1) The Twins couldn't beat the Yankees in 6 innings last night, so Major League Baseball took it out on the fans. So far in 2010, we've had our first opening day at Target Field, we've had the first raptor, the first squirrel, the first day game, the first night game and last night we got the first application of the rain-check policy. The game was scoreless in the sixth against the Yankees when the rain came. The game was delayed, then suspended. The game will be completed before today's game, but fans who bought tickets for last night's game won't be able to watch the conclusion of last night's game. Baseball rules say a six-inning game is an official game. The fans paid to see a game; they got a game, the Twins said.
"What a joke! The Twins completely ripped off the fans tonight!" WCCO's Mark Rosen tweeted. Actually, it's the umpires who made the call.
What could they have done? Waited? The curfew in baseball is 1 a.m. and by 10, the rain had stopped, according to some fans. But more rain was on the way.
There is, of course, a greatness to outdoor baseball. But when we were traveling down memory lane before the stadium was built, we forgot a few things about its hazards.
And now, our favorite squirrel baseball videos:
More nature news: There's a robin roosting in the foliage of a plant for sale at a Cub in Duluth.
2) 223 years ago yesterday, the Constitutional Convention started meeting in Philadelphia. For many months, it made the Minnesota state government seem like a well-run machine. Eventually, out popped the U.S. Constitution. One wonders what the Founding Fathers would say if we could go back in time and tell them that starting now, an account -- @SecretDelegate -- is providing updates on the Convention, on a thing called a computer, run by magic called electricity? The true identity of the delegate will not be revealed until the Constitution is signed.
Unlike Minnesota lawmakers, the Founding Fathers apparently went drinking with each other from time to time.
3) Should government step in to ensure that users of Facebook own their privacy? The New York Times is hosting a spirited debate today.
"And once again, as on multiple other occasions when Facebook unilaterally changed the way it handles our personal information, some observers shrug and conclude that technology simply "moves too fast" for the law to handle. I don't know which is more exasperating, Facebook's tone-deaf approach to privacy or the defeatist chatter that follows," says William McGeveran, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School.
Facebook is announcing new privacy settings today -- which is different than what they did earlier this week, adding settings that defaulted to lack of privacy without telling anyone .
MPR's Midmorning will tackle this issue tomorrow. Incidentally, want to follow me on Facebook? Me, neither.
4) How come U.S. citizens aren't as excited to be U.S. citizens as people who aren't, and then are? Aguibou Barry of St. Cloud is one of our newest citizens, after a ceremony yesterday in St. Cloud. But his daughters had to stay in school and couldn't attend. "I wish they could be here," Barry said, "because I did this for them."
A commenter on the St. Cloud Times' Web site nails it:
THIS is the kind of story that should be told more often. The VAST majority of immigrants that come here legally are appreciative of their opportunity and excited about their future. Usually, we only hear about the ones that are disenchanted - or never should have come to begin with. Anyone that can't see the positives in a story like this has other "issues" that prevent them from being a TRUE American at heart.
5) Bill Hinkley has died. The folk music giant was on the first A Prairie Home Companion show. He provided the folk in the folksiness of the show.
Candidates for governor of Minnesota have been announcing their running mates ahead of a June 1 filing deadline. Would a candidate's choice of running mate ever decide your vote?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Greece's bailout and the future of the Euro.
Second hour: Memories of stock market's steep decline at the end of 2008, and Wall Street's recent roller coaster ride, might be giving many investors pause. Two market watchers share their thoughts on where the value is, and what to avoid.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Karl Marlantes on his best-selling novel about the Vietnam War, called "Matterhorn."
Second hour: Live broadcast from the National Press Club, featuring President George W. Bush's daughter, Barbara Bush, speaking about global health.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: NPR political editor Ken Rudin.
Second hour: A look at gays serving in the military in other countries.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - MPR's Mark Steil has one of the bright spots for employment. The health sector has grown in size and importance statewide. In some areas job growth and wages outpace the average. Blue Earth County has seen health care employment and wages grow faster than the county average. But some of the fastest-growing jobs are very low-paying. And a growing health sector reflects growing health costs, which are problematic for the economy.
National Public Radio reports on California's last car assembly plant, which shut down earlier this year. But now, it has a new lease on life. Electric sedans will roll off the assembly line there. And that means thousands of former workers will be lining up for jobs again.(4 Comments)
There's a little something in this story out of Oshkosh, Wisconsin for everybody. A couple has been forced to take down the American flag they've put in their window.
The building's management company says it has a policy against putting things in the window, according to WTMJ in Milwaukee.
"We just don't allow people to stick things in their window," Midwest Realty Management president Rodney Oschleger explained. "Instead of drapes or blinds, for example, we don't allow them to put sheets. We don't allow them to put flags or banners or religious or political things."
But it's the flag, counters the apartment renter:
"We're talking about the American flag, we're talking about what this country was founded on," she said. "I believe that people have the freedom of speech that my husband fought for and they can portray that all they want, but we are in America right now and I think we should be able to hang the flag with dignity and with pride."
The apartment complex owner denies he's unpatriotic -- pointing to four American flags on the property. He is, however, guilty of some ridiculously terrible timing.
For the record, the flag in Oshkosh is displayed improperly, according to the U.S. flag code:
(i) When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.
If you're going to make an issue out of the display of the American flag, at least understand the proper way to display it.(7 Comments)
One of the more curious aspects of coverage of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf, is how little attention an early interview with a worker on the Deepwater Horizon platform got.
Today, for example, the Associated Press is carrying a story headlined:
The AP story is based on documents it obtained:
Truitt Crawford, a roustabout for drilling rig owner Transocean LTD, told Coast Guard investigators about the complaints. The seawater, which would have provided less weight to contain surging pressure from the ocean depths, was being used to prepare for dropping a final blob of cement into the well.
"I overheard upper management talking saying that BP was taking shortcuts by displacing the well with saltwater instead of mud without sealing the well with cement plugs, this is why it blew out," Crawford said in his statement.
It was a fascinating account, but it's not really new. Mike Williams, a worker on the rig, had already documented the story in a 60 Minutes interview almost two weeks ago, that got very little attention in the news cycle.
Shortcuts may be too gentle a word for what happened on the Deepwater Horizon.(3 Comments)
Another post for our "They Like Us. They Really Like Us" file:
Kiplinger's July issue is naming Rochester, Minnesota is #6 on its list of the Best Cities of 2010:
The result is a community of great hosts and hostesses. Rochester's mayor, Ardell Brede, is proud of his community's welcoming way. "The other day a woman came up to me and said, 'You have a such a wonderful city, when I ask someone for directions, more often than not, they offer to walk me there themselves,' " he said. (That's a phenomenon I experienced during my own visit -- more than once.) To entertain its guests and residents, the city offers 60 miles of bike trails, more than 100 parks, and a civic center that attracts regional and national conferences and entertainment. And almost everything is accessible by skyway and underground walkways connecting many of the hospital, hotel, and retail buildings -- a near-necessity during Minnesota winters. There are public art projects scattered throughout the city, and a huge art-glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly is installed in the Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building. It all traces back to the Mayo brothers, the founders of the clinic, and their belief in the healing properties of art.
Who's better? Salt Lake City (#5), Boulder Colorado (#4), Washington DC (#3), Seattle (#2), and Austin, Texas (#1).
A lot must've happened in Rochester we don't know about in 2009, however, because only Washington and Austin were in last year's list of top cities. Austin, Seattle, and Des Moines were all on the 2008 list.
6:57 p.m. - A media briefing on the day's attempt begins at 7 p.m. CT. The "unifed command" live blog of it can be found here.
* * * * *
BP reports (via Twitter) that it has started the "kill shot" operation, the desperate attempt to cap the oil well on the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico.
There has been some confusion over whether BP would provide video coverage of the process and, at least so far, the live video is operating. Find it here.
1:38 p.m. - The video has now disappeared. Perhaps the camera is now covered with mud and cement.
1:40 p.m. - The video has returned.
1:42 p.m. - The video feed could use a "mission control"-like narration. It's impossible to know what we're looking at:
1:51 p.m. On the video, right click "zoom" and then select "full screen."
1:55p.m. -- BP says (via Facebook) "It will take 12-48 hours to complete this procedure, which is why the feed is not showing anything different yet."
1:58 p.m. - Aha! Some smart TV station has provided an embed option:
(All the updates are below the fold)