It’s hard out there for a moose, according to Steve Karnowski of the Associated Press. Karnowski interviews a moose expert with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, who explains that “almost without exception all of the indicators are that the population is declining.” The cause? A grotesque assortment of possibilities, including brainworms, ticks, liver flukes and warming temperatures; the latter is primarily credited with the plunge in the moose population in Northwest Minnesota, which has declined from “4,000 in the early 1980s to fewer than 100.”
In the meanwhile, just being a black bear can be fatal, if you happen to find yourself in North St. Paul. Bob Von Sternberg of the Star Tribune tells us about one such bear who came to an unfortunate end Friday after wandering into the St. Paul suburbs, climbing into a tree and then making the mistake of attracting attention. Police Chief Tom Lauth explains to the Strib what happened: “Unfortunately, it attracted a lot of the public’s attention and they weren’t going to leave it alone, so it had to be put down.” Specifically, a Department of Natural Resources staffer fired bean bags at the bear to get it out of the tree, which worked, but then the bear headed toward onlookers, and the police shot it.
Kelly Huffman of FOX9 plays up the tragic dimensions of the story, such as they are, calling the animal a “baby bear” and quoting an unhappy neighborhood who witnessed the event: “These never end well.” Unfortunately, because of a typo in Huffman’s story, we are told the bear was “on the lamb,” which makes it sound as though the black bear was feasting on a farm animal. As to why the bear wasn’t simply tranquilized, well, it’s just not that simple, according to WCCO: The tranquilizer darts are temperature sensitive, and so officers don’t carry them with them, and, anyway, only three officers are trained to use them. Lauth tells WCCO that in a “perfect world if … we had the availability to handle a bear like that, to tranquilize it, then sure.” The bear’s meat, WCCO informs us, went to a family in need, who hopefully had some recipes for the stuff.
“They were saying stuff like, ‘We hate the president; we’re gonna kill the president, his wife and his kids.’ ” These are the words of Derrick Thomas, an 18-year-old with autism who was the subject of a racially charged robbery Wednesday, as reported by Paul Walsh and Abby Simons of the Star Tribune. Three men attacked Thomas, who reportedly has the mental capacity of an 8- to 10-year-old, in Brooklyn Park. They brandished an ax, brass knuckles and a gun, stripped him naked and stole everything he owned, and then attacked his uncle a few blocks away as he got off a bus. Two suspects in the case have been charged, and their reported comments about Obama have attracted the attention of the Secret Service.
It’s been a rather exciting week for Michele Bachmann, Firstly, she now has her own action figure, thanks to a Connecticut-based toy company, as reported by Madeleine Baran of Minnesota Public Radio. Why? The CEO of the toy company explains his reasons: “She’s hot. Did I say that out loud? Yeah, I guess I did.”
Friday, Bachmann shared the stage at the University of Minnesota with former presidential hopeful Ron Paul. For liberals, that’s a bit like pairing an action figure of Catwoman with an action figure of Lex Luthor. Sure, they’re both from the DC universe, but, while both are capable of great mischief, they don’t precisely have common goals or enemies. Ron Paul for instance, spoke vociferously against the war, as Karla Hult of KARE11 reports, noting dryly that this is “a position not shared by Bachmann.”
They do have one common complaint though, and it was the subject of Friday’s speech, according to Joseph Lindberg of the Pioneer Press: Federal spending, according to Bachmann and Paul, is out of control. “At the rate your government is spending,” Bachmann is reported as saying, “your future is already spoken for.” Not all students were impressed with the speeches, according to the PiPress, who quote one as saying, “I’ve never seen more hypocrisy in the same room before. They talk about the deficit as if they aren’t part of the problem.”
Gov. Tim Pawlenty continued his tour of conservative America over the weekend, traveling to Michigan to speak at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference Saturday. The subject, as reported by the Associated Press: “the dangers of President Barack Obama’s health care proposal.” Although the AP notes that this event is a traditional stop for presidential hopefuls, the story also informs us that Pawlenty declined to say whether he was considering a run or not. Pawlenty is starting to look like a man who has booked a weekend for two to Bermuda, bought a diamond ring, reserved an evening at a church, and rented a tuxedo but is declining to say whether he is planning to marry or not.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak hasn’t been explicit about his plans for the future either, although he has been a little clearer than Pawlenty, saying its “very likely” he will take a shot at the position Pawlenty is vacating. In preparation, the Teamsters Local 120 has just gone ahead and endorsed Rybak for governor, according to Mary Jane Smetanka of the Star Tribune.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman also has indicated some interest in running for governor, so the Pioneer Press speculates about who might replace him, should he win. According to writer Dave Orrick, “Politically, a vacuum in the mayor’s office could create a behind-the-scenes frenzy in the DFL-dominated city.” Of course, that relies on Coleman both deciding to run and winning, and so such speculation might be a little premature; unlike Pawlenty, Coleman hasn’t even started pricing rings yet.
As much as Brett Favre’s pre-season coquettishness might have been a subject of fun, Sunday the Vikings quarterback showed his worth as a player. John Shipley of the Pioneer Press details Favre’s last-second turnaround for the Pioneer Press, which the paper’s subhed summarizes as follows: “Down by four points with 80 yards to go, no timeouts left and less than 90 seconds on the clock, Brett Favre moves the Vikings’ offense for a last-second touchdown, something he’s done his whole career — but never before with the Vikings.”