Debate time: another in governor’s race; will Bachmann?

There isn’t much time left until the elections, and if you haven’t noticed, there hasn’t been much by way of debates between Michele Bachmann and her challengers. There was a scheduled debate back in August, but Bachmann skipped it. Annie Baxter of Minnesota Public Radio wanted to nail down whether or not there would be debating, and so she did what any journalist would do — she called Bachmann’s spokesman Sergio Gor. At the end of her talk with him, she was so confused by his answers that she just went ahead and posted the transcript. Sample exchange:

BAXTER: When you say you confirmed … you mean you RSVP’d? You’re not saying you affirmatively responded?
GOR: We’ve affirmatively responded.
BAXTER: You have affirmatively responded to more than one venue.
GOR: To several, correct.
BAXTER: That means you are participating in more than one debate?
GOR: Those are your words.

There was no question as to whether or not there would be a gubernatorial debate Sunday night. There was one. “The debate focused on Minnesota and the world,” WCCO tells us, which covers a lot of territory, even if it excludes, say, the moon and the solar system.

Jason Hoppin of the Pioneer Press was a bit more specific: “[T]hey discussed trade, immigration and taxes.” While much of the territory covered was pretty well-trod (Dayton wants to tax the rich; Horner wants to raise sales taxes; Emmer wants to cut spending), a discussion about homeless veterans prompted an interesting exchange. Dayton mentioned job training, which would be extended to all Minnesotans. “If (government) could provide everything to everybody that they ever wanted, it would be easy,” Emmer responded. “But that’s not the way it works.” So, if Emmer is elected, we at the Glean can probably abandon our hope that the government will buy us a Batmobile, as requested. This is very disappointing.

Perhaps a Batmobile is a lot to expect from our candidates, but we should be able to expect that we can access their ads, if we need them — it’s just good politics. And all three major gubernatorial candidates have been pretty quick about putting their campaign materials online. But, as The Uptake points out, all three have been negligent about providing closed captioning for their YouTube ads. And this isn’t just an issue because they are leaving potential voters uninformed (as an interview subject explains, there are a lot of deaf voters who prefer to get their information from the web). According to The Uptake, “Minnesota’s campaign finance law requires that candidates who take money from the state to fund their campaigns must caption their TV and web videos.” Both Emmer and Horner have taken money from the state. Neither have captioned any of the web ads. Dayton has taken no money, so he isn’t obligated by the campaign finance law. He has captioned about half of his ads, however.

While we’re on the subject of elections, Bill Salisbury of the Pioneer Press discusses one controversial issues that will be affected by the outcome of this election — redistricting. Once the census results are out, the political map of Minnesota will be redrawn, and that can have some pretty significant results, depending on who is doing the drawing. An example: “[S]ome DFLers are quietly musing about expanding McCollum’s St. Paul-based 4th Congressional District, a Democratic stronghold, into Washington County, where Bachmann lives. That, they believe, would put the Republican congresswoman in a district she couldn’t win.” Republicans, in the meanwhile, might revisit their plan to merge Minneapolis and St. Paul into one congressional district, eliminating one seat. That would be one less congressperson, where right now there are two: Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum. Both Democrats.

A few follow-ups to stories from last week: We detailed the spate of student suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin school district, where, in the past year, four teenagers have killed themselves after anti-gay bullying. According to Andy Birkey of Minnesota Independent, the Minnesota Family Council is resisting efforts to create a less hostile climate: “The real issue is ‘homosexual indoctrination,’ not anti-gay bullying, says MFC’s Tom Prichard, who says the students are dead because they adopted an ‘unhealthy lifestyle.’ “

“Troubled Waters,” the bealeagured 57-minute documentary about the agriculture industry’s role in the Gulf of Mexico’s “dead zone,” debuted Sunday after University officials had threatened to cancel the screening. The Star Tribune’s Bill McAuliffe reports on the sold-out screening. A second showing was added, which prompted one attendee to note, “I don’t think this would have occurred without the controversy.” What was the controversy? McAuliffe sums it up: “The documentary had been temporarily pulled from scheduled screenings by a university vice president without consultation with any of the film’s public or nonprofit funders.” The reason the film was originally pulled from it schedule was concerns over the film’s fairness in addressing the ag industry and pollution.

In more U of M news, Jezebel offers a retort to a new anti-drinking campaign that can be seen around the University, mostly consisting of images of young people in bars behaving in sexually embarrassing ways, almost all of which seems to be happening around the same pool table at, unless we miss our guess, Sgt. Preston’s. Jezebel’s take on this: “The message: if you get drunk and make out with someone, all your friends will judge you. As they should.

In arts: The Strib’s gossip columnist, CJ, discusses comedian and Minnesotan Nick Swardson, who now has his own show on Comedy Central called “Pretend Time.” “It’s got to go too far,” Swardson says of the show, which has never really been an issue for him. He is not the first Minnesotan to get a Comedy Central gig — there’s “Mystery Science Theatre,” of course, but then there was also the truncated run of “Let’s Bowl!” Also, at its start, “The Daily Show” was especially Minnesotan, as it was co-created by Minnesota comedian Lizz Winstead and hosted by Minnesotan Craig Kilborn, neither of whom are with the show anymore. I guess what we’re saying is that Comedy Central can be a bit mercurial when it comes to Minnesotans.

In sports: You probably heard the beloved Twins beer vendor Wally the Beer Man was suspended after allegedly selling beer to underage minors. Well, according to the Strib’s Jim Adams, he already has a new gig — selling beer at Sneaky Pete’s. Have your IDs ready, please.

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/04/2010 - 10:27 am.

    When asked if Mickey Bachmann is the Messiah, spokesmodel Sergio Gor responded, “Those are your words.”

  2. Submitted by Dan Landherr on 10/04/2010 - 11:37 am.

    Merge Bachmann’s district with Ellison’s. Now THAT would make for an interesting campaign.

  3. Submitted by Cecil North on 10/04/2010 - 12:16 pm.

    So, if I understand Tom Prichard correctly, homosexuality is an unhealthy lifestyle because it can lead to being bullied? I guess that means that practicing, oh, say, Judaism in Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s was similarly just an “unhealthy lifestyle” because it could lead to internment in concentration camps, starvation and death? Gee, Tom, thanks for clearing that up.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/04/2010 - 12:25 pm.

    Say bunny?

    MFC’s Tom Prichard wouldn’t have much to complain about if public schools had single purpose staff, special curriculums, “safe spaces”, and guest speakers intended to teach students not to pick on kids that are overweight; or underweight; or shy; or even one of any of the hundreds of other things that kids taunt one another about.

    But they don’t.

    Some might come to feel that the leftist coalition in command of the public schools don’t care about kids that do not provide an opportunity to advance their agenda…given the facts, Prichard’s assessment has merit.

  5. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/04/2010 - 12:51 pm.

    Oh good Machiavelli, I was afraid we’d go an entire blog w/o Mr. Swift trotting out the argument that we’re on the precipice of total socialism, anarchy, communism and the eternal death of sliced bread if we don’t vote right.

    Student success is most highly correlated not with good teachers or good schools, but with good parents. Parents of any income level who drill into their kids’ heads the importance of education, who stress written rather than visual media, and who support the actions of their children’s’ teachers and schools produce consistently successful students. The generation that survived the Depression and WW2 was able to provide a better life for their children, with lots of food and free time and fun, and few of the deprivations and horrors that had gone before. This indulgent behavior was reinforced and amplified in the generations that followed. We’re now way too easy on our kids for their own good. Schools will never really succeed until parents force their kids to take education seriously, and allow hard work and discipline to be the watchwords at their children’s schools. Teachers need to ask more of students, and adults need to stand resolutely in the face of their beloved yet lazy children, and force them to deliver. In the end, that will be the real reform.

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/04/2010 - 01:26 pm.

    Say Richard?

    I agree with you; too many parents send their kids out the door every day believing the public schools will do their jobs for them.

    But Machiavelli; total socialism; anarchy; communism and the eternal death of sliced bread?

    Are we reading the same “Glean”?

  7. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/04/2010 - 02:07 pm.

    Question: Can a single congressional district be so large as to hold the number of persons residing 4 PLUS 5?

  8. Submitted by Josh Williams on 10/04/2010 - 03:23 pm.

    Say swift?

    I don’t hear Tom Prichard advocating on behalf of the overweight, underweight, shy etc. for protection from bullying. I point this out because one can only conclude from your comments that this is what we should expect. After all, you are not saying that these children, like those who are not of heterosexual orientation, deserve to also be bullied and ridiculed until they take their own lives, are you?

    No, of course not.

    Only Tom Prichard would suggest that persecuted children deserved to die for their immoral “choices”. You just defend him.

  9. Submitted by Brian Simon on 10/04/2010 - 03:25 pm.

    “Can a single congressional district be so large as to hold the number of persons residing 4 PLUS 5?”

    No and it depends. The math gets a little complicated. Speaking grossly, congressional districts are supposed to be sized by taking the US population and dividing by 435 (the number of House seats). However some states have total populations smaller than that number, and are guaranteed at least one representative (i.e. NoDak ‘At large’ representative). Likewise, congressional districts can’t span state boundaries. The math as I understand it is that MN will not lose a seat, meaning we will need to draw boundaries for 8 seats. Those 8 seats are supposed to have equal representation. If the people drawing boundaries were to combine 4 & 5, they could get the two city cores into one district, but would have to make a new suburban district out of the remnants of 4 & 5. Geographically 1, 7 & 8 are likely to expand, if rural populations are dwindling, while 2, 3 & 6 might shrink, if suburban/exurban populations are growing.

    I think if you redistricted to combine 4& 5 into one ‘safe’ seat for Dems, you’d make 2, 3 & 6 more competitive, plus creating a new competitive seat out of 4-5 remnants.

  10. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/04/2010 - 06:25 pm.

    Say Josh?

    If you’re interested in what Tom Prichard really said, it’s probably not a good idea to take the word of Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Independent at face value.

    In the interests of furthering our joint enlightenment, I went to the source; unsurprisingly, the facts are different than we’ve found them presented here…

    “Certainly harassment of a student or any student for homosexuality or any other reason is unacceptable and needs to be swiftly dealt with.”

    Pretty much what I suggested.

    Seems that common sense is more common than one might come to believe if they restrict their data gathering to leftist web sites, don’t you agree Josh?

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