It’s a year since the Republican National Convention and we’re still assessing its impact. As reported by Tim Nelson of Minnesota Public Radio, one study, by a marketing professor, has St. Paul as gaining $170 million from it (here’s a PDF of his report). That’s better than the $160 million promoters were hoping for, but everybody admits this is an inexact science. It doesn’t hurt that organizers actually wound up with a surplus, coming in $7 million under budget; according to Tom Webb of the Pioneer Press, this surplus will be donated to local charitable foundations.
Of course, in one way, the RNC isn’t even over yet. As the Associated Press reminds us, 11 protest cases that resulted from the convention are still pending, including the so-called RNC8, who were arrested in area homes a few days before the convention and charged with “conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism,” according to a brief Wikipedia summary of the case. Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner is specific as to the charges against the RNC8 in the AP story, saying: “They are charged with planning to do things like break windows, trash squad cars, throw feces and urine at police officers.” The defense attorneys for the accused claim there were never any actual plans to bespoil public servants; this was just political rhetoric.
Speaking of which, Michele Bachmann has never been one for moderation in public speaking, but in a speech in Denver on Saturday, the congresswoman’s rhetoric turned from purple to scarlet, offering up a vision of post-health care reform America as something that might be found in a post-Apocalyptic wasteland. Ernest Luning of the Minnesota Independent compiles some of the highlights, including Bachmann’s declaration that Democratic initiatives “have the strength to destroy this country forever.” “Right now, we are looking at reaching down the throat and ripping the guts out of freedom,” Bachmann said, and as though this image weren’t violent enough, she proposed making a pact with her audience that relied on blood and a puzzling interpretation of a childhood ritual: “What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing.” Slit wrists? Isn’t that a little excessive? Even Grizzly Adams merely made a cut on his hand when he became blood brothers with Nakoma.
Bachmann reportedly takes pride in being the second-most-hated Republican female, behind Sarah Palin. Politico reports that the two have something else in common as well: Sarah Palin’s money. Bachmann was the recipient of $1,000 from Palin’s political action committee, which is currently under scrutiny from the Federal Election Commission for possible mismanagement of funds.
Who knew ding dong ditch could be so dangerous? Of course, this classic prank, in which you ring a doorbell and then run away, takes on added risks when it’s the governor’s house you’re pranking. As the Associate Press reports, three teenagers ding-donged the governor’s Eagan residence on Friday, then ditched, and when a Minnesota State Patrol trooper gave chase, he fell and injured his hip. There’s no word on whether there was any musical accompaniment to this, so we’re just going to imagine that Boots Randolph’s “Yakety Sax” was playing in the background.
One of the more puzzling questions about the calamity that is the Minneapolis police department’s Metro Gang Strike Force is how it could have gone on so long; wasn’t there at least one good cop who was willing to blow the whistle when the force tipped over into lawlessness? Well, according to a lawsuit filed against the city of Minneapolis, there was at least one. David Chanen of the Star Tribune gives the basic details: Sgt. Kelly O’Rourke claims that he went up the chain of command to report misconduct in the force a year before the state inquiry found evidence of it, and was promptly transferred out of the unit. O’Rourke’s name has come up before in the telling of this tale. He is the officer who is supposed to have borrowed an ice auger that was seized by the strike force, used it at home, and then returned it considerably worse for wear. O’Rourke claims this isn’t true, and the story was leaked in retaliation for his whistleblowing.
Mara H. Gottfried of the Pioneer Press looks a little deeper into O’Rourke’s resume, and finds some spots. While the officer has been commended, including having done what sounds like exemplary work on Operation Blood Drive, a three-year investigation that cracked the Rolling 30s Bloods Gang, he also has a DWI conviction and was the host of a party in which two officers discharged their weapons. Both were later fired, but O’Rourke claims to have been asleep at the time that the guns were fired.
While we’re on the topic of police misbehavior, a cops vs. firefighters softball game last Tuesday seems to have erupted into what FOX9 has dubbed “antics.” Specifically, the Minneapolis police’s internal affairs division is investigating reports the Minneapolis police officers went to the Double Deuce strip club after the game, where the bouncer refused them entry because of their level of intoxication. As the story goes, the officers flashed their badges, and, when that didn’t work, one urinated on the buildings walls. They then are supposed to have gone to Mayslak’s bar, picked fights, and assaulted a passer-by. In this instance, if there had been musical accompaniment, at some point in the evening the needle would have been yanked off of “Yakety Sax ” and “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys would have started up.
Today in Favremania, Darren Rovell of CNBC reports that Brett Favre’s jersey has already surpassed other league jerseys in sales. We can only hope these shirts don’t end up like Billy Beer, as a memento of a public embarrassment. After all, it’s only been a week or so since Favre announced he’d be joining the Vikings for a reported $25 million, and already the man seems to have injured himself: The AP reports that he might have cracked a rib. Nonetheless, the quarterback played against Texas on Monday night, providing what Sean Jensen of the Pioneer Press called “a rather boring stat line.” While Favre’s performance wasn’t especially memorable, Jensen allows the football player has one quality that’s worth commending: “Favre can still throw a heater.“