Daily Digest: Sex offenders,Dream Act, Detroit and Spider-man

Jessica Van Berkel

A report by mental health professionals that made a case for expansion of treatment and community resources to sex offenders was heavily edited by Cal Ludeman, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s commissioner of Human Services, according to the Star Tribune. Ludeman told the Strib he cut more than 35 pages of the 63-page report because it didn’t fit with the Pawlenty administration’s approach of higher prison sentences and “promised too much.” He also deleted a section on improving youth and parents’ education about sex offenders, because he thought legislators would not be interested in it. Some legislators disagree, and said the report as it was released to them concealed the truth. Minnesota’s offender program has tripled over the past eight years, and costs of confining offenders have skyrocketed.

After the Dream Act, which would’ve given more than a million illegal immigrants a road to legal residency, failed in the US Senate, thousands of students who spoke out in favor of the legislation are waiting – their statuses bared. The failed passage of the bill hit many of the optimistic young immigrants hard, The New York Times reported. While immigration officials are not focusing on deporting college students who immigrated illegally but have no criminal history, Homeland Security has rejected the any broad freeze on deportations of such students.

If you think Minneapolis’ budget is dire, take a look at Detroit. With a $155 million hole in the annual budget and long-term debt at $5.7 billion, the city’s new mayor, Dave Bing, is looking at other routes to solvency. He’s calling out for anyone – anyone – to submit a plan to save his city, according to the Washington Post. Responses came from across the U.S. Possible plans: breaking up parts of the city into urban farming developments, or encouraging cops and firefighters to move in-town by selling homes for less than $1,000. The mayor has not yet signed off on any one plan.

The most expensive – and perhaps most dangerous – Broadway show ever, “Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark” began preview performances recently. The play is filled with special effects, like performers swinging on cables over head, but little acting chemistry, according to New York Times’ reviewer Ben Brantley. It’s been plagued with accident after accident, with four actors already injured while working on it. The stream of incidents must be capitalized on, Brantley warns, as they are the only entertaining part of this $65 million musical. The play has become the brunt of jokes nationwide, including Joan Rivers’ stand-up act, in which she asks the audience for a moment of silence for “those Americans risking their lives daily — in ‘Spider-Man’ the musical,” according to The Times.