Russian-linked Facebook activity linked to Minneapolis protests

REUTERS/Adam Bettcher
Demonstrators protesting the shooting death of Philando Castile gathered in front of the police department in St. Anthony, July 10, 2016.

Deepa Seetharaman of The Wall Street Journal reports, “Workers behind Russian-linked Facebook Inc. accounts helped organize or finance real-life events before and after the 2016 election, often working directly with U.S. activists and playing both sides of the same hot-button issue — even on the same day. In July 2016, as outrage swelled over fatal shootings in Dallas and Minneapolis, alleged social-media agitators tied to Russia worked quickly to capitalize on the emotionally charged atmosphere. Workers linked to a Russia-based firm organized two gatherings, both for July 10: In Dallas, a ‘Blue Lives Matter’ rally honored the five police officers slain there on July 7; and near Minneapolis, nearly 300 people rallied in support of Philando Castile, a man fatally shot by a police officer during a traffic stop.” 

Finally, a little compliance around this place. Says Don Davis of the Forum News Service, “Minnesota farmers are not expected to have to worry too much about the buffer police. … ‘At the end of the day, it will not require enforcement,’ state Rep. Paul Torkelson, R-Hanska, said Monday as state officials announced a 95 percent statewide compliance rate.”

What?! Bill the actual prices you quote? That’s crazy talk. Says an AP story, “Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson says a court order requires CenturyLink Inc. to disclose its prices to customers and stick with the quoted prices. Swanson says the order was filed Monday in her ongoing lawsuit against CenturyLink. She sued CenturyLink in July, alleging that the Louisiana-based company billed higher amounts than its sales agents quoted customers for internet and television services and then refused to honor the lower price.” That’s like a dagger to the heart of the American telecom industry.

RIP Roger Erickson. The Strib’s Pat Pheifer and Karen Zamora write: “Roger Erickson, a WCCO-AM radio legend who offered generations of Minnesotans a laugh over their morning coffee and commute, the news of the day and school-closing information on snowy days, died Monday. Erickson, with his deep and melodious voice, and “his other half,” Charlie Boone, were the ‘Boone and Erickson’ morning show at 830 AM on the radio dial for 38 years. The two were the longest running on-air duo on a single station in American broadcasting, they said in a 2013 video interview. For decades, more than half of local radios would tune into Boone and Erickson’s show.”

Not the biggest bang in the IQ dept. In the West Central Tribune, Andrew Hazzard reports, “A Minnesota man was charged in connection with a stockpile of pipe bombs discovered in rural Red Lake County after deputies found a receipt with his name on it with the explosives. Charging documents filed against 41-year-old Eric James Reinbold describe a plastic tote bin containing six steel pipes of various lengths … . Among the pipe bomb materials, investigators also found a receipt for fuses containing Reinbold’s name and address, according to the criminal complaint.” Probably for tax purposes.

The fight over Prince’s money may last longer than he did. Says the AP, “Three heirs of Prince are asking a judge to remove the company that is managing his estate. The late music superstar’s half siblings Sharon, Norrine and John R. Nelson filed a motion Friday to remove Comerica Bank & Trust as estate executor. The three are upset that Comerica recently removed the contents of Prince’s vault, including master tapes of unreleased music, from his Paisley Park studio complex in Minnesota and shipped the materials to California.”

More like don’t-want-to-see lamprey, amiright? MPR’s Dan Kraker has the good story of a bad creature: “It looks like a giant leech. About 18 inches long, an inch in diameter, with a circular mouth lined with rows of teeth that suction to the sides of fish. And it has a needle-sharp, rasping tongue that bores a hole through the scales, so it can suck out the blood and fluids. Meet the sea lamprey, fittingly known as the ‘vampire of the Great Lakes.’ It was one of the earliest aquatic nonnative species to invade the U.S., long before zebra mussels and Asian carp garnered headlines. And it’s been one of the most destructive invasives. … But in one of the few invasive species success stories, scientists have devised a way to keep sea lamprey largely in check in the Great Lakes, which has allowed the lake trout population to rebound.”

Hot take alert: The Strib editorial board is in favor of allowing Robert Mueller’s investigation to proceed. “What is vital now is that Mueller and his investigators continue their work, tuning out the pressure on both sides to reach some preordained conclusion. … Mueller and his team have a difficult task. They are obliged to go where the facts take them, investigate every lead, check every loophole. The noise of today’s political climate, vastly amplified by the nonstop thrum of social media and those paid to inflame passions on all sides, is hard to tune out.” Both sides, huh?

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