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Don Samuels on Rep. Omar: ‘You’re Not Cute Enough. You Don’t Dress Well Enough. Nothing About You Is Attractive Enough.’

Plus a new profile of the Pillow Man, public $ to allegedly crooked contractors, and bakeoff litigiousness in today's Flyover news roundup.

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Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Yikes, Don...

When former Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels announced his 2024 primary rematch against U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar earlier this month, he told WCCO Radio that the Fifth District congresswoman “hasn’t helped herself... she has made missteps.” (Samuels fell just 2% shy of a DFL primary win against Omar last year.) That last election saw Samuels make a cringey gaffe when, confronted by a critic about the accidental 2021 drowning of a North Side child who was under his supervision, he tweeted "Can’t swim but can govern."

Now the veteran politician is back with more unfortunate things to say. Appearing on The Break Down podcast last week, Samuels responded to a question about Omar's "lack of townhalls" with:

To see government not be responsive like that, to the people that pay them, it is offensive to me. And to not be responsive and available to those people, to meet with them and find out what their concerns are and to answer their tough questions? To not get back to people on the phone? Who do you think you are? And who do you think you're working for? You're not cute enough, you don't dress well enough, nothing about you is attractive enough to overcome that deficit.

Co-host Becky Scherr, a former staffer for U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, bravely pushed back by stating… just kidding! She said she "completely agrees" with the aggressively sexist critique. (The pod's other co-host, Michael Brodkorb, is a longtime GOP strategist.)

We reached out to Omar's team for comment, and received the following statement from the congresswoman:

This is beneath the dignity of any adult, let alone someone seeking public office. It is reminiscent of the worst kinds of lies and misogyny that we are hearing from people like Donald Trump, who think they can say anything about women and get away with it. Like Trump, instead of engaging in an adult debate, Don relies on lies and sexism. We need civility now more than ever and Don’s behavior should be alarming to anyone who agrees.

Jeremy Slevin, a top Omar advisor, defended his boss's history of townhall events via Twitter. The Samuels campaign didn't respond to our request for comment. H/T to Wedge LIVE! for unearthing that clip.

Further Documenting the Pillow Guy's Downfall

After embedding for multiple days with Minnesota pillow magnate/election conspiracist Mike Lindell, the Minnesota Reformer's Deena Winter is back with her report. The whole thing is a whirlwind dive into the life of a very loud Evangelical Christian businessman who admits “my money is gone” but vows "they’ll never stop my voice." (You can hear that voice all over FrankSpeech, Lindell's new social media/video platform that promises unnamed "big-name hosts.”)

The newsiest nugget, per Reformer editor J. Patrick Coolican, might be the almost $9.5 million in IRS tax liens against Lindell's Texas home; they're related to a $10 million loss he claimed on an expired supply of oleandrin, a poisonous plant extract he had hoped to market as a fringe COVID treatment. Dedicated Viraluae readers might want to know if Lindell provided closure on the hard, Hardee's-related FBI raid Qs we asked him last year, but he's sticking to his guns—“Fact check: It was a Hardee’s not a Wendy’s,” he corrects Steve Bannon at one point.

In any event, it's well worth your while to read Winter's entire adventure with Lindell.

Are Minnesota Taxpayers "Subsidizing Abuse"?

Yes, according to a new report issued earlier this month by North Star Policy Action. Workday Magazine's Isabela Escalona studied the findings from Subsidizing Abuse: How Public Financing Fuels Exploitation in Affordable Housing Construction, which conclude that at least $84 million in state and municipal funds earmarked for affordable housing went to contractors with sordid track records. "Due to little oversight and labor provisions, developers are benefiting from the use of contractors on these projects that cut corners and underpay workers," Escalona writes. We're talking allegations of wage theft, labor trafficking, and sexual abuse from around a half-dozen regional subcontractors named in the report, alongside a trio of affiliated Minnesota development firms. State Rep. Mike Howard (DFL-Richfield) describes North State Policy Action's findings as "jaw-dropping" and challenged the Legislature to “take action to ensure that when we build affordable homes we aren’t doing so on the backs of Minnesota workers.” 

Bake-Off® vs. the Brits

If you're anything like members of my household, you can't get enough of congenial cooking gameshow The Great British Baking Show. But did you know the U.K. program (which is distributed in the U.S. through Netflix), is known as The Great British Bake Off in its home country? And that dastardly lawyers from Minneapolis-based Pillsbury Co. are to blame for our slightly inferior name stateside? Loudly sounding off on the matter last week via Rachel Bilson's Broad Ideas podcast: Bake Off co-judge Prue Leith. "Just remembering to say Baking Show is difficult, because we say Bake Off," reports Leith, who judges alongside the devilish Paul Hollywood. "And the reason we can't say 'bake off' in the States is because Pillsbury owns the word 'Bake Off.' They don't use it, but they won't let us use it… I suppose one day they think they'll cash in."

To which Bilson and co-host Olivia Allen respond "What?" and "Wow!" You ain't wrong, ladies. But Leith is wrong when she states that Pillsbury isn't currently using the registered term for its cooking contest that dates back to 1949; the Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest doesn't have a dedicated broadcast partner these days, true, but that didn't stop Fairfield, Ohio's Laurie McKenna from winning last year's untelevised installment with her Air Fryer Greek Crescent Nachos (recipe here). Here's hoping Pillsbury's legal goon squad doesn't crack down on New York City band the Hold Steady for referencing their precious Bake-Off in the lyrics to "Entitlement Crew."

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