Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
What’s Worse Than a Minnesota Billionaire? 4 Minnesota Billionaires!
With a little help from the pandemic’s crisis capitalism, the 10 richest humans (term used lightly) doubled their wealth during Covid, according to Oxfam. That freshly hoarded largess is reflected in Forbes’s 36th annual tally of the world’s top billionaires. Of the 2,668, exactly four live in Minnesota: Glen Taylor of Taylor Corp. ($2.5 billion), Stanley Hubbard of Hubbard Broadcasting ($1.8 billion), and John ($1.6 billion) and Martha ($1.6 billion) MacMillan, both of ag-biz giant Cargill. (Full disclosure: Taylor allowed the pointless destruction of City Pages, the 40-year-old Twin Cities journalistic institution he could have run at a loss for 10,000 years; all of Racket worked there at the time.) Noted monsters Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bernard Arnault (guy behind luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg topped the list. On a happier note, congratulations to Rihanna, who rules, for making her debut on the list at $1.7 billion, a fortune amassed mostly via her Fenty Beauty company. Raise her taxes immediately.
Unraveling the Mystery of Long Covid
A couple sharp Strib pieces this weekend took a look at the grim, complex phenomenon of “long Covid.” Briana Bierschbach spoke with Lindsey Port, the 39-year-old Minnesota state senator whose life has been upended by the lingering effects of the virus. Her symptoms include fatigue, asthma, kidney stones, and numbness in her feet and hands—though one of the syndrome’s peculiar traits is that it affects people in so many different ways. "It feels like everyone thinks the pandemic is done," Port says. "It's a little painful and frustrating for me to hear that, because I'm literally sitting here in pain because of it." There may be potential good news for people like Port, according to another story, by Jeremy Olson. Minnesota has begun a statewide survey of long Covid, the first in the country, with $900,000 in federal funding. Some say persistent Covid symptoms affect 35% of Minnesotans who contracted the virus; the most conservative estimate is 7.1%. That would be 391,000 people.
Diamonds and Murals
Downtown Minneapolis is back, baybee! A 100-foot Prince mural will be painted on the Ramp A parking garage at the southwest corner of First Avenue and Eigth Street, right near First Ave, reports Jon Bream in the Strib. Florida-based graf artist Hiero Veiga (cue “why couldn’t they get a Minnesotan?” whining) has been selected to create the mural, and will begin next month. The project was initiated when Prince was still alive—he rejected the idea of a statue (he should, statues suck, get rid of all the statues imo) but was cool with a mural. "It's the hardest money I've ever had to raise, and I've raised millions of dollars in this town," said organizer Sharon Smith-Akinsanya, who was eventually able to reel in corporate sponsors like U.S. Bank and Target. The Prince estate is also “excited about the mural,” Bream reports. So excited that they’ve granted the rights to use Prince’s image free of charge? Hahaha of course not—the committee is paying for the privilege of honoring him. And honestly, that’s what Prince would have wanted. You get that corpo-cash, Prince siblings.
More Like the Great Worldwide Get-Together
Slowly but surely, this summer’s State Fair Grandstand lineup is taking shape. The probably silliest and possibly funnest booking emerged today: Superstar pop-rapper Pitbull and one-time Top 40 star Iggy “Igloo Australia” Azalea on August 28. Pitbull is expected to release his long-awaited album Timeless sometime this year—“It’s about making timeless music,” he reports. The one-time Grammy winner’s latest single, “I Feel Good,” dropped last year, and Pitbull appears in the YouTube comments to ask, “Are you feeling good today?” to 3,000 up-votes. Azalea’s career seems to have mostly flatlined. The native Australian, who scored a major 2014 hit with “Fancy,” was accused of “blackfishing” in her 2021 video for “I Am the Strip Club,” the latest in a long line of racial sensitivity faux pas from the lip-synching, ghost-written artist who’s still just 31. Grandstand tickets to Pitbull and Iggy ($39-$84) go on sale Friday through the fair box office.