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Fact Check: Did Klobuchar Really Roll up to Led Zeppelin Concerts in a Van?

Plus more U of M drama, additional Hamline drama, and communist gay penguins in today's Flyover.

3:04 PM CST on January 24, 2023

U.S. Senate; Wikipedia Commons|

Klobes, left, and Zep.

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Klobuchar Recalls Her Allegedly Rockin’ Youth During Ticketmaster Hearings

Today’s Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Ticketmaster raised an interesting question: Did Sen. Amy Klobuchar really see Led Zeppelin in the ’70s? That’s what the senior senator from Minnesota claimed during her remarks this morning, and the timing would have been right. In April 1977, a month before the not-yet-senator turned 17, Zeppelin played back to back shows in the Twin Cities—at the Met Center in Bloomington and the St. Paul Civic Center. But the thing about Klobe’s homey anecdotes is that they’re always so weirdly specific—”loading into Johnny Royer’s van,” a weekend job at Baker Square Pie Shop—they seem fabricated and diligently staff-researched even if they’re true. Klobuchar also said she saw Aerosmith and The Cars. Racket would like to see ticket stubs, Senator. (Just for Zep and Aerosmith: We’ll give you The Cars.) Seeking clarity about Klobuchar's alleged rock 'n' roll era, we emailed her PR team for concrete details about the Zeppelin shows; "Hey!! Working on this will see what I can find out," responded comms director Jane Meyer—stay tuned.

Anyway, as is her Minnesotan duty, Klobuchar also mentioned Prince, Dylan, Lizzo, and First Avenue at today's hearing. And because Taylor Swift was in attendance to testify, each senator hauled out a Swift lyric, with Klobuchar stating "To have a strong capitalist system, you have to have competition. You can't have too much consolidation—something that, unfortunately for this country, as an ode to Taylor Swift, I will say, we know 'all too well.'” (Funny thing is, you can add Ticketmaster to almost any Swift lyric and it works. “Look what you made us do, Ticketmaster.” “Should have said no [to unfair service fees], Ticketmaster” “We knew you were trouble, Ticketmaster.” “Why you gotta be so mean, Ticketmaster?”) Anyway, we wish Klobuchar and the rest of the committee the best, because if the Senate can’t regulate the most bipartisanly loathed corporate entity in existence with the support of one of the most rabid fanbases in the U.S., things are even worse than we thought.

U of M Prez Reluctantly Does the Right Thing

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel didn’t sound much like a leader Monday. In a statement about her resignation from the board of Securian Financial—an egregious conflict of interest that was endorsed 9-3 last month by the Board of Regents—Gabel whined that the last several weeks have been "extremely painful for me.” That pain apparently came from the firestorm of blowback directed at Gabel, who makes $1M+ heading the U, for deciding it was worth her reputation to take a $130,000 position with Securian, who handles $4.6 million in annual university insurance biz plus another $1B+ in “legacy” finances. "This distraction is unfortunate, as my appointment to the Board of Securian would only expand the University's important networks and outreach," Gabel wrote. [Ed. note: Oh come on.]. "However, out of respect for the institution and to eliminate any further distraction of our work, with a heavy heart, I will be resigning my Securian Financial directorship effective immediately."

Credit to Regent Darrin Rosha, who led the charge against Gabel’s corporate side hustle, telling Racket: “This was so stunningly disappointing… the negative impact on the university, and its reputation and perception.” Sen. John Marty, former Gov. Arne Carlson, and U of M law professor Richard Painter would join his crusade, which culminated last week when Rosha issued a letter that described the conflict as illegal. Gabel, for her part, still doesn’t seem to grasp the credibility-shattering consequences of her actions. "I firmly believe that our conflict management process works and that the plan we developed for my service fully protected the university,” her resignation letter concluded.

Elsewhere in University Drama...

Hamline University's spring semester started Monday, and today, there was an all-faculty meeting to address the not-disappearing-from-headlines situation surrounding the firing/non-renewal of adjunct professor Erika López Prater. Sahan Journal's Becky Zosia Dernbach reports that 92 of roughly 130 full-time staff members attended, with 86 percent voting to ask President Fayneese Miller to resign. (To recap: Miller has been under pressure for weeks now, after López Prater showed a photo of the Prophet Muhammad in class, a student complained, and in response, the university let her go... thus setting off a national debate about religious and academic freedom. More or less.) "We are distressed that members of the administration have mishandled this issue and great harm has been done to the reputation of Minnesota's oldest university," the faculty's statement reads. But there's lots of context that doesn't fit in a quick blurb; read Dernbach's story here.

New Faribault School Board Member Moonlights at Hate Group Leader

It’s nice to see the Faribault Daily News avoid doing the daily newspaper thing by not headlining this juicy piece something like, I don’t know… “School Board member’s ties raise concerns among some.” Instead, adult readers get the hard-hitting: “School Board member is activist for anti-LGBTQ group.” That newly elected Faribault School Board member is Linda Moore, we learn from reporter Colton Kemp, and she's a leader of MassResistance, an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as “a longtime anti-LGBTQ hate group." Hilariously, when pressed for comment, Moore responded “Why are you asking me about this?” and ignored a follow-up email from Kemp. (MassResistance Field Director Arthur Schaper was more eager to talk, telling the reporter: “MassResistance is very grateful for the efforts that Linda Moore and other Minnesota MassResistance activists took in fighting for the good will and innocence of children and against LGBT indoctrination in the public schools.")

Cool! To get a sense of Moore’s priorities, one can simply revisit a May school board meeting where she protested the informational puberty book It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health; or the April meeting where she railed against And Tango Makes Three, a cartoon book about a gay penguin family that she described as a communist plot that’ll lead to the “desecration of the nuclear family.” Good luck, fellow Faribault School Board members.

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