Tinklenberg becomes Lord of the Sadness as Bachmann reigns

"Tell Frodo: Bachmann has the ring!"

"Tell Frodo: Bachmann has the ring!"

While the world looked new again after last week's victory by Barack Obama, one section of the earth remained under the control of the evil dark lord's assistant: Michele Bachmann. She took down the noble hobbit Elwyn Tinklenberg with the help of her double-crossing minion, Bob Anderson the Bland.

This ain't how Lord of the Tinklenberg was supposed to end. Fantasy fans wanted a hobbit with an actual brain representing them in Congress. Instead they wound up with Bachmann, who went on after her victory to say that the Obama administration will look like the Sopranos—that is, if Tony were a "ram-pid socialist."

"This is knuckle, Chicago politics," she said on the Mark Levin show.

But all this metaphor is too much for the Tinklenberg campaign to take. Kate Muson, communications director for the Tinklenberg campaign, talks about it like someone just shivved her in the back. "El would've been a great complement to Obama's administration," she says. "I don't think Michele Bachmann will be able to get much accomplished for our district, especially when she questions the patriotism of President-elect Obama. That won't make anything go smoother."

As for Elwyn, he went off for a vacation with his wife. He's a fairly private man and will stay away from the public lens for at least a week. Meanwhile, his supporters will regroup. "You know, thanks for talking about this," adds Munson. "This is like therapy for us. I don't think there is any regret. We feel like we left it all on the field." —Bradley Campbell

Dear firearm season

Half a million gun-toting Minnesotans descended upon the state's forests and farmland this weekend for the opener of white-tailed deer firearm season.

If you're not a hunter, you might not be aware that the sport actually has rules. For instance, luring a buck into the open with a yummy snack and then slaughtering him is not allowed. Neither is chasing him in your car. "Can you imagine half a million deer hunters driving down with rifles in their front seats?" asks Al Thomas, executive director of Turn in Poachers. "That's why it's against the law—and unethical."

That doesn't mean people don't break the rules, says Thomas. And they come up with some pretty dumb excuses to explain themselves. "Every year, someone shoots a deer with a rifle or a shotgun during the bow season, and then sticks an arrow in the hole and tells us they shot them," says Thomas.

Turn in Poachers pays rewards—$50 to $1,000—for tips about renegade hunters who violate the rules. Such bozos could lose their hunting license, gun, and even their vehicle, says Thomas. Each year, the organization gets between 7,000 and 8,000 calls about unsportsmanlike individuals, and about a third of the tips lead to arrests or citations, says Thomas.

But if you're calling the hotline, watch out—apparently it can be risky. A couple of years back, a caller dialed the TIP hotline about an illegal take of a deer. While the angry suspect was waiting for a conservation officer to arrive, he rammed into the caller's car in revenge. The caller got a $300 reward—and substantial car damage. —Erin Carlyle

Victims of RNC violence wanted

Just when we thought the RNC madness was behind us, St. Paul police announced Thursday that they aren't done. Police Chief John Harrington and Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher unveiled a joint effort to identify victims of assault and property damage during the Republican National Convention.

A victim hunt! That's "ludicrous," says Michelle Gross, president of Communities United Against Police Brutality. The police criminalized thousands of people during the RNC. Citizens exercising their right to free speech were pepper sprayed, rounded up and forced to the ground, she says. The police are "just doing this because all the lawsuits are coming."

Despite continually calling the RNC a "success," St. Paul police fell under harsh criticism after the convention for the arrests of dozens of journalists and citizens during the protests. Last month Harrington admitted to the Associated Press that riot officers wrongly swept innocent people during the drags, accounting for the majority of the 800-plus arrests.

"I wonder how much work they are going to put into identifying those people," says Gross. "Probably not a lot, since the police were the ones doing the assaulting. Haven't they done enough?" —Beth Walton

Bad day to be gay

As the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community celebrated President-elect Obama's acknowledgement of their community during his victory speech, they also mourned the loss of a long fight for their right to marry in California.

The Minnesota GLBT community, while not directly affected by the amendment to ban gay marriage in California, still felt the pain on Tuesday when the state passed the measure.

"We thought California was a state we could win," says Monica Meyer, public policy director of OutFront, a statewide organization working for GLBT equality. "We never thought Californians would vote for second-class citizenship for their neighbors. It makes us all pause for a second and think that we need to get up the next day and keep working harder."

In Minnesota, Meyer says, there is a lot of work to do and our state is lucky to have a majority of fair-minded state legislators. Schools must be made safer for GLBT students and families need more legal protection and equality, she says.

"We always knew we wanted to win in California, but we also knew it didn't change what we were going to work on in Minnesota," Meyer says. —Emily Kaiser