Last Friday I commented on the uplifting nature of the banjo. Here's reader Doug Glass' submission, selected for its Monday Morning Rouserability:
The secret to surviving Monday? Treat it like an Old Crow Medicine Show concert.
1) Curmudgeon test. You know you're a likely curmudgeon if you roll your eyes at the story of the parent in Northfield who objected that his/her son's test score was posted on the blackboard (you also know you're a likely curmudgeon if you use the word blackboard). Posting the scores of a class on tests violates the students' privacy.
This was in an advanced placement class and the scores were posted for kids who got A's and B's.
When I was in class, my industrial arts (shop) teacher made everyone turn off their machines, and held up the trinket I was making -- some gizmo to hold a potted plant. "Look class, Mr. Collins made a drunken plant holder." Laughs all around. It ruined me for life. Have I mention I'm building an airplane?
This, of course, is the other end of the spectrum; not praising those who do well, but shaming those who do not.
Discuss in the comments section. Be sure to reveal your SAT score first.
2) Have you ever wondered who decided a particular word -- made of random consonants and the occasional vowel -- was a swear word? Yeah, me neither. But you better add "meep" to the list.
4) What's it like living with the burden of knowing that your father ran Auschwitz?
5) Good feature. Everything you always wanted to know about building a wind farm in Minnesota, courtesy of the Fergus Falls Daily Journal.
An interactive discussion today at MPR looks at new models for regional journalism. What story in your community needs more attention?
Here's the Web site for the Future of News project.
Live bloggers: David Brauer
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: The U.S. Senate is scheduled to begin debate on its version of the health care reform bill this week. But questions about cost, a public option, and language on abortion could derail Democratic leader Harry Reid's efforts to get the bill passed.
Second hour: Barbara Kingsolver's new novel, "The Lacuna," is the story of a man who spends his youth among legendary Mexican figures Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, then grows reclusive in older age. Kingsolver talked with Kerri Miller on Nov. 11 as part of the Talking Volumes regional book club series.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: On the first day of the Northstar commuter line, Midday discusses transit in the metropolitan area with Peter Bell of the Metropolitan Council and Ramsey County Commissioner Jim McDonough.
Second hour: A live broadcast from the National Press Club featuring the new chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Was the shooting at Fort Hood an act of terror, or an act of insanity? Who is finding a job in this economy, and a look at Sarah Palin's news book.
Second hour: Before Byron Pitts became an award winning correspondent at CBS News
-- he had a secret. Then, when he was twelve, a therapist told his mother he
was functionally illiterate. Byron Pitts talks to Neal Conan about his new
memoir -- Step Out on Nothing.
Notice in the clip above he refers to a teacher who said in front of a class, "Congratulations! Your best work so far. D-plus." I suspect that teacher also taught shop.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The train is rolling on the Northstar Line. As long as you can get to the station before 6 p.m., it presents a suitable alternative to driving, we hear. But what if you need to stay late at work? Ambar Espinoza looks at day one.
And so will Laura Yuen and Tom Weber. Their great race will feature one driving a car, and one taking the train. When they arrive at their destination, they'll then play volleyball while standing in knee-deep mud.
Today is the 30th anniversary of Walter Mondale's "boat people speech" to the United Nation. Dan Olson will take a long look back. He didn't write the speech, which brings up an interesting question about history. If we found out that Abraham Lincoln didn't write the Gettysburg Address, would we look at it differently?
Some clinics in Minnesota apparently have swine flu vaccine but are not alerting patients and families to its availability and in some cases are deliberately misleading patients about its availability, MPR's Lorna Benson will report. At least one clinic acknowledges being less than truthful about its supply of vaccine to avoid overwhelming demand. Legal? yes. Ethical, probably not, according to one ethicist.(10 Comments)
Banks across the country have been paying back their TARP funds -- the money the government forced them to take so that they'd ease restrictions on credit -- because they didn't like the strings that were attached, such as limits on CEO pay.
Might schools be next?
The U.S. Department of Education is requiring schools receiving stimulus funds to submit salary information for their employees.
What's behind the move? An article in Education Week suggests the Obama administration is going to use the data to determine if schools that receive money to fight disparities are putting the most experienced -- and, presumably, the best -- teachers into the fight; that suggests some schools may be using the money for salaries of teachers who are assigned to portions of the district where so-called Title I resources aren't supposed to go -- the more well-off.
Stimulus money, however, is all a small slice of how inequities are created in schools. And it only deals with inequities within districts. The problem is far bigger than that, notes the Center for School Change at the University of Minnesota.
Because of the way schools are funded here, there's a guaranteed "inequality" built in from one district to the next. Some voters vote to increase spending,some don't. Director Joe Nathan cites several examples of the have/have-not result:
Anoka Hennepin will be able to spend $165
Rushford Peterson will be able to spend $940/pupil
South St. Paul will spend $1010/pupil
Wayzata will spend $1609/pupil
Ulen Hitterdahl will spend $1990/pupil.
The Minnesota Twins have unveiled their new uniforms. This is the baseball version of software companies releasing new operating systems. Maybe the old one works fine, but the new one is "cooler." So it doesn't come as much of a surprise that the announcement of the new uniforms comes with an appeal to buy new merchandise. Hey, Nick Punto costs money!
"New uniforms and logos are just the beginning of all of the new and exciting things..." according to the press release, which, ironically, also noted the basis for the new uniforms are designs from the past.
The road uniforms are a definite improvement over the block-lettering "Minnesota" of yesteryear (i.e. 2009):
... even though they're a rip-off of the road uniforms of division rival Cleveland.
Still, it's probably a good idea to go with tried-and-true designs, rather than be remembered for this...
... or this.
You knew this was going to get folks going, didn't you? President Obama bowed when greeting Japanese Emperor Akihito with Empress Michiko over the weekend.
True, it might be an act of tradition and manners but there are two long-standing tenets of protocol in America: The flag never flies lower than any other country's and the president bows to no one. Others disagree, of course.
The usual suspects said the usual things, according to AFP:
The gesture appears to have touched a particularly raw nerve among Obama critics who said the president has hastened America's decline as a world superpower by being too apologetic and too deferential in his dealings with other world leaders.
While most of the commentary about the bow in Japan was decidedly negative, some political observers, like longtime Democratic activist Donna Brazile, came to the president's defense.
"I think it's a gesture of kindness," she told CNN, adding that the bow appeared intended to show "goodwill between two nations that respect each other."
Both comments pretty much mirror those uttered last spring when the president appeared to bow to a Saudi king:
And some even said he showed too much deference to Queen Elizabeth:(8 Comments)
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to get involved with anything having to do with this question: Is this offensive?
The Court today declined to revive a lawsuit on behalf of Native American activists who claimed that because the Washington Redskins' name and logo are offensive, it should not have trademark protections.
The case has a Minnesota connection. William Means, a Minneapolis resident, was one of six Native Americans who filed suit. Local attorney Stephen Baird was the one who originally argued the point before the U. S. Patent and Trademark office, which subsequently ruled against the Redskins. But district courts and the appeals court said Native Americans waited far too long to bring the case, especially since the football team has been around since the 1930s. (Trivia: It may be the only time where a sports' team's decency was judged partly on the basis of a case over Turtle Wax.)
Trademark law prohibits registration of a name that may disparage people or -- as the law says brings them into contempt, or disrepute.
When it was filed, it opened up a new front in the fight against Native American sports logos and team names. Instead of appealing to the teams' sensibilities and sense of decency, it threatened their wallets. Losing the trademark would've cost the Redskins a fortune, and most certainly would've forced them to change both their name and their logo. In fact, predictions at the time suggested that the mere threat of the lawsuit would accomplish that. It didn't.
Three judges with the U. S. Patent and Trademark office initially ruled against the Redskins, but district courts and the appeals court said Native Americans waited far too long to bring the case, especially since the football team has been around since the 1930s.
Recommended Reading: The Native American Mascots Controversy (h/t: Stephanie Weiss)(4 Comments)
Posted at 4:53 PM on November 16, 2009
by Bob Collins