.

Regardless, the NFL referees handled the underinflated footballs for the entire first half and didn’t notice. It’s impossible to believe that they didn’t notice a significant difference between the Patriots’ underinflated footballs and Indianapolis’ properly inflated footballs.

After reading this article about Patriots Coach Bill Belichick’s press conference on #DeflateGate, it’s feeling like he’s teeing things up for Tom Brady to throw the ball boys under the bus. Here’s the video of Belichick’s press conference:

That’s aggravating from the standpoint of the fact that it’s a press conference. Normal people answer questions when they hold a press conference. Bill Belichick doesn’t answer questions at his press conferences. His media availabilities are tightly controlled to the point that Belichick’s meetings with the media make a Jay Carney briefing look expansive. This simply isn’t credible:

The famously tight-lipped coach said he, like fans everywhere, only learned about the intricacies of pigskin air pressure this week, after the NFL announced the Patriots used illegally underinflated balls in the game, played in Foxboro, Mass., in bad weather.

“I think we all know that quarterbacks, kickers and specialists have certain preferences,” Belichick said. “Tom’s personal preferences on footballs are something he can talk about.”

Watching a Belichick press conference provides ample verification that Belichick is a control freak’s control freak. For him to insinuate that he doesn’t pay attention to important details is insulting. This is the coach who used this gadget play a week ago against the Baltimore Ravens:

The New England Patriots used just four offensive lineman during a series of three plays in the third quarter of their 35-31 comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night. It totally confused the Ravens and was so unexpected that the NBC announcers didn’t even catch it during the live broadcast.

An explanation:

Under NFL rules the offense effectively has to have five players on the line of scrimmage who are ineligible to catch a pass. Normally, these five players are the offensive linemen, and they’re stacked together in the middle of the field. The Patriots didn’t do that on those three plays. They used four clearly identifiable offensive linemen and had another player who was lined up in a different part of the formation declare himself as the fifth ineligible player.

Now we’re supposed to think that the man who scours the rulebook for obscure rules to give him an advantage doesn’t know that a deflated ball gives his QB and his runners an advantage in cold weather? I don’t think so.

Frankly, Beli-cheat, which is his nickname, shouldn’t be given the benefit of the doubt on whether they’ll comply with the rules. His administration has frequently flaunted the rules. Many major rule changes were created because Belichick’s Patriots didn’t obey the rules.

Later this afternoon, Tom Brady will hold a special press availability. Knowing Belichick’s respect for Brady, it’s obvious that he didn’t throw Brady to the wolves. I’d be totally surprised if Brady admitted that he cheated. It wouldn’t surprise me if he threw the Patriots’ ball boys under the bus. I’m not predicting that. I just won’t rule that possibility out.

What I’ve ruled out, though, is the possibility of Belichick, Brady and Robert Kraft, the Patriots’ owner, all being innocent. That simply isn’t plausible.

Let’s stipulate that deflating the footballs Tom Brady used didn’t cost Indianapolis Colts a berth in Super Bowl XLIX. Indianapolis has Andrew Luck, a secondary that tackles well and pretty much nothing else. If the Patriots used deflated balls against the Ravens, which wouldn’t surprise me, I’d argue that the underinflated balls gave the Patriots a distinct advantage against Baltimore. I’ll return to this later.

First, let’s talk about what we know with certainty.

  1. The Patriots submitted 12 footballs to the NFL on the Friday before the AFC Championship Game.
  2. When NFL inspected those footballs prior to the AFC Championship Game, each of the Patriots balls were properly inflated.
  3. When the inspected footballs submitted by the Patriots were returned to the Patriots 2 hrs. 15 minutes before the AFC Championship Game, they were properly inflated.
  4. When Indianapolis Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson intercepted Tom Brady’s pass, he gave the ball to the Indianapolis equipment manager. The equipment manager alerted NFL officials.
  5. At halftime, NFL officials checked the footballs submitted by both teams. NFL officials have announced that 11 of the 12 footballs submitted by the Patriots to the NFL were underinflated but that the Colts’ footballs were properly inflated.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the Patriots deflated the footballs Tom Brady used to give him a competitive advantage. NFL rules require that game-used footballs be inflated to at least 12.5 psi and no more than 13.5 psi. The Patriots’ footballs were found to be up to 2 psi under the minimum allowed weight.

During NFL Live on ESPN, host Trey Gowdy handed 3 footballs to retired QB Mark Brunell and retired running back Jerome Bettis to see if they could identify which ball was overinflated, which football was underinflated and which football met the NFL’s requirement. It took Brunell and Bettis less than 5 seconds each to correctly identify each of the balls. To them, it was that obvious. What happened after that test is what caught my attention.

Brunell said that underinflated footballs are a) easier to grip and b) more accurate to throw. He made that statement with total confidence and without hesitation. Bettis said that an underinflated football helped running backs tuck the football in between their shoulder and their elbow tighter, making it more difficult for defenders to strip the football from a runner’s grip.

Since it’s clear that the Patriots didn’t need underinflated balls to defeat the Indianapolis Colts, it’s fair to ask what the Patriots’ motivation was. This is where the Patriots’ past is relevant. In 2007, Belichick had “an assistant spy on the New York Jets’ defensive signals.” Belichick was personally fined $500,000 for getting caught cheating that time. The Patriots’ history under Belichick is that of getting caught cheating. The next thing to be determined is what the appropriate punishment should be.

Personally, I think Belichick should be suspended for a full year starting the day after the Super Bowl. That means he can’t have any contact with the Patriots from the minute that the game ends until he’s reinstated. Next, the Patriots should be fined $1,000,000. They should forfeit their first and second round picks this year, too.

When they were caught cheating in ‘Spy-gate’, Belichick was fined $500,000 and the team lost its first round pick and paid a $250,000 fine. This cheating is as bad, if not worse, than Spy-gate.

Finally, the NFL shouldn’t give the footballs back to the teams on the sidelines. The NFL is one of the richest sports leagues in the world. They should hire people to handle the footballs to preserve the integrity of the game and to prevent the Patriots from cheating again.

Wingo later noted that Watergate happened in 1972, with Richard Nixon cruising to the biggest landslide in US presidential history. It wasn’t that Watergate helped him defeat George McGovern. Watergate caught the nation’s attention because it exposed the Nixon administration’s corruption.

Deflate-Gate is catching football fans’ attentions because it’s reminding them of the Patriots’ history of corruption. That’s why Deflate-Gate matters.

UPDATE: John Madden brought a voice of sanity to “Deflate-Gate” with this explanation:

“That would have to be driven by the quarterback,” Madden told The Sports Xchange on Wednesday. “That’s something that wouldn’t be driven by a coach or just the equipment guy. Nobody, not even the head coach, would do anything to a football unilaterally, such as adjust the amount of pressure in a ball, without the quarterback not knowing. It would have to be the quarterback’s idea.”

Madden’s position makes a lot of sense. Quarterbacks are particular about their footballs. Anybody doing anything to the footballs without the quarterback’s knowledge or consent would be asking for a tongue lashing. In Brady’s case, his tongue wouldn’t be needed to formulate the various “F” words that would be hurled at he who messes with the quarterback’s primary tool.

“He is the effected,” Madden said. “He is the only guy. I heard some of the pundits saying the ball is easier to catch, but that would never, ever, ever be done for that unless the quarterback wanted it. You wouldn’t do something for a receiver to catch the ball if the quarterback couldn’t throw it. So it’s going to be done for the quarterback.”

UPDATE II: Chris Canty’s comments will get under some Patriots’ skin:

“The Patriots are habitual line-steppers,” Canty said during an in-studio appearance. “If the allegations are true, then you are talking about attacking the integrity of our game and I have an issue with that…[W]hat I’m going to say about the deflating of the balls, to me there is no difference than performance-enhancing drugs. You are cheating at that point. You are getting a competitive advantage outside of the rule book and there has to be some sort of consequences for that.”

Canty’s opinion sounds a lot like the NFL’s position that, when it comes to topics impacting the integrity of the game, serious action is required.

“To me, the integrity of the game is the most important thing,” Canty said. “You want to be successful as a player but you want to think that you are doing things that are within the rules and that you are out there competing and it’s not whether it is performance-enhancing drugs or deflated footballs that is out there aiding in your performance.”

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Stan Hubbard’s response to the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists’ denunciation of KSTP highlights Mr. Hubbard’s substantive criticism of MNSPJ. First, here’s the reason behind Mr. Hubbard’s response:

On November 19, 2014, the Minnesota SPJ asked KSTP-TV to “disavow” its reporting, saying that our story was “fundamentally flawed and based on a faulty premise.” This, because you decided the image in the report showed Mayor Hodges making what the Chapter called a “silly gesture.” KSTP-TV reported that gesture as a known gang sign. We were informed of that fact by several law enforcement agencies. You even went so far as to suggest that we would try to mislead. To suggest that KSTP-TV would ever deliberately distort any fact in any story is totally out of line. We have never done so and we never will do so.

Thanks to Mr. Hubbard’s response, the SPJ has exposed itself as a leading voice of the Agenda Media:

Perhaps most disappointing of all is the fact that most, if not all, serious news organizations that addressed our coverage, including the board of the Minnesota SPJ, simply “followed the herd” and tracked the trend on Twitter in their derision of our coverage. Rather than responsibly questioning law enforcement’s motivation in bringing this story forward, and digging deep into whether it truly represented a public safety issue, they instead chose to simply ignore that which was reported, and go with the much easier and much more popular “silly gesture” angle.

Twittersphere journalism isn’t journalism. It’s shortcut journalism, which isn’t real journalism. The question that SPJ hasn’t answered is the question that SPJ won’t answer. Why didn’t SPJ’s news organizations do the research that KSTP did? Why didn’t SPJ member organizations check into law enforcement’s claims that Mayor Hodges’ actions presented a public safety issue?

Clearly it is disturbing to many that otherwise playful gestures presumably innocently made by a public official can have a totally unintended meaning in a different context. Nonetheless, that is exactly what our reporters were told by numerous law enforcement sources. Namely, that while a “gun” gesture may be funny and innocent in many contexts, it is neither funny nor innocent in a neighborhood plagued by gun violence and a “foothold of area gangs.” The recent announcement by federal officials that the indictment of 11 high profile individuals from two warring gangs, allegedly involved in the North Minneapolis drug and weapon trade, underscores the seriousness of the current gang situation.

Why isn’t SPJ interested in this? Is it because they aren’t interested in the seriousness of the issue? Or is it that this information doesn’t fit their script? Whatever the reason for their disdain, their willingness to ignore the seriousness of gun and gang violence is disturbing at minimum. This is something that’s troubling, too:

Public records reflect that Mr. Gordon had been arrested for aggravated armed robbery on August 2, 2014, two months before the picture in question was taken.

That’s disturbing on steroids. Why would Mayor Hodges campaign with a thug facing charges for aggravated armed robbery? Further, why is the DFL reaching out to criminals in their campaigns? Why aren’t SPJ organizations interested in this story angle? Finally, why didn’t SPJ admit that a mayor campaigning with a thug who’s been arrested on aggravated armed robbery charges is a big deal?

Simply put, the SPJ’s disinterest in these substantive angles verifies the fact that the SPJ isn’t that interested in substantive reporting. It verifies that they’re more interested in pushing the progressives’ agenda.

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Apparently, the IRS thinks that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to them. That’s just another reason why people hate and fear the IRS. This NYTimes article should give people additional ammunition for fearing the IRS:

For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes; in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

Here’s the text of the Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Not only did the IRS not get a real search warrant, they’ve never accused Ms. Hinders of wrongdoing. Still, the IRS is feeling magnanimous:

On Thursday, in response to questions from The New York Times, the I.R.S. announced that it would curtail the practice, focusing instead on cases where the money is believed to have been acquired illegally or seizure is deemed justified by “exceptional circumstances.”

Richard Weber, the chief of Criminal Investigation at the I.R.S., said in a written statement, “This policy update will ensure that C.I. continues to focus our limited investigative resources on identifying and investigating violations within our jurisdiction that closely align with C.I.’s mission and key priorities.” He added that making deposits under $10,000 to evade reporting requirements, called structuring, is still a crime whether the money is from legal or illegal sources. The new policy will not apply to past seizures.

This isn’t about updating policies. It’s about the IRS violating Ms. Hinders’ Fourth Amendment rights. The IRS seized Ms. Hinders’ bank account. If that doesn’t fit the definition of an unreasonable seizure, nothing fits that description.

The practice has swept up dairy farmers in Maryland, an Army sergeant in Virginia saving for his children’s college education and Ms. Hinders, 67, who has borrowed money, strained her credit cards and taken out a second mortgage to keep her restaurant going.

Their money was seized under an increasingly controversial area of law known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed. Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.

The IRS has treated citizens, including military personnel, like they were street thugs. That shouldn’t be possible in America. That’s the type of thing that you’d expect in a Third World dictatorship, not from the US government.

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Jim Knoblach didn’t waste time correcting the St. Cloud Times’ misstatements about him. Here’s what Jim said:

I was puzzled by one line in the recent St. Cloud Times endorsement editorial. It said I sometimes provided “minimal support for measures that directly benefited his district.”

During my time in the Legislature, I successfully authored more than $100 million in bonding projects for the St. Cloud area. This is far more than any representative in local history. St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical & Community College each received tens of millions of dollars from my efforts. Other projects like Quarry Park, the Beaver Islands Trail and various transportation projects also benefited.

Unlike past years, the Times Editorial Board never gave me the courtesy of an interview before announcing its endorsement. I was thus unable to respond to whatever concerns it had on this subject. Many other local candidates were granted interviews.

I hope in the future the Times gives the courtesy of an interview to all local candidates for endorsements.

Jim Knoblach is a House 14B candidate from St. Cloud.

Jim Knoblach is running for the state legislature, though you wouldn’t know it based on the Times’ reporting. The average citizen wouldn’t have known that Jim Knoblach wasn’t even asked if he’d like to be interviewed for the Times endorsement. I wrote here that the Times decided that they were endorsing Jim’s opponent long before they conducted a single candidate interview.

This year’s Times endorsements were utterly unprofessional. The Times endorsed Joe Perske to replace Michele Bachmann in Congress. Fortunately, he’ll get beaten like a drum next Tuesday. Here’s one of the Times’ rationalizations for endorsing him:

Voters need to elect the person who can begin to restore district credibility while improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.

Here’s another:

While Emmer is the likely favorite because of the district’s conservative demographics, voters need to seriously consider whether his political persona will help the district. He’s similarly conservative to Bachmann and he is known as a political bully, which makes his House strategy is “building relationships” a tough sell.

Summarizing, the Times endorsed Joe Perske because they think he’d bring home the pork the district is losing out on and because Tom Emmer is a political bully.

At this point, it’s difficult picturing the Times Editorial Board as anything more than gossip columnists. They aren’t professional. They didn’t do their due diligence. They didn’t even treat one of the major party candidates with respect. That isn’t just shameful. It’s disgusting.

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This article highlights what’s wrong with Steven Rosenstone’s administration of MnSCU. It also highlights what’s wrong with administrators’ practice of cronyism. Here’s a prime example:

Citing suspicions of administrative secrecy aroused by the system’s initially undisclosed hiring of McKinsey & Company, a prominent consulting firm, the leadership of the two unions voted unanimously on Thursday to tell the system’s chancellor, Steven J. Rosenstone, that the unions would no longer participate in the planning of Charting the Future, a systemwide reorganization effort.

The Inter Faculty Organization and the Minnesota State College Faculty, “which represents faculty members at two-year institutions”, have legitimate concerns about Chancellor Rosenstone’s secrecy. If this happened to me, I’d be both paranoid and upset:

When union officials sought a copy of the contract given to McKinsey, the system provided them with a version that was heavily redacted at McKinsey’s request, saying the system needed to respect the firm’s desire to protect trade secrets.

That isn’t all of it. Here’s more:

The system subsequently offered to let university officials see the full contract in private, on the condition it not be relayed elsewhere, but they refused to view it under such a restriction.

I hope the IFO and the MSCF take MnSCU and McKinsey to court to have a judge determine what parts of the contract contain McKinsey’s legitimate trade secrets and how much was improperly redacted. It’s just a hunch but I suspect that the contract’s redactions don’t have much to do with trade secrets, just like the US Department of Justice isn’t releasing documents on Fast and Furious because of executive privilege.

With the Fast and Furious documents, I suspect that the documents aren’t getting turned over because they’re embarrassing to President Obama and AG Holder. The suspicious side of me thinks that MnSCU isn’t releasing the unredacted contract because they’d be ridiculed for the provisions Chancellor Rosenstone agreed to. I’m suspicious that a contentious document has more information redacted than it has readable information:

In the McKinsey proposal, most of the 133 pages were blacked out as trade secrets, including information about past projects, employee bios and a section that starts, “McKinsey is the best partner for MnSCU because of our …” Experts on the state Government Data Practices Act such as former state information policy director Don Gemberling said “there’s no way” so much of McKinsey’s proposal fits the state’s narrow definition of a trade secret.

That’s just part of it. Here’s why I’m particularly suspicious:

Dean Frost, a professor at Bemidji State University and a former management consultant who reviewed some of the documents McKinsey produced, said the playbooks feature general, common-sense instructions on conducting a task force. He said the supporting research mostly includes publicly available materials rather than reports generated specially for MnSCU.

Based on MnSCU’s past actions, the IFO and MSCF have legitimate reasons for not trusting Chancellor Rosenstone.

Trust is earned. At this point, Rosenstone has lost more trust than he’s gained. This incident alone justifies people’s suspicions:

Kari Cooper, president of the Minnesota State University Student Association, said Rosenstone and a campus president attacked her suggestions and questioned her leadership at a recent meeting. “I left that meeting in tears,” she said. “I wasn’t going to sit there as a student and be talked to like that from people who are supposed to be supporting me and supposed to be collaborating with me.”

I won’t accuse President Potter of being that “campus president” who “attacked [Kari’s] suggestions and questioned [Kari’s] leadership because I haven’t confirmed that information. I certainly can’t say it wasn’t President Potter, though. It wouldn’t be the first time President Potter viciously attacked a student.

Rosenstone is secretive. He’s hired companies that think they’re out of the Minnesota Data Practices Act’s reach. What’s worst is that he’s kept people hired who verbally attack students. That’s the type of cancer than needs to be eradicated ASAP. If it isn’t eliminated ASAP, the Rosenstone cancer will metastasize.

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