Monday Morning Rouser - special Tuesday and 'summer is over' edition:
1) Yesterday, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer told impatient reporters asking for his budget plan that he'd give them all a hug. He didn't. But maybe he's onto something:
Why didn't we think of this before the State Fair? Someone did.
2) Two deaths over the weekend have us considering who will be the civil rights champions of the current generation? Jefferson Thomas died on Sunday. He was one of the Little Rock 9, students who integrated the high school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. He had white friends before he went to high school, but didn't have many once he got there.
"Eventually, I ran into them ... and they were not at all happy to see me," Thomas added. "One of them said, 'Well I don't mind playing basketball or football with you or anything. You guys are good at sports. Everybody knows that, but you're just not smart enough to sit next to me in the classroom.'"
He narrated this documentary:
Closer to home comes word that another pioneer has died. Ken Wofford, a Tuskegee airman, served in both World War II and Vietnam. He was from Golden Valley. He helped convert the Air Force from propeller-driven aircraft to jets. He is a member of the Minnesota aviation hall of fame.
They struggled against inequality and as they pass, the country slips backward. A federal court says there's nothing wrong about a white man calling a black man, "boy," the New York Times reports.
3) A new study says there's no medical evidence that bipolar disorder makes people violent -- it's the booze and drugs they turn to, according to the BBC:
"The link between mental illness and violence is often grossly exaggerated when in fact people with mental health problems are far more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators," said an official with a UK mental health charity. But an executive of another mental health organization criticized the findings, saying it underplays violence caused by people with schizophrenia.
More science! Want to lose weight? Go to sleep. A study shows young kids who get at least 8 hours of sleep a night tend to be less fat than their non-sleeping peers.
4) Today's 5x8 is brought to you by the number 2, which is how many years in a row, Nikki Tundel has captured the best of the now-concluded-but-not-forgotten Minnesota State Fair, by focusing on animals in dress-up.
And if you've forgotten last year's, here:
Of course, you can never have enough sheep video when you run a blog. Over the weekend, they had the running of the sheep in Reeds Point, Montana. Here's last year's:
5) How do you hold onto summer in Minnesota? You ride through a soybean field on a perfect day. (Minnesota Prairie Roots)
Off we went, bouncing along the field road under a beautiful blue sky scuttled with white clouds. Honestly, September days in Minnesota don't get much better than this--sunshine and soybean fields, country air and spacious skies, princess waves and smiles as wide as the horizon, dog hugs and happy kids, laughter and the love of family, my family.
Discussion point: MPR's Tom Weber reports today that school districts in the state are trying to figure out how to spend over $150 million in federal cash. This is money Congress send to the states as part of an "emergency" to save teacher jobs. But several school districts say they might stash the money in reserve. Question: If you're stashing the money, where's the emergency?
At the start of each week now through the election, we'll pose a question on an issue that's pertinent to the race for Minnesota governor. Today's Question: Should public schools have to seek voter approval for operating funds?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Gov. Tim Pawlenty's executive order forbidding state agencies from accepting or applying for funds connected to federal health care reform has pleased conservatives and enraged Democrats. Midmorning looks at what the decision means for the state, and at what other states that oppose federal health care reform are doing.
Second hour: When writer Sara Gruen went to see the work being done at Great Ape Trust, an Iowa research center where scientists are studying how apes acquire and understand language, she came away transformed. Her time there inspired the new novel "The Ape House."
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Retiring Minnesota National Guard Adjutant Gen. Larry Shellito will be in the studio to talk about his career, and the role of the Guard in foreign wars.
Second hour: Broadcast of the gubernatorial debate, held this morning in Duluth.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: TBA
Second hour: Coming out at work.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - What's it like heading back to class when your school got clobbered by a tornado? Wadena kids are going to school at the college. MPR's Tom Robertson will have the story.
On the first day of school for most kids in Minnesota, Tom Weber heads to one of the state's 'worst performing' schools for the first day of their first year with an influx of money from the feds to turn their school around. What's different at the school? What will kids notice? Are school leaders hopeful this might be an actual help, or just the next program with money?
Today is the day Bedlam Theatre completely vacates its Cedar Riverside location. Chris Roberts reports on the impact the theater/music venue/restaurant had on its neighborhood and what the future may hold.(3 Comments)
Traversing downtown St. Paul these days isn't for the faint of heart. If you eschew the auto because of the LRT construction on the roads, the sidewalk sinkholes might get you.
At Wabasha and 6th Streets this morning, the sidewalk got sucked into the earth.
A man was walking on the spot at the time; he's in the hospital.
So the occasional empty streets of downtown St. Paul are empty again as a few dozen cops and reporters babysit the hole.
The Pioneer Press reports the sinkhole was caused by a broken water main, although there isn't a drop of water anywhere in sight. Fox9 says the water main break -- officials don't know where it is -- is flowing underground to points unknown. And it's likely weakening sidewalks unknown.
Meanwhile, a truck full of scrap metal flipped over on the ramp from 52 to 94 in St. Paul -- the site of constant truck flip-overs.
This clearly isn't St. Paul's day.(4 Comments)
The three major-party candidates for governor debated in Duluth this morning. As with past debates, the answers were predictable because they've been pretty much the same answers since the primary election. DFLer Mark Dayton, GOPer Tom Emmer, and IPer Tom Horner debated in a session organized by the Duluth News Tribune.
It doesn't appear that many issues other than those surrounding business will be debated in this election. Most of the debates sponsored so far, have been sponsored by business organizations.
There's no question that the economy is issue #1, but what are issues #2, 3, and 4?
Here's the list of issues which more than 32,000 people ranked (via Select A Candidate) in the gubernatorial election four years ago:
2006 was pre-meltdown, of course. But 2008 wasn't. Here's the issues rankings by 44,283 who took the Select A Candidate survey in the Senate race that year in Minnesota.
Curiously, "job creation" has not been the overwhelming issue ranked as "most important" by the 12,000+ taking this year's Select A Candidate quiz for governor.
Time for another installment of "You Are."
Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of forces in Afghanistan, issued a statement today, urging a preacher in Florida not to carry out plans to burn the Quran to commemorate 9/11.
"Images of the burning of a Koran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan - and around the world - to inflame public opinion and incite violence," Petraeus said. "Such images could, in fact, be used as were the photos from [Abu Ghraib]. And this would, again, put our troopers and civilians in jeopardy and undermine our efforts to accomplish the critical mission here in Afghanistan."
Petraeus' statement has been characterized by news organizations as a message to pastor Terry Jones, but the wording also seems to carry a message to news organizations: Don't cover it. Without images and film of someone burning the Quran, the intended effect -- to inflame the Islamic word -- will be somewhat muted.
You are the editor of a major news organization. How do you cover the event if you cover it at all?(17 Comments)
Posted at 2:10 PM on September 7, 2010
by Bob Collins
The Fourmile Canyon fire in Colorado is the latest disaster to provide opportunities for beautiful imagery.
Fires make for great sunset pictures hundreds of miles away. Why? Phil Plait of the Bad Astronomy blog explains:
The smoke is made up of tiny particles of soot and ash. When blue light hits them, it scatters like a pinball off a bumper. So when you look to the Sun through the smoke, all the blue light has bounced off in a different direction, leaving only the redder light able to make its way straight to your eye. This happens on a lesser scale every night with particles in the air, making sunsets red. But this fire has really strengthened the effect, and the Sun went through myriad shades of red on its way down past the mountains last night. It was astonishing. Making it even more wrenching was knowing what was a causing it, and that there were people in the middle of all that smoke trying to put the fires out.
When I was your age, I'd tell a young student today, the TV was the evil in the house. My parents would tell me not to study in front of the TV (eventually I complied by not studying at all, which explains why I became a blogger, perhaps). My dad constantly harped about sitting "too close" to the TV. When my sister helped carry me out of the house with what turned out to be appendicitis in my junior year in high school, I overheard my dad tell my mother, "I told him not to sit so close to the TV."
But you've got the designated evil in your house too, students of today. It's Facebook.
Take this study, for example, from professor Paul Kirschner in The Netherlands, as reported by The Daily Mail: "Using Facebook 'can lower exam results by up to 20%."
The study involves 219 students at an unnamed American university. Facebook users had a typical grade point average of 3.06. Non-users had an average GPA of 3.82.
But look closer and see if you can spot a similarity.
'The problem is that most people have Facebook or other social networking sites, their emails and maybe instant messaging constantly running in the background while they are carrying out other tasks.
'Our study, and other previous work, suggests that while people may think constant task-switching allows them to get more done in less time, the reality is it extends the amount of time needed to carry out tasks and leads to more mistakes.'
The study is actually not about whether Facebook users are as smart as non-Facebook users. It's whether using Facebook while studying is better than not using it. And who doesn't already know that any distraction -- TV, Facebook, phone calls, music, blogs -- makes processing information more difficult? You can't get a decent headline out of that.
What the study doesn't say is whether people who never use Facebook are smarter than people who do.
For the record, I use Facebook. I just take care not to sit too close to it.