Michele Bachmann: Wingnut of the Year

Minnesota's crazy congresswoman was 2009's battiest politico

Who's worse when it comes to public policy grandstanding, fear-mongering, ignorance, and general slinging of bullshit? Sarah Palin, who thrashed Bachmann when it came to PolitiFact's "lie of the year" competition? Or our Sixth District congresswoman, who has now bested the quit-before-her-term's-up former Alaska governor on CNN's "Wingnut of the year" list?

"For sheer tonnage of wingnuttery, we're giving the award to Michele Bachmann," CNN contributor John Avalon told host Kiran Chetry on January 1, after a year of naming "wingnuts of the week."

Of all the nonsense Bachmann spouted over the course of the year, Avalon picked this quote as the winner: "Where tyranny is enforced upon the people, as Barack Obama is doing, the people suffer and mourn."

And can you guess who she said that to? You know the answer, people. That's right: Sean Hannity.

"Some Republicans seem to confuse losing an election with living under tyranny," Avalon says. "And it's ended up creating a whole series of conspiracy theories that Michele Bachmann has had an unerring capacity to keep articulating."

Somalis face extra airport screening

We've wondered about it for a week now, after the failure of the crotch bomber on Christmas Day to bring down a Northwest Airlines flight, and now it's confirmed: Somalis will get heavier airport security screenings, according to The New York Times.

That's likely going to make for slower airline travel for Somalis in the Twin Cities, which has the heaviest concentration of Somali immigrants in the United States.

The would-be crotch bomber, who lit an explosive device concealed in a pair of underpants only to suffer burns before being subdued by passengers, is a Nigerian who boarded a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

But the AP reported on December 30 that a Somali man was apprehended in November at the Mogadishu airport carrying the same items that the Christmas crotch bomber managed to sneak through security. That suspect was headed for Dubai.

That's one of the reasons Somalia was named on the watch list, along with Iran, Sudan, and Syria.

Amy Klobuchar wants to see you naked

Sen. Amy Klobuchar might be edging closer to support for requiring full body scans at airport security checkpoints.

The question came up in relation to the would-be crotch bomber's failed attempt to bring down a Christmas Day Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. Her position on the issue matters because the Senate Commerce Committee, on which she sits, would play a key role in passing legislation to institute such checks. The House passed a bill during the summer limiting their use.

"I think we have to do everything that we can to make sure that this doesn't happen again," Klobuchar told MPR. "I'm someone that gets screened every single time because I've had a hip replacement. It's not that bad, you can handle it. I just think we should err on the side of making sure that these screenings are thorough."

New bosses, same as the old

R.T. Rybak was sworn in for another term as mayor of Minneapolis on Monday, even as he turns his attention to running for governor.

In the same Monday morning ceremony, Barb Johnson was elected to serve another term as City Council president, and three new council members were also sworn in: Kevin Reich, Meg Tuthill, and John Quincy. Evidently council members don't care too much that Johnson will be before a judge on January 26, defending her decision to use campaign money for haircuts, dry-cleaning, her cell phone, and a phone line at her lake house. That hearing follows a City Pages investigation of her creative accounting. 

 
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