1) The northern Twin Cities suburb of Lino Lakes last night passed a resolution making English the city's official language. The measure bars the local government from translating official city actions and documents into other languages, and as MPR's Laura Yuen reports, several people in attendance were not happy about the measure:
"You all scare me. It's like Nazi Germany. I'm scared, really," said Dora Salazar-Rolfzen addressing the council.
Salazar-Rolfzen asked the council if she would be arrested if caught speaking Spanish to her children. She had several outbursts during the night and was eventually escorted out by police.
However, the story also reports that in the community of Brown County, Wis., which includes Green Bay, the adoption of English as the "official language of the government" had almost no impact on the way the city was run.
What do you say? Is the measure over-the-top or simply a misunderstanding of what the measure says?
2) Simultaneously heroic and disheartening, a report from the New York Times describes a rising trend of insurgents holding up blood banks to steal blood for their wounded soldiers.
The Iraqi security force members that guard medical facilities have often stood idly by as the armed robberies take place, according to workers. This has reinforced doubts about Iraq's ability to take on even a diminished insurgency as the United States continues to reduce its troops in the country.
Instead, I would argue that the U.S. would (and probably has) done the exact same thing. On the battlefield, in the middle of a foreign country, medical assistance isn't always immediately available. If there's a blood bank nearby and one of your comrades needs help, I trust that American soldiers would do anything to save him or her.
A man who claims to be a Qaeda fighter, who identified himself with the nom de guerre of Abu Mustafa al-Mejmai, said insurgents has been compelled to steal blood due to military pressure from American and Iraqi forces. The insurgents, he said, had also established their own clinics staffed by doctors and nurses.
"During the great jihad battles we were wounded severely," he said. "Therefore we tried to be self-reliant to prevent the mujahedeen from falling into the hands of the invaders."
The New York Times article not only has quotes from an al-Qaeda fighter, but also unbelievable stories of police and insurgents conflicting over blood supplies. The war continues, this time in the hospital beds.
3) Don't stand, don't stand, don't stand so close to me.
I mean, when you're at a comic conference, you probably are going to be on edge anyway... crazy events, those Comic-Cons.
4) After some crazy weather in the midwest (again -- we should be used to this by now), a dam has broken in Iowa. There is raw video out now of the gushing waters:
Rising waters washed out the berm, and large chunks of the road on the dam broke off. "It just peeled off eight-foot sections and dumped them," said Shirley Helmrichs, the Delaware County supervisor. "The light poles started falling like match sticks; they just started snapping over. You could hear this crunching, this rumbling. It was like the dam was just growling."
Here's to hoping that our weather won't reflect that of Illinois and Iowa. Oh, thanks Paul Huttner!
5) And now, if you woke up on the very bad side of the bed, check out this article from Lifehacker.
The statistics show that people who believe in bad luck will have more accidents on Friday the 13th. Those who have a negative attitude are more likely to endow normal little mishaps with some mystical significance. Some psychologists even suggest that it's a way of subconsciously avoiding responsibility for our actions.
The age-old "keep-your-chin-up" attitude wins again. So let this be a lesson to ya!(14 Comments)
Posted at 11:15 AM on July 27, 2010
by Eric Ringham
Sometimes it's hard to tell when someone is pulling our leg. This promotional e-mail struck me as a joke, but on subsequent readings I'm not so sure. The ad is selling an iPhone 4 app that lets you ... um ... confirm your family's whereabouts. You know, to be sure they're safe:
"Family Tracker allows you to track your wife, husband, children and fiancée 24/7 using the new multitasking feature in the Apple iOS4.
"The new Family Tracker runs in the background on the iPhone, constantly updating its GPS location. Spouses can thus instantly know their partner has safely reached their destination at home, work or during long trips. Parents can know if their children are exactly where they should be, and didn't sneak out without permission. ... Privacy concerns are nonexistent, as the owner of the iPhone has to give prior consent in order to be tracked. Family Tracker allows peace of mind [by] letting you know where all your family members are at all times."
That's a nice touch, including the "fiancée" among the people you might want to track. Another nice touch is dismissing the obvious privacy problems with a breezy assertion that the target - excuse me, the fiancée - has at some point agreed to the deal. The agreement, we can assume, was the price of getting the Coolest. Phone. Ever. Made.
Dad: Honey ... kids. As you were. I have the phones you requisitioned. Before I issue them to you, I'll need you to click "I agree" on the "Family Tracker Target Consent Form." Then I'll be able to pinpoint your location anytime I don't have a visual on you. This is for my peace of mind.
Great idea! Let's use technology to take the guesswork out of relationships. Who needs trust and accountability, when you have an iPhone 4 with a killer app?
What does $28,000 buy a candidate for governor? Is he listening to the expensive advice? Well, let's see. Dayton hasn't sent a message on Twitter since March (and it was a banal tweet at that):
Citing client privacy, social media consultant Harrison wouldn't say what she does for the Dayton campaign, except that she remains on retainer. Campaign spokeswoman Katie Tinucci refused to go deep into campaign strategy, but defends her candidate's social media efforts, saying Dayton maintains his own Facebook profile and wrote all his tweets.
"A year ago Mark had never heard of Facebook," Tinucci said.
But Twitter wasn't his bag.
"He found 140 characters to be extremely limiting," Tinucci said.
Still, Tinucci says if Dayton comes out on top August 10, he might become a tweeter again.
"Mark is now convinced that if he wins the primary he'll get back on the Twitter," Tinucci said.
What do you think? Is Dayton to be criticized for letting his social media efforts wilt, or did he make a good decision? Maybe all this Twitter, Facebook and blog stuff is really just a big distraction without much value for a Minnesota candidate?