Target Field has opened. The Twins have won. It's now time to get on with our lives.
1) So let's begin the countdown to when Target Field will need to get a facelift. The Hardball Times calculates that the stadium building boom across the country is probably over for now. But that's not the news. This is the news: One of the teams that will most likely need a new stadium first (or major renovations to the existing one) is the Cleveland Indians, who opened Progressive Field -- then Jacobs Field (above) -- in 1994, and whose design (the concourse at Target Field is lifted straight from the Jake) is inspiring many of the newer stadiums.
I know. Progressive Field (nee Jacobs) is a gem. Heck, just two years ago, the fans (via a Sports Illustrated poll) named it the best in the game. And there's that super-impressive streak of home sell-outs; 455 games is a long, long time. I'm not calling for destruction of The Jake. I'm just saying it might be due some elective surgery of its own. The new scoreboard is a good start, but the Indians will have some decisions to make by the time this decade is through. Their lease agreement runs through 2023, at which point the team could press the issue. Given that the team holds four five-year options, it's not unreasonable to suggest the club might remain in its current venue through at least 2043. But you know these billionaires and their toys.
2) Culture: It's alive! Classical music labels are one of the few recording gains in sales. TechDirt has it all figured out:
Orchestras have a unique set of challenges as compared to a rock band. They tend to consist of many, many more members (around 100) and also have large fixed costs like concert halls to contend with. So, since touring is not really a viable option, most orchestras are limited to larger cities that have large enough populations to support them. The digital era brings with it the opportunity to engage with audiences that are far beyond the cities in which they play.
Classical music, it's safe to say, appeals to the , shall we say, more intelligent among us. Its newfound strength comes at a time when much of the society seems inherently dumber than it used to be. Rock on, classical!
It was only a matter of time before it came to this. The Royal Shakespeare Company is performing Romeo and Juliet on Twitter. Find the details at Such Tweet Sorrows. Is this a crime against the Bard, or a compelling way to introduce Shakespeare to the Twitter generation?
3) Have you ever had moments when you think the world is passing your cubicle farm by? That some people are experiencing the world while you try to work for a living? Me, neither. But if I did, I'd probably have that moment while listening to All Things Considered host Tom Crann talk to Minneapolis' Stephen Regenold, who is at a base camp on Mount Everest.
What's on your schedule?
4) Eric Ostermeier at Smart Politics throws some seriously cold water on DFL prospects in this year's gubernatorial election. Today he notes the state is surrounded by states that are turning even more red:
But what might be the sourest note hit during the prelude to this 2010 political overture for Minnesota Democrats is their own political history: Of Minnesota's 28 gubernatorial elections held since 1930, a DFLer or a Democrat has been elected to the Governor's mansion with a Democratic president in D.C. on only 1 occasion (1962; Karl Rolvaag and JFK).
5) The science story of the day, hands down. Researchers find that emotions last long after the memories that drive them. What's the real-world significance?
One of the loneliest things about loving someone with early Alzheimer's is the feeling that any good times the two of you share from here-on-in just don't matter.
"So often I'll listen to family members say, 'oh, I don't go and visit Grandpa anymore because ten minutes after I leave, he doesn't even remember I came'," says Justin Feinstein, a graduate student in neuropsychology at the University of Iowa.
Feinstein had a hunch that those visits made more of an impression than anyone realized. To check, he turned to several people who, like Alzheimer's patients, have damage to a spot in the brain called the hippocampus.
Part of the study involved people watching Forest Gump.
Next week marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the beloved American writer and humorist Mark Twain. Who is the modern-day Mark Twain?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Two national security reporters talk about the controversy over the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial, the undecided fate of Guantanamo Bay detainees, and criticism of the Obama administration's prosecution of the war on terror.
Second hour: Longtime show business mover Jerry Weintraub talks about how the movies are made and deals brokered. He's the producer of iconic films like Nashville, and hits like the Stephen Soderburg's Oceans Eleven, Twelve and Thirteen.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: The Dow Jones Industrial average closed above 11,000 points on Monday for the first time since the start of the financial crisis. Minnesota Public Radio's Chris Farrell discusses how we'll know when the economic downturn is over.
Second hour: Pedro Noguera, professor at New York University and author of "The Trouble With Black Boys," speaking at Macalester College about the achievement gap in America's schools.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: A plane crash on one side of the old Soviet Union exposes ancient wounds and tests a new democracy. A bloody coup d'etat on another side raises questions about a so called lily-pad --a U.S. airbase in remote central Asia. And the connections between Sudan's elections, Africa's colonial past, and uncertain future.
Second hour: Reading economic signs after the "Great
Recession." The rollercoaster of economic news continues. After a grim three years job are up, and some see possibilities of even more gains. But consumer spending and
housing are down.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - MPR's Lorna Benson shines a light on the impact of the new health care law on tanning salons, and on health of people who may be discouraged from using them.
A three-year project to rebuild Interstate 35 through Duluth has been dubbed the "megaproject." A MnDOT spokesman predicts the 10-mile long rebuild will create traffic jams and snarls with significant traffic slowdowns. MPR's Bob Kelleher reports on how people organizing popular events like Grandma's Marathon are planning ways to work around the construction.
Chris Roberts profiles Trampled by Turtles, the Duluth-based band releasing a new album "Palamino."
What do Masters golf tournament champions do the day after they win the most prestigious golf tournament in the world? They put the kids in the minivan, put the green jacket on, and head to Krispy Kreme, the Augusta Chronicle reports, chronicling the reaction of the drive-through clerk:
"When I opened the window I see the green jacket," Burley said. "I said: 'You won yesterday,' and he started smiling and said, 'Yeah.' "
Nebraska has became the latest battleground in the war over abortion. The Legislature this week passed a bill that requires a full physical and mental assessment of any woman seeking an abortion.
Says the Omaha World Herald:
Under the bill, women would have to be assessed for any indication they felt pressured to have an abortion, as well as for risk factors that could predispose them to mental or physical complications.
Risk factors could include any identified in any research report published a year or more before in any peer-reviewed journal indexed by one of two major scientific indexing services.
The bill may be aimed at creating more pressure for the abortion provider. In the bill (available here) the only requirement on the woman is that she undergo the assessment. However the bill, which is to be signed into law today, includes penalties for doctors who don't comply.
The burden would also rest with the doctor to prove that the reason parents weren't notified of an abortion by a minor is that the minor was fully capable of making the decision herself.
The doctor also has the burden "of proving that the pregnant woman had sufficient reflection time, given her age, maturity, emotional state, and mental capacity, to comprehend and consider such information." It's not clear how one goes about proving that.(4 Comments)
When Gov. Tim Pawlenty created the "health impact fee" on a pack of cigarettes years ago, there was plenty of wailing that the "no new taxes" governor had raised taxes by couching it as a "fee."
There's been -- at least so far -- very little similar kvetching about the fees for renewing your license tabs in Minnesota. And, today, the Minnesota House of Representatives' Finance Committee passed along a bill that raises one of the fees -- the "administrative fee" from $4.50 to $6.
It's either that or raise the actual registration tax, which is at least deductible on federal income taxes for filers who itemize their deductions. Fees are not deductible.
Rep. Rick Hansen said the bump is needed to keep locally based deputy registrars afloat, according to the Associated Press.
Where does the fee money go? Into the "vehicle services operating account," which -- according to the state statute is used for:
(1) designing, producing, issuing, and mailing vehicle registrations, plates, emblems, and
(2) collecting title and registration taxes and fees;
(3) transferring vehicle registration plates and titles;
(4) maintaining vehicle records;
(5) issuing disability certificates and plates;
(6) licensing vehicle dealers;
(7) appointing, monitoring, and auditing deputy registrars; and
(8) inspecting vehicles when required by law.
The ethanol industry is fighting back against attempts to curtail billions of dollars in tax credits for ethanol companies that expire at the end of the year. The industry this week unveiled a series of ads aimed chiefly at big oil.
But ethanol has bigger opponents than oil these days. Brazil, for example, is lobbying Congress to reduce tariffs on ethanol made with sugar cane, which it says is more environmentally friendly than ethanol made with corn (as it is in Minnesota).
The Environmental Working Group notes that trees are cut down in Brazil to make way for sugar cane. And, it claims, the ethanol industry here takes credit for creating jobs that already existed:
The most egregious example comes in studies sponsored by another ethanol lobby group, the Renewable Fuel Association (RFA).2 The RFA consultant allows corn-ethanol to take credit for all the economic activity generated by growing corn, which was happening in commercial bulk long before the advent of ethanol. Over half (53%) of the jobs credited by the RFA consultant as being created by the corn-ethanol industry are in fact jobs that already existed for growing the corn that was already being produced for food and feed. Independent analysts rightfully criticize the RFA for dramatically over-estimating the employment impacts of their industry.
Other jobs that the industry did create in Minnesota are disappearing. An ethanol plant in Buffalo shut down just last week.
And Minnesota is cutting its subsidies to ethanol producers. Producer payments were cut by $4.4 million in order to help plug the large budget deficit in the state.
It's a big fall for the industry, which brought big profits to farmers in the early part of the decade and had as much political clout as any industry in the country.(2 Comments)
Before you watch this new TED video on photos that changed the world, add a comment below describing the first one fitting the description that comes into your mind.
Let's see if our collective impressions match Jonathan Klein's.(8 Comments)
The Obama administration has insisted that Americans will see the benefit of the new health care law if it does a better job of explaining to the American people what's in it.
Who will explain it to the Obama adminstration?
MPR's health care law reporter, Elizabeth Stawicki, has been trying to update this presentation, which we posted on News Cut while the House and Senate were debating separate proposals. It explained the impact of each law on a typical small business.
Now that the law is finalized, it seemed like a good time to update the presentation.
She found a discrepancy on the upper limit of employees to get a small business tax credit under the law. One government site said 25. Another government site said 24. The law, itself, says 25 (Page 120 or 906 here).
But a release from the Internal Revenue Service says it's 24 or fewer.
The Web site for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius also says the credit goes to businesses with fewer than 25 employees.
When quizzed by Stawicki about the discrepancy, Sibelius' spokesman, Nicholas Papas, said the correct answer is "fewer than 25."
"Do I have the wrong version of the law, then?" Stawicki asked in an e-mail.
Papas referred her to a White House fact sheet that confirms the credit goes to businesses with fewer than 25 employees.
There's only one problem. That's not what the law says.
"Check with Treasury on this," Papas advised.
Update 3:50 p.m. - The Treasury Department's ruling: It's available to small businesses who employ up to 24 full-time employees. Nonetheless, the law as passed actually says 25 "fulltime equivalent" employees.