Vikings punter Chris Kluwe has gone the extra 10 yards in his fight against the gay marriage amendment. Now he’s even tossing in some beefcake for good measure. In the latest issue of the gay magazine Out, Kluwe is the cover boy and a shirtless model inside. The story, by Cyd Zeigler says: “With all the attention on Kluwe’s letter, it’s easy to forget that he was, in turn, inspired by another football player, the Ravens’s Ayanbadejo, busy fighting his own corner in Baltimore. In November, voters in both Minnesota and Maryland will be faced with marriage-equality ballot initiatives, so the high-profile stance of Kluwe and [Brendon] Ayanbadejo could have real and profound consequences. The positions of both men not only reflect how quickly opinion is shifting, but also spotlight the need to check our own preconceptions of the sports world as inherently intolerant and homophobic. ‘I’ve always relished breaking that stereotype of the dumb jock athlete because while I enjoyed athletics growing up, I also enjoyed reading and video games, and athletic sport is not what defines me as a person,’ says Kluwe. ‘I think as more and more generations start rising through the NFL, a lot of these kids see that it’s OK to be something other than an athlete.’ ”
Former state Sen. Jack Davies serves up a long Strib commentary swatting down the need for either of the GOP’s constitutional amendments. “For more than 150 years, Minnesotans — legislators and voters — have treated the document with respect — and with care. We have never used it as a vehicle for ordinary lawmaking, that is, as a vehicle for overriding or substituting for legislative decisions. We have treated it for what it is — the charter for our state government. The question I now ask is whether either of the amendments to be voted on this November have a place in this great document. … In my opinion, not one provision in the Minnesota Constitution is a precedent for adding either of this year’s Legislature-shackling amendments.”
If you’ve been wondering whether opposition to the voting amendment was ever going to get in the game, Catharine Richert at MPR says: “Our Vote Our Future has reserved at least $158,000 in television airtime to broadcast ads opposing the voter ID amendment, according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission. Group spokesman Eric Fought says he expects the organization will spend more than that in the weeks leading up to Election Day, but wouldn’t say precisely how much. These will be the first television spots Our Vote Our Future has purchased. The group is the primary organization raising and spending cash to defeat a constitutional amendment that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls.”
This should get out a few more “no” votes. Sarah Horner at the PiPress says: “Vandals defaced lawn signs opposing the proposed marriage amendment and painted graphic images on homeowners’ garage doors in Blaine on Tuesday, police said. Using black spray paint, the vandals painted over the ‘Vote No’ signs and in some instances painted pictures of male and female genitals on the homeowners’ garage doors, Blaine Police Chief Chris Olsen said. ‘Calls started coming in about it this morning,’ Olson said Tuesday … Nine homes were struck in the spree. All were located near either Radisson Road and 132nd Lane or near Lakes Parkway and 120th Court.”
What’s the essence of an orchestra? The musicians? Or the building? Graydon Royce at the Strib says: “Musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra will try to do it on their own. With the first six weeks of the fall season canceled and the union locked out in a labor dispute, musicians said Tuesday they are negotiating to stage a concert on Oct. 19. ‘We are in talks with the Convention Center to present an opening-night concert on our own,’ said cellist Tony Ross, a member of the musicians’ negotiating team. ‘We’re also in discussions with former music directors to see if they would help.’ ” If they pull it off, what should they play?
It’ll take six months and another $200 million to repair the coal-fired turbine at the Sherco plant. Dave Shaffer’s Strib story says: “Plant director Ron Brevig said it’s still not clear what tore apart the turbine on Nov. 19, 2011, an accident that also triggered an oil fire at the Sherburne County Generation Station (Sherco) Unit 3. … The 900-megawatt generator is co-owned by Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, and it sits next to two undamaged units owned by Xcel. The three units can supply about 2 million homes, typically burning through about three 115-car trainloads of western coal each day. Xcel and the municipal power agency have been largely insulated from the accident’s costs. Brevig said insurance will pay for most of the repairs, and both utilities say they’ve been able to get replacement power at reasonable rates, thanks to weak power demand and low natural gas prices.”
I believe this counts as good news. Patrick Kennedy of the Strib reports: “Low interest rates and an improving real estate market continue to encourage house and apartment construction in the Twin Cities, with the most building permits issued in September in five years. Last month, 413 permits were issued to build 666 units in the Twin Cities, according to the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC). Almost 90 percent more units were permitted in September 2012 than in September 2011. The value of those permits continues to rise. While there were more permits pulled in June (465) and more permitted units in July and August (783 and 901, respectively), the value of the September permits was the highest of the year — at $148.7 million.”
At MPR, Jessica Mador files a story on the status of the St. Croix bridge. She says: “[S]horter towers will keep the bridge’s height below the top of the Wisconsin bluffs. That was a priority for environmental groups and other stakeholders who worked with MnDOT on the project proposal. There are other environmental concerns planners will have to consider, too. For one thing, the St. Croix river bottom is soft, and that makes designing the new bridge’s foundation complicated. At its deepest point, there’s as much as 85 feet of muck at the bottom of the river. MnDOT testing this summer showed just how far crews will need to drill down to reach the river’s limestone foundation — 130 feet. That’s one-third farther than crews drilled for the 35W bridge foundation in the Mississippi River.”
At Bluestem Prairie, Sally Jo Sorensen points readers to a letter in the Hutchinson Leader from one Eric Piepmeier (Dickens would be envious), who doesn’t sound like your average fringe lefty when he says: “[T]he voter ID amendment as it stands is problematic. It states, ‘All voters voting in person must present valid government-issued photographic identification.’ The problem is that the government would be in control of the IDs and therefore indirectly of who votes. It’s funny how many of the same people I know who were adamantly opposed to the National ID proposed by the Department of Homeland Security are for this amendment, which in effect accomplishes the same goal of requiring every citizen to have a government-controlled ID. Do we really trust that this ID will not be abused or expand into something greater? We only have to look at the history of our Social Security number to see that our government said, when it first came out, that it absolutely would only be used for Social Security. Now it has expanded into a number I need for health care, banking, to get a job, to pay taxes and more. Who will stop this government-issued voter ID from expanding into more?” Really. What would Ayn Rand think?