Politics with J. Patrick Coolican

Papa is not a rolling stone

Good morning.

A programming note: This is my final day of work before a six week paternity leave. (Here's a GIF of the boy at his angriest.) I’ll be out of town, off Twitter (thank goodness) and only occasionally checking email. The newsletter will run Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in my absence. Maya Rao and Jen Brooks, both in Washington, will pick up most of the duties, which is good because that's where the action is right now.

So, on my last day for a while, I'm clearing out the "newsletter fodder" file, including recurring interests: Policing powers; college tuition; redemption for the fallen; Biblical wisdom; Middle Eastern politics; etc.

The sense of disbelief and outrage about the Castile killing isn't just coming from the expected quarters. Rod Dreher, a conservative Catholic who says he's usually pro-cop, seems utterly bereft in this questioning piece:

I’m concerned that there’s a connection between our collective habit of deferring to the generals (or at least the idea that the military knows best) and a culture of policing that results in events like Castile’s killing, and the cop who did it getting away with it. Do we really believe as a people that those who bear arms in the service of the state have the right do fulfill their mission by any means necessary?

Star Tribune op-ed page, two criminologists argue the Supreme Court's Graham v. Connor ruling allowing police to use the feared-for-my-life defense makes almost any police behavior legal.

Cops endorse Graham vs. Connor because if the law placed a heavier burden on police in deadly force scenarios, they might hesitate in the face of real danger and become another statistic. A common phrase among cops is, “Better to be judged by 12 than carried by six.” We would add, even better when 12 almost always acquit, persuaded not by facts but by emotion. “Better to be without logic than without feeling,” wrote Charlotte Brontë. When cops shoot first, however, it is someone else who is carried by six.

Release from U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, who we know is running for governor based on the careful wording of this statement about the video of a police officer beating a motorist:

“Like many Minnesotans, I found the video released today deeply disturbing. I have had a chance to speak with local officials and leaders in the community and believe all parties are passionate in pursuing justice. I will continue closely monitoring this situation. Addressing situations like this one in our communities and in Minnesota is an absolute necessity and we are all in this together.”

Few know the state budget better than longtime finance chair Sen. Richard Cohen, and he argues in this opinion piece that there's trouble ahead.

Doctor and Sen. Scott Jensen with a subtle piece, also on our op-ed page, about his impressions of his first session. Here's the Chaska Republican's close:

I am a rookie senator, and I’ve had the chance to look the enemy of good government straight in the eye — the enemy is all of us with our never-ending rants and demands and divisiveness. Together we must find a way to join forces to make common sense more common, political gamesmanship less prevalent, vulture-like behaviors less accepted and respectful disagreements part of our discourse. We can do better.

If you read the piece you'll note how he stands apart from -- and above -- his colleagues. Which will not endear him to them. But he may have bigger aspirations then the state Senate.

Tuition increases at both the U and Minnesota State now in place. I fell upon this: Mitch Daniels, former OMB director under W. Bush, is president of Purdue and they have maintained flat tuition five years in a row. That means three graduating Purdue classes are leaving without paying more for tuition their entire university career. Same with room and board. Purdue’s in-state tuition will (again) be $10,002. University of Minnesota in-state? $12,800. What are they doing at Purdue? (Are they getting more state support than our U? I doubt it, but I'll be happily proven wrong.) Can we replicate what they're doing here? Or do we thumb our noses because it's Indiana and Daniels is a Republican?

I missed this striking quote in a Tim Pugmire story for MPR:

Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, who chairs the Senate tax committee, says the tobacco tax breaks were never a priority for the Senate. But said that later changed when leaders got involved in negotiations. "Occasionally, as it is with any piece of legislation, any bill, sometimes you have to take something that somebody tells you to take," Chamberlain said. "So, we were instructed to include the tobacco provisions, and that's what we did."

Wow. What are we to make of that? Seems like a piece from earlier this year about how the tobacco industry continues to wield influence turned out to be prescient.

Liberal leaning North Star Policy Institute with its own take on the "price of government" debate I got tangled up in earlier in the week.

Bluestem Prairie thinks my item the other day on Minneapolis "Chief Resilience Officer" was a cheap shot and then turns her rhetorical fire on a favorite target, Rep. Tim Miller. And she's right, contra Miller on Facebook, it's grant funded, not taxpayer funded. I'm sure Miller will correct his error any minute now. People do that on Facebook all the time, right?

Another older story that I missed during the end of session, this one from the Minneapolis mayor's race, in which the lefty groups essentially demand that the candidates abdicate their decisionmaking to the groups, to "co-govern." Rep. Ray Dehn agreed to it. Fascinating. I ran into a "Our Revolution" guy at Lund's and he was laughing at their good fortune. What a world.

Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine....Drawn to this story about a special summer camp for autistic kids. And, this older Shannon Prather story with a great David Joles front page photo about teaching disadvantaged kids how to swim, trying to turn around a depressing stat: Black children are five times more likely to drown in a swimming pool as white kids.

George Will with a lovely column about some prison inmates graduating from college. Curious if in the wake of his ugly conflicts with Bill O'Reilly and Donald Trump, Will is undergoing some late-in-life introversion about what-it-all-means.

Educational "Data Drop" from MaryJo Webster about the composition of the population of Minnesota in 1870, when more than one-third of the population was foreign born. How did we survive the foreign hordes? Wonder if they could get driver's licenses.

There were no women's restrooms in the original Capitol. Briana Bierschbach with a good piece on the women who helped restore the Capitol to its original glory, a building originally built with only men in mind. 

Nice profile of Latanya Daniels, a great school principal in Richfield.

Admittedly self-indulgent link: The reading habits of prominent journalists. During my paternity leave and break from news, I’m going to try to read a few books, insofar as it's possible with a newborn. This reminds me: I wanna build some floating bookshelves. (Meaning, pay someone to do it -- you didn't think I could build something, did you?) Anyone know a good carpenter?


The conventional wisdom is that Israel's occupation is not sustainable. But what if it can go on in perpetuity? Nathan Thrall makes the case -- a depressing one -- that change and progress are not inevitable, especially because the Palestinians have no leverage, and thus the Israelis have almost no incentive for change.

Bummer: My DQ on Snelling is closed for good.

So now I've read "1984," and the experience of reading it properly mirrors the deadening effects of the totalitarian state it depicts. Interesting that at heart, it is a love story, and the act of love a defiant one against the State:

But you could not have pure love or pure lust nowadays. No emotion was pure, because everything was mixed up with fear and hatred. Their embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act.

Correspond: and @jpcoolican.

Have a good six weeks everyone!

-- J. Patrick Coolican



Weather Traffic
from the homepage
Twin Cities Pride officials reverse course, invite police to march in parade
Shooting leaves one dead at storage business in Minnetonka
Baby girl run over by grandma in Anoka County but expected to survive

most read

Connect with starTribune Twitter Facebook RSS