A handful of liberal bloggers apparently touched a nerve in Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign when they suggested that his wife, Laurie Coleman, appeared to be "green-screened" into a commercial featuring her husband taking out the household's trash. (Check it out at www.startribune.com/a4514.)

It wasn't enough for the campaign to release outtakes that at least place the Colemans in the same kitchen. Given the blogosphere's short attention span, that likely would have been enough to put to rest questions about the placement of the ad's principals.

Instead, the Coleman campaign, on its own blog, posted a juvenile attack suggesting that DFL rival Al Franken is a fake Minnesotan with a stereotypically snooty taste in hot beverages. (See for yourself at www.startribune.com/a4519.)

If this was an attempt to demonstrate that Franken isn't the only candidate in the race who knows how to employ humor, it failed. It also showed a Senate candidate being hypersensitive to blogged comment and, at least in this case, hypereager to steer the campaign toward a discussion of personalities, not issues.

Coleman communications director Erin Rath had it right last week, when she called the whole dust-up "wasting valuable bandwidth on the Internet." Back to Iraq policy, please.

Marty Erickson retires

If Minnesota has a child-rearing guru, she's Dr. Martha Farrell Erickson of the University of Minnesota's Center for Early Education and Development. Marti Erickson has generously shared the wisdom derived from her research as a developmental psychologist and the common sense acquired as a parent and counselor to thousands of parents and children. She has dispensed both on the pages of this newspaper, as well as in regular radio and TV appearances.

That's why we note with regret Erickson's retirement at the end of this month from the university -- and with delight the news that on Tuesday, she received the "Nancy" Award of the Minnesota Early Childhood Funders Network.

The award, being made for only the second time, is named for the late Nancy Latimer, a senior program officer at the McKnight Foundation. The linkage of two such passionate advocates for children through this award does them both honor.