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Local Bad-Faith News Ghouls Make National Controversy Out of Nothing

Plus lunch scandals, agitated nurses, and sizzling urban legends in today's Flyover.

Striking Minneapolis teachers back in March.
MFT 59

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

Local Right-Wing Agitators Stir Up Fake Controversy

Well, this sucks. Remember how Minneapolis had a three-week teacher’s strike earlier this year? Probably! It was a major story. (Locally at least.) And remember how a big sticking point was achieving some sort of racial parity in how layoffs would handled? The union standard is “last hired, first fired,” but the problem is, as the district attempts to address historical racial imbalances, the last hired are predominantly educators of color. So the contract made an exception to the seniority rule. Common sense stuff.

But this all happened months ago, so why are the results of the strike big national news now? Well, because the local bottom feeders over at Alpha News planted a story with the New York Post and Fox News, drumming up fears that white teachers will be let go ahead of educators of color, leading to… too many Black teachers or something? James Dickey of the right-wing shit-stirrers Upper Midwest Law Center told Alpha News the contract “openly discriminates against white teachers based only on the color of their skin, and not their seniority or merit.” (Not linking, fuck ’em; these are the same people who grant anonymous interviews to trolls who bully 6th graders.)

And now, gullibly and predictably, mainstream outfits like Good Morning America have picked up on this “story,” and now we get headlines about “defending” a perfectly reasonable contractual decision to balance. Oh, and if Dickey looks familiar, he also represented Don Samuels in his suit against the city of Minneapolis to force us to hire more police. Just an example of how Don would have reached across the aisle if elected to Congress, I suppose.

Feeding the Future, for Real

One of the red flags leading to the FBI’s ongoing investigation of the local nonprofit Feeding Our Future was that the numbers just… didn’t add up. For example, the nonprofit reported to the state that Safari Restaurant, a small, one-story eatery on Lake Street, was serving 5,000 kids a day during the summer of 2020. Hm. This week, Sahan Journal’s Joey Peters, who’s been on that story since the outset, has a great, in-depth, on-the-ground look at what Child Nutrition Program meal sites in Minnesota actually look like. For Youthprise, it’s not 5,000 kids a day in one restaurant—depending on the location, it’s four kids in a library basement snacking on prepackaged chicken pasta salad and applesauce, or 150 youths chowing down on lunch and supper throughout the day. And it’s hard work: Folks preparing meals have to measure ingredients down to the ounce, and can only serve food during specific windows of time. Organizers track every meal served, filling binders with “Food Production Records.” It’s well worth a read to see the lengths Child Nutrition Programs must go to.

Nurses Will March on Hennepin Healthcare, Receive Council Support

On Monday, with contract negotiations stalling, around 15,000 nurses working at 15 hospitals in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports voted “overwhelmingly” to authorize a strike. “For the longest time, hospital administrators have been crying false tears over the supposed nursing shortage that they themselves created,” RN Jeremy Olson-Ehlert said in a statement Wednesday, the same day Minnesota Nurses Association workers announced the first-ever picket at Hennepin Healthcare, set for next Monday in downtown Minneapolis. To be clear: The nurses aren’t striking (yet), though already-boiling tensions certainly aren’t cooling down. Picking sides ain’t hard in this beef, as the Minneapolis City Council demonstrated on Thursday. Council members Aisha Chughtai and Jason Chavez, writing in a unanimously approved resolution, spit the following fire: “The Minneapolis City Council urges the Minneapolis employers–M Health Fairview, Allina Health, and Children’s Hospitals—to bring key decision makers to the bargaining table and negotiate in good faith and settle these contracts to avert a potential strike, and to prioritize patients and frontline healthcare workers, including nurses, over profits.”

Sven Fact Checks the “State Fair Heatwave”

Does the sun blast Minnesota State Fairgoers with extra vengeance, historically speaking? Anecdotally, yes! Though the enduring “State Fair heatwave” urban legend hasn’t been subjected to the scrutiny of a meteorologist—until today. Bring Me the News’ Sven Sundgaard, a noted pal of Racket, ran the numbers back some 148 years and confirmed that, yes, there is a last-gasp-of-summer heat bump as August transitions into September. That phenomenon is more present in recent years, specifically 1991-2021, but it’s evident looking waaay back as well: “There is still a discernible trend of a mid-month cooldown, and end-of-month heat,” BMTN concludes. Worth considering: Packing hundreds of thousands of bodies onto the mostly treeless fairgrounds and feeding them steamed corn/fried curds? That could contribute to things seeming hotter. This year’s Minnesota State Fair, which fair coward U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar still refuses to acknowledge as the best, goes down from next Thursday through Sept. 5. Racket’s review crew will be there first-thing to begin gorging ourselves on new food for your entertainment.