So who will be the first to say, “He seemed like such a nice old guy” … ? The AP story, broken by a trio of reporters, says: “A top commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press. Michael Karkoc, 94, told American authorities in 1949 that he had performed no military service during World War II, concealing his work as an officer and founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and later as an officer in the SS Galician Division, according to records obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request. … Though records do not show that Karkoc had a direct hand in war crimes, statements from men in his unit and other documentation confirm the Ukrainian company he commanded massacred civilians, and suggest that Karkoc was at the scene of these atrocities as the company leader. Nazi SS files say he and his unit were also involved in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, in which the Nazis brutally suppressed a Polish rebellion against German occupation.”
For New York magazine, Jon Chait writes: “How was Karkoc found after so long? He has violated a couple of the most basic tenets of Concealing Your War Crimes. Rule No. 1: Do not write a memoir about your war crimes: In a Ukrainian-language memoir published in 1995, Karkoc states that he helped found the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion in 1943 in collaboration with the Nazis’ feared SS intelligence agency, the SD, to fight on the side of Germany — and served as a company commander in the unit, which received orders directly from the SS, through the end of the war. It was not clear why Karkoc felt safe publishing his memoir, which is available at the U.S. Library of Congress and the British Library and which the AP located online in an electronic Ukrainian library. … really, what is the cost-benefit calculus of publishing a memoir like that? You’re not going to become the Elizabeth Gilbert of sadistic Ukranian Nazi stooges. The best-case scenario when you’re writing a memoir like that is that nobody reads it. (The corollary to Concealing Your War Crimes rule No. 1: If you must write a memoir about your war crimes, do not publish it.)”
At The Atlantic Wire, Dashiell Bennett (is that an “Atlantic” name, or what?) writes: “The AP not only found the book, they uncovered the Army intelligence file prepared on Karkoc when he moved — a document that found no red flags in his background — and more documents from Europe, including pay stubs, that connect him to the German army and those specific units. In perhaps the oddest twist of all to this incredible story, the AP’s reporters were tipped off to Karkoc by an amateur historian in Britain, who found him on the Internet while researching members of the old Galician Division.”
They can have a few gallons from my backyard … The Forum papers report: “Even with the numerous heavy wet snows in April and May and seemingly abundant rainfall, west-central Minnesota is still in a moderate to severe drought. The U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday shows that severe drought conditions remain in portions of Renville, Redwood and Yellow Medicine counties. The severe-rated area is just 0.87 percent of the state’s land, but it is a significant portion of those three counties. The southern portion of Kandiyohi County, along with western Meeker, western and southern Swift, much of Renville, eastern Yellow Medicine and portions of Lyon, Redwood, Brown, Nicollet and Sibley counties remain at the moderate drought rating.”
Schmooze-Central is back in business. Maya Rao of the Strib reports: “Political powerhouses Sam and Sylvia Kaplan helped bankroll Minneapolis Mayor R. T. Rybak’s rise to office a dozen years ago. Now returning from abroad, with Rybak leaving office by the end of the year, the couple is raising money anew for the man they want to succeed him: Mark Andrew. Hundreds of people streamed into their riverfront home this week to donate to Andrew at the Kaplans’ first fundraiser since coming back from Morocco, where Sam Kaplan was appointed as ambassador in 2009. ‘You are a raucous crowd — this kind of conduct is not permitted in Morocco,’ he joked, before lamenting that the country didn’t have political fundraisers. Attendees said the support of the Kaplans offers Andrew, a former longtime Hennepin County commissioner, not just an edge in raising campaign cash but also a stamp of legitimacy.”
With only 17 months to go, Congressman John Kline is taking heat in a set of new ads. At The Hill, Alexandra Jaffe reports: “House Majority PAC is launching its first paid attack on Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), hammering him for his position in favor of a proposal that Democrats say will exponentially increase student loan rates. The campaign is the first paid attack from HMP this cycle, and the first attack on Kline, named as one of the PAC’s top 10 targets for 2014. … HMP is launching promoted Facebook posts, a promoted petition using the hashtag #StopScammingStudents and banner ads on local news sites calling for readers to sign a petition to tell the congressman to “stop scamming students.” And the super PAC will run an ad on Pandora internet radio, targeted to residents of Kline’s district, that features an Eagan, Minn., mom lamenting the state of student loans.
Elizabeth Dunbar of MPR does the math on a local couple’s solar array: “Elizabeth Dickinson and Christopher Childs insist they are not early adopters of solar energy. They put solar panels on their home in 2007 — years after Dickinson’s parents installed a solar hot water system on their home in the 1970s. Still, the investment into their 1911 home on St. Paul’s west side would make most Minnesota homeowners gape: Six years ago they paid $18,000 for a system of solar panels they bought second-hand, and that’s after $2,000 in tax credits. So far, they have saved roughly $2,700 on electricity. At this rate, the pay-off point won’t come for another 34 years.” But the latest numbers are trending in a better direction …
It’s Car-mageddon … Minnesota style. John Brewer of the PiPress writes: “Motorists accustomed to using Minnesota 36 through Maplewood will need to plan for 75 days of alternate routes starting June 17, as the Minnesota Department of Transportation closes a good chunk of the thoroughfare to put in a diamond interchange at English Street. Beginning first thing Monday morning, crews will close 36 from U.S. 61 to White Bear Avenue to replace the intersection, which currently has traffic lights.” To paraphrase the Brits in bad weather … “Twin Cities cut off from Stillwater.”
A bona fide Twin Cities big shot has passed away. John Welbes and John Brewer of the PiPress report: “Dwight Opperman, who took one of the leading publishers of law books into the digital age and grew the Twin Cities company dramatically, has died. He was 89. Opperman became president of the then-St. Paul-based West Publishing Co. in 1968 and is credited with pushing the company into delivering its services electronically — most notably by creating Westlaw, now a major online legal research service. … Opperman had to convince a reluctant board of directors to stay the course on Westlaw in the 197os. ‘He fought for it, and he got that through,’ [friend and former Westlaw exec John] Nasseff said. ‘That was his baby. It made the company what it was when we sold it.’ West Publishing is now a division of Thomson Reuters, with more than 6,000 employees located on a large campus in Eagan. Thomson Reuters bought the company in 1996 for $3.4 billion.”
“Purity of Essence, Mandrake.” Our Guy Jesse Ventura gave (shock) an interview and conjured memories of Gen. Jack D. Ripper from “Dr. Strangelove.” Aaron Rupar at City Pages writes: “Earlier this week, Jesse Ventura went on the Unprofessional podcast to talk about a possible 2016 presidential run, the lessons he learned as Governor of Minnesota … and the role fluoridated water might play in keeping the American people ‘sheepish.’ … Here’s a transcript of what Jesse said on that topic (to listen to the whole podcast, click here — the transcribed portion begins around seven minutes in):
JESSE: The problem is this, we have lost sight as a people in this country to the fact that the government works for us, we don’t work for the government … It’s our money that runs the government, therefore we’re the boss. We’ve lost sight of that.
[Host asks him, “Why has it gone this way? What’s wrong with us?”]
JESSE: You’re asking me now, what, to be a psychologist? I’m not sure. I laughingly, and maybe not laughingly, tell you it might be the water. Well the reason is fluoride — that’s required by federal government — makes every city put fluoride in the water and they’ve been doing it since the 1950s allegedly so we have nice teeth. And the point being, mostly, fluoride in water was first done by — you know by who? The Nazis. The Nazis were the first people to put fluoride in water so we learned that from them.”