There's been a significant jump in the number of people calling crisis hotlines in Minnesota.
"We've had a 27 percent increase from the first quarter of 2008 to the last quarter of the year," according to Linda Schmid, clinical director of Crisis Connection, which operates the Twin Cities crisis line, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline in Minnesota, Men's Line Twin Cities and Minnesota Link Vet. " We're seeing a higher proportion of men calling. I can only speculate anecdotally that these calls are about employment and financial issues and men are particularly distressed."
Calls to the Minnesota suicide hotline are up 35 percent, she said.
Overall calls doubled in October, when the stock market crashed and the first large waves of layoffs were made.
"I can't say that there's a typical caller. Some people call for a referral (for help). Most want to talk; sometimes they just know they're distressed and want to talk," Schmid said.
The organization recorded 9,300 calls in the first quarter of 2008, and 11,500 in the last three months of the year. About 90 percent of the calls come from the Twin Cities, according to Schmid.
The experience of the Minnesota crisis organization is mirrored throughout the country. In Pennsylvania, calls to a crisis hotline have doubled, Oregon officials say more victims of domestic abuse are calling, a hotline in Tennessee reports they're getting more suicide calls in a week than they used to get in a month, and Illinois has seen a significant increase in calls from people who are losing their homes.
(MPR file photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)(3 Comments)
What can be made of airline claims about on-time performance?
"Hawaiian is Nation's Most On-Time Airline for 5th Straight Year," a press release announced yesterday. "Airline Leaps from Worst to First among the 'Big Six' Hub-and-Spoke Carriers," said the release from US Airways.
In that spirit, we can confidently announce that Northwest Airlines was the nation's top on-time airline among airlines with a hub in Minneapolis and owned by an airline in Atlanta.
These are based on the Department of Transportation performance statistics for December.
For Minneapolis-St. Paul, we learn that:
After a two-and-a-half-month vacation from "does Pawlenty want to be president?" talk, the political wags are back at it because of the governor's trip to a security conference in Munich, following a trade mission to Israel.
Chris Cizzilla, who writes The Fix blog for the Washington Post says Pawlenty has "obvious national ambitions," but otherwise engages in the usual speculation that Pawlenty will run for president in 2012.(3 Comments)
This afternoon, about two dozen people presented a spirited defense of a Minneapolis mosque against rumors it had something to do with the disappearance of an estimated seven to 20 Somali boys, who may have returned to Somalia to fight on behalf of Islamic extremists.
"We condemn extremist ideologies," said Abdirashid Abdi (left above), a member of the board of directors of the Abubakar Assadique Islamic Center. "It is unfortunate that some individuals in the Somali community unfairly accused Abubakar Center to have links to the disappearance of the Somali young men. We strongly deny these unsubstantiated allegations. Abubakar Center didn't recruit, finance, or otherwise facilitate in any way, shape, or form the travel of these youth." (His entire statement can be found here).
Abdi said it was "difficult to know" how many Somali youth at the center have left to return to Somalia, or why they would. "Youth have a lot of resources, it's very hard to minimize the way they receive information," he said.
Abdulahi Farah, who coordinates youth programs at the center said the allegations are "victimizing young Somalis who are active in their community. We have made America our new home and we are grateful to the people of Minnesota and to the people of this country who give us the opportunity as young people to be educated here and make our lives here, but when a few people polarize us or make us think that sometimes we are not...every young people are being affected by this."
The speakers made clear that while they believe the Somali community "is united," they are convinced that the people responsible for the rumors are, themselves, Somali.
"What is at stake is your very existence," Murshid Barud of the Somali Leadership Council said, directing his comments to the Somali community. "This is not a simple allegation. It's not a simple thing that will go away in a day, a week, a month, or a year. It will affect the way we work and raise our children in the state of Minnesota. You have a choice: Either you fight against your own children and yourself, or you come out and tell the truth."
When I asked Barud what "individuals in the Somali community" he and others were referring to when pinpointing the source of the allegations, he identified the head of a Somali advocacy organization, whose leader is often cited as a spokesman for the Somali community.
MPR's Laura Yuen
will have had more on the story tonight on All Things Considered.
If you've listened closely to top economic officials in the last few months, perhaps you -- like me -- got the impression that there was something -- something serious -- they weren't telling us. Why else would so many politicians be so quick to pass legislation they hadn't really read, giving so much unchecked power to the treasury secretary?
True, they were hinting at it, but they wouldn't come right out and say it.
In the last few days, a video has raced around the Internet (which was actually made in January) at a fever pitch which appears to reveal what that something is: A run on the nation's banks that allegedly brought the nation within hours of collapse.
The details came in a C-SPAN interview with Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-PA.
Here's the facts and we don't even talk about these things: On Thursday (September 18) at about 11 o'clock in the morning, the Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous drawdown of moneymarket accounts in the United States, to the tune of $550 billion. It was being drawn out in the matter of an hour or two. The Treasury opened up its window to help. They pumped a $105 billion into the system, and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide. We were having an electronic run on the banks. They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account, so there wouldn't be any further panic out there and that's what actually happened.
If they had not done that, their estimation was that by 2 o'clock that afternoon, $5.5 trillion would've been drawn out of the money market system of the United States, would've collapsed the entire economy of the United States, and in 24 hours, the world economy would've collapsed.
We talked at that time about what would happen if that happened. It would've been the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it. That's why, when they made the point, 'we've got to act and do things quickly,' we did.
Here's what we don't know: We don't know if any of that is true. Kanjorski hasn't elaborated on it since, and today he had only this to say during a hearing with Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke (as quoted by a New York Times live blog).
Paul Kanjorski, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, says he thinks "All of you," including the chairman and the current and previous presidents and Treasury secretaries, "have failed for all of us, particularly the general public, to enunciate what the problem is." He wants to know what "we can do to facilitate" the explanation of the problem to the American public.
So on the one hand he says he describes what the problem was and on the other hand he complains that nobody is saying what the problem was (and, apparently, still is.)
Rep. Brad Sherman, D-CA., took to the House floor a week or so later and, without citing too many specifics other than the prospect of martial law, suggested it was all a con to get the bailout passed.
Still, Motley Fool adds it up by comparing it to a confirmed run on the banks in London, and concluded that, yes, we were within 3 hours of economic disaster.(13 Comments)