Lots of ‘money equals speech’ in the Third Congressional District … for one side. GOP U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen has a 70-to-1 cash advantage over his possible Democratic opponent, the Strib’s Corey Mitchell reports. Paulsen has nearly $2 million banked for re-election … that would be decent for a U.S. Senate challenger right now. The Lake Minnetonka-area district has voted narrowly for Obama, but this isn’t a great year for the president, and high-profile Dems cashed in their chips months ago, thus this result.
Last Friday’s double homicide in the Somali community at least has the local politicians’ attention. Jon Collins at MPR reports, “Those in attendance at Monday’s meeting included representatives from Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame and Mayor Betsy Hodges’ offices, anti-violence activists from north Minneapolis and former Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher, who began educating law enforcement officials about Somali culture following his election loss in 2010. One group that wasn’t represented was the Minneapolis Police Department. In a meeting where many attendees lamented the lack of progress on investigations involving the killings of Somali-Americans, and where even Fletcher criticized the MPD for their lack of outreach to the Somali community, that absence was glaring.”
KMSP’s Tom Lyden reports on the alleged Minnesota cult leader charged with 59 sexual misconduct counts “involving two of his underage followers” over — gulp — nine years. Paul Walsh of the Strib notes Victor A. Barnard, “ministered at a youth camp in east-central Minnesota” and is a fugitive “believed to be in Washington state …. Barnard, whose last known address was in Finlayson, Minn., abused the girls starting in 2000 while they attended a Christian camp through The River Road Fellowship near Finlayson, according to the criminal complaint.”
Tonight is premiere night for the TV reboot of “Fargo.”At MPR Liala Helal says, “The movie depicted residents in a good light, Laurie Lind, 54, of Fargo, said, although she didn’t enjoy the language or graphic sexual references in the movie. They were depicted as hard-working, mostly clean-talking, salt-of-the-earth types, she said. ‘The ‘out-of-towners’ … were the vile, filthy, indecent, dishonest, criminally-minded scummy sorts. All of which, I thought, was a very funny premise to the movie,’ Lind said.” The hit men were from Green Bay, weren’t they?
Speaking of … . Robert Bianco, TV critic for USA Today says, “If you love the Coen brothers’ films, you may be disappointed to learn that they’re not actively involved in the day-to-day creation of the show. But they have put their names on it as producers, and you can see why: Hawley has channeled their style in a way that works as a tribute without coming across as cheap imitation. Hawley’s Fargo is something all its own, and yet something equally wonderful.”
In the New York Times, Alessandra Stanley says, “ ‘Fargo’ finds humor in the stunning ordinariness of Midwestern small towns, where people are uniformly even tempered and mild, bringing Jell-O salads to potlucks and saying ‘aw jeez’ and ‘heck’ when bad things happen. The snow tamps down so much: In Minnesota, even some of the killers have placid miens and pleasant manners. … Stretched over 10 episodes, the suspense lies less in whodunit than in the strange ways these quirky characters react to violence.”
And … at The Wire Esther Zuckerman writes, “The lead actors were instructed to handle the accent with care, however, and leave some of the more over-the-top inflections to performers with smaller parts. ‘There are some minor roles to the story were allotted a little bit more local color because the producers didn’t want the main people to be caricature. It was sort of like Fargo the movie minus 20 percent,’ [actor Colin Hanks] explained.”
No doubt you have your tomatoes in. The AP tells us, “Spring fieldwork is getting off to a late start because of winter’s stubborn grip on Minnesota but farmers say their yields shouldn’t be hurt as long as they can get into their fields soon after Easter.” Uh huh. And how does the Fourth of July sound to you?
Finally, there’s ammo for both sides of the (greater) LRT discussion in an Atlantic story by Yonah Freemark. “ … light rail remains the most appealing mode of new public transportation for many American cities. Billions of local, state, and federal dollars have been invested in 650 miles of new light rail lines in 16 regions, and today 144 miles of additional lines are under construction at a cost of more than $25 billion. … According to an analysis of Census data, in four of the five cities with new light rail lines, the share of regional workers choosing to ride transit to work declined, and the center city’s share of the urbanized area population declined, too.”