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MN Pork Producers to Congress: It Would Be Nice to Keep Torturing Hogs

Plus a recliner DUI anniversary, State Fair architecture, and WaPo's local pizza analysis in today's Flyover news roundup.

4:49 PM CDT on August 31, 2023

Facebook: Minnesota Pork|

The state’s pork lobby used this adorable photo to highlight National Relaxation Day (August 22) last year. A good PR move? Who can say.

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

Pig Problems

As the nation’s No. 2 pork producer, Minnesota is a hog state. (We’re an even bigger turkey state, and we’re not talking about the ones at the Capitol—folks!) Those pork producers, portrayed charitably by MinnPost as put-upon family farmers and not factory farms, are sweating like pigs over California’s Proposition 12. Beginning in 2024, that 2018 ballot initiative will ban the sale of pork that wasn’t sourced from hogs who were afforded certain luxuries during breeding... like the freedom to “stand up and turn around,” American Wellness Action's Wayne Pacelle tells MinnPost. While Pacelle gets the final word, his perspective is overwhelmed throughout the article by the entitled baying of groups like the Minnesota Pork Producers Council. Their cries are getting the attention of lawmakers like U.S. Rep. Brad Finstad, a Republican supporter of the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act that would kneecap California’s decision.

“While liberal states seek to put family farms out of business and increase the cost of putting protein on the table, I will continue to stand up for farm country in Congress,” Finstad said earlier this year. U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, she of recent Racket acquiescence, and Tina Smith haven't taken stances on the EATS Act (30 of their senatorial colleagues oppose it), though U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Betty McCollum have both come out against it. While Big Hog spends much of the MinnPost article whining about the “excess regulations [that] can lead to huge costs,” Pacelle observes that nobody is forcing them to sell in California, which accounts for just 15% of the national pork market. (Prop. 12-compliant farrowing pens provide 24 square feet of space instead of the standard 22.) His suggestion? “They should be thinking of Walmart and McDonalds.” And, ya know, maybe the base-level comforts of animals that are smarter than your dog and your 3-year-old.

Today in MN History: A Drunk Man Drove a Motorized Recliner Into a Car

Having a few pints then crashing on your leather recliner is not a bad way to spend a night. Getting drunk at a bar and then crashing your lawn mower-powered off-brand La-Z-Boy on wheels is another thing entirely. But that is exactly what local legend Dennis Leroy Anderson did 14 years ago on August 31, 2009. According to this amazing Wikipedia page, unearthed by Depths of Wikipedia, Anderson, then 62, drank “eight or nine beers” at the Keyboard Lounge in Proctor, Minnesota, then decided to ride home on his recliner. But this was no ordinary recliner—this thing was equipped with a steering wheel, stereo, headlights, and a repurposed lawn mower engine capable of taking his seat over 20 mph.

The cops showed up after he hit a parked car not far from the bar. “Anderson claimed he was driving the chair fine until a woman jumped on it and knocked the chair off course,” wrote the Duluth Tribune News at the time. (He later told TMZ he was trying to pop a wheelie.) Since Anderson’s blood alcohol level was over three times the legal limit, and he already had a prior DWI conviction, cops were able to confiscate the vehicle, which they sold on eBay for $3,700. Anderson was sentenced to 180 days in jail and $2,000 plus court fees; his lawyer managed to negotiate that down to two years probation and about $1,000. You can see this majestic creation in this old auction video below. 

An Architectural Tour of the Fairgrounds

You don’t have to admire the ability of the Minnesota press to find new angles each year to cover what’s basically the same ol’ State Fair. But you do have to respect it. OK, maybe you don’t have to respect it either, but you gotta admit it sure is somethin’. What’s more, some of the stories that result from the feverish need to cover the fair 24-7 are actually worthwhile. Take Alex V. Cipolle’s feature for MPR News today about the architecture of the fair, a topic anyone with even the slightest interest in design has surely thought of as they stroll the Fairgrounds. “You can see buildings from the 1920s, buildings from the 1970s, or even buildings from the 19th century,” U of M prof Dingliang Yang tells Cipolle. “So, it's a collection of different styles reflecting different ideas.” Astound your friends by discussing the differences between lettering on the Education Building and the Creative Activities Building or the hallmarks of the Snelling Gate’s “Googie” style. 

WaPo Goes All Moneyball on Regional Pizza

Credit to the Washington Post’s audience engagement team for concocting this state-by-state pizza story that forces outlets like Bring Me the News and, it seems, Racket to gobble up the locally angled crumbs like the hungry little content goblins we are. Sourced from 7.5 million Yelp reviews, the WaPo pizza analysis determined the ultimate ‘za styles (New York, Chicago, Detroit, New Haven, and Neapolitan, they claim) and tells readers where to find the allegedly best examples in their states. Twenty-three such picks are available in Minnesota, according to Jeff Bezos's coastal news enterprise, including: Joey Nova's Pizzeria in Excelsior for NYC-style; the erroneous selection of Wrecktangle Pizza in Minneapolis for Chicago-style, as pointed out by BMTN; Mario’s in St. Paul for Detroit-style; and Ursa Minor Brewing in Duluth for Neapolitan-style. Pizza freaks should run over to Bring Me the News for a complete localized rundown.

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