1) Members of the class of 2014 have never felt it unusual at all to see a Korean-made car on the highway. They've never written cursive (have you tried lately?). American companies have always done business in Vietnam. These are factoids in Beloit College's annual "mindset list," which was issued today in time for freshman orientation.
I didn't see this on the list but this one comes to mind: The Class of 2014 hasn't had to remember phone numbers. Got one for the list? Post it below.
2) It's not really about a mosque. That much is more obvious as "the mosque story" dominates the news cycle for another day. And it is dominating the news again. Are we closer to the real issue? It would appear so.
Joe Klein of Time stakes out one side today:
My grandmother's maiden name was Rachel Mendoza. Her family--a famous Sephardic tribe--migrated to Spain after the Romans kicked the Jews out of Israel. They lived there peaceably, sometimes prosperously, sometimes creatively for the entire Cordoba period, the era of Islamic rule. They were kicked out of Spain, with all the other Jews, in 1492--by the Catholic King and Queen, Ferdinand and Isabella, who were quite the religious fanatics when they weren't busy funding Christopher Columbus. The point is, Islamic rule in Spain was some of the better times during my family's 2000 year wander. The last 100 years have been, without question, the best of times for us Mendoza/Kleins because of the rights we enjoy under the United States Constitution. Those who would mess with those rights now may win some short-term political victories, they might shave some more points off the President's poll ratings, but they will not succeed in the long run--because this is America and the forces of tolerance always prevail over those of bigotry. And if the bigots do succeed in the long run, this won't be America anymore.
Bigots? What say you to that allegation, editorial cartoonist Mike Lester of the Rome (Ga.) News Tribune?
(Aside: If you don't mind narrowly edited 'F-bombs,' Daily Show's Jon Stewart delivered the goods on the issue last night.)
3) The easiest job in America? That's easy: The high school civics teacher who has to teach about the Constitution. Everywhere you look, the Constitution is lurking. If the mosque story doesn't provide hours of lecture-hall fun, what about this story? In Colorado, a homeowner is flying a "Don't Tread on Me" flag, which has been a fixture at tea party rallies. His homeowners association has told him to stop. "When you buy [a house], the declaration creates a contract between the association and its owners. As an owner, by contract, you're giving up your constitutional rights," the homeowners association boss said.
4) In California, the Senate is considering a bill to ban plastic bags. Supporters have produced a "mockumentary." Regardless of your position on the issue, at least it's political advertising that's about an actual issue, Minnesota. (h/t: Boing Boing)
5) Salad shooter. A scene from last weekend's Minnesota Game Fair:
Bonus: From the "Department of Are You Serious?": There's a chance of frost up north.
From the Department of Raised Right: A six-year-old girl in Texas saved a two-year-old from drowning, then refused a reward for her heroism:
"After I saved her, her mom said go tell her daddy he owes you a $100 or something for saving her daughter's life, but I really didn't want it because I didn't want that much money," she said.
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called for major belt-tightening in the Department of Defense budget. Which defense programs and initiatives can the country afford to lose? And will this have an affect on the national debt? Three military budget experts take a look inside defense spending.
Second hour: In the film "Inception," corporate thieves enter people's dreams and steal their ideas. While some of the concepts in the film are purely hypothetical, it's raising new awareness on the world of dream research.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner discusses the Lee trial, the prevention and punishment of crime, and techniques for prosecuting new and old cases.
Second hour: Environmentalist and writer Bill McKibben, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival about global warming. He is author of the best-seller "The End of Nature" and is scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: The proposed Islamic center near ground zero isn't the only controversial mosque. Host Neal Conan talks about the mosques in communities across the country.
Second hour: Tom Bissell's spent untold hours playing video games, not for the graphics but for the story telling. He discusses why video games matter.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The retirement of Sen. Mee Moua and Rep. Cy Thao means there won't be a Hmong representative in the state Legislature for the first time in eight years. Moua will most likely be replaced by former St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington, who enjoys a level of respect in the Hmong community. But he didn't have to campaign hard to win the DFL primary, defeating four Hmong candidates. Says community activist Tou Ger Xiong: "It's not that Harrington won. It's just that we, as a Hmong community, lost." Some political observers predict it will be many years before a Hmong candidate is elected to the Legislature. What does this mean for Hmong interests and the broader power of identity politics? MPR's Laura Yuen will have the story.
Minnesota leads the nation in the number of tornado touchdowns this year. But there are people out there who are happy to hear the sirens. MPR's Tim Nelson reports they have one of the world's loudest hobbies.
You know what would make a good topic for "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!"? A story about a guy who wrote a play with the words "for God's sake" in it -- a play that was to be used by schools in Texas as part of the English curriculum testing -- and then the deal falls apart because the writer refused to take out "for God's sake."
It's a true story that's happened to Peter Sagal, host of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!".
The Fort Worth Star Telegram has the story today:
Sagal complained on his blog that the request was irrational and indicative of Texas' reputation as "the state that's leading the charge back into the middle ages in terms of educational standards."
Sagal told the Star-Telegram that he has followed the State Board of Education's various curriculum debates for years.
"We had a joke on the show about them excising Thomas Jefferson," Sagal said, referring to a controversy earlier this year in which the state board cut Jefferson from a section on influential philosophers in its social studies standards. The board later put Jefferson back in. After struggling with the issue and getting advice from fans via Twitter and his blog, Sagal decided that whether or not Texas schoolchildren read his play didn't have anything to do with his difference of opinion regarding other aspects of the state's curriculum.
"I don't think I was going to help the cause of improving the education in Texas, if that's something I could even imagine doing, by keeping my play from Texas students," Sagal said.
Sagal said he was going to use the money he was to be paid by Texas to help defray the cost of a friend's treatment for colon cancer.
Good news/bad news in a study on household debt from the New York Federal Reserve Bank today:
For the first time since early 2006, the share of total household debt in some stage of delinquency declined, from 11.9 percent to 11.2 percent. However, the number of people with a new bankruptcy noted on their credit reports rose 34 percent during the second quarter, considerably higher than the 20 percent increase typical of the second quarter in recent years.
How are people cutting their debt? Check out this graph from the bank's report. This indicates the number of accounts by the type of account. Blue indicates credit cards.
But as a percentage of the balance of delinquent loans, credit card debt has increased while student loans have taken a big drop.
The report also charted the loan delinquency situation in several of the hardest-hit states. Minnesota wasn't one of them. You can find the full report here.
Is this consistent with your household finances? Are you total loans dropping, increasing, or staying the same over the last year?(4 Comments)
Here's another reason to dread the coming winter: Organizers of the Art Shanty Project have announced they're taking 2011 off, according to an announcement on the organization's Web site:
As the Art Shanty Projects has expanded, we realize we are unwilling to coordinate a 2011 project with limited staff and board capacity. This break will also provide us with the time and space to begin our implementation of a strategic plan for healthy growth.
Second, this year we were awarded an Organizational Development Grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council which enabled us to work with consultant Anne Howden on intensive strategic planning. With Anne's help we listened to our artists, audiences, funders, and the arts community to help us map out key goals for the coming years.
Artists build ice houses on Medicine Lake in Plymouth, invite the public to bundle up and visit each one over several weeks.(5 Comments)
Reporters for a Connecticut FoxNews station were sprayed with hornet and wasp spray yesterday, while filming a woman suspected of receiving beer from a beer delivery driver who later shot 10 people at his workplace.
The woman's husband was charged with assault.
It's a tough business.
Sometimes the shoe is on the other foot...
Among the most startling news stories of the current news cycle, this one may be tops: Lou Gehrig may not have died from Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Gehrig held the record for the most consecutive games played in baseball until Cal Ripken broke it a few years ago. Over that time, he brushed off plenty of injuries. That may be what killed him, according to researchers from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Massachusetts, who will present their findings tomorrow.
Gehrig might have suffered instead from brain trauma. The researchers said markings in the spinal cords of two football players and a boxer showed that they didn't die of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, even though that was their diagnosis.
How could this be? "Most A.L.S. patients don't go to autopsy -- there's no need to look at your brain and spinal cord," Dr. Brian Crum, an assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, told the New York Times. "But a disease can look like A.L.S., it can look like Alzheimer's, and it's not when you look at the actual tissue. This is something that needs to be paid attention to."
But, far too many people have ALS for real. Over the weekend, for example, Eric Obermann was buried. He was one of the youngest people ever diagnosed with ALS. He was struck by the disease when he was only 18. He died last week at 28. You may remember him from emotional testimony before a Congressional panel in 2005, or as a spokesperson for ALS research.
There will be no doubt what killed him.
"We just have so much respect and admiration for what he did ...," Stuart Obermann said of his son. "He gave everything he had left. His last selfless act was donating his brain and spinal cord to ALS research."
Update 2:53 p.m. U of M's Gary Schweitzer isn't buying the NYT story quite yet.(2 Comments)
You've probably heard by now. Brett Favre is back with the Vikings.
Still unclear: Who are the people who have the time to stand by the side of the road to welcome him?
(Photo: Video lift from KARE 11)(3 Comments)