Daily Glean: Some ‘close calls’ for justice

Larry Oakes’ outrageously great sex offender treatment series continues in the Strib; today’s Part II focuses on the judicial “close calls” that effectively sentence an offender to life without a life sentence. That’s because the “treatment” program has never released anyone. Oakes details imprecise diagnostic tools that one psychologist says are wrong 30 percent of the time. Everyone wants to see these guys locked up, but a life sentence should be explicit; Oakes’ blend of doc-digging and human reportage shows well-meaning constitutional corruption.

DFL Convention post-mortem: MPR has a great headline: “DFLers and Republicans agree Franken is a great choice.” Reporter Mark Zdechlik contrasts Franken’s aggressiveness and fundraising with the GOP’s promised firehose of oppo research. (Idle thought: Has Al ever written anything about Jesus?) The GOP will try to bell every DFL cat with Franken’s risqué remarks. AP quotes a DFL legislator observing that 2006 Senate nominee Amy Klobuchar helped feed that DFL wave, but Franken could do the opposite.

More Al: A Strib editorial astutely notes that Franken, a political swordsman, is good on offense but “less effective in defending himself against charges he had to know would come.” One operative I spoke to this weekend says Franken must quickly “take out the trash” on himself — release all the damaging stuff — to neutralize the drip-drip-drip. Mpls.St.Paul’s Brian Lambert offers Franken some pithy observations about media relations, adding a love tap at our own Doug Grow.

DFL Kumbaya? The Strib’s Kevin Duchschere and Mike Kaszuba nail the spirit I sensed at Saturday’s DFL Senate endorsement — it was Sigh-of-Relief Day as Hillary Clinton gracefully conceded and Franken opponent Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer did same. The party isn’t unified — witness convention-floor booing for DFL Congresswoman and Franken critic Betty McCollum — but there are fewer problems going out than coming in, which is news. The Strib’s Kevin Duchschere reprints ’60s activist Tom Hayden’s astute email analysis of Franken.

The Strib’s Katherine Kersten says the ACLU is ideologically biased for defending a Pledge-protesting student but not Confederate flag-wavers. Lots of problems here. First, the ACLU has defended Confederacy dunces: see here, here and here. The problem is judges — including a conservative Supreme Court — have consistently said no, so the local ACLU is acknowledging the obvious. Conversely, the law forbidding Pledge mandates is clear. Kersten tried valiantly to attack the ACLU’s convention-protest defense, but here too, the law has proven hospitable.

Speaking of convention protests … the St. Paul protest route may be too small, says the PiPress’s Jason Hoppin, who measuredit. Using a standard 10-square-foot-per-person measure, Hoppin says the 400,000-square-foot space “may not handle” the estimated 50,000 protesters. And that doesn’t include barriers, etc. that reduce elbow room. St. Paul cops counter that 300,000 Grand Old Day revelers co-existed in a similar space. Protesters feel vindicated. Kersten alert: The ACLU is conducting its own analysis.

Because of the DFL convention, I wasn’t able to get to too much of this weekend’s National Conference on Media Reform, held in Minneapolis. But the big news was a confrontation between Bill Moyers and an ambush-hungry Bill O’Reilly producer. The Uptake, a locally based site, captured the cinema verité. (Note: free registration required; there’s a YouTube version here.)

Two Northwest jets clipped wings at the airport, KARE reports. Not in mid-air; one screwed up taxiing into a gate. Still images show wing tips touching. No one was hurt.

Remember Christopher Smith, the peachfuzz-faced, bragadocious, country-fleeing Internet drug dealer who made headlines recently? Mpls.St.Paul’s Steve Marsh has an excellent long-form profile of the manchild here, with great stuff from Smith’s not-exactly-tame family and the still-cocky perp himself.

The Business Journal’s John Vomhof Jr. reports that just three Minneapolis businesses received Small Business Administration economic-damage loans following the 35W bridge collapse. Ten others didn’t make it through the paperwork-laden process.

Nort spews: Is the Twins’ motto “Watch us regress to the mean?” The once-again-sub-.500 club gets blown out for the third time in Chicago 12-2 and falls five-plus back of the Whities. In happier news, the Minnesota Lynx rise to 6-1 with a 90-78 win over San Antonio.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Peter Swanson on 06/09/2008 - 01:29 pm.

    I would say that Kersten is right about the Minnesota ACLU, f/k/a MCLU. The [M]CLU has every right to pick and choose its battles based on resources, strategy, and ideology. And it exercises this right. To get a sense of this in practice, I recommend Judge Edward Cleary’s book, Beyond the Burning Cross.

    In the flag case, the devil (or the rebel) is in the details. It was not a school-sponsored event like in the “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” case. I think that this is closer to the black armband case. But an attorney (which Chuck Samuelson is not – although he is a nice guy) would have to go through the facts of the case, look at the policy that was allegedly violated, and then see if there is a case under the Minnesota or U.S. Constitution.

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 06/09/2008 - 12:59 pm.

    Al Franken may or may not have written about Jesus, but he might try this quote from Jesus’s Beatitudes on conservative Christians (and others) who are reluctant to cross over and vote for a Democrat they consider uses bad language:

    “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall know mercy.”

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