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Pawlenty drags heels on climate change?

Is Tim Pawlenty cooling on the subject of climate change? ClimateWire, via the New York Times, speculates on a seeming shift in rhetoric from the outgoing  governor, pointing out that he once supported some bold initiatives to cut greenhouse gas initiatives but now is tarrying on taking any action on a list of recommendations that Pawlety himself requested from the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group. Pawlenty's bitterest critic in the story is Rep. Bill Hilty, the Democratic chairman of the state's House Energy Committee, who says, "What we're seeing from our governor currently is all focused on his national political ambitions."

Say what you will about Sen. Amy Klobuchar, but she knows how to make a conference call. As Jessica Mador at Minnesota Public News explains, Klobuchar spent part of Sunday night on the telephone with about 10,000 people in a "telephone town hall" to discuss health care reform, answering questions such as "If the new plan will address this issue at all to help people not have to choose between health and food?" Unlike Representative Barney Frank, Klobuchar was not met with protesters waving photos of Obama with a Hitler mustache -- or, who knows, maybe she was; the telephone is not an especially visual medium. Nonetheless, Klobuchar's callers were respectful, despite being on what she considered to be the "more conservative" end of the spectrum, as reported by the Pioneer Press' Bill Salisbury.

In fact, it seems to have been a relatively quiet weekend as far as health care protests go in the Great Northwest. Protesters did show up at what they apparently believed to be a town hall meeting in St. Paul Saturday, but, as WCCO's John Lauritsen explains, it wasn't a town hall at all, but a rally organized by Democrats to support health care reform, including speeches by Congressman Keith Ellison, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, and Mayors R.T. Rybak and Chris Coleman. One attendee was surprised to have to check a box saying whether she supported or opposed Obama's plan, and, when she indicated she did not, was directed to stand behind a rope with protesters.

"Deplane" is a wonderfully specific word, in that it refers to one very specific action: the act of getting off an airplane. (When "Fantasy Island" was still on television, thanks to Herve Villechaize's thick Parisian accent, it had a second meaning.) It's been an especially bad month for deplaning for Minnesotans, with passengers from Continental Express Flight 2816 stranded on the tarmac for six hours earlier this month (an MPR story includes quotes from the pilot pleading for her passengers: "We just need to work out some way to get them off ... We can't keep them here any longer."); then, on Friday, Sun Country Flight 242, traveling from New York to the Twin Cities, sat on the tarmac for six hours, as the Star Tribune reports. ln in the meanwhile, Minnesota-bound passengers on Delta Flight 1140 were also trapped in New York for four hours, as KARE 11's Renee Tessman tells us.

Two New York lawmakers, Sen. Charles Schumer and New York State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris have already proposed a federal bill that would limit the amount of time passengers can be kept on an airplane, according to the AP; the news agency further reported that Sun Country is already planning to voluntarily impose similar limitations, but the Sun Country passengers have their own suggestions for how the company can make it up to them. "It was a nightmare," one passenger told the AP. "They should give us a free trip."

Despite getting hit by a tornado, which one local pastor claimed indicated a sign of divine displeasure ("the tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin"), the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America voted Friday to repeal the denomination's ban on pastors in same-sex relationships. Several local news sources, including KARE11 and FOX9, published the story describing these potential clergy as "sexually active gays," which sounds somewhat titillating, an updating of England's stock comic character, the randy vicar.

The Associated Press looks into reactions to the ELCA's decision and finds that they are mixed. While some conservative ministers who disagree with the decision have decided not to make a break from the church, the story quotes one minister as saying that he believes "a majority of his congregation would want to now break away from the ELCA." Maya Nishikawa of WCCO quotes a member of Lutheran CORE, a group that opposed the decision: "It opens the door completely, not only for practicing homosexuals to serve as ordained pastors and lay ministers, but it opens the door eventually for the ELCA to redefining marriage to include gay marriage and who knows what else." What else indeed? Can marriages between a man and a tornado be far behind?

In related news, Steve Rosenbaum, writing for the American Jewish World and republished in the Twin Cities Daily Planet, informs us that Temple of Aaron in St. Paul will start sanctifying same-sex marriages.

Now is the time when Minnesotan's fancies turn lightly to thoughts of food on sticks; we are, after all, just days before the start of the Minnesota State Fair. Gladiatorially speaking, Minnesotans tend to understand their Fair as some sort of camp spectacle, and so the question that intrigues us the most is "What new food will we put on a stick?" WCCO dives straight in, informing us that there, somehow, will be beer on a stick. The Associated Press offers a sampling of what else we can expect: "footlong dessert pizza, the Fry Dog -- a deep-fried hot dog encrusted with french fries -- and peach-glazed pork cheeks."

Right fielder Michael Cuddyer managed to make Twins history Sunday in Kansas City, as reported by the Associated Press: He hit two home runs in a single inning.

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