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Everyone Is Being Super Normal About Isra Hirsi’s Arrest

Plus RIP Sammy McDowell, MN's new Supreme Court judges, and a Best Buy throwback in today's Flyover news roundup.

Headlines from New York Post, National Review

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

More Like Isra HERESY

I'm just giving The New York Post and other bottom-feeders like 'em a free headline idea here to use in their ongoing smear campaign against Isra Hirsi following her arrest and suspension from Barnard. It should surprise no one that the most bad-faith bloodsuckers on Earth are using her suspension to chum the waters—it'd be enough that she was protesting Israel's actions, but she's also the daughter of their other favorite target, Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-MN). That they're doing so by taking her words out of context? Also deeply unsurprising!

The quote they're all latching on to comes from this actually good, and very long, conversation between Hirsi and Teen Vogue's Lex McMenamin. (McMenamin tweeted that she'd been heading to Columbia to interview Hirsi already when her subject stopped responding; she'd been arrested.) In a far-ranging and insightful conversation, Hirsi had the audacity to say, regarding her suspension and sudden eviction from campus housing, "I don't know when I can go home, and I don't know if I ever will be able to." She does not at any point use the word homeless, though that word is being tossed about in the Post and The Daily Mail (which adds an unattributed "starving") and via countless right-wing Twitter accounts to make Hirsi sound whiny and ungrateful and privileged. Even if she had, we'd point out that she and the other evicted student protesters effectively are.

Here are some of the Hirsi quotes from that conversation we might choose to highlight instead:

A lot of us are grateful that people are paying attention and noticing how severe our campus repression has been, but it has been a little bit frustrating to focus on Columbia over the focus of what is even happening in Gaza. The whole point of the encampment was to shed light on Columbia's complicity in genocide and to focus back on the folks in Gaza, so a big thing for all of us is trying to redirect the language.

On finding herself thrust into the national spotlight:

I was not a target at this university. Everybody knew that my mother had a child here, but not everybody was tuned into who I was, so I had the ability to lay low in my organizing; but this has really blown that up. Now I feel a little bit too hypervisible. I have been really re-thinking my own safety and what it looks like to be a student that just has so many eyes on them right now. I knew this was going to happen, I just had no idea the scale. When I got out of 1 [Police Plaza] it felt like paparazzi, the amount of flashes in my face. It's such a surreal experience.

On accusations that the protesting students are "terrorists":

Columbia is the one supporting the purchasing of weapons [through their investments]; that's what we do not want.

It's really frustrating, because when we were arrested, we were literally sitting in a circle singing songs, sharing a meal together. I think it is really egregious of them to completely misrepresent what was happening and have the audacity to call us things like terrorists. We are students at this university and many of us pay thousands of dollars to go here. There's a reason why we felt the need to take this escalation: It's because we do not feel heard, despite the numerous actions that we've been holding all year long. What else did they expect us to do? Stay silent?

Anyway. To quote a widely shared tweet from Philadelphia Inquirer opinion columnist Will Bunch:

Rest in Peace, Sammy McDowell

This is so sad. Sammy McDowell, the smiling sandwich maker and North Side pillar behind Sammy's Avenue Eatery, died Sunday after collapsing during a church service, according to WCCO. "Sammy was the one that paid attention the most. He was the one that was always providing, walking me home from school," his sister Angela Michelle McDowell told 'CCO.

Sammy's Avenue Eatery opened in 2012 at at 101 W. Broadway Ave. in Minneapolis, and that original location—which was recently joined by a second pop-up shop at Golden Thyme Presents in St. Paul—was just one of our picks for places to grab food along the D Line. The Minnesota Reformer had a great interview with him on their podcast a few years back about how the restaurant weathered COVID-19 and became a community hub during civil unrest. Our hearts go out to all those who knew and loved Sammy; if you're among them, reporter H. Jiahong Pan is collecting remembrances for a story in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.

Meet the Supremes

Gov. Tim Walz appointed Court of Appeals Judge Theodora Gaïtas and Stearns County Judge Sarah Hennesy to the state Supreme Court on Monday. The appointments will return the state Supreme Court to a female majority, according to the Star Tribune's Rochelle Olson, as Hennesy takes her seat on May 13, with Gaïtas following on August 1.

But beyond their gender, Gaïtas and Hennesy share another quality: They're both former public defenders. As @taniel.bsky.social points out over on the non-Twitter social media site, this is "remarkable" because of how rarely public defenders are appointed to state courts. The "vast majority" of criminal cases are decided at the state level, as Rachel M. Cohen writes in this piece for Bolts; meanwhile, as of 2021 only seven percent of state justices are former public defenders. More than a third are former prosecutors. Walz appointing two, and at the same time, is a big deal and a positive step toward correcting that imbalance.

Best Buy's Post-9/11 Comeback

The year is 2001, and a camera crew patrols a Best Buy store capturing B-roll. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 for the PlayStation costs just $17.99. Guys in leather jackets convene around a kiosk test driving the new Nascar Thunder. The big sellers are the Xbox and GameCube systems, along with digital cameras, "'cause a lot of people are moving with new technology, which is getting photographs at home, right off your computer, emailing," Rito Ochoa, an employee of the Richfield-headquartered electronics chain, tells the crew.

The grainy and oddly engrossing two-minute clip, recently shared by the popular @NostalgiaFolder Twitter account, then takes a surprising turn: "Since September 11, a lot of things have changed," Ochoa continues. Oh, so... that's why we're here! Business died down in the aftermath of the Twin Towers attacks, Ochoa reports, but apparently that downturn didn't last long: "We're doing fantastic right now," the blue-shirted employee adds. It seems nothing can diminish Americans' desire for 3-megapixel digital cameras, affording them the ability to print images up to 8.5x11".

Does this meet the threshold for Flyover inclusion? You tell me; I was captivated. You can watch the full 17-minute video on YouTube.

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