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T-Paw on ‘Colbert,’ ‘Morning Joe’; Letterman offers ‘O’Bachmann’

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Hard Rock Cafe to close; “questioned” LRT firms get new work; Wisconsin Voter ID rules; Sioux logo fight continues; and more.
Read Wed. Morning Edition


T-Paw on ‘Colbert,’ ‘Joe’; Letterman offers ‘O’Bachmann’

All of our favorite (and former) presidential candidates were featured on national TV Tuesday. Jeremy Herb of the Strib notes T-Paw shucking and jiving with Stephen Colbert: “Pawlenty gave his first interview since dropping his White House bid to comedian Stephen Colbert, who made Pawlenty a frequent butt of jokes during the campaign. The Minnesota Republican appeared to be in good spirits for the interview on Comedy Central’s ‘The Colbert Report,’ taking jokes about his campaign’s demise in stride and making a few of his own. ‘It’s taking on more and more of a reality TV component,’ Pawlenty said of the race. ‘Did you think you should learn to juggle?’ Colbert asked. ‘I thought about shooting sparks out of my butt,’ Pawlenty responded.” And if The Base had said that that was what they wanted him to do, he’d have done it.

Here’s the video.

Jennifer Jacobs at the Des Moines Register writes about T-Paw on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” conceding he should have just blown off the Ames Straw Poll: “ ‘Morning Joe’ host Joe Scarborough today asked Pawlenty if the Iowa Straw Poll is irrelevant. ‘I mean, Michele Bachman won it and then promptly disappeared. Could you have skipped the Ames straw poll?’ ‘Yeah’, Pawlenty answered. ‘I think I could’ve, Joe, yes.’ But then Pawlenty went on to defend the event as a much-scrutinized highlight of the early campaign season. ‘It’s not irrelevant in this sense, because the press pays disproportionate attention to it. It’s relevant as a news event. It’s relevant as a sorting out filter for candidates like me to either take a step forward or take a step out. So is it ultimately going to determine the Iowa caucuses? No. But is it one step along the process that either gets you some momentum or loses you some momentum, yes.’ ”

Meanwhile, Our Favorite Congresswoman, known around The Ed Sullivan Theater as “Michele O’Bachmann,” was the star of David Letterman’s Top 10 list last night. Titled “Signs Michele O’Bachmann’s Campaign Is in Trouble,” the list put my favorite at No. 6: “Ranks behind that creepy middle-aged white guy, that other creepy middle aged white guy and barely ahead of other creepy middle aged white guy.”

Well, there’s plenty of room now for either the casino or the Wal-Mart. Tom Horgen of the Strib reports that The Hard Rock Cafe, Minneapolis version, is closing Sept. 30: “A PR person representing Hard Rock International would not comment beyond a prepared statement: ‘We have run a successful business in Minneapolis, but the current site has created challenges that prevent us from continuing to operate at this location.’ No word yet if that bit of vagueness is referring to the luxury casino proposed by Block E’s owners. The Hard Rock Café opened in 2002, just as Block E was getting off the ground. … Almost a decade later, it’s one of the last anchor tenants left, with Borders and GameWorks long gone. The recent exodus of restaurants includes Hooters, Applebee’s and Panchero’s. In April, a Panchero’s spokesman said the Mexican grill was forced out of its lease, something Block E’s owner denied.” So where am I going to go now to eat a $14 hamburger next to a framed Foghat guitar pick?

It was a classic from the 2010 football season. Paul Walsh of the Strib reports: “A 47-year-old Burnsville man admitted in court Wednesday to fatally shooting a guest during a gathering to watch the Bears-Packers game, because he was angry that the guest had posed for shirtless photos in his son’s bedroom. Robert M. Thomas pleaded guilty in Dakota County District Court to second-degree manslaughter in the shotgun death on Jan. 23 of James E. Koenig, 38, also of Burnsville. … According to the charges: Koenig’s girlfriend said Thomas invited her and Koenig over to watch the game. She dropped off Koenig and returned just before halftime to find both men drinking straight vodka from coffee cups. After the game, she said, Thomas’ 13-year-old son came out of a bedroom with a camera containing photos of a shirtless Koenig, striking poses. … Koenig, saying he had the photos taken for his Facebook page, initially went to the door, according to the third man, but then rushed toward the gunman, saying Thomas lacked the guts to ‘do anything about it.’ Thomas responded with a shotgun blast to Koenig’s chest.”

Companies accused of misrepresenting their subcontracting on the Hiawatha LRT are … working on the Central Corridor. Pat Doyle of the Strib writes: “Two of the disadvantaged firms involved in the alleged abuse on Hiawatha are now working on the Central Corridor with a new venture involving C.S. McCrossan. The conduct of the three companies comes to light as the Met Council is again pursuing an ambitious goal of awarding 15 percent of the construction dollars for the $957 million Central Corridor project to firms owned by minorities or women deemed Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE). Nationwide, the federal government wants at least 10 percent of construction contract dollars going to disadvantaged firms.”

If you were ever so shamefully cynical to think that these Voter ID campaigns were just a move to make voting more difficult for certain classes and types of voters … well, it’s hard to see where you were wrong. Jessica Vanegeren and Shawn Doherty of The Capital Times in Madison report: “An internal memo from a top Department of Transportation official instructs workers at Division of Motor Vehicles service centers not to tell members of the public that they can obtain voter identification cards free of charge — unless they know to ask for it. The memo, recently obtained by The Capital Times, was written by Steve Krieser and sent to all state Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles employees on July 1, the same day employees were to begin issuing photo IDs in accordance with a controversial new Voter Photo ID law adopted earlier in the year. As laid out in the memo, failure to check a box when applying for photo ID with the Division of Motor Vehicles will result in the payment of $28. Interviews conducted about the memo suggest the state is more interested in continuing to charge the fee, which is required for a photo ID used for non-voting purposes, than it is in removing all barriers and providing easy access to a free, photo ID.”

Up in North Dakota, the Sioux are continuing to fight for the Fighting Sioux logo. The AP story says: “Members of the Spirit Lake Nation who support the University of North Dakota’s Fighting Sioux nickname are trying to block the impending retirement of the name and the school’s Indian head logo. The Grand Forks Herald reports the Spirit Lake Committee for Understanding and Respect has filed an injunction in tribal court seeking to stop the nickname’s retirement and force the transfer of the Fighting Sioux licensing and merchandising rights to the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe.”

Karl Bremer of the Ripple in Stillwater blog takes a good rip at former Press Publications publisher Gene Johnson. Says Bremer: “Gene Johnson, the small-minded, government-bashing former publisher of Press Publications in White Bear Lake, spun a little yarn in his St. Croix Valley Press column a couple of weeks ago about a pleasant trip he took with his family down to southeastern Minnesota this summer. It was a ‘triple-header,’ he beamed, describing the highlights of their journey: The Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, and the Great River Shakespeare Festival at Winona State University. And then Johnson turned his little ‘Summer in Minnesota’ yarn into a blatant political lie. ‘All three were privately funded and maintained,’ Johnson claimed. … Johnson went on to recommend checking out the Corps of Engineers’ lock-and-dam operations along the way — constructed, of course, with billions of dollars in taxpayer money. And, he added, the Corps has provided some nice beaches and protected lagoons (courtesy of its taxpayer-financed dredging operations). So Johnson, who never misses an opportunity to take a swipe at government spending in his writings, had a splendid trip with his family down the river and was entertained, as it turns out, almost exclusively by publicly-supported events, venues and operations. But instead of acknowledging the ways in which government and shared sacrifice can enrich all of our lives in some way, he simply ignores the facts and pretends otherwise.” There’s a lot of that going around.