Great. Just great. KARE-TV’s coverage of the terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya, includes this news: “Sources within Al Shabaab have released the names of nine of the alleged attackers in the Nairobi, Kenya shopping mall massacre, including two people from Minnesota, according to CNN. Al Shabaab told CNN that the names are on the Shabaab twitter account. That account has now been closed down, but CNN has obtained the names. CNN reports Ahmed Mohamed Isse, 22, of St. Paul, and Abdifatah Osman Keenadiid, 24, of Minneapolis, were among the names listed.”
And as if there were any doubt what the reaction to that news would sound like, Scott Johnson at Powerline is saying: “Yet we know amazingly little about the Somali community, probably because we are afraid to ask the relevant questions. We know they are mostly Muslim — we can see the hijabs, we are familiar with the many local controversies to which their faith has given rise over the past 10 years — but are they loyal residents or citizens of the United States? In the conflict between the United States and the Islamist forces with which we are contending, whose side are they on? … I’ll leave the Minnesota connection a question at the moment, but it really should be enough to make one wonder whether the immigration spigot should remain wide open while the FBI struggles to get to the bottom of the al Shabab pipeline from Minneapolis to Mogadishu.”
Speaking of bad company … The AP files again from Leith, N.D.: “Members of a white supremacist group plan to visit the small North Dakota town of Leith in support of a man who’s been buying up property there in hopes of developing a white enclave. The National Socialist Movement planned a town hall meeting … Leader Jeff Schoep says in a statement that the trip is ‘a gesture of goodwill, as we plant the seeds of national socialism in North Dakota.’ He says the group wants to support Craig Cobb and ensure Cobb isn’t driven out of the community.” Periodically, a good friend of mine will roll his eyes and ask no one in particular, “Has the whole world gone mad?”
Someone loves standardized testing … Christopher Magan of the PiPress writes: “The pushback against standardized testing is getting a little pushback of its own. An advertising campaign unveiled this month by the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses urges parents to support statewide proficiency testing in math, reading and science. Each year, students take Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments in these subjects to see if they are meeting state benchmarks. … Business leaders were critical of the DFL-controlled Legislature’s move during the last legislative session to eliminate the Graduation-Required Assessments for Diploma, or GRAD, exams.”
She wants her name off the story … Mitchell Prothero of the McClatchy papers reports: “A freelance contributor to the Associated Press whose byline appeared on a controversial story that alleged Syrian rebels had gassed themselves in an accident told McClatchy this weekend that she did not write the article and has been seeking to have her name removed from it since it was published by a small, Minnesota-based website. Dale Gavlak, a longtime contributor from the Middle East for AP, released an e-mail statement to McClatchy and several blogs on Saturday denying any role in reporting the story, which was published Aug. 29 by Mint Press News, an operation founded last year by a St. Cloud State University graduate and which describes itself with the phrase ‘independent advocacy journalism.’ The article carried Gavlak’s byline along with that of Yahya Ababneh, a Jordanian Arab-language journalist. The story likely would have gone unnoticed in pre-Internet days. But thanks to social media, it’s become a crucial piece of evidence for those arguing that the rebels, not the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, were most likely responsible for an Aug. 21 chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs.”
Prominent local law firm Leonard Street and Deinard is merging. David Phelps of the Strib says: “Leonard, Street and Deinard, a legal fixture in Minneapolis for the last 91 years, is merging with the Kansas City law firm Stinson Morrison Hecker to form one of the 100 largest law firms in the United States. The new firm will be called Stinson Leonard Street, with major operations in each of the two cities where the firms are headquartered. The merger is effective Jan. 1, 2014. … According to the legal consulting firm Altman Weil, U.S. law firms are on pace for more than 70 mergers in 2013, the most since 2008 at the start of the Great Recession.” Will they offer 50 percent off standard hourly rates to celebrate the occasion?
Phelps also reminisces on the fifth anniversary of the Tom Petters meltdown: “The case could have been written in Hollywood. It involved whistleblower Deanna Coleman and fast-acting federal prosecutors who wired her to surreptitiously record incriminating conversations. There also was ex-con Larry Reynolds, who came from the witness protection program and, of course, Petters, the charming up-and-coming businessman who schmoozed with some of the best and the brightest in the Twin Cities business community.” All of whom were stunned … stunned … that there was something smelly about his gaudy returns.
Let’s hear it for the wasps … Elizabeth Baier of MPR writes: “Three years after state and federal officials first released thousands of tiny stingless wasps on an island in the Mississippi River to combat the destructive emerald ash borer, researchers are using a new technique to measure the effectiveness of the wasps. Rob Venette, a research biologist for the U.S. Forest Service in St. Paul, has set up a system of cages draped with very fine mesh around two dozen infested ash trees at the park. The mesh keeps the wasps from escaping. Venette plans to return to the site this fall to see if the wasps have attacked the emerald ash borer. In the spring, he’ll check to see how they survived the winter. If it works, it will be the first time researchers recover the wasps.”
Not your typical sermon … . Tom Scheck of MPR reports: “A Maplewood priest told parishioners at the Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sunday that he’s taking a leave of absence after an allegation surfaced that he had inappropriate contact with a woman. During Sunday mass, the Rev. Mark Huberty, pastor of the church, characterized the situation as a ‘serious concern.’ ‘An accusation was recently made against me by a woman who alleges inappropriate touching, which I deny,’ Huberty said. Several parishioners appeared surprised by the news. Some were seen crying after Huberty made the announcement. Huberty said he’s cooperating fully with investigations being conducted by police and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”