Tim Pawlenty joins Glenn Beck

Look where Tim Pawlenty wants to go in his search for support from the Republican Party base: a conference whose keynote speaker believes that Barack Obama is a racist and that has signed on a co-sponsor noted for its historic opposition to civil rights.

Pawlenty, Glenn Beck, and the John Birch Society will all have a place at the table at the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference slated for February in Washington, D.C. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who famously bailed on her post as Alaska's governor, also bailed on her commitment to give the keynote speech at CPAC, opening the door for Beck.

So much ink has been spilled over Beck that there's precious little new to say about the guy. Nut job? Performance artist? Savior of the republic? Even one of his allies at Fox News was taken aback when Beck said this last July: "This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy, over and over and over again, who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."

This won't be Pawlenty's first CPAC address, but it's cast in a different light for the retiring Minnesota governor who now has his sights unofficially set on the White House. Pawlenty was at CPAC last year when keynoter Rush Limbaugh famously announced that he hoped President Barack Obama would be a failure.

Bachmann terror campaign

There she goes again. Michele Bachmann took the House floor last week to suggest that the president of the United States and the U.S. attorney general wanted the guy who claims to be the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, to recant his confession.

The CIA moved KSM and about a dozen other al Qaeda members to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006. A 2005 Justice Department memo revealed that he had been waterboarded 183 times in March 2003. That news once prompted Jesse Ventura to tell CNN's Larry King, "You give me a water board, Dick Cheney, and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders."

Here's what Bachmann said: "Did the president, did the attorney general, all say to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, 'Now wait a minute. You don't want to plead guilty. Wait a minute. You don't want to be executed. You want to come to New York City. You want to have the trial, just like you asked for in the first place.' Why would we do that? Because all we will be saying, all the message we will be sending to future terrorists will be, 'You too can have a show trial in the city of your choice if you come to America.'"

Petters payback

The court-appointed receiver charged with tracking down the ill-gotten gains of convicted Ponzi schemer Tom Petters has asked Cathedral High School in St. Cloud to return a $250,000 donation from the disgraced businessman.

Petters donated about $12 million to various schools and universities. The Cathedral board will meet January 28 to take up the matter.

In December, the monks of St. John's Abbey voted to return a $2 million gift from the Thomas J. Petters Family Foundation for the construction of its Petters Pavilion, and to remove the Petters name from the building.

The College of St. Benedict renamed its Petters Auditorium to Escher Auditorium in December.

Help Haiti, protect yourself

Here's a timely reminder, courtesy of the Department of Public Safety: In your big-hearted desire to do what you can to help those devastated by the Haitian earthquake, don't become a victim of scammers and fraud artists.

• Do not respond to any unsolicited incoming emails.

• Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as surviving victims or officials asking for donations via email.

• Verify the legitimacy of nonprofit organizations.

• Be cautious of emails that claim to show pictures of the disaster areas in attached files, because the files may contain viruses.

• Make contributions directly to known organizations.

• Do not give your personal or financial information to anyone who solicits contributions.

DPS also recommends checking out the InterAction website, which lists legitimate aid and humanitarian groups working in Haiti. 

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