With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Jim Spencer and intern Beena Raghavendran.

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Morning newsletter: Dayton v. Bakk feud blows up

Posted by: J. Patrick Coolican Updated: February 13, 2015 - 9:45 AM

The 2015 legislative session blew up Thursday as Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Majority Leader Tom Bakk had a brutal and very public falling out, again over the Dayton cabinet pay raises, which means the session of a $40 billion budget is imploding over $800,000. Pat Condon has the Strib story.

Dayton said he’ll no longer meet with Bakk without others present because he doesn’t trust Bakk’s word. Bakk didn’t publicly respond to the charge except for releasing a statement saying Dayton has it wrong. Speaker Kurt Daudt and the Republicans smartly stayed out of the way, but they’ll hit the pay raise issue again. And again.

The AP’s Brian Bakst contributed the tabloid headline via Twitter, “Stabbed in the Bakk.”

Dayton is in private meetings all day; at 11:40 he will provide remarks at the United Negro College Fund Leaders Luncheon on Education. (Medtronic, 710 Medtronic Parkway, Fridley.)

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith continues the Klobuchar tour with a bunch of events in International Falls: 9 a.m. snowmobilers association event; 10:30 tourism event; 12:20 at Boise Paper to talk outstate economic development; 1:15 visit to Swanky Sweet Pea Soaps (great name.)

The Legislature is off today.

The GOP-controlled House passed permanent rules Thursday, which led to some interesting fireworks. The DFL minority offered an amendment capping spending, in a bit of reverse psychology.

Rep. Ryan Winkler: “Every single one of you repeated over and over again that this body spent too much money. Well now’s your chance.”

Majority Leader Joyce Peppin responded with....Dayton cabinet pay raises.

The amendment was moved to the Rules Committee where it will die, and the DFL accused the GOP of taking the spending cap out of the hands of the members and hiding behind leadership.

Rep. Greg Davids, who is not the sveltest legislator, replied with some nice self-deprecating humor: “Hiding behind our leaders? I can’t behind anybody. It’s not gonna work.”     

Abby Simons reports on a new effort to crack down on insurance fraud, which is a big thing in Minnesota.

We’re short on farmer educators.

From Wednesday, RSB of the Pioneer Press on the rise in the number of state workers, up 5 percent since 2007. (If my math is correct, population increase during the same period is 4.8 percent.)

Washington and beyond

Rep. Tim Walz’s veteran suicide prevention bill had a White House signing ceremony Thursday.

Allison Sherry reports Klobuchar will lead on the effort to change Cuba policy.

Politico begins its insider survey on who’s going to win Iowa and New Hampshire.

Politico on Sen. Elizabeth Warren, beloved by liberals but also by the big defense industry contractors back home.

Washington Post on the changing Afghan insurgency.

Washington Post on the coming mega drought.

Finally, sad news for journalism, especially here in the Twin Cities. David Carr, a fantastic journalist and bigger-than-life character, died in the New York Times newsroom Thursday night. I always hear that endearing raspy voice when I read his work, and always will.

He’s a great leading man in the documentary Page One. This excerpt from his remarkable memoir, much of which takes place in Minneapolis drug dens, is a great piece of writing. This investigation of the Tribune Company (not us, the one in Chicago) is one of the most brutal takedowns you’ll ever read. Here’s the Strib obit.

Our newsletter is late this morning because I was up late reading the Twitter wake. The man seems to have been mentor to and friends with half the world. 

As it happens, I kept coming across pieces on shame and redemption and forgiveness this week that were to be the weekend reads. These were often Carr’s subjects even though his beat was media. He would have loved this magazine story about the return of public shaming via social media. And, David Brooks on forgiveness.

Minnesota tourism exec added to Brand USA board

Posted by: Jim Spencer Updated: February 12, 2015 - 10:08 AM

John Edman, the CEO of the tourism promotion group Explore Minnesota, has been added to the board of Brand USA, the national public-private partnership that promotes America as a  tourist destination to foreigners. The Secretary of Commerce appointed Edman to the 10-member board. He is one of two state travel directors on the board. Edman, who also chairs the National Council of Travel Directors, hopes to use his position to make sure that smaller tourism markets like Minnesota get a fair shake as Brand USA uses its $200 million budget to attract foreign tourists to various U.S. venues. Edman said he hopes to make Minnesota and other smaller markets "authentic, real destinations" in promotional campaigns."I want to make sure Minnesota is not just a stop-over," he said.  

Sen. Al Franken pushes television manufacturers to explain "smart TV" privacy policies

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: February 11, 2015 - 6:15 PM

WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sen. Al Franken on Wednesday pressed Samsung and LG to explain how the companies' "smart televisions" voice recognition technology works in light of media reports that the television has the capacity to capture personal conversations.

The Daily Beast reported earlier this week that Samsung smart televisions have a "listening mode" and can record personal conversations. Most worrisome to Franken is the company's privacy policy allows the company to share those conversations with third parties. 

"I'm concerned that Samsung currently does not provide consumers with the information needed to understand how their voice data may be used by third parties," he said, in a statement. "Consumers must be able to make informed decisions about whether and with whom they share that information."

Franken is the highest ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and Law. He is amid a similar battle with Uber, the popular ride-sharing company, regarding how the company may share private rider information with third parties. 

Former Minnesota GOP operative Jeff Larson to run 2016 convention

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: February 11, 2015 - 10:59 AM

WASHINGTON -- Former Minnesota GOP operative Jeff Larson was largely credited for saving struggling Republicans in 2008 who were trying to plan the Republican National Convention in St. Paul -- even personally paying a bill for more than $130,000 to outfit then veep-nominee Sarah Palin.

On Wednesday, he was tapped again by the Republican National Committee to run the 2016 four-day event in Cleveland.

Larson, a former adviser to Sen. Norm Coleman, ran the independent expenditures arm for the National Republican Senatorial Committee last year and was appointed to be a senior adviser to the RNC a couple weeks ago. 

"As chief of staff in 2011 and 2012, Jeff helped us right the ship at the RNC when we overcame a $25 million debt to break fundraising records," said Republican chairman Reince Priebus, in a statement. "I am confident that Jeff will serve our party well in both of his new roles."  

The soft-spoken Larson, who still splits his time between the east coast and Wisconsin, said in a statement he was honored and would work to execute a successful national convention "to showcase not only our nominee but also our party's vision for the future of the country."

Biden to give Duluth officer country's top valor award

Posted by: Jim Spencer Updated: February 11, 2015 - 5:39 AM

Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will honor Duluth Police Sgt. Brad Wick this morning with a Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor, the country’s highest honor for law enforcement.

Wick was recognized for his actions during a 2011 chase to stop suspects who had robbed a drug store and stolen a car at gunpoint.

During the chase, the suspects entered a house and shot a woman inside. Police, including Wick and his K9 Abe, faced gunfire as they followed the suspects into the house. Wick fatally wounded one of the suspects ending what was turning into a hostage situation. The wounded resident of the home survived.

The White House presents the Medal of Valor to public safety officers nominated by the chiefs or directors of their employing agencies and recommended by the Medal of Valor Review Board.


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