The national ad featuring Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Texas Congressman Joe Barton and other prominent Republicans making sounds sympathetic to BP is drawing local attention. KSTP-TV’s Tom Hauser goes to Hamline Professor Dave Schultz, who offers the view that Bachmann is now on “the defensive.” KSTP, which has lifted a page from rival ‘CCO’s playbook and is applying a “Truth Test” to campaign advertising, begins with the new Tarryl Clark ad built around Bachmann’s various BP oil spill-related gaffes. Hauser grades the new Clark ad “B+” for accuracy.
MPR’s Mark Zedechlik files a piece on 6th District Independence Party candidate, Bob Anderson, a conservative Catholic who spent $800 in 2008 and drew 10 percent of the vote: “Anderson says he’s a Catholic opposed to legalized abortion. He says Clark, a Democrat who supports legalized abortion, is too liberal for the 6th District. He says Republican Bachmann is more interested in promoting herself than working for her Minnesota constituents.” Zdechlik’s story quotes Anderson saying: ” ‘We’ve got to have some common-sense regulations. We can’t have environmental impact that’s going to handcuff us [so] that we can’t compete. We’ve all got to look at this and make it, like I said — business friendly. We can’t have it where we love jobs but hate employers.’ “
I suspect the two North Dakota bankers, Richard and Brent Olson, who have now been sued for being complicit with Denny Hecker’s, uh, credit management schemes, won’t be the last of their kind. MaryJo Webster’s PiPress story says: “The Olsons were owners of Cornerstone [bank’s] holding company and served on the bank’s board of directors, using their influence to help Hecker get millions of dollars of loans in 2007 and 2008. When those loans came due, Hecker could not pay Cornerstone back. In an e-mail to Hecker in mid-December 2008, Richard Olson said an independent auditor told them they needed to get $6.8 million in Hecker’s bad loans off their books. ‘This will take bank down when regulators come (in January). … Desperate for ideas!! Please help!!’ the e-mail said. But Hecker had just promised his biggest lender, Chrysler Financial, that he would not take on additional debt or pledge additional assets to secure existing debt. The lender was about to sue Hecker for the loans he had personally guaranteed, eventually winning a $477 million judgment that sent Hecker into bankruptcy. In mid-January, Richard Olson made another e-mail appeal to Hecker, emphasizing their deep friendship: ‘I’m not a bit upset for getting involved in all of this. I would do it all over again. That may strike one as odd, but the fact remains that I have always thought of you as a brother and greatest mentor! We need to stick together to get thru (sic) this, it is the only positive way to both our futures.’ ” “Greatest mentor,” you say?
Billy Mitchell law professor Peter Erlinder arrived home Tuesday after being released by a Rwandan court. Madeleine Baran and Laura Yuen covered it for MPR and report: “Erlinder sharply denounced world leaders for what he said was a failure to press more forcefully for his release. The … professor also had sharp words for the Rwandan government. ‘They have made the Stasi and the KGB look like amateurs,’ he said, making a comparison to the former East German and Soviet secret police.” Hmmm. I’d have to see a list of political prisoners the Stasi and KGB released after three weeks.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher isn’t warming the cockles of uber-lefties with her parsed views on a single-payer health care system for Minnesota. mnpACT!, the lefty blog, written by Dave Mindeman, notes a recent MPR story and says: “As Speaker, she did not start out as a supporter of single payer and she never put the force of her office behind the Minnesota Health Plan, although she claimed to have changed her mind on support for this issue late in the last legislative session. Her post leg session/pre-endorsement campaign was full of single payer support. I have heard her talk about how she ‘saw the light’ and was now on board. At the convention, an important moment occurred when she promised Senator John Marty that she would pledge her full support to get the Minnesota Health Plan into law within 2 years. … But the post-endorsement Kelliher is hedging and backtracking.” Commenter “Colin,” responds: “Sadly, the devil is in the details. Margaret cannot promise to pass a law which would contradict the provisions of the recently-passed health care reform. Single payer supporters want three things right now: more state studies to prove specifically how much their state’s proposal would save, ERISA waivers, and waivers of the new health reform provisions to allow states to go ahead with a Medicare for All system before the exchanges take effect. Without those three requirements, any state single payer bill would be unlikely to take effect statewide for a few years. Two of the three DFL candidates for governor want to pass the Minnesota Health Plan.”
The “bling gun” will no longer have local ownership. Magnum Research, partly owned by New Brighton ad guy John Risdall, has been sold to a Massachusetts company. Magnum produced the gold-finished .50 caliber Desert Eagle revolver, which costs thousands of dollars. Sam Black’s Business Journal story says: “The firm’s products had undeniable cachet — the .50 caliber version of the Desert Eagle acquired a reputation as a ‘bling gun’ … Mike Meyers brandished a gold one [as] Austin Powers in ‘Goldmember’ and NBA star Gilbert Arenas reportedly brought a similar model into the Washington Wizards’ locker room, drawing some legal attention. But business success was ultimately elusive. Within the past two years, Magnum Research had moved its manufacturing operation from a contract plant in Israel to its own facility in Pillager, near Brainerd. ‘We tried to bring manufacturing on-shore and we couldn’t get it done,’ Risdall said in an interview. ‘And we just ran out of cash and we sold it — end of story.’ ”
Free speech ain’t always pretty. The Minneapolis Park Board doesn’t sound happy about allowing an anti-gay evangelist pamphleteer, Brian Johnson, to move about Loring Park this weekend during the Gay Pride festival, which could attract as many as 200,000 gays and gay supporters. Abby Simons’ Strib story gets a quote from Park Board President John Erwin: ” ‘The Park Board thinks it’s dangerous precedent to exclude someone from a public park and a public event because they have a differing view,’ said … Erwin, who says he is gay and a Christian. Erwin said he finds Johnson’s anti-gay message to be ‘reprehensible,’ but Erwin added, ‘I do believe he has the right to be wrong in a park.’ Should a judge grant an injunction, Erwin said the board will gladly abide by it.”
A brief FOX9 report also includes an interview with Erwin and adds: ” ‘[Johnson] engages in a conversation where he talks about what’s written in the Bible that he’s handing out, which is that homosexuality is an abomination and those that participate in it are going to go to hell,’ said [a festival organizer]. Johnson insists he doesn’t take the conversations that far. Yet while organizers believe Johnson is discriminating against gay, lesbian and transgender, he believes they are discriminating against him. ‘What we are trying to do is take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the homosexual community in the way any other missionary would take the gospel message to any other people group in the world,’ said Johnson.”
Speaking of gay … Lavender magazine’s expose of intolerance-preaching associate Hope Lutheran pastor and talk radio host Tom Brock is getting lots of attention. MinnPost’s David Brauer weighed in Tuesday, noting the always dicey interaction of flagrant hypocrisy on the part of homophobic public characters like Brock and their “outing” via the gay media, especially when the media in question is under cover. The Lavender story, written by John Townsend, could have used another pass through the editing comb, but the view inside a supposedly confidential support group for men struggling with homosexuality is pretty riveting. Brock, after all, fits an all-too familiar pattern in our raging culture wars. Writes Townsend: “At the May 28 meeting, as usual, the priest facilitator — this time, Livingston — opened with a reading and prayer. The individual participants then shared how well or not their efforts to maintain chastity had been over the past week, or since their last attendance. Brock looked buffer than previously, in a tight-fitting, short-sleeve shirt that accentuated biceps and triceps more ripped than the month before. When it was Brock’s turn to share, he related that he recently had been on ‘a preaching mission to Slovakia,’ where he met with other clergy. Then, Brock admitted, ‘I fell into temptation. I was weak. That place has this really, really weird, demonic energy. I just got weak, and I had been so good for a long time. Things had been going so well for a long time. There’s a lot of gypsies there.’ ”
Rachel Stassen-Berger, posting on the Strib’s “Hot Dish Politics” blog, notes that in declining to enroll Minnesota early in the federal Medicaid program, Gov. Pawlenty rationalized the move on the basis of “$430 million the state would have to spend over the next three years.” What Pawlenty finessed was that the state will have to spend $250 million regardless, and his decision blocks an in-flow of $1.4 billion in federal money. ” ‘We have done the math on this’, [DFL Rep. Erin] Murphy, of St. Paul, said. ‘We [are]not sure where the over $400 million is coming from … I’m saying I don’t understand his math.’ ‘We just don’t see those numbers. We again just looked at the sheets and we would say it’s $188 [million],” [DFL Rep. Tom] Huntley, of Duluth said. The House media staff later said that the governor’s cost of $430 [million] doesn’t calculate in the saving the health care access fund, which pays for MinnesotaCare, would see and only uses the direct cost to the general fund. She also said the $188 million is already banked and essentially set aside in the current budget.”
A cell phone tower rising 600 feet over the nearby waters in the BWCA, with strobe lights blinking would be one godawful (but vital) eyesore in the BWCA. So, says Mary Lynn Smith in the Strib, Friends of the Boundary Waters is suing to force AT&T to come up with something less obtrusive. “The lawsuit claims the tower, which would rise about 600 feet above the land below the ridge, would be illuminated day and night with strobe and beacon lights that could be seen for miles within the BWCA, including from Basswood, Fall, Ella Hall and South Farm lakes.”