Today in Bachmannia: When your poll numbers drop to the level of people who aren’t even invited to debates, you really need someone to blame. Our Gal got the gift of a CBS e-mail she wasn’t supposed to see … and pounced. CNN’s team writes: “Bachmann accused CBS News of ‘media bias’ Saturday night after her campaign was included on an email chain that suggested she would get fewer questions than other candidates in a debate co-sponsored by the network and National Journal. ‘I think it’s only respectful to allow the candidates to be able to speak and not intentionally ahead of time make a decision to limit candidates’ opportunity to speak to the American people,’ the Minnesota congresswoman said after the debate, which was held in South Carolina. ‘Clearly this was an example of media bias.’ In the email chain, a CBS employee notified CBS News political director John Dickerson that Bachmann’s spokeswoman, Alice Stewart, had volunteered the candidate for an interview on Dickerson’s post-debate webcast. The employee copied Stewart on the email and told Dickerson that she had been cc’d. Dickerson replied, apparently unaware that Stewart was on the email chain. ‘Okay let’s keep it loose though since she’s not going to get many questions and she’s nearly off the charts in the hopes that we can get someone else,’ he wrote.” The part where Bachmann’s campaign manager stormed into the post-debate spin room to call Dickerson “a piece of [bleep]” will live in campaign infamy.
Jeremy M. Peters’ New York Times story said: “Aides to Mrs. Bachmann, who is polling in the single digits, seized on the e-mail as evidence of liberal bias by CBS News and used the episode to rally its supporters against a favorite Republican foe: the mainstream media. ‘Last night, as Michele prepared her plans to debate on CBS, we received concrete evidence confirming what every conservative already knows — the liberal mainstream media elites are manipulating the Republican debates by purposely suppressing our conservative message,’ Keith Nahigian, Mrs. Bachmann’s campaign manager, wrote in an e-mail to supporters. The campaign also urged people to contact CBS News and Mr. Dickerson, whom it called a ‘well known liberal reporter,’ through Twitter to vent their outrage. It even provided direct links to the Twitter accounts for both.” Say what you will, but if FoxNews hosted every debate they’d ask more questions of Our Gal than Buddy Roemer.
A bit more substantively, Bachmann declared her approval of waterboarding, accused the ACLU of controlling the CIA, declared that the United States should be “less socialist,” more like … China. And, on the Penn State scandal, via Shira Schoenberg at The Boston Globe: “Bachmann said that as a parent, her response to the arrest of the college football team’s former assistant coach for sexual abuse of children and the firing of the head coach and college president, would be forceful. ‘If that was my child, my automatic reaction would be even though I’m a small woman, I want to find that guy and beat him to a pulp,’ Bachmann said.” Which is more than the 6’4” ex-quarterback did when he witnessed the incident in the shower.
$260 million down. $1.65 billion to go. That, according to David Phelps’ Strib story, is what has been clawed back from Tom Petters’ various “investments”: “[W]hen the case will conclude is anyone’s guess. ‘We’re behind schedule from where I thought we would be a year ago at this time,’ [bankruptcy trustee Doug] Kelley said in an interview last week. ‘I think this is going to take at least another 18 months to two years.’ Kelley and a team of attorneys, accountants and investigators have collected an estimated $260 million, largely through the sale of Petters’ corporate holdings, notably Sun Country Airlines ($34 million) and Polaroid Corp. ($85.9 million). The trustee also picked up $11.2 million from the Jamaican lottery, where Petters had an interest, and $34 million in a patent settlement with Hewlett-Packard. Charitable recipients of Petters’ philanthropy returned $8 million. Former Petters employees have returned at least $9 million. But by far the largest source for potential recovery is the attempt to claw back profits made by investors who often received healthy interest payments for their loans to the charismatic and self-made businessman.” “Self-made” indeed.
Did you catch the governor’s case for a “people’s stadium” in Sunday’s Strib? “[T]his is how I propose we proceed. First, legislative leaders need to set a date by which the terms of any stadium project to be considered by the Legislature must be finalized. They and I would then appoint a site-neutral negotiating team, consisting of the Republican and DFL authors of the legislation; stadium, real estate and financing experts, and an experienced negotiator. Ramsey County and the city of Minneapolis could add representatives for the negotiations involving their respective projects. I urge Minneapolis officials to narrow the three locations they are presently considering to one preferred site. The negotiating team would then negotiate the best possible deal for both the Arden Hills and Minneapolis projects with the Vikings, the local partner and anyone else necessary.” Apparently $650 million in job-juicing taxpayer money will not be directed at infrastructure and schools.
In his Strib column, Patrick Reusse stuck his fork in the Arden Hills idea: “Wilf is correct in his letter [of last Friday]. Arden Hills is the best possible site for a Vikings stadium — if what we have as our main concerns is Zygi being able to collect $40 per car for thousands of cars on game Sundays, and for Zygi to be able to develop the rest of the large acreage with retail, lodging and offices. You can’t blame Wilf for pushing this, not when remembering that Zygi might own a football team but in his chest beats the heart of a commercial real estate developer. If the goal for the folks at the State Capitol is to give the Wilfs everything they would want in a stadium site as team owners and land developers, it’s Arden Hills in a walk. And, that might have made sense when Ramsey County was coming to the table with $350 million. With the state now on the hook for the entire public share, the Metrodome is cheaper and takes advantage of infrastructure that has worked for 30 years.”
Best of all was Jim Ragsdale’s piece on House Speaker Kurt Zellers’ fine dance between not losing the Vikings on his watch and not raising taxes. The part where Zellers laments the lack of bipartisanship is particularly amusing: “The chief lesson of ’06 — when Zellers voted ‘no’ on the Twins ballpark but ‘yes’ on the Gophers stadium — was that both parties must contribute votes toward the 68 needed for passage in the House. ‘That takes it away from a political election campaign, at least from the leadership level,’ said Steve Sviggum, a Republican who was the House speaker in 2006. That year, Republicans put up 37 votes for the bill; DFLers nearly matched them with 34. In the Senate, a coalition of 22 DFLers and 12 Republicans pushed the Twins stadium bill through. ‘That group, that model, is what is missing now,’ Zellers said.” And who exactly drove “that model” into the ditch?
A story by Sam Roberts in the New York Times looks at census data that show more people are moving to The Big Apple from Minnesota than leaving it for our bucolic wonderland: “In 2010, 252,000 people moved to New York — 157,000 from elsewhere in the country — while 220,000 left, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. That contrasts sharply with 2006, when 230,000 arrived and 341,000 left. The economy has been a factor in the movement in both directions. Some people coming to New York are economic refugees from places, like the Rust Belt and the Southwest, hit worse by the recession and still struggling to recover. For those people, New York offers a chance to start over. In 2010, as an example, more people moved to the city from California, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Oregon than left the city for those states — reversing a trend.” And they all think they can write a check at the local bodega.
I should have found this last week: Some excellent aerial photos of the BWCA after the big Pagami Creek fire, by Steve Foss for MPR.