Well, he’s getting publicity for his cause. Kyle Potter of the AP is getting in on the Bill Maher v. John Kline action. “Maher, a self-described liberal, visited Northfield on Tuesday to make his case that voters should dump their six-term GOP congressman this fall. With Republican- and Democrat-leaning panelists flanking him, Maher ridiculed a handful of Kline’s votes and policies — including his support of a proposal to scrap the income tax and replacing it with a 20-plus percent sales tax — as he tried to drive home his message to a friendly crowd. ‘He never says anything crazy, but he votes exactly like crazy people,’ Maher said Tuesday from the Grand Event Center.”
For the Hollywood website The Wrap, Maher talked with Travis Reilly. “Is the Flip a District experiment only a success if Representative Kline is unseated? No, absolutely not. Going in we knew it was a bit of an uphill battle — by the way, we could’ve picked an easier candidate — but we wanted to pick the guy who is representative of what we think is the biggest problem in Washington. He’s not [Tex. Rep.] Louie Gohmert, he’s not [Minn. Rep.] Michele Bachmann, he’s not [Iowa Rep.] Steve King. He’s not one of these guys who says crazy stuff about legitimate rape or immigrants with calves the size of cantaloupes. That’s not John Kline. He’s a quiet back-bencher who doesn’t say crazy things, who doesn’t draw attention to himself. That’s how he wins — people just don’t know who he is. But when you look at his voting record – it’s exactly the same as the lunatic triumvirate of Bachmann, Gohmert and King.”
In endorsement monitoring: Allison Sherry of the Strib notes, “In a debate early Tuesday in Duluth, GOP House candidate Stewart Mills said it wasn’t accurate to portray him as aligned with the Tea Party. ‘I keep getting accused (of) being a Tea Partyer and I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate,’ Mills said, when answering a question about the virtues of the Keystone oil sands pipeline in a debate with Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan and Green Party candidate Ray ‘Skip’ Sandman. A few hours later, the Tea Party Express threw its support behind Mills.” Which begs the question, “Are you known by who your friends are?”
Also, here’s Strib columnist Jon Tevlin on yesterday’s Nolan-Mills debate. “Despite the rancor of the ads, the debate was generally respectful, though candidates and audience members were shamed into being civil through fliers with rules handed to them before the event. Only in Minnesota. … I didn’t count how many times Nolan referred to ‘millionaires and billionaires,’ but it was a lot. He was implying that Mills’ wealth somehow prohibited him from understanding the middle class. Don’t most voters know that nearly all members of Congress are wealthy?”
Then there’s the Tim Walz-Jim Hagedorn debate in Rochester. MPR’s Catharine Richert says, “at every turn, Hagedorn, who won the GOP primary in August after failing to win his party’s endorsement in June, sought to link Walz to President Barack Obama, who is struggling with low approval ratings. For instance, Hagedorn called Walz a ‘cap-and-trade extremist,’ saying he’d voted against free market principles by supporting environmental regulations. ‘The United States became a great economic power because of abundant reliable, low-cost energy,’ Hagedorn said. ‘[Walz] believes in restricting fossil fuels on public lands, he’s voted to bankrupt the coal companies through EPA regulations.’” That’s the kind of thinking you usually only see in fire-breathing blogs.
More on the likelihood that the Diocese of Winona and possibly others in the state will file for bankruptcy to drive down the cost of the myriad lawsuits filed against them. Martin Moylan at MPR says, “A bankruptcy would freeze litigation against the church, including upcoming lawsuits involving sexual abuse. … [Diocese spokesman Joel] Hennessy indicated assets of Winona parishes, the Catholic Charities of Winona and other legally separated entities would be protected from creditors. He said contributions to local parishes would not be touched.”
And some specifics on the matter, from Jesse Marx at City Pages. “In 2003, a man met with church officials from the Diocese of Winona. When he was younger, he said, Father Sylvester Brown had been his spiritual advisor, but the counselling didn’t last long. The priest’s first session hung on the topic of sexuality and led to questions about whether the man was circumcised. At a later session, Brown asked him to strip naked and get an erection. And when he did, Brown prayed over the man’s genitals. … He’s dead now, but if you’re so inclined you can resuscitate this part of his life in documents. Attorney Jeff Anderson released Brown’s private personnel file Tuesday along with 13 other ‘credibly accused’ priests from the Diocese of Winona.”
Meanwhile, and for the record. The PiPress’s Emily Gurnon reports, “The University of St. Thomas has completed its investigation into sexual abuse allegations against former professor the Rev. Michael Keating but insists that before a lawsuit filed last October, neither the current nor former president knew of the allegations, according to a statement Tuesday. Top officials also were unaware of recommendations the Clergy Review Board made in 2007 regarding suggested supervision of Keating … .” Ohhh kaay.
The latest on Viking Tom Johnson’s pepper spraying/tasering/arrest in downtown Minneapolis over the weekend? a video. Again from TMZ, your one-stop shop for NFL news. “Vikings player Tom Johnson says cops left out a big part of the story surrounding his arrest — which is that officers physically assaulted him before taking him into custody … and he’s now come forward with video. … Johnson’s reps say there was no reason for officers to tase him … and they feel that’s obvious from this video the Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle shot on his phone. In the clip … Johnson is recording two officers as they leave the club, and he asks them, ‘Do you feel good about it’? He’s referring to the fact he had just been pepper sprayed.”