Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Lawmaker Weeps About Fantasy Pedos
Does State Sen. Nathan Wesenberg (R-Little Falls) understand the omnibus public safety bill he’s railing against? “I think its worth considering if voting ‘yes’ to change the language—to let pedophilia be a protected class—is actually the right thing to do,” he pondered at a recent meeting, clearly (and likely, intentionally) misunderstanding what exactly is on the table with this piece of legislation. Basically, the bill is refreshing the state’s definition of "sexual orientation" and “gender identity” to better protect trans, agender, and nonbinary individuals from things like housing and job discrimination.
Anti-trans hate groups like Gays Against Groomers, however, have been pretending to misinterpret updated language in bills like this as granting protection to child rapists. (This is the same pedophilia panic Gen Z Republican Elliott Engen was peddling last month.) During his speech, Wesenberg wept, quoted the Bible, and claimed that this bill would also protect people who are attracted to potatoes, hippopotami, and airplanes. Ah yes, the old “marrying a toaster” argument. But this thinking, as many legal eagles have noted, is dumb. "No court in the country has or would ever say that a law protecting people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation extends to protecting pedophilia," law professor Brian Soucek tells Politifact.
In October, when we talked to THC and CBD producers about the future of Minnesota's weird weed experiment, Allison Vaillancourt of BLNCD Naturals had this to say about the cannabis biz: “I think, being in this space, you have to be sort of comfortable in the gray areas.” You can apply that to most aspects of marijuana, which is legal in 22 states—but still federally illegal. And as Peter Callaghan explores for MinnPost today, the confusion starts with seeds. If the seeds needed to grow can’t cross state lines without breaking the federal law, meaning they can't legally be imported into the state... how exactly are Minnesotans supposed to raise home-grown plants, which could be legal as soon as July? Callaghan takes you inside the so-called "Immaculate Conception.”
Melee! at the DFL Convention
Politics generally isn't a full-contact sport, but it came pretty close at this weekend’s DFL convention in Uptown. When it came time for Ward 10 City Council candidates to give their speeches, incumbent Aisha Chughtai was called to the stage first, but before she could take the mic, supporters of challenger Nasri Warsame stormed the stage. “This is embarrassing!" convention chair Sam Doten can be heard shouting. "We are shutting this down!" (Folks at the indispensable Wedge LIVE! managed to catch it on video here.) Chughtai says more than a dozen staffers were assaulted or harassed during the incident; in a now-deleted Facebook post, Warsame said that his campaign manager was attacked and transported to the hospital via ambulance. (Officials have noted that one person with health-related issues left via an ambulance and another was treated for minor injuries onsite.)
The hot mess has garnered all sorts of embarrassing national and international media attention. Meanwhile, DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin is calling an emergency meeting where he will “be proposing a bylaw to ban individuals engaged in violent assaults from the DFL Party and will then take immediate action to remove the folks involved in Ward 10.” Supporters of Chughtai have been angered by statements from Council President Andrea Jenkins and Mayor Jacob Frey that tiptoed around placing any blame, but Martin didn't dance around it, saying the violence was "perpetrated by supporters of Nasri Warsame" after reviewing footage from the brawl.
National Pastime's National Treasure: Meet the Target Field Organist
Locally, we've gotten to know Sue "Twins Organ Lady" Nelson for decades. She tickled the ivories during North Stars games through the '80s, and has been a baseball game fixture at the Metrodome, and, now, Target Field, since 1999. Nelson got some national shine Sunday, when the Topps trading card company featured her on its TikTok, to the delight of 14,000+ viewers who smashed fav. She's an absolute delight: