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Fact-checking Bachmann’s book

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Walker recall drive starts strong; house sales up, prices down; child tumor registry begun; great crop of Christmas trees; petition delivered to Target; and more.
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Today in Bachmannia: OK, it’s Mother Jones, but Our Gal’s supporters are free to quarrel with the fact-checking by the magazine’s Tim Murphy of her new (ghost-written) autobiography. A small slice, just for tasting purposes: “There’s enough to dispute within the first 13 pages that by the time she announces, on page 14, that she was born in Waterloo, Iowa, you almost want to ask for a birth certificate. Political memoirs have been known to inflate details from time to time; that’s the point. But Core of Conviction takes things further. Bachmann’s description of her tumultuous stint as a founding board member at New Heights Charter School in Stillwater, Minnesota is another example. ‘Yes, we were Christians, but we never sought to impose Christianity on our students,’ she writes. That would come as a surprise to New Heights parents, who have noted her efforts to bring creationism into the classroom. Her account is also contradicted by the school’s board meeting minutes, whichh, as I reported in July, chronicle efforts by some of the school’s founders to run the school according to the ‘20 principles of Christian management.’ Per the minutes, board members took issue with Bachmann’s efforts to promote Christianity in the school, fearing that they were crossing a line when it came to the separation of church and state. An investigation by the school district confirmed those fears. ‘Ultimately, [her husband] Marcus and I saw we wouldn’t succeed in restoring the school’s original focus, and so I and other board members stepped down,’ Bachmann writes. Which is putting it mildly. Under fire at the tumultuous final school board meeting, the future presidential candidate joined in a prayer to ward off the evil spirits she felt had crept into the room.” And you know what else? Whoever kept those minutes was guided by the hand of Satan.

According to Clay Barbour of the Wisconsin State Journal, the move to recall Gov. Scott Walker is off to very solid start: “United Wisconsin has been in place since Tuesday and has collected 105,000 signatures. Four Republican senators also are targeted for recall: Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau, Pam Galloway of Wausau, Van Wanggaard of Racine and Terry Moulton of Chippewa Falls. But Saturday, it was clear the main target of those assembled was Walker. ‘We are going to do everything in our power to get him out,’ said Ellen Holly, a longtime teacher and recall volunteer. …  ‘He never campaigned on limiting collective bargaining,’ said Jeff Kravat, a member of the local chapter of MoveOn.Org and a recall volunteer. ‘His hit on collective bargaining was a stealth campaign, and it was the worst sort of overreach possible.’ That same message was trumpeted earlier in the day by former Democratic U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, who said he was not in favor of abusing the state’s recall law but believed it was warranted in this case. Feingold spoke to volunteers during a morning strategy session hosted by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. ‘It is unfortunate that we have to do it, but this really is about an unusual attack on the rights of the people, and it has to be answered,’ he said.”

At least we’re working through the inventory. Gita Sitamariah at the PiPress reports on October home sales in the state. In a nutshell: Sales up, prices down: “Minnesota’s home sales shot up 24 percent in October from a year earlier, though the median price declined to $140,000. According to the October 2011 Housing Report from the Minnesota Association of Realtors, the median home price dipped 7 percent statewide. The median is the midpoint, with half of homes selling for more and half for less. Rising more than most areas of the state, closed sales in the seven-county metro jumped 34 percent. For the sixth month in a row, statewide pending sales have increased, rising 33 percent versus October 2010.”

The Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit is about 15 percent of the way to what was expected. Chris Newmarker at Finance & Commerce writes: “A report out Monday from the University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office found that the 14 projects preliminarily approved, as of June 30, to take advantage of the credit are expected to create 1,808 construction jobs. That’s in line with the jobs creation estimates between 1,500 and 3,000 that came out in 2010, said David Kelliher, director of public policy and community relations at the Minnesota Historical Society. The tax credit was but a part of the overall Minnesota Jobs Stimulus Bill, which in total was expected to create 12,000 to 20,000 jobs.”

A registry to track ovarian and testicular tumors in children is being set up in Minnesota. Lorna Benson at MPR reports: “A Minnesota cancer researcher is launching the nation’s first registry to study rare ovarian and testicular tumors that occur in children. If the International Ovarian and Testicular Stromal Tumor Registry collects enough tumor cases, researchers may be able to identify patterns that would help them diagnose children earlier, giving them a better chance of recovery and preserving their fertility. It’s also possible that information gleaned from studying these rare tumors at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota can help scientists unlock new ways to defeat other, more common cancers. Stromal tumors may be rare, but they are generally not that difficult to diagnose in very young children because they can cause the body to release powerful hormones.”

One thing you do not have to worry about this holiday season is getting a decent tree. KDAL in Duluth reports: “The Executive Director of the Minnesota Christmas Tree Association, Jan Donelson, says it’s been an excellent growing season.  ‘This year has been the best growing season we have ever had in Minnesota,’ said Donelson. ‘With our relatively wet spring and summer, the trees are lush and green.’ ” At Scrooge McLambert’s, we are on Year 18 of the plastic tree from (now defunct) Lyndale Garden Center. With another roll of duct tape and some twine, it’ll be just fine.

Even this past year, I could get a special tingle thinking about spring training and the Twins starting a new season. As for next year … eh. But the team has announced its 2012 spring training schedule. The ECM papers say: “Twins pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on Saturday, Feb. 18, with their first workout slated for Sunday, Feb. 19. The balance of the squad is scheduled to report on Thursday, Feb. 23, with full-squad workouts beginning on Friday, Feb. 24. The Twins’ 2012 Spring Training home opener will take place at Hammond Stadium on Saturday, March 3 against the Tampa Bay Rays … Additional highlights of the Twins’ 17-game home Grapefruit League schedule include a visit by the World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals … a visit by the AL East Division Champion New York Yankees … a visit by the NL East Division Champion Philadelphia Phillies … and five visits by the AL Wild Card Champion Tampa Bay Rays.” Besides the Florida weather, these might be your best chances to see Joe Mauer before he goes back on the Disabled List.

The Strib commentary from five legislators pushing the (multiple) racino idea to pay for a Vikings stadium set off the vox populi. One of the best reader comments from the Strib:

From “reid”, “There is a limited amount of money in Minnesota and to draw from neighboring states to have for entertainment. Everyone keeps thinking that there are gamblers out there who are holding back on huge sums that they will suddenly tap once a casino is built in a racetrack. Visions of sugar plums and promises of thousands of well paying permanent jobs dance in the story of how this all going to work. I have a dog track or two to show you if you over in Wisconsin if you think having just something to gamble will be a source of endless funds. Those funds will just shift from current venues, with the associated drop in profits and jobs for those other gambling sites. When the novelty of the race track and casino gambling begins to wear off, and the inevitable shortfalls to service the debt of the stadium burden begins, which taxpayers do you think the legislators will tax to keep the stadium going? Maybe ALL of them, unless a clearly stated clause in the new gambling law prohibits any state money from use in any operating or debt service shortfalls in the future. Foreclosure of a stadium? Well, we could be the first. Don’t let any bill get through that allows the taxpayers of the future to get saddled with the deficit in the future. I doubt any private lending organization would finance the stadium based on risk, so why should the state?”

Here at MinnPost, my favorite came from Mark Gisleson: “Racinos won’t be enough. But a few more tweaks and I think they can build their stadium if we just do the following:

License and tax prostitutes
• Legalize and tax illegal drug sales
• Allow convicted felons to buy their way out of prison
• Sell permits to allow drivers to ignore speed limits
Allow parimutuel betting on all sports events in the state from middle school track meets to Vikings games

“And let the same marketing geniuses who flog the state lottery promote these new revenue enhancers. We should also loosen up zoning laws while we’re at it. How many jobs-creating strip clubs could Minnesota attract if they were allowed to build new clubs in residential areas (where the customers are)? The state also artificially depresses the number of bars. How many job-creating liquor establishments could we have if we just dumped our archaic liquor laws? Minnesota’s just not trying very hard to raise money for this new stadium. We’re a long ways from hitting bottom, and there’s plenty of money to be made between where we’re at and where we’re headed.” You laugh. But people, we all know how important football is to our sense of “major leagueness.”

Two men of the cloth accompanied that lone Target employee as he delivered 190,000 signatures petitioning The Big Red Bull’s-eye to stop the Black Friday craziness. Thomas Lee of the Strib writes: “A petition started by a Target employee to protest the retailer’s midnight Black Friday store opening was hand-delivered to the Minneapolis-based retailer’s headquarters on Monday. Northfield, Minn., Target employee Seth Coleman delivered the paper petition with 190,000 signatures in three plastic Target shopping bags. ‘All Americans should break bread on Thanksgiving and get a good night’s sleep,’ Coleman said. The petition was received by Anahita Cameron, Target’s director of human resources for Northern region stores, who said ‘the decision to open at midnight Black Friday was not one we took lightly. As this is the busiest shopping day of the year, it is imperative that we be competitive.’ ” I’ve added “company spokesperson” to another job I’d really suck at.