Firefighter suspended for flying Confederate flag at Albert Lea parade

At what point did this seem like a good idea? WCCO-TV’s story on the contrarian firefighter, filed by Al Schoch says, “There may be repercussions from the parade Friday in southern Minnesota where a Confederate battle flag was flown from a participating fire truck. Brian Nielsen, a southern Minnesota volunteer firefighter, is suspended after flying a Confederate flag from the back of a Hartland Fire Department truck during Albert Lea’s Third of July Parade. Nielsen is also an EMS with the department, whose chief suspended him on Sunday. He said the chief is upset about all the negative attention the town is getting, and if the department asks him to resign, he’ll do it.”

Related. Nico Savidge of The Wisconsin State Journal writes, “A Wisconsin prison guard who posted a joke on Facebook last year about lynchings that referenced President Barack Obama received a one-day suspension and was required to attend training, according to documents obtained by the State Journal. Correctional Officer Collin Visser posted in December a photo of Christmas tree ornaments with the president’s likeness accompanied by the text, ‘Look guys. Obama Christmas ornaments. Suddenly it’s legal to hang a black man from a tree again!’” And you said there were no conservative comedians.

If you have to ask: Andy Greder and Frederick Melo of the PiPress are tasked with deciding if St. Paul is just a pawn in the MLS stadium game. “American sports history, says Andrei Markovits, is littered with examples of professional leagues pitting one city against another to get the best stadium deal. Has St. Paul been drawn into such a scenario with Major League Soccer? Markovits, an author and professor of political science at the University of Michigan, believes it has.” So who wins? The city that gets the team or the one that doesn’t have to pony up for the stadium?

The Libertarian view would be that you and I can build our own roads. In an editorial, the Strib “sputters” at the fecklessness of the last legislature. “There’s wide agreement that transportation is critically short on money — at least $7 billion to $11 billion short over the next decade, and perhaps another $40 billion short in the decade after that if the state wants a competitive, world-class system. But the conversation rarely gets that far. It’s pre-empted by a knee-jerk reaction against paying what’s required to raise the money. Quickly, the entire issue becomes ‘a higher gas tax’ without ever considering what it would buy, or without understanding that this unfortunate ‘politics of no’ also cuts off the metro sales-tax revenue needed for transit.” But both sides are equally at fault, right?

So Lambert Deep Thoughts, Inc. will get that new Audi tax free? Says Dee DePass in the Strib, “After a two-year delay, Minnesota’s much hated 1989 sales tax rebate program for capital equipment purchases ended last week. The change is a major coup for small businesses and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which lobbied hard for legislators to rescind a law many considered an unnecessary hardship. Under the law, Minnesota factories had to pay sales tax, file returns and wait months to get rebates on every piece of equipment bought or repaired. According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, about 2,000 factories spend $4 billion each year on new equipment and repair parts and then shell out $270 million for a sales tax they eventually get back.”

The Glean

Unlikely though it may be that you’ve spent a lot of time worrying about businesses on Lake Minnetonka: WCCO-TV’s Rachel Slavik tells us, “Record rain turned all of Lake Minnetonka into a no-wake zone for the first time ever last year. Lakes and rivers around the state also had similar restrictions. The slow going made for one of the quietest holidays on the water. ‘I think last year it scared a lot of people away because they took it as the lake is closed,’ Blake Alguire of St. Louis Park said. This year, weather isn’t slowing anyone down.” Hmmm. Not quite an I-Team story.

“Raise-gate” dithers on. Says Don Davis of the Forum News Service, “As Republicans blasted Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s decision to give his commissioners pay raises, Democrats reminded Minnesotans that an early 2015 deal negotiated by House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, allowed the governor to hand out the raises. The GOP, meanwhile, placed the blame on spending $900,000 on higher pay at the Democrats’ feet. Yes, the episode was subtitled, ‘The Blame Game’. … Republicans would disagree that they ‘specifically authorized’ the raises, but many Republicans did vote for a bill that gave the governor one day, July 1, to provide raises.”

But hey, a couple million for pro golf: Let’s get ‘er done. Says the AP, “The 2016 Ryder Cup was awarded to the Hazeltine National Golf Club near Minneapolis years ago, however its promoters quietly recently tried to wedge money into Minnesota’s new state budget for logistical assistance and sponsorships of the event. Although their efforts fell short — the Legislature concluded its session after passing a budget without any money for the prestigious tournament — organizers are expected to continue to push for state assistance before next year’s event. Their pitch — detailed in a private meeting held days before lawmakers adjourned their 2015 legislative session — ran from $600,000 to $2 million depending on the state’s involvement and willingness to absorb security costs. Potential benefits would range from the use of a private chalet for tourism and business promotion to Minnesota-themed ads run on international TV to hundreds of event tickets.” I love the smell of “major league” in the morning.

Look out your window. Pigs may be flying. The never exactly progressive Forum News Service editorial board writes about Minnesota’s #1 ranking in that CNBC poll on best states for business. “The rankings confirm that business growth is about more than low taxes. Job training and the amenities that higher taxes fund make a difference. North Dakota, with low taxes, does well. Minnesota, with higher taxes, does better.”

Walker Watch. Our closest presidential candidate is off to kind of a rough start. Sabrina Weiss at the website Refinery 29 explains, “‘In America we celebrate July 4th not April 15 because in America we celebrate our independence from the gov’t, not our dependence on it,’ [Walker Tweeted]. The results might not have been what his campaign planned. That set off a whole round of replies, both scholarly and snarky. The document signed by our founding fathers, they pointed out, was not a declaration of anarchy. It was a carefully drafted first step to forming a new government, separate from the British Monarchy.” A few blowback Tweets:

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by James Coleman on 07/06/2015 - 12:14 pm.

    the Confederate flag distraction

    I think we should applaud Brian Nielsen’s conviction for standing against the tide of popular opinion. Redacting the Confederate flag from our history is a distraction created by politicians who have proven themselves incapable of effecting any real change that would alleviate the systemic racism that is still plaguing our nation 150 years after the end of the Civil War.

    • Submitted by jason myron on 07/06/2015 - 01:24 pm.

      Good point

      However, I doubt Mr. Nielsen’s intent was to make a statement about systematic racism. From what I saw of his interview, I doubt that he could even grasp the concept. Unfortunately, Mr. Nielsen’s “statement” didn’t go any deeper than a desire to stick it to the liberals.

    • Submitted by Henk Tobias on 07/06/2015 - 01:37 pm.

      No one is redacting the Confederate Flag.

      Making up your own argument and then knocking it down is a simpleton’s task, isn’t it? No one is trying to redact the Confederate Flag from our history, in fact the Minnesota Historical Society is in possession of the Virginia’s Confederate Battle flag. I was captured by Minnesota’s fighting men at Gettysburg. Virginia wants it back, but we’re keeping. We’re keeping it in a museum where it belongs and where it commemorates the brave Minnesotans who died fighting the destruction of our country by those who would put slave ownership over all else.

      No, no one is advocating redacting the flag from history, but rather, relegating it to its proper place, a bloody stain to be displayed in museums.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/06/2015 - 05:48 pm.

      What If . . .

      Suppose Mr. Nielsen’s stand “against the tide of popular opinion” was displaying a flag with a swastika. Would you say that “Redacting the Nazi flag from our history is a distraction created by politicians who have proven themselves incapable of effecting any real change that would alleviate the systemic racism and antisemitism that is still plaguing our nation 70 years after the end of the Second World War?”

      I’m afraid I don’t see the distinction.

    • Submitted by Dan Hintz on 07/06/2015 - 09:56 pm.

      Redacting History

      The term “redacting” means that you are editing or censoring history. But the confederate flag has never been part of Minnesota history. You could make this argument if you lived in the deep south, but not here. That flag has never stood for anything here except the trailors that good Minnesotans died fighting against in the Civil War. By claiming what he did was because of history, Nielsen is the one distorting history.

      There is only one reason to raise that flag here: racism.

  2. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 07/06/2015 - 01:15 pm.

    Don’t they teach history in Albert Lea?

    No self-respecting Minnesotan would fly that flag knowing the sacrifices made by Minnesotans during the civil war, not to mention the history of racism and hate, sorry “southern pride”, that it represents.

    Look up 1st Minnesota Volunteers. They took 82% casualties in a singe battle. Again, NO SELF-RESPECTING Minnesotan should fly that flag.

  3. Submitted by richard owens on 07/06/2015 - 03:31 pm.

    NASCAR attracts those who think its “cute”.

    It is STILL a hostile and postured symbol, full of self-righteous White Supremacy, and with an implied thinly veiled threat. Maybe some White people don’t know it.

    Minnesota is not free of these types, and our own history has been pretty whitewashed.

    The 1920 Duluth lynchings, the many years that only certain places in White society a Black man could work. Even fewer places he could sleep.

    Segregation was here, without the signage.

    Klan activity was here, but without the plantations. Our towns are ashamed of those days.

    We can be proud of Hubert H. Humphrey and LBJ, but it was Humphrey in 1964 who went into the smoke filled rooms and decided they would not seat the SNCC organized delegates, including Fanny Lou Hamer. They would seat the White contingent. ouch. Some DFLers were furious. Others didn’t even see a choice.

    [wikipedia] “With the help of Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Party leader Walter Mondale, Johnson engineered a “compromise” in which the national Democratic Party offered the MFDP two at-large seats, which allowed them to watch the floor proceedings but not take part. The MFDP refused this “compromise,” which permitted the undemocratic, white-only, regulars to keep their seats and denied votes to the MFDP.”

    I thank MN for her public schools and enlightened politics.

    The Dixie Flag the MN 1st captured is REAL.

    We can be proud. But not TOO proud.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 07/06/2015 - 08:19 pm.

    …and Nielson……

    …to you, ….’at what point did that seem like a good idea’ ?

Leave a Reply