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Senate race, Garnett, Carter among comment topics

The Franken vs. Coleman Senate race continued to prompt a slew of comments from MinnPost readers, along with other recent topics such as a dearth of women in computing, teen smoking, the Magna Carta and, finally, a championship ring for Kevin Garnett. Here’s a sampling:

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Paul Brandon commented on Eric Black’s Monday post, “New KSTP-TV poll finds wider Coleman lead over Franken”:

Until the robopolls poll cell phones, they won’t mean squat. I suspect that all the polls have this problem to some extent. Younger voters in particular do not use land lines, and are thus transparent to most polling. Unless a poll targets a specific sample of individuals and does whatever is necessary to reach them, it’s not going to produce a representative sample.

As far as the race is concerned:

It’s early, Coleman is the incumbent, and Franken has just begun to spend his money.

If I were Coleman I’d be worried.

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Aaron Landry was among those weighing in on Tuesday’s Community Voices essay, “Franken shouldn’t have to apologize for his past satire or ‘bad’ words,” by David Mindeman, a community activist and a blogger for mnpACT:

It has been interesting watching the media be the lapdog for this type of crap. Thanks for saying what needs to be said more often.

Myles Spicer added:

Ahmen! We have heard enough of this [hypocrisy] from previous elections. Let’s try to focus on ISSUES for a change.

From Mike Keliher:

I was eager to read this column, and while I agree with your main point, your arguments seem silly.

First Amendment right? Of course he has that; I don’t think anyone’s suggested anything to the opposite.

This is all the work of opposition research? Of course it is. Just like being a satirist used to be Franken’s job, digging up dirt and trying to make hay of it is an opposition researcher’s job.

You commented about Coleman’s past, as well, and how that shouldn’t pertain to his quest for this present-day job. I disagree; it should all be considered, and certain things should be weighed more than others.

I would have expected — or wanted to read — a cogent defense along these lines: Franken’s Playboy writings or SNL brainstorming contributions shouldn’t matter in this election because THEY ARE JOKES. Lighten up, people!

An excerpt from Kevin Judd‘s comment:

Franken did not have to apologize for his comments. He was not facing prosecution, legal action, loss of income or government strongarms. He apologized because his words have infuriated Democrats, both progressives and moderate.

He apologized not to the Republican opposition researchers, but to the DFL convention delegates. He apologized because his nomination was in danger.

You can take two views of the reaction among Democrats. I think there were those like (progressive) Betty [McCollum] and (moderate) Tim Walz who were genuinely offended by the stuff he’d written, satire or no. The cynical view is that they were mad because they wanted the Senate seat or (as with [McCollum] they wanted another candidate. I lean toward the first explanation; these two are former teachers and they were genuinely offended and incensed by this writing, particularly the passages relating to youth.

Whichever view you take, though, this was not an attack from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (that is yet to come). …

From Betty Tisel:

Maybe Al does not have to apologize. But if he does not, and does not apologize sincerely, he — and we — must accept the consequences. Making a brief apology at the DFL convention is not adequate, in my opinion. Al will get my vote because he is a way better choice than Norm Coleman. But Al has a long way to go if he wants to earn my respect.

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Eric Black’s Wednesday analysis, “Coleman vs. Franken race so far: Lots of dust that keeps settling in the same place,” also drew comments, including this from Thomas Swift:

“Those voters, in general, are relatively inattentive to politics and they tend to decide on personality. Many of them are still unaware of what Franken has said and written. None of it has been on a TV commercial.”

‘Nuff said, Eric.

Ole and Lena have barely begun to poke their heads out of the root cellar. When they do, Franken is headed for a shellacking the likes of which haven’t been seen since Jimmy Carter’s exit.

And that, IMO, is a good thing. For it reinforces my belief, or hope perhaps, that the scruples of average Minnesotans has not sunk to the levels that the DFL believes they have.

From Bernice Vetsch:

Whatever judgments people make about Franken based on his writings, I do believe he is a patriot who wants Coleman OUT and a good Democrat IN the Senate for the sake of America’s future.

Perhaps the DFL could survey all the delegates to the state convention to discover exactly how many — in their hearts — would vote for [Jack] Nelson-Pallmeyer or [Mike] Ciresi to be that good Dem.

Franken and the DFL could then release the winner of this survey from his promise not to enter the primary, making it possible to choose with our primary votes either that person or Franken as our candidate for the senate.

From Grace Kelly:

This story is missing major stuff and has bias!

Here is why this story cannot be trusted; in reviewing history it leaves out Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, who had 38 percent of the endorsement vote on the first ballot. … And where were these kind of stories before the endorsement contest — nowhere to be found!

… And especially notice that this story is a horse race story —  no coverage of the voting record of Norm Coleman nor any issues. This [is] a fluff story meant to distract us from really looking at the candidates. I would expect this kind of horserace facts-light kind of story from mainstream corporate press, not from anybody who is doing REAL reporting.

From Peder DeFor: So, a likeable Republican who has won statewide office is running against a high-name-recognition Dem with an anger-control problem. That sounds like the last governor’s race, doesn’t it? The problem with Franken is that his anger issues are more high profile. He was probably the worst candidate the Dems could have picked. I wonder if they’ll rethink that combo of money and ‘well known’?

Eric, I think the point about Obama representing a post-partisan era is important, too. Given his history and record in office, Coleman is one of the least partisan pols on the Repub side of the aisle. Makes him harder to demonize.

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Susan Herridge praised a Monday story, “Minnesota-Germany ‘connection’ providing healthy exchange of ideas,” by Ann Alquist, a Twin Cities journalist who has been working in Germany since 2007 as part of the Fulbright Young American Journalist Program:

What a timely article. Thank you, MinnPost and Ann Alquist, for bringing us a story that we probably would never have heard otherwise. Let’s hope this level of substance in injected into the upcoming debates on the topic of health care.

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Karl Bremer commented on Susan Albright’s June 10 MinnPost.World essay, “Is Obama the next Carter? McCain seems to think so”:

You could do a lot worse than use Jimmy Carter as a model with regard to energy policy. If the energy policy Carter put forth in 1977 had been adopted by this country then, we wouldn’t be in the energy mess we’re in today. Indeed, with some modifications, Obama could dust it off and use it as a starting point for his own. Now, like then, it will require some sacrifice on the part of most Americans to achieve energy independence. But isn’t that better than the sacrifice of tens — or hundreds — of thousands of lives for foreign oil as we’ve done under Bush-Cheney-Coleman?

Chris Friedlieb added:

I agree with the first comment. Jimmy Carter was/is the only president we’ve had that didn’t make me nauseous to one degree or another. Basically, he inherited a country that was at its most liberal swing; he didn’t make the oil crisis happen, and that was our opportunity to take positive steps to change our lifestyle to encompass a cleaner environment. American car makers were starting to make energy efficient cars because of Carter’s actions. Yes, they were crap, but by now, we would have had it figured out! Reagan came along and played on America’s desire to ‘have it all right now’, and that, my friends, was the end of our chance for change.

It’s funny how people line up to spend money on war, even a discredited one, but for Real Change, no way. Which reminds me, I keep hearing people complain about ‘tax and spend’ Democrats — wouldn’t that be smarter than ‘charge it to the grandchildren’ Republicans?

From Gail O’Hare:

Karl is right. Furthermore, the disastrous economy was inherited from previous administrations — years of inflation caused by the Vietnam War. Remember Pres. Ford’s “Win Against Inflation” buttons and wage and price freeze? But poor Carter takes all the flak.

I am proud of his unwillingness to sacrifice the 52 hostages’ lives. Sure, he could have attacked Iran. Our hostages and many others would have been incinerated, but we would have looked tough. He arranged their release and Reagan took the credit.

When Obama is compared to Carter, he should smile serenely and say, “A fine, moral man who crafted the Camp David Accords.” No defense is necessary.

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Richard Callahan had this to say about Anne Brataas’ Wednesday story, “This doesn’t compute: As more women enter scientific fields, their numbers in computer science are declining”:

With women comprising 60 percent of college enrollment and 58 percent in science majors, why belabor their minority status in this one area? Perhaps men and women alike see the profession of computer technology to be stressful, low status and routinely outsourced. Maybe women are in the minority because they have better alternatives relative to the men?

The real question is, why do men only make up 40 percent of college enrollment? Why are only about 20 percent of the high school students listed in a recent local newspaper section on “Top Academic All-Stars” boys?

And why do so few people seem to care that our boys are being left behind?

John Krogstad added:

Computer science is no longer as promising a career field as some of the other sciences. This is strictly a career choice, and a wise one.

From John Olson:

My spouse has a CompSci degree and she found herself staring at the exit when her former company (a Fortune 50) began outsourcing her and her colleagues’ positions to Bangalore for a fraction of the cost.

Long story short, she left on her own and is now happily working in management in another field altogether. Given the amount of time that has passed, she is already out of date and would have no chance of getting work in the field anymore, compared to others.

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Mike Sawyer of Birmingham, Ala., commented on Ariel Kendall’s Tuesday contribution from ThreeSixty Journalism, “Smoking ambushes my brother”:

So sorry to learn of tobacco ambushing your brother.

Like your father, my dad smoked. In fact, tobacco loved him to death. Emphysema was a wicked death many years ago. … Hope all the brothers and sisters in Minnesota have the smarts and courage to resist any peer pressure to get hooked on deadly tobacco.

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Ed Felien opined on Sharon Schmickle’s Monday MinnPost.World essay, “Magna Carta at center of controversies on two sides of the Atlantic”:

Sharon Schmickle is not quite right in saying the Magna Carta was the first instance of habeas corpus or subjects having control of their rulers. The Romans should get credit for that — though they seldom do. There is a wonderful reference to it in Acts of the Apostles when St. Paul says the Roman guards cannot arrest him as a terrorist and revolutionary unless he is given a fair trial. Our born-again President should read his New Testament.

A different take from Ron Gotzman:

“Mr. Bin Laden, you have the right to remain silent …”

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Scott Gibson appreciated Steve Aschburner’s Tuesday story, “Update: After 12 years often filled with frustration in Minnesota, KG finally wins his championship ring”:

One magnificent piece of writing. It captures this special time for Wolves fans/KG fans very well. Upon seeing the final game and watching KG’s post-game, emotion-filled meltdown, you can’t help but feel great empathy for his journey. Such genuine feeling. We were fortunate to be able to watch him for so long. I do think most of us were aware of how lucky we were to witness his performances for such a long period of time. We didn’t get to be part of the championship, but we do have our memories, too.

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