Minnesota vs. Donald Trump: Our shaky relationship with POTUS

Minnesota vs. Donald Trump: Our shaky relationship with POTUS

After Minnesota put Trump in third place on Super Tuesday, it was clear that the relationship between our fair state and the future president wasn’t going to be defined by sunshine and roses. Then Trump, on one of his final campaign stops, criticized our East African community. He made unverifiable claims about Minnesota’s immigrant population from an airport hangar at MSP. He barely set foot in the state, and he certainly didn’t stop to eat at Fasika (which should be enough to change anyone’s mind on the issue). We Minnesotans were none too pleased. Now that Trump is officially President of the United States, it’s clear that things aren’t going to get any better. Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges has defied Trump’s authoritarian order on sanctuary cities, as was reported by MPR 1/25/17. Minneapolis won’t drop its policy that blocks police from reporting immigration violations. And then from St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman across the river, “Not only has our current police chief, but police chiefs past, and police chiefs across the country have made it very clear that they need to be able to build trusting relationships in immigrant communities,” he said. “We have the ability to make those determinations on a local level.” And why do we use the word “authoritarian?” Certainly not to be biased; not to join the ranks of media dismissed by Trump, and certainly not to use something the current administration likes to call “alternative facts.” It comes from another article, written by longtime Minnesota Public Radio correspondent Frank Langfitt, about the anti-information tactics of Donald Trump and co. The “Counselor to the President of the United...
On the train: Tracks from the past to the present and into the future

On the train: Tracks from the past to the present and into the future

When the Stourbridge Lion steam locomotive rolled down train tracks for the first time, it was moving very quickly toward the future. It signified a new era for the United States. And by the time the golden spike took one last whack at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory in 1869 to connect sea to shining sea in America for the first time in history, the train had already contributed to rapid growth and a blooming domestic economy. But the train shouldn’t be lost to history. Quite the opposite, actually, as we have seen in countries around the world. The train is a clean, dignified way to travel, and rail travel only continues to improve. Well, in most countries, anyway. The train is still chugging toward the future. It’s the United States, it seems, that is falling behind.   On the train For trains to gain popularity, we have to understand the role has played, and continues to play, in the lives of people; how much better it is to travel by train than to drive, or to fly. The train has of course been romanticized in literature and film for years. The meeting of Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke while passing through Austria in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise. The poetry of Philip Larkin’s Like The Trains Beat. The dreams of American ancestors leaning their heads against the glass as scenery rolls past, untouched, beautiful.   Scenery shoots past the windows. We wobble ever so slightly through the gangways as the train rocks side to side. The dining car smells of sandwiches and hot coffee steaming from behind newspapers. Another train passes outside, so close you can see the...
A Minnesotan in Freiburg

A Minnesotan in Freiburg

Germany is not the tropical getaway normally associated with winter vacations. But here we are (and 40° is certainly better than -21). And those who enjoy St. Paul’s Winter Carnival, Minneapolis’ Holidazzle, and the holiday celebrations around the rest of the state will certainly appreciate the beauty and enthusiasm of Xmas in Germany. Christmas Markets (Weihnachtsmarkts) are a staple of the holiday season, filling the streets with roasted chestnuts and candied almonds, hot plates of food passed over counters, warm, mulled wine (Glühwein) steaming into the cold air, toys, gifts, and so much more. But they aren’t the only reason to visit. Frieburg, Germany German efficiency is a real thing. The apartment in Frieburg is 350 sq. ft. and yet is comfortable, with plenty of space for all basic needs. Bakeries, grocery stores, restaurants, shopping are all within walking distance. The narrow streets make way for pedestrian, bike, car, bus, and streetcar traffic. The city is old, ancient by U.S. standards (founded in 1120), and yet has integrated into modernity almost seamlessly – the city feels more forward than almost every American city of similar size. The biggest difference, perhaps, is that the city is not built for cars. It couldn’t be, of course, as this and most other German cities were designed long, long before Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler were a twinkle in anyone’s eye. But the adage of “If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places,” certainly holds true. It’s a dense and lively cityscape, walkable the whole way through,...
Confessions of a TC drug dealer

Confessions of a TC drug dealer

A “drug” can mean anything from prescription painkillers to meth made in country labs. But we all know what they mean when they talk about the War on Drugs. The lack of work right out of high school (or college for that matter) has left many Americans looking for alternative means of income. Sometimes those means don’t fit inside the confines of the law. Some might call it a product of an unfair system, the result of a world we didn’t create. Others might say it’s purely opportunistic, preying on addiction and an at-risk population. Regardless, Teddy** always knew he deserved a better life, and that no one was going to hand it to him. Success is attainable in many different ways for many different people. Right or wrong, this is what he has to say. **Name has been changed. We’re not messing around with that drug war.   The confessions of a Twin Cities drug dealer The beginning How did it start? Start? Selling. It didn’t really start. It was always an option, more about when than if. When you were a kid… Yeah I started selling weed in junior high. Bricks of midgrade all full of seeds and shit. I didn’t tell my mom where I got the money, and I didn’t spend it on stupid stuff. I saved it. I had a box in the back of the closet and I kept my room clean so that she never had a reason to go in there. I was saving up. For what? Just the future man. I’ve always known that no one was going to give me...
Restaurant views and reflections: An essay by Jennifer Murray

Restaurant views and reflections: An essay by Jennifer Murray

One of my favorite moments while glancing out of the window during a busy night at work is when the sky is just darkening behind the old brick warehouse buildings of Lowertown and a final burst of sunshine breaks against the brick and windows creating a golden glow of buildings in front of the settling darkness. I have found that it’s usually pointless to try and point this out to my coworkers at Saint Dinette, because we’re often all too busy in the evening to appreciate anything beyond the bustle of the restaurant.  Which is a good thing: that bustle means we’re doing a good job, means people are flocking to a place that we love, eating the food that’s been made with so much care and inspiration that it boggles my mind, and appreciating the atmosphere that is fostered and inspired by the amazing people who own and run the restaurant. The view out of the window is an added bonus, even if it only provides a short moment to re-center myself, because sometimes it’s hard to be an introvert in a job that mainly attracts extroverts and requires sustained bursts of energy in a crowded room.   Sometimes I wonder how on earth I got here, nearly twelve years into restaurant work and finally in a job that I love on every single level. Not that I haven’t loved my previous jobs, but none have had so few negative qualities (Saint Dinette has none of note). Sometimes I wonder how I ever got into and stayed in this line of work.   I recall the views out...
Minneapolis ranked one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world

Minneapolis ranked one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world

Minneapolis has been praised for years as one of the best bike cities in the country. The back and forth with Portland for title of U.S. Best is almost a running (biking?) joke at this point. But it seems the competition is over, as Minneapolis just broke into the international scene. The rankings come from Wired Magazine. Using the Copenhagen­ize Design Company’s Index of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, it is one of the most prestigious, and strictest, bikeability indexes you can find. And, for the first time, Minneapolis came in 18th, and was the only U.S. city included in the top 20 just ahead of Hamburg, Germany, and just behind Paris, France. Importantly, it puts the city in the company of the world’s most forward-thinking transit cities, the Amsterdams and the Copenhagens, that are literally paving the way for a brighter future. And where other cities around the world have been slipping (Tokyo, Japan and Munich, Germany were dropped from the list), Minneapolis is only getting started. (Read the full index and criteria here: The 20 Most Bike-Friendly Cities on the Planet) The Minnesota winter worked well in our favor. Our commitment to staying on two wheels through the cold-weather months makes us some of the toughest bikers in the world.  But it’s not just our cyclists, but the initiatives coming from City Hall to support them that factors into the ranking: Minneapolis biking infrastructure, the 120 miles of on-street bikeways, and especially designated routes like the Midtown Greenway, played a key role in our inclusion. There were also a few suggestions; room for improvement that could lift Minnesota’s largest city even higher. While...