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Only one finalist for U of M athletic director

Viking fan anguish; Target exec’s stadium role; 1st District’s marathon endorsement draw; Bachmann’s Afghanistan visit; fact-checking Rep. Peppin; a Twitter/radio battle; and more.

One will do, apparently. The AP says: “Minnesota announced Sunday that Virginia Commonwealth athletics director Norwood Teague is the sole finalist to be the school’s next athletics director. … ‘He rose to the top of the candidate pool not only because of his proven history of success but because he is genuine and authentic,’ Mary Jo Kane, co-chair of the athletics director search, said in the official news release. ‘He has a superlative track record of fundraising and attracting and retaining high quality coaches.’ … The new AD will have immediate, major decisions to make, including whether to grant a long-term contract extension to men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith. Kaler said back in February that the biggest challenge facing Minnesota’s new AD would be changing the public’s low perception of Minnesota sports, as the football team, in particular, has not been to the Rose Bowl in 50 years. Teague is scheduled to visit campus Monday for interviews with Kaler and the search committee and to meet with coaches, faculty and senior leaders, the statement said. The interviews will be the final steps of a two-month national search. Teague was one of about 40 candidates to apply, the statement said.”

Oh, the pain and anguish of the truest believers. Christopher Gates of the fan site SBNation writes of the Vikings’ stadium drama: “Should the Vikings leave Minnesota, there’s a very good chance that Minnesota isn’t going to see another NFL team. The league won’t put another team in the Metrodome, because there’s no point. The Dome wouldn’t be there for long after the Vikings left anyway … estimates say that, without the Vikings, the building would become financially non-viable in about eighteen months. So, if Minnesota had a desire to lure the NFL back, they would end up building a new stadium anyway at a significantly higher cost. Don’t forget the fact that, after a decade of dealing with stubborn leadership in the state at various levels of government, the league wouldn’t exactly be tripping over themselves to bring the NFL back to Minnesota anyway. Oh, and with Minnesota being some six billion dollars in debt, everyone’s taxes are going up anyway. It’s just a matter of deciding whether or not you want to pay more taxes while watching the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoons in the fall, or if you want to pay more taxes while watching one of the other NFC North teams on Sunday afternoons in the fall. I think everyone can agree that the former is infinitely preferable to the latter.” I don’t know. My set picks up yellow and green pretty well.

Janet Moore and Eric Roper of the Strib file a piece on Target exec John Griffith’s role in the stadium drama:. “Griffith’s urban advocacy was crystallized by his leadership on the Downtown Council’s 2025 project, which resulted in an ambitious blueprint for the city’s central core that not only calls for a new football stadium, but residential housing, parks, enhanced transportation options and eradicating street homelessness. ‘John is the vice president of real estate for the company that has far and away the largest real estate holdings in the city,’ [Mayor R.T.] Rybak said. ‘Their opinion matters. I have agreed with John on some issues. And I’ve disagreed on others.’ … Local business leaders have long been inextricably linked with the construction of sports stadiums. ‘If purists think that just an elected official or a governmental enterprise can get a stadium built, they’re making a big mistake,’ said Sam Grabarski, president and CEO of the Downtown Council … ‘Those of us in the business community are thrilled that larger companies are now taking full interest in local civic affairs.’ ” That explains their hefty financial contributions to the construction cost of the thing …

Matt McKinney of the Strib follows up on the shooting of a 3-year-old last winter: “The day after Christmas, Terrell Mayes Jr. and his brothers ran for the safety of an upstairs closet when gunfire erupted in their north Minneapolis neighborhood. A bullet that came through the wall struck Terrell in the head as he climbed the stairs. The case brought extraordinary attention to the problem of stray gunfire in some Minneapolis neighborhoods, including Hawthorne, where Terrell was shot. A $10,285 privately funded reward and a $1,000 Crime Stoppers of Minnesota reward remain unclaimed. … No weapon has been recovered, and authorities haven’t disclosed what type of weapon was involved, other than that it was high-powered.”

After all this, the endorsement better count for something … The AP reports: “Republicans in southern Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District will meet again to try to endorse a candidate to take on Democratic incumbent Tim Walz. Neither state Sen. Mike Parry of Waseca nor former state Rep. Allen Quist of St. Peter gained the required 60 percent of delegates after 14 hours and 23 rounds of balloting that ended just before 2 a.m. Sunday, April 22. Quist had 137 votes on the last ballot to 126 for Parry with 19 blank ballots. Parry led in the early rounds of voting Saturday before Quist pulled ahead for a couple rounds. Then the lead swung back to Parry and then back to Quist. As the exhausted delegates headed for the doors, both candidates said they would have been happy to keep going. But Kato Ballroom Manager Larry Bowers told The Free Press of Mankato that city liquor ordinances required him to shut down at 2 a.m., even though no liquor was served.” Well, there’s your problem.

Scott Bauer of the AP is keeping an eye on the “fake” Democrats running in the primary to face Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin: “Fake Democratic candidates are running in all six recall elections that target Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and four state Senate seats. Walker is the only Republican who has a primary challenger, albeit one with little name recognition who is a Walker opponent despite claiming to be a Republican. That leaves GOP voters largely free to cross over and influence the Democratic side. ‘We are encouraging Republicans to vote in the Democratic primaries,’ said state Rep. Robin Vos, the Republican expected to serve as speaker of the Assembly next year. Vos said people frequently bring up the tactic to him and he doesn’t discourage them from doing it, although he’s not actively working to coordinate a widespread crossover voter effort.”

Finally, someone with a coherent strategy … Brett Neely of MPR reports: “Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann took a short trip to Afghanistan over the weekend to visit Minnesota troops serving there and to assess the planned U.S. troop drawdown from the region, according to a statement released by Bachmann’s office Sunday evening. Bachmann also met with the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen. The three-term Congresswoman sits on the House Intelligence Committee and has an interest in national security issues.”

Also at MPR, Catharine Richert delivers a verdict on GOP Rep. Joyce Peppin’s claim that the so-called “morning-after pill” is dangerous and that it is banned in Canada: “[T]he Minnesota House approved a bill that would require a doctor to be present when a woman takes a pill called RU-486, otherwise known as the abortion pill. Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, is the chief sponsor of the bill. During floor debate, she said that RU-486 is dangerous and needs more supervision during administration. ‘The drug is so dangerous that it was banned in places like Canada and China, places that are very liberal on abortion policies in general,’ Peppin said. … To say that RU-486 has been banned in Canada is misleading. It hasn’t been approved, though it’s unclear if that will ever happen. Meanwhile, it’s false that China has banned the drug. On balance, this claim leans toward false.

I posted an item recently about a former campaign operative for Tom Emmer and Michele Bachmann accused of stalking U of M professor Bill Gleason. Gleason filed an FCC complaint against Jack Tomczak, the former aide. After some negotiating, the local “Tea Party Radio Network” station that carried Tomczak’s show agreed that Tomczak would read an apology on the air. As Gleason posts on his blog, Sunshine is the Best Disinfectant, it said in part: “My show on April 11, 2012, was one of those moments. I want to apologize tonight to Professor Bill Gleason. Professor Gleason and I have exchanged ideas through Twitter in the past and we disagree on most political issues. On April 11, 2012 I attempted to visit him at his office. I sincerely apologize to him because my attempt to have an in-person confrontation about our differences was inappropriate. He had previously informed me that such a visit was unwelcome. Furthermore, what I said on the Late Debate about my failed attempt to confront him at his office was wrong. I know I can do better … and for that, I sincerely apologize to Professor Gleason.”

The situation prompted Andy Aplikowski at the conservative blog Residual Forces to post: “Due to a thuggish left of liberal professor’s intolerant  tactics, the station that Late Debate with Jack and Ben is on has suspended Jack. It is time to get the best local talk show on a real station. Please contact Clear Channel and get them on air.”

Then, in turn, Ken Avidor at the liberal site Dump Bachmann writes: “Additionally, Mr. Tomczak agreed to refrain from further public communication (Tweets) of offensive material related to this incident.  Because he did not comply with this agreement, station management has suspended him until further notice. A Twitter cabal comprising of Bachmann fans Sheila Kihne and former St. Paul School Board candidate Tom “Swiftee” Swift is apparently attempting a reprisal by contacting University officials to complain about Professor Gleason.