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With-It Rep. Dean Phillips Tiks, Also Toks

Plus AI takes on law school, Biden saves the Boundary Waters, and esports comes to the Palace in today's Flyover.

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

How Do You Do, Fellow 18-24 Voters On TikTok?

Let’s see an AI bot cook up a story with this many layers of dorkiness! Today in the Reformer we’ve got: trend piece handwringing over the security risks inherent to U.S. congressional members TikToking, plus the nepo baby avatar for milquetoast centrism, Rep. Dean Phillips. Politicians would like to Steve-Buscemi-skateboard-meme their way into the lives of young constituents, we learn, yet some fear the Chinese-owned app might harvest our precious state secrets. (At the risk of oversimplifying things, all major corporations and governments foreign and domestic hate you, but that doesn’t yield splashy headlines like “Members of Congress sign up for TikTok, despite security concerns.”) Phillips, who represents Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, found a workaround: No TikTok on his government phone, lots of TikTok participation through the personal phones of his poor staffers. “[Phillips] on a mission to restore Americans’ faith in government, which includes modernizing and humanizing it—and showing up wherever people are online, including TikTok,” a spokesperson told the Reformer. Let's see what that looks like in practice...


Can I get a status update, guys? Democracy is fragile. Time for the Senate to act on House-passed bills to protect it.

♬ original sound - Rep. Dean Phillips 🇺🇸

Rep. Phillips hasn't posted since Corn Kid.

Law Schools and ChatGPT Deserve Each Other

Law school is a scam. It’s structured to provide big law firms an easy way of cherry picking new recruits from the top 10% of their class—students who’ve proven their workaholic tendencies. And the six-figure debt that often goes along with the degree ensures that those high-achievers will accept jobs with those firms, while the rest of the suckers will struggle and watch their dreams of “making a difference” dwindle in tandem with their bank accounts.

So we weren’t too upset to read in Twin Cities Business that AI chatbot ChatGPT had scored a C+ on some sample law school exams in a study conducted by four University of Minnesota law professors. The findings suggest “considerable promise and peril,” according to the profs, who believe ChatGPT will be a valuable tool for both students and practicing lawyers. (The U itself is more suspicious of that tool, considering “unauthorized use of online learning support and testing platforms” to be  “scholastic dishonesty.”) Unfortunately, what will happen here is that automation will reduce the need for much of the legal work the average non-rich lawyer relies on, and do nothing to address the need for lawyers in underserved settings

Putting the Boundary in Boundary Waters

Good news for folks who like their Boundary Waters un-polluted: Today the Biden administration set a mining ban in a vast swath of the nearby Superior National Forest, which the New York Times reports "could doom" Twin Metals Minnesota LLC's bid to build a mine near Ely. That's the kind of doom we love! Secretary of the Interior Department Deb Haaland signed the moratorium, saying in a statement that the decision follows scientific review and discussions with local and tribal groups about the "irreparable harm" that could be done to the region's Rainey River watershed. “Protecting a place like Boundary Waters is key to supporting the health of the watershed and its surrounding wildlife, upholding our Tribal trust and treaty responsibilities, and boosting the local recreation economy,” Haaland said.

Palace Theatre to Host Esports’ Minnesota Røkkr Home Series

Did you know that Minnesota has a Call of Duty esports team? It’s called MN Røkkr and, according to this wiki fan page, our team’s nemesis is Toronto Ultra (damn you Toronto!). While many people regularly watch their games via Twitch, this spring they’ll be able to see them play live at Palace Theatre in St. Paul and the Orpheum Theater in Madison, WI. “We have rivalries over who salts the roads better,” said Jamie Patrick, vice president at Madison Area Sports Commission, via a face-paced, kinda awkward video conference. “So it’s a natural fit.” (Props to the journalist who asked why the event isn’t taking place at US Bank Stadium, as Røkkr has direct ties to the Wilf family and Gary Vee. Answer: The venue’s excessive size would be an overall bummer based on anticipated attendance.) 

The Madison games will take place on April 1 while the Palace will host games on May 6. Presale tickets become available tomorrow at 8 a.m. Will they sell out quickly? No idea!

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