Man with Minnesota ties killed fighting for ISIS

Douglas McAuthur McCain
REUTERS/Hennepin County Sheriff
Douglas McAuthur McCain

Though the “Minnesotan” part might be a bit of a stretch. In the International Business Times, Howard Koplowitz writes about the man killed fighting for ISIS in Syria: “[Douglas McAuthur] McCain’s Facebook bio says he was born in Chicago, lived in San Diego and studied at San Diego City College. NBC News said he moved from Chicago to Minnesota before moving again to California after high school. Those who knew McCain said he was an aspiring rapper, and classmates from Robbbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope, Minnesota, said he was ‘always smiling’ and liked to joke and play basketball. ‘He was a goofball in high school,’ an unnamed classmate said. ‘Doug was a fun guy to be around. Played basketball, joked a lot, had a small sense of humor. Got along with most. … Wasn’t the best athlete, but liked to play.’”

Paul Walsh’s Strib story adds, “McCain had a few scrapes with the law while in Minnesota, according to court records. He has convictions for a minor drug possession crime, theft, disorderly conduct and driving after his license was revoked.”

You’d have thought they would have got on this years ago. MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar writes, “With all the food waste generated at the fair, there is great potential for more composting. Commercial composters can take everything from meat to dirty napkins and turn it into a rich mixture used for farming and landscaping. With that in mind, this year the fair’s trash supervisors are trying to figure out how to make the fair a zero-waste event. The fair likely is off to a good start, given the 41 tons of waste it sent to a composter last year, sanitation supervisor Cory Franzmeier said.”

From the the annals of “What Were They Thinking?”: From Cannon Falls, via KMSP-TV’s Paul Blume: “After football, the dance team is the biggest program at Cannon Falls High School — but an apparent prank gone wrong at an all-night event has the team reeling because their coach is now out of a job. … Apparently, a staff member brought cap guns into the darkened high school building where the dance team was spending the night. Fox 9 News was told it was something of a gag, perhaps to scare the girls; however, at least a few of the younger team members were terrified. Some have sought counseling, and the superintendent made it clear the district’s policy is black and white on the issue.”

Cue Norma Rae. The Wall Street Journal’s story, by Kris Maher, on the unionization of home health care workers here in Minnesota says, “The Service Employees International Union scored a victory Tuesday as home health-care workers in Minnesota voted to be represented by the labor group, even as it faces a legal challenge from opponents who say the 27,000 workers involved shouldn’t be forced to join a union. The SEIU is slated to represent Minnesota home health-care workers who are paid through Medicaid. Many of them care for their own relatives. The vote, which the SEIU called the biggest organizing win in Minnesota history, is another piece in its drive to organize the fast-growing slice of the nation’s health-care sector.”

It’s not like he’s going to need the money. Pam Louwagie of the Strib says, “Four months after deputies escorted him to prison for life for murdering two intruders, Byron Smith was back in court Tuesday to argue about the amount of restitution that he should pay the families of his victims. … Attorneys for Smith, a 66-year-old retired State Department employee, were in court to argue that because he wasn’t compensated for items that Brady stole from his house in previous burglaries, he shouldn’t have to pay $20,242 in requested restitution to Brady’s family for their funeral and other expenses. Smith is also contesting the $21,859 that Judge Douglas Anderson already ordered that he pay Kifer’s family.”

Who usually pays? Dave Shaffer of the Strib continues to follow the saga of Xcel’s $665-million refurb job on its Monticello reactor. “Top executives of Xcel Energy said Tuesday that the utility acted reasonably during the costly, five-year rebuilding of its Monticello nuclear power plant — and that customers, not investors, should pay for it. The project to extend the life of the 1970s-era plant and to boost its output was successfully completed last year. Now, utilities regulators are investigating why the price tag rose to $665 million, more than double the original estimate, in what is believed to be the largest utility cost overrun in state history.”

Are you anti-Southwest LRT? Then a Strib commentary by archaeologist James Linbeck is red meat. “Let’s be honest: Southwest light rail is all about federal money that must be spent now following the inertia of a decades-long bureaucratic process. The entities set up to receive the money and the politicians who support them are doing their best to make it palatable, but the project is not really about making Minneapolis — north, south or central — a better place to live.”

PiPress tech writer Julio Ojeda-Zapata has updated his story on the crash of tablets. “Tablets overall remain popular with an 11 percent jump in sales last quarter, according to market-research firm IDC. Apple remains the tablet leader with a 26.9 market share, followed by Samsung with 17.2 percent and Lenovo with 4.9 percent. But the tablet market was more robust in 2013 with sales increases topping 50 percent, according to IDC. Industry observers generally agree that tablet fervor has cooled since the first iPad model in 2010 created a craze.”

Lots of internets chatter about the November release of tunes Bob Dylan recorded with The Band at Big Pink, and his place in upstate New York. At Slate, Eliza Berman writes, “These 13 cuts were just a fraction of the 138 tracks recorded during that spring of 1967. Now, nearly a half century later, Dylan has announced that the recordings will be released in their entirety on Nov. 4 on ‘The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11.’ … ‘The Basement Tapes Complete’ will include remastered versions of familiar tracks like ‘Tears of Rage’ and ‘You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere’ as well as 30 songs that Rolling Stone says ‘even fanatical Dylan fans never knew existed.’” And that’s sayin’ something.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Rod Loper on 08/27/2014 - 06:51 am.

    Cost overruns at Monticello nuke plant

    Such a deal for the investors. Biggest cost overrun in utility
    history and they feel no impact. Ratepayers will, however.

  2. Submitted by ALAN BELISLE on 08/27/2014 - 09:16 am.


    Back at the start of “The Great Recession”, we all learned a new policy for investors: privatize profit, socialize debt. The guys with the big money only collect more of it, they never pay off the expenses when they can get government or customers to do it.

  3. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 08/27/2014 - 10:20 am.

    Byron Smith

    As much as I absolutely agree that Byron Smith murdered those kids in cold blood, I also believe that he doesn’t owe restitution for their funerals. It’s got nothing to do with how much those kids stole, but the fact that they were, in part, responsible for their own deaths. And, perhaps, the parents were, too. The kids were on a rampage and the parents either knew nothing about it or did nothing about it. It doesn’t justify their killing in cold blood, but neither does their killing justify a payment for the bad actions of the teens and the ignorance of their parents.

    • Submitted by Marc Post on 08/27/2014 - 05:56 pm.

      I disagree

      Mr. Smith did execute his victims in cold blood. He fired each and every shot including the ones when they were both helpless. He started the process of the burial of his victims. He should pay to finish what he started.

      And I find it shameful that you reach so far to blame the parents for the executions of their own children.

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 08/29/2014 - 02:40 pm.

        Not a reach nor shameful

        The first step of staying out of trouble is to not go looking for it. When it comes to kids, part of the responsibility goes to the parents. The whole story is a sad situation. But the fact of the matter is that the kids and their parents do have some responsibility to the situation. That it ended badly for all parties doesn’t mean that anyone is owed anything, no matter how much worse the outcome is for one than the other.

  4. Submitted by elliot rothenberg on 08/27/2014 - 01:28 pm.

    Douglas “McAuthur”

    Yeah, Brian, your hero Douglas “McAuthur” was “a real fun guy to be around.” You are attempting to glorify a murderous terrorist who was complicit in the brutal beheading of a fellow journalist. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 08/27/2014 - 04:38 pm.


      How is any of that considered a glorification? That’s what the article he was quoting (and links directly to) said.

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