1) I don't have a lot to add to all the coverage here on MPR NewsQ about yesterday's funeral for Sgt. Joe Bergeron of the Maplewood Police Department. You've probably seen all the pictures from the sidewalk of the procession from the Maplewood Community Center to the cemetery. Here's what it looked like from inside one of the Maplewood public safety vehicles.
(Click for a larger image. Look at those faces!)
The takeaway: We're still a place where school kids (in this case: Edgerton Elementary) come out of class, stand by the side of the road, put their hands over their hearts, and show respect to someone who's earned it.
(h/t: Jeff Morgan, Maplewood Fire Dept.)
2) The odds are increasing that there's going to be a state government shutdown to compensate for the huge budget deficit that lawmakers seem unable or unwilling to close. So let's start assembling a list of our priorities. Select as many of the following as you like, and add your own.
Some already-implemented cuts are hitting Main St. Blue Earth County is the latest to consider cutting a Sentence to Serve program, according to the Mankato Free Press, designed to keep low-level offenders out of jail.
I know the arguments against the idea. Stewart is the first to tell anyone who will listen that he is an entertainer, not a journalist. He intends to make people laugh and think, probably in that order.
But what is a journalist, anyway, in 2010? A blogger, who has no experience, can consider himself or herself a serious journalist. So can your garden-variety loudmouth on any cable-news channel.
Then we have Stewart's case. He may just be America's most trusted name in news among his fans, the young, hip, educated, affluent cable audience.
It was a trick question. He already has.
4) Remember when public radio was stuffy white folks talking about dead classical music composers and Greek tragedies? The truth is: We're still pretty stuff and there are a lot of conversations about the latest trip to Europe, but ...
5) The target of racist Facebook comments by a couple of white University of Minnesota Duluth students says she'll return to the school next year. The two students who ignited racial tensions at the school have not apologized, she said.
"It's not like they stepped on my toe ... or called me ugly. It's deeper than that," Savannah Caldwell told the Duluth News Tribune. "The things they were saying were so racist, like from-the-1800s racist. Monkeys and trees? I thought we got past that."
(Video h/t: Jay Cole of Youth Video Quest)
This morning at 11
afternoon, MPR's Michael Caputo will host another online conversation about race. This week: How we talk about race. What does it take for conversations to begin on race? How do we keep perspective as we engage in such discussions? Find it here.
Bonus: Is it time to get rid of the mortgage interest deduction?
The home mortgage interest deduction also subsidizes Americans to buy bigger homes, and there is little reason to like that. Americans, even poor Americans, have almost twice as much living space as the average resident of France or Germany. According to the Residential Energy Consumption Survey, homes with between 2,500 and 3,000 square feet of heated living space use 41 percent more electricity than homes with between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet of space. In an age of global warming, why should we subsidize the greater energy use inherent in larger homes?
Follow-up: Last month, MPR's Euan Kerr talked with Neil Gaiman about "why he loves libraries." Who wouldn't love a place that pays you $45,000 for one afternoon's work? The Star Tribune reports on how Legacy money (sales tax increase) was spent to "expose suburbia to authors of national acclaim." Excuse me? "Expose suburbia to authors of national acclaim." You pay for the author. The condescension comes free.
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico threatens environmental and economic disaster. How has the Gulf oil spill affected your view of America's energy future?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Rosanne Cash (Rebroadcast of the 2/9/10 show).
Second hour: Midmorning reprises two music shows recorded live at MPR. We'll hear brothers, Minnesota natives Dan and Matt Wilson and sisters in song Sweet Honey in the Rock.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour:An update on the legislative session and budget negotiations, from MPR's Mike Mulcahy, Tom Scheck and Tim Pugmire.
Second hour: University of Minnesota meteorologist Mark Seeley.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - Science Friday! First hour: A study finds that people making a tough decision may find some solace in washing their hands. Writing this week in the journal Science, researchers report that having test subjects wash their hands after making a difficult decision could reduce 'cognitive dissonance,' the uneasiness that comes from holding two opposing ideas in your mind at the same time. Test subjects who washed their hands after the decision-making test appeared to be more at ease with the choices made during the experiment. We'll talk about the finding, and what it tells us about the human mind.
Second hour: The ecological damage from the Gulf oil spill.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - MPR's Dan Gunderson will report on whether wind turbines are driving prairie birds away from habitat.
Christopher Lehman, a professor of ethnic studies at St. Cloud State University, has done extensive research on the history of African Americans in St. Cloud. He's reviewed census records and newspaper articles from as old as the late 1800s to string together a historical narrative of slavery in St. Cloud. The slaves were, of course, in the single digits. So slavery was not rampant in St. Cloud. Southerners also vacationed in St. Cloud with their slaves. MPR's Ambar Espinoza explores how the legacy of slavery has influenced race and ethnic relations today in St. Cloud.
We'll all meet back here at 3 p.m. to determine whether we still have a viable stock market.7 Comments)
MPR's Michael Caputo is holding a forum on how we talk about racial issues. It's part of a continuing Friday series on the issue. Join in.
There's no chance of State Rep. Steve Drazkowski's Arizona-style immigration bill becoming law in Minnesota anytime soon. There's no chance it'll even get a hearing in the remaining days of the legislative session. The only purpose it has is reigniting a debate that had started to die down a little as the nation got distracted by oil spills and incompetent terrorists.
But reignite it, it has.
Today, the police chiefs of St. Paul and Minneapolis responded with this press release:
We believe that mobilizing local police to serve as primary enforcers of federal immigration laws will throw up barriers of mistrust and cause a chilling effect in immigrant communities, impairing our ability to build partnerships and engage in problem-solving that improves the safety of all members of the community. The culture of fear that this bill will instill in immigrant communities will keep victims of crime and people with information about crime from coming forward, and that will endanger all residents.
It is a mistake for our state to try to fix our nation's immigration system. We urge Minnesota lawmakers and the people of our state to join with us in denouncing HF3830. We believe this bill runs contrary to the values of community policing and problem-solving that the people we serve have rightly demanded and will make our communities less safe.
In reality, this debate about the role of local cops predated -- by a lot -- Arizona's new law.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty proposed a statewide team to crackdown on illegal immigrants in 2006. It included a proposal that would require police to check immigration status. It got the same reaction from then-Minneapolis police chief William McManus.
"It's difficult now to get members of those communities to report crime and to work with the police," said McManus. "So I can see that magnifying exponentially if local police were given the authority of INS officers."
But not all police chiefs were against the idea.
"We have these second-class issues that, because of illegal immigration and the need for the workforce to get here, it seems like we've winked and nodded at some of these issues. and now we need to rein in what we've created," said Worthington police chief Mike Comiskey of Pawlenty's proposal.
Both St. Paul and Minneapolis have ordinances restricting police officers' ability to ask about immigration status unless it relates directly to a criminal investigation.
Whatever happened to Pawlenty's idea? It passed the Minnesota House easily in March 2006 with plenty of DFL support, but never got a vote in the Senate.
We've had a "spirited" discussion on my cubicle row today about the Star Tribune story concerning author Neil Gaiman's $45,000 speaker's fee to speak in Stillwater, paid for via the Legacy Amendment money. That's the arts and outdoors dedicated fund from an increase in the sales tax.
You can hear Gaiman's speech for free:
The arts community has offered a little "pushback" to the criticism of Gaiman since the Star Tribune article appeared.
Says Kevin Hoffman of City Pages:
Sure, $45,000 sounds like a lot of money for an author, even one as acclaimed as Gaiman. But that's pennies compared to the $791 million Vikings stadium the Star Tribune wants taxpayers to help build.
Amy Goetzman of MinnPost:
But predictably, this unleashed the comments-section mob of torch-bearing, anti-library Tea Party types, who will no doubt think of this item when it comes to voting to support their local libraries.
That's a lot of money, to be sure, but author Sarah Palin's been bringing in more than double that for appearances, and a quick look at this talent site finds plenty of other writers charging in the $30K to $50K range for an appearance, including Alice Walker and Anderson Cooper
All of this is low-hanging fruit for those who argued against including arts funding in a bill that originally was intended to help outdoors and natural resources projects. And it caused me to take a look back at how the Legacy Amendment was marketed to voters -- heavy on the outdoors, light on the arts.
Former MPR arts commentator Dominic Papatola delivered a classic quote when asked about it during the campaign.
"It's easy to make a kneejerk argument against the arts; all you have to do is mention Robert Mapplethorpe or Karen Finley. You know, the outdoors don't get naked and smear themselves with chocolate."(14 Comments)
The amazing diversity of news on a given day, eh? State shutdown threats, water coolers that make a city stop, teachers who steal lunch money from autistic students, and the people for whom we'd drink poison. It's on today's news conversation with The Current's Mary Lucia.(1 Comments)