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New Hampshire weekend welcome for Pawlenty, Bachmann

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: More Wisconsin fallout; a legal bill for Johnny Northside; cheaper First Avenue tickets; sex offender treatment costs; and trivia time for beer drinkers.
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Lucky New Hampshire. Both Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann will be in for the weekend. Pawlenty arrived early. The Boston Globe’s Christopher Rowland reports: “Rick LeVasseur, chairman of the Hudson Republican Town Committee and one of the curious Republicans who turned out to see Pawlenty, said Pawlenty failed to get his conservative juices flowing. (This, despite a photo of a hand-painted sign on the potential candidate’s website: ‘Tea-Paw’). But Pawlenty should take heart. LeVasseur said no one else in the potential lineup is conservative enough for him, either. He favors Sarah Palin and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. ‘Neither are in the field right now,’ LeVasseur said, ‘but give it time.’ ’’

Kendra Marr, following Pawlenty for Politico, says: “Pawlenty on Thursday attacked President Obama’s “incoherent response” to the political upheaval in the Middle East — and said the White House should stop worrying about winning an international popularity contest. ‘I’m not overly concerned about our popularity ratings in Europe or the Middle East,’ Pawlenty said at a presidential house party in his honor. ‘What I am concerned about is, is this nation secure.’ Taking the mic at this enthusiastic, wall-to-wall people forum, Pawlenty received plenty of applause for his ‘pro-American, pro-security, pro-defense’ stance on foreign policy. And a sea of heads nodded in agreement, as Pawlenty took the opportunity to brag about his five trips to Iraq, three visits to Afghanistan, and Asian and Latin American trade missions.” Sending troops in to root out a dictator and schmoozing a Chinese grain buyer, pretty much the same thing.

BTW, did you catch Stephen Colbert’s pimp of Pawlenty’s hyper-macho action hero ads? Hilarious.  

Jeremy Herb files a blog post for the Strib, saying: “Rep. Michele Bachmann comes to town for her first New Hampshire visit on Friday, shortly after votes in the House are scheduled to conclude. Bachmann is a featured speaker Friday night at a $250-a-person fundraiser in Hampton Falls, N.H., hosted by the state’s Republican Party. On Saturday, she’ll hit Manchester, Nashua and Rochester for three events: coffee with the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, brunch with the New Hampshire GOP and a fundraiser for the Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC.”

Fallout from Gov. Walker’s anti-union moves in Wisconsin: ABC’s “The Note” blog covers AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka at the National Press Club today, saying, “ ‘Thank you, Scott Walker. We should have invited him here today to receive the Mobilizer of the Year award! This wasn’t one union calling on members to turn out. It wasn’t the AFL-CIO making the call. It wasn’t the Democratic Party, or the Obama organization. This is a bottom-up, grassroots movement with its own momentum — a true spontaneous outcry against our disastrous winner-take-all political culture. … And now they’re seeing what backlash really looks like.’ Meanwhile, polls have shown a public divided on how to rein in the state budget, but hungry for compromise. The latest poll from Wisconsin conducted for Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, a conservative think tank, by University of Wisconsin Professor Ken Goldstein and released over the weekend found just 33 percent wanted Gov. Walker to ‘stand strong for the plan he has proposed no matter how long the protests go on’ versus a whopping 65 percent who want to see the governor ‘negotiate with Democrats and public employees’ unions in order to find a compromise solution.’ ”

Ouch! $60K in damages? For blogging? That’s the hit “Northside Johnny” is going to have to take, according to Abby Simons’ Strib piece: “Blogger John Hoff must pay $60,000 in damages to a former Jordan Area Community Council executive director Jerry Moore, a jury in the civil case concluded Friday. The Hennepin County District Court jury found that an ‘Adventures of Johnny Northside’ blog post in June 2009 resulted in Moore’s firing from the University of Minnesota. The jury reached its verdict at 11 a.m. Friday. It determined that Hoff must pay Moore $35,000 in damages for loss of wages and an additional $25,000 for emotional distress. The jury did not answer questions on the verdict form regarding whether Moore was defamed by Hoff’s blog post.” Does this mean I have to start saying nice things about Dick Cheney?

You’re going to save 20 to 40 percent on your next ticket to see the Fetid Sex Monkeys from Wikieup at First Avenue. The PiPress’ Ross Raihala writes: “The venerable Minneapolis club has dumped its association with Ticketmaster and, starting April 1, will sell its tickets through Etix. The move follows other local venues that have cut loose from Ticketmaster, including St. Paul’s Station 4, which now uses Vital Tickets, and the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown, now partnered with Ticketfly. The big benefit is that Etix, like many smaller ticketing firms, charges fewer fees. First Avenue general manager Nate Kranz said his customers will see a savings of 20 to 40 percent in ticket charges once the club switches to Etix.”

Oh, come on! Wait until Wisconsin gets ahold of this. Mara Gottfried of the PiPress reports: “Minnesota has the most civilly committed sex offenders in the nation on a per capita basis, a legislative auditor report released today found. The largest increase in commitments occurred after the 2003 rape and murder of North Dakota college student Dru Sjodin, the report said. A sex offender released from a Minnesota prison was convicted in the case. After that, the Minnesota Department of Corrections changed its sex offender referral practices. The number of civilly committed sex offenders nearly quadrupled in the past decade and is expected to nearly double over the next decade, the report said. The annual cost is $120,000 per offender, which is about three times the cost of incarceration.” $120K!? What do they get in there, spa days?

Snow and gray … the constant, endless gray … got you down? Need to get out before you start dragging an ax around the house? Checking City Pages’ weekly “Things to do this weekend,” there is, as Jessica Armbruster tells us, “Scholasticus Intoxicus,” a new trivia event, at the 331 Club. “Rather than receiving a standard number two pencil, teams of three will be issued a six pack of beer. But choose your team wisely, as each of the three levels requires varied types of knowledge. Round one is geared toward bookish folks, with questions on math, politics, science, and other cerebral topics. Round two is more suited to the band geeks, theater freaks, and emo poets of the high school halls as challenges will reward the high-drama performance types (or, you know, folks good at charades and Pictionary). The final — and presumably most intoxicated — round requires fitness and hand-eye coordination. So get ready to hula hoop, thumb wrestle, and balance some beer caps if you plan on winning.” Little-known fact: I am a Herb Alpert/leg ‘rasslin’ grand master.