A mixture or collection of different things
by Steve Timmer
Jan 17, 2015, 2:00 PM

Miscellany 1-17-15

It frequently happens that an interesting item will come along that I would like to comment on or provide a link to, but it isn’t material for a whole story. That’s where the idea of Miscellany was born. It won’t be an aggregator, exactly, and I won’t do it with any predictable regularity. Each issue of Miscellany will be dated to help you keep them straight.

I’ll probably get another graphic at some point, too.

– o O o –

The big news is the the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis declared bankruptcy on Friday, January 16th. The move was not unexpected; it was the 12th in the nation to do so. The immediate cause of the bankruptcy filing is a spate of clergy-abuse lawsuits that were coming shortly to trial. The longer term cause is the spate of clergy-abuse lawsuits yet to come to trial.

The bankruptcy will put a cap on the archdiocese’s liability for clergy abuse, and a method of paying it out that won’t include submitting to a bunch of juries that would undoubtedly be horrified at what they hear.

It will be interesting to see which assets of the archdiocese are exposed in the bankruptcy, and which are not.

One bromide about the purpose of bankruptcy is to “give an honest debtor a fresh start.” If debts are incurred through moral turpitude and illegality, though, they can’t be discharged, or their discharge can be challenged, anyway.

When one surveys the decades of artful dodging by the archdiocese in denying abuse, covering it up, and moving known abusive clergy around and exposing them to more children, it is hard to imagine that dischargeability won’t be an issue.

– o O o –

In not such big news, DFL Sen. Terri Bonoff introduced a bill in the Minnesota Senate to scrap first-in-first-out rules for teacher layoffs. Strib reporters Coolican and Lopez both reported this rather breathlessly, although it’s the same bill that Bonoff has introduced in multiple sessions, which you would know if you’d been watching the Lege for a while.

You might look for more on this in a story here in a day or two, the working title of which is Along comes Terri.

– o O o –

After campaigning heavily in rural areas of the state on a platform of fixing the state’s roads and bridges, Speaker Kurt Daudt weighed in with a total of $200 million in new money for transportation in the upcoming biennium. The rest of the money that the Republicans “found” is just shifting money in the MNDOT accounts. It’s sophistry. The governor called the Republicans out; it hurt the Speaker’s feelings.

Rep. Ron Erhardt, one of, maybe the, transportation guru in the House, gave his blunt assessment:

Erhardt is the DFL lead on the Transportation Policy Committee, after being its chair last term.

– o O o –

Finally, a big “thank you” to Jon Tevlin for his remarks and great stories about column writing for the Star Tribune, delivered at Drinking Liberally on Thursday last.

Jon Tevlin at Drinking Liberally

Jon Tevlin at Drinking Liberally

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