The state’s Catholic bishops get a collegial scolding from one of their Lutheran counterparts. In a Strib commentary, Herbert Chilstrom, former presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, says: “May I share a word with all of you who now lead the Roman Catholic community of faith in Minnesota? First, I would go to the wall to defend your right to work for the adoption of the so-called marriage protection amendment. Having said that, I must tell you that I believe you are making a significant mistake. Over my 35 years as an active and retired bishop I have come to know hundreds of gay and lesbian persons. I have yet to meet even one who is opposed to the marriage of one man and one woman. After all, they are the daughters and sons of such unions. What they cannot understand is why church leaders would oppose their fundamental desire and right to be in partnership with someone they love and respect who happens to be of the same gender and sexual orientation. They don’t understand why they should not enjoy all the rights and privileges their straight counterparts take for granted. … Let me put out a challenge to each of you brothers. Invite 15 gay and lesbian persons from your respective areas, one at a time, to spend two hours with you. Thirty hours are a pittance compared to the time you are investing to promote adoption of the marriage amendment. Use the time, not for confession, but to listen to them describe what it is like to live in our culture in Minnesota.” Now, where would the Catholic bishops find 15 gay people?
Minnesota cows are officially TB-free! Don Davis of the Forum papers writes: “Minnesota cattlemen are celebrating the reopening of markets nationwide after tuberculosis found in one cow six years ago hurt their sales. … ‘We have eliminated it from the U.S. for the most part,’ State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann said as Dayton announced the proclamation. The federal government already had proclaimed Minnesota to be TB free, but today’s announcement was a celebration of the decision. When one cow in northwestern Minnesota was diagnosed with TB, along with some deer, it forced the federal government to restrict cattle movement out of the entire state, even from areas far removed from the northwest. That restriction was eased, but cattlemen still faced problems selling in other states.”
Funny piece by Drew Magary on the NBCChicago website. Picking up on Vikings VP Lester Bagley’s passing comment that “another city” has contacted the team about moving, Magary writes: “First of all, I love that legislators didn’t ask Bagley to elaborate on his claim, which ANY SANE PERSON would do. What is wrong with these people? ‘Oh hey, another city wants to have us!’ ‘That’s nice, let’s move on.’ Idiots. It’s more than possible that Bagley is simply making this supposed mystery city up to use as leverage. Anyone who’s seen ‘Slap Shot’ knows it’s a winning strategy. But let’s take Bagley at his word and assume this second city is real. Which city would be willing to take on a 2-10 team with a long and storied history of coming up small at the worst possible time? Here are your odds (NOTE: Odds reflect chances of the city being a suitor, NOT whether or not the Vikings will actually end up there):
SAN ANTONIO (3/1): Former owner Red McCombs was rumored to want to bring the team here, and San Antonio has a recent history of hosting NFL games, with the displaced Saints relocating there for a few games in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This city has secretly coveted an NFL franchise for years, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they were the ones trying to lure the Vikes away.
TORONTO (10/1): I’ve counted on the Bills moving to Canada for so long now that it never occurred to me that some OTHER team would end up there. But maybe that’s the case. Maybe the Bills have dragged their feet for too long, and Toronto is willing to dump them for someone willing to get married right now.
LONDON (17/1): Outside of LA, this is the city that Roger Goodell most wants to have an NFL team. A London team would be Goodell’s legacy: The first North American sports commissioner to expand his league across an entire ocean. That moment still feels far away, but something tells me that will always be the case until someone has the stones to up and move a team there.
NEW JERSEY (40/1): Remember, owner Zygi Wilf is from Jersey (he grew up a Giants fan), and Wilf was never greeted warmly by the people of Minnesota, whose distrust of outsiders borders on straight-up xenophobia. The New York area could easily support three NFL teams, but the problem is that both New York teams already play in Jersey. That’s why I think the New Jersey Vikings should play in Manhattan, just to keep things consistently mislabeled.
SALT LAKE CITY (50/1): Okay, now I’m just looking at a map and picking cities at random.
MEXICO CITY (100/1): They already have a team. It’s called the Dallas Cowboys.
DULUTH (1,000/1): Because why not emulate the Packers and build your stadium in the middle of a sparsely populated frozen wasteland? Everyone will adore the Duluth Vikings.”
I say move it across the Bong Bridge. “The Superior Vikings” has a better marketing vibe to it.
GOP Rep. Morrie Lanning told Ramsey County to find more money for the Vikings. MPR’s Tom Scheck writes: “One of the chief authors of the Vikings stadium bill says Ramsey County need to come up with other options for how to pay for a new stadium. Ramsey County officials were pushing for a local option sales tax to finance the stadium but lawmakers were cool to the idea because it would have needed voter approval. Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, says the county should be looking at other options to finance a portion of the roughly $1 billion stadium. ‘Ramsey County has made clear that there will be no property tax revenues generated for this,’ Lanning said. ‘There will be no local option sales tax available but you’ve got other taxes, hospitality taxes and other forms of raising revenue, that local units of government can decide to put in place without a referendum requirement.” They would, of course, have to dare to put them in place.
Sports writers abhor a hero vacuum (and boy, do we have a sports hero vacuum in Minnesota this year). So welcome, Ricky Rubio! The AP writes: “On his first winter morning in Minnesota, Ricky Rubio could have taken one of the many skyways that connect his downtown hotel to Target Center to avoid the cold. Instead, Rubio decided to walk the couple of blocks outdoors to take in all the sights, sounds, and goose bumps that his new home brings with it. ‘When I came to Target Center I decide to come in the street because I want to feel the weather,’ Rubio said on Wednesday before going through a light workout. ‘It was a cold, a little.’ … In the most obvious sign yet that there are still wrinkles to be taken care of, Rubio was locked out of the arena when he arrived on Wednesday. Literally. ‘I was knocking on the door and nobody was opening,’ he said with a chuckle. ‘I was like, ‘Cmon man.’ ” The Wolves will open the door for anyone who can dribble and make 3 out of 10 field goals.
Today in Bachmannia: Come on, people! Are you all post-literate? Our Gal’s book, “Core Conviction,” is lagging a bit in sales. Only 3,000 of you have picked up your copy, probably as Christmas presents. Brett Neely of MPR says: “In the two weeks since the book was released, it’s sold just 3,000 copies despite a media blitz and numerous book-signing events by Bachmann. Those numbers come from Nielsen BookScan, which gets the information directly from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and most other retailers. The company estimates its sales numbers capture 75 percent of the book market although it currently does not get information from discount retailers Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club. As of 5 PM ET on Wednesday, the book ranked 4,200 on Amazon’s bestseller list, although it ranked 62 on the site’s political bestseller list. The Nielsen figures also don’t include bulk purchases made by political campaigns and outside groups. In the run-up to the book launch, Bachmann’s campaign was offering donors an autographed copy of the book for $75.” Hmmmm. What personal inscription would you ask her to write in your copy?
First, that funky business with the city council floating money to St. Croix big-bridge boosters. Now this out in Stillwater. Kevin Giles of the Strib says: “The organizer of Lumberjack Days, a major Stillwater summer festival, is under police investigation for alleged nonpayment of money owed to a high school hockey team and three businesses. No criminal charges have been filed against St. Croix Events Inc. or its director, David Eckberg, who said Wednesday that revenues fell by 70 percent at the July event because of St. Croix River flooding and the decision to cancel the main concert by Smash Mouth because of lightning. ‘No criminal activity is going on here,’ said Eckberg, whose company manages the festival for the Lumberjack Days Festival Association Inc. ‘Obligations are owed and we’re working on getting them paid.’ The Stillwater Blue Line Boosters hockey club contacted police Nov. 29 after a check for $10,000 bounced.”
It was S-Day for Michael Ogren, the wheelin’, dealin’ former owner of the Myth Night Club up in Maplewood. David Chanen of the Strib reports: “The former owner of the Myth nightclub in Maplewood on Wednesday was sentenced to six months in the workhouse for falsely obtaining a $600,000 loan. Michael Ogren, 44, of Roseville had pleaded guilty in Anoka County District Court to felony theft by swindle over $35,000 for obtaining a $600,000 loan in 2008 using Myth stock as security. He told the bank he had not previously pledged the stock as security, but it was later found that the stock had been pledged as security twice. … Besides the workhouse sentence, he was ordered to pay restitution of $688,333 and can’t hold any position of fiduciary responsibility unless approved by the corrections department. He also was placed on 20 years’ probation.”
Hey, I’ve got 11 acres of this stuff. Richard Chin of the PiPress writes: “[G]uess where a well-heeled Saudi goes if he wants some white-barked birch logs, like the kind you see in designer magazine layouts, to burn in his fireplace. Right here, baby. The arrival of winter means firewood vendors from outstate Minnesota aren’t delivering stacks to just Twin Cities homeowners. They’re also boxing up their prettiest hand-cut logs and FedExing them to Middle Eastern sheiks, Hollywood stars and Manhattan urbanites who are all looking for a whiff of fragrant North Woods fireplace smoke. That may be why a holiday gift guide article in the Wall Street Journal last weekend suggested a box of firewood from J.N. Firewood, described as ‘from the area where ‘Fargo’ was set.’ ‘Ask for Angie, who says ‘youbetcha’ (no kidding!),’ the article said. ‘My phone did not quit ringing yesterday. Holy jiminy crickets,’ said Angie Nelson, owner of the firewood company in Fort Ripley, Minn.” $40, plus shipping.