Sometime news is hard to swallow or understand

Luther Dorr

Luther Dorr

Back in the days when I was a full-time editor I read, or scanned, at least 15 to 20 weekly newspapers each week, as well as reading the daily papers from Minneapolis, St. Paul and St. Cloud.

I’d throw in an occasional USA Today, as well as a New York Times here and there, and also read newspapers from other major cities when on vacation, or passing through an airport.

I don’t read newspapers online, although if I had a computer perhaps I would, at least to keep up with some of the good baseball writers around the country.

I get my news these days mainly from the StarTribune and from the radio, although I try to watch TV news at least once a day. Here are some examples.

How about this? News came recently that Supervalu Inc. is selling four of its largest supermarket chains (Albertson’s and three others.) And the guy who made the deal, the CEO, will get about $12.5 million for eight months of work.

Does that fit the meaning of corporate greed for you? Or should we just look the other way and smile?

There’s no smiling about the gas situation this week. A few days ago it was selling for $2.88 a gallon, slipped up to $3.09, then slipped up to $3.29, and on Monday went to $3.39. That’s 51 cents more a gallon, or $8 to $10 more a tank for lots of drivers.

How can an 18-percent increase in just a few days be justified? I have a feeling they’re not going to tell us.

Saturday in the StarTribune there was a story about a Minnesota DNR manager who improperly accessed driver’s license data on 5,000 people. In five years he made 19,000 queries, 11,800 of them while off-duty, the story said. Ninety percent of the queries were for females and included checking on “victims of various tragedies.”

And get this: This guy, John Hunt, had been designated by the DNR to be among those in charge of open records requests.

Small wonder that there is mistrust of people in high places, huh?

A nice news note was that President Obama’s new chief of staff is a guy from Stillwater who played football at St. John’s University in Collegeville.

And then there’s our governor, the one who wants to raise some sales taxes, lower some others, and give us all a $500 property tax rebate, regardless of income, so we don’t get mad at him. Should we care that, back in 2010, he attacked Republicans who talked about a sales tax on clothing, saying we would then be a bunch of tax collectors.

Gov. Dayton met with the editorial board of ECM Publishers on Tuesday, a day after this column was written, and maybe he has some good reasons. And, like any other politician, he has the right to change his mind.

But, for now,  I’m not sure I want to pay a sales tax on haircuts, car repairs and downloaded novels.

Remember when ethanol plants were the rage? A struggling ethanol plant in Heron Lake Minn., the StarTribune reported, is being sold for $55 million, It’s owned by 1,100 investors, many of them farmers, but the story said the owners are unlikely to recoup much of their investment. The plant has $45 million in debt.

All cities need a mayor like Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City. He has now given $1.1 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University. And the 70-year-old plans to give away his $25 billion fortune before he dies. Admirable, huh?

The Minneapolis paper had this clever headline Sunday: “A license to strip? Proposal is laid bare.” The subhead told us that the city of Moorhead is expected to pass an ordinance requiring adult entertainers to be licensed.

And here’s something scary, IF you’re a tweeter. The Library of Congress is keeping records of the daily tweets on Twitter. There are already 170 billion filed away and now a half billion tweets a day are being archived, compared to only 140,000  total in 2006 when the madness of saving the madness began.

I’m not a tweeter and hope never to be one.

To prove that it’s sometimes easy to think the world is headed you know where, did you hear today (Monday) that some nut measured a Subway foot-long, found it to be an inch  short, and is suing Subway? He’s purchased a foot-long a week for 14 years, he said, and here’s his chance to make some money. You hope that one never makes it to court in a society gone crazy with litigation.

(Subway, by the way, is now the world’s largest fast food chain. Who’d have thunk it?)

And Friday, Feb. 1, a Wal-Mart will open on the west side of Princeton, causing some consternation, I’m sure, at Teals Market in Milaca and Coborn’s in Princeton.

And the world keeps spinning.

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