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More Like ‘Aurora Bore-All-of-Us’: Nature Lets Humanity Down Again

Plus an ex-cop exposes toxic MPD culture, stunning Foshay drone footage, and a tiny bit of help for Native American students in today's Flyover.

Woulda been nice to see something like this.
Photo by Vincent Guth on Unsplash

Who Turned out the Northern Lights?

As though the muted fall colors weren’t disappointing enough, now the promised spectacle of the Northern Lights has proven, as Bring Me the News puts it, “a massive bust.” While apparently Canada got a good showing, neither Minnesota nor other lesser U.S. states got a glimpse of the much-touted display of astronomical fireworks. A coronal mass ejection on the sun hurled particles our way to cause an “X1-class, G3 magnetic storm,” and when there are two letter-number combinations in a row like that, you expect there to be some cool shit is on the horizon. Anyway, another victory for incurious shut-ins like myself who didn’t drive out the darkened areas of the state with fruitless hope of experiencing a natural wonder.

Ex-Cop Confirms Your Worst Fears About the MPD

When discussing the Minneapolis Police Department, a certain mayor is fond of saying “culture eats policy for breakfast.” (He used to say that, anyway; now he talks about “magic wands” a lot.) The Strib’s Andy Mannix offers a glimpse into just what the MPD’s current culture can be like in his thoughtful profile of ex-cop Colleen Ryan. The “openly gay, liberal feminist” Ryan, who left the MPD last month, describes a hostile working environment rife with misogyny, homophobia, and “a cultlike adherence to former President Donald Trump’s ‘Back the Blue’ politics.” And in a year that saw Minneapolis police firing “less-lethal” rounds at protestors and journalists, among other inexcusable practices, Ryan was the only officer disciplined: For speaking to GQ about how toxic the police department is. Which says something else about the MPD’s culture.

Foshay Can You See?

Hard as it can be to imagine now, our ancestors speak of a time when the Foshay Tower, well, towered over this area. We’ll never recapture the wonder of seeing that urban fortress dominate the landscape, but this new drone footage on TikTok offers a sweet panoramic view of downtown Minneapolis and a brilliant sunrise from the top of the Foshay. Stick in there for a real stomach-churning dive at the end. 

U of M Expands Native American Tuition Reduction Program

It’s needlessly restrictive. It’s means-tested. It’s an incremental lurch toward atonement for past imperial sins. It’s the American way, and it’s still a welcome bit of good news: Beginning in the fall of 2022, Native American students can qualify for free or reduced tuition at all five University of Minnesota campuses, the Star Tribune reports. Previously, members of Minnesota’s 11 federally recognized tribal nations could only get that deal at the Morris campus. “It’s not what we’re completely looking toward, but it is a really, really good start,” Shannon Geshick, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, tells the Strib. Click here for details on the red tape, of which there’s a lot, and press release quotes from U of M President Joan Gabel. In semi-related education news: Last month the White House dropped universal free community college from its so-called Build Back Better spending package.