72 thoughts on “Nick Coleman Feels the Wrath of the Worms, Again.

  1. Is this Len Busch the Len Busch of Len Busch Roses? If so, it’s interesting to see that he has a link to legislation on the homepage of his business website that made a law requiring Internet florists to have a local presence if they have a local phone number. That bill was sponsored by two DFLers.

    1. 108 says:

      I’m quite sure St. John’s would have been receptive to ‘provocative thinking’.

      I imagine it was supposed to work this way….

      They have a new fellowship program, they want to compete in the think tank arena. Someone articulating Catholic progressivism with a certain wonkishness for policy and theology would be just the ticket.

      Nick is available. He’s a name, he’s a progressive, he’s experienced, he passes himself off as a Catholic.

      They hire him, and find they misjudged, thinking there was something beyond this second rate Royko act.

      I think I’d just be grateful a year’s worth of paychecks came from it. Mentioning those west 7th nuns in every 3rd column for 20 years really paid off.

      1. Brian Lambert says:

        According to the story, and from what Nick himself has told me, the job paid little to nothing, and the school originally approached him to teach.

  2. 108 says:

    Busch may very well be a conservative, but it ought to be demonstrated.

    I have no reason to believe those St. Johns donors are conservatives. Nick’s work is widely disliked by conservatives and liberals alike.

      1. Brian Lambert says:

        I meant, “i don’t know to the question of Busch the flower guy. Sorry. It’s early.

      1. Brian Lambert says:

        There’s a literal-mindedness to the virulent anti-Coleman crowd. For the most part, Nick delights in annoying people who well-equipped to defend themselves.

  3. Mike Thomas says:

    Is it okay to attribute Nick Coleman’s unpleasant personality to him being Irish? As an Irish American it has typically not been a reasonable excuse for being a jerk to people.
    If Nick was African American or Jewish would it be okay to attribute an attitude or personality in the same way?

    1. Brian Lambert says:

      I am of course being half-facetious and semi-affectionate toward Nick’s personality when I bring up the Irish cliches.

      1. PM says:

        your own?


        Any group that has not historically been discriminated against, has been historically dominant, or does not appear to take offense at jokes at it’s expense.

      2. Mike Thomas says:


        You decided this?
        How do we decide which group takes offense or not, and what if my people want to get on the offended list?
        If you look at history there are few groups that have not been discriminated against at some point.

      3. PM says:

        Nope, I didn’t decide this–it is not a decree of any sort. Simply the power of observation–a statement of the obvious.

        If you really wish to become an aggrieved group, then start to complain vociferously when you are the butt of jokes. If you are a really good whiner, and other members of your self defined group choose to follow your lead, I’m sure you will be successful.

        If, on the other hand, most people react to your complaining by suggesting that you should get a life, then I would suggest that you simply drop the whole idea–unless complaining is your idea of a life, of course. Then, go for it!

  4. Far from being an anomaly, this incident nicely summarizes the role of religion and St Johns. It serves the wealthy and conservative, period. Upset the them, and you’re out. More than anything, this is a warning to anyone else with a freely held opinion – toe the line or suffer the consequences. Remember this is the place that sired Bill Kling and John Brandl – two people who have done inestimable harm to the state.

  5. Brian Lambert says:

    Rob: Somewhere you must have responded to Kling’s appeal for the government to help support the flailing media? Kick it over.

  6. Mike Thomas says:

    In regards to the Chris/Nick Coleman relationship, are you suggesting that this would be a better place to live if like Chicago corruption and nepotism ran wild and the big city Mayors control who the University hires and does not hire? Uses intimidation to places friends, family, and contacts in cushy positions?
    As far as the relationship going frosty after the RNC, it seems from what gets printed and spoken about that Nick Coleman has a hard time getting a long with a lot of people – hard to imagine him in a University setting where debate and diverse thoughts are encouraged when Coleman is not known for direct debating those he disagrees with – or seeing any other side to a story…ever.

    1. Brian Lambert says:

      Nick is actually quite happy to debate those he disagrees with. The problem is that his opponents don’t much like being told they’re wrong, at which they accuse him of “lying” or being “negative”, at which he responds with … mmmm … Irish figures of speech. My point vis a vis Chicago is not corruption, but liberals taking a cue from the conservative playbook and supporting a fellow traveler, possibly by reminding gutless organizations like St. John’s that their bread is buttered from a lot of different sources.

      1. Mike Thomas says:

        Coleman must be doing his debating and disagreeing in an alternative universe because he is not known for responding to emails, phone calls, and from having read his columns for many years, rarely has a respone (or mentions seeking one) from any of his usual line up of topics he attacks.
        The last time he tried debating with Powerline he looked foolish, his rants and quotes such as “I know stuff” were mocked for years afterward.
        Aside from those mentioned above that donate to St. John’s Coleman’s biggest problem is he thinks everyone is stupid (including members of his family) other than himself.

  7. Newt says:

    Nick Coleman seems surprised that he has run out of places to work where they are willing to pay him to be offensive.

    Which begs the question: Is it everyone else, or Nick?

  8. Mike Kennedy says:

    Is this the same same Nick Coleman that was on a TV game show where he couldn’t seem to answer the easiest questions? Wasn’t it Wheel of Fortune or something like that? Maybe it was stage fright.

    Interesting news on him losing this position. All this time, I thought colleges promoted diversity of opinion, thought and speech. I’m sure alternative views to liberals are fully tolerated at most colleges………well, aren’t they?

    1. Brian Lambert says:

      If you have a comparable example — of a liberal benefactor withholding money as a threat to drive a well-known conservative (out of a Center named for a prominent conservative) and the school buckling … send it over.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        I seem to recall that there were threatened boycotts, some financial withholding and certainly some really rowdy behavior whenever some strict conservatives were scheduled to visit colleges — Kristol, Coulter etc. I can Google those and post them.

        My point goes deeper than monetary support. It goes to the root of the notion that ideas should be fostered and debated on a college campus. Talk about your politically correct attitude. Whenever debate is stifled because of ideology, it is because of one simple emotion: Fear.

    2. Jim Leinfelder says:

      I’m not a viewer. But it’s my understanding that Wheel of Fortune is just the game “hangman” with a lot of stagecraft, a smarmy host and a female cypher as eye candy. You’re not asked questions. You just try to guess letters until you can deduce a sentence or a phrase, and there’s a lot of chance involving this wheel.

      I’m not sure what this has to do with the questions before us, though. Just a mean-spirited bit of innuendo, one assumes, impugning Coleman’s intellect, which can be more fairly assessed by availing yourself of samples of his adult life of work in print, if that were your actual aim.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        No, my point was that I barely know who he is and that is about the only thing I recall hearing about him — I have always been a hit and miss Strib reader — I favor the PP. This is simply something I recall and was wondering if it is the same guy.

        I couldn’t care less about his published work. I don’t find that many political commentators demonstrate any full range of intellect. In fact, I find they most often demonstrate just a particular point of view and use highly selective data to back up what they believe.

        This goes for those on the right and left.

    1. Newt says:

      Excellent point, Jim.

      Coleman’s embrace of dissent extends only to himself.

      St John’s seriously needs to revisit how it made an error of such colossal proportion in hiring such an unaccomplished and unremarkable faculty member.

      1. Brian Lambert says:

        I’ll let Jim explicate his link to Coleman’s near-legendary Ann Coulter column. (How it took this crowd THIS long to get to that, I’ll never know.) But I’d happily entertain a discussion on the merits and basis for banning Ann Coulter and Nick Coleman. … at a university.

        As for your suggestion, Newt, that we consider tossing out the “unaccomplished and unremarkable” from our schools of higher learning … well, that’d open a lot of tenure tracks, wouldn’t it?

    2. Jim Leinfelder says:


      You may well be somewhat new to these towns, but Nick wrote a column for your preferred PiPress for 17 years, (1986-2003).

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        I’ve never lived in either city; so I have never read either of them with much regularity. Most of the news was old in outstate “boondocks” editions. Besides, I was to busy writing and editing at other papers for nearly 12 years to read much of anyone else’s stuff, least of all an opinion columnist.

  9. Jake says:

    Coleman’s column on Coulter was one of his better pieces. Thanks for the link.

    Admittedly, I’ve never been a big fan of Nick Coleman but he certainly didn’t deserve this treatment from St. Johns. If I remember the article correctly, they informed him of their decision via a letter. Not real professional.

    But seriously, Brian, do you know when I might be able to purchase one of those “spittle-flecked trolls” you mentioned? Do you think Target carries them?

  10. Mike Kennedy says:

    So a liberal got tarred and feathered at a conservative university. As Gomer would say……….well, g…o….lly.

    Conservatives and conservative positions have routinely been edited or banned from campus, including speakers, not just Coulter but Horowitz, Kristol and others.

    In addition, gun rights activists have been banned, military recruiters and other groups who want to promote things that liberals don’t favor.


    Do I think Coleman should be booted? No. But I don’t think anyone should. How convenient to label anything you disagree with as “hate speech.”

    I’ve never particularly thought that universities were any bastion for free speech or free thought. That’s just an illusion that many people choose to believe. They are institutions. And just like corporations or unions or governments, they are going to look out for their own self interest first. What a shock.

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Yes, well, there’s self interest and then there’s enlightened self interest. See: TARGET.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        Hmmm, who extends benefits to domestic partners and has for a long time and who ranks right up in the top in corporate philanthropy? Oh yeah, Target. The self interested company? Nah, don’t think so.

    2. john sherman says:

      In addition to the Coleman story, there is the recent attack on Abrahams at St. Thomas where global warming deniers tried unsuccessfully to get him disciplined for demonstrating that Viscount Monckton is a gas-bag. Before that, creationists tried to get the U to discipline P.Z. Meyers at Morris basically for standing up for evolutionary biology. Then before that a bunch of neocons bullied Yale into not offering Juan Cole a job because he was insufficiently deferential to the Likkud Party.

      This is conservative political correctness going after people’s jobs because they did what they were trained to do.

      1. Exactly John. For these sports-preoccupied fans of local universities keeping score at home, in the competition for summer 2010 adult-based decisions, the score is–
        –St Thomas – 1
        –U of M – 0
        –St Johns – 0

  11. Newt says:

    Position Sought:

    Thin-skinned, irascible Marxist with 40 years experience ripping on people of achievement and substance seeks tenured life-long position in air-conditioned office environment with high pay, no accountability or expectations.

  12. Jim Leinfelder says:

    Bingo, sir. Steinhafel’s ham-handed $150,000 political act was a lamentable lapse in a corporation’s otherwise venerable record of enlightened self interest.

      1. Brian Lambert says:

        How’s Target’s stock price been doing since “The Donation”? Steinhafel’s next visit with the board should be interesting.

  13. Mike Kennedy says:

    Is Mr. Obama’s opposition to gay marriage a lamentable lapse in a president’s otherwise venerable record or enlightened self interest?

  14. PM says:

    Remember when Dayton’s was a possible takeover target in the mid to late 1980’s, and the corporation immediately went out and hired/retained all of the top local PR and lobbying firms (and had the majority of them doing nothing) so they could freeze out the interloper?

    Plenty of self interest, certainly.

    1. Mike Thomas says:

      Don’t seem to recall suggesting that. My question is has the President done anything wrong or made any error in speaking or policy on this particular social issue.

  15. Newt says:

    Poor Nick Coleman – and now poor Brian Lambert.

    The facts, we have come to learn yet again, don’t support the shrill, black helicopter conspiracy narrative that these two so often spew:

    “The Star Tribune columnist is accusing the university of firing him when donors who disliked his columns threatened to withhold contributions. The university disputes that and issued a statement last week saying that reports of Coleman’s firing are inaccurate.

    ‘He had a one-year contract as a senior fellow with the McCarthy Center, which was fulfilled on July 1,’ the statement said. ‘Terms of a new contract were presented, but not accepted.’”

    Case closed.


    1. This is the position the University took from the get go, as was reported in the City Pages story. But good for you, Newt. I always wondered who that one guy was out there who actually believed “the official statement”.

      1. Newt says:

        You used the word “booted.”

        Coleman’s one-year contract had expired and was not renewed.

        Words have meaning. Precision matters.

  16. Precision of “intent” matters more. Coleman’s departure was in no shape or form a simple end-of-contract dispute … as the City Pages writer laid out in detail. But you of course have the right to believe whatever you prefer to believe.

  17. Newt says:

    Why do you suppose they chose to hire him with a 1-year pause point, rather than 3 or 5 years?

    Hint: Coleman is a volatile, high-maintenance commodity and they wanted a built-in opt out if he started getting extra flaky.

    This isn’t the conservative lynch mob that City Pages wanted everyone to believe.

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