Keith Ellison’s ‘lowlife scumbag’ remark getting attention

Be careful next time you ask Keith Ellison, “and what do you really think, Congressman?” As our Devin Henry did Thursday, almost everyone has covered the — uh, dare I say — personal and nasty exchange between Ellison and GOP opponent Chris Fields?

Nationally, Peter Kasperowicz of The Hill writes: “Ellison (D-Minn.) on Thursday called his Republican opponent a ‘lowlife scumbag’ and a ‘gutter dweller’ during a radio debate that devolved into an invective-filled fight over each of their divorces. … Something called “Jammie Wearing Fool,” after ID-ing Ellison as “D-Mecca,” writes, “Used to be “tea party extremist” was the insult of choice among panicked Democrats. Now they’re upping it a few notches. … You ever notice all the angry hate speech followed by mealy-mouted ‘apologies’ all come from the Democrat Party? Funny, that.”

… And back kere, Chris Steller of the Fridley Patch writes: “Here’s what happened, according to KFAI staff and volunteers interviewed shortly after the hourlong debate Thursday: As the debate took a personal turn, Ellison rose from his chair. Fields remained seated. The men were wedged about three feet apart in a corner of the tiny studio. Moderator Ahndi Fridell went to one of two planned breaks as the men shouted at each other. [News Director Dale] Connelly was in the hallway as things got heated and entered the studio to check in. ‘I was taken aback by what was going on,’ he said. Ellison’s lips were trembling with evident anger. ‘I felt I needed to get in between them physically,’ he recalled ‘This isn’t helping either one of you,’ I said.’ An attempt to go back on-air after the scheduled break was short-lived. At some point with Connelly separating him from Ellison, Fields also rose from his chair.”

Is anyone surprised? The jury in the Somali “terror” trial delivered a guilty verdict. Dan Browning and Allie Shah in the Strib says: “A federal jury in Minneapolis deliberated about 8½ hours before convicting Mahamud Said Omar, 46, in a case that provided the clearest picture to date of a worldwide investigation into the recruiting of at least 20 young men to fight Ethiopians in Somalia with Al-Shabab, a U.S.-designated terror group. … The importance of the trial was underscored by the presence of the U.S. Attorney for Minnesota, B. Todd Jones, and many of his top prosecutors, investigators and other federal employees who wedged hip to shoulder in the gallery.”

MPR’s marriage amendment tour stopped in St. Cloud, where Conrad Wilson writes: “[W]hile the city’s deep Catholic roots are influencing the conversation, they are by no means dominating it. Minnesotans United for All Families — the group working to defeat the amendment — also is active in the central part of the state and aims to change minds. To do so, the group will have to try to overcome prominent voices like those of [amendment author GOP Rep. Steve] Gottwalt, who contends that the amendment was never intended to discriminate against same sex-couples — a key argument of amendment opponents. But Gottwalt acknowledges that much of the debate has centered on equality. … In St. Cloud, amendment opponents face tough odds. The amendment has the support of many congregations throughout the city and 38.6 percent of residents consider themselves Catholic. That’s nearly double the statewide average of 21.7 percent. The Diocese of St. Cloud has contributed $50,000 to the campaign to pass the amendment, and promotes it to parishioners. Bishop John Kinney has written a prayer for marriage.”

When can we call it “Literature-gate”? Catharine Richert at MPR reports: “The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board will investigate four claims brought by the Republican Party of Minnesota contending the Minnesota DFL party coordinated campaign literature with several candidates. ‘The board will conduct investigations of the complaints to determine whether any violations of Minnesota Statutes 10A have occurred,’ the board wrote the GOP in a letter. ‘The Board’s undertaking of these investigations signifies only that the complaints have met the minimum threshold to require an investigation.’ The GOP’s complaint surrounds campaign literature sent by the DFL in favor of four Senate Democratic candidates including Jim Carlson, who is running against incumbent Ted Daley in SD 51 near Eagan, Melisa Franzen, who is running against Rep. Keith Downey for SD 49 near Edina, Vicki Jensen who is running against Vern Swedin in SD 24 encompassing part of Steele County, and Alice Johnson who is running against incumbent Pam Wolf in SD 37, which covers Blaine.” We’ve received enough glossy mailers ripping Ms. Franzen that I could build a book thicker than Vogue’s September issue.

Foodie tongues are wagging over charges against one of the Twin Cities’ celeb restaurateurs. Leah Beno at KMSP-TV reports: “Kim Koutek and Britney Sandoval aren’t sugar-coating anything when it comes to Thom Pham. ‘Don’t ever work for him, ever,’ urged Koutek. … Koutek bartended at Wondrous Kitchen for six months, Sandoval was a host for three months and both had paychecks bounce repeatedly. ‘I remember one time he paid me in $5 bundles,’ says Sandoval. ‘It was so ridiculous and that was the only money they had for the restaurant.’ … Neither Koutek or Sandoval were surprised when FOX 9 reported Pham is facing felony charges out of Mille Lacs County. Pham was charged by summons for allegedly issuing dishonored checks. A-Z Restaurant Equipment, of Princeton, is listed as the victim in the criminal complaint out of Mille Lacs County. The owner claims Pham wrote him more than $30,000 worth of bad checks back in March for kitchen equipment delivered to Azia Market. The owner said he’s been trying for months to get the money back.

At the Strib, Maura Lerner offers a bit more information on how drug “compounding” works: “But the national meningitis outbreak has cast the practice in a whole new light, now that more than 250 cases and 20 deaths in 16 states have been traced to tainted steroids from a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts. In Minnesota, about a dozen specialty pharmacies do most of their business compounding drugs … . They fill prescriptions for special situations — say, for patients who are allergic to the red dye in a commercial medication. … Minnesota … has six inspectors to ensure that compounding pharmacies follow the rules, including the safety standards for making injectable drugs such as steroids. But those same inspectors also monitor 1,200 other pharmacies.”

Lefty blogger/artist Ken Avidor has long had a focus on Tom Petters associate Frank Vennes. He now looks at a case filed down in Florida alleging big-name cooperation with Tom Petters’ criminal scam: “The attorney for the Palm Beach Finance Trustee filed a civil suit  (PDF) against GE Capital, one of the world’s biggest financial firms  alleging GE Capital employees knew that Tom Petters was running a Ponzi scheme way back ‘on or about October 24, 2000’ and did nothing to stop it:
GECC would remain silent about its discovery of the Conspiracy and assist in its continued fraudulent concealment. Petters would cause GECC to be paid from new, defrauded lenders rather than from the proceeds of legitimate operations. Even worse, the document alleges GE Capital helped Tom Petters recruit more victims with a recommendation letter addressed to ‘Whom it May Concern.’ … The PBF Trustee is seeking the total losses of the Palm Beach funds (approximately $1.1 Billion) plus punitive damages.” Suing GE would be like suing the Pentagon, only more futile, I’m guessing.

Friday’s Strib editorial on the looming “fiscal cliff” struggles to sound serious but avoids offering any thoughts on the revenue end of the budget face-off that provoked the grim deal: “But since the sequestration cuts were passed in summer 2011 as part of the debt-ceiling deal by the Republican-controlled U.S. House and the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate, the nation’s political leadership, including President Obama, has failed to agree on a more sensible alternative that would gradually cut spending and increase tax revenue. What makes this even more disappointing is that there are credible, bipartisan plans to do this — Simpson-Bowles, Domenici-Rivlin — so policymakers didn’t even have to start from scratch. This dereliction of duty has put the nation’s fragile economic recovery at risk. Austerity is needed, but it has to be phased in carefully.” Perhaps someone will call Britain for advice on the “austerity phase-in.”

Well, at least Supervalu’s share price is over $2. Mike Hughlett of the Strib reports: “[T]he Eden Prairie-based supermarket giant posted another grim quarter Thursday, its sales freefall continuning and its adjusted profits flatlining — a performance worse than stock analysts expected. Wall Street focused on buyout possibilities, with Supevalu’s stock at $2.15 in morning trading, up 5.4 percent or 11 cents. … Even Save-A-Lot — the discount chain that analysts view as one of Supervalu’s most valuable assets — fared poorly during the quarter. Excluding one-time charges, Save-A-Lot’s operating profits were $34 million or 3.5 percent of net sales, down from $50 million or 5.1 percent for the same quarter a year ago. The decline was due primarily to price cuts taken to improve Save-A-Lot’s competitive profile, as well as additional administrative costs to support the chain’s growth, the company said.” … In jargon, that could mean almost anything.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 10/19/2012 - 06:10 am.

    Tilting at windmills

    …is an Avidor speciality. He’s been obsessing over M Bachmann for years….and has been forced to watch her star rise all the while.

    Tough gig.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 10/19/2012 - 09:10 am.

      A rising star, Mr. Swift?

      Ms. Bachmann’s is hardly on the ascendency. Even should she be so fortunate as to be re-elected in her new ultra-conservative district, her status in Congress is joke worthy since she has alienated herself from GOP leadership.

      And Mr. Avidor has not simply tilted at windmills. He and his colleagues, Eva Young and Karl Bremer have been in the forefront of exposing Bachmann’s antics long before the mainstream media. When Ms Bachmann made her spectacularly unsuccessful presidential attempt, Karl was the go to guy even by the foreign press.

      And of course you can purchase their best seller: “The Madness of Michelle Bachmann: A Broad Minded Survey of a Narrow Minded Candidate.”

      I highly recommend it to you as a definitive catalog of inanity.

      Don Quixote would be proud.

  2. Submitted by Bruce Bruemmer on 10/19/2012 - 06:38 am.

    At least the Ellison/Fields debate was authentic

    An incumbent in a safe district never wants to do what Ellison did in this “debate,” but as someone who grew up in Cook County, Ill., I felt like I was back home after hearing this. The winner? Jim Lehrer, who now does not have to worry about being this year’s debate moderator who lost the most control of two candidates.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/19/2012 - 07:36 am.

    Super Valu is Just a Symptom

    of the current situation: much of the population of the US is still impoverished by the means and methods our financial industry used to extract massive amounts of money out of our national economy, in order to squirrel it away in their own pockets (where it does nothing but provide for their own pleasure and amusement and/or is invested in Wall Street’s latest, “too good to be true” investment schemes which DON’T create jobs but only push paper – of questionable worth – around until the next crash).

    They did this to all of us, both private individuals and corporations. Everyone else in this ENTIRE NATION saw their prospects diminished.

    Under the deregulation they had previously demanded (and SWORE they could handle responsibly), the financial sector came dangerously close to killing the goose that had been dependably supplying them with golden eggs. In response to staring the death of that golden goose in the face, they froze credit in its tracks, killing many viable businesses by denying them credit at a time when virtually EVERY business had been seduced by those same financial people into using credit for their operating funds rather than operating out of their own cash reserves.

    This is a primary reason why many if not most companies are now sitting on huge cash reserves. They don’t want to be caught short next time the bankers crash the system. Operating out of your own cash reserves offers other benefits, as well. You don’t have to constantly hand over a portion of your profits to your banker (interest on your operating loans), and you have far greater independence to try innovative things, since your banker no longer has veto power over what you want to do.

    At the current time, however, those cash reserves being held by so many companies amount to another substantial chunk of money that’s been withdrawn from our national economy.

    Added to that is the fact that, when the bankers killed off so many American businesses, lots of people lost their jobs or saw their incomes significantly reduced. Many were forced into bankruptcy. Others are still cash-strapped because they’re working mightily to pay off the debt their bankers were able to pile on top of the funds they actually borrowed because, for a time, nearly ALL rules regarding such things had been cast aside.

    These immoral and unconscionable credit practices were rolled back a bit with the Dodd-Frank bill and new rules produced by the Federal Reserve System, but we’re still suffering through the long hangover of the easy credit (at very high cost) party of the Bush years.

    Meanwhile, many wealthy scam artists are STILL trolling the national economy, seeking to find companies with substantial assets that have been weakened by those bankers’ own excesses of the past in order to Bain Capital-ize them – take them over, borrow against the value of their existing assets, pay themselves massive bonuses, consulting fees, etc., out of that borrowed money, make the company look a bit better on paper for a quarter or two, then skip off leaving the workers and managers of the company holding the bag for that massive new debt that primarily went directly into the pockets of the Venture Capitalists while providing zero benefit for that company, its customers, or its employees.

    I believe this happened to the Star Tribune not once, but TWICE, resulting in the much diminished paper we see today.

    Many viable companies like Super valu are being caught in the squeeze between an impoverished population that has very little money to spend and bankers that demand more of such companies than they should ever have been able to demand.

    Only by regulating the bankers (traditional AND “investment”) into backing off from their own destructive excesses to the point where the banking industry receives a reasonable-but-much-smaller return for providing a useful service to our national economy can companies like Super value and all the citizens of the US begin to recover, to have a bit more money to spend and thereby, provide the consumer demand that will give companies a reason to create jobs (which increasing the wealth of the executive class NEVER does).

    Finally, let us NEVER forget that companies like Super Valu are primarily not the perpetrators of their own difficulties. They are the victims of the banking/investment excesses of the Bush years (as are we ALL). If all the money extracted from the pockets of the US population and US corporations during the Bush years had been left to circulate in the economy, there would not have BEEN a crisis in 2008, and our economy would now be prosperously humming along.

    • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 10/20/2012 - 11:09 pm.

      So it’s Bush’s fault

      The impoverished population is buying new full sized pick-ups and starting new home building as we speak. As the economy continues to improve we don’t need naysayers bursting our bubble just because we don’t shop at Cub instead of Walmart or Target. I must admit that it would make more sense just to hoard cash and make .80% rather than investing it in the stock market (over 10% on the year) or investing in government backed green energy companies.

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