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What the Fuck Was That Loud Noise Earlier?

Plus evictions spike, cop pensions balloon, and Annandale's "political" rainbows in today's Flyover.

Quiet down, Top Gun motherfuckers!
Photo by Peter Pryharski on Unsplash

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

Did You Hear That Racket from Above? 

If you’re anything like me, you were conducting a phone interview with a former radio DJ around noon when the heavens roared, seemingly forever, with eardrum-exploding intensity. Sounded like a plane, but ya know, like a really big plane. Likely expensive, almost certainly a noisy instrument of our Forever Wars. Local Redditors took notice, wondering: “WTF is that? Sounds like 100 jets combined into one and it’s nonstop.” User tuna_fishing, who may or may not be an aviation expert, stated that the noise came from three fighter jets—two F22s, one F18. And ya know what? They got pretty dang close. Our pals at Bring Me the News traced the noise back to the F/A-18F Super Hornet, the EA-18G Growler, and the $117.3 million (!!!) F-35C Lightning II, all of whom were leaving from the recent “Top Gun: Behind the Curtain” party that was held at the MSP Airport Joint Air Reserve Station. “I don’t have any other details,” MSP Airport PR guy Jeff Lea tells us. May our numerous global enemies tremble at their deafening engines! And may you, peaceful reader, enjoy Keith’s review of Top Gun: Maverick, which he calls “the Citizen Kane of Top Gun movies.”

Annandale: Why Would We Want Students to Feel Safe?

According to Annandale Schools, “safe space” is too political a term. Also too political: rainbows, the word “pride,” anything else suggesting a perspective or belief. Earlier this year, the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance made signs emblazoned with a cardinal (the school mascot), a rainbow swirl, and the words “safe space” and “cardinal pride.” The small posters are supposed to show LGBTQ students that they are welcome, and teachers have put them in classrooms to let teens know they can talk to them if they’re being bullied. But when administrators received objections, Superintendent Tim Prom shut it down via email: “According to legal counsel, staff cannot post or wear anything that is deemed political in nature or that would cause a disruption to the learning environment for our students.”

Students have gotten the message loud and clear. Yesterday, dozens of them walked out of class, and they were joined by former students and other supporters at a rally. “They’re trying to shun us and saying we’re too political to be handled in a school,” 15-year-old organizer Landon Nelson told the Strib. “It just feels like they don’t want to fight for us. They’d rather just fight against us.” Prom has noted that the signs will stay up while the administration considers a more generic message of hope, such as “All Are Welcome.”

Can We Even Afford Cops?

Seems like every day, Deena Winter over at the Minnesota Reformer has another story about how much policing costs the city of Minneapolis. If it’s not PTSD claims, it’s settlements with police abuse victims. The latest: The fact that cops are costing us so much now (largely due to record overtime expenses) means they’ll cost us even more than usual once they retire. That’s because the size of a cop’s pension is based on his or her five highest earning years, and last year, 72% of Minneapolis police made six figures. (Congratulations to Sgt. Stephen McBride, MPD’s highest-paid employee in 2021, who made a cool $376,000.) The city matches the cops’ contribution to their pension fund, which is already strained from a recent bump in early retirement, purportedly caused by insufficient civilian gratitude.

Housing Aid Ends. Evictions Increase. Not a Coincidence.

A strange thing happened during the first two years of the pandemic, Solomon Gustavo writes in MinnPost: “The Twin Cities saw a level of housing stability it hadn’t experienced in years.” There’s a simple explanation: Government intervention worked. An eviction moratorium, along with more state and federal aid, kept people from losing their housing. Now that the protections are being lifted, and aid is drying up, evictions are predictably rising. It’s almost as though these “emergency measures” are required even under “normal” circumstances—or, to put it another way, our economic system subjects some of us to a constant state of emergency. Addressing the same issue in the Star Tribune, Jessie Van Berkel received this quote from Rachael Sterling, COVID-19 eviction response coordinator for the tenant advocacy organization HOME Line: “I don’t want to be like, ‘This is absolutely hopeless.’ But it’s bad. It’s going to be bad. And no one is doing anything about it that can do things about it.”