This weekend’s big news began Friday, with the FBI carrying out six search warrants in Minneapolis and Chicago, as reported by KARE11. The KARE11 story points out that two of the people served were peace activists, Mick Kelly and Jess Sundin. What were the warrants? They were “part of an ongoing joint terrorism task force investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism.” What were they looking for? “[P]ointy things,” Sundin said.
And, after that, the deluge, first from the local media. Mara H. Gottfried and David Hanners of the Pioneer Press looked into who else was served with warrants. There was Meredith Aby, who, with Kelly and Sundin, had organized a march on the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, and all were planning another march on the Democratic National Convention, were it to happen here. They had sought permits for this march, something, Sundin said, “I don’t think terrorists would do.”
Who else? According to the Associated Press, a warrant was served on Joe Iosbaker and his wife, Stephanie Weiner. According to the AP story, “Warrants suggest agents were looking for connections between local anti-war activists and groups in Colombia and the Middle East,” but the couple’s attorney, Melinda Power, has a different explanation: “These are people committed to social justice … That is not a crime in this country.“
Nobody was arrested, and the FBI has been vague about what they were looking for — the activists they targeted do have histories of working with organizations that travel abroad and provide support to organizations in other countries, although all claim that this has been done with the utmost transparency and their relationships have been with peace organizations internationally, not terrorist groups. Sometimes it’s just not easy to be an activist. Take the case of Lucinda Naylor, who has been working as the artist-in-residence at the Basilica of St. Mary. As reported by Hart Van Denburg of City Pages, Naylor was troubled by the local Catholic Archdiocese sending out hundreds of thousands of DVDs in opposition to gay marriage. She requested that those who received DVDs donate them to her, and she would turn them into a sculpture. She was then suspended from her position. “I knew it was coming,” she said. “But I was surprised at the speed.” She intends to go ahead with the project and created a Facebook page in support of it.
According to OutFront Minnesota Executive Director Monica Meyer, there is no accident in the timing of these DVDs. Quoted by Minnesota Independent’s Andy Birkey, Meyer says, “Using the lives of GLBT people, immigrants, and poor people to provoke fear and advance a political agenda is a time-honored tradition among those whose vision for Minnesota is based on exclusion, marginalization, and demagoguery. It is shameful for a religious institution to stoop to such tactics when there are so many real, pressing issues facing people daily.” Meyer stops short of naming who the Archdiocese might be supporting with this gesture, but there is only one of the three major gubernatorial candidates who stands in clear opposition to gay marriage: GOP candidate Tom Emmer.
Emmer hasn’t been discussing gay marriage much. Instead, he’s been complaining about local government aid, which he means to slash. “I don’t know how many of your viewers understand that only about half the cities in this state get any local government aid, and frankly only a handful get the lion’s share,” he said in a debate on Sept. 17. Catharine Richert of Minnesota Public Radio took a look at that claim. and concluded that “There’s little truth” to it. About 85 percent of communities get government aid. Additionally, if you break down the way the money is doled our on a per capita basis, “some of the state’s smallest towns are getting the most money per person.”
When we last checked the polls, Emmer and DFL candidate Mark Dayton were neck and neck, but a new Star Tribune poll has Dayton ahead by 9 points. As detailed by the Independent’s Andy Birkey, the poll has Dayton ahead — 39 points to Emmer’s 30 points — with IP candidate trailing distantly at 18 percent. Also worth noting: Horner’s votes are taking the largest bite out of possible support for Dayton — were he not in the race, Dayton would be polling at 49 percent while Emmer would get 38 percent.
Weirdly, despite Horner trailing in the polls, as he has since the start of this thing, the media are still tickled by the idea of him winning. “Can Horner win? DFL, GOP opponents are acting like it,” declares an article by MPR’s Mark Zdechlik; “Polarized Minnesota gov’s race leaves opening for indie,” writes the AP; they also put out a story titled “Third-party nominees could swing outcome in tight governors and congressional races this fall.” Say, that would be fun! And all it depends on is if Horner can double his support in the next month.
In arts: As it turns out, Minnesota is home to the largest collection of material related to the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, thanks to the University of Minnesota (here’s the website of the collection). Actually, we’ve also been home to Sherlock Holmes himself, thanks to author Larry Millett, who put out a series of novels that had the British sleuth investigating crimes at places like the Ice Palace and the Kensington Rune Stone’s home — one is surprised Millett didn’t take that sort of extreme regionalism a step further and actually have Holmes do his sleuthing in Millett’s bathroom or sock drawer. Anyway, the Poking Around With Mary blog points out another Holmes/Minnesota event, which is directly connected to the U of M’s collection: First, there is an exhibit called “The Spirits of Sherlock Holmes,” at The Andersen Library, which will “explore the many meanings of the word ‘spirits’ and how they relate to Sherlock Holmes.” Also at the event, according to the event’s web page: “items from the collection of the late Allen Mackler, whose replica of the sitting room at 221B Baker Street is on permanent display adjacent to the exhibit gallery.” We all knew about the replica sitting room, didn’t we?
In sports: Twins’ outfielder Jason Repko got hit by a baseball this weekend. Also, Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire got hit by a baseball. A man in a deerstalker hat was seen investigating, muttering something about conspiracy, a master criminal named Professor Moriarty, and how sick he was of Minnesota.