Campaigning for president takes a lot of time away from your day job. Michael O’Brien of The Hill reports: “Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has missed nearly 40 percent of votes in the House since she formally launched her presidential campaign. Bachmann’s absentee rate, which is significantly higher than the two other House members running for president, could be used by her GOP opponents on the campaign trail. Bachmann, the chairwoman of the House Tea Party Caucus who has surged toward the top of the Republican presidential field, has missed 50 of 135 votes (37 percent) since formally announcing her candidacy June 27 in Waterloo, Iowa. … Asked earlier this month whether she would forfeit some of her congressional salary, Bachmann replied, ‘No comment.’ When pressed, Bachmann said, ‘I’m not doing an interview with you now.’ ”
On The New York Times’ hockey blog “Slap Shot” (who knew?) John Branch reports: “The family of the late Derek Boogaard came to the defense of Aaron Boogaard, who faces charges of drug distribution and tampering in connection with the fatal overdose of his brother, a former enforcer for the Minnesota Wild and Rangers. … ‘To insinuate that Aaron had anything remotely to do with Derek’s death, as Prosecutor Mike Freeman alluded to, is just plain wrong,’ Ryan Boogaard, another brother, wrote in a statement released early Tuesday.”
Minnesota parks are open for your reservations. Jessica Mador of MPR writes: “The online reservations system for Minnesota state parks reopen[ed] Tuesday morning, nearly a month after closing for the state government shutdown. Minnesotans can begin reserving campsites and cabins for the coming year at 8 a.m. today, and all but four of the state parks are back in business.”
With the GOP and Gov. Dayton now arguing over what number exactly describes the state budget they just (kinda, sorta) resolved, MPR’s Catharine Richert writes: “[T]here are at least two ways to view the state’s general fund budget. Democrats are taking into account two budget maneuvers that helped close the state’s deficit and effectively allow the state to spend more than it has, while Republicans are not. And conveniently, both numbers support each party’s political aims: Republicans can claim they are not spending any more than the state has in its coffers, and Democrats can say they’ve increased funding for programs important to their party’s constituents. … the new budget delays additional school payments, saving the state $911 million. In addition, lawmakers agreed to raise $640 million in new revenue by issuing bonds against future tobacco settlement payments. That money will be used to pay down the state’s debts — money that would typically come from the general fund. Add those two numbers to the $34.3 billion budget Republicans are touting, and you’ve got a $35.9 billion budget.” So, in other words, is there or is there not a real, true, accurate figure?
I have no drug cred, but I’m pretty sure heroin doesn’t look much like motor oil. Gabrielle Giroday of the Winnipeg Free Press writes: “Janet Goodin, a 66-year-old Minnesota widow and grandmother, said her life was turned upside down this past April after she was arrested at the border for a jar of motor oil mistaken for heroin. She spent 12 harrowing days in jail for three drug charges that were later dropped. Goodin said she was heading from her home in Warroad, Minnesota, to Sprague, Manitoba, to play bingo on April 20 when Canadian border guards at the Sprague port of entry started searching her van and found a canning jar containing brownish liquid. Sprague is about 230 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg. Goodin — who retired after working as an administrative assistant for organizations like Girl Scouts — said she was shocked after the jar of what she thought was motor oil tested positive for drugs.” Did I mention the strip search?
Architect Leonard Parker died Monday. Jenna Ross of the Strib writes: “Leonard Parker, a Minnesota architect who taught at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota, for decades, died July 25. Parker built many notable structures across the state, including the U’s Mondale Hall and the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.”
On Jeremy Olson’s “Daddy-O” blog at the Strib, he takes another look how teenage convicted murderer Michael Swanson got his hands on the guns used in his murder spree. “[H]ere are some more details, according to mother Kathy Swanson:
• On the fateful November 2010 evening, her son stole her jeep and cash card from their home in St. Louis Park. His father’s hunting rifles were in the house, but were locked in a safe. Normally, his father stored them in a separate, locked location, but they were at home because he had just returned from a hunting trip.
• Swanson then drove 250 miles north to the family’s cabin, where he encountered his grandfather (who is deaf) sleeping in a chair in the living room. Swanson then stole food and water from the refrigerator and found his uncle’s loaded handgun and an unloaded rifle laying out in a bedroom. (Note: this is corrected information from the original story, which indicated that Swanson took a shotgun.) Normally, those weapons would be stored in a locked cabinet underneath the bed, but they were laid out to dry as the rifle had gotten wet during a snowy hunting outing.” Considering that kid’s history, I’d be reluctant to have pocket knives around the house.
Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey writes about the T-Paw/Bachmann smackdown at The Week: “[N]either Minnesotan will remind any rational voter of Barack Obama, except perhaps each other. Will it matter in the end? If Texas Gov. Rick Perry gets into the race, probably not. Perry is at least as accomplished on the stump as Bachmann and has a longer and more successful track record as an executive than Pawlenty, especially on job creation. Where the two Minnesotans represent the current sparring match between the conservative grassroots and the establishment, Perry represents a potential unifying candidate whom both sides can enthusiastically back. The Pawlenty-Bachmann feud has done the Republicans one favor, though. It prepared them for a tougher and more substantive campaign among each other rather than does having everyone sing from the same hymnal, which will make the next debate somewhat more enlightening for voters. The primary should be a competition to find the best nominee, not a pillow fight at a slumber party. If we had to put Minnesota Nice on ice for a while, then holy buckets, it was worth it.”
Paul Mulshine of the Newark Star Ledger files a column on the modern GOP, starting with a T-Paw anecdote: “Someone forgot to tell him that nerds are supposed to be smart. I’m talking about the geeky ex-governor of Minnesota. The other day, the New Republic carried a piece titled ‘The Tragedy of Tim Pawlenty’ in which the writer, Walter Shapiro, tells of watching the wannabe GOP presidential nominee deliver his stump speech. It offered the following passage about how Pawlenty ended up in law school: ‘I remember walking past my dentist’s office,” he recalled, “and, as I looked at his Buick Riviera parked in the driveway, I began thinking that, to get ahead in life, you had to be a dentist. So I went to college wanting to be a dentist. And several years into it, I had to take organic chemistry — and the rest is history.’ At this point, the writer says of the candidate, ‘His audience was divided into two camps: those laughing and those applauding.’ I can understand the laughter. But why the applause? It seems like only yesterday that the leading lights of the Republican Party were deep thinkers such as William F. Buckley, who would have confessed to being a communist before confessing to a lack of ability to understand simple subjects once required for graduation from high school, never mind college. These days, the Grand Old Party has been taken over by characters who willingly admit they’re too dumb to drill teeth.”