Non-California nuttiness for a change

Oct. 21, 2012

By John Seiler

It’s a statistical fact that 99 percent of the nuttiness in America originates in California. But that leaves 1 percent from elsewhere. A lot of that 1 percent starts in Minnesota. Look at the joke senator named Al Franken, whose career as a comedy writer made fun of just the kind of hack politician he turned out to be.

But the latest Minnesota madness is that the state has banned its residents from taking free on-line courses without the state government’s OK.

What?

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports:

“Coursera offers free, online courses to people around the world, but if you live in Minnesota, company officials are urging you to log off or head for the border.

“The state’s Office of Higher Education has informed the popular provider of massive open online courses, or MOOC’s, that Coursera is unwelcome in the state because it never got permission to operate there.”

At first I thought this was a spoof out of the Onion. But Coursera, which is located in Mountain View, published this on its Web site under “Terms of Service“:

“Notice for Minnesota Users

“Coursera has been informed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that under Minnesota Statutes (136A.61 to 136A.71), a university cannot offer online courses to Minnesota residents unless the university has received authorization from the State of Minnesota to do so. If you are a resident of Minnesota, you agree that either (1) you will not take courses on Coursera, or (2) for each class that you take, the majority of work you do for the class will be done from outside the State of Minnesota.”

So, will the Minnesota government spy on Minnesotans to find out who’s taking free Coursera courses? Will Minnesota invade California to shut down Coursera?

Maybe the answers will come in a Coursera class beginning next March: “A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior.”

9 comments

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  1. Queeg
    Queeg 21 October, 2012, 08:33

    Yawn….not red meat boys!

    Reply this comment
  2. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 21 October, 2012, 11:36

    It’s obvious to any red blooded American that what Minnesota officials need to do is hire 1,000 more education police, form hundreds of education SWAT teams and then go house to house conducting no knock raids.

    This policy will make an example of scofflaws seeking free enlightenment and show the way for the rest of the sheeple. All those seeking free education are enemies of the state. A year in state prison and a $10,000 fine will set their minds right!

    NO EDUCATION WITHOUT TAXATION!

    Reply this comment
  3. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 21 October, 2012, 11:38

    That file photo of Al Franken reminds me of something,

    The dude is one goofy looking bastard!

    Reply this comment
  4. Douglas
    Douglas 21 October, 2012, 11:49

    Will Oremus: (Slate)

    “In my original post, I wrote that Minnesota should win a grand prize for “most creative use of government to stifle innovation.” It’s only fair now that I also give it, if not a grand prize, at least an honorable mention for government responsiveness in the face of a backlash.”

    Maybe 99% of the nuttiness is from California “journalists” jumping headfirst into a non story.

    There was an old law meant to protect consumers. It did not envision “free” courses. They are taking care of it. Period.

    How about an honorable mention for government responsiveness?

    Reply this comment
  5. Douglas
    Douglas 21 October, 2012, 12:18

    Don’t miss this class”

    Climate Change

    This course develops an interdisciplinary understanding of the social, political, economic and scientific perspectives on climate change.

    You will learn that the issue of Climate Change is incredibly complex, however it can also be very accessible if you can see it from different perspectives and approach it with an open mind and a willingness to engage in discussion and action along with others.”

    It’s free!

    Reply this comment
  6. Mark
    Mark 21 October, 2012, 13:05

    How is Al Franken a joke Senator? Is it simply because he’s a Democrat?

    Reply this comment
  7. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 21 October, 2012, 13:10

    That file photo of Al Franken reminds me of something,
    The dude is one goofy looking bastard!

    LOL..if I HAD hair like that I would be conditioning it every night and then teasing it up into a mohawk!!!!

    Reply this comment
  8. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 22 October, 2012, 07:26

    Mark,

    Franken is a joke senator because, as I said, he joked about political hacks for 30 years on TV, then became one. For example, his 2008 campaign ads made it look like he was against the Iraq War because that was popular in Minnesota; but his actual position was to support it. He’s continued like that in office with few positions that break from the Dem Party line.

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  9. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 October, 2012, 10:08

    I agree Franken IS a hack, and has drank the kool aid and disagree with him on many, if not all, issues, but I respect the fact that he does take politics seriously and won election in a competitive race for a very exclusive club, the US Senate.

    Reply this comment

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