10/17 Morning Must Reads

Friday's five most fascinating stories printed on wood pulp:

Ponzi schemes send you to the slammer If millionaire Tom Petters is convicted of his Ponzi scheme, he might have a buddy in prison to talk about how it all went wrong. A Forest Lake minister was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in a multimillion-dollar pyramid scheme Thursday. The Ponzi scheme tricked 519 people of up to $390 million.

Which Minnesotans throw their money away in politics? The Star Tribune compiled a list of the top Minnesotan donors to politics in the last decade. At the top of the list is Alida Messinger, a Rockefeller heiress who has been able to stay under the radar. Messinger has contributed $9.2 million, mostly to Democratic candidates and causes across the country. Messinger has given more than three times as much as the state's second-largest political donor, Republican activist and businessman Brian Sullivan. Check out the full list here.

Pay rent or donate to alma mater? Uh... The poor students who have the awful job of calling alumni for money have an even worse job as of late. The last thing we would want to do is have really awesome comebacks for alumni who say they can't donate because they can't pay rent or mortgages. Best of luck convincing people that's more important than basic needs during a terrible economic situation! And if you do donate, please give to scholarships for students, not ugly walls with your name all over it.

Bailout bill pays for.... Republican Convention? Some of the big Republican National Convention donations came from financial giants who are now receiving big bucks from the feds to save a tumbling economy. Why exactly were banks donating when they were struggling so badly we had to rescue them? Insurance giant AIG donated $750,000 to help host the convention, Freddie Mac donated $250,000 to the Minneapolis St. Paul convention host committee. Goldman Sachs donated $250,000 and Morgan Stanley donated $100,000.

Flight prices change every minute, life isn't fair. So bomb em!- Pioneer Press An Apple Valley man was so enraged that a flight price increased over night threatened to bomb Sun Country’s headquarters in Mendota Heights on Wednesday. The man faces a felony terroristic threat charge after he made the bomb threat while speaking on the phone with a customer service representative. "Meyer said Gabbert told police he had no intention of following through with the threat." That's a relief. We can't seem to find the direct link to this story on their Web site, but will update if we find it. Or you could actually pick up a newspaper to see it.

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