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Gov. Walz: 2024 VP Candidate?

Plus Cat Tour goes national, mourning a slain DJ, and remembering MN's Civil War trophy in today's Flyover news roundup.

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Is this the ticket?

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

Walz VP Buzz Heating Up

Another Minnesotan could fall out of the VP coconut tree, so to speak. That is to say: There's (highly unsubstantiated!) D.C. chatter that, should President Joe Biden drop out of the 2024 race due to his diminished faculties and nosediving poll numbers, with Vice President Kamala Harris taking his place as the Democratic candidate, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz could then become her running mate. If elected, Walz would follow Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale as the third U.S. vice president to hail from Minnesota.

Walz, who's head of the Democratic Governors Association, is leading a meeting with fellow governors today at the White House to discuss Biden's disastrous debate performance and the potential paths forward. This news comes as the New York Times and CNN are reporting that a "key ally" of Biden says the president is weighing whether to leave the race, amid intensifying calls for him to do so. (Update: A White House spokesman called those reports "absolutely false,” but stick with us anyway.) Speaking on the lefty podcast Chapo Trap House, veteran political reporter Dave Weigel noted that completely changing horses midstream (i.e. an open convention to anoint a new top-of-ticket candidate) could be a legal and logistical nightmare, considering the Biden-Harris reelection campaign apparatus is monied and implemented. Thus, Weigel says, behind the scenes Democrats are riffing about a potential Harris VP pick who's...

A white, male governor somewhere... Roy Cooper in North Carolina, Tim Walz in Minnesota... So it'd be, "Hey everybody, here's the vice president you thought you hated, she's not that bad, here's a white Democratic governor, you love those guys"... That'd be the ticket, probably, Cooper or Walz—I've not heard anyone else named specifically.

Walz's name is in wide circulation among Twitter prognosticators, FWIW.

Elsewhere, in the realm of certifiably bad ideas, at least one yahoo got paid to write a half-baked argument in favor of ex-Sen. Al Franken becoming the 2024 Democratic nominee for president.

Cat Tour Goes National!

I was mindlessly scrolling TikTok earlier this week when my For You Page presented me with a recent post from MPR with a whopping 550,000+ likes. You better believe it was a video recap of the annual Wedge LIVE! Cat Tour. Now, almost certainly due to the mega-virality of that post, the Cat Tour has made it to the pages of the Washington Post, where Sydney Page delightfully recounts how John Edwards's "Cats of the Wedge" walking tour has gone from an oddity loved by locals to a sensation that welcomes folks from all over—as far away as Oklahoma City!—to admire neighborhood cats.

Edwards told us in this 2023 profile that the cat tour is meant as a meta-critique of historical architecture tours that fetishize single-family properties. (Also, "People like cat photos on Twitter.") He keeps things lighter in this conversation, telling Page, “It’s not really about the cats. It’s a large number of people getting together and sharing an experience. I think people really just like the camaraderie.” And many such people are quoted here, including locals like David Montgomery, who said, “It’s one of the highlights of living in this neighborhood, both the event itself, and the kind of community that being able to host an event like this reflects."

If we have a quibble with the WaPo story (and you know we do!), it's that it undersells Edwards's incredible work as a chronicler of local politics. As Taylor Dahlin, a regular guest on the Wedge LIVE! podcast, told us during that same profile, "Wedge LIVE! was my gateway into following city politics... Without his work, I think there would be less interest in city politics and we wouldn’t have a cat tour."

The Washington Post did get a detail we missed, though: Edwards does not have a cat, and he describes himself as more of a dog person. “I love all animals, but I kind of prefer dogs, so it is odd that I’m the cat tour guy,” he told Page.

Remembering Liara Tsai, DJ and Friend

Twin Citians are still mourning the death of 35-year-old trans woman Liara Tsai, whose body was discovered last month inside of a crashed car in southeast Minnesota. The driver, 32-year-old Margot Lewis, has been charged in Hennepin County District Court with the murder of Tsai, her ex-partner, prior to the crash; investigators discovered a bloody scene at Tsai's Minneapolis apartment.

But music writer Michaelangelo Matos, a regular Racket contributor, doesn't dwell on that dark, sad incident in this lovely Carbon Sound profile of Tsai. Instead, he talks to friends and loved ones about Liara, a passionate and talented DJ who was prepping for her first New York City gig ahead of her tragic death. Writes Matos...

She wasn’t simply a skilled DJ—though she was that, too—she was a DJ with an instantly legible personality on the decks, even when she wasn’t spinning her own music (which she did, frequently)... I was looking forward to more, and so was everyone else. In less than two months living here, she made an impact that leaves a crater in her absence. There was no one else like her, even if you barely knew her.

On June 22, around 50 members of local dance music community organized an ad hoc memorial for Tsai, who had recently moved from Iowa City, where she worked for the Trevor Project and the 988 Suicide Hotline. “The fact that so many people came out for Liara, and she had lived here for only a short time—it really showed how much she impacted people and how much she touched people and how much she connected with people,” says attendee Mega Sola.

Another DJ tribute, "Neon Noir," is planned for Liara this Friday at the Uptown VFW in Minneapolis—click here for more info.

Reminder: MN Won VA's Loser Civil War Flag, And They Can't Have It Back

Maybe you've heard about Minnesota's Confederate flag before. It's a well-known story, but if there was a VH1-style "badass moments in MN history" countdown, it would for sure crack the top five. So on this, the 161st anniversary of the date on which the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry captured a blood-stained, bullet-riddled Virginia battle flag at Gettysburg, let's fondly retell it.

On July 3, 1863, following days of big losses for his Union infantry regiment in the brutal Battle of Gettysburg, Pvt. Marshall Sherman captured the Civil War flag, so to speak, snatching it from a Confederate soldier. Sherman was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in the battle, and the flag returned to Minnesota, where it will remain until it rots away to nothing.

For more than 100 years, Virginia has been asking Minnesota to return it, to which Minnesota has replied, "go fuck yourself" (more or less). In 1961, according to the Pioneer Press, Virginia asked for the flag back to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Civil War. Minnesota said no. In 1998, a group of VA Civil War re-enactors again asked for the return of the flag, going as far as to threaten legal action. No again. 

When Virginia legislators asked once again that it be returned during Gov. Jesse Ventura's term, The Body replied “Absolutely not. Why? I mean, we won... We took it. That makes it our heritage.”

Go get 'em, guv.

The flag remains locked in a vault in the Minnesota Historical Society, according to the Strib's Jennifer Brooks.

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