HM#1 - The rise and fall of little Scotty Walker - mainly May thru September. This was amazing to witness. The guy was pegged to be the nominee after he won his recall, and after he cemented his position as front runner by winning a second term in Wisconsin, so to watch Walker flame out so quickly was stunning. The minute the intense national spotlight got on him, he was exposed for what he really was, a county clerk who was placed on a national stage he really couldn't handle. All the Koch money in the world couldn't save him. http://fox6now.com/2015/12/14/i-do-not-regret-anything-but-after-campaign-for-president-gov-walker-in-debt-and-he-needs-help/
HM#2 - A total of six people show up in Minnesota to rally in support of the Confederate Flag -September. After the Dylann Roof shooting in South Carolina, the Confederate Flag, and what it represents, came under scrutiny. Supporters of the flag stood by their argument that it stood for tradition, but the rest of us weren't buying it anymore. It's the symbol of an enemy of the United States of America; the flag of the pro-slavery south. In an attempt to show southern pride, a rally was attempted in Minnesota. A total of 6 people showed up. Six(!) in a state of 5.5 million. Good riddance. http://www.kare11.com/story/news/local/2015/09/05/rally-at-minnesota-capitol-for-confederate-flag-fizzles/71782522/
HM#3 - In what was an epic display of horrible coaching and bad sportsmanship, the Faribault Dance Line team was chased off the floor, and out of Target Center, in a coordinated attack by the five losing team's coaches, after Faribault won the State Dance Line Championship, fair and square - February. Once again, the other schools who were competing against Faribault felt they should be disqualified. The Minnesota State High School League disagreed. The five other schools made the worst decision they could, tried to win public sympathy afterwards and eventually were exposed in shame. This was ugly. http://www.startribune.com/high-school-league-suspends-dance-team-coaches-at-four-schools-for-one-year/305706351/
Now, on with the countdown!
#12 - Rep. Jim Newberger makes racist comments on the floor of the Minnesota House - April. This was a dumb, arrogant white guy who doesn't know when to turn off the racism. He's an idiot for saying what he said. The House GOP and their leaderships failure to properly address this issue was equally disturbing. Watching this is SO horrible. Wait for the even more tone deaf 'black hole' remark at the end. https://www.minnpost.com/minnclips/2015/04/video-rep-newberger-booed-house-floor-north-minneapolis-comment http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2015/04/mention-st-cloud-visions-of-prison-north-minneapolis-pop-into-jim-newbergers-head.html
#11 - Walter the dentist kills Cecil the lion - July. The point which infuriates me about this story was how we're all supposed to ignore one major fact: they HAD to cut the tracking collar off Cecil to remove his head. They knew he was a protected animal. They didn't care. The worldwide condemnation still is palatable. http://cecilthelion.org
#10 - Due to his horrible management of the abuse scandal, Archbishop John Nienstedt resigns - June. As a Catholic, it was hard to watch from the inside as Nienstedt's personal crusade against gay marriage tore apart the church. Beloved priests left the state to avoid preaching his screeds. But it was the Diocese 's horrible management, and criminal acts, in regards to dealing with abusive priests which was his eventual downfall. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/15/us/archbishop-nienstedt-and-aide-resign-in-minnesota-over-sex-abuse-scandal.html
#9 - The 2015 Legislative Session and the unrelenting GOP pettiness - January through June. You knew there was going to be friction when the Speaker of the House didn't even show up for the Governor's inauguration, because of a "fundraiser," in January, on a Monday, at noon. The fight to get Legislation finished was always permeated with the GOP agenda. They legalized gun silencers for no reason outside of appealing to the NRA, they went after the Auditor's office for making sure tax payer money was not being abused, they got rid of campaign finance rules, created the environmental 'Oopsie' law to allow corporations to pollute legally, and did everything they could to vilify the Twin Cities metro area in an effort to appeal to rural Minnesota, a rural Minnesota they also ignored when it came to the final bills. Meanwhile, the GOP kept insisting there was no money to do anything, even though there was a huge pile of surplus cash available. SHHH, they want to give that away to the wealthiest Minnesotans in 2016. Sad, but let's face it, predictable. https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2015/06/legislature-passes-budget-bills-after-dramatic-special-session
#8 - The disturbing epidemic of gun violence in America, and our national shame at doing nothing to stop it - all year. 'Thoughts and Prayers' were all the bought and paid for NRA politicians were allowed to offer up in response to a gun violence epidemic so severe, over 30,000 Americans die each year from it. If this was terrorism, would we spare any expense to address it? http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports/mass-shooting
#7 - The Grazzini-Rucki Saga - May through December. First off, kudos to Michael Brodkorb for some fine and outstanding investigative journalism this year. If not for him, these girls would still be missing. (Allegedly) Sandra gets divorced and proceeds to attempt to brainwash two of her kids into thinking their father was abusive. When the court determines the kids are being brainwashed, she, out of spite, kidnaps the girls and ushers them into an underground system meant to keep them away from the parent who has custodial rights. She then insist she knows nothing of the girls whereabouts, proceeds to ignore her other children, goes on exotic vacations with her new boyfriend, and probably laughs at the revenge she got on her ex. Meanwhile, it's still uncertain what her lawyer, Michelle MacDonald, knew about the abduction, as, while this was going on, MacDonald was running as the GOP candidate for the MN Supreme Court (!). An associate of MacDonald's was the lynchpin to busting open the case, after police raided her house in St. Cloud. Sandra was caught in October, and the kids were finally found in November, having been kept in an environment where there father had been painted in the worst possible light. These kids will never be the same, the dad will never be the same. Shame on all of you for doing this to them. http://www.startribune.com/charge-mother-of-runaway-girls-left-them-at-ranch/353027841/
#6 - The attack on Paris - November. This was a brutal terrorist strike, scarring a nation, and the world. We all wept for the French, and prayed for peace. Meanwhile, political opportunists manipulated the natural fear which arose after the attack to vilify innocent refugees and an entire religion. The repercussions of this attack will affect us for years to come. http://www.nytimes.com/news-event/attacks-in-paris
#5 - Gay marriage is now the law of the land - June. The same religious zealots who claimed the Supreme Court was a divine entity just a year before, when they handed down their Hobby Lobby ruling, now turned on the Supreme Court, calling them an activist body and demons (!) after their ruling which defined marriage is indeed a right for all, gay and straight. Amen and thank you. Love wins, but the end of this fight is nowhere near, as the GOP is trying desperately to overturn the ruling. This will be a major issue in 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/26/supreme-court-gay-marriage_n_7470036.html
#4 - The killing of Jamar Clark, the occupation of the 4th precinct and white supremacists shoot five protesters - November. This sad tragedy played out over a few weeks. Why is Jamar Clark dead? Were his hands in cuffs when he was shot? Is there any video? Would the police stonewall the public's right to know? The protest outside of the 4th Precinct was organic, rising up out of the frustration of yet another young African American life lost. It was about to wind down on it's own, when racists, who had been trying to start a confrontation with protesters, opened fire on them, shooting five. The protest came back strong through Thanksgiving. Finally, in early December, they were forcibly removed. Still a lot of unanswered questions, including were the shooters carrying 'Carry and Conceal' weapons? https://ellison.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-keith-ellison-statement-on-shooting-at-fourth-precinct-protest
#3 - Republican Representatives Tara Mack and Tim Kelly, both married (but not to each other), both on the House Ethics Committee, and both part of the political party which is supposedly embodies traditional family values, are caught in a compromising sexual situation in Lebanon Hills Park - September. When the Japanese news animators are making a cartoon video of your escapade, you know you screwed up. I could care less if they find each other attractive, it happens. No, the reason this is up so high on this year's list is the hypocrisy of the whole thing, the fact they tried to throw a police officer under the bus to protect themselves, the fact that they tried to play it off as a 'document exchange,' and how Rep. Kelly tried to dismiss this as gotcha politics. I love the soundtrack to this video!
#2 - Senate Majority Leader Bakk betrays the DFL - May/June. We all knew that Senator Tom Bakk and Governor Mark Dayton didn't like each other personally, but what happened in 2015 goes beyond personal feelings. You can give Speaker Kurt Daudt some credit for driving a wedge between the two, but in reality, Tom Bakk had to WANT to do what he did. He avoided his best option (working with the Governor to get a strong compromise bill), undermined his DFL Senate majority (by negotiating with Kurt Daudt independently, whether by ignorance or by design), walked away from the Governor's negotiating table when the regular session ended (handing Daudt all the Legislative Branch power during the negotiations), and in the end conspired against the DFL by recruiting a handful of Democratic Senators to jump ship and side with the minority Republicans in the Senate (traitors!). This was a complete betrayal. I'll never trust Senator Bakk again, and considering the rumors he's been hanging out with Daudt and other GOP'ers, hunting and fishing while out of session, I expect we will see another attempt to betray the DFL in 2016. https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2015/06/dfl-senators-divided-over-bakks-leadership-wake-special-session
#1 -The Rise of Black Live Matters - all year long. When we began 2015, Black Lives Matter was in trouble. After their 2014 MOA protest, they were dealing with a lot of rhetoric from the Mall of America's lawyers and the Bloomington City Attorney, and there was a full court press to paint them in a negative light. Then things started to change. Rumors of the MOA security infiltrating the BLM protesters arose. Vows to fight the charges rang out. Protests on MKL Day and in Spring showed the public they were not going away. Although there was a minor stumble with a handful of protesters and an unfortunate chant at the State Fair rally, Black Lives Matter was able to use the State Fair, and the Twin Cities Marathon, to further their cause. In November of this year, charges against them from last years MOA protest were dropped. They became a focal point of the communities outrage when the Jamar Clark shooting happened. Regardless of whether you agree with their tactics, you can't deny they've gotten what they were looking for: Attention. I understand some people get frustrated when they close off a street or a highway, or when they march on a shopping mall or airport, but in their defense, if we allowed people to protest in public, visible spaces, where our political leaders can hear and see them, maybe they wouldn't have to resort to getting our attention the hard way. http://www.startribune.com/dayton-met-with-black-lives-matter-reps-stressed-danger-of-airport-protest/363842121/
That's it! Have a great New Year's everyone, and here's to 2016!!!