The GOP apostate club is getting a few new members. Doug Belden of the PiPress reports: “A group of Minnesota Republicans formally aligned themselves Thursday with the movement to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. The votes in the Legislature to place the issue on the ballot in 2012 fell largely along partisan lines, with Republicans generally in favor and Democrats against. But the group’s message is that ‘Republicans will be opposing this amendment in 2012’ and that there are solid Republican reasons — including belief in limited government and individual freedom — to do so, said Dale Carpenter, who teaches at the University of Minnesota law school and is a board member of Republicans Against the Minnesota Marriage Amendment. Joining Carpenter at a news conference announcing their support for Minnesotans United for All Families — the group spearheading the effort to defeat the constitutional amendment — were former gubernatorial candidate Wheelock Whitney; Rep. John Kriesel of Cottage Grove, one of four Republicans in the House to vote against sending the amendment to voters; former Bush White House counsel Richard Painter; and former St. Paul Deputy Mayor Susan Kimberly.”
Patrick Condon of the AP adds: “Kriesel was joined at the press conference by Wheelock Whitney, a party eminence who unsuccessfully ran for governor for the GOP in 1986, and a handful of other Republicans, though Kriesel was the only current Republican elected official. Members of the group said they tried to build support among Republicans to help defeat the ballot measure and get out a message that being Republican doesn’t necessarily mean opposing gay marriage. Whitney, who has a gay son and a gay grandson, said he’d already donated $10,000 to defeating the amendment. ‘I’m looking forward to asking my friends and other Republicans to do the same,’ he said.” Hey, Dick Cheney has a gay daughter. Maybe he’ll contribute.
Now this is one you don’t hear every day. An 18 year-old female … breaks into a house … through the dog door … to steal … to support her porn addiction. Writes Sarah Horner of the PiPress: “Darin Paul Pake, 44, told investigators the footage showed Amanda Rose Owens — his children’s former baby sitter — sliding into his house through his doggy door at 7:50 a.m. Monday. She is then seen rummaging through Pake’s things and grabbing a Red Bull out of his refrigerator before leaving at 8:10 a.m., the complaint said. The surveillance camera was set up after Pake noticed that a camera, brief case and a jar of money holding about $300 had recently been stolen. … When interviewed by investigators, Owens allegedly confessed to the crime, saying she broke into the house three times, always through the doggy door, the complaint said. She said she stole things she thought she could pawn to help support her pornography addiction. The teenager said she recently had bought 20 to 30 pornographic DVDs and needed to pay them off, the complaint said.” If nothing else, maybe she gets a guest spot on Howard Stern.
Sometimes it’s just one pelican too many. The Strib’s Josephine Marcotty tells the story of Craig Staloch: “[H]e smashed thousands of American White Pelican chicks and eggs — all of the offspring in one of the state’s largest colonies — even though a wildlife officer had told him the previous day that they were protected by federal law. Making his first appearance in federal court Thursday, Staloch, a farmer from Faribault County, entered no plea to a criminal misdemeanor charge filed for what conservation officials say is one of the most extreme acts of wildlife destruction they’ve ever encountered. ‘He flipped out,’ said Staloch’s attorney, Jason Kohlmeyer. ‘He got frustrated and went to town.’ The birds had damaged about seven acres of land he was renting on the shores of Minnesota Lake, Staloch said after the hearing. Over the past three years they’ve cost him $20,000 in expenses and lost revenue, he said. When he asked for help, state wildlife specialists suggested a fence to protect his crops, Kohlmeyer said. ‘But that’s not effective,’ he said. ‘The damn birds fly.’ “
The Rev. Mac Hammond explains his position vis a vis tax exemption and politics from the pulpit in a Strib commentary. Says the good Reverend: “Regardless of how one feels about the constitutionality of the current restrictions placed upon religious leaders in the political context, our faith teaches us ‘to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God, that which is God’s’ (Mark 12:17). Like other people of faith, Christians are commanded to obey the law of the land, so long as that law does not compel immorality. … Regardless of what faith we hold or how deeply it is held, all citizens are equal under the law. Our most inspiring and courageous citizens, such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., were guided and informed by their faith. Throughout our history, countless presidents and elected representatives have embraced their faith.” Well, actually, he doesn’t say a lot about the tax exemption thing … which is the whole point of the debate.
Good piece by the Strib’s David Shaffer on criminally aggressive debt collectors: “On Thursday, the Commerce Department singled out Allied Interstate LLC, one of the state’s largest debt collection firms, for hiring numerous convicted felons as registered debt collectors. The state didn’t give a number, but the [Strib’s] investigation found 81 collectors registered at the company from 2005 to 2010 who had felony or gross misdemeanor convictions. One woman hired to collect debts by Allied had convictions for financial card fraud and for being a lookout in a burglary and was arrested driving away in a stolen vehicle, according to the department. Another collector for the Plymouth-based company used a code phrase — ‘The meat is on the grill’ — to tell a co-worker he had just stolen a debtor’s personal credit card information, the department said. … consumer attorney Patrick L. Hayes of Minneapolis said the crackdown is long overdue and hardly enough. ‘It’s about time they do something,’ Hayes said. ‘They are just scratching the surface. These companies are major companies, but there are a lot more smaller companies that are operating underneath the radar.’ “
Does a major CEO calling for lower corporate tax rates qualify as “news”? 3M’s George Buckley says that’s the route to restoring the go-go ‘90s, or something like that. Susan Feyder of the Strib writes: “In comments after a speech to the Economic Club of Minnesota, Buckley called for a reduction in the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, a flat personal tax rate and the establishment of a national value-added tax. Thursday’s speech at the Minneapolis Hilton wasn’t the first time Buckley has criticized public policy. In an interview earlier this year with the Financial Times, Buckley said President Obama has “anti-business” attitudes. In a speech last year to business leaders at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Buckley emphasized that elected officials need to cut corporate taxes, adding that combined federal and state corporate taxes in Minnesota were among the highest in the world.” Would 3M then be willing to bring all its foreign subsidiaries under the U.S. tax umbrella?
Another Strib item, from Jim Buchta, says: “Despite the biggest decline in home ownership rates since the Great Depression, roughly three-quarters of Minnesota households owned their houses in 2010, the second highest rate in the nation, the U.S. Census Bureau said Thursday. … In Minnesota, the home ownership rate fell from 74.6 percent in 2000 to 73 percent last year. Across the country, the home ownership rate fell 1.1 percentage points to 65.1 percent during the same period.”
Got a little hair-loss issue? Well here’s a one-day upside. Joy Summers at City Pages writes: “Blue Plate Restaurant Company is hosting its third annual Bald and Free Day on Friday, October 14. In part a celebration of owner David Burley’s own hair-free head, the area restaurants will allow fellow baldies to enjoy an entree of $15 or less at no cost to them. Blue Plate Company’s restaurants include 3 Squares, Edina Grill, Highland Grill, Groveland Tap, Longfellow Grill, Scusi, and new addition, the Lowry.”
Today in Bachmannia: At The Atlantic, Molly Ball writes: “Faced with a slide into near-irrelevance in the Republican presidential race, Michele Bachmann is playing her last card: a hard pitch for the votes of Christian conservatives. Bachmann posted a web video Thursday touting her support for “protecting life and traditional marriage.” Near simultaneously, her congressional office announced she’s introducing a bill in the House aimed at limiting abortion rights. Earlier in the week, she held a conference call touting her ‘pro-family’ views with a national social-conservative group. The moves seem to amount to a last-ditch strategy to bolster her faltering campaign with a pitch based on some of the right’s most potent wedge issues. … Once, Bachmann feared being pigeonholed as the candidate of the religious right. Now it seems she can only wish that’s what she were.” Mac Hammond has a lot of heavy lifting to do.