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Reader Roundup: Franken, press freedom among comment topics

Al Franken’s first-ballot DFL endorsement in the U.S. Senate race dominated recent MinnPost comments, inspiring dozens of readers to air their views. Other topics drawing opinions included press freedom, light rail, beautiful brides (and botoxed grooms) and energy issues.

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Kaye Peters
was one of the many readers to weigh in on Doug Grow’s Saturday story, “Four-hour momentum swing boosts Franken to first-ballot DFL endorsement”:

Doug, I have to disagree with you about your assessment of Franken vs. Nelson-Pallmeyer. I have never seen Nelson-Pallmeyer outshine Franken. And today again at the convention … Franken outshined Nelson-Pallmeyer. He was responsive when Nelson-Pallmeyer was obtuse, he was generous and real. … While Nelson-Pallmeyer is a decent man of good heart, his oratorical skills lack clarity and power and he lacks the political acumen to play in one of the most political forums in the world: the U.S. Senate. I think Franken can take anything the Republicans throw at him and will be a true asset to Minnesota in Washington. And Norm Coleman better be careful. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

An excerpt from Gail O’Hare‘s comment:

I wish Franken had done a better job of vetting himself and coming clean months ago. He would still have been the endorsed candidate, but we wouldn’t now be marching into the slavering jaws of the Republican moral inquisitors. We’d have dealt with this mess and gone forward.

To be honest, I don’t know if I want a Frank[e]n sticker on my car next to Obama’s. I don’t know if I want his sign in my yard next to Obama’s. Al owes us more than his apology at the convention: he owes us a way to defend this that goes further than “I’m sorry.”

From Jon Miners:

I think Franken is damaged goods, and whether or not he makes it all the way to November depends pretty much on what the Republicans manage to come up with. Nothing is certain at this point.

From Dan Hoxworth:

I appreciate Doug’s insightful analysis … Jack took every debate on MPR and has a strong command of the issues. Franken needed his best performance on Saturday and he gave it when it mattered. …

From Greg Schlichter:

Doug Grow’s DFL convention coverage here was far and away the best I’ve seen. Unlike the Strib or Pioneer Press, he caught the floor’s groans and boos for Betty McCollum. It’s unfathomable to me how the other media outlets missed this. It was plain, and not subtle. A clear message to Betty to knock off her grandstanding and unwarranted hostility to Al Franken. She appeared stunned and slackjawed at the reception. … Rep. Ellison tried fervently three times to exhort a warmer welcome from the delegates, to no avail. …

From Steve Marchese:

I hate to say this, but I think the DFL delegates have handed us another flawed candidate to rally around. I like Franken and think he will be a better candidate than Nelson-Pallmeyer by light years. He’s smart, tough and articulate. However, someone should have vetted his past much more thoroughly before we got this far. We don’t need a campaign focused on the intricacies of Franken’s past instead of Coleman’s complicity in the national mess of the Bush Administration. …

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Here’s an excerpt from Dave Wright‘s comment on Doug Grow’s Monday analysis, “Some DFLers leaving party convention fearful of a Franken ‘hangover’ “:

Franken’s past work will only be a big issue if he and the DFL allow it to be. Of course there will be more attacks … and a lot of them. Bill Clinton was able to overcome all the “bimbo” attacks when he ran for re-election because he simply ignored them. In the end, this only appealed to Republican diehards who looked like one-trick ponies. If Franken spends his time concentrating on Sen. Coleman’s record (I would mention often how many voting precincts Coleman carried in St. Paul in 2002 — 0), he can (and should) win the election.

Jeremy Powers added:

… If the Republicans truly wanted to run against Al Franken, they wouldn’t have said a single word until [Monday]. They would have let a weak candidate walk into the slaughter. I don’t believe the Republicans are that stupid. … Now Norm Coleman has five months to explain why he has been nothing but a rubber stamp for the worst president imaginable and done nothing to stop the biggest international train wreck in American history.

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Matt Steele
briefly commented on Marisa Helms’ June 6 post, “Bad LRT vibes rattle public radio”:

I love MPR just as much as the next guy, but this just screams NIMBY.

And John Olson had a pithy addition: 

Agreed, Matt. I just shake my head when [Bill Kling] is quoted as having said the trains and the wires would ruin the view of the Capitol from downtown. Perhaps one could say “It’s good to be the Kling.”

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Anne Keroff belatedly commented on Marisa Helms’ May 2 post, “New Wilder Center: Here for good, and then some”:

Congratulations to the Wilder Foundation on the opening of their new building. It looks like it will provide lots of opportunities for this foundation to continue their great work. I also applaud them for designing their building with both energy efficiency and the needs of those commuting to their building in mind. … Good luck to Wilder in your new location and keep up the great work!

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Jody Chromey agreed with Jim Walsh’s June 6 post, “Dan Patch and The Collector: still crazy good after all these years”:

I just got the Leerhsen book for my birthday two days ago (because my parents use to run the Dan Patch Lanes bowling alley). Crazy. All these years I thought the Culver’s in Savage was the unofficial Dan Patch museum. Turns out I was wrong.

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Ellen Wallace appreciated the Monday Community Voices piece, “A call for vigilance: Keep the free press free,” a reprinted speech delivered June 7 by veteran journalist Dan Rather at the National Conference for Media Reform:

Well said and inspiring, and not just for Americans (I edit an online paper in Geneva, Switzerland), but for the press everywhere. The problem, as is so often the case, is finding the funds to pay for journalists to get out and report. Best wishes to MinnPost in raising the grassroots support it needs, and to the rest of us trying to keep the voice of independent, quality journalism alive.

Myles Spicer added:

An incredibly incisive analysis; and as a corollary, I would suggest you visit the website of News Corp. if you have not been there for a while, to see how really pervasive “corporate” media has become.

We all know it is rather common — but it will likely shock you to see how powerful this phenomena has become.

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Tom Poe
commented on Joe Kimball’s Monday Political Agenda post, “GOP official disputes PiPress research claim on convention site choice”:

And, of course, the call for 10,000 volunteers, if successful, will help fill space and “color” the attendance at the convention. Nothing worse than having a handful of people in a really big hall.

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Bill Reith
liked Molly Priesmeyer’s Monday post, “Bush Foundation announces its $100,000 and $50,000 grant recipients”:

It is so gratifying to hear news like this. I am very glad for the recipients of this award — and I don’t even live in Minnesota!

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David Rasmussen was moved to comment on Tuesday’s Community Voices essay, “Moving forward on the Central Corridor,” by University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks:

What are some goals that rail could achieve?

Rail could provide faster, more economic, more convenient transportation than alternative means. Mass transit could reduce the need for cars and reduce pollution and greenhouse gases. But, unless it is more convenient and fast to ride the rail than it is to ride buses and cars, then NOTHING is being achieved, as the rail will not significantly increase the use of mass transportation. This has been typically the case for rail projects in the United States. …
Unlike in other places of the world, where economic growth is assumed, and visionary transportation systems are being built, in the United States architects design based on the past. …

At about $10 billion per year, the FTA grossly underfunds mass transit, as is becoming increasing obvious, with gas prices at $4 per gallon. However, the current design of the Central Corridor through the University and elsewhere is not an investment that will reap dividends in the future. It is merely an expense that makes us poorer, as we drive from Minneapolis to Saint Paul, since that will continue to be the quickest, most economic way to travel.

Matty Lang disagreed:

David, have you noticed oil prices and global oil demand lately? The days of cheap motoring are over and driving will hardly be the most economically way to travel. Driving isn’t even the most economical mode of transport today.

Thanks to President Bruininks for stating that the University is a supporter of the Washington Avenue at-grade alignment. This is a very important step in the process.

I disagree, however, with the University’s repeated contention that “25,000 cars per day” will be diverted (presumably to adjacent neighborhood streets) from Washington Avenue SE. Many of the folks in the cars on Washington today will arrive at the U or pass through it via the Central Corridor LRT. In addition to these eliminated auto trips, many will choose to walk or ride a bicycle due to the cost of driving.

With global oil supplies stagnant and global oil consumption steadily rising, I think it’s safe to say that many of those 25,000 cars will simply be left idle at home where they’ll be a benefit to their owners’ financial and mental health.

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Pat Sirek
had this to say about Christina Capecchi’s Tuesday story, “Here comes the bride — picture-perfect, thanks to the likes of Botox, veneers and stunning makeup”:

Can S-U-C-K-E-R be embroidered nicely in silk? Oy vey.

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Dan Hintz commented on Ron Way’s Wednesday story, “Given carbon-reduction goals, Minnesota begins to reconsider role, risks of nuclear power”:

I don’t know whether or not there is enough capacity from wind power, but I sure wouldn’t take Tim Mahoney’s word for it.

A couple months ago, WCCO did a story on why Minnesota is the only state that bans waterless urinals, which save thousands of gallons of water every year. It turns out the ban was the result of legislation introduced (and passed) in 2007 by Mahoney, who provided a completely baseless justification for the ban. WCCO essentially shamed Mahoney into backing down, and the law was repealed this year.

Bernice Vetsch added:

I agree with Dan Hintz. We haven’t begun to explore the possibilities of alternative forms of energy, much less conclude without proof that wind or any other form would not be worth our while.

One creative idea I heard about recently on AirAmerica was from a gentleman who suggested roofing large surface parking lots with solar panels that would make electricity all summer (and shade the cars so they wouldn’t need as much air conditioning) and protect them from snow in the winter (thus saving the fuel needed to power plows).

America has a history of ingenuity. There’s no reason to suppose it won’t emerge now to help us kick the oil/gas/coal/nuclear energy monkey off our backs.

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