Star Tribune makes embarrassing false equivalence between Ilhan Omar and Donald Trump

“Some people did something.”

That’s as far as the Star Tribune is willing to quote Ilhan Omar — speaking about 9/11 — in their editorial painting the Muslim Congresswoman as an equally guilty combatant in a “war of words” with Donald Trump. They found Omar’s words to be lacking in reverence: “the seeming nonchalance of the phrase stings.”

Here’s just slightly more context for Omar’s quote:

“Some people did something and all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.”

In other words: Just because some people did something, doesn’t mean all people should be punished. It’s the kind of plain language you would use to explain the concept of bias and bigotry to a child:

Some people are not all people.

Some Muslims are not all Muslims.

19 is not 1.8 billion.

The Star Tribune editorial board is smart enough to understand this kindergarten-level formulation. In case you’re wondering, they can’t claim not to have read the full context of Omar’s speech because they linked to it.

And while we’re talking about the importance of context, please read the entire editorial because I can’t do justice to how over-the-top terrible it is.

According to the Star Tribune, Omar and Trump are two sides of the same coin, with styles that “are divisive and invite retaliation and escalation.” Trump’s retaliation was to clip the same four words — “some people did something” — and insert Omar into a graphic video of the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 people.

As a result, Omar has reported an increase in death threats made against her. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has sought to provide Omar with additional protection from the Capitol Police. We know from experience that the President’s followers are listening when he tells them who to hate.

The Star Tribune should be embarrassed for asserting equivalence between Congresswoman Omar’s speech and President Trump’s hate-speech.

Here’s yet more context from Omar’s speech, delivered on March 23, a week after 50 Muslims were killed by a white nationalist gunman who was “deeply engaged in a global alt-right culture” on social media:

“The reason I think that many of us knew that this was going to get worse is that we finally have a leader, a world leader, in the white house who publicly says Islam hates us. Who fuels hate against Muslims. Who thinks that it’s ok to speak about a faith and a whole community in a way that is dehumanizing, vilifying, and doesn’t understand — or at least makes us want to think that he doesn’t understand — the consequences that his words might have.”

The plain truth is that Donald Trump likes to use women, people of color, and especially Muslims as punching bags. The Congresswoman happens to be all three. The New York Times has reported the obvious: Trump believes beating up on a Muslim Congresswoman is a winning political strategy that will get him reelected in 2020. He doesn’t care about the effect his words have to incite others.

The Star Tribune editorialized against Trump’s bigotry just last year (“Stop the slurs and lies, President Trump”). So this is less about propping up Trump than choosing a convenient moment to stomp on an elected official, Omar, whose politics they have always disagreed with. But in the current context this is irresponsible. This is not a case of “both sides.”

The Star Tribune ends their attack on Omar by saying she should focus on her “work” and “stop trying so hard to ‘raise hell.'”

You’ll find the correct response to that bit of advice if you’re willing to investigate the full context of Omar’s speech from March 23:

“Many people expect our community to feel like it needs to hide every time something happens. But repeatedly we have shown them that we are not to be bullied; we are not to be threatened; we are not to be terrorized; we are strong and resilient; and we will always show up to be ourselves because we know we have a right to a dignified existence and a dignified life.”

After history of anti-basketball racism, sport could make comeback at Mueller Park

In 1998 Mueller Park’s basketball court was cut in half after decades of racist complaints about basketball in the park. Over the years, neighbors made connections between basketball and crime; basketball and drug dealing; basketball and discomfort with strangers in the neighborhood. Concerned residents were quoted in the neighborhood newspaper saying things like: “ruffians”… “many of whom I do not recognize”… “descending on our park by the carload”… “music on full blast.”

A Park Board representative in the early 1980s admitted the obvious: “I do think some racism is involved.”

Continue reading “After history of anti-basketball racism, sport could make comeback at Mueller Park”

Worst of Wedge LIVE 2018: A Year of “Disarray”

We saw a noticeable uptick in local gaffes in 2018. Some would attribute this disarray to the fact Minneapolis elected five new members to the City Council in 2017. Personally, I happen to subscribe to the old adage: “to bloop is human.” These bloopers served as the basis for Wedge LIVE’s least popular new segment in 2018.

Continue reading “Worst of Wedge LIVE 2018: A Year of “Disarray””

2018: A Look Back at the Year that Was

2018 was a big year. The year of Minneapolis 2040. The year of the Red Yard Sign. The year Wedge LIVE was declared “Best Website in the Twin Cities.” The year that an elected official tried to shut down this website by attempting to trademark the name “Wedge Live.” The year that same elected official couldn’t stop barking “Balls!” during meetings at city hall.

Let’s take a look back at some of 2018’s top local moments.

Continue reading “2018: A Look Back at the Year that Was”

The Whole Story on Minneapolis 2040

We’re being flooded with national takes about what happened in our city last week. Esquire magazine is writing about zoning in Minneapolis. The New York Times says the city has taken a “bold move to address its affordable-housing crisis and confront a history of racist housing practices.” Coastal elites are saying we’ve made “zoning history,” becoming the first major American city to abolish single-family zoning — and the third major US city to eliminate minimum parking requirements. Or, maybe we haven’t done anything very radical at all: Minneapolis is just “welcoming back historic, modest housing types: duplexes and triplexes.” 

The truth about what happened last week is that it was six years in the making. How did we get here? Who is responsible? Where will we park? Like nearly all stories worth telling, this one begins in the Wedge neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Continue reading “The Whole Story on Minneapolis 2040”

Wedge LIVE prevails in legal action

The legal effort to defend Wedge LIVE from Carol Becker has ended in victory. In a settlement reached late Monday, and fully executed yesterday, Becker has acknowledged my ownership of the name “Wedge LIVE.” Additionally, Becker has agreed that she will “never assert any claim to these marks in the future.” Other details of the settlement agreement must be kept confidential.

As a result, I have dismissed my lawsuit against Becker that was previously pending in Hennepin County District Court.

Continue reading “Wedge LIVE prevails in legal action”

Judge denies request to delay Mpls 2040 vote

After a morning hearing, Hennepin County district court Judge Joseph R. Klein took a few hours to decide not to delay a vote on the Minneapolis 2040 comprehensive plan. He denied a request for a temporary restraining order from an anti-2040 group recently formed under the name Smart Growth Minneapolis. The group has been planning a legal action to stop the plan for months.

The City Council’s final vote on the plan will happen tomorrow as scheduled. The lawsuit may still go forward. Continue reading “Judge denies request to delay Mpls 2040 vote”

Police divestment a focus of Minneapolis budget hearing

At yesterday’s 2019 budget hearing a large contingent of folks showed up to Minneapolis City Hall to ask the City Council to divest 5% from police, and invest in community instead. Among them was Wedge resident Andrew Beeman:

“I’m also a public health worker. I can tell you an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Let’s think about some of that preventative work we can do.”

Mayor Frey’s budget provides $40 million in funding for affordable housing programs. It also includes a 2.8% increase in funding for the police department, for a total of $184.5 million. The Mayor has proposed a total budget for 2019 of $1.55 billion. The City Council will amend and vote on Mayor Frey’s proposed 2019 budget next week. Continue reading “Police divestment a focus of Minneapolis budget hearing”

Hennepin County District 2 Candidates Field Questions from the Business Community

At an early morning candidate forum hosted by the Northeast Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, Irene Fernando and Blong Yang fielded questions on matters of concern to the business community in Hennepin County’s District 2.

It was way too early to livetweet, so here are some things that stood out to me. Continue reading “Hennepin County District 2 Candidates Field Questions from the Business Community”