Is it a hoax or isn’t it? That’s the question plaguing Pete and Alisha Arnold of Apple Valley, who are, they claim, putting the future of their fetus up for an online vote. The couple claims this is not a hoax, that they have misgivings about a current pregnancy as a result of two previous miscarriages. Why would somebody do that? “Voting is such an important part of who we are as a people,” FOX9 quotes one of the couple as saying. “Here’s a chance where people can be heard about whether they are pro-choice or whether they are pro-life, and it makes a difference in the real world.”
But there is evidence that it might be a put-on. The most damning is that they registered the domain a month before Alisha is supposed to have gotten pregnant, which they say was unplanned (City Pages points this out, along with other questions). But there are subtler signs suggesting hoax as well, examined by Irin Carmon of Jezebel — including the fact that much of the language of the website seems to parrot the language of anti-abortion activists. Hoax or not, it’s certainly stunt-y, and has a predetermined likely outcome — people who are anti-abortion are more likely to vote in the survey, whereas people who are pro-choice are more likely to not consider the decision any of their business and refrain from voting. And that’s precisely what’s happening, with 79 percent of the voters casting their online ballot for “give birth.” If this is a hoax, in the end it shall have proven nothing except that it is easy to rig an online vote.
There was an awful lot of Michele Bachmann stuff in the news between Thursday and today, and so we run the risk of seeming like we are focusing unduly on Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District’s representative, even though she specifically seeks out press attention. We’ll move through these stories rather quickly, so that we can balance out giving her too much attention with that attention being very brief, the way you justify looking at a car crash by glancing at it and then looking away quickly. Andy Birkey of Minnesota Independent reports that Bachmann told a conservative symposium on Iran at the National Press Club that the United States “needs to do more than the simple engagement strategy of talking” with Iran, although she didn’t specify what. The Wonk Room points out that Bachmann’s claim that Iran already has nuclear capabilities is actually the opposite of what we know, according to the CIA’s March 2010 report. But then, Bachmann once claimed that she knew of a secret Iranian plan to take a portion of Iraq as a terrorist haven, which she later retracted; we can’t help be curious as to who her source is on Iranian intelligence.
Bachmann was recently found talking with George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America,” where she claimed that small business will be the ones disproportionately affected by proposed tax increases to the nation’s top earners. PolitiFact looks at Bachmann’s claim and rates it “pants on fire” as Bachmann forgot that small business get to deduct their expenses, and so would have to make a heck of a lot more than Bachmann claims to get hit with a tax increase and, even then, it wouldn’t be that big a jump. “Good Morning America” also felt the need to publish a correction on their online version.
Finally, Michael Scherer of Time posts a piece called “The Political Courage of Michele Bachmann” in which he points out that Bachmann’s oft-spoken opposition to congressional earmarks has one exception: transportation projects. He also points out that these are the exact earmarks that the Department of Transportation’s inspector general criticized as often being low-priority and disruptive. Bachmann admits to having taken nearly $4 million in earmarks in 2008, many of them for transportation projects. So, in other words, Bachmann opposes earmarks, except those she takes, and has promised not to request any more earmarks, except those similar to the ones she has already gotten, which she wants redefined so that they’re not called earmarks anymore. We at the Glean think Time was being sarcastic when they referred to Bachmann’s stance as an example of courage, but you have to admit, it’s chutzpah.
In today’s recount news: The GOP certainly has its share of techniques for working the ref, and its latest is to petition the Minnesota Supreme Court to demand that every Minnesota election judge demonstrate that the number of votes cast in a precinct not exceed the number of voters. Tom Scheck of Minnesota Public Radio quotes DFL candidate Mark Dayton’s response: “It seems strange to me, but I just live here.” The Associated Press has more details about this story.
In arts: Two updates on older stories. Firstly, Give to the Max day was a success, with Minnesotans giving more than $10 million, as reported by Leif Knutson of FOX9; this author has yet to see any of that money, but looks forward to it, although it may put him in a higher tax bracket.
Secondly, less cheerful news: The medical examiner’s office has determined that popular St, Paul rapper Eyedea died of an accidental drug overdose, detailed by the Star Tribune. According to his mother, he had no issues with chemical dependency, and it’s probably worth noting that the specific cause of his death, opiate toxicity, can be caused by the interactions between legal drugs, such as aspirin and codeine.
In sports: Several sports-related boasts show up on City Pages’ “50 Reasons to Love Minneapolis and St. Paul,” including the fact that “Target Field is the nation’s greenest stadium” and that we swim and bike a lot. The article asked for additional suggestions, which, with their poorly moderated and frequently snarky comments section, is a bit like holding targets up to a well-armed mob. “51. Vacuous link bait instead of decent arts coverage” came one of the responses.