Daily Glean: Franken ‘porn’ story crosses GOP-DFL barrier

The long knives are officially out for Al Franken within the DFL. St. Paul Congresswoman Betty McCollum opened the floodgates Thursday when she criticized Franken’s 2000 Playboy “Porn-O-Rama” parody; previously, such attacks had only come from GOP officials and blog parrots. McCollum supported Mike Ciresi, so her position is tainted. (Ciresi may yet re-enter the race). However, AP’s Fred Frommer, who broke the story, noted that fellow DFL Congressmen Keith Ellison and Tim Walz “expressed concerns.”

More Playboy: It’s probably the first time AP has included the phrase “Minnesota Institute of Titology” in a dispatch. Ellison, who has said he’ll support an endorsed Franken (Walz is more circumspect) but offers this devastating analysis: “Can I explain it to my 11-year- old daughter? I’d have considerable difficulty.” Fundamentally, Franken’s writings have nothing to do with jobs, education or war, but as a wise man once told me, “If you’re explainin’, you ain’t gaining.”

Media analysis: The Strib has run two staff-written Playboy-fracas stories in the past 10 days; the Pioneer Press has yet to have a staff writer tackle the issue. Both Strib pieces fronted the Metro section; the PiPress runs today’s AP story on B5.

The Franken set-to is a nice backdrop for the state GOP convention, opening in Rochester today. The print version of the PiPress plays up a “schism” between Republican leaders and Ron Paul insurgents who feel they’ve been shut out of the convention. The Strib highlights GOP plans to “rebuild a legislative majority.” U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman gets the endorsement of Minneapolis and St. Paul police federations; MPR’s Mark Zdechlick offers a long look at Coleman’s zigzagging six-year record.

Twin Cities Daily Planet’s Doug McGill has an amazing story: Tomorrow, “the primary architect of a genocide in western Ethiopia” will face members of the targeted group in Minneapolis. A locally based Anuak association invited Ethiopian provincial Gov. Omot Obang Olom, but some see it as a propaganda campaign. The Ethiopian Army killed 425 Anuak in 2003; one Anuak activist says Ethiopia is buying off immigrants with “gifts and favors.” The larger media should cover this.

Mega-developer Hines Interests has secured a downtown Minneapolis parking lot for “a 1 million square-foot office tower that could rival the city’s tallest buildings,” the Business Journal’s Sam Black reports. The lot is on Marquette between Ninth and 10th streets, next to the colorful Schmitt Music Building mural. The building would be 50 to 60 stories, and Hines says it’s going “full speed” on design and marketing. Still, it wouldn’t open until 2013, unless an anchor tenant quickly emerges.

Minneapolis activists often want to see local police move back to the city, but they might reconsider after this KSTP report: a block’s party house is cop-rented. The Strib says two officers are now under investigation for firing as many as 10 shots as they were leaving Thursday morning. Loud, late-night events are common, neighbors say. Trying calling 911 on these guys.

Hackers took down Comcast’s email service Wednesday night, the Strib’s Steve Alexander writes. Service remained intermittent into Thursday night, he notes. One expert says users should change their passwords. The attack didn’t affect Comcast’s servers. There might be malicious software at an upper-level domain name server, however.

The PiPress’s Julie Forster reports on a survey about how high gas prices must go to change local behavior. The IBM poll says 11 percent of metro folks have already made changes; 27 percent would do so once gas tops four bucks. The number tops 50 percent when the readout hits $4.50. Remember when we thought there’d be riots when gas topped $3? Of the 10 cities surveyed, drivers in Atlanta, Dallas and here are quickest to change.

Same song, second verse: the PiPress’s Gita Sitaramiah says used SUV prices have fallen 20-30 percent locally, and trade-ins at one dealership are up 50-60 percent.

Delta’s president Ed Bastian tells the Strib’s Liz Fedor that the NWA merger has been “pressure tested” with oil prices above $135 a barrel. How high, Bastian doesn’t say, but that’s important given that prices are near $135 right now. Fedor notes that oil was $110 when the merger was announced.

Truckers want a uniform national 65 mph speed limit, WCCO’s Pat Kessler reports. That’s because they have to slow down to battle high fuel prices, and it’s safer if everyone else does, too. But U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar says there’s not enough Congressional support. She did help get the feds to investigate the commodities trading that has helped jacked up oil prices.

After Thursday’s mud-truck story, the Strib’s Laurie Blake has a neat story on volunteers who monitor metro wetlands. Forty volunteers take readings that determine whether to protect or restore wetlands. Gloppy but praiseworthy work.

A Minnesota federal judge has slapped down a national law allowing sex offenders to be civilly committed after their sentence ends. The Strib’s Larry Oakes says that nationally, three judges have upheld the law, and two, including our own Paul Magnuson, have rejected it. The expansive Commerce Clause isn’t a proper basis, Magnuson ruled.

The PiPress’s Dave Orrick and Rachel Stassen-Berger write that in a mere 24 hours, the U has become more flexible about the Washington Avenue light-rail alignment. Gov. Pawlenty, via Met Council chair Peter Bell, says the U now understands “the basic question of the alignment has been settled.” This would be more convincing coming from the U itself.

AP says three local lawyers will share up to $750,000 for divvying up $36 million in 35W bridge compensation funds. Susan Holden of the Sieben Grose firm will chair, and Michael Tewksbury and Steven Kirsch will assist.

The Business Journal reports that Nate’s Clothing’s former building has been sold to a Circle Pines investor. The buyer plans upscale offices with “one or two” restaurants. Nate’s reopens at Edina’s Yorktown Mall Monday.

The Strib notes that 14 Hennepin County libraries begin Sunday hours this week. Nine are in Minneapolis, which hasn’t had Sunday hours since 2002. The new downtown library will be open Sunday for the first time.

Major bummer: This year’s Art Car Parade has been canceled, the PiPress’s Amy Carlson Gustafson reports. The Minneapolis celebration of auto frivolity lost its funding. There will be a drive around Lake of the Isles, though, and art cars will decorate Sunday’s Grand Old Day event in St. Paul.

Nort Spews: It’s all delicious in the Twin Cities. The Twins sweep K.C. 5-1 behind Kevin Slowey’s complete game. (How hard is Ron Gardenhire trying to avoid his bullpen?) The Twins are three games over .500, matching their season high. The Royals have lost 11 in a row; beaten-down Sore Loser here. And congrats to the Lynx, who are off to their first-ever 3-0 start with a 75-69 win over Chicago.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by John Olson on 05/30/2008 - 09:52 am.

    Al Franken is toast.

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