1) Why are you dissatisfied with your job? The Conference Board has issued its annual survey of job dissatisfaction and found it at record lows. It blames it on the recession, but the index has been dropping for 20 years. "It says something troubling about work in America. It is not about the business cycle or one grumpy generation," says Linda Barrington, managing director of human capital at the Conference Board. It does say something, but what? The Board says it comes down to interest, pay, and health care. One telling statistic: Only 56 percent of those surveyed like their co-workers. Only 51 percent say their satisfied with their boss.
If you weren't doing what you're doing, what would you be doing?
2) Why do we fight the weather so? It is January. It is Minnesota. It is cold. This morning, one of the morning TV "news" shows' weathermen is standing in International Falls to inform the rest of the world that it is January, it is Minnesota, and it is cold. That's not always bad news, especially in International Falls, as this story from MPR's Tom Robertson told us almost a year ago to the date, when it was also Minnesota, January, and cold.
During the 90s, cold weather testing was a $9 million industry, employing some 500 people. Now, the economic impact is less clear. The state no longer keeps track of that employment and revenue data.
There's still plenty of cold weather testing activity going on in the region. Baudette, Bemidji, Cass Lake and a few other communities all host private test facilities. But Nevanen said the low-key nature of the business makes it difficult to quantify.
Besides, it's good sleeping weather.
A picture of Minnesota? How about this one from the Prior Lake American? The sun is setting, and a kid is practicing his wrist shot. Just as it should be.
3) The highly intelligent comments we get on News Cut are proof that if news Web sites really cared about providing valuable reader insight, they could. Here's a comment on City Pages attached to a story about the death of Deborah Howell over the weekend. Does this comment say more about the writer, or about City Pages?
Good Riddance to Deborah Howell. The New Zealander who struck and killed her on January 2 is a hero to whom Washington DC expresses gratitude.
Howell's shamelessly wicked bias at the Washington Post from 2005 until 2008 was abhorrent and disgusting. She was a genocidal anti-American traitor who advocated, in her WP Sunday ombudsman column, on behalf of Hezbollah during the Lebanon War in 2006.
American journalism and media are now much better off that she is dead.
Her despicably evil soul is now where it belongs -- burning in the fires of hell beyond the end of time -- in the company of Satan and Saddam Hussein -- and those who perpetrated the genocide which Howell championed in 2006.
I've seen this from both sides. When my father in law died recently, a very similar comment was posted to his obituary. His crime? He was a Republican. Never mind that he was an old-style (socially liberal; fiscally conservative) Republican. Where's the decency on the part of the writer? Where's the decency on the part of the media, that so fanatically trades it for a page view?
Melinda Henneberger's, editor of Politics Daily, says the psychopaths come from both sides of the political spectrum and wonder what we're turning into and why a responsible media would want to help us get there?
(h/t: Vince Tuss)
4) Minnesota Twins fans are the sixth-most-happy fans in all of baseball, the Hardball Times reports today. This assumes the Twins sign Joe Mauer to a contract extension.
Meanwhile, here are some pictures from yesterday's ceremony marking the completion of Target Field.
5) Critical thinking? Who needs critical thinking?
Anyone who's lived here a few years has plenty of strategies for getting through the winter. But days like these call for fresh ideas. What's your best cold-weather survival tip?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Will politics change in 2010?
Second hour: The year in science.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Former Vice President Walter Mondale.
Second hour: A debate from the Intelligence Squared series: "Is America to Blame for Mexico's Drug War?"
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Dan Hurley, author of "Diabetes Rising: How a Rare Disease Became a Modern Pandemic."
Second hour: Inventor Dean Kamen, the father of the Segway, and a host of medical
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - President Obama is going to announce changes to the air security system this afternoon. NPR will provide reports from New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles about changes passengers have or haven't seen since the Christmas Day incident in Detroit.
Meanwhile, Slate.com calls out the Department of Homeland Security today:
"Since their hurried and heavily politicized creation, the fact is that neither the priorities nor the spending patterns of the Department of Homeland Security and its junior partner, the Transportation Security Administration, has ever been subject to serious scrutiny. They have never been forced to make hard choices. On the contrary, both have been encouraged, by their congressional funders, to spend money on more elaborate equipment every year in reaction to every perceived new threat, real or otherwise. So full-body scanners, unacceptable as recently as last summer, will now be rushed into use. In just a few years--under a Republican administration and mostly Republican congresses--these institutions thus grew into vast, unruly bureaucracies, some of whose activities bear only a distant relationship to public safety."(10 Comments)
There comes a moment at Casa News Cut every morning that tests the breakfast dishwasher's mettle: Walk outside to put the coffee grounds in the compost bin? Or grind them up in the garbage disposal?
Regardless of the fact that I've been putting stuff in the compost bin since the Johnson administration with nary a handful of compost in return, I like to think I'm doing something good. But every man has his limits and for me, it's 10 below.
This caused me, naturally, to head to Twitter and suggest a hashtag of book titles about the Minnesota cold. Mine is "A Compost Bin Too Far."
Surprisingly, because my ideas never catch on via Twitter, the idea caught on on Twitter.
Here are some of the suggested book titles about Minnesota weather-January style:
The Sun Also Rises, But It's Not Like You Would Notice
For Whom the Bell Doesn't Toll Because the Clapper Is Stick to the Bell in an Inch of Rime
Paradise Lost Nine Months of the Year
The Unbearable Heavinesss of Being a Minnesotan
Lady Chatterley's Lover Wore Long Johns
Great Expectations of Warming Up To -11°
The Sound and the Fury of Nearly Freezing to Death
The Brothers Freezeyerazov
A Farewell to Toes
The Da Vinci Cold
The Useless Sun Also Rises
The Sound and the Furry Hat
A Heartbreaking Work of Ice Stabbering Genius
A Tale of Two Frozen Cities
(h/t: John Moe)(7 Comments)
Is the political affiliation of alleged perverts a legitimate part of a news story that's not about politics?
The Star Tribune thinks so. In today's story about Twin Cities businessman William Wanner, who is charged with fondling a 10-year-old girl at the Minneapolis Club, this paragraph stood out:
Records show that Wanner is affiliated with Wanner Engineering Inc., a maker of industrial pumps, and has been a significant contributor to local and national Republican candidates.
There is no further mention of Wanner's politics, so it's not clear what the point of identifying his political donations are to the story of his arrest on molestation charges.
The description as a "significant contributor" also invites inspection. He gave $1,000 to the Mitt Romney campaign, far less than the $2,300 a person is allowed to give. He gave $8,000 to Norm Coleman's PAC, far less than $42,700 a person is limited to in a two-year cycle.
This isn't the first time the Star Tribune has linked political connections to the Republican Party with an arrest on morals charges. I pointed it out in an August 2007 Polinaut post ("Does the Strib think Republicans have a thing for hookers?") a similar situation. When a man was arrested in a prostitution sting on St. Paul's East Side, the Star Tribune said:
"Recently, he publicly supported a candidate seeking to replace state Rep. Steve Sviggum. All three elected officials were Republicans."
But the Star Tribune wasn't alone in connecting today's story to the suspect's politics. Fox9 News did the same thing:
Wanner is licensed to practice law in Wisconsin. He contributed $8,000 to the Norm Coleman Victory Committee and $1,000 to the Mitt Romney For President campaign in 2008.
The Star Tribune turned the Web site comments off on today's story, so we don't know if anyone has noticed the assertion.
Incidentally, the arrest of Tom Petters was arguably one of the top crime stories in Minnesota in 2008. Petters, since convicted of running a Ponzi scheme, contributed $14,200 to Democratic candidates in 2008. When he was arraigned in October 2008, the newspaper made no mention of his political contributions.
Emails to editors and reporters at both institutions have not yet been answered.(43 Comments)