There’s become a new social media experience of winter, and it is as follows: It snows, a large group of people comment on the fact, and then a large group of people complain about all the comments about snow. But this is Minnesota, and there are a few things we like to talk about here, and the weather is one of them. The weekend snowstorm was all over the blogosphere, and, if you’re the sort who would complain about this on Twitter, you might want to skip the next few links. We’ll start with HeatherBlog, which charts the developing snowstorm to the lyrics of Ezra Pound’s “Ancient Music,” which contains a line that we all probably thought on Saturday: “Sing: Goddamm.”
“Suddenly it’s winter,” declares Chris Ryan blogs, while local author Kurtis Scaletta declares it a “winter wonderland” and, as evidence, offers a gorgeous, blue-tinted photograph by his wife. Twin Cities Photography likewise takes advantage of the first snow to take photographs of Powerderhorn Park with a light frosting of white.
But, by he end of our first snowstorm of the season, it wasn’t a light frosting we got. How much snow fell? We were warned it might be as much as 8 inches; it was more. According to the Associated Press, 10 inches fell in the Forest Lake and Mankato areas, and 11 inches fell in Eden Prairie. That’s a dangerous storm, and it caused 400 car crashes in Minnesota. The AP had no reports of fatalities in Minnesota (two in Wisconsin), but according to Mary Costello of FOX 9 News, there was one fatality in Blue Earth. Costello points out that many drivers were caught off guard by just how thick and wet the snow was.
It’s the sort of snow that snaps limbs off trees and downs power lines, and it was exactly this that left 200,000 without power this weekend, as the AP reports; most have had their electricity restored.
If we’re not talking about the weather, there’s a good chance we’re talking about politics, especially during recount season. Here’s the latest: Tim Pawlenty signed off on his weekly WCCO radio show, which he has been doing the entire length of time he has been governor — eight years. According to Tim Pugmire of Minnsota Public Radio, it’s not certain if his successor will follow suit, but, then, so much is unknown about Pawlenty’s successor. An example: Who is his successor?
Another question: Does Pawlenty get to stay in office until the recount is finished? As the AP tells it, the lawyers for DFL candidate Mark Dayton aren’t so sure. According to the state Constitution, the governor remains in office “until a successor is chosen and qualified.” With Dayton currently ahead by 8,755, Dayton’s lawyers think they may have a case that, recount or no, the conditions of the Constitution have been fulfilled.
In the meanwhile, the GOP seems to be scouring the records for evidence of voter fraud. According to Jay Weiner of MinnPost, both the Republican Party and the campaign for GOP candidate Tom Emmer filed lawsuits in St. Louis and Pine counties. They are “seeking data statewide about Election Day judges, absentee ballots and many other issues,” and the lawsuits charge that these counties have been too slow to respond to requests. In the meanwhile, Emmer claims we don’t have to worry about any deliberate stalling of the recount process, as related by MinnPost’s Cyndy Brucato. “I will not be involved in something’s that’s purposefully used for delay,” Emmer says, which is pretty unambiguous. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the MN-GOP shares Emmer’s determination.
On a related subject, FOX news ran a report that officials are investigating voter fraud at the University of Minnesota (video on MinnPost.) They charge that an organization named Students Organizing for America is implicated. According to the report, a student said that she vouched for people she did not know. The conservative blogosphere has, of course, lit up with the charge. FOX’s retelling of the incident is so slight is not clear what actually happened? Evelina Smirnitskaya of the Minnesota Daily has the details. There were two incidents of people allegedly vouching for voters they did not know personally, both involving members of SOFA. So did people vote who should not have? “I don’t have any evidence that that happened,” says the interim elections director in Minneapolis.
A few crime stories: James Walsh and Sarah Lemagie of the Star Tribune report on members of the Somali community’s reaction to the recent bust-up of a national prostitution ring allegedly led by Somali gangs. While many decry the crimes, others urge caution, asking that justice be allowed to run its course. (“We are standing together and want our kids to get a fair trial,” says one; another denies that there is any Somali gang activity in the Twin Cities at all.) The story also quotes one of the suspected gang members, who actually seems to blame his victim for his arrest: “This girl told me she was 19,” he says. “I believed she was 19. She’s ruined my life.” If intended as a ploy for sympathy, this seems terrible misconceived.
The PiPress’ Mara H. Gottfried looks into two of the police officers who helped crack the prostitution case, one of whom points out that prostitution rings are common gang activity, regardless of the ethnicity of the gangs: “It may not be the moneymaker or may not be the prime criminal activity that the gang’s involved with … but as a status symbol within the gang and within the gang structure, I think sex trafficking always plays a part in that.”
The PiPress’ Nick Ferraro tells the story of Jason Yang of St. Paul, who died this weekend after a foot chase with the police. How did he die? He leapt off a parking ramp and fell several stories. Police think he may have misjudged the distance to the ground.
In arts: Whenever we at the Daily Glean refer to movie actor Vince Vaughn as “Minnesota’s own,” we get puzzled looks, probably because he was raised in Illinois. But we’ll get puzzled looks no more, thanks to the Walk of Fame on Hennepin Avenue, which has added Vaughn’s name to their impressive roster of locally born celebrities, as David Hawley of MinnPost reports. We can’t wait until they get around to honoring Dr. Demento, as well as Edward Van Sloan, who played Van Helsing in the original film version of Dracula and Dr. Waldman in the original Frankebstein. Because, man, we’re sick of the puzzled looks.
In sports: The most recent Vikings loss has put sportswriters into an especially bitter mood. “We hope you’ve enjoyed the 2010 Minnesota Vikings season. Thanks for coming. See you next fall,” writes Tom Powers for the PiPress, declaring the season over. Jeremy Fowler, also writing for the PiPress, shares that sentiment, and expands upon it: “The Vikings are a bad team.”