Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Gov. Pawlenty cuts off (non-existent) ACORN funding

PLUS: Ellison vs. Bachmann, flu fighters ramp up, and Keillor winding down?

That smell in the air? Roasting ACORN. Gov. Pawlenty, who doesn’t need to be told what a “no lose” issue smells like, has ordered that his state hereby and forthwith cut off all funding to the liberal-leaning organizing group. His decision comes two days after that now notorious video of two conservative activists, dressed up as a hooker and her pimp, punk’d Baltimore and Philadelphia ACORN offices into offering them advice on how to get around tax issues, etc., and two days after national Republicans put the superchargers to one of their favorite targets.

Only one problem, reports the Strib’s Bob Von Sternberg … uh, the state doesn’t give ACORN any dough. Never minding the piddly details, the governor is still pressing ahead with a demand for a “thorough review”. “Thorough,” you say, Guv? As opposed to what other kind of review?

Tad Vezner’s PiPress story on the kerfuffle is a bit more detailed. It includes news that “in Philadelphia, ACORN employees called police on the undercover duo, and also accused the filmmaker of editing video of a California sting to exclude statements that might show ACORN employees’ innocence.”

Then there’s news of Congressman Keith Ellison’s tweet, ratting out Congresswoman Michele Bachmann for cutting out early on a hearing their Financial Services Committee was having on the Community Reinvestment Act. Tweeted Ellison, according to the Strib’s Eric Roper, “Michele Bachmann uses her time at financial services to attack CRA, ACORN, and then promptly walks out when experts begin testimony.” A Bachmann spokesman shoots back, “Maybe Congressman Ellison should worry less about what Congresswoman Bachmann is doing, and more about what the friends he’s defending like ACORN are doing with his constituents’ tax dollars.” And yeah, like, nobody likes you and, like, your shoes are so, like, groaty.

With the kids back in school and spreading germs, Minnesota has been bumped up to the “highest level” for H1N1 “swine flu” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Maura Lerner in the Strib writes, “The new cases appear to be similar in severity as the first wave of the pandemic, which began in April, [assistant health comissioner John Linc] Stine said. While most cases are relatively mild, about eight people have been hospitalized in the past week, he said.”

The Strib’s Bill Ward gets a quote from Garrison Keillor saying he may be down to his last couple of years with “A Prairie Home Companion.”  Says Keillor, who this past week suffered a minor stroke:  “I’m 67 years old, and I just had a chastening experience. One does not ignore these things.” He says he’d like the show to continue as mainly a musical variety show, sans the news from Lake Wobegon and Guy Noir. That would be a bit like Beyonce leaving the stage to her backup dancers, wouldn’t it?

Burl Gilyard of Finance and Commerce covers St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman at a luncheon meeting with building owners and managers and finds him talking on the topic of a new stadium for the St. Paul Saints, preferably in Lowertown, where the old Gillette building stands. Says Hizzoner, “There is an absolute possibility that it will happen.” Or, put another way, “for certain it might.” Gilyard gets ahold of Tom Whaley, executive director of the Saints, who tells him, “the team is envisioning a $30-$35 million stadium with 7,500 seats. The team has its eye on the vacant Gillette/Diamond Products industrial site in the Lowertown area. But the team does not own the property.” What St. Paul needs is Sid Hartman.

You knew it was way too long between Denny Hecker lawsuits, which at last count had reached 19. Well, make that 21. Two Fargo banks have dropped the hammer on the car dealer, accusing him of “false financial statements”. But don’t worry. The tab on these two suits is a mere $20 million, barely an afternoon’s shopping at the Bellagio for Denny’s girlfriend. The AP provides most coverage for local TV.

The swank Ivy Hotel in downtown Minneapolis
, already in receivership after developers defaulted on $69 million in loans, is going to have the condominium end of its operation brought under control of the same receiver, according to the Minneapolis-St.Paul Business Journal. “An entity related to Turnstone Group, based in Minneapolis, was named receiver of the 96-unit condo building. Turnstone had previously been designated as receiver of the 136-room luxury hotel by the lead lender on the project, Minneapolis-based Dougherty Funding.” So much for the mints on the pillows.

Apparently it really is time to stop expecting a point of view
or anything like an opinion from Strib editorials. Today’s gem, which could have been written by a Chamber of Commerce intern, goes on and on about the tough economic times Minnesota cities are dealing with … as though this was news to anyone reading the Op-Ed pages  … and then, just when you think it was going to suggest a course of action, recommend a particular piece of legislation or demand someone’s head on a pike, it closes by boldly declaring, “Where painful cuts are necessary, Minnesota city officials are working to manage them intelligently.” If money is so tight at the state’s largest news organization, they might save time and cash by blowing off this stuff and running a couple more cartoons.

Good lord, Twinkies, make up your minds. Are you collapsing and packing your bags for an October fishing trip, or actually playing to beat Detroit and get in the playoffs? (Every fan shudders at the thought of an opening round against the Yankees.) But our guys have now won four in a row … again … and are over .500 … again … and closing in the Tigers … again. Nick Blackburn, currently pitching with a full beard, stayed in Wednesday afternoon’s 7-3 win for six innings, and Michael Cuddyer had three hits and three RBIs. Detroit, by the way, is in town all weekend.