5/27/08 Headlines: Minnesota to Mogadishu; Minnesota Monitor profile; May economic snapshot; Anti-LGBT vilence rises



Building bridges, Minnesota to Mogadishu
by Justin Schell, TC Daily Planet
American air strikes on suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists in Somalia as well as food shortages and riots were addressed by the May 20 UBS Forum, held at the downtown St. Paul headquarters of Minnesota Public Radio. MPR’s Tom Crann joined two BBC reporters who cover Somalia in a first-time forum dialogue with the Somali community of the Twin Cities. BBC correspondent Abdi Aynte, Former Twin Cities resident, Minnesota Monitor writer, and TC Media Alliance board chair, returned to talk about what these events mean for the Somali community here in the Twin Cities. A second BBC correspondent, Mohamed Olad Hassan, participated by phone from Mogadishu.

The new(-ish) kid on the block
by James Sanna, TC Daily Planet
Opening up the front page of the Minnesota Monitor on Wednesday morning, readers saw articles on Abu Ghraib, the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, an analysis of the recently-completed state budget process for this year and a veterans’ political organization’s take on Senator John McCain’s opposition to revamping GI Bill benefits. This mix of national and local political news and coverage of local issues is a signature of the news site, and others like it in the Center for Independent Media’s slowly growing network of news websites around the country.

Economic snapshot for May 2008
by Christian E. Weller, Minnesota 2020
Large economic imbalances ignored by policymakers for years are now coming to a head and weakening the economic fortunes of America’s middle class. Even before this current crisis, families were amassing massive amounts of debt to pay for necessary consumption amid weak income growth and sharply higher prices. So now that the labor market is sliding down, families are hit with a triple whammy: they need to pay back their debt while incomes are falling and costs are accelerating. With the deck stacked against them, more and more families are having to declare bankruptcy and default on their loans. But easing the burden on families will remain difficult as long as massive trade deficits, low innovation, and long-term budget deficits due to tax cuts for the rich perpetuate economic imbalances.

Report: Sharp increase in anti-LGBT violence in Minnesota
by Andy Birkey, Minnesota Monitor
In early 2007, a man walked into a Loring Park gay bar asking for change for the bus. As he waited for his change, a patron at the bar struck up a conversation with the man. The man looking for bus fare soon realized he was in a gay bar and quickly left. A few minutes later he walked back in, approached the patron and began to beat him while shouting anti-gay slurs. It was a frightening scene. I was standing five feet away.


Party of one: Rep. Ron Erhardt’s political dilemma
by Paul Demko, Minnesota Monitor
Rep. Ron Erhardt is a man without a political party. The nine-term Edina legislator was kicked to the curb by the Republican Party after voting to overturn Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto of the transportation bill in February. Local Republicans instead endorsed, by a lopsided 71-29 margin, challenger Keith Downey.

Freewheelin’ Bike Sharing
by Lauretta T. Dawolo, KFAI
In the midst of the Twin-Cities first ever Bike Walk Week, the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul kicked off the events with the announcement of a new initiative, called Freewheelin’ that will debut during the Republican National Convention.

Five-year apprenticeship was only the beginning for Showell
by Gail Olson, The Northeaster
Woodcarver Kevin Showell said he often draws on his western roots for artistic inspiration. A native of Cody, Wyoming–“home of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center with its extensive collection of C.M. Russell’s wild west bronzes–Showell grew up camping and hiking in the mountains, searching for fossils and arrowheads and observing the wildlife.


The “assassination card”
by Richard Dechert, TC Daily Planet
Bill and Hillary Clinton have been widely criticized for playing the “race card” in their relentless campaign to recapture the White House. And now they’ve ignited a media firestorm by playing the “assassination card.” On Washington Week, reporter Karen Tumulty said this isn’t the first time they’ve played it; and on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, columnist Mark Shields said it was “absolutely reckless.”(1,2)


Local human rights award recognizes interfaith work
by Autif Sayyed, American Muslim Community Center, 5/26/08 • On May 20, the City of Eden Prairie honored American Muslim Community Center (AMCC) and three churches–Eden Prairie United Methodist Church, Pax Christi Catholic Community and Prairie Lutheran Church–with its annual Human Rights Award. The award was in recognition of our participation in planning and executing the Interfaith Worship Service Program in 2006 and 2007. These events brought together hundreds of people of different faiths to celebrate the commonalities held by all and to promote peace, tolerance, and awareness.