1) Here's something you don't see every day. A story from a war we're having. Today, nine soldiers were killed when a helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. The one TV network that covered the story -- CBS -- did so with file footage of helicopters, and a woman standing on a roof in Kabul, reading details from a press release from NATO.
Increasingly, the most solid reporting on the war -- the war part of the war -- is coming from non-mainstream sources. This comes from Global Post. The blog can be found here. Note: The following contains strong language. War is like that.
Have we ever had a political campaign in the middle of a war, and have it not be the central issue?
2) The air continues to turn foul over the sudden cancellation of the premiere of Troubled Waters, a documentary about pollution in the Mississippi River that may have angered agricultural interests at the sponsoring University of Minnesota. Yesterday the Minnesota Daily made it apparent that it was Karen Himle, wife of the former business partner of
GOP IP gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner, who was primarily responsible for pulling the plug. She's head of university relations.( Here's the flow chart for that department).
Late last week, the head of the Bell Museum at the U of M issued a release explaining the reasons the film was pulled over the objections of just about everyone who had anything to do with its production. Today, the Star Tribune suggests that inside the Bell, it is not a happy family.
The head of the film unit at the Bell gave the Star Tribune "a list of 27 scientists at the U and elsewhere who were part of the review process, as well as 17 resource managers and extension educators, 10 farmers and nine science writers and communication specialists." That wasn't good enough.
The people who appear to have called the shots on this aren't talking. The head of the film unit at the Bell Museum said she doesn't think outside influences were exerted to kill the film.
MinnPost's David Brauer points out that one reason there's suspicion about the circumstances surrounding this particular film, is it's not the first time the U has killed an unflattering portrayal of agriculture.
3 First written anonymously as "Twin Cities White Collar Man Walking," the Homeless Help Network has grown to make the homeless more visible. It spawned We Are Visible. Chris Jenks writes it. A few years ago he was just another guy with a nice home, a few cars, and money socked away. Today, he's homeless. He tells his story to The Story's Dick Gordon.
4) What happens when police wait for a month to investigate a crime? A man gets his reputation destroyed. Ask Joe Halvorson, whose story is being told in a series in the Red Wing Republican Eagle.
5) Needle Doctor is leaving Dinkytown, the Minnesota Daily reports.
Needle Doctor is a perfect example of how a small business can survive by being nimble. When Best Buy moved into the market years ago, the owner turned to the Internet to compete.
Bonus: Who knew there was a search for the woman who was the girl in this famous ad?
It was presumed that the woman was found in the '90s. But now it's been revealed that she was a fake and the real person has just been found.
Picture of the Day (So far): Wanted: Copy editor in South Bend.
The billboard has been fixed.
Breaking: Twitter is under attack.
A group of economists on Monday declared that the recent recession lasted 18 months and ended in June of 2009. Does the recession feel over to you?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: The lending practices that experts blame for students' struggle to pay back their loans.
Second hour: Gary Shteyngart, author of "Super Sad True Love Story." His previous books include "Absurdistan."
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: The complexities of putting a balanced budget together in Minnesota.
Second hour: IP gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner, taped yesterday at the Humphrey Institute candidate series event.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: The United Nations General
Assembly: What's the point?
Second hour: Can social media save the world?
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - During the housing boom, many tradesmen and construction workers moved to places like Isanti County to pursue their own American dream. But in fall 2010, they are the new poor. Isanti County used to lead the nation in growth. Now it leads the state in foreclosures and delinquencies. The residents are fiscal and social conservatives and want home-grown solutions rather than government. But the recession, and being the epicenter of the latest foreclosure crisis, has tested its ability to innovate.(3 Comments)
Jim Thome and the Twins are on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated? Swell, when do the Timberwolves break camp?
It's not that we don't like the glow of any national attention on our fair city, it's just that Sports Illustrated has a long-recognized ability to destroy those who appear on its cover. Even Sports Illustrated acknowledged that there's a regression in performance of cover subjects 37 percent of the time. True, it's just superstition. But so is the power of Homer Hankies and rally caps. It's going to take more.
In fact, the issue that comes out each year on this date is particularly brutal for those bestowed with the honor of a cover.
One year ago this week, for example, SI featured the Detroit Tigers on the cover. For most of the season, the Tigers looked like the team to beat. After the issue came out, the Tigers went 3-5, were caught by the Twins on the last weekend of the season, and lost to Minnesota in a one-game playoff. Coincidence?
Two years ago on this date, the Chicago Cubs got the honors. They were ahead in their division by 10 1/2 games on the day the issue came out. They won the division, but in the week after the issue came out, they lost four of their final six games, recorded their only non-winning month of the season, and lost three straight postseason games to the Dodgers and watched the World Series on TV.
A football story graced the cover on this date in 2007, but the next week the Boston Red Sox were featured.
The Red Sox won their opening series in the playoffs, but -- inexplicably -- dropped 3 of the first 4 games to the Cleveland Indians in the league championship series before -- not so inexplicably -- the Indians collapsed and lost three straight games to the Red Sox, who went on to win the World Series.
Proving what? That the only antidote to the Sports Illustrated curse are the Cleveland Indians.
In 2006, it was Alex Rodriguez' turn.
The Yankees were favored to win the World Series in 2006, what with their best record in the league and all. Alex Rodriguez had 1 hit in 14 ABs, and the Detroit Tigers beat the Yankees in a shocker, beating the Yankees in three out of four games.
This week in 2005, football was on the cover. But an insert asked if the Philadelphia Phillies were born to be wild cards in the playoffs.
They might've been in the playoffs had they not lost two important games to the New York Mets in the last week of the season. They missed the playoffs by one game.
Oh, and the Eagles. They lost 8 of their last 10 games that season after Donovan McNabb, the cover boy on that issue, was injured and missed the games. That's a triple play for the SI jinx if you're scoring at home, or -- as Keith Olbermann used to say when he was funny -- you're alone.
Last week, by the way, Tom Brady and Randy Moss were on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The Patriots lost to the Jets.
As for the Twins, they'll capture the Central Division title tonight or tomorrow afternoon. They're playing -- get this -- the Cleveland Indians. Maybe they can keep them in town for the playoffs.(11 Comments)
Stand down, gay rights advocates. The attempt to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is dead, and probably for a good long time.
"The whole thing is a political train wreck," said Richard Socarides, a former White House adviser on gay rights during the Clinton administration. He spoke after Sen. Susan Collins of Maine announced she would vote against repealing the law, which effectively bans homosexuals from serving in the military.
The Senate doesn't have enough votes to prevent a filibuster and it's unlikely November will make it any more likely the measure will find support anytime soon. Democrats seem unable to pass most legislation without a super majority.
It also comes on the day when Gen. James Amos said he was against repealing the law. He appeared at his confirmation hearing to be the new head of the Marines.
"Sir, I've heard at the Marine bases and the Marine input for the online survey, it has been predominantly negative," he said.
His views conflict with those of Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostwick, who last week told the Washington Times, "these people opposing this new policy will need to get with the program, and if they can't, they need to get out. No matter how much training and education of those in opposition, you're always going to have those that oppose this on moral and religious grounds just like you still have racists today."(9 Comments)
The National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Colorado have figured out how the Red Sea could part, allowing Moses and the Israelites to leave Egypt as described in the Book of Exodus.
The two have released a study that says it could have been the wind.
The computer simulations show that a strong east wind, blowing overnight, could have pushed water back at a bend where an ancient river is believed to have merged with a coastal lagoon along the Mediterranean Sea. With the water pushed back into both waterways, a land bridge would have opened at the bend, enabling people to walk across exposed mud flats to safety. As soon as the wind died down, the waters would have rushed back in.
"People have always been fascinated by this Exodus story, wondering if it comes from historical facts," researcher Car Drews says. "What this study shows is that the description of the waters parting indeed has a basis in physical laws."
Previous researchers have claimed that a 74 mph wind from the northwest could've exposed a reef.
Researchers did not hazard a guess as to what -- or who -- caused the wind.
Cyrus Farivar, an Iranian-American journalist, reported on Monday that a member of the detained blogger's family "has confirmed to me that he is awaiting a sentence in his trial in Tehran, and that the prosecutor is seeking the death penalty."He fled Iran in 2000 after his newspaper was shut down. But he returned in 2008 and was arrested a few weeks later.
The controversy over the University of Minnesota's spiking of a documentary about pollution in the Mississippi River is either a huge story, or has been managed into a huge story by the way it's been handled. The U canceled the premiere of Troubled Waters, and then has issued -- through released statements -- differing specifics about the reason why, giving rise to assertions that it was to protect the interests of agriculture.
This afternoon, the Land Stewardship Project issued a news release calling for the resignation of Karen Himle, the university's vice president of relations.
Here's the release:
Calling her handling of the cancellation of the documentary film Troubled Waters an "outrageous affront to science in the public interest," the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) today called for the resignation of University of Minnesota Vice President of University Relations Karen Himle. LSP is also calling for the film to be shown as scheduled in October and for U of M officials to execute a full review of how public relations concerns and corporate agriculture interests trumped the public good when Himle made the decision to pull the film.
"This appears to be a blatant example of the U of M putting corporate PR ahead of the public good," said LSP's Associate Director Mark Schultz.
"Whether the film was pulled because of direct pressure from corporate ag interests, or whether U officials did it of their own accord, the result is the same: censorship has seriously hobbled the school's attempt to become a world class research and educational institution."
On Sept. 15, the Twin Cities Daily Planet broke the story that Himle had canceled the premiere of the documentary Troubled Waters: A Mississippi River Story at the Bell Museum of Natural History Oct. 3, and on Twin Cities Public Television Oct. 5. The film, which was directed by Emmy and Peabody award-winning filmmaker Larkin McPhee, was funded primarily with public funds and made on contract for the Bell Museum.
It describes how excessive nutrient run-off from farm fields is a major contributor to a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The film features interviews with farmers, top scientists and other experts, and shows how conservation-minded farmers of all types are working to limit or even eliminate runoff into our waters. Scientists, funders and others who have viewed the film say it provides a balanced, scientifically accurate portrayal of the dead zone issue, and offers real solutions for fixing the dead zone problem.
"Unfortunately, corporate ag interests, committed to the current system of mono-cropping corn and soybeans, are frequently intolerant of suggestions that farming changes are needed to improve water quality,"
said Schultz. "Even more unfortunately, certain U of M officials appear to be just as intolerant of open discussion of this issue."
Since the canceling of the film's premiere was made public, U of M President Robert Bruinink's office has been flooded with phone calls and e-mails from Minnesotans concerned about this issue. Of particular concern is that Himle was allowed to pull a film on agriculture and the environment despite a clear conflict of interest. Himle is closely connected to corporate ag interests: her husband is John Himle, former director of the Agri-Growth Council, a corporate agriculture lobbying group, and he is currently director of Himle Horner, a PR firm that does work for the Agri-Growth Council.
Since the film's cancellation was made public, U of M officials have changed their story repeatedly about why Troubled Waters is supposedly unacceptable for public viewing. An initial claim was that the film's "science" needed to be reviewed by the Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR), the major source of funding for the project. However, LCCMR officials have said they found it "quite balanced." University officials later admitted the film was scientifically accurate but claimed it was "unbalanced."
"There is good work going on at the U on innovative ways we can produce food while protecting the environment," said Schultz. "But this action around Troubled Waters has damaged the school's research and education mission. If the U of M is to regain the trust of the state's citizens as an institution that puts public interests ahead of corporate PR concerns, then it needs to take immediate steps to show the film and dismiss Himle."(4 Comments)