1) IS FACEBOOK PROTECTED SPEECH FROM THE BOSS?
Here we go! The National Labor Relations Board has filed a complaint against a company for firing a woman who criticized her boss on Facebook. This is the first time the NLRB has asserted that what you write on a social network is protected speech.
"This is a fairly straightforward case under the National Labor Relations Act -- whether it takes place on Facebook or at the water cooler, it was employees talking jointly about working conditions, in this case about their supervisor, and they have a right to do that," Lafe Salomon, the board's general counsel told the New York Times.
The act prohibits employers from punishing workers who complain about working conditions.
2) TWO FOR ONE
A Cloquet man shot two deer on Saturday's opening day of the deer season. He did it with one shot.
3) WHOSE MISSILE?
Which is more disconcerting: That someone launched a missle in the Pacific yesterday? Or that nobody seems to know who launched it?
4) RECONSIDERING BUSH
Some people in Texas slept out overnight; they want to be the first to buy George Bush's memoir. This will, no doubt, reignite the debate over Bush's legacy which features observations on both sides we've heard a thousand times before, but which might fill the gap in the lives of some people who are in election campaign withdrawal and haven't been able to have a polarzing debate for almost a week now.
Bush's critics aren't ready to -- to coin a phrase -- move on. They want bookstores to move his autobiography to the "crime" section. That ignores, of course, that most bookstores don't have a crime section.
Salon has 12 takeaways from Matt Lauer's interview with Bush. This one is the weirdest:
Barbara Bush suffered a miscarriage when her son was a teenager, and afterward opted to show the fetus, which she was storing in a jar, to her then teenage son. Bush considers the incident key to his pro-life stance, telling Lauer "there's no question that affected me, a philosophy that we should respect life."
Stephen Hess of Brookings says the Bush family is as close to a royal family as we've got in the U.S., something they once said about the Kennedys.
Here's the full interview:
5) THE COST OF SILENCE
Apparently, quite a few members of the Somali community in the Twin Cities figured that there was a prostitution ring operating within it. According to a story from MPR's Laura Yuen:
Somali-American community members tell MPR News that pimps have been known to approach men in the parking lots of Somali malls and restaurants in Minneapolis. They say the men would offer young girls for as little as $20.
Abdulkadir Sharif said he couldn't believe his ears when a man at a cafe asked him if he wanted in.
"One person asked me, 'You want a prostitute tonight?' Which sounded really ridiculous to me. I told him, 'You should be ashamed of yourself. To sell our own sisters is not acceptable,'" he said.
But several Somalis in Yuen's story said they were unwilling to talk about it for fear of reprisal.
On the day after an indictment was unsealed that charged 29 Somalis in the alleged prostitution racket, it's clear the prostitution of 13 year olds is the mere tip of the iceberg of Somali gangs.
Still unclear, however, is why federal authorities in Tennessee -- not Minnesota -- are the ones who got to have the news conference announcing the indictments.
Says Ruben Rosario in the Pioneer Press says the case apparently started in St. Paul:
For some reason, Tennessee "apparently agreed or were given the go-ahead to go after it," said a veteran law enforcement source in the office. "I would think such a case involving young girls from here would be a priority, but for some reason, we're not doing it. No question, some of us are embarrassed by this."
Bonus: The story behind the trick football play (which I posted yesterday afternoon):
A kid in middle school has a moustache?
(If the video doesn't work for you above, go here)
When George W. Bush left office, only about a third of Americans approved of how he was performing as president. How has your opinion of George W. Bush changed in recent years?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: The American economy's slow recovery is testing small community banks which are continuing to fail. Larger banks were bailed out w/ TARP, but some experts argue that their "too big to fail" image puts small banks at a competitive disadvantage.
Second hour: Writer Eugene Robinson grew up in a segregated world, and as a writer for the Washington Post he has witnessed the evolution of the black community in the years since the Civil Rights movement. But he argues that despite integration the progress made by many black Americans has not been shared by all, and that the problems of poor blacks are more intractable than ever.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: The two new DFL minority leaders in the House and Senate for 2011-- Sen. Tom Bakk and Rep. Paul Thissen.
Second hour: Health care reporter Ceci Connolly, speaking last week at the Univ. of St. Thomas about the health care law and what Congress may do to change it.
1 p.m. Live coverage of GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer's news conference. (First hour of Talk of the Nation is pre-empted)
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The Twin Cities media market just got treated to the most expensive House race in the country, as well as a gubernatorial race. TV and radio stations got a big jolt in ad spending in the middle of a bad economy. But the boon wasn't as big as they expected because third-party expenditure groups weren't dropping as much cash as was hoped. MPR's Annie Baxter will have the story.(4 Comments)
In Minnesota's Lyon County, police found methamphetamine, a torch, a scale, pipes, plastic baggies, and other paraphernalia in a man's home. Is that enough to charge him with intending to distribute the drug?
The Minnesota Court of Appeals today said it does not, and reversed the conviction of a man.
The case stems from the arrest of Gerald Hanson. Police found "three glass pipes, an attachment for a propane torch, a propane tank, and a number of plastic baggies containing white residue. From the bedroom, they seized a plastic plate with white residue, a plastic bowl, a plastic spoon, and a glass pipe. They also seized numerous plastic baggies and a razor blade that they found in a dresser drawer. From the bathroom, they seized a glass pipe and a bag with 23.6 grams of a white substance."
He was convicted and sentenced to about 8 years in prison largely on the testimony of a member of an interagency gang and drug task force who said the items were all the type of things you'd find used by a drug dealer, even though they could also be used by someone buying drugs for personal use, his lawyer said.
But the Minnesota Court of Appeals today said the circumstantial evidence in cases like this needs to prove an intent to sell drugs beyond a reasonable doubt. It suggested a wad of cash -- not found in the police search of Hanson's home -- might have tipped the scales in the favor of prosecutors. Or "solvents, tools, latex gloves, coffee filters, aluminum foil, packages of Sudafed, lithium batteries, rubber tubing, a blender, thermoses, and fan . . . a mirror, phone cards, and an electronic scale." None was found.
What about the razor blades and baggies. "Plastic baggies and razor blades by themselves do not prove intent to sell," the court said. "They could just as reasonably indicate Hanson's intent to separate drugs that he purchased for himself." It said bags with even amounts of drugs inside might be another story.
The rest of the evidence admitted in the case could easily be explained by an argument that Hanson was merely using meth, not selling it, the court said.
Gizmodo today posted an incredible video of last weekend's New York marathon in a time-lapse. MPR colleague Tom Weber, who ran in the marathon, notes that he's not in it because he was in the third wave, which is not shown.
No story ever posted to the Minnesota Public Radio website has generated as much audience traffic over the last 10 years as Mark Steil's 2000 story on the 60th anniversary of the Armistice Day blizzard. It killed 49 people in Minnesota, many of them hunters who were caught by surprise by the storm. The weather up to then was very much like today: unseasonably warm.
Thursday marks the 70th anniversary of the storm and we heard today from Father Roger Kasprick at St. John's Abbey, who grew up in Angus, Minn. He was kind enough to share his e-mailed answer to an acquaintance who asked him recently if he'd heard of the storm.
Here is his response:
So my response to your question: Yes, I have "heard of this story of the 1940 snow storm." I also lived through this storm and survived it. One of our neighbors a mile the other direction from our one-room school just about didn't survive it. His ears froze, and I guess his lungs froze, and I don't remember all the details, but I guess one eye was damaged.
George Goodwin was a nice guy, and a nice neighbor. Their two sons, Murry and Dennis, went to the same school as we did, and later their daughter, Carol, as well. George had gone to Warren [local parlance="went to town"] wearing a light jacket and his man's dress hat, just right for a summer day because it was an unusually nice warm fall day. We had no idea of what was coming at us so suddenly.
Anyway, George somehow managed to get his car almost home on the country roads, something almost miraculous in that white-out blizzard. But he finally couldn't get it any farther, couldn't get it into his yard. He got out of his car to try to make it to his farmstead, barn, house, all the possible shelter. He could not get that far; he got all confused. But he did end up across the county road from his house, and he had some machinery parked there, including a truck box. He took some shelter in the truck box, and since he knew where he was, he tried again and again to get across the road to his house. He just couldn't do it. In the white-out he merely got confused and was sort of blown back to the area where the machinery was.
Here my little boy memory starts to fail me, but I think someone the next morning found his car, so started to look for him, found him, dug him out and got him inside the house. He did lose at least one ear, the outer portion, and part of the other. In those days they didn't have plastic surgery available, so he ended up mutilated. The family had to nurse him back to health for a very long time. Neighbors had to come in to help milk the cows and take care of the chores. He didn't die in that storm, but sometimes people said perhaps some times he might have wished he had.
Me? I was a lot luckier. Us kids (including at least George's son Murry Goodwin, one grade ahead of me; perhaps Denny had not yet started school.) were all in our one-room schoolhouse. I was six years old, so I suppose Miss Smith had promoted me to second grade by that time, but I was a pretty small kid.
It felt like that wind was going to blow the little building down, just the way the big bad wolf did it to the three little pigs' house. The stove was having trouble burning, with the terrible down draft of the strong wind, so we had very little heat in that poor drafty frame building. But we all put our coats or jackets on, even though we too had started out that morning with only light outer clothes because it was such a pleasant day.
Some of the big boys wanted to start walking home, as I recall--"get out of here before it gets any worse" was the attitude. Miss Smith tried to keep school classes and activities going; I suppose she thought it would be best to keep our thoughts engaged with our lessons. We were used to winter storms in winter time, but this one came as such a nasty surprise, and it was a corker.
I don't remember all the details any longer, but I suppose Miss Smith probably wouldn't let any of the kids go outside. We were safer in the school, piled against one another for warmth and assurance. Some cars got there from the farms that were closer to school, especially those whose mothers usually drove their kids to school (usually little girls were more likely to have "a ride" than the rest of us). Some parents told other kids they were supposed to go home with them, ride to their house, and their folks would pick them up there when they could. But us? No such luck. We lived 1 1/2 miles east of school on a township dirt road (not graveled), and nobody else lived in our direction from school. I guess we farmed all or nearly all of the land, so there were no other farmhouses along the way. And normally, nobody gave us a ride, either to or from school.
I think at that time there were four of us younger kids [my sister, and then the 3 younger boys, spread through 8 grades]. We walked to school together, and home again each day. So we didn't have any reason to expect that anyone would come to give us a ride.
(Several years later the two youngest of us boys got bicycles so we could do the trip much quicker during clement weather, but in winter we were back to walking. The bikes were a good idea because we could get home quicker and get to doing chores, since by that time the two older brothers were off in boarding school all week, at the school now known as University of Minn - Crookston. Mom and Dad wanted to make sure that all us kids got to go to high school. My two sisters were not usually expected to work in the barn, and anyway they both got out of Dodge and got jobs as secretaries. They became townies as soon as they finished high school, so they weren't much available for the barns during the winter. Too bad; they missed out on a really enriching experience.)
Before it got too dark, we stepped outside of school to see if we could make it home. We couldn't. Back into the schoolhouse. At some point in late afternoon someone thought she/he saw something dark on the road from the East. Perhaps someone coming to the schoolhouse? We had to wait for a time; finally the dark spot got close enough that we could see that it was real, and it was moving toward us, very slowly. Good feeling. But what the heck is it? Eventually we could make out that it was a team of horses fighting their way into the teeth of the NW wind and fiercely driven snow. What the heck were they pulling?
Finally the team turned in at the schoolyard, and a figure rose from under something heavy, and stood up in the horse water tank he'd been riding in. He was covered in very strange ways since parkas had not yet been invented for us, but we now knew that it was our Dad. Yep, he and Mom had dug out the outside horse watering tank and put it on the manure sled, also known locally as a "stone boat". It was a big sled of boards strung across two sturdy "runners", so it slid along only about 5 or six inches above the ground, the easier to muscle big rocks onto it. In spring or summer farmers might drive these stone boats through the fields to pick up the rocks to clear the fields. In the winter time we used it for cleaning the cow barn every morning. In winter there was no way to use the fancy manure spreader with its box on wheels, which gears could be engaged to self-unload the manure load. In winter we hitched a team of horses to the stoneboat/manure sled or sleigh, and had the horses drag it through the barn from one end to the other and go out the door on the other end. All the way along we forked or shoveled out the barn, with the cows still stanchioned in place and the other horses tied in their stalls. We got to know their hind ends close up and personal. I was never kicked by a horse, for which we give thanks and praise, but I sure didn't like it because one mare decided she should be in charge, not me, and would crowd me against the plank stall, or nip at my hands and arms when I was trying to feed them their grain portions--again and again. She made it really hard for me to like her. Even scarier when I was told to take off their halters and put on the bridle and harness, to go out to work. Now that is not a decent job for a little kid, but we had to do it to get all the work done.
Now, on November 11, 1940, this nasty mare and her regular teammate, a very decent sort of gray mare -- evidently our most trusted team -- came out into the blizzard of the century to collect us, haul us home safely, to safety. It gave me a new appreciation for the horses, for my Dad, and for the manure sled which was the symbol of an awful lot of hard and unpleasant work at home.
Dad faced the elements in order to make sure that us four kids got scrunched down into the water tank, and he put a couple of very heavy horsehide (with hair still on them) "horse robes" over us for our ride home. The mare didn't really think that that one day of horse heroism required her to be much nicer to me the rest of the time. But I knew what she was really made of, a stout heart of pure gold when the times got tough. We kept that team of horses the longest of any. They were the last ones to go, and Dad did not part with them easily. He couldn't think of a single tractor that he could count on to do what that team had done for him, and with him, for a good many years. As for me, I had a new way of estimating the manure sled. Still, through the years when someone asks if our folks gave us a ride the one and a half miles to or from school, I've had to summon a bit of courage to say, "Well, sometimes they would haul us on the manure sled." I guess it doesn't sound elegant.
Thanks for asking. Yes, I have heard of the 1940 Armistice Day storm. It was there with us on the open prairie of the Red River Valley.
(Photo: Minnesota Historical Society)(7 Comments)
Gov. maybe-elect Tom Emmer held his first public appearance since Election Day this afternoon. He's answered questions at a news conference at the Capitol about his close race with Gov. maybe-elect Mark Dayton, and the coming recount.
"The Minnesota voters have spoken, we just don't know what they've said yet," he said. "Since last Wednesday's we've gained over 1,000 votes.
Q: Are you planning a transition team ?
A: We ran to win and the goal was to govern. We are ready to govern in the event that is the ultimate outcome. I'll announce the transition team that's already been put in place in a few days.
Q: Will you challenge this in court if the recount doesn't show you winning?
A: It's not an appropriate question. There'll be a hand recount of 2.2 million ballots and we'll see how that turns out.
Q: Do you expect to win?
A: The voters have spoken, we just don't know what they've said. You've got 2.2 million votes that have been cast and .4 separation. There'll be a recount.
Q: What do you think the voters said since they elected DFL executive officers and a GOP Legislature?
A: We'll have to reserve judgment on that.
Q: What about the Legislature?
A: They were very clear on that. This is the only one that we're talking about.
Q: What does it mean that you have Eric Magnuson as chief litigator?
A: He's one of the most respected legal minds in Minnesota. That speaks for itself.
Q: Is it an indication you're willing to go into January?
A: It says we're committed to making sure the process works as intended.
Q: Why did your campaign play a subservient role in this while the party took the lead?
A: It's not a campaign anymore. It's more of a mechanical process.
Q: What have you been doing for the last week? You've said nothing today you couldn't have said a year ago.
A: I got about as far away from here as I could -- Manitoba.
Q: Are you preparing to take over?
A: As I said early, we ran our campaign to win and we're prepared to govern.
Q: Do you have people in place, considering names of commissioners?
A: We'll do that in the next couple of days. We have a transition team and I'll announce that in the next couple of days. We did our work beforehand. You asked where's the detail during the campaign, and we were doing the work.
Q: Are you paying serious attention to what's about to happen if you've been out of the country?
A: I've been doing my job. I've been involved... forgive me after 16 months if I took Friday, Saturday and Sunday to spend with some of my boys in Manitoba.
Q: Do you think there were serious problems in Hennepin County?
A: There was something going on that no one really understands yet.
Q: You're a part of this process, are the lawyers preparing to file an election protest?
A: That's premature. When you have this type of a process, you want to make sure it's done in a fair, open, and honest manner. That's what we're trying to make sure of. At the end of the day, Minnesotans can be confident that it's what Minnesotans decided for the future of the state.
Q: Did you pick any of the legal team?
A: I'm not out soliciting legal representation, but I was consulted.
Q: Rep. Ryan Winkler called this "frivolous litigating."
A: That's too bad. I'm sorry anyone suggested that our following the law... there's a process that you follow. Maybe he's feeling the effects of last Tuesday and he's not thinking clearly. We're talking about following the law as it exists.
Q: Do you think 1/2 of one percent is the correct amount for an automatic recount?
A: I don't know.
Q: Is it overcomable? (sic)
A: I'm going to be very clear that this is about making sure that the process... the legal process that is in place, not the one someone might want to be in place, that the legal process is following. Since 10 a.m. last Wednesday, we've done nothing but close the gap. At the end of the day Minnesotans need to know.... that the legal process was followed or not.
Q: You're not sure if you can win or not?
A: We'll make sure those questions that exist -- military ballots, absentee ballots, the issue in Hennepin County -- about a 200-400,000 vote mistake -- I think you've just got to let the process play itself out.
Q: Can you talk about your meeting with Gov. Pawlenty?
A: It was about transition and what happens if you're sworn in as governor of Minnesota. I assume he's talking about the same thing with Sen. Dayton this afternoon.
Q: How will you know whether or not the process works?
A: You have to ask yourself with six days and less than a quarter of the Canvassing Board's work done, you're already talking about 1,000 votes. You just have to let the process work. The hope by all of us is that it should be completed and everyone is satisfied with the result.
Q: How was your race so close in a Republican year?
A: Poor reporting; I think that was it.
Q: Seriously, have you reflected on that?
A: No. That's one of the reasons we want to make sure the questions are answered.
Q: You underperformed compared to other Republicans.
A: I haven't looked at my raw percentages and when I do I'll answer that question.
Q: If this gets protracted out, will it cause you any financial problems?
A: We'll see.
Q: Any thoughts on how the Legislature should proceed under a caretaker government?
Q: Did Gov. Pawlenty give you advice on developing a state budget?
A: I've done that work. There's some detail work but that'll be part of the transition team's work. But we've done this work already.
Q: Why did you wait a week to talk to us?
A: You have to let the process work. It's not a time for grandstanding. I'll let the parties speak for themselves. From my perspective as the candidate who's involved, I think it's better we let the process work itself out.
Q: Do you think something smells fishy with this election?
A: I think we'll let the process work itself out.
Q: Are you mentally preparing yourself to take this to the state Supreme Court?
A: I've answered that earlier. I'm doing what the law requires me as a candidate.
Q: Who makes the decision about how far to pursue this?
A: You're making too many assumptions.
Q: Who's in charge? You or the party?
A: There's more than one person involved.(5 Comments)
Some answers to the question of "whose missile was it that got shot into space off the Pacific Coast?" are presenting themselves.
The Navy says it wasn't its missile. The Pentagon says it doesn't know what it was or where it came from.
It wasn't anybody's missile. It wasn't a missile.
A Harvard astronomer says it was "probably" just an airplane.
"If it's coming over the horizon, straight at you, then it rises quickly above the horizon," he told New Scientist. "You can't tell because it's so far away that it's getting closer to you - you'd think it was just going vertically up," he says.
Preposterous? It would seem so. There are lots of jets in southern California, so why only one contrail?
But then you look at a photo off Key West in 2009, which actually was a jet contrail, and the notion becomes more believable (from Boston.com).
If that doesn't convince you, maybe this formula from Contrail Science will.
It appears to show (we're taking their word for it ) that any object traveling horizontally eventually goes below the horizon, and a contrail would give the appearance of something going vertical.
Or it's the Romulans.(5 Comments)