Al Franken had a good time Wednesday in a Senate hearing on repealing DOMA. Testifying before him was Thomas Minnery of Focus on the Family, one of the pillars of the anti-gay quasi-religious establishment. Says Elizabeth Titus of Politico: “Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., took on a Focus on the Family executive at a hearing on same-sex marriage Wednesday, challenging the validity of the witness’ testimony. ‘I frankly don’t really know how we can trust the rest of your testimony if you are reading studies this way,’ Franken told Thomas Minnery of Focus on the Family, the conservative Colorado-based group that opposes same-sex marriage. The study in question, published by a division of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department in 2010, found better health outcomes among children in nuclear families — a point Minnery, senior vice president for public policy, said means children are better off with straight, married parents. But Franken pointed out that the study’s definition of ‘nuclear family’ does not specify the gender of the parents in such families, suggesting a lack of evidence that same-sex couples’ kids are less healthy than the children of straight couples. ‘Sen. Franken is right,’ the lead author of the study told Politico.” Video here.
Some interesting Vikings/stadium bits in Tim Nelson’s MPR story: “ ‘We focused on the Arden Hills site to try to make that work right now,’ [Ted] Mondale said Wednesday morning. ‘The Minneapolis site was ready to go a couple months ago, but right now, the focus is on Arden Hills.’ That plan would likely have the Vikings playing in the Metrodome through 2014, with an inaugural season in Ramsey County in 2015. Backers of a stadium at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market site, though, say they’re hoping to take advantage of a delay. Developer Bruce Lambrecht said it was ‘good news for us’ that the state has taken a pass on the Vikings stadium issue so far.”
Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post’s, “The Fix” blog, talks Bachmann, migraines and disgruntled employees. “Bachmann’s staff turnover is the stuff of legend on Capitol Hill. In the space of her first term in office, [from MinnPost] she had three different chiefs of staff and experienced any number of other staff departures as well. A cavalcade of disgruntled former aides (are there ever ‘gruntled’ former aides?) willing to go public with questions and criticisms of Bachmann is decidedly problematic for her presidential candidacy. After all, if those who know (or knew) her best lack faith in her ability to do the job effectively, it will almost certainly force voters to re-examine their first, generally positive impressions of her. And, if you think that voters won’t hear about the criticisms launched against Bachmann by her former aides, you don’t follow campaigns very closely. It’s a lead pipe lock that her rivals are collecting those quotes in their opposition research files and will use them liberally on television ads if/when the time comes. The question for Bachmann is whether [ex Chief of Staff Ron] Carey’s comments and the migraine stories are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to former staffers venting or represent the full extent of the critique of Bachmann that will be offered by former employees.” We bet, “not.”
Purely by coincidence, T-Paw has thoughts on “fitness for office.” Says Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics: “Pawlenty on Wednesday appeared to inch closer toward raising questions about her fitness to be commander in chief. ‘As to Congresswoman Bachmann … I don’t know enough about the facts about her particular case, and we defer to the medical professionals and their judgment and knowledge about her particular condition,’ Pawlenty told reporters after a town-hall meeting here. ‘But as a general statement, all of the candidates are going to have to be able to demonstrate they can do all of the job of president, all of the time.’ “ Because once you’re elected to a high office, you have a moral responsibility to devote all of your time to THAT office.
Sun Country has a new owner. Says David Phelps of the Strib: “Sun Country Airlines was sold Wednesday to the owners of Cambria, the quartz countertop giant based in Le Sueur, Minn. The Davis family of southern Minnesota paid an undisclosed price for the Mendota Heights-based airline after lengthy negotiations and an auction in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Paul. But the purchase price was described by bankruptcy trustee Doug Kelley as ‘substantially above’ a $24 million floor price he set for the airline when he put Sun Country up for sale earlier this year.”
Also in the Strib, Dan Browning follows yet another wave of indictments in the tackier than Petters but no-less fascinating Trevor Cook Ponzi scheme. Says Browning: “Federal authorities have finally dropped the other shoe in the $194 million Ponzi scheme orchestrated by convicted fraudster Trevor Cook, indicting three of his key associates on fraud and money laundering charges two years after an investor lawsuit exposed the scheme. Jason Bo Beckman, a brash Plymouth money manager described by regulators as a ‘ringleader’ in Cook’s scheme, and Patrick Kiley, a conservative Minneapolis radio show host who promoted the scheme on his ‘Follow the Money’ program, were booked Wednesday morning and made their initial appearances at the federal courthouse in St. Paul in the afternoon.” Browning adds, and this is good: “Kiley, 73, of Minneapolis, produced his radio program from a home Cook owned in Burnsville. The program started out on a Christian amateur radio network but eventually became syndicated on more than 200 radio stations. Kiley fomented mistrust of government institutions and the stock market, and invited listeners to call him to learn about ways they could protect their money. … Kiley said he had no choice but to read scripts prepared for him by Cook. He has told federal authorities that he believed in Cook’s currency investment strategy. In court, Kiley told U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Keyes that he had ‘probably $9 to $10’ in the bank and $11 in cash and an as-yet uncashed Social Security check ‘which I live off of … I am not a flight risk.’ ”
Good piece by Tom Horgen of the Strib on Kieran Folliard, who is selling his stake in the Local, Kieran’s and other popular local pubs. “Why? Folliard wants to go into the whiskey business full time. Earlier this year, he replaced much of the top-selling Jameson Irish Whiskey at his pubs with his own brand, called 2 Gingers. Now the 55-year-old wants to take his product out into the marketplace, selling it to liquor stores and other bars. Liquor laws prevent the ownership of both a distillery arm (he imports his brand from Ireland) and a retail outlet (such as a bar). Therefore, he has to leave his pubs behind. He said he anticipates that the move will be scrutinized but insisted that his exit from the pubs is a ‘complete severance.’ He informed the bars’ staff Tuesday of his departure. Folliard’s decision was ‘extremely emotional,’ he said, but he’s restless for a new challenge.”
In its editorial today, the Strib writes: “[T]he budget signed into law still inflicts too much pain. The hurt will be felt most keenly on college campuses and among those who serve low-income disabled and elderly people. Child-care cuts for low-income families are especially shortsighted. That pain and the prospect of more to come should be more than sobering. It also should compel action. Now’s the time for Dayton and legislative leaders to come together to seek ways for state government to produce better results at lower cost, and for state taxes to generate more stable growth in revenue.” There should be a quota on the number times one paper can say, “Now is the time to come together.”