Today in Bachmannia: As she removes her warpaint, pundits and speculators are doing what they do over Our Gal’s political future. In The New York Times, Sarah Wheaton writes: “Having only decided not to continue her presidential bid on Wednesday morning, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has yet to decide whether to run for re-election to Congress. … To run for president, Mrs. Bachmann suspended her House campaign. And the district she has represented since 2007 could be redrawn to her disadvantage. … The Democrats’ plan would add many more of their ranks to the Sixth District, among them Representative Betty McCollum, a popular Democrat. Other plans could improve Mrs. Bachmann’s fortunes, however, and a special redistricting panel issues its own plan in late February. ‘There seems to be a pretty widespread sense that Bachmann has been giving serious consideration to not running,’ said Larry Jacobs, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota, based on his conversations with Republican figures around Mrs. Bachmann’s Stillwater base.”
The Los Angeles Times’ Op-Ed pages wonders what exactly happened to Ms. Bachmann: “Patricia Murphy of the Washington Post offered a novel spin on the familiar male-voters-don’t-like-strong-female-candidates meme, arguing that Bachmann failed because GOP women didn’t support her. And Bill Adair of PolitiFact contended that Bachmann was dragged down by all the whoppers she told on the campaign trail. I wonder if there wasn’t something more fundamental at work. As former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty noted back when he was still a presidential candidate, Bachmann had no record to speak of. She’d spent her years in Congress either in the GOP minority or, after Republicans took power in the House, attempting the politically impossible tasks of repealing some of President Obama’s top accomplishments. Prior to that, she’d spent her years in politics as a state legislator, not a governor. And she’d never run a sizable business. … Seemingly every Republican candidate has pounded away at Obama’s alleged failures as a leader, exhorting GOP voters not to put another novice in the White House. And despite her fiery and uncompromising rhetoric, Bachmann hasn’t proved yet that she can accomplish anything other than winning a seat in Congress. Granted, that’s no mean feat. But it doesn’t demonstrate an ability to lead the country. It may not be a fair criticism or a reliable indicator of future performance, but it’s a point that Bachmann herself has repeatedly made about the current occupant of the Oval Office.” Are they trying to suggest that just running isn’t enough?
I know you love this story as much as I do. Steve Karnowski of the AP reports on the latest twist in the over-the-top anti-Catholic lawyer: “A judge ordered the arrest of a Minnesota attorney with a small Wisconsin-based religious group who repeatedly made anti-Catholic slurs in court filings and failed to show up for a Wednesday hearing on whether she should be sanctioned for her statements. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Nancy Dreher held Naomi Isaacson in contempt for her absence. Isaacson was already in contempt for failing to turn over documents in a long-running bankruptcy case involving a subsidiary of the Shawano, Wis.-based group, the Dr. R.C. Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology. Dreher said Isaacson will remain jailed until she produces the documents or gets someone else to do it. … Ex-members describe the group, which is led by an Indian immigrant who goes by the name Avraham Cohen, as a cult. Its bankrupt subsidiary, Yehud-Monosson USA Inc., used to own gas stations and convenience stores. ‘Across the country the court systems and particularly the Bankruptcy Court in Minnesota, are composed of a bunch of ignoramus, bigoted Catholic beasts that carry the sword of the church,’ the memo said.”
I say, give ’em points for thinking big. Emily Gurnon of the PiPress writes: “A Brooklyn Park man and his wife were charged Wednesday with 47 felony counts in connection with the alleged filing of a slew of bogus and harassing liens worth more than $100 billion against public officials, including Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. Thomas Wayne Eilertson, 44, and Lisa Joan Connery Eilertson, 47, filed false liens against “numerous individuals and businesses” using the name “Blessings of Liberty,” according to criminal complaints filed Wednesday in Ramsey County District Court. … The Eilertsons’ alleged activities stem from 2009, when their home at 4448 Cedar Ave. S. in Minneapolis underwent foreclosure, the complaint said. A sheriff’s sale was held Dec. 8, 2009, and the Eilertsons were evicted July 2, 2010. … Someone they met on the Internet, identified in the complaint by the initials P.K., gave them instructions on how to file Uniform Commercial Code liens against people in retaliation for their economic problems. They were told that filing under the name ‘Blessings of Liberty’ shielded them from civil and criminal liability. P.K. described to them how they could ‘do death by a thousand paper cuts’ by filing the liens, which are legal claims against an asset. All the liens — which totaled $114 billion over 2009 and 2010 — were filed at the secretary of state’s office in St. Paul.” I’m thinking they’ll settle for a penny on the dollar.
Minnesota’s Chippewa Tribe is promising to help raise $1.1 million for a building on the U of M Duluth Campus. The News Tribune story says: “The Minnesota Chippewa Tribe is throwing its political support behind efforts to build a new home for the American Indian Learning Resource Center in Duluth. University of Minnesota regents voted last fall to include in their 2012 bonding request the proposed building at the University of Minnesota Duluth. If approved by lawmakers and the governor, the state will pay $7.35 million of the building’s $11 million price tag. UMD would pay the remainder. The Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Executive Committee voted last month to provide political support for the bonding request and to help raise $1.1 million for the project.”
The tale of the trashed (instead of donated) bridal dresses continues to spiral out from Edina. At the Strib, Kristin Tillotson writes: “If you’re going to spray red paint on a $4,000-plus wedding dress and toss it in a trash bin, you might want to do it unwitnessed in the dark of night. Priscilla of Boston, a high-end bridal boutique in Edina that went out of business last week, found that out the hard way as cellphone video of an employee throwing out several expensive dresses made the rounds online and on TV, sparking public dismay at the waste — and at the sight of shoppers Dumpster-diving for spoils. Bessie Giannakakis, who owns the nearby Bessie’s Boutique, said she saw two men spray-painting red X’s on the dresses, hung over the side of a big blue trash bin. Minneapolis resident Martha Allen, who saw more than a dozen dresses being dumped, said that within half an hour, ‘people were crawling in there, pulling them out and even pulling them apart, because they had a lot of bling on them. One woman pulled out a label and said, ‘My God, it’s a Vera Wang.’ “
At the take-no-prisoners Jezebel site, they are saying: “People in Edina, Minnesota, where the Priscilla’s Wedding Dress Massacre was documented, are similarly upset. Pam Philipp, who runs Operation Glass Slipper, a Mendota Heights nonprofit that donates prom dresses to low-income girls and sells donated bridal gowns at low cost to raise money for their shoes and accessories, was incensed. ‘It makes me so mad,’ she said. ‘They could have recycled them, they could have donated them. What makes me even madder is that I asked about that over a month ago when I found out they were closing and got no response.’ … donating merchandise to charity is different than allowing it to fall into the hands of resellers. Charities cut tags out of the clothing they handle and remove other brand identifiers. The fashion industry tolerates truly shocking amounts of waste throughout the supply chain, almost always for the sake of maintaining the purity of the ‘brand.’ But at what cost? It’s sad to see such beautiful things go to waste when they could have given a low-income woman or a military bride-to-be a very nice surprise around the holidays.”
And back in 1944, there were barely half as many people and maybe one-third as many cars on Minnesota’s roads. MPR’s story by Rupa Chenoy says: “Better traffic enforcement, education, and engineering have led to the lowest number of deaths on the roads last year since 1944, the State Department of Public Safety says. Preliminary reports show 349 people died in traffic accidents last year, the department says. Officials expect the final figures will show 11 percent fewer deaths than those in 2010 and 38 percent fewer deaths than in 2001. Traffic deaths had increased every year until 2001, said Donna Burger, DPS director of traffic safety.”
Have you caught the Forbes story by Larry Downes on the “demise” of Best Buy? “Electronics retailer Best Buy is headed for the exits. I can’t say when exactly, but my guess is that it’s only a matter of time, maybe a few more years. Consider a few key metrics. Despite the disappearance of competitors including Circuit City, the company is losing market share. Its last earnings announcement disappointed investors. In 2011, the company’s stock has lost 40% of its value. Forward P/E is a mere 6.23 (industry average is 10.20). Its market cap down to less than $9 billion. Its average analyst rating, according to The Street.com, is a B-. Those are just some of the numbers, and they don’t look good. They bear out a prediction in March from the Wall Street Journal’s Heard on the Street column, which forecast “the worst is yet to come” for Best Buy investors. … It’s not just Amazon’s prices that are better, in other words. Its customer service is superior in every way. And unlike traditional retailers, it recognizes its own potential disadvantages and innovates ways to overcome them. The company has no retail locations to pick up merchandise, but it ships instantly, often for free. It has no on-site sales experts to answer questions, but the pages of its products are filled with videos, FAQs, and customer reviews and answers. The company keeps track of all previous orders, and uses its database to make helpful recommendations of other purchases. Phone support is instant, responsive, and knowledgeable. Returns are simple and unburdened by restocking fees and other gotchas. Inventory is precisely managed in a single system that spans all distribution points and third party partners. Best Buy could have done all of this years ago, and done it better.” … But hasn’t.