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May 8, 2006

When? and more

• The big question on everyone's mind is "When?" When will the Senate finally vote on the bill? I have heard either tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday. I am betting that it is Wednesday. And unfortunately for all of us, all we can do really is wait. Leaders in both major parties have all come out in favor of the Twins stadium. They have all said they'd like to see it "get done." We are all just waiting to see what "get done" actually means.

I heard Pawlenty on Sid's Sunday morning radio show, and apparently Dean Johnson was also on the show. This is what Sid had to say about the situation:

Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he is ready to go along with the stadium bills voted by the House for both the Twins and the Gophers. But the Republican is definitely against the seven-county tax for three stadiums -- including the Vikings -- that has been proposed by the Senate.

He has been in favor of a referendum for the Twins, but he said he will go along without one because he is convinced the Twins will leave if a stadium bill isn't passed this session. The governor is not in favor of the putting the Twins and Vikings bills together as proposed by the Senate. In fact, he said the Vikings bill needs a lot of work before it is ready for a vote by the Legislature.

Pawlenty is in complete conflict with Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, who wants a vote on a combined Vikings-Twins bill but promises to appoint stadium- friendly conferees if the House and Senate bills for all three stadiums don't agree and go to conference committees.

On Sunday, Johnson did everything but promise that the Twins and Gophers bills will be reality. And he is going to try to make it three stadiums with the Vikings.

Johnson said that in a poll taken of 2,000 of his voters, 71 percent are in favor of voting in favor of all three stadiums. Of course his area won't be taxed for either the Twins or Vikings stadiums.

Again, I feel good about this. I expect the DFL will screw around a little bit, but in the end 71 percent of Johnson's district are in favor of getting this done. If Dean Johnson goes home this June without a resolution to at least the Twins stadium fiasco, he will be in big trouble. He has got to know that. Famous last words, heh?

• Bad news of the week: Phil Krinkie lost the GOP nomination for the 6th Congressional District to Michelle Bachmann. And not only did he lose, he got crushed. Why is this bad? This means the Minnesota legislature, and Minnesotans in general, are stuck with him for eternity. Yes, eternity. It is that bad. Phil Krinkie's motto seems to be "Making Minnesota into the 3rd Dakota Today!"

physicssuper.gif So, last Friday I took some time to attend a Libraries' sponsored lecture entitled the "Physics of Superheroes" by James Kakalios, a U of M professor of physics. Dr. Kakalios uses superheroes and their daily crime-fighting ways to illustrate some of the more important concepts in physics. It was by far one of the more enlightening and entertaining lectures I have seen in a long, long time. Dr. Kakalios used Superman's leaping ability, the death of Gwen Stacey (Spiderman's early girlfriend), Magneto, Electro, and Mr. Atom to discuss physics in a very easy, and hilarious, way that even a simpleton like me could understand. Consider:

Dr. Kakalios opened up his presentation with Superman's leaping ability. In the early days, Superman could not actually fly. He could just jump really far thanks to his super-human strength. How did he get this super-human strength? Well, it was always assumed that his home planet of Krypton had a higher level of gravity which made Superman that much stronger here on Earth. And as you all know, Krypton blew up after Superman's father put him on a spaceship bound for Earth, but more on that later ...

Using various mathematical equations and scientific theories, Dr. Kakalios postulated that if Superman was to leap a 200 foot building he would need a velocity of 140 MPH. And using more equations and theories Dr. Kakalios came to the conclusion that Superman would need 6,000 lbs. of pressure (leaping ability) to reach that velocity. Futhermore, and taking into account the theory that Krypton has a higher gravity than Earth, in order for Superman to exert that kind of force, Krypton must have had a gravity 15 times that of Earth.

The trouble is, the only planets that have that kind of gravity are a great deal larger than Earth: the gas giants. So, how did Krypton have that kind of gravity? Dr. Kakalios further theorizes that Krypton must have had a netron star as its core. A neutron star core would only have to be about 600 meters across to exert this kind of gravity. Interestingly enough, a neutron star core would also account for the instability and eventual self destruction of the planet Krypton which forced Superman to flee in the first place.

As I said above, this was all presented to us in an entertaining and "matter of fact" way that had all of us just nodding our heads. "Yep, that must have been what happened..." And we were talking about Superman. Anyway, if I ever had to take a physics course, this would be the one.

By the way, The Physics of Superheroes is now a book available for purchase. I am definitely going to read it. I'll let you know what I think.

Posted by snackeru at May 8, 2006 6:29 AM | Books | Stadiums 2006

Comments

Have you done any research on the state senators? I emailed Paul Koering today, but have no clue what his stance is on the Twins stadium. Promised him he'd be the first Republican I'd ever vote for if he helps get the stadium bill passed without a referendum.

Posted by: Matt #3 at May 8, 2006 1:42 PM

RE: Superman physics. Wouldn't Superman have to work out non-stop to retain his strength? I mean, if we lived on the moon I don't think even a normal, healthy workout level would keep our muscles at their Earth strength since everyday activities would require so much less energy. Did Kakalios address that?

(See how I just jumped past the stadium portion of your post? Sorry!)

Posted by: bjhess at May 8, 2006 1:52 PM

The gravity of Krypton has nothing to do with it (at least as Superman's current continuity is concerned). His body acts as a solar battery; it is our yellow sun that gives me all of his powers. Therefore, he does not have to work out, although his powers lessen considerably when he is not exposed to a yellow sun. While I am far from a Superman fanatic, that is how I have understood his powers.

Curt in Grand Forks (where we have nothing to do except read comic books)

Posted by: Curt Hanson at May 8, 2006 2:32 PM

The gravity of Krypton has nothing to do with it (at least as Superman's current continuity is concerned). His body acts as a solar battery; it is our yellow sun that gives HIM (in my original post I typed "me". If I had Superman's powers I would have built the stadiums by now!) all of his powers. Therefore, he does not have to work out, although his powers lessen considerably when he is not exposed to a yellow sun. While I am far from a Superman fanatic, that is how I have understood his powers.

Curt in Grand Forks (where we have nothing to do except read comic books)

Posted by: Anonymous at May 8, 2006 2:34 PM

Call your State Senator and tell them to vote for
these types of amendments:1) One that that will
REMOVE the referendum, 2) One that will divide the
Vikings proposal from the Twins and the Gophers and 3)For a bill that will Match the Hennepin/House bill which has already Passed !

Posted by: jimj at May 8, 2006 2:51 PM

Want to contact your senator and let him/her know, but don't know who represents you? This link will help you out. Now do your duty Twins Fans!

http://geo.commissions.leg.state.mn.us/districts/start.html

Posted by: Vince at May 8, 2006 3:02 PM

You said "do your duty." Hee-hee.

Posted by: bjhess at May 8, 2006 4:08 PM

SUPERMAN WANTS YOU TO CALL YOUR SENATORS!!!

Posted by: Neil at May 8, 2006 4:14 PM

Well, I did my duty and left a message (i.e. jimj's verbage) with my state senator who happens to be Steve Kelley. I'd like to feel some sense of peace with this but I'm still feeling ornery about it.

Posted by: mpls1934 at May 8, 2006 5:16 PM

Well, I did my duty and left a message (i.e. jimj's verbage) with my state senator who happens to be Steve Kelley. I'd like to feel some sense of peace with this but I'm still feeling ornery about it.

Posted by: mpls1934 at May 8, 2006 5:17 PM

I was also at that Superhero lecture, it was awesome. I wish he would've been my physics prof, I may have attended more regulalry.
Oh, and I think it's safe to say Newton's laws are laws, not theories.

Posted by: Snarky at May 8, 2006 6:01 PM

I'd love to see a book on the physics of Larry Pogemiller's Senate Tax Committee, now there would be some crazy stuff.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 8, 2006 8:57 PM

Terri Bonoff (DFL, Minnetonka) is taking lots of heat over this issue. For the person who said they told a state senator that they will vote for them if they vote for this, that's not enough to be persuasive. You need to contribute or volunteer time with their campaign. Bonoff is taking lots of heat for her pro-stadium position. If this is the single issue that you chose candidates on, then you should help her campaign.

Another commenter mentioned Paul Koering - he is facing a primary challenge. Koering recently came out as gay - and that's part of the reason for the primary challenge. Republican primary voters tend to oppose public financing for stadiums.

I'll agree with you that it's bad news that Phil Krinkie lost to Michele Bachmann - but I have different reasons for coming to that conclusion. I've appreciated Krinkie on the stadium. ;-)

Posted by: Eva Young at May 8, 2006 9:55 PM

Yeah but Eva, Bonoff ran as a pro-stadium candidate. She won her seat with the voters knowing she was pro-Twins stadium. It was well publicized. How much heat can she be taking when the voters already knew her stance? Your comment is a little confusing. I think she'll be fine.

Posted by: Shane at May 8, 2006 10:05 PM

What's more, Bonnof's opponent was anti-ballpark and made it very clear during the campaign the she was against a Hennepin County tax and that Bonoff was for it. They tried to hang the Hennepin County sales tax around her neck as the old political saying goes. I'm not claiming that their ballpark positions tipped the election for Bonoff but I think most people will agree that it didn't have a negative impact on her vote total.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 9, 2006 7:21 AM

Bonoff won despite, not because of her stadium stance. Support for Intelligent Design Creationism did in Bonoff's opponent, Judy Johnson. Johnson was also quoted in the Strib saying she supported Michele Bachmann's amendment to ban legal recognition of gay relationships. Johnson also opposes legalized abortion. Those stands don't help with the moderate republicans in Minnetonka who are tired of the extreme social agenda of the Republican party. I went to the Minnetonka town meeting after the election. There was comment after comment from the crowd about "what part of no don't you understand" in regards to stadiums.

I covered this race on Lloydletta's Nooz - and I know what the issues were there. Taxing Hennepin County without a referendum for a stadium is not a popular issue there.

Why else do you think Tim Pawlenty is saying publicly that he would prefer a referendum, but would sign a bill without a referendum?

Posted by: Eva Young at May 9, 2006 7:44 AM

Eva, if you read my entire comment above, you'd notice that I said the ballpark issue is NOT why Bonoff won. However, ballpark opponents are always threatening a "throw the bums out" reaction if a ballpark bill is passed. The truth is voters are a lot more sophisticated than that and look at a whole slate of issues when deciding for whom to vote for. The overwhelming evidence is that very few politicians are voted out of office due to their pro-ballpark stances.

One of the reasons I think the Senate has been such a mess is that the anti-ballpark Senators were completely taken by surprise at how relatively easy the House vote went, with generally little negative public reaction to the Twins (and Gophers) bill passage. In order to slow down the momemtum they had to throw anything they could at the ballpark bill. The outcome is a State Senate that looks completely lost, disfunctional, and unable to do the State's business.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 9, 2006 8:28 AM

"However, ballpark opponents are always threatening a "throw the bums out" reaction if a ballpark bill is passed. The truth is voters are a lot more sophisticated than that and look at a whole slate of issues when deciding for whom to vote for."

Couldn't the same be said of ballpark proponents? I've seen the "throw the [anti-stadium] bums out" message advocated here daily. Will those voters not make a discernable difference either?

Posted by: spycake at May 9, 2006 12:51 PM

Good point Spycake. I've told my Representative, Frank Hornstein, that I'm going to vote against him even though I agree with a lot of what he has done in the past and since I live in Mpls, will have token opposition --probably against some crazy republican of whom I have no common interests. So what will I do? Probably not vote at all in that contest.


Posted by: freealonzo at May 9, 2006 1:13 PM

Tell that to Ann Rest - who is a very capable legislator, who nearly lost her seat over the stadium issue.

Where did you get the polling data of 71% in Dean Johnson's district favoring taxpayer funding of professional sports stadia?

In Dean Johnson's district, the Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage will be going full board to try to defeat Johnson. So will the Minnesota Family Council. I think the single minded focus on that issue will end up backfiring, and Johnson will get reelected because he is a thoughtful legislator and has the clout of being majority leader.

In Paul Koering's district, letters to the editor today are running against the stadium. I've got the letters reprinted on Lloydletta (and a link to the paper).

Posted by: Eva Young at May 9, 2006 9:43 PM

It's right there in the post, Eva. Dean Johnson called into Sid Hartman's radio show last Sunday and reported this himself.

Dean Johnson is safe, as you say. I would be stunned if the Wilmar area voted him out of office.

Posted by: Shane at May 9, 2006 9:50 PM

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