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2 Minnesotans make BuzzFeed’s list of ‘8 Craziest Candidates’

Long prison terms in Operation Starburst; threat against Obama draws many agencies; another craigslist killing; and more.

A proud moment for Minnesota! Two congressional candidates — in the same race — made BuzzFeed Politics’ list of this year’s Eight Craziest Candidates, which, folks, is reeeeeaaalllly saying something. Mike “Pill Poppin’ ” Parry came in at No. 4, and his GOP opponent, Allen Quist ranked No. 5: “Parry, a Republican state senator and congressional candidate in Minnesota’s 1st district, recently accused Governor Mark Dayton of doing drugs at a breakfast meeting. Parry told supporters at a campaign event that he’d seen Dayton ‘pop 15 to 16 pills at a meeting, an accusation the governor denied. Parry conceded that the number of pills may not have been as high as 15 or 16, but “it was more than just a few.” In 2010, Parry got in trouble for tweeting ‘what’s with Dems and Pedophiles?’ and ‘read the exclusive on Mr O in Newsweek. He is a Power Hungry Arrogant Black Man.’ Parry later apologized for the tweets.” About his opponent, BuzzFeed says in part: “Quist believes that dinosaurs may have coexisted with humans, and that there is scientific evidence for the existence of dragons.”

$50 million in gets you a lot of jail time. In the Strib, Paul Walsh says: “Two ring leaders of a Minnesota-centered scheme that bilked tens of millions of dollars from U.S. banks over several years were sentenced Monday in Minneapolis to lengthy prison terms. The case grew out of a multiyear investigation dubbed ‘Operation Starburst’ by the Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, a joint operation of federal, state and local law enforcement. The government says the plot stole more than $50 million and was run out of Minnesota from 2006 to 2011 with operations in California, Massachusetts, Arizona, New York and Texas. … Federal prosecutors say the ring engaged in bank fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, takeovers of home equity lines of credit and money laundering.”

Say what? Walsh again, reports:A threat to President Obama in the form of a burnt cat staked to a tree stump drew law enforcement officers from several city and federal agencies to a south Minneapolis park before dawn Monday, a federal official said. The cat in Longfellow Park was staked with a handheld American flag on a small stick, according to a federal law enforcement official. Standing next to the cat was an Obama/Biden 2012 lawn sign, the official said. … Agencies that responded to the threat included the Secret Service, the FBI, the federal Department of Homeland Security, officers from the Minneapolis Park Police force and Minneapolis Police Department.” THAT is one boatload of salaried time.

Curtis Gilbert at MPR reports on city budgets due out: “St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman unveils his budget plan Monday at the Farmer’s Market in Lowertown. Coleman says he’ll propose to increase the city’s property tax levy by about 2 percent. In spite of that, most homeowners will actually see their tax bills go down, because residential property values have fallen further than other types of real estate. That means the tax burden will fall more heavily on commercial, industrial and rental property. … Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak presents his budget to the city council on Wednesday. His spokesman says he’s aiming for a tax levy increase of less than 3 percent.”

The Glean Strange story from Emily Gurnon at the PiPress on (another) craigslist killing: “A 26-year-old Maplewood man has been charged with murder and aggravated robbery in the St. Paul shooting death of Aung Thu Bo, 19, a Hamline University computer science student who responded to the alleged killer’s Craigslist ad for a cellphone. ‘Take anything you want — just leave us alone and go,’ Bo said to his alleged assailant, Steve Emanual Lewis, before Lewis shot him in the head, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday, Aug. 13, in Ramsey County District Court. … Bo couldn’t find his wallet and asked his girlfriend if she had it. He told Lewis that the money was at the bank. Lewis grabbed both Bo’s and his girlfriend’s cell phones and put the gun to Bo’s right temple. ‘Give me everything,’ he said. Bo begged to be let go, telling Lewis to take anything. ‘The man then reached into the front seat and searched Bo’s pockets using his left hand,’ the complaint said. ‘A gunshot went off and Bo slumped over in the car.’ ”

Marianne Combs at MPR reports on the latest award-winning author: “Milkweed Editions has awarded its annual Prize for Children’s Literature to Molly Beth Griffin of Minneapolis for her novel ‘Silhouette of a Sparrow.’
The prize comes with $10,000 and a contract to publish the book this fall. Griffin’s first picture book, Loon Baby, came out with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2011. Silhouette of a Sparrow is her first novel. It’s billed as ‘a coming-of-age story about the search for wildness in a confining time — a tale of a young woman discovering both the art of rebellion and the power of unexpected love.’ “

Local radio bad boy (now bad geezer) Tom Barnard is going to launch a podcast. Neil Justin the the Strib writes: “Starting Wednesday, the KQRS morning-drive host will offer a free podcast — one-hour episodes, five times a week — leaning heavily on his Rolodex of comedian friends, including Nick Swardson and Louie Anderson, as well as his family. His wife, Kathryn Brandt, will serve as sidekick while their children will make sporadic appearances. ‘It won’t be the Kardashians, but it’ll feel like a reality radio show,’ said Tom Barnard. The press-shy entertainer, who is preparing a uncharacteristic media blitz to promote his new Internet audio venture, is the latest to jump in the ever-expanding pool of podcasting.’ He will, however, be charging for “classic” flatulence jokes.

Our Favorite Congresswoman’s appearance of the day comes courtesy of Dana Milbank at the Washington Post, who writes: “Andrew McCarthy’s work is providing the intellectual underpinnings — such as they are — for Rep. Michele Bachmann’s outrageous suggestion that Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. McCarthy gave a 90-minute talk at the National Press Club on Wednesday morning sponsored by the conservative Center for Security Policy, which was the source cited by Bachmann (R-Minn.) in her letter challenging Abedin’s loyalty. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and other top Republicans justifiably blasted Bachmann, but McCarthy defended the congresswoman and went her allegation one further — drawing a twisted line from Abedin all the way to al-Qaeda. ‘I don’t understand why more people in Washington from both parties have not rallied in support of Congresswoman Bachmann’ and her fellow signatories on the letter, McCarthy lamented, ‘at a time when government policy is being radically harmonized with the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, meaning policy has shifted in the direction of avowed enemies of the United States.’ ”

On T-Paw, Amanda Terkel at Huffington Post writes: “Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor who has become a top surrogate for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, admitted on Sunday that he did go through the vice presidential vetting process, revealing he submitted ‘a bunch of tax returns’ to the Romney campaign. In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s ‘This Week,’ however, Pawlenty refused to say how many years of returns he had to submit — and whether he handed over more than the two years of tax returns that Romney himself has opened up to the public. ‘Well, I don’t know the exact number, George, but I — you know, there were several years, I believe,’ Pawlenty said. When Stephanopoulos further asked whether it was more than two years of returns, Pawlenty responded, ‘Well, we don’t get into the details of the vetting process, but I gave them a bunch of tax returns. I don’t remember the exact number of years.’ ”