Friday’s announcement that Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize was, as all things political seem to be now, a call to find the most damaging partisan spin that can be applied to any accomplishment or laurel, and, at first, it seemed that Tim Pawlenty — who has yet to see a smartass crack at Obama that he doesn’t like — was ready to get in on the action, as the Star Tribune’s Rachel Stassen-Berger reported via her Twitter account: “Pawlenty responds that he is ‘struggling’ with the idea that the Prize was won for ‘process rather than results.’ ” (MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow points out here that this actually isn’t all that uncommon.)
In the end, though, Pawlenty was gracious, to an extent. Polinaut’s Tom Scheck quotes the governor speaking on his weekly radio show, where Palwenty said, “I would say regardless of the circumstances, ‘Congratulations to President Obama for winning the Nobel Prize.’ ” He did make some use of that rhetorical technique in which a politician says, “I could mention that my opponent beats his wife, but that’s beneath me”; in this instance, Pawlenty managed to repeatedly say that some people — not him, of course — might have questions about the validity of the award, but he’s above all that. Still, in this world of bare-fisted politicking, you take whatever civility is offered.
Pawlenty’s critics are being a lot less circumspect in a story by the Pioneer Press’ Dennis Lien, which charts Pawlenty’s shifting positions on the environment, and quotes a number of angry representatives from local energy and environmental groups. “I was livid,” says one Michael Noble, executive director of St. Paul-based Fresh Energy; there has been no direct response to this quote from Pawlenty’s group; perhaps they will congratulate Noble on his last name while reminding us that some people don’t think he earned it.
There are at least 20,000 nurses in Minnesota — that’s how many are registered with the Minnesota Nurses Association — and they showed, and are showing, their growing political clout this week. Firstly, on Polinaut, Tom Scheck reported that the association threw its support behind Rep. Paul Thissen in his bid for governor. Scheck quotes the organization’s press release: “Paul Thissen is a champion for Registered Nurses. From his work to make sure all children have health insurance, to his advocacy of adequate RN staffing for patient safety, he exemplifies the characteristics we expect of a Governor.”
Nurses also decided to take a stand against the policies of our current governor, as reported by the Associated Press: Members of the Minnesota Nurses Association will be marching to the Republican governor’s Capitol office. Their demand: That Pawlenty reverse his decision to slash General Assistance Medical Care, which will cut subsidized health care for 30,000 or more low-income adults.
Websites sometimes like to track down strange old laws that are still on the books; as an example, if this website is to be believed, Hibbing police are supposed to kill cats they find in alleys. Apparently, every so often, police officers will decide to just go ahead and enforce those old laws, as a Winona man discovered when he started cursing at a cop who was ticketing him for drinking. As the Associated Press tells it, cursing in a public place has been against the law in Winona since 1887, and the peace officer, who apparently is something of a student of antiquated ordinances, decided to go ahead and cite the man. A judge eventually swapped that charge out for “disorderly conduct,” leaving the rest of us hoping that this officer never discovers the widely reported law that all bathtubs must have claw feet.
Renee Tessman of KARE11 tells the suitably Halloweeninsh tale of a group of houses in Newport that have unaccountably started shaking. Nobody seems to have much explanation for it, and it only affects a row of houses along one block; neighbors, a block away, feel nothing. If we at the Daily Glean had the money, we would hire Craig T. Nelson to knock at the doors of the houses and, when the owner answers, shake them and say, “You moved the cemetery, but you left the bodies, didn’t you?”
The strangest tale of the week is the story of Freddy Rivera, a man who, reports indicate, likes his knife a little too much, as told by Maricella Miranda of the Pioneer Press. Rivera, it seems was charged last week for stabbing his girlfriend, and suddenly it seemed likely he had done a whole lot of stabbing before then. A few days after Rivera was charged, a man reported to the St. Paul police that he had also been stabbed by Rivera at a high school football game. Rivera is also supposed to have stabbed a man in a bar — with a butcher knife.
You already know what happened with the Twins, so let’s go to the tweets for their response: “Is there a worse franchise in playoff performance in sports than the Minnesota Twins?” asks NomadUNC, while DrunkBases applauds the team, saying, “truly hats off to the Minnesota Twins and the organization. A classy manager and a cool bunch of guys.” JayScott1914 is more mocking, saying, “Apologies to Minnesota Twins fans. I said they would be back to Stalking Favre in a week. It took 4 days. (Yanks got your Lunch $$$ again).” Yankees fan JeffreyJativa sums up an emotion a lot of Twin fans share, saying he “wishes the Twins would have won at least 1 playoff game at the Metrodome b4 shutting it down.“