Surveying Minnesota’s congressional delegation on possible new gun control legislation, MPR’s Brett Neely reminds listener/readers of this gem from Our Favorite Congresswoman: “In an interview she may now be regretting, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota’s 6th District told a conservative radio host in Iowa last year that her favorite gun was an assault weapon that is one of the nation’s top sellers. ‘My favorite gun is an AR-15 because you can be so accurate with it,’ Bachmann said. That’s the same weapon police say Adam Lanza used in the Sandy Hook shootings. Police say he also killed his mother. Bachmann did not respond to requests for comment.”
To prove you really can’t make this stuff up, the actual conversation goes like this: “ ‘I’m a pretty good shot,’ the candidate admitted. ‘I learned how to hunt here in Iowa from my dad. I went through gun safety when I was 12.’
‘My favorite gun is an AR-15 because you can be so accurate with it,’ she explained. ‘And I scored the best in my class of any of the men too.’
‘The AR-15, that’s a combat weapon’? [WHO radio host Jan] Mickelson asked.
‘I love it,’ Bachmann declared. ‘It’s a great gun.’
‘It can be made automatic, but it’s a semi-automatic .222,’ Mickelson said.
‘I like being accurate and that is a great gun’, Bachmann insisted.
‘Accurate and apparently lots of firepower and many, many shots,’ Mickelson noted. ‘How big is your magazine?’
‘You really want to know?’ Bachmann asked with a nervous laugh …” As I say, beyond parody.
Fill up … now. Dave Shaffer of the Strib says: “Twin Cities motorists are paying the lowest retail gasoline prices of the year as they fill up for the long holiday weekend, but those low prices might not last.Some stations have dropped prices in the past week to $2.99 per gallon or less. But Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for the gas-price tracking service GasBuddy.com, said the average price at metropolitan stations is trending upward again. ‘I believe the Twin Cities average will pop up above $3 a gallon,’ he said Wednesday.”
2011 was a good year for property seizures by local authorities. Says Paul Walsh of the Strib: “Reported property seizures by law enforcement in Minnesota surged last year vs. 2010, with much of the increase concentrated on vehicles and in cases involving illicit drugs and driving while impaired, the state auditor’s office said Wednesday. This report is the first for a full year since changes in forfeiture reporting were enacted by the 2010 Legislature in the wake of misconduct by the now-defunct Metro Gang Strike Force. … In 2011, 292 Minnesota law enforcement agencies reported 6,338 incidents of property seized subject to forfeiture. The total value of net proceeds from these forfeitures was $6,923,260.”
You can imagine where The National Review is going to go with opening graphs that sound like this: “Nine years ago a group of history professors from the University of Minnesota sent a letter to the state’s education department. They complained that the history/social-studies standards for Minnesota presented American history too positively. The historians wanted early American history described in terms of “conquest,” “subjugation,” “exploitation,” “enslavement,” and “genocidal impact.” For these academics, the story of America primarily meant slavery for African Americans, genocide for American Indians, subjugation for women, xenophobia for immigrants, and exploitation for poor people. It looks like the Minnesota academics have finally achieved their goal. This Thursday, December 20, the Minnesota Department of Education will hold a public hearing before approving new standards that emphasize, among other things, ‘institutional racism.’ ” John Fonte continues, saying: “The results of the new Standards will be the short-changing of Minnesota’s children, but do these Standards have any relevance for the other 49 states? The Minnesota Standards are an example of what ‘experts’ in the education establishment come up with if left to themselves.”
Minnesota is asking that a court throw out the lawsuit charging that taxpayers have paid for thousands of abortions. The AP says: “A state agency is asking a court to throw out a lawsuit alleging that Minnesota taxpayers have been wrongfully charged for more than 37,000 abortions. Papers filed late Tuesday, Dec. 18, ask for the lawsuit to be dismissed because the agency funds abortions for women on public assistance only when doctors certify them as medically necessary, as the law requires. The state is legally barred from prying into discussions between a woman and her doctor over her reason for seeking an abortion, the Department of Human Services said.”
Writing his annual “Hack List” for Salon, Alex Pareene praises and reviles a couple of Minnesotans: “The New York Times is America’s Last Newspaper, and because of that it is the recipient of a lot of grief that it doesn’t always entirely deserve. Conservatives think it’s the Daily Worker. Liberals blame it for Iraq and Bush’s second term. Young people refuse to pay to read it. The truth is, it is a good newspaper. It has great reporting that it spends a bunch of money on. It has a crossword puzzle. It has David Carr. … Thomas Friedman is a national embarrassment. We all are well aware of that by now, right? Everyone knows Thomas Friedman is a fraud and a simpleton, whose job is to sell comforting platitudes to rapacious plutocrats and those who aspire to be rapacious plutocrats. But this was a particularly bad year for Tom. You should seriously reread his column on Americans Elect. It’s amazing. ‘What Amazon.com did to books, what the blogosphere did to newspapers, what the iPod did to music, what drugstore.com did to pharmacies, Americans Elect plans to do to the two-party duopoly that has dominated American political life — remove the barriers to real competition, flatten the incumbents and let the people in.’ And that’s why we now have president-elect Huntsman.” That column was a howler …
The Southwest LRT project has a friend at the Sierra Club. At MPR, Jessica Mador writes:“A new report from the Sierra Club names the Southwest light rail line one of the nation’s best transportation projects. The report, Smart Choices, Less Traffic: 50 Best and Worst Transportation Projects in the United States, cites the planned line between Minneapolis and Eden Prairie for its connectivity. The line will connect job centers in the southwest metro to downtown Minneapolis and to Hiawatha, Central, and Northstar trains and buses that will converge at the planned Interchange near Target Field.
The report lauds the LRT’s estimated 30,000 rides per day projected by the year 2030.” But … “Another metro project, the St. Croix River Crossing Project shown above, also landed on the Sierra Club’s list — but as one of the worst projects. Houdek called the bridge project a poor investment, saying it’s ‘a highway expansion project that is overpriced and will be underserving a very small amount of people in the stretches of the eastern metro, a $700 million bridge that will be serving 18,000 daily commuters, compared to the I-35W bridge which was around $300 million and serves 180,000 commuters a day. We see it as a poor financial investment as well as a poor investment for the environment.’ ” Damned hippies!
Craig Bowron of Abbott Northwestern takes a shot at what’s in those 5-Hour Energy drinks. In an MPR commentary, he says: “5-Hour Energy is a combination of caffeine and what Living Essentials calls an “energy blend,” a mix of B vitamins, amino acids and metabolites. How much caffeine? According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, 5-Hour Energy contains 208 milligrams of caffeine. … You might think of 5-Hour Energy as just coffee in a 2-ounce jug, but there are a couple of important differences: One tends to sip coffee, but chugging an energy shot puts one more at risk of caffeine toxicity. And keep in mind that the health benefits of coffee and tea aren’t from the caffeine, but rather from the beneficial anti-oxidants that wash out from the coffee bean, or the tea leaf.”