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What’s Up With That Suspect, Ubiquitous MN Anti-Abortion Ad?

Plus the Times spends 36 hours here, bosses sue for the right to bash unions, and bollard-mania in today's Flyover news roundup.

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Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of important, overlooked, and/or interesting Minnesota news stories.

"My Pro-Choice Friends Don't Even Support That!"

If you're anything like Viraluae's Jay Boller, you watch a shitload of Bar Rescue reruns via Pluto TV while doing busywork on your laptop. (There’s an entire channel dedicated to ‘em!) As such, you've likely been subjected to a relentless onslaught of the following anti-abortion ad, which features two increasingly fretful women, both of whom are receiving distressing real-time messaging from their phones and the TV.

"My pro-choice friends don't even support that!" one woman exclaims, having been told seconds earlier that state lawmakers champion “abortion up to birth" of healthy babies with healthy moms. The video has been viewed over 1 million times on YouTube alone; it’s unclear what’s in those tumblers.  

The ad isn’t unique to Pluto TV’s smart and handsome audience. As explored in this debunking WCCO story, the spot from Minnesota Citizens Concerned For Life (MCCL) is “taking over Minnesota airwaves” with its message that our state has the “most extreme abortion law in the country."

Turns out—and we pray you’re sitting down for this—MCCL is playing it a little fast ‘n’ loose with the facts in its sensationalized one-minute clip, ‘CCO reports. Of the tens of thousands of abortions performed here between 2008 and 2022, the station found only two occurred between 31 and 36 weeks. WCCO calls MCCL’s claims “misleading,” and last year the very MinnPost article the ad parades as a citation features DFLers dismissing similar claims as “hyperbolic and misleading.” Striking (likely defunct) viability standards acts as a "double layer of protection" against future restrictive court rulings, according to state Sen. Kelly Morrison (DFL-Deephaven), a lawmaker/doctor who describes late-term abortions as “exceedingly rare." Read Walker Orenstein’s report for a nuanced, honest dissection of what Minnesota's legal fortifications to reproductive rights mean in practice.

The NYT Spends 36 Hours in MPLS

Minneapolis is the latest city to get the New York Times "36 Hours" treatment, the popular series in which the Gray Lady sends writers to various locales to create a jam-packed itinerary for other travelers. Our installment comes from travel contributor Ingrid K. Williams, who's penned 36 Hours lists for a number of destinations including Milan, Majorca, and Durham, North Carolina. And while we clicked that link ready to quibble—lord, were we ready to quibble—it's honestly a pretty great to-do list.

Skipping MOA for Open Book? Great advice. Taking a spin around the lakes? A no-brainer. Gallery-hopping before grabbing a beer at Indeed? I mean, I’ve never done it, but it does sound nice. And as for grabbing a breakfast sandwich at Marty’s Deli, or dinner at Owamni, or a cocktail at Meteor? We would (and have) recommended all of the above.

Minnehaha Creek and Falls get snubbed—we’d have tried to sneak in a Sea Salt visit—and you could of course argue over little things. (Is First Ave "cavernous”? Is Pryes "enormous”?) A braver list maker may have told folks to go to Jimmy’s outright rather than linking to a random assortment of Northeast dives, and including both Kim’s and Bronto Bar feels like a cop-out when there are other fun bars and restaurants—Wrecktangle, perhaps, or LITT—in that neck of the woods. 

Overall, though, we’ve gotta give it up to Ms. Williams: This would be a perfectly delightful way to spend 36 hours in Minneapolis. 

Does Your Boss Have a Constitutional Right to Bash Unions?

During its 2023 annus mirabilis session, the DFL-controlled Minnesota legislature passed a series of pro-labor regulations. Among them was a law prohibiting companies from holding “captive audience” anti-union presentations that employees were required to attend. What might such a presentation look like? Let's revisit this famed video once shown by locally beloved anti-union corp Target starring future Minneapolis city attorney and current executive director of Minnesota's new Cannabis Expungement Board Jim Rowader.

As you might expect, many employers are none too keen on… well, doing anything they’re told, and as Max Nesterak reports for the Minnesota Reformer, the Minnesota Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, the National Federation of Independent Business, and Laketown Electric Corporation are now suing the state to stop the law from going into effect. According to Adam Hanson of the MCABC, the new state law is “essentially… the same type of thing” as Florida’s notorious “Stop WOKE Act." That law, which restricted companies' ability to hold DEI trainings, was struck down by a federal court.

A similar state law in Oregon has survived a court challenge; at the federal level, such mandatory union-bashing information sessions are permitted. However, the National Labor Relations Board's current general council has asked the board to change that.

An Ode to Bollards

Dan Marshall over at Streets.MN has a plan—nay, a manifesto—for how the city can make the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The answer: bollards. Give us more concrete bollards, put them up everywhere, and tell the drivers to “deal with it” when they fuck up their cars driving into them. “What we really need are consequences in the form of highly visible, immovable objects that will totally mess up any errant driver’s Cadillac Escalade,” he writes. His solution calls for bollards everywhere, including outside restaurants, parks, bus stops, churches, and anywhere else people tend to congregate. Target already does this with its giant red concrete balls, he argues, so let’s follow suit.

As someone who watches folks, including cops, drive directly over the plastic/tin bollards on the pedestrian-heavy sidewalk outside my place, I gotta say I love the idea of replacing them with something more substantial. So far, the only deterrent that actually worked was this couch someone left outside last summer.

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