Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Suni Lee’s Former Gym, Coach Under Investigation
Under less than ideal circumstances, gymnastics can become life-threateningly dangerous. That’s why three local gymnasts recently came forward to share their experiences at their former gym, Midwest Gymnastics. The Little Canada training facility has been in the spotlight lately thanks to star athlete Suni Lee taking home gold at the Tokyo Olympics. (Jess Graba, the gym’s founder, was Lee’s coach at MG.) In a detailed investigation by Defector, the three alleged victims recall close calls they endured while practicing alone, from crashing down during blind changes on uneven bars to practicing back handsprings on the beam for over two hours—moves that can paralyze if done wrong. The trio also recount shame-filled weekly weigh-ins in front of teammates and verbal abuse from Graba and his coach/wife, Ali Lim. “They programmed our brains in such a way that we were weaponized against ourselves to physically abuse ourselves,” says one former Midwest Gymnastics athlete. A report has been filed with SafeSport, an organization that investigates sexual and child abuse in Olympic sports.
State Senate Deer Drama!
Ready for some petty, flyover-state political corruption? Great, us too! So, as outlined by Minnesota Reformer’s Ricardo Lopez, the brother of Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller (R- Winona) owns Epic Antler Ranch, a horrific business where customers are “guaranteed” to shoot a caged deer for $1,000 to $8,500, depending on rack size. (Even Bobby Hill, a mere cartoon boy, realized that genre of “hunting” ain’t right.) Anyway, Sen. Karla Bigham (DFL-Cottage Grove) recently won bi-partisan support for an amendment to an agricultural budget bill that would regulate deer farms in order to curb chronic wasting disease, a nasty deer illness that deeply concerns hunters.
After the Senate recessed, however, lawmakers returned to a “watered down” version Bigham’s amendment, the Reformer reports. Minority Leader Melisa López Franzen (DFL-Edina) called out the obvious conflict of interest: “Sen. Miller needs to explain why he didn’t recuse himself on this vote, and to clarify his relationship to the deer farming industry, and what interest he had in interrupting Senate proceedings on an important bill so that he could convince five members of his caucus to change their votes and overturn a bipartisan amendment.” A spokesperson for Miller countered with: “It’s not a conflict of interest.” OK then! Senate DFLers, being Democrats, opted for rhetorical whining instead of tangible action; no plans exist for a formal ethics complaint.
“Can’t We Just Shoot Them?” Trump Asked of George Floyd Protesters
The latest entrant in the politician-to-published-author pipeline is Trump defense secretary Mark Esper, whose new book A Sacred Oath is certainly full of all kinds of insane shit. One such revelation: Following the murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests, the “increasingly erratic” 45th president of the United States asked whether it might be simpler to simply shoot demonstrators. “Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?” Trump asked, according to Esper’s book.
Was the scene surreal? “It was surreal, sitting in front of the Resolute desk, inside the Oval Office, with this idea weighing heavily in the air, and the president red faced and complaining loudly about the protests underway in Washington, D.C.,” Esper confirms. Elsewhere in A Sacred Oath, you’ll learn Trump asked about firing rockets at Mexico and pretending the U.S. didn’t do it and planned to send 250,000 troops to the southern border. Worth noting: Esper, like most opportunists in the aforementioned pipeline, is a depraved creep in the classic, less zany sense; prior to electively joining the Trump administration, he lobbied for evil defense contractor Raytheon.
Area Man’s Frunk Featured in WSJ
Was Mike Norton’s Minneapolis City Council bid doomed due to his progressive platform underperforming in Ward 13, home to the city’s blue-bloodiest moderate Democrats? Or did his frunk simply not turn out the vote last fall? To hear the Wall Street Journal tell it… the latter! Norton was featured Friday in a WSJ trend piece on frunks—or “front trunks”—which are a design quirk of many EVs. “The frunk of a Mustang Mach-E held root beer for voters as Mike Norton campaigned for a Minneapolis city council seat last year. It wasn’t enough,” reads a photo caption of Norton courting voters during the Wedge LIVE Cat Tour. Full disclosure: Norton is a generous reader supporter of Racket, though, hand to Bob Woodward, we swear it didn’t buy him this aggregated frunk blurb.