Minnesota gets center-stage in the country's newspaper of record today. A front-page New York Times article explores the reason why bingo parlors and charitable gambling efforts are stumbling badly.
"We've sponsored several baseball teams here in the past, but we can't give as much now because the smoking ban has really reduced our revenue," said Charlie Lindstrom at the American Legion in Fergus Falls." The same appears to be true at charity bingo locations in California, new Jersey, New York, and Washington.
Proponents of the smoking ban suggest everyone just suck it up.
"Around the country, whenever places have put in smoking bans, there is a six-month period where there is a drop in business in bars and restaurants, which where this gambling takes place, and after that, it starts to rebound," said Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth.
That should be any minute now. The smoking ban took effect six months ago next week.
What's happening on News Cut today: I'm working on putting together a series of presentations with women veterans of World War II. I've got one interview scheduled for early this afternoon. Maybe I can turn it around by tonight; we'll see. There'll be an event honoring the women veterans next month. More on that later. And you? What's on your mind today?(4 Comments)
A couple of students from Eagan and Apple Valley have been expelled from school, because they bought souvenir samurai swords while on a spring-break choir trip to the UK, thus violating, apparently, the rule against buying samurai swords on spring break trips.
"The severity of the punishment didn't fit the crime here," Brad Briggs the father of one of the expelled teens, told the school board the other night according to the Pioneer Press.
The other student -- a she -- had bought a Lord of the Rings replica sword for her father for Father's Day.
The expelled student is a Boy Scout, Sunday school teacher, and member of the choir and while it's not out of the question that a Boy Scouting , Sunday school teaching singer could inflict some harm with a sword all duct-taped up in a cardboard box, where exactly is the threat that justifies an expulsion?
"Schools are in a real Catch-22," said Charlie Kyte, executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators. He cited a case of a popular student who brought a toy gun to school when he was the boss in Northfield. He had to expel him. He said another student was expelled for bringing "a big knife" to school.
The kids who've been expelled didn't bring anything to school; they bought something while on a class trip. A chaperone confiscated the swords in the UK and they never made it to the New World. The administrators say they had to protect the other kids and the board cited the district's student policy. Here's the rules and policies section of the district's Web site.
Perhaps there's more to the story that "confidentiality" is preventing from being discussed. According to the policy, had the students been found in "possession of bullets, other projectiles designed to be used in a weapon or other material designed to cause pain or injury," the punishment is a 5-day suspension for the first offense and expulsion on the second offense. In that school district, you get a 3-day suspension for actually inflicting bodily harm, and that's only after the second time you do it.
What do you think? We expect our schools to protect students. Is this appropriate punishment or overreaction?(17 Comments)
It must have been easier being a dinosaur. You didn't have to worry about people telling you the end was coming and that some asteroid was on its way to kill you. One day you're munching on a tree; the next minute you're tomorrow's unleaded gasoline.
Last night PBS broadcast a National Geographic special that blamed the kill-off of fish around the world on undersea methane explosions that had something to do with plankton settling near the bottom of the ocean and the only reason that happened is because sardines, which were once in abundance in Namibia and now aren't, used to eat the plankton, preventing the methane explosions, preventing the fish kill, preventing the... well, you know; you're not a dinosaur. All because of sardines. Ain't that a killer?
That was on right after another documentary (Nova) in which Tom and Ray Magliozzi (the Car Talk guys), who laugh hysterically about the coming end of the world, nevertheless tell us all about the ideas for no-emission automobiles that haven't got a prayer of being perfected in time to save us.
Years ago, we were told drinking 8 glasses of water a day was good for us. So we did. Then, we drank not only water, but water from a spring in the French Alps, personally bottled by fair maidens whose skin had never been exposed to direct sunlight. And we didn't just suck it out of the plastic bottle -- which we know can kill us -- we occasionally dumped it into our "hydration gear," which we also find now, can kill us.
That's if we're lucky. Because otherwise, scientists say, water from plastic bottles can lead to early puberty, which will make your 8 year old sound like Barry White, which, in turn, will lead us to literally eat plastic bottles to escape the suffering caused by an 8 year old's non-stop rendition of "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe."
Oh, and the 8 glasses of water a day? Forget it. The scientists haven't said it can kill us. But they will. It can all kill us.
In the meantime, while we're waiting to become the next fuel for tomorrow's civilization of highly-developed cockroaches, we're fielding questions about the things that can kill us.
Here's one that came in yesterday that I've been asked to address:
I'm having trouble identifying bottles that have BPA. the students in your story report that bottles with numbers 1,2,4 and 5 are safe.
I notice on my bottle that there are two numbers. First there is the number 7 that is enclosed in a recycling symbol triangle (three arrows forming a triangle), next there is simply a number 4. Which of these numbers am I supposed to go by? The New York Times this week had an article and an image of the number 7 within the recycling symbol it seemed to indicate that this symbol was on BPA treated bottles...
CamelBak's Web site states that a number 7 bottle is safe (but where do i look for the number 7? within the triangle or outside?). Wikipedia notes that bottles with a number 7 and a the initials PC are created with BPA.
I'm very confused. Also please help me figure out what to do with these bottles if they do have BPA. I don't want to use them. Recycling doesn't seem to make sense, and I don't want to just dump them, and have the BPA end up in the landfills. HELP!!!
For the answer, I turned to William Toscano, head of the Division of Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota:
I believe the number outside the recycling symbol is the number from the injection mold. In the case she cites it is from the fourth position. Plastic manufacturers use those numbers fo check the quality of the mold. So, for example, if defective bottles with a number 4 were found, it would indicate that position would have to be repaired by the tool and die maker. The number within the recycling symbol is the one that shows the type of plastic.
Her second question, I have been suggesting recycling. Hope this is useful.
Your news questions, cheerfully answered here.(6 Comments)