1) If your boss is a basketball fan who tunes a TV at work into today's Gophers game, lucky you.
Cubicle jockeys who aren't so fortunate can stream the Gophers vs. Xavier game live online, via CBS Sports. Game time is 11:25 a.m.
CBS includes a handy "boss button" on the video player that calls up a bogus flow chart to make it look like you're actually working.
2) Another version of March madness is streaming live, too. WDAY-TV in Fargo-Moorhead has set up several webcams that give a live look at the flooded Red River.
Here's a 360-degree look from South University and 40th Avenue in Fargo.
3) The story of a motorcyclist who hit a mattress on Interstate 94 during the evening rush hour yesterday is a sad one.
Steven J. Konrad, the program director for KSTP-AM 1500, hit the mattress on eastbound I-94 at Western Avenue in St. Paul.
He suffered serious injuries. Police are trying to track down the owners of the mattress.
We've all seen vehicles rolling along with a load precariously tied to the roof or barely secured in a pickup bed. There are plenty of commercials and movie scenes that make light of loosely tied loads.
This story should remind everyone that moving stuff can be serious business. If you don't know how to tie a mattress on top of a car, ask the Internet.
4) Web strategist Ed Kohler, who writes the Minneapolis blog The Deets, has had a simmering battle going with various elements of the Minnesota GOP.
When the state GOP posted a list of talking points about Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a DFLer running for governor, Kohler unleashed a torrent.
Every hour for a full day, Kohler posted responses to each of the GOP's points. That's quite the blast, even for a guy who's known to rant on occasion.
5) An updated look at Target Field, courtesy of Rick Prescott at Ballparkmagic.com. One tidbit that caught my eye: Crews used wood from the old Minneapolis Lakers basketball court as the floor in the Target Field Town Ball tavern.
And if the Gophers game wasn't enough of a distraction today, take a few cuts with this computer baseball game at the Minnesota Twins official site.
Posted at 11:33 AM on March 19, 2010
by Bob Ingrassia
Filed under: War
The "shock and awe" bombing that kicked off the Iraq War began seven years ago.
More than 4,300 U.S. troops have died during the war. At least 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, according to an Associated Press tally. The U.S. has spent nearly $1 trillion.
The war's start is a mile marker in my life. I'll always remember where I was when the Iraq War began: inside the razor wire at an American military base in northern Kuwait.
I was a reporter for the New York Daily News, tagging along with the 4th Infantry Division as an embedded journalist.
It's strange to consider how my feelings about that period have changed. At the time, I was disappointed that the invasion had begun without me.
Here I was killing time in an air-conditioned tent in the desert with the unlucky 4th Infantry Division while other reporters were filing exciting tales from the front. I felt like I was stuck in traffic outside the big game.
It was supposed to have been different. The 4th Infantry Division had initially planned to lead the northern prong of a dual invasion, charging from Turkey toward Baghdad. That plan fell apart when Turkey balked at letting the United States marshal its troops on Turkish soil.
So "my division" got re-routed through the Persian Gulf to Kuwait. The delay meant the 4th Infantry Division missed out on most of the initial ground fighting.
By the time the 4th ID rolled into Iraq, U.S. troops already had taken Saddam International Airport. Vehicles in my unit convoyed from Kuwait to Baghdad with their headlights on, not even trying to be sneaky.
Along the road, there were a lot of waves from Iraqis. Kids tried to sell soldiers worthless Iraqi bills. Even then, though, you'd see groups of young men who stared coldly at the passing invaders. Many of them inevitably became the "insurgents" who made the U.S. effort such a mess for so long.
My unit camped out at the Baghdad airport. Soldiers who arrived earlier had already looted the airport bars and gift shops.
Oddly enough, it was probably safer for journalists in Baghdad in the first week after the fall than it was in the following years. I rode in an unarmored Humvee from the airport into the heart of Baghdad, taking snapshots along the way. A lot of Iraqis smiled at the Americans. But seeing men gathered on side streets behind barricades of debris hinted that all was not right.
In a week, the Daily News called me home. My editors had decided that having me watch U.S. troops "mop up" wasn't going to be a great story. Little did we know that the real fight lay ahead.
Looking back, of course, I'm grateful I didn't get hurt in the war zone. My disappointment at "missing the war" has given way to disbelief that the war is still going on and that so many civilians and soldiers have been killed.
Cops pulled dozens of cats from what officers said were awful conditions this week in Duluth Township and Two Harbors.
Now animal rescue agencies are seeking new owners for the cats.
"Thankfully, these beautiful cats escaped a bad situation in remarkably good shape," said Jim Filby Williams, executive director for Animal Allies in Duluth. "These kitties deserve to find a good home as quickly as possible; they have suffered enough."
Animal Allies has 35 of the cats. Another 41 were sent to the Animal Humane Society's facility in Golden Valley.
Some of the cats are scared of people after living in overcrowded conditions. The fearful cats will need patient owners willing to provide extra TLC, said Animal Allies veterinarian Mary Wictor.
Authorities seized more than 75 cats from two properties, WDIO-TV in Duluth reported.
A report of animal neglect led police to a Duluth Township trailer, where they discovered 25 cats inside. A few days later, officials found 20 more cats and 39 dead ones in a pole barn on the same property.
Then authorities rescued another 32 cats from a home in Two Harbors. Both properties are owned by the same person, police told WDIO.
Shawn Padden, the Duluth Township police chief, told the station conditions in the pole barn were atrocious.
"We found 20 cats living in basic squalor and darkness, surrounded by feces, just disgusting," Padden said. "I don't know how they've survived this long to be honest with you."
Animal Allies is waiving a $90 adoption fee through March 26 for anyone who adopts one of the recovered cats. The cats have been spayed and neutered, vaccinated, tested for parasites and fitted with microchips.
The Animal Humane Society reported that vets at the Golden Valley shelter are evaluating and treating the cats sent from Duluth.
Visit the shelters' web sites for more adoption information.2 Comments)