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Wow: Jesse Ventura sues TSA for ‘unlawful sexual assault’

MORNING EDITION ALSO: Retro politics on smoking and abortion; Pawlenty speech — and book video; a legislator slams the door; growing substance abuse in jails; and a call for more trains.
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No one pats down the Body, unless the Body wants to be patted down. With people like Michele Bachmann sucking up so much attention, we may have forgotten past royalty in the game of “me.” Mark Albert of KSTP says of the latest Jesse Ventura incident: “In a complaint filed Monday morning in the U.S. District Court for Minnesota, Ventura is suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its secretary, Janet Napolitano, as well as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and its administrator, John Pistole. Ventura accuses the agencies of violating his ‘basic rights to privacy and dignity, and his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures,’ after he received a pat-down by a TSA agent at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in November 2010. Ventura, who said he has a titanium implant after hip replacement surgery in 2008, alleges the pat-down included ‘warrantless, non-suspicion-based offensive touching, gripping and rubbing of the genital and other sensitive areas of his body,’ which, the lawsuit contends, met ‘the definition for an unlawful sexual assault.’

The last time we heard from Tom Hackbarth, Republican legislator from Cedar, he was explaining why he was packing heat in Planned Parenthood’s parking lot to check up on a woman he had just met over coffee. But he was back Monday. The AP says: “Hackbarth … introduced legislation Monday that would allow smoking in bars, including bars attached to restaurants. Smoking would still be banned in restaurants. Bars attached to restaurants would have to be separated physically by walls and doors kept closed. The bill would give bars as long as six years to install ventilation systems, depending on how much of their sales come from drinks.”

On the subject of retrograde politics, Eric Roper of the Strib files a piece on a yet another resurgence in the abortion wars: “Fifteen states now have both a legislature and governor who are abortion opponents, according to NARAL Pro-Choice America. A year ago, the number was 10. In the Midwest, that includes Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Overall, 29 governors are foes of abortion, compared with 21 last year. ‘This is worrisome because the governors have been the firewall, they’ve vetoed a lot of bad anti-choice legislation,’ said Ted Miller, a spokesman for NARAL. Social issues often were played down in last fall’s campaigns, and states remain preoccupied by budget issues. But it appears likely that more measures limiting abortion rights could pass this year than in 2010, when more than 30 restrictive laws were adopted in at least nine states.” So who among them, I ask, will make a principled stand against suffrage?

The Concord Monitor covered Tim Pawlenty’s speech in New Hampshire last night. Reporter Shira Schoenberg quotes Pawlenty playing the “exceptionalism” card pretty heavy … in fact, right out of the book heavy: “ ‘This is the greatest nation the world has ever known,’ Pawlenty told a friendly crowd at a Merrimack County Republican Committee reception … in Concord. ‘And we are the most successful and most prosperous nation because we’re the freest nation the world has ever known.’ “

She also quotes him saying something close(r) to specific when he says our health care system needs to be reformed: “He compared the current health care system to an ‘open bar.’ ‘If you create a system — education, health care — where people don’t know price or quality, and the provider has no incentive to do anything but provide volume, the system will fail,’ Pawlenty said.” So by all means, keep the system in the hands of the distillers.

Also, somebody please tell me this is a gag. Jason Hoppin of the PiPress posts on the paper’s Political Animal blog and links to a promo-video, I guess, for our kind of dull ex-governor’s book, “Courage to Stand” (maybe you’ve heard of it). By the look of the trailer if the Rooskies ever rise up again, or if we need the planet defended from space aliens, the guy we’re calling is … Tim Pawlenty.

Sally Jo Sorenson of the Bluestem Prairie blog writes that her state senator, Scott Newman, has — put in writing no less — that he will not meet with any group that gave money to his opponent in last fall’s election. Sorenson posts the senator’s e-mail to the Minnesota Nurses Association, saying:
“Hi Eileen-
Unfortunately, Senator Newman will not see any organizations that donated to/supported his opponent Hal Kimball. After some careful checking, I discovered that the MNA had donated to Kimball’s campaign. Your association will be unable to schedule an appointment with Senator Newman.
Kim Kelley
Legislative Assistant.”

I guess it isn’t all that surprising if you stop and think about it. But Dave Chanen of the Strib reports: “Substance abuse by arrestees at the Hennepin County jail in Minneapolis was over 70 percent in 2010, a 10 percentage-point increase from 2009. The drug most commonly found was marijuana, in about half of those tested, followed by cocaine, in nearly one-fifth. Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek could only speculate on the reason for the increase. He theorized that because crime is down nationwide, career criminals, the group most likely to consume illegal drugs, make up a higher proportion of those arrested.”

A Strib editorial says what’s wrong with the Northstar commuter rail line can be fixed with … more trains: “[T]hose who have tried to ride the train know its main problem: the schedule. Unlike the Hiawatha light-rail line, which runs frequently throughout most of the day, Northstar typically has a limited number of runs on weekday mornings and afternoons. Unless there’s a special train scheduled, such as for Twins or Vikings games, there are no midday runs and no late-evening runs. Those who need to stay late for a downtown event are out of luck. Those who want to take an early morning train downtown also must bide their time until the afternoon runs.”

ESPN 1500 has a story by Doogie Wolfson asking Timberwolves President David Kahn about the line in a New York Times piece over the weekend. It quoted a senior source close to Ricky Rubio the Wolves long-ago-drafted 20-year-old Spanish prodigy saying: “ ‘The bottom line is, why would he want to play in Minnesota? He’ll continue to say all the diplomatic things, and Minnesota needs to keep his value up for trade purposes, but the family’s preference is to be on the East Coast, specifically New York, Miami or Boston. He wouldn’t be troubled if he has to stay another year.” Kahn’s comment? Well, none, actually.