Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily midday digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.
Sviggum’s Apology Tour Already Off the Rails
Last week, while discussing declining enrollment, U of M Morris Board of Regents VP Steve Sviggum wondered aloud if it’s “possible that at Morris we’ve become too diverse?” Though the question drew the ire of students and teachers on campus, Sviggum doubled down on his query, telling MPR on Monday that he didn’t regret asking the question. By Tuesday evening, however, he had issued an apology. “I clearly have more to learn to better understand the strength that diversity brings to our institution, and I look forward to taking those who have reached out to me up on their offers to meet and to hear their perspectives and learn from them,” he wrote in a statement. He also appeared on Henry Lake’s WCCO show to say “Let me unequivocally apologize for my questions.”
But any goodwill that might have come from this statement was squandered when, on the same day, far-right garbage can Alpha News ran an interview where Sviggum demonstrated that he really wasn’t that sorry, just sorry that you were offended. “If the far left doesn’t ruin it, identity politics will. The woke community, the liberal community, if I may be so bold as to say, has taken [my question] and jumped on it. They say it’s racist and sexist. That’s the community that says, ‘If you don’t think like me and you’re not part of the group, you don’t belong. You’re a bad guy, and we will destroy you,’” said the man who’s worried his school isn’t white enough. He says his concern isn’t about race; it’s based on two letters he received from people who said their kids are uncomfortable with the school’s diversity.
“I didn’t say, ‘This is the problem.’ I said, ‘Do we have a problem?’ I’ve heard from two families that said their children weren’t going to Morris because they didn’t feel comfortable,” he continues. “My question was not [race] based, was not gender based, was not [sex] based at all.”
Hmm. Isn’t there a word for that? Sounds kinda… racist.
How Much Damage Could a GOP Attorney General Do?
No matter how much his promise to “fight violent crime” may be helping Jim Schultz in the polls, that’s really not a Minnesota Attorney General’s job. Over at the Minnesota Reformer, Deena Winters clarifies what office is truly responsible for, and in the process turns up some red flags that should concern not just anyone even slightly left of center but even honest moderates. So, to answer the question posed in the headline: a lot. Though probably not as much as a GOP Secretary of State. (A topic for another day.)
Red Flag #1: Consumer protection falls squarely under the AG’s ambit, and Ellison has been particularly aggressive and progressive on this front. Schultz, a longtime corporate attorney with firms that represent deep-pocketed, society-harming industries, has bewailed Ellison’s focusing on consumer fraud cases that “extract a lot of money from businesses.” Of course, when corporations break the law, that is also “crime,” but somehow one person getting mugged is more pressing that thousands or even millions getting bilked by dishonest corporations.
Red Flag #2: The AG’s office acts as the state’s lawyer, defending legislation in courts. Ellison used his discretion in not appealing a court decision striking down abortion restrictions. Schultz has promised that fetuses would be “defended aggressively” in court.
Red Flag #3: The AG’s office represents the state nationally, signing on to high-level cases that come up before the Supreme Court. Anti-gun-control, anti-immigrant, anti-abortion, anti-voting rights cases? Minnesota could come down squarely on the wrong side of each these issues.
Red Flag #4: OK, Deena is too professional to mention this, but we’re not: What is up with that dude’s ’50s sci-fi alien skull?
Vox: ‘Big Climate Stakes’ In MN Senate Elections
Earlier today Vox’s Rebecca Leber named Minnesota in an article headlined “The overlooked elections this year with big climate stake.” Her reasoning is perhaps a bit rosy, considering climate solutions for corporate-beholden Democrats rarely rise above half-measures, but that’s better than the zero measures presented by the other side, we suppose. However full, those very measures will be on the ballot in Minnesota, Leber writes, where the DFL could seize the state senate back from GOP control, thus giving the party carte blanche to roll out legislation to boost public transit, restore the environment, mandate net-zero carbon building construction, and cheerlead EVs. Interestingly, Vox spotlights the Senate District 45 race between Republican Kathleen Fowke and Democrat Kelly Morrison. Fowke, the wife of retired Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke, is currently being firehosed with cash from Xcel and other out-of-state utility companies due to the swingin’ nature of the district, as first reported by watchdog group the Energy & Policy Institute.
Taco Bell Considers Us Exceptional
At testing new stuff, at least. In June, Taco Bell debuted its double-decker restaurant of the future over in Brooklyn Park. (Read our 14 spicy takes here.) Now, as we’ve just learned, the Twin Cities market will serve as guinea pigs for the new Grilled Cheese Dipping Taco menu item. Nashvillians are the only other folks in the country who’ll test drive TB’s riff on quesabirria, which’ll run $2.99 each or $7.99 as part of a Deluxe Box Combo. The dippin’ tacos in question will feature “crispy corn tortilla shell filled with beef and melted cheddar, mozzarella, and pepper jack cheese, and grilled cheddar, mozzarella and pepper jack cheese on the outside of the shell,” per our buddies at Bring Me the News who, curiously, used the word “trialing” in their headline. Hm. Anyway, they’re available now for a limited time, and you can dunk those suckers in either “red sauce” or nacho cheese. At this point, you might saying: Sounds great, Racket, but I’m a goddamn vegetarian—cater to my needs! Alright, alright calm down buddy… here’s every veggie TB option, ranked.