Daily Digest: MN gets Times treatment, Sandusky to see grandkids, Mpls wants to monitor monuments

Katherine Lymn

 Your Daily Digest for Monday, Feb. 13:

The New York Times featured Minnesota in a Sunday story about how those critical of big government also take advantage of it. Ki Gulbranson of Chisago County for example, supports the Tea Party yet relies on something called “earned-income tax credit,” has signed up his three school-age children to eat free meals at federal expense and Medicare aid paid for two hip surgeries for his mother. Gulbranson and “many other residents who describe themselves as self-sufficient members of the American middle class and as opponents of government largess are drawing more deeply on that government with each passing year,” the Times reported. In Gulbranson’s county, each resident got an average of $6,583 in benefitsin 2009, an inflation-adjusted jump of almost 70 percent from 2000. Part of that is a “secondary mission” — aside from helping the poor — to protect the middle class. “They are frustrated that they need help, feel guilty for taking it and resent the government for providing it.”

The Times also interviews Dartmouth poli-sci Professor Dean P. Lacy who found that in the last generation, support for Republican candidates, who usually want to cut government, has increased since 1980 in states where the federal government spends more than it collects. “The greater the dependence, the greater the support for Republican candidates.”

Per his request, former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky will have an in-county trial and be allowed to see some of his grandkids, the Associated Press reports. The judge who granted the requests said jury selection will be difficult given pretrial publicity and Penn State’s role in the community. He said he would reconsider the ruling if the jury selection timeframe becomes unreasonable. Sandusky is in home confinement as he awaits trial. He is allowed limited adult visitors and supervised visits of all but three of his grandchildren who are the subject of custody litigation.

The Minneapolis Arts Commission’s Public Art Advisory Panel has drafted a policy that would give the city power over who and what gets memorialized on public property, a lá Mary Tyler Moore. The Strib reported that in determining if someone or something is significant enough for a monument, the City Council would consider:

• “Has the person(s) or event made a substantial historical, social, cultural or economic impact upon the city, state, country or cultural community within the city? Do they represent the city’s highest ideals?”

• “Will the memorial or tribute have timeless qualities and make a statement of significance to future generations?”

• “Is the memorial or tribute consistent with the city’s Preservation Plan and other plans?”

• “Is the memorial or tribute unique? (Multiple memorials or tributes for similar groups are discouraged.)”

It’s an “important civic discussion,” said Mary Altman, the city’s public arts commissioner. “Who should we pay tribute to in the city?”