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Crime and punishment


Minneapolis Crime Rates Continue to Fall as Unemployment Rises

As unemployment rises month-by-month in Minneapolis, along with the rest of the Gopher State, serious violent and property crimes continue to fall in Minnesota's most populated city at an impressive rate. Minneapolis' non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate hit 7.1 percent in February - its highest rate in decades. However, even though...

Why MinnPost's Plea for Forgiveness of Minnesota's Famous Fugitive Is Unfounded

In his recent column, “What happened to the concept of forgiveness in the Sara Jane Olson case?,” MinnPosts’ Doug Grow, in just a shade over 1,000 words, not only advocates for the return of convicted felon Sara Jane Olson (née Kathleen Soliah) back to Minnesota to serve out her parole,...

Marijuana Arrests Decline As Legislative Support for Medicinal Use Builds

A bipartisan group of Minnesota legislators made an impassioned plea last week, hoping to build political momentum for the legalization of medical marijuana in the Gopher State. While neither Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher nor GOP Minority Leader Marty Seifert have endorsed such a bill on the House side, neither have...

How Bad Are Things In Minnesota, Really?

From the rising unemployment numbers to the state budget crisis, the news in Minnesota seems to be getting worse and worse. Adding insult to injury came the recent news last week that Minneapolis ranked as the fourth least desirable metropolitan area to where Americans would like to move out of...

Crime and the Minnesota Economy Revisited: Brace for Property Crime Surge

At about the same time Smart Politics posited the question as to what effect, if any, the rising unemployment rate and economic downturn would have on the state’s violent crime rate, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak’s office issued a press release documenting how violent crime has declined in every Minneapolis precinct...

Will Violent Crime in Minnesota Increase Along With the Jobless Rate?

The news released on Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development that Minnesota’s unemployment rate had reached 6.4 percent, prompted Smart Politics to examine how the current jobless trend, and specifically the large rate of job loss, is unprecedented, going back decades in the state. The problems...

Gun Ownership Upper Midwestern Snapshot

The mass murders at Virginia Tech University this week have inspired those in gun control circles to renew their pressure on politicians to reexamine our nation's gun laws; it has also caused 2nd Amendment strict constructionists to dig in deeper to fight against such changes. In their coverage of the...

Death Penalty Debate Continues in Wisconsin

Even though Democratic Governor Jim Doyle has resolved to veto any legislation coming out of Madison that supports the introduction of the death penalty in the Badger State, seven Republican Assemblymen sponsored a bill on Wednesday that would execute "vicious" murderers. Even if the bill passed an Assembly floor vote...

Scooter Libby Felony Conviction Fallout

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's conviction of four felony counts of lying under oath and obstruction of justice on Tuesday marked the highest-ranking White House official to be convicted in a federal investigation since the Reagan Iran-Contra scandal. Libby will likely appeal the verdict and he remains out of prison...

Censuring the Media's Censure Coverage of SD Senator-Page Scandal

On Wednesday the South Dakota State Senate voted 32-2 to censure Democratic Senator Dan Sutton, in the wake of allegations that Sutton groped a male page in a hotel room in 2006. While the charges are disturbing in and of themselves, the media's coverage of the scandal—not surprisingly—tended to...

Will Wisconsin End Unprecedented 153-Year Ban on Death Penalty?

Wisconsin is one of 13 states plus the District of Columbia that does not currently offer the death penalty as a sentencing option in its criminal courts. The death penalty was abolished in the Badger State in 1853—nearly 120 years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled state death penalty statutes...



Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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