Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Build it and they will come?

Let’s say you’re a governement official and you need to raise some “revenue” for your county.

Where would “Hey let’s build more jails!” be on the list?

According to the Star Tribune article “Empty cells mean counties go begging

Some county boards built new jails as a way to make money; as crime dropped, that gamble didn’t pay off. ”

Minnesota counties have spent tens of millions of dollars building jail cells no one needs.

In the past five years, county boards have built modern jails that have added about 2,300 new beds to the state’s total, with more opening in the months to come. But they did so just as crime has plummeted, with 18,000 fewer arrests than five years ago.

The result is a fevered competition to help the jails pay for themselves by renting out empty beds for other counties’ inmates. One sheriff has even asked legislators to rewrite laws to allow him to make money from Wisconsin inmates.

No one claims to know exactly how bad the problem is. But it looks as if there are thousands of empty beds — the equivalent of all the combined space in the state’s 40 smallest jails.

Much of the building boom was sensible, preparing for future needs and replacing antiquated facilities. But some of it amounted to an entrepreneurial gamble that is starting to look ill-timed.

I realize that counties are paid a fee for housing inmates from other counties, but really, jails as a revenue builder? This is not only nonesense at it’s finest, but a sure measure of the police state mentality that has been gripping our country. Maybe it generates “revenue” for a county, but putting people in jail has great expense for our state, both financially and socially.

If you’d like to see how much of a cost justice is to Minnesota here is a nifty website that includes data up to 1998
County expenditures: sheriffs` office, corrections and public safety capital outlay
Here’s a sampling.

Expenditure type 1998
Sheriff’s office $228,807,070
Corrections $255,228,573
Public safety capital outlay $64,423,361
Total county expenditures $3,696,581,075

You are reading that correctly, over 3 billion dollars in 1998 for Total county expenditures.
A quick search of the cost of a single jail bed and all that goes along with is found that in 1999 it was a little over $14,000 per bed versus a national average of $10,000. I could not find more recent data. Note, in 1991 the total justice cost was approaching about 1 billion. In just over ten years these costs have tripled. Read the Office of Legislator Auditor report from 1991 Sentencing and Correctional Policy

Naturally the data has caveats, which lead one to believe the actual costs are far greater.

•All data pertains to Minnesota county expenditures for criminal justice activities, including those related to sheriff’s offices, corrections and public safety capital outlays.
•The data pertains only to county-level agencies and does not include expenditures by city entities within a county.
•Court and county attorney costs also are not represented in the data set. Expenditures associated with these functions are included under the “general government departments” heading and are not distinguishable from other noncriminal justice costs grouped in this category.
•The dollar amounts listed for each county reflect actual expenditures for the given year and have not been adjusted for inflation.
•Due to an accounting change in 1988, total county expenditures data for 1985 to 1987 does not include debt service payments. For this reason, comparisons among these years will result in distortions and should not be made.
•Caution should be exercised when comparing corrections expenditures. Some counties are missing data for this category because either they did not report or they characterized these expenditures differently in their budget.

I for one can’t wait for the Minnesota Tourism Board to release it’s next ad campaign “Explore Minnesota, get arrested, and fill our empty jail cells!”

What do you think?


Has Citypages crossed the line?

Yesterday a video circulated that allegedly showed several possible teenagers attacking pedestrians at random and today the story is
Police on the trail of attackers shown in YouTube video.

I ran across this video around 9am yesterday morning and chose not to post it for two reasons.

1) I felt it would bring out the racial trolls and create a hostile environment.
2) There is a chance it could be staged.

That said, Citypages posted the video under the inflammatory title City Pages hosts video yanked by punks who assaulted bystanders

Which I guess in and of itself is fine, but the comments that followed spill into several racially charged uses of the “N” word and several threats of violence and gun talk.

I can understand not filtering comments to allow free speech, but all speech has a limit.

I have to admit, I was bothered by the comments to the point that I had a hard time falling asleep last night and almost got out of bed to write this post, but I thought that maybe Citypages would clean them up by morning.

So tell me, has Citypages crossed the line?


Talking Minnesotan – Friday the 13th



Image Reflection Uploaded on November 9, 2009
by conner.mccall

SOTC has NEMAA Fall Fine Arts Show and an interesting conversation about the light rail, Gentrification Via Light Rail.

Minnpost has a must read with the judges talking – Small-fee case explodes: Minnesota justices direct judicial anger at Pawlenty and Legislature

the most remarkable piece of the package is raucous, angry concurrence by Justice Paul Anderson. Anderson sides with Magnuson, which makes his the deciding vote in favor of the deal. The license fee is necessary for the maintenance of “a civilized society,” Anderson says. But the price he exacts for his vote is a fierce lecture about how government ought to function. He ratifies the deal, then denounces it as necessitated by the “unfortunate impasse” between Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the DFL Legislature. But “unfortunate impasse” is pale language compared to what happens when Anderson gets warmed up.

Seriously, read the entire article and the links.

Derusha has a great read on What is and what isn’t terrorism. Did you know there are 109 kinds?

Though, I don’t think cancelling interviews is one of the 109, nor is Friday the 13th, but Sanden of InTheLoop fame doesn’t need Friday the 13th or terrorism to feel the effects of a tough week.

Can we reschedule?

Well, it looks like today isn’t that unlucky for the IntheLoop’ers after all as they have a Joa Cao song going viral in Louisiana

What are you talking about?


Talking Minnesotan – 11/06/09

Image Soirée au MIA upoaded by Minneapolis Institute of of Arts —– Check out their calendar of events

I think this next item is really cool, Bob Collins and Mary Lucia have put their 5:15 segment online. I know with many folk Bob and Mary can inspire a love’em or hate’em situation, well you can put me in the love’em camp.
MPR News Cut: Fresh Eye on the Radio
Give it a listen.

*Update*Speaking of MPR,if you haven’t seen David Brauer’s, of Minnpost, piece on MPR Executive Pay check it out, especially the comments.

While Secrets of the City has art The Affair
scandalOnline Protest Promotes Viewer Interaction

Citypages trys to help out Snoop, who was in town last night, with Advice for Snoop Dogg on getting high in the Twin Cities

My only advice to the Snoop Dogg would be don’t exhale, but I’ll bet he knows that already.

Since Crazy stays crazy

I’ll close it out with: Smart went crazy



Local boy gone bad, Tom Petters,  now claims to be running from the mob. According to WCCO:

…In another indication of his state of mind, Petters also expressed fear that two investors who stood to lose up to $19 million, and who he claimed had mob connections, would try to kill him.

When I was in high school, I worked for Petters Warehouse Direct. For some reason it always felt like some giant, semi-organized garage sale. At one point in time I met Petters at a company function. He informed me that “You kids should be skipping out on the big name gum, and using Breath Blasters”. I found out that Breath Blasters were re-packaged Certs that we sold in the stores. 3 days later another employee and I made a sketch comedy bit about how Petters would use these Breath Blasters to take over the world. I guess we were visionaries-far ahead of our time. Breath Blasters, ponzi scheme, hey, it’s all the same.

Because there’s no important work in Washington D.C.

In myth and legend there’s a magical place East of Minnesota where lawyers go to bask in the glow of happy unicorns. This amazing fabled land is called D.C. and it’s a land of great wealth and everyday is sunny, also everyone gets a balloon when they leave their apartment in the morning and magical faeries called lobbyists sprinkle pixie dust on important government representatives. Oh, and even the most moral get their fill of hookers.

It’s a magical realm,but even with all this glory and happiness it can be a sad land. You see, there just aren’t enough real issues to be legislated. So the important government representatives have to occasionally shake off their hookers, wipe the pixie dust from their clothes, and have a congressional hearing.

The pioneerpress reports House subcommittee chairman: We’re here to help NFL, Vikings’ Kevin and Pat Williams resolve differences

‘It is in all of our best interests for these parties to reach an agreement on this enormously important matter.”

Isn’t that nice? Those important lawmakers want to help those big fat rich men get along with their big fat rich bosses.

Thank God, there isn’t a war going on, or an economy that is in shambles, or a kitten caught in a tree.

It’d be terrible if our esteemed Representatives were to get distracted from the important business of the NFL.



Corn Ethanol Fails Again

The strib reports MPCA hits Minn. ethanol producer with $425k penalty

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) said today that the violations by Bushmills Ethanol Inc. of Atwater stretched from 2006 to 2009. They included producing ethanol beyond the facility’s permitted capacity, failure to inspect and maintain production and pollution-control equipment, and exceeding allowable wastewater discharge limits.

Because of Bushmill’s violations, the MPCA said in a statement, the cooperative of more than 400 farmers “created a situation where the facility could potentially emit more regulated air pollutants than allowed by its permit.”

I just want to know when we start to get holding the flaks, that push the BS as “green”, responsible for the damage?

This line really strikes me as interesting “could potentially emit more regulated air pollutants than allowed by its permit”

Hmmm, if only Minnesota had a group that was constantly harping about any air pollutants being bad air pollutants.

… that is if only they weren’t in bed with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. . .

Even More New Authors!

lake harriet bandshell

Lake Harriet Bandshell uploaded by cichlee {novella}

Just the other day I was contemplating, much like the above image, about bringing on even more authors.

Unlike the beautiful image above I wasn’t enjoying the serene beauty of our lakes, I was being tossed out of a car at 50mph for not paying a debt in a timely fashion. ( Grandmas, what are you going to do right? )

That’s when it hit me, the road. Just kidding, it was the car behind us. No really, I think it was Bob Dylan on a motorscooter.

I digress.

What I really mean to say is more awesome writers!

Jon will be covering local outdoors, biking, and whatever else catches his interest.

Meghan likes to write about music and set things on fire. She can actually burn down a rock pile with just an ice cube and flynt.

And last to the party will be, Kara who will be starting mid-November and is going to take up the helm of fashion and intrigue . You may know Kara from MnDaily where she’s been rocking the fashion scene.

Please treat the new authors right, they are friendly, but armed and extremely dangerous.


NWA Flight Misses MSP by 150 miles.

Bob Collins breaks the story

And a few moments ago, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a news release detailing a puzzling lapse by a Northwest Airlines flight crew over Minneapolis yesterday: On Wednesday, October 21, 2009, at 5:56 pm mountain daylight time, an Airbus A320, N03274, operating as Northwest Airlines (NWA) flight 188, became a NORDO (no radio communications) flight at 37,000 feet.

The flight was operating as a Part 121 flight from San Diego International Airport, San Diego, California (SAN) to MSP with 147 passengers and unknown number of crew.

At 7:58 pm central daylight time (CDT), the aircraft flew over the destination airport and continued northeast for approximately 150 miles. The MSP center controller reestablished communications with the crew at 8:14 pm and reportedly stated that the crew had become distracted and had overflown MSP, and requested to return to MSP.

Now, we could wait for a rational or reasonable explanation OR we could speculate wildy.

I think you know which I prefer.



A Bob Dylan Christmas Album

Last night, there I was minding my own business when suddenly I was accosted by Bob Dylan and Christmas songs.



Bob Collins has the scoop and a few sample songs with Ho ho ho! It’s… Bob Dylan?

Here’s my favorite comment

Matt in Woodbury: “Dylan sounds like a dying walrus that got kicked out of his boys’ choir. This album is worse than snow in October.”

Give it a listen. What do you think?

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