Bachmann's census conspiracy theory, Air Tron, and more

The economy is tight for Tron Guy

The economy is tight for Tron Guy

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Okinawa) worries that if she thoroughly answers census questions, she will be thrown in a Japanese internment camp by ACORN.

Bachmann originally said she wouldn't fill out the census completely because she was afraid the community organizers at ACORN could use the information for nefarious purposes. When that line of defense didn't work, she went on Fox News and took the next logical step: World War II Japanese internment camps.

"If we look at American history, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the Census Bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations at the request of President Roosevelt, and that's how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps," said Bachmann.

Even Fox had to call her out on this lunacy, noting "we've had a lot of good years since then." We'd also add that the Japanese-Americans subject to internment camps were not Republican congresswomen.

Bachmann started spewing these assumptions in mid-June during an interview with Washington Times. She said ACORN "will be in charge of going door-to-door and collecting data from the American public.... This is very concerning." She went on to say she will tell the government only how many people live in her household because she is concerned that ACORN could misuse her data.

FactCheck calls this statement "flat wrong." ACORN is signed up as a partner with the U.S. Census Bureau, but there are about 30,000 other groups considered partners, and the census officials expect to have more than 100,000 partners by the end of the process. There were 140,000 partners in 2000.

Census bureau public affairs specialist Shelly Lowe said that partners promote the importance of the census, but they don't do any hiring. The census employs 1.2 million workers to do door-to-door work, but employees go through an FBI background check and get fingerprinted before they are hired.

Time to get a new conspiracy, Bachmann. —Kevin Hoffman and Emily Kaiser

Putting the "Q" in MPR

Last week, Minnesota Public Radio launched "News Q," a major re-branding and re-design of their website.

Quickly following the announcement was a handful of Twitter posts wondering what the letter "Q" stood for. Some thought it meant "queue" as in a "news queue." Others thought it was for "question" as in "the stuff journalists do."

We called up MPR and were put in touch with Christina Schmitt, public relations manager for the news side of American Public Media. "Q is a letter that comes to mind when we think about the attributes of MPR news: quality and quantity," Schmitt explained.

Question answered. —Bradley Campbell

Tron Plane for sale

Times are tough for everyone, including Jay Maynard, a.k.a. Tron Guy. He is now selling his two-seater sports plane on eBay.

Over the years Maynard, a resident of Fairmont, has made ends meet working his day job as a computer consultant while picking up extra cash appearing as Tron Guy at conventions as well as on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Unfortunately, being Tron Guy may not be as lucrative as one would think, as he is selling his customized airplane.

According to the eBay listing, the aircraft was purchased in 2008 and designed to match his notorious costume (which is not included with the purchase). Though shipping is available with this item, Maynard is willing to fly it to the purchaser himself if you cover his expenses, including fuel. Bidding is currently at $40,100. —Jessica Armbruster

Hot enough for ya?

The evocatively named Union of Concerned Scientists has released a new study warning what unchecked climate change will mean for specific states, including Minnesota, and the scenario isn't pretty—unless you're a lemonade entrepreneur.

According to the organization, if heat-trapping emissions continue to rise at their current rate, Minnesota will see:

• Summer temperatures rise an average of three degrees in the near future and as much as 12 degrees by 2070.

• Nearly 70 days every summer hotter than 90 degrees (compared to 12 now) by 2070.

• By mid-century, a heat wave almost every summer like the one in Chicago in 1995 that contributed to the deaths of more than 450 people.

• A significant increase in smog during the summers.

• Heavy rains (more than two inches in a day) increasing by 66 percent in the next few decades and doubling by 2070, leading to more flooding.

• One-third fewer days of snow by the end of the century.

Eight Midwestern states (from Minnesota south to Missouri and east to Ohio) together produce more greenhouse-gas emissions than every country in the world except Russia and China. —Matthew Smith