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Several DFLers skipping Charlotte convention

Several name DFLers are skipping the Democratic convention in Charlotte. Tom Scheck of MPR says: “Just three of the six DFL members of Congress are expected to be in Charlotte this week. Rep. Keith Ellison is already in town hobnobbing with delegates and others. He has a full speaking schedule over the course of the week. Ellison, who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, says he uses the convention to build relationships. … Spokespeople say Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken will be in town for all or part of the convention. Gov. Mark Dayton is also expected to attend. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is scheduled to address the convention on Tuesday. Democratic Representatives Tim Walz, Collin Peterson and Betty McCollum are not attending the DNC at all.” Cleaning their sock drawers, I’m guessing.

With “Vote No” signs proliferating like bunnies across, well, southwest Minneapolis, Patricia Rorke offers her thoughts in a Strib commentary. She writes: “The history of marriage, including the biblical version, is replete with tribalism. The extreme of this is best viewed today through the lens of the Taliban. Or we can look at it via the Middle Ages and even into the 18th century in the pursuit of power and wealth through the dowry system where women were often traded as chattel. Even if we go back to the idyllic pre-1960s, marriage can be seen as supporting the dichotomy of Woman on the Pedestal/Woman in her Place, both equally repressive. … I would argue that real change evolved when women and others began their long and courageous battle for human dignity. For women, this started with the right to vote, to divorce and receive a fair percentage of the family income, the right to make an informed and conscientious decision as to the number of children she would bear, the right to an education, the right to define her own sexual reality, and the right to equal pay in the workplace.”

And, related … the St.Olaf faculty has registered its disapproval. Will Ashenmacher of the PiPress writes: “The faculty of St. Olaf College in Northfield recently voted to oppose the November constitutional amendment that would restrict the definition of marriage to that of an institution between one man and one woman only. St. Olaf’s 333 full- and part-time faculty members voted to express their opposition at their first faculty meeting of the year. St. Olaf College as an institution does not plan to take a position on the amendment, according to college spokesman David Gonnerman.”

A contract deal for northern Minnesota steelworkers is bringing a sigh of relief. Dan Kraker at MPR says: “[T]he United Steelworkers union agreed to terms Sunday on a new labor contract with U.S. Steel. The company employs roughly 1,300 union members at its MinnTac and KeeTac facilities on the Range. ‘The last thing you want is a shutdown or a lockout or a strike or something like that,’ said Gary Skalko, the mayor of Mountain Iron, home to MinnTac, the largest taconite operation in Minnesota. ‘So this is really positive news for not only the citiy of Mountain Iron, but for our whole region.’ Labor talks are still ongoing with Arcelor Mittal, which runs the Minorca Mine in Virginia, and Cliffs Natural Resources, operator of Hibbing Taconite and United Taconite in Eveleth. For now union members will work under the terms of their current contract while they work out a new deal. Together the three companies employ nearly 3,000 union members at five facilities on Minnesota’s Iron Range.”

It may be my imagination, but I think of an “Accurate” rating as rare from these fact-checker sites. But Sen. Amy Klobuchar gets such a rating from Catharine Richert at MPR for her claim about bipartisanship: “The hour-long debate [with GOP candidate Kurt Bills] hosted by Minnesota Public Radio News also gave Klobuchar another opportunity to highlight her history of bipartisanship in the Senate, a broad theme of her re-election campaign. ‘The way we do this to get [a budget] through Congress is to have Senators that are known to be able to work in the middle,’ Klobuchar said. “Two-thirds of my bills are with Republicans.” Klobuchar has her numbers right. … However, it’s important to point out few of the bipartisan bills Klobuchar has sponsored have actually been put on the books. And Klobuchar’s voting record looks much different than her legislative record. According to the Washington Post, Klobuchar has voted with her party 94 percent of the time this congressional session, making her one of the more loyal members of the Democratic Party. The Verdict: What Klobuchar said is true: about two-thirds of the bills she has sponsored have Republican co-authors.”

One ID thief is going to get a tough sentence. Randy Furst of the Strib reports: “Hennepin County jurors convicted a West St. Paul man on Saturday of two counts of identity theft, then resumed deliberations on Monday and concluded that he was a career criminal. That determination could result in a ‘tough sentence,’ according to Chuck Laszewski, a spokesman for the county attorney’s office. Prosecutors will ask that Donald Allen Ellis, 56, receive a 20-year sentence, the maximum, Laszewski said. Judge Kerry Meyer set sentencing for Oct. 1. Ellis was arrested in February by county sheriff’s detectives and charged with conducting a large-scale crime operation that involved credit card fraud, theft and counterfeit checks. He had been out on bail on similar ID theft charges.” That, of course, is still — way — more time than anyone involved in the Wall Street meltdown.

And … I’ll have fries with that … The Forum papers’ story of the one-ton hamburger says: “[Y]ou’re not going to come anywhere close to the behemoth burger cooked up at Black Bear Casino Resort near Carlton on Sunday. The 2,014-pound, 10-foot-diameter bacon cheeseburger set a Guinness World Record in the biggest burger one-off event category, the casino reported. Guinness adjudicator Philip Robertson was flown in to verify the record. ‘What I saw today was a feat of remarkable teamwork that resulted in a world record burger that actually tastes really good,’ Robertson said in a news release. The previous mark was 881 pounds, 13 ounces.”

It’s curtains for the dolphins. Emily Cutts of the PiPress writes: “The dolphins at the Minnesota Zoo might not be aware of their impending move but all the strange new people in their exhibit and the extra Jell-O treats might give them a clue something is happening. … Although this isn’t the first time the zoo has moved dolphins out, this time it’s permanent. Semo, who has been at the zoo since 1991, and Allie, since 2008, will part ways sometime in October. The two, who aren’t the best of friends, will move to different zoos with improved social groups. … Allie and Semo will end their Minnesota stay with an open house through Sept. 9. Zoo visitors can see the dolphins, sign a card and take a photo with pictures of Semo or Allie. Dolphin fans also may also submit photos to the zoo’s online virtual bulletin board.”

Michael Brodkorb — perhaps you’ve heard the name — lists the top 10 seats in play in the Minnesota Senate this November. “Top-10 Senate Races to Watch
#1. Senator John Carlson (GOP incumbent) vs. Senator Tom Saxhaug (DFL incumbent) — Senate District 5 (pairing)
#2. Senator Pam Wolf (GOP incumbent) vs. Former State Representative Alice Johnson Senate District 37
#3. Senator Ben Kruse (GOP incumbent) vs. John Hoffman Senate District 36
#4. Senator Joe Gimse (GOP incumbent) vs. Senator Lyle Koenen (DFL incumbent) — Senate District 17 (pairing)
#5. Representative Keith Downey vs. Melisa Franzen Senate District 49 (open — Michel current incumbent)
#6. Senator Jeremy Miller (GOP incumbent) vs. Jack Krage Senate District 28
#7. Senator John Pederson (GOP incumbent) vs. Jerry McCarter Senate District 14.” Place your bets.
#8. Senator Ted Daley (GOP incumbent) vs. former Senator Jim Carlson Senate District 51
#9. Phil Hansen vs. State Representative Kent Eken Senate District 4 (open — Langseth current incumbent)
#10. Vern Swedin vs. Vicki Jensen Senate District 24 (open).

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