News Day: Mad Michelle Minutes / Sun setting for local media chain? / The virus formerly known as swine / more

Mad Michelle Minute Today’s Michelle Bachmann updates: Making hate crimes illegal means protecting pedophiles and not protecting 85-year-old grandmothers and FDR’s “Hoot-Smawley” tariffs turned a recession into the Great Depression. Of course, that’s actually the tariff authored by Republican Senators Smoot and Hawley, and signed by Republican President Herbert Hoover. Thanks to Minnesota Independent and TPM for today’s Michelle Minute.

More bad news in local media David Brauer at Braublog continues to keep us up-to-date on media news, and that’s usually bad news.

• Now the American Community Newspaper newspaper chain, which includes more than 40 local suburban Sun newspapers, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. “No impact on day-to-day operations” is the usual mantra, but nobody believes that.

• Over at the University of St. Thomas, the student newspaper is being killed to make way for TommieMedia.com, “a future one-stop shop for student-produced radio, broadcast and ‘print’ media.”

• Not that they have every been great local news sources, but now the local Clear Channel stations ((KFAN, K102, KOOL 108, KDWB, Cities 97) will get their news feeds from Colorado.

The virus formerly known as swine Now that the first MN case has been confirmed, the MN health commissioner has asked that we all learn to say “H1N1 novel influenza” instead of “swine flu.” Anybody think that’s going to catch on? There’s a good reason – too many people here and around the world are afraid you can get The Disease by eating pork, and that’s killing pork prices. (In Egypt, the government has ordered the slaughter of all pigs – an estimated 300,000 in the country.) For better answers, take a look at Pandemic and panic: Swine flu Q&A.

Medical marijuana The MN Senate passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana – on to the House – and then to T-Paw’s veto.

Schools going down for the count The Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) has counted the damages from legislative education funding proposals, and the numbers are bad, report the PiPress, the Strib. and . Bottom line: Metro area school districts would have to cut $135.7 million to $222.5 million next year under the House and Senate budgets. That translates to job cuts for 1,200 employees at more than 30 metro districts, with 512 to 854 layoffs targeting teachers.

Scott Croonquist, executive director of AMSD, says “The governor has the best proposal on the table right now, absolutely,” since T-Paw’s plan gives a slight increase in funding in year two of the biennium, albeit targeting that funding to specific schools under Q-Comp.

Minnesota 2020 has surveyed rural schools, and reports grim prospects for cuts there as well.

The districts reported that on average they plan to lay off 4 percent of their faculty, 5 percent of administration and 6.5 percent of non-licensed staff to make ends meet.

MN Job Watch From the U.S. Department of Labor: New unemployment claims for the week ending April 25 stood at 631,000, down from the previous week’s revised figure of 645,000. According to AP, the total number of people receiving unemployment benefits increased to 6.3 million, the highest number since 1967.

National/World headlines

BBC: Watch out, Google! Here comes Wolfram Alpha, which”is like plugging into a vast electronic brain,” according to one expert. “It computes answers – it doesn’t merely look them up in a big database.”

BBC: Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish targets in northern Iraq, hours after the deaths of 10 Turkish soldiers in two separate attacks that were blamed on the rebels.

Daily Kos: Fox refused to carry the president’s press conference – and President Obama didn’t call on Fox for a question, though he did call on all the major networks. The Daily Kos says “Amen — there’s no reason to pretend that Fox is anything but a GOP propaganda tool.

• Congress passed a non-binding budget resolution — with no GOP votes.

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