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GOP county chairman fired from day job for anti-Muslim rant

Plus: Savers thrift stores accused of lying about charitable donations; tough times at KFAI; Matt Kalil vs. a heckler; and more.

About the Big Stone County GOP chairman who went off on a talk radio-style rant about “muslims” as “terrorists” who ought to be “fragged”? Canned at his day job. Says Jennifer Brooks in the Strib, “The chairman of the Big Stone County Republican Party, who took to Facebook last week to issue a ‘call to arms’ against Muslims, has lost his day job. Jack Whitley ‘brought shame’ to his community and to Hardware Hank, the Ortonville store where he has worked for the past several years, his employers decided. Whitley’s Facebook posts — in which he described Muslims as ‘terrorists’ and ‘parasites’ and calling for someone to ‘frag ’em’ — came as a shock to the store’s owners, Bob and Sue Kulbeik, who were even more shocked when he stood by his remarks. ‘Everything Jack said was so contrary to the way my husband and I conduct our life and the way we believe and think that we just couldn’t tolerate it,’ said Sue Kulbeik. He was let go, she said, not because of any outside pressure, but because ‘he clearly offered no remorse’ for his statements.” You know someone will howl about a violation of Whitley’s “constitutional rights.”

On her Bluestem Prairie blog, Sally Jo Sorensen is following local reaction. She writes, “Take Big Stone County Commissioner Brent Olson. He commented on [MPR’s Bob] Collins post: I have genealogical proof that my family have been peasants for over five hundred years. I think that enables me to claim pretty solidly that I have a handle on ‘Rural Values’ and I confess, I don’t see much that I recognize in these comments. I’m shocked, appalled, and saddened beyond all measure that these comments came from Big Stone County.” Olson’s blog, “Independently Speaking” is always a good read.

Today’s head-shaker. Jennifer Bjorhus of the Strib reports, “The Savers thrift store chain is misleading the public about how much of the donations it solicits in the name of local charities, such as the Vietnam Veterans of America, actually goes to the charities. In some cases Savers is pocketing all of a donation and not giving the charity anything. That is a core finding of a compliance report Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson issued Monday that questions the relationship of the Seattle-based retail chain with such local charities as the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota, Courage Kenney Foundation, True Friends, and Vietnam Veterans of America.”

Today in our job-crushing economy. Douglas MacIntyre at 24/7 WallStreet writes, “Even during a time of robust recovery, the national unemployment rate rarely drops below 5 percent. However, in a period in which unemployment in the United States is 5.8 percent, five states have rates under 4 percent. The five states are Minnesota (3.9 percent), North Dakota (2.8 percent), Nebraska (3.4 percent), South Dakota (3.3 percent) and Utah (3.3 percent).” Wisconsin? Where “It’s working”? 5.4 percent.

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Another civic improvement. Says Tom Weber at MPR, “A major overhaul of three blocks along the Mississippi River would reshape an already signature, high-traffic section of the downtown Minneapolis riverfront. The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is heading up an effort with the Minneapolis Park Board to win support for Water Works park, a $23.8 million project stretching along three blocks of West River Parkway, from Portland to the 3rd Avenue Bridge. The proposal includes unearthing a covered canal that once fed water into the storied mills of Minneapolis lore; extending the Stone Arch Bridge to better configure biking and hiking paths; developing features including an amphitheater and new river access for kayakers; and building a pavilion to house a cafe, restrooms, and gathering spaces.”

The GleanTough(er) times at KFAI. Jon Collins of MPR says, “Minneapolis community radio station KFAI could run out of money sometime next year if it doesn’t find more funding and cut costs. The board will meet tonight to decide how to fill a more than $100,000 deficit. Board president Mary Bensman said they’ve already taken steps to cut back on staff and put more muscle behind fundraising.” Alternatively, they could switch formats and go with A: Modern country, B: Sports talk, or C: Religious programming.

Further proof of how doomed we really are: Glen Schmitt of the St. Cloud Times writes, “Most anglers are content if they have ice thick enough to walk on by Thanksgiving. This year, they got a little bonus time with ice fishing options presenting themselves by the second weekend of deer season. Although limited, ice fishing has started in many areas of the state. Lakes in northern Minnesota seem to be presenting the best ice, with 3-8 inches reported last week. But even farther south, some fishing was likely an option this weekend. In the Park Rapids area, Kevin Lempola of Delaney’s Sports reported that some open water remained in the middle of some big lakes. He also said most bays and small lakes had up to 4 inches of ice, and anglers have started walking out with portable shelters.”

It’s not like he took a tree branch to a four year-old. At Deadspin, Tom Ley has a piece up (with video) of Vikings tackle Matt Kalil letting a fan get to him after yesterday’s loss to the Packers. “At the very start of the video, you can see Kalil walk up to a Vikings fan, knock the dude’s hat off his head, and then walk away. Then someone throws something at Kalil, and misses badly. I went back and forth for a bit as to whether this is or isn’t a solid own by Kalil, and my final verdict is that it is. I remember the knock-the-hat-off-some-chump’s-head move being a devastating one back in, like, fifth grade, and I am glad to see that Kalil is still using it in the adult world. Nobody ever looks like anything other than a big loser who just got his shit owned while he’s bending down to pick up a hat that was just whacked off his head.”

Later, Matt Vensel of the Strib writes, “Kalil, however, did not apologize to the fan he got into the altercation with outside the stadium. The fan was Rhett Wade, a 25-year-old Eagan resident. On Twitter, Wade wrote that he asked Kalil, ‘Where do you want to be traded’? He also told Kalil that he would rather have Kalil’s brother, Ryan, a center for the Panthers, instead of Kalil on the Vikings. ‘Just talking. He’s just a fan, so. Not a big deal,’ Kalil said today when asked what the fan said to him. ‘He just caught me when I had a short fuse that day,’ Kalil said, later adding, ‘It’s not like I dog-cussed the guy out or anything like that.’”