Forget naughty or nice, Santa is more concerned with swine flu

Plus: Minneapolis mayor wins election, immediately pursues higher office

If your kid is sneezing, coughing, and generally sick, keep him away from Santa. Just think of all of the children who won't get presents Christmas morn if Santa is stuck in the emergency room with an epic fever. Maybe then you'll feel a little guilty, right?

Santas around the country are preparing for the horror of the holiday season: plenty of children cuddling up close to them, crying, spitting, and puking while they mutter out all the presents they want. Give Santa a break.

Joe Morin (Santa) lives in Cambridge, Minnesota, but travels out to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to be a natural-beard Santa at Bass Pro Shops. He says more than 10,000 kids will sit on his lap this season. That's a lot of H1N1 up in your beard.

He's gonna find out who's naughty and nice and infected
He's gonna find out who's naughty and nice and infected

His plan: sanitize his hands after every visit with a kid and wipe his face with baby wipes a couple of times an hour. He says some Santas are even leaving the red coats at home. Why? They fear the big, furry mess will harbor germs, and is hard to wash if a kid sneezes or throws up. Ick.

Elves also have a new job this year: prescreening kiddos for the flu. Kids who are coughing and sneezing will be turned away.

Governor R.T. Rybak?

The Minnesota campaign finance board ruled last week that Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak used money from his mayoral campaign for his gubernatorial campaign before he officially filed to run for governor. The board announced its decision after receiving a complaint from the Minnesota Republican Party.

Rybak used mayoral campaign funds in May to conduct a poll about his strength to run for governor. The board ruled his gubernatorial committee owes his mayoral committee $26,500 to cover the cost of the survey. Rybak submitted the required paperwork to run for governor on Thursday

Just two days after winning reelection as Minneapolis mayor, Rybak announced he has set his sights on higher office. We're just thankful he's admitting it to the public after telling City Pages more than a month ago.

After filing the paperwork with the state, Rybak sent an email to close friends and supporters Thursday afternoon. While the filing has been expected for months as Rybak made appearances around the state and won a labor endorsement from Teamsters Local 120, his sudden filing was surprising to many.

On election night, Rybak spoke to reporters about his future plans. At that time he said it would be weeks or months before he announced his intentions. That changed quickly.

Rybak will be facing an uphill battle in his quest for the governor's seat. A Minneapolis mayor has never won the governor's race, and he's up against some serious competition for the DFL endorsement.

Man hogs flu vaccine

We're still trying to figure out what this man thought he was going to do with 900 doses of swine flu vaccine. Not exactly a thrill drug these days, but you're sure going to piss off a lot of people patiently waiting for their turn to get vaccinated. Or maybe he just needed a lift.

A man in Milwaukee is accused of stealing a truck containing 900 swine flu vaccines.

The 38-year-old man already has a criminal record, and there were two other men believed to be in the vehicle with him. They are accused of taking the truck as it idled outside a swine flu clinic.

Police found the truck less than an hour after it was stolen, and the vaccine was intact. But since the doses are considered "compromised" when they were out of city possession, it must be destroyed.

Chair lift

Minnesota's famed DWI motorized chair—It's not a La-Z-Boy! Don't be fooled!—has finally been sold on eBay. Final price, 64 bids later: $10,099.99.

That's a whole lot less than the first set of bids on the original eBay item. The Proctor police called it a La-Z-Boy in their original listing. Bids soared above $40,000. When the recliner producer came after them, pointing out it wasn't actually a La-Z-Boy, the police closed the auction and restarted it under a more factually correct title.

The second sale didn't go as well.

The chair became mega-famous after Proctor, Minnesota, man "drove" it home from the bar drunk. He hit a parked vehicle and police seized it.

Bad week for T-Paw

Let's be honest: This wasn't Gov. Tim Pawlenty's shining week of success. He's done better—not often, but it happens. At least he appears to be on a smooth track most weeks. This one was just painful.

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, normally a cheerleader for Pawlenty, noticed, too. And he highlighted all of Pawlenty's failings. Thanks for also reminding us that we don't have a real governor in our state and the election isn't for three more years.

Cillizza highlighted Pawlenty's support for upstate New York Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman right after Sarah Palin did the same thing.

Then Pawlenty appeared on MSNBC and questioned Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe calling herself a Republican.

Quoth Cillizza: "Pawlenty detractors are sure to see these two incidents as evidence of a transparent attempt to tack to his ideological right in advance of a presidential primary process that is dominated by conservative activists."

Ya think?

 
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