1) If I had to do it all over again, I'd bring a book to my kids' athletic league games. I wasn't exactly that parent, but I was close. I also umped a game in which the over-the-top coach of the other team in Woodbury spent 10 percent of his time berating his kids and 90% of his time berating me. Today, there's the story of Jeff Shand, 50, a commissioner of the Burnsville youth basketball league who was punched by a parent following an in-house tournament game Saturday afternoon, the PiPress says. Apparently, he was unhappy with the timekeeping.
If you've got kids in athletic programs, you know those people. Or maybe, it's you. C'mon. Share.
2) Tyler Shipman has died. Last fall, a group of car enthusiasts from across the country gathered in Frazee to help him restore his 1986 Fiero to mint condition before he lost his battle with cancer. They did. Now, he has. He was 18.
3) The building of Fallingwater. A new animated movie abut Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece has been released:
(h/t: Open Culture)
4) Since the housing market crash, two-thirds of registered mortgage brokers have lost their jobs. NPR profiles two of them, one who once made $400,000 a year. Now, he runs a fruit stand.
"Now I wear four-year-old sneakers instead of four-day-old sneakers -- and you know what? I know more about me now than I was ever willing to commit to looking at in those days," he says.
Love that working world ! Related: Former WCCO anchor Jeanette Trompeter considers how long it takes to lose the "balance" we regain by taking a step back from the working world. "About 10 minutes," she finds, which is about how long it takes to get it back.
5) When it comes to drinking, kids copy their parents, new research says. In the UK, half of kids who say they've had a drink, got it from their parents.
Bonus: I've always wondered whether anyone says "no" when they're proposed to on sports stadiums' scoreboards. Apparently so:
Update 10:57 a.m. - Mary from St. Paul writes:
Your "bonus" in your "five at eight" today (2/16) about the blueshirt bride at the hockey game ... a quick google of "blueshirt bride" turned up several sites saying it was a publicity stunt. I'm not sure what to think since the sites saying "hoax" are local to the east coast and not familiar to me. Thought you might want to follow it up ...
Gov. Tim Pawlenty released his proposed state budget on Monday. He had warned in his State of the State speech last week that his plan would contain dramatic and painful cuts. How would the budget plan announced yesterday affect you?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Midmorning discusses how effective the governor's supplemental budget will be at tackling the state's $1.2 billion budget shortfall through the middle of next year. Guest: Rep. Marty Seifert (R-Marshall), former minority leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives; Margaret Anderson Kelliher, speaker of the Minnesota House.
Second hour: Willa Cather's "My Antonia" captured the beauty of the prairie and the hardscrabble existence of European immigrants on the Nebraska plains. Midmorning speaks with the author of a new stage adaptation of the novel and a Cather scholar about why the story still resonates.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: A discussion about Minnesota's health and human services budget. Guest: Rep. Tom Huntley, chair of the House Health Care and Human Services Finance Division. A Pawlenty administration official has been invited.
Second hour: Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Garry Wills, speaking about his new book "The Modern Presidency and the National Security State."
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: When the Supreme Court threw out the ban on corporate spending for candidates, both advocates and critics described the decision as momentous, but with different consequences for the political process. In this hour: A guide to the new era of campaign finance.
Second hour: The high stakes in the Marja offensive. Plus, author William Langewiesche on snipers in Afghanistan.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - One of the ideas Republicans have suggested to reform health care is to allow people to buy insurance across state lines. Gov. Tim Pawlenty echoed it in his State of the State speech last week. Why can't you buy health insurance from a company in another state, and if you were able to, would it lower the cost of premiums? The president says he's already included this notion in his plan, if so, why are Republicans still pushing for it? MPR's Elizabeth Stawicki takes a look.
For every Avatar, there are countless great films that never find an audience. And there's a film critic who wants you to know about some of them. Leonard Maltin talks about his list of the 151 best movies you've never seen.(3 Comments)
Unquestionably, Minnesota is one of the highest-taxed states in the country for business, and that fact is being used by lawmakers who see cutting those taxes as the first step in creating and maintaining jobs.
Usually, anecdotal stories of companies folding up shop in the state are used to prove that taxes cause companies to leave Minnesota. But there have been few -- if any -- comprehensive (and objective) studies asking them why they left.
On Minnesota Public Radio's Midmorning broadcast this morning, a caller asked why taxes couldn't be raised to give Minnesotans a "21st century education" (whatever that is). That, the caller said, gives Minnesota an advantage over other states.
Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall responded that politicians aren't the ones to answer that question, but "it's best to ask the people who create the jobs."
"We lost the world headquarters of State Farm out of Woodbury. In my area, we've lost divisions of Schwann's, Viessman Trucking, Anderson Trucking, Luverne Bumper Company, Luverne Fire Apparatus, Hill Stainless Steel, and the list goes on and on and on. Can can talk about Dayton Hudson and divisions of Honeywell. The reality is if you raise taxes and these folks leave, there'll be no one to educate."
Seifert is correct that State Farm moved out of Woodbury, fewer than seven years after building a huge campus in the city. Fifteen-hundred jobs were lost in the city; 350 of them moved to Mendota Heights. But he's wrong that it was because of the state's business climate. He's also wrong that it was the world headquarters of State Farm, a company that calls Illinois home. The Woodbury office was a regional service headquarters for six states.
Before the company consolidated its operations in Lincoln, Nebraska, the company announced the two sites would combine, but at the time it didn't say where. Area officials offered tax breaks to State Farm, but the company rejected negotiations, saying the decision wasn't about taxes, it was about efficiency to save $26 million.
The theory that taxes prompted the move tends to ignore Nebraska's business tax ranking at 33rd in the nation. That's better than Minnesota's, but not by a lot.
Dayton Hudson became Target, which is still headquartered in Minnesota. It sold its department store chain to May Department Stores, which eventually sold it to Macy's, a company based in New York, another high-tax state.
This isn't too suggest, of course, that taxes aren't part of the mix. But to the original question of the caller, it's unclear what the balance is between taxes and other factors.
Meanwhile, there were plenty of people e-mailing their commentaries during the show on the subject of the state budget Here's a sample:
From Saginaw, Mn.
As a former employee of MSOP in Moose Lake, I here nothing of finding cuts within the state system. Currently in MSOP, consultants are utilized when there are qualified people within the state. Directors of a health facility, do not have any health care experience. They have been taken from the DOC system, where the emphasis is incarceration not patient wellness. It is a needed evil to have such a facility, however I think it could be managed more efficiently. Note the employee turnover in the last 4 years, also I think the taxpayers would like to know the amount of wages earned by the directors/consultants. How many state employees were laid off versus terminated in recent years? Look into cost overruns during the last construction phase, and see if the same expenditures are projected to the new construction phase. Thank You
Tax breaks might keep companies here, but how does cutting public services, education, health care impact the quality of living and the workforce? What happens when our most qualified and our best educated don't want to live here because the standard of living decreases? People don't come or stay in Minnesota just because of the jobs. They come and stay here because of the overall standard of living.
If lawmakers are so concerned about lower corporate tax rates why aren't state tax laws conformed with federal depreciation tax deductions to give small business the same faster write-off for capital expenditures that they enjoy for federal tax purposes?
(Photo: Loopnet)(19 Comments)
Police Dubai have issued arrest warrants for 11 people who are suspected of assassinating Mahmoud Al Mabhouh, the senior Hamas commander who was one of the most wanted men in Israel. He was killed in a Dubai hotel room in January.
Dubai officials released a video documenting the movement of the alleged assassination team in Dubai:
If you didn't know any better, you'd swear that the partisan gridlock in Washington is something new. Sen. Evan Bayh, of course, is the latest politician to blame partisan rancor for the failure to get something done. "Brain-dead partisanship," he called the system in Washington, while announcing he's done with it.
The Atlantic's James Fallows has had it with pols using this as an excuse. For Bayh, in particular, he suggests naming names.
Unlike everyone else up for election this year, you don't have to worry how this or that bout of truth-telling will look on Election Day. Let 'em bitch! You don't need an interest group to endorse you or a civic club to applaud you any more. Do you think hyperpartisanship is destroying the Senate? Why not call out people -- by name, by specific hypocritical move -- when you see them doing what they should be ashamed of? I guarantee that the press would eat this up. Why not a ten-month public seminar, through the rest of this year, on who is doing what, and how it could be different? Do you object to personal "holds" on nominations? Make it an issue! You have an idea of some issue where Republicans and Democrats might agree? Be specific about it and see what you can do. Again, if I know anything about the press and the melodrama of public life, I know you could turn it to your advantage -- and the public's, Mr. Smith style.
But Congress has been sending the disillusioned home for generations. Sometimes, it keeps them from even trying.
Here's Mike Ciresi's take when he announced in February 2006 that he wouldn't run for the Senate:
"I'm an individual who likes to get things done. The more I watch what was going on in Washington over the past few months, I felt that as soon as I got there, it would be very difficult -- with the way the Senate is presently composed and the way the process is -- to get things done. I think the Democratic Party needs to stand up and say what it stands for. And it's not doing that; it's not getting the leadership out of the Senate, and I think the inertia is overwhelming."
Back when deficits were the #1 issue, former congressman Tim Penny also gave up. In retiring from Congress at the end of his term in 1995, Penny said the pork-barrel brand of politics was a system too ingrained to change. In his co-written book, The 15 Biggest Lies in Politics, he documented the differences Republicans and Democrats don't have in exploiting the system to stay in office and spend money.
When announcements like Bayh's come, this clip gets a good workout in the media:
Perhaps politicians go to Washington looking for Hollywood, only to be disappointed when they find Washington instead.(1 Comments)
The New York Times came in for a fair amount of criticism last June when it kept secret that one of its reporters had been taken hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan last summer.
"We show a preference for one of our own in journalism generally by holding back a story or elements of a story compared to how we might cover the kidnapped oil field worker or diplomat or tourist," one media ethicist said.
Would the Times keep secrets if it didn't involve one of its own? Yes, as it turned out. They did this week.
The capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban's #2 commander, was kept secret at the request of the White House.
Here's Times executive editor Bill Keller on PRI's "The Takeaway" today.(1 Comments)
"We do news...and wins and losses are news."
That's the kind of declaration I've come to know -- and love -- from MPR news director Mike Edgerly. Subject? Giving Olympic results before you have a chance to watch them on TV.
Usually, the Olympics are accompanied each year by a slew of complaints that giving the results of Olympic competition ruins it for people who want to watch tape-delayed broadcasts on network TV.
Not this year. "I haven't had one," said Mark Jungmann, MPR's member listener services associate, who's the voice at the other end of the phone.
Perhaps it's the changing nature of information. What with Twitter and Web sites, we've become accustomed to getting information immediately. Or perhaps it's an indication that Twitter and the Web have usurped radio's traditional role of giving away the ending.
Molly Wood at CNET News says the Twitter problem isn't limited to the Olympics. She notes that West Coast TV viewers are constantly having their programs spoiled by East Coast tweets:
Networks aren't likely to rearrange their entire prime-time schedules to accommodate coastal differences--especially since only about 30 percent of U.S. households have DVRs. Putting "Lost" on at dinnertime on the West Coast will happen right around the time Jack stops being a self-righteously unbearable prig. (Spoiler alert.)
So, what are we to do? Sure, we can try to hide from Twitter when good shows are on, but no one's perfect--especially not hard-core Internet addicts like, um, some of my friends. And even if I can avoid Twitter when "Glee" is on, what about movies, which are regularly spoiled by Internet discussion? What about the feeling that if you don't see "Avatar" on opening weekend, you'll be so sick of hearing about it on Twitter that you'll gradually lose any desire to see it at all? Once you've spent a week or two embroiled in endless 140-character dissections of its "Dances with Wolves" plot, "amazing" graphics, and @arguments about whether that Na'Vi chick is hot or not, "It's Complicated" starts to feel deliciously underhyped. (Shudder.)
Some media get around this problem by issuing "spoiler alerts" on their tweets. Like this one:
What's your pleasure on the subject?
It's discussed on today's Fresh Eye on the Radio with The Current's Mary Lucia, shortly before she convinced me not to give today's results.5 Comments)