1) THAT'S NOT GOING TO BUFF OUT
We tried, East Coast, we really tried to give you the benefit of the doubt in the News Cut "blizzard war" with the Midwest over who can handle a little snow better. Look, we've got our faults here, East Coast, but it's not our fault that New York City is on your side. (Be advised: There are multiple "F-bombs" in this video and I usually don't link or embed video with obscenities. But this case is different).
The blizzard war category: Getting plows unstuck.
Some people are still stranded at airports out East. There are a few tales of passengers stuck on airport tarmacs for hours. Most of these involve foreign airlines because domestic airlines are subject to big fines for keeping passengers imprisoned for more than three hours. But why must our airline infrastructure collapse whenever there's snow? Simple, says the New York Times' Nate Silver: Airlines fly with fewer available seats now.
2) THE VALUE OF A SECOND CHANCE
Henry Covington is dead at 53. He apparently died last week and I missed it in all the holiday hoopla. He was an ex-con in Detroit who got a second chance and took it, helping the poor and the homeless. Mitch Albom wrote about him in his recent book "Have a Little Faith."
Albom talked about Covington -- and faith -- during an appearance on MPR's Midday a little over a year ago.
3) CUTTING THE CABLE CORD
No peeking. What is this?
Answer: It's David Katzmeier's new-car-buying machine. He has done what more people are apparently doing: giving up cable and satellite TV, cutting the cord, and staying connected the old-fashioned way. He documents the process on the blog, Diary of a Cable TV Cord Cutter.
He talked to NPR's Linda Wertheimer this morning about whether this was such a great idea. We admit thinking about this at Casa Bob (Actually, I've been thinking about this; I haven't actually proposed the idea yet). If you've cut the cord, tell me your story below.
As for Katzmeier, he gave up and reconnected. The cord is a noose, afterall.
4) WHEN THE INVISIBLE WAR IS VISIBLE
How'd you like to wake up on Christmas morning and see a picture of your kid in a warzone firefight?
That's Spc. Andrew Vanderhaeghen of Rochester on the right. A New York Post reporter called his mother, Heidi Hilgers-Heymann, on Christmas morning. "I kind of don't remember a whole lot about what she said," Hilgers-Heymann told the Rochester Post Bulletin. The story -- which for some reason the PB doesn't put online -- says the picture diminished the Christmas spirit for a lot of families.
The worrying is just beginning for other families. Their loved ones are heading to Afghanistan for the new year. MPR's Elizabeth Baier profiles Col. Eric Kerska of Rochester. "The biggest problem is I've got to get enough wood stockpiled for next winter if I'm gone," he said. "I've got to get enough stockpiled so Tina's got heat while I'm gone." He proposed to his wife 23 years ago while sitting in a tank at the Duluth armory.
Meanwhile, the Star Tribune's Mark Brunswick makes contact with Minnesotan Alicia Perry, who spent the holidays in Afghanistan.
For James Perry, it's hard to think of the little girl who once played with Barbies becoming an adult flying off to war. But it is just as hard to imagine his son going from sporting blue hair and an earring to expressing interest in the ROTC and then embracing the military.
5) THE QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY
Let the week of debate begin! The Vikings of 2009-10 showed up in Philadelphia last night after an extended absence, beating the Philadelphia Eagles behind third-string quarterback Joe Webb who might be looking better to Vikings this morning because he didn't look awful. Next week in Detroit is the last game of the season and the last game of Brett Favre's career. Assuming he's cleared to play (he has a concussion), should the Vikings give Favre one last game? Or should they send Webb back out for some more NFL experience? "Don't look now, but the Minnesota Vikings may have found themselves a quarterback," Christopher Gates of The Daily Norseman declares. And some of the comments on his site suggest all is now forgiven.
Bonus: Why can't elephants dance? And why does chocolate melt but not jet airplanes?
Toward the end of December, many media organizations look back over the top news stories of the past year. What would you consider the top news story of 2010?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Personal finance in the new year. Guest: Ruth Hayden.
Second hour: The year in books.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Second hour: Evaluating teacher training.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Political talk with NPR's Ron Elving.
Second hour: Writer Tom Payne considers the obsession with fame and celebrity.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The recent reprieve granted to North High School in Minneapolis comes with a large asterisk attached: Supporters of North who promised the district they could find enough 8th graders to attend next year as 9th graders were given that chance, and they're now trying to recruit students. MPR's Tom Weber will report.
- Kindred Kitchen is a food entrepreneur incubator/commercial kitchen on West Broadway Ave., in North Minneapolis. It just opened its doors at the beginning of November and has about 10 clients. MPR's Brandt Williams will have the story.
I have considered getting rid of cable TV. Almost nothing on I care about. However, my internet (which I DO care about) comes via my cable TV provider, and my wife is addicted to those (un)real housewives shows and Top Chef. I personally don't get it, but I figure It's just a cost of staying married.
John P.; We are in exactly the same situation. I would happily live without cable but I have it for the same reasons you do. If I have to sit through another "cupcake war", I might lose my mind!
The only reason I have cable is to watch hockey in HD. I would be perfectly happy only watching shows on Netflix and the internet. If only there were a way that you could pick which channels you want to "buy."
We whittled the cord down in the spring of this year. Our cable provider is our Internet provider, so we couldn't do a clean break. We picked up a Netflix subscription and kept local broadcast channels to keep the internet price down. While it would be nice to have 2-3 of the cable channels we lost, it in no way justifies the $40-50/month it would cost.
Cut the cord, Bob!
I should also point out, to anyone who still wishes to keep their cable for internet, it might be worthwhile to buy a cable modem instead of renting one. You can pick up a new modem from various websites (Amazon, Newegg) for $30 if you're patient for a deal. Our cable company charged $3/month for rental, so it paid for itself in 10 months. We've used our purchased modem for more than 2 years with no problem.
Disclaimer: research things before you purchase. I bought a Motorola model that was very similar to the one we were leasing. Also, if you're using "super" high speed internet, you might need to get a modem that is DOCSIS 3.0 compliant. We are at 10 Mbps, so a cheaper DOCSIS 2.0 works fine.
Incredible snow video but I think you miss the most outrageous part of what was going on. It is IMPOSSIBLE for a vehicle with a loader to get stuck in anything less than at least six feet of snow. I'm not sure what kind of grader they were using, but that vehicle was better equipped to go through snow than that tow truck was.
We're with David J. We have internet-only service from Comcast, voip phone service from Vonage (hardly necessary), Netflix online with a box connected to the TV, and broadcast TV with a converter box. It all costs about $75/mo.
Really big snow banks in Japan. Nicollet Ave in January?
Cable companies often penalize customers who only subscribe for Internet access and don't have any TV service by making the "bundled" Internet service cost significantly less than non-bundled Internet service. There's barely any difference in cost between the Internet plus basic cable rate versus the Internet-only rate. Frustrating for people who want to cut the cord entirely, though I suppose it's good for people in poor reception areas (i.e. basement apartment on the wrong side of the building).
High-def versions of the local channels ("clear QAM" channels) are typically included with the basic level of service. Unfortunately, Comcast has an annoying habit of shifting the channels around a lot. I was getting KMSP without any sound recently. After I re-scanned with my TV, KARE disappeared. I've got "standard" cable, but I use an antenna to get HD channels just because Comcast keeps moving things around and frequently have glitches which confuse my TV.