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Ritchie refuses to defend Voter ID; GOP cries foul

For those of us with a certain mindset … this is great fun. Jim Ragsdale of the Strib reports: “Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a DFLer who has campaigned against the photo ID requirement for voting passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, said Thursday he will not defend the language of the proposed constitutional amendment in a court challenge that names him as the defendant. Ritchie’s decision, announced in a letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, followed a vote by Republican legislative leaders earlier in the day to hire their own attorney to fight a lawsuit that seeks to derail the amendment before it reaches voters in November. … The announcement upset Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, who accused Ritchie of shirking his duty to stand up for even those legislative decisions he disagrees with. ‘He’s an elected official representing the state of Minnesota, and insofar as I’m concerned, he’s walking away from his responsibility to defend the actions of the state,’ Senjem said. ‘And I’m disappointed in that.’ ” Besides, if Ritchie defended the GOP’s bill, the GOP could then claim “bipartisan” support.

The state-city oversight team for the new (next) Vikings stadium has been assembled. Says Tim Nelson at MPR: “Dayton’s search for a person to helm the construction of the biggest public works project in state history did not range far. He picked someone right in his own office — Deputy Chief of Staff Michele Kelm-Helgen. … Dayton wanted someone close to his administration who he could count on to handle what is likely to be the signature accomplishment of his first term. … Rounding out the governor’s picks is John Griffith, executive vice president of property development at Target Corp. — the retailer founded by Dayton’s family. … The City of Minneapolis also had two seats to fill on the five-member authority. Mayor Rybak appointed Capella University Dean Barbara Butts Williams. … Rybak also named Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation President Bill McCarthy to the panel. He is a former president of UNITE-HERE, the hospitality worker union in the Twin Cities, and he also is on the board of directors of the Greater Twin Cities United Way.” Ex NFL player Duane Benson is also on the “team.”

At the Strib, Richard Meryhew says: “Vikings executives, who met last week with the team’s owners to begin advance work on the project, have said that it will take roughly one year for the design and prep work to be completed, followed by at least three years to build the stadium. An environmental impact study, along with negotiations to acquire nearby properties, also will begin in the first year.”

Did you catch the reaction from the pro-marriage amendment crowd to General Mills announcement that it was opposing their ballot initiative?  Tom Scheck of MPR reports: “The decision was panned by Minnesota for Marriage, a group working to pass the amendment. John Helmberger, chair of Minnesota for Marriage, released this statement:

“It is very disappointing that General Mills has decided to play PC politics by pandering to a small but powerful interest group that is bent on redefining marriage, the core institution of society. Marriage is more than a commitment between two people who love each other. It was created by God for the care and well-being of the next generation. The amendment is about preserving marriage and making sure that voters always remain in control over the definition of marriage in our state, and not activist judges or politicians. By taking this position, General Mills is saying to Minnesotans and people all around the globe that marriage doesn’t matter to them. … It’s ironic and regrettable that a corporation that makes billions marketing cereal to parents of children would take the position that marriage should be redefined.”

In an MPR commentary, Kevin Kling recalls that the most important conversations he had with his dad were in cars: “One day my dad turned to me in an ’82 Chevy and said, ‘Kev, I’m going to Europe. I always wanted to go there, and I’m not getting any younger.’  … I could tell he had his heart set on it, so I offered my tried-and-true advice. I said, ‘OK, Dad, lookit, you’re going to England, bring an umbrella. I know this sounds crazy, but once you get wet there, you never dry off. I don’t know why. And don’t eat the food, any of it, especially in Scotland. I ate something there once, and I’ll never laugh at the dog for licking the garage floor again.’ He said, ‘But I got to eat’.  said, ‘For godsakes, Dad, people from Scotland go to England to eat. Oh, yeah, and be sure to learn the language, a phrase or two. I’ve traveled the world over on two phrases. If you learn these, you’ll be fine. One is, ‘I’ll have another beer, please,’ and the other is, ‘Sorry about the carpet.’ You can go anywhere with those’.” Una mas cerveza, por favor.

The fun never stops in Wisconsin. Dinesh Ramde of the AP reports: “Wisconsin state Sen. Van Wanggaard asked elections officials Friday for a recount in his recall race, the outcome of which will decide the majority party in the state Senate. An official canvass this week showed the Racine Republican trailing his Democratic challenger by 834 votes, or 1.2 percent. Democrats had called on Wanggaard to concede, saying a recount would only delay the inevitable and waste taxpayer money. But Wanggaard’s campaign said it was concerned about possible reports of voting irregularities, and said it wanted to ensure the outcome was accurate.” The only explanation for any loss is … voter fraud.

There’s an unusual explanation for the dwindling wolf pack on Isle Royale. Writes Josephine Marcotty: “The researchers reported today that they found the bodies of three adult wolves dead in an abandoned mine shaft.  … John Vucetich, one of the researchers and a biologist at  Michigan Technological University, said:  ‘We found there had been a real catastrophe in early winter, before we arrived on the island in January,’ said Vucetich. ‘There were three dead wolves from the Chippewa Harbor Pack in the shaft: a collared male that we had been unable to locate this winter, an older male — maybe the alpha male — and a female born in 2011. ‘There is no way to know how the three wolves ended up falling into the pit, but very likely, accumulating snow and ice played a role in the accident. ‘We now understand a major reason for the decline in pack size of the Chippewa Harbor Pack in 2012, and perhaps why we saw such a desultory pattern of travel and low kill rate in this pack,’ Vucetich said. The pack seemed to have no ‘game plan’ following the large loss of so many individuals, he explained.”

And there was no girl involved … . Dirk Lammers of the AP tells the story of a 50-year grudge: “A jockstrap pulled over a student sports manager’s head in a high school locker room more than 50 years ago led a 73-year-old South Dakota man to fatally shoot his long-ago classmate, a prosecutor said Friday. Carl Ericsson of Watertown was sentenced to life in prison Friday after pleading guilty but mentally ill last month to second-degree murder. Ericsson was charged in the Jan. 31 killing of retired Madison High School teacher and track coach Norman Johnson, who was shot twice in the face. Lake County State’s Attorney Kenneth Meyer said Ericsson indicated that the decades-old locker room incident led to the shooting. Johnson was a high school sports star and Ericsson was a student manager.”

Ripping a shamelessly bad movie is every film critic’s guilty pleasure. (Watching the thing … not so much.) You have to laugh as the Strib’s Colin Covert goes after the latest assault on neurological health from Adam Sandler: “If this summary is unpleasant, I assure you the film is a lot more fun to read about than to endure. It is about as funny as watching an obese stripper eating an omelet while upside down on her dance pole. Which they actually show. The standard Sandlerisms repeat themselves. The notion that older women might have sexual urges is treated with comic mockery. Roly-poly guys jiggle across the screen in revealing attire. Surprise Star Cameos drag a veritable Who’s Who of familiar faces out of retirement and repurpose them as objects of our derision. Why else cast Tony Orlando in a supporting role that requires him to wear the world’s ugliest toupee? At least I hope it’s a toupee. When the sex gags flout one taboo act that will never have its own Pride Day Parade, the spiral of misery and torment reaches whirlpool velocity.” That folks, merits  a half-star.

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Comments (26)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/15/2012 - 01:21 pm.

    See, this just continues not to make sense

    People – or companies – that oppose the gay marriage amendment are actually saying they believe that we should not be placing limits on allowing loving committed couples to marry. That means they are in favor of MORE marriage, not less.

    So calling them “anti-marriage” just doesn’t make any sense.

    Then there’s that thing about trying to enshrine in governance something which they are claiming as “created by God”. I guess that old “separation of church and state” idea only applies when you agree with what’s being separated . . . . . .

  2. Submitted by Lora Jones on 06/15/2012 - 01:28 pm.

    Ritchie’s decision WILL be great fun!

    Though, I can’t for the life of me figure out why he was the named defendant in the first place — he didn’t write the languge or propose the amendment. Seems to me that the responsibility for defending both always lay with the Republi-CON legislators who wrote and proposed it. Why should Ritchie, as a complete outsider to whatever discussions or negotiations surrounding its writing and proposing, be forced to guess why it was written as it was or manufacture reasons why the language on the ballot really does accurately reflect the constitutional amendment its passage would effect.

    I should think the CONs would be elated at having a chance to defend the virtue of their beloved ALEC-inspired bait and switch ballot measure!

  3. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 06/15/2012 - 01:31 pm.

    Ritchie’s obligations

    Ritchie is not obliged to legally defend PROPOSED constitutional amendments !

    Sen. Senjem couldn’t possibly be more wrong-headed in this matter. He should read up on what the duties of a Secretary of State are.

    Ritchie’s obligation is to the people of Minnesota in his well defined duties, not to its legislature.

  4. Submitted by Arito Moerair on 06/15/2012 - 02:28 pm.

    Good for Ritchie

    Republicans think Ritchie isn’t doing his job because he doesn’t like the legislation. They think it’s political.

    Well, Ritchie is a politician. For whatever reason, some government officials involved in the justice system (AGs, judges, etc.) are elected officials. They are partisan. If the Republicans don’t like this, then we should make all these positions appointment-based instead of election-based. Dig?

    Or no, wait, they don’t want that. Then they wouldn’t have been able to demonize and oust the supreme court justices in Iowa who overturned the gay marriage ban.

    So which way do you want it?

  5. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/15/2012 - 02:48 pm.

    Clueless as usual

    The Republicans just don’t understand that amendments are not legislation by others means, they didn’t pass a law, they passed a question, and a terribly misleading question at that. The AG and Richie are not required to defend this.

  6. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 06/15/2012 - 03:00 pm.

    Amen to Pat Berg, and I’d add just one more little tidbit to “…I guess that old “separation of church and state” idea only applies when you agree with what’s being separated…” The addition is that we can be pretty well assured, when someone claims to know the will of God, that we’re dealing with a person suffering from genuine delusions.

    Steve Titterud also makes an excellent legal point. Mr. Ritchie is, I assume, constitutionally required to defend a part of the Minnesota Constitution in court, but the proposal now creating further hysteria on the right is not yet part of that document. Mr. Ritchie is under no obligation whatsoever to defend a proposal that’s neither law nor part of the constitution.

  7. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/15/2012 - 03:11 pm.

    The irony, of course

    is that the people who belong to the political party named for democracy are doing everything in their power to stop it from happening.

    • Submitted by Matthew Levitt on 06/15/2012 - 03:27 pm.

      And the other irony, of course

      is that the people who belong to the political party named for republicanism are doing everything in their power to shirk that duty.

    • Submitted by Phil Dech on 06/15/2012 - 04:50 pm.

      The real irony

      is that since it would place obstacles between voters and the booth that have no compelling benefit, he is actually defending democracy by refusing defend this amendment.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/16/2012 - 07:13 am.

        The compelling benefit

        is that your vote will count and not be canceled out by one cast illegally.

        Mark Ritche’s only role in government is to ensure that your vote counts and he’s saying he’s not interested in doing that. He should resign his office since he’s not willing to do his job.

        • Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/16/2012 - 05:41 pm.

          You don’t even make sense

          For the “canceling out” thing to even be a valid concern, you’re basically saying 50% of the votes cast on election day are illegal and canceling out the other 50% (which is apparently the big threat you’re so concerned about).

          Really? You think half the voters visiting the polls on election day are there to “cancel out” the legal votes?

          That’s almost as good as saying that women shouldn’t have been granted the vote . . . . .

          • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 06/17/2012 - 08:47 am.

            It only takes one

            vote that’s opposite to yours to cancel out the one vote you have. Artimetic 101

            • Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/17/2012 - 08:24 pm.

              You times how many?

              (Because I’m sure this is not JUST all about YOU.)

              Or are you saying it’s really worth all this for your very own single very important vote?

              For this to be a valid argument, you’re talking about protecting against the possibility of EVERY theoretically canceled out vote. Which means you’re proposing that theoretically 50% of the votes being cast are being cast illegally (and thereby potentially “canceling out” any given legal vote).

              Again I ask, really?

            • Submitted by Clayton Haapala on 06/20/2012 - 08:16 pm.

              Oh, the irony

              … When scores of College Republicans are prevented from voting, and whine about it.
              Yeah, they’re rare, but they do exist.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/17/2012 - 09:29 am.

          I’m cancelling you out Dennis

          I’m pretty sure it’s my vote that’s cancelling your Dennis, and it’s perfectly legal.

  8. Submitted by Sean Huntley on 06/15/2012 - 03:47 pm.

    That carries so much weight coming from a guy who says women shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 06/15/2012 - 04:32 pm.

      In case anyone wonders . . . . .

      In case anyone wonders, Sean is referring to Dennis Tester who has stated that he thinks the 19th Amendment was a mistake.

  9. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 06/15/2012 - 04:02 pm.


    RE: Helmberger’s comment on General Mills – What bull!!

    General Mills has absolutely nothing to gain by taking a public stand on this issue other than the impact this amendment would have on it’s ability to attract and retain talent. I give them credit for not being bulldozed by those who “defend” marriage by restricting it.

    And, by the way, if “Marriage is more than a commitment between two people who love each other. It was created by God for the care and well-being of the next generation.” as Helmberger states, why is the state involved in regulating it?

    • Submitted by Mark Stromseth on 06/15/2012 - 10:21 pm.

      Cruel Irony

      If “Marriage is more than a commitment between two people who love each other. It was created by God for the care and well-being of the next generation.” as Helmberger states, why is the state involved in regulating it?

      Because the state makes money from regulating marriage and divorce. Of course, double standard that Republicans don’t acknowledge is that this subjects people to the “nanny state” that they rail against constantly. That’s just something they like to ignore when it doesn’t help their agenda.

      Boy, those Repubs certainly are conflicted. They just can’t figure out what they want!

  10. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 06/15/2012 - 04:33 pm.

    Where exactly in the state constitution

    is the Secretary of State required to carry water for legislators who 1) do not consult him before passing legislation, 2) have called the SecState every printable name in the book, and 3) insist on turning everything into a partisan mud wrestling match?

    Then again, I’m sure the Senate leaders are setting a better example by working closely with AG Swanson regarding l’affair Brodkorb….

  11. Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 06/16/2012 - 05:48 pm.

    Voter ID

    Ritchie is right, the attorney general has no right to be involved in anything that isn’t law.

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