The Maine of the Midwest? (5×8 – 5/20/11)

Getting ready for the same-sex marriage debate, a lesson for hotshots, embracing spring, a goodbye to Harmon, and homeowners vs. the power line.


The House didn’t vote last evening on whether to put the same-sex marriage ban on the November 2012 ballot. It may take it up today if supporters of the bill can figure out how to explain dealing with an intense social issue before the state has a budget in place. It was quite a scene in the Capitol yesterday afternoon as supporters and opponents spent hours shouting at each other. Get used to it. An 18-month debate over a question on the ballot is going to be the most intense political fight ever witnessed in Minnesota.

It’ll look like this…

And this…

What will be interesting is determining how many people don’t already have an opinion on the issue that won’t be shaken by months of endless TV ads.

Gallup reports today that for the first time, a majority of those surveyed favors the right of gay people to marry.


Lewis Brown was one of those college basketball players headed for stardom in the ’80s. Reggie Theus, an assistant coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves, says Brown “probably had as much talent as any man his size I’ve been around.”

What happened to him? The New York Times found him…

These days, Mr. Brown spends much of his days at the Mobil station, washing drivers’ windows as they pull in for gas. As dusk fell one recent night, he headed for home, a pile of boxes and blankets on a patch of sidewalk set among the production studios south of Santa Monica. “Vine is mine, all the way down to the 7-Eleven,” Mr. Brown said, his huge frame lumbering down the street, nodding at people who know him from his 11 years on these streets, as well as a few who still recognize him from his basketball days.

It’s a tragic tale for many reasons, not only because of wasted potential, but because a young man with mental health problems, never got the help he needed.


You out-of-staters are probably wondering why we Minnesotans stick it out through the long winter.

This is why: A week of the sweet aroma of apple blossoms:


Taken — and provided by — the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum yesterday.


Harmon Killebrew’s funeral will be held at noon today in Arizona. The visitation was held last evening…

Online coverage is being provided at Several Twins will serve as pallbearers, prompting the headline of the day. “For once, Twins will carry Harmon Killebrew.”


If you knew a huge power line project was heading in your general direction, would you build a home nearby? The huge CapX 2020 power line project is underway in the Monticello area; it’s the first stage of an eventual route from St. Cloud to Fargo and homeowners in the Freeport area are realizing it might come right through their land, the St. Cloud Times reports.

“I think everybody just assumed it wasn’t going to come … this way,” Anne Welle said. She and her husband, Peter, own a 60-cow dairy farm near Freeport. “I think we got a little comfortable, but everyone’s starting to panic.”

Most of the route will be along I-94 but the area around Freeport is too tricky. Those include the Spunk lakes, numerous businesses, cemeteries and two rest areas owned by the Minnesota Department of Transportation and protected under state law, the paper says.

Bonus: Is there anything a good cellphone can’t do? The Duluth News Tribune has the story behind the story of the rescue of six people in a tree-planting crew who got lost earlier this week.

A LifeLink helicopter from Hibbing searched for them in the dark…

“They gave us some direction saying that they’re north and east of us, and so we went in that direction,” (Nurse Tom) Mayo said. “And within two minutes we could see their cell phones just like they were holding up flashlights.”

Seeing or hearing the helicopter coming, the hikers held up the cell phones as if they were at a rock concert. The crew could spot them, Mayo said, because all three were wearing night-vision goggles.


Predictions about the end of the world come and go. The one getting all the attention just now says the end will begin at 6 p.m. this Saturday. Today’s Question: Why are we so interested in predictions about the end of the world?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Financial advice for young people.

Second hour: Chan Poling performs in the Maud Moon Weyerhauser studio.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Former Minnesota legislative leaders discuss the race to a state budget.

Second hour: Live broadcast from the National Press Club: AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka.

Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: An update on the damaged nuclear power plants in Fukushima.

Second hour: Newly discovered planets floating all alone in space.

  • Vivian

    I am thinking that some day soon all people will see same sex marriage the same way that segregation was viewed. We will see how ridiculous our old ways of thinking had kept us in the dark.

    We will all begin to see each other as one people.

  • I was at the Capitol this past Monday for the first Outfront protest against the amendment, and the image that has stuck with me is the dozens of children who were there with their same-sex parents. One held a sign (it looked to be in his own handwriting) that said, simply, “My family isn’t scary.” He was right – they weren’t in the least scary.

    These next 18 months are going to be a nightmare for every gay resident of Minnesota. But none of us will have it as bad as those kids, who will have to contend with more than a year of hatemongering thugs broadcasting the unmistakable message that their families are not only scary, but evil and undeserving of simple respect.

    Think I’m exaggerating? Look who some GOP House member invited to give this morning’s session-opening prayer. The assault has already begun.

  • Kim E

    I’m with you, Vivian. This will be what our children and grandchildren will have assignments about in school, much like I had to ask my parents what it was like living through the Civil Rights movement. I just hope that day that you see will be sooner than later.

  • Noelle

    Vivian and Kim: my thoughts exactly. This is my generation’s Civil Rights movement. If only the legislators trying to push this ridiculous measure through would get that.

  • Bonnie

    What is it with all of the lying? Don’t these representatives take some kind of an oath to be truthful in their dealings with one another? If not, don’t they have any morals? The twitter thing yesterday and today denying that he knew this “minister” was who he was? They both ought to be sanctioned.

  • That apple tree photo takes the edge off an otherwise nasty day. I have been relishing this season of blossoms and that really captures the fleeting beauty. Happy Friday.

  • Phil

    It really would be interesting to see who is flexible in their beliefs in the topic. There’s just so much misinformation about queer folks I think the best we can do is educate and have productive discussions. Some of my favorite discussion questions are:

    Are you ever done coming out?

    What does it mean to be queer?