What’s the old legal admonition? “Never ask a question in court you don’t already know the answer to”? Somehow I think the Ramsey County Charter Commission already knows the answers to the questions it’ll be asking at tonight’s first public meeting on that Vikings stadium (tax). Tim Nelson at MPR writes: “Ramsey County’s 17-member charter commission is taking testimony ahead of next month’s ballot question asking whether voters should have direct input on funding for professional sports. The commission is expected to vote on the charter change after the second hearing Oct. 11. … Opponents of the plan say Ramsey County put a charter in place as a measure against just such actions by county officials in 1992. … Former Arden Hills Mayor Bev Aplikowski sits on the charter commission. Although she’s hesitant about introducing new taxes in her city, she isn’t sure the charter commission has a place in the matter. ‘I think putting it on the ballot in 2012 will not accomplish what a lot of people are being led to believe that they can accomplish,’ Aplikowski said. She said a vote next year will only affect the county’s charter, which works like a local constitution. It won’t be a vote on the Vikings deal itself. Approving a new stadium may require a separate election at a later time, Aplikowski said.”
The bill for fighting the Pagami Creek fire up in the BWCA is currently at … $11 million. Dan Kraker at MPR says: “Hundreds of firefighters from all over the country have been deployed to battle the fire, all of them professionals who draw a salary, said Bob Summerfield, a public information officer on the fire. ‘We’ve used a lot of aircraft on this fire, that’s one of the most expensive things that we do,’ he added. Bulldozers and other heavy equipment are also in constant use. The Pagami Creek fire is now 61 percent contained.”
So why are so many kids leaving Minnesota for college? At the Strib, Jenna Ross writes: “Minnesota had a net loss of thousands of students, a new report by the Minnesota Private College Research Foundation shows. Neighboring states drain the greatest numbers. That’s not new: These reports have shown this trend for years. But they don’t explain why. One possibility, said Paul Cerkvenik, president of the Minnesota Private College Council, is that the state’s high school grads are top-notch. … Still, the trend could be troubling. As a 2009 research brief by the council noted: ‘If students who leave do not come back, this would result in an overall loss of graduates poised to enter the workforce’. … But it’s tough to tell if those who leave later return. Studies in other states suggest that students typically stay where they get their degrees. Job opportunities often sway the final destination. Other data show that Minnesota brings in more people with degrees than it loses.”
It’s about time. The thing is filthy. Paul Walsh at the Strib reports that with the Twins (highly) unlikely to be blown out of the play-offs by the Yankees again this year … the Lowry Hill Tunnel can get cleaned earlier than usual. “[S]tate transportation officials Wednesday announced that the Lowry Tunnel in downtown Minneapolis will close for two nights next week. The closures for its occasional scrubbing will occur Monday and Tuesday, starting at 10 p.m. both nights and reopening at 5 a.m. in time for the morning rush hour. The westbound side of the tunnel will closed Monday night, and the eastbound side has its turn Tuesday night.”
Still working in the bubble, Our Favorite Congresswoman was at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University conceding that she was … a sinner. Jim Ragsdale’s Strib story says: “In picking up on a theme of her presidential campaign, Bachmann told a convocation of the evangelical Christian university of her conversion as a born-again Christian as a teenager. ‘I was a sinner,’ she said. ‘I had a heart that needed to be clean. … I repented from my sin. I said oh, God, come in, make me new. … He did what He promises to do for all.’ Her speech was an electrifying sermon in which religious themes dominated. She did take time to criticize federal health reform as a step toward ‘socialized medicine’ and saw the country promising little for future generations. ‘This is an election of all elections when we have an opportunity to turn the country around,’ she said.” Am I the only wondering if she “sinned” with Marcus?
Speaking of … Maggie Haberman at Politico notes a “slightly new twist” to Our Gal’s story of mothering all those kids: “Marcus Bachmann is emailing on behalf of his wife, with a slightly new twist on the couple’s foster children and his ‘100 percent’ support for her campaign:
Dear Fellow Conservative, Michele is the real deal. Not only does she continue to inspire me every day with her strength, but she is the same woman of character as when I first met her 35 years ago. Michele is not your typical politician. She is not about climbing the political ladder for her personal benefit, or a popularity contest … My wife continues to amaze me each day as she stands up to her critics to defend our values. But I know she cannot stand alone. She needs to know you stand with her. Please follow this link to generously give any amount you can afford up to the legal limit to show Michele you support her. Her role as a mother of our 28 children (5 biological and 23 foster children), her work as an activist with her post doctorate degree in law to confront our education system, her national security experience, and her performance as a Congresswoman fighting our socialist healthcare debacle, all make Michele uniquely qualified to be President.”
Oh, and this is good, too: “I promise you as first gentleman my role will be to honor America with dignity, class, and grace. I will never apologize for America, a country blessed and led by our Almighty God. This is our time, this is our season to turn this incredible country around, and to get our fiscal house in order. With appreciation for every dollar you send our way.’ “ That’s good, isn’t it? “The first gentleman.” Heh.
Beware a scorned Iowa gal. The AP reports: “An Iowa City woman has been charged with misdemeanor domestic abuse, accused of hitting her boyfriend because he wouldn’t have sex with her. Police were sent to the house late Monday night after a report about a female out of control. Her boyfriend told officers that Melissa Minarsich had struck him a few times and ripped a storm door off the house. He says she became enraged when he refused to have sex. Police say Minarsich told officers that her boyfriend’s account was accurate. Officers report that Minarsich’s speech was slurred and she smelled of alcohol.”
It appears the fox got in the hen house. Bill Prendergast, one of the founders of the Dump Bachmann! blog and now at the Minnesota Progressive Project, took a ride with GOP Rep. Doug Wardlow’s conservatives up and down the St. Croix. Wardlow gave a talk about historical precedents. Prendergast writes: “Wardlow attributed the fall of Rome to unsustainable taxation and the policy of providing ‘bread of circuses’ to citizens. Most historians would probably agree that taxation did play an important role in the fall of Rome. But the ‘bread and circuses’ policy of distributing imperial largesse to the citizens was in place for centuries before Rome fell. Other factors — particularly the demographics of ancient Europe, failure to bring in new revenue via new military conquests, weakness and virtual anarchy at the top of the central government during the third century, and unsustainable military spending … were probably more important in causing the fall of Rome. And that process of ‘falling’ took centuries took place over centuries. (For example, Wardlow didn’t deal with the fact of the survival of the Eastern Roman Empire, which lasted for nearly a thousand years after its Western counterpart failed. That historical fact, would not support his interpretation of history or his audience’s.) But Wardlow’s reading of history was in harmony with his audience’s understanding — and that’s why he won applause after his speech. People in the audience entered the event with the same suppositions as the speaker. That’s a surefire way to win approval. The audience was already inclined to believe that ‘big government is bound to fail,’ that ‘higher taxation leads to the ruin of great nations.’ Telling people that what they already believe about history, is history — is not history.” But it is marketable politics.
Checking up on the Power Line boys today, I noticed John Hinderaker posting on the 50th anniversary DVD releasse of “Ben Hur.” Curious, I read on: “The great epic Ben-Hur, which won 11 Oscars in 1959, is being released in a 50th anniversary DVD edition. The Los Angeles Times notes the occasion with this howler, via Big Hollywood:
Based on the novel by Lew Wallace, the period drama revolves around Judah Ben-Hur (Heston), a Palestinian nobleman who is enslaved by the Romans, engages in one of the most thrilling chariot races ever captured on screen, and even encounters Jesus Christ. In this bizarre sentence, the Times critic not only misplaces the whole context of the movie — Ben-Hur was, of course, a Jew, and there are no ‘Palestinians’ in sight — but also backhands the whole point of the movie: Ben-Hur ‘even’ encounters Jesus Christ! It would be hard to write a more myopic sentence about any movie or other artistic work.”
John has as fine a touch for casual hyperbole as … anyone I have ever read.