Breaking: KVSC reports that Henry Oertelt has died. Oertelt, of St. Paul, has told his story around Minnesota for over 40 years, mostly in speeches at colleges, high schools, and churches. In recent years, he worked closely with the station to record his memories, so they would live on in podcasts.
"It would be available all over the world. The story and my book will be listened to for many years to come, after I'm gone," he said.
1) MYTHS OF CHALLENGER
The Challenger did not explode, the crew did not die instantly, mostly people did not see the event live, the disaster was not caused by the cold, and shuttles do not now have ejection seats. National Geographic challenges what we think we know about the disaster that happened 25 years ago today.
2) THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: WHY?
While the top news in the rest of the world was the rioting in the Middle East, much of the U.S. audience got the latest on Charlie Sheen's lifestyle. Even when news organizations talked about the rioting, there was very little to explain why all of this is taking place. Foreign news isn't our strong suit. Even NPR has failed as this blog post attests. Here's a country-by-country breakdown of why it's taking place. At the heart of the protests, the Washington Post says, is resentment. Some have. Some haven't.
Here in the U.S., we respond quickly when other nations clamp down on Twitter and the Internet. That we can relate to. But as Wired points out, the Internet isn't a big player in Egypt. When the uprising ends -- probably in success -- there will be some who will say it shows the power of Twitter and the Internet. They're wrong, according to Wired.
This situation is changing quickly. Live TV coverage can be found on al Jazeera's English channel.
3) IS IT TIME TO GET OUT OF THE RECREATION BUSINESS?
A string of budget cuts passed the Minnesota House yesterday and lawmakers are warning that more painful ones are on the way. In Moorhead, a question being asked may be next for many cities and counties: Why are we in the recreation business?
Moorhead is thinking of selling its two golf courses, the Fargo Forum reports. Golf was once a popular sport in Minnesota, with more rounds played per capita than anywhere else in the country. But participation has dropped precipitously in recent years.
Lawmakers say everything is on the table during our budget crisis. What about recreational facilities and programs? Are they valuable to you?
4) ARE SMALL AIRPORTS A THREAT?
I'm not much of an objective person when it comes to general aviation issues, but I am an informed one. So when The Atlantic carried a story the other day suggesting that small airplanes represent a significant terror threat, I rolled my eyes. That hasn't stopped the reliever airports in the Twin Cities to spend money erecting large fences to create the impression that this comparatively non-existent threat has been conquered. Leave it to The Atlantic's Lane Wallace -- an acquaintance and also an occasional guest on MPR's Midmorning -- to explain why the notion of threat is nonsense:
1. It's a rare airport fence that can't be gotten around, if you know your way around. The high fences and intimidating signs make airports seem unapproachable by community people, but they tend to fall more into the realm of "security theater" (which Jim has talked about many times) than a real deterrent for someone intent on getting access to an airport or airplane for nefarious reasons.
2. Despite the public's fears of a rogue pilot with terrorist intentions, most general aviation airplanes are extremely limited in the damage they can inflict. There's a reason the 9/11 attackers chose 767 airliners filled to the brim with fuel for transcontinental flights for their weapons. Something smaller wouldn't have been effective. Recall that in the same week as a van driven by an elderly man went out of control in Herald Square, New York, killing half a dozen people, a small airplane flown by a suicidal teenager crashed into an office building in Tampa, Florida, doing serious damage to a desk.
3. The power of human connections. Aviation is a small community, and individual airports are like very small towns. Strangers stand out. And pilots look after each other. A private plane is also a different environment than an airliner. Airliners carry a large number of people who don't know each other. So the risk of a lone terrorist making their way on board is real. That's not the case on a private plane. You know your fellow passengers. What's more, if you blow up an airliner, you kill a lot of innocent people who are on board with you. That's not the case with a private plane--which is another reason they're less attractive as a target.
5) CROW EATING
There's a metaphor here somewhere in this video posted this week from someone's backyard in Minneapolis. Anyone want to take a stab at what that metaphor might be?
(h/t: Dave Peters)
Bonus: The inside story, apparently, of the firing of NPR's Ellen Weiss. (Washington Post)
Today is the 25th anniversary of the Challenger explosion. NASA's shuttle program is coming to a close. What should come next for America's space program?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
At noon today -- on MPR's Web site -- Minnesota Public Radio News and the local newspaper, Hometown Focus, will discuss challenges facing Minnesota's rural hospitals. Hometown Focus is hosting the online forum examining issues facing Virginia's hospital.
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Medical malpractice reform: Will it really reduce health care costs?
Second hour: Studying Marriage: What Women Want and How Men Behave
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Lebanon: What it means for the Mideast and the world. Guest: Egypt scholar Diane Singerman of American University.
Second hour: A new documentary from American RadioWorks, "Back of the Bus: Mass Transit, Race and Inequality."
Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Political activists in North Africa, logging onto Facebook to publicize their protests.
Second hour: Digital music sampling and copyright.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Two state Senate committees will meet this afternoon in Hibbing to hear testimony on plans to streamline environmental review for mines and other projects. In northeastern Minnesota, people want jobs, and they also want to protect the environment. A proposal for the state's first copper-nickel mine has been under review for five years. And more mining projects are waiting in the wings. The Senate committees on jobs and economic development, and the environment and natural resources, will hear from local residents. MPR's Stephanie Hemphill will have the story.
MPR's Jess Mador says a financial literacy program held at the Urban League in North Mpls is about to graduate its first group of students. The program is two years long and has a success rate of more than 90 percent.
MnSCU board of trustees will announce finalists in their search for the system's next president on Monday. Tim Post's story willl assess how the current chancellor has done over the past 10 years, and what sort of skills the next chancellor will need to have.(3 Comments)
Viewed from afar what's happening in Egypt presents a simple choice of what side to support. But domestic policy in other nations and their international policy are two very separate things and for decades, America has been willing to look the other way on one for the sake of the other. Those days are over. Americans, if they choose, are getting the unbelievable opportunity to watch a revolution live via the Internet, despite the relative disinterest of the major domestic TV news organizations (For a guide on how to do it, see this Wired article).
Things are following a predictable course. Late this morning, the military in Egypt started getting involved, according to Al Jazeera.
U.S. news organizations are struggling to find the relevancy of the story. Christine Amanpour, who knows plenty about the Middle East, did a fine job this morning explaining the reality. Taking down a corrupt and authoritarian government in Egypt and Yemen, she points out, could give rise to something equally bad "if it's not managed properly."
But revolutions are hardly manageable things, and the U.S. is clearly paralyzed in trying, as Time's Tony Karon points out:
The Obama Administration's dilemma over how to respond to Egypt's democracy movement became a little more acute on Thursday when the country's largest opposition party, the banned Muslim Brotherhood, declared its intention to openly participate in Friday's protests. Years of operating in conditions of twilight legality have given the Brotherhood an unrivaled organizational network -- its members expect to be arrested and roughed up by the regime -- and it is widely viewed as by far the most popular party in the opposition. That's a problem for the U.S., given its singular allergy to Islamist parties in the Arab world, particularly those that challenge its longtime allies.
By the way, this afternoon on the U of M campus, students will rally in support of the protesters.
Other than the sandstone, there isn't a lot about Target Field in Minneapolis that screams "Minnesota." At least not as many things as scream, "I've got more money than you," and that's not very Minnesotan.
One exception is the pine trees in the outfield, something you see at only one other major league park (Colorado). Click the image for the full screen "let me pretend it's not a gray January day" goodness.
''There's a Seattle feel with the pine trees in center field,'' Jim Thome said last year. Thome, apparently, has never been to northern Minnesota.
Those trees? Kiss 'em goodbye. The Twins have decided to cut them down to improve the background for the batters. Apparently the dark green trees against the dark green background made it too difficult for the mighty Twins to pick up the white ball from the pitcher.
Players started complaining about the trees after the first exhibition games at the new park last year.
Incidentally, pitchers and catchers report to spring training in 20 days.
Update 4:09 p.m. - Dug up this picture from Cleveland. Note centerfield. The team dominated the American League through the '90s from the moment this park opened.18 Comments)
Google Maps has been tracking foreclosed houses for sale for a few years now, but more recently has made its application a little more robust as a way to show the pattern of foreclosures in particular neighborhoods.
Business Insider just mapped some of the worst cities in America. It's a great slideshow. Take Las Vegas, for instance:
Let's take a little tour around our state.
Hennepin County foreclosures were up 26% in the 3rd qtr of '10 compared to '09
Ramsey County foreclosures were up 12% in the 3rd qtr of '10 compared to '09
Olmstead County foreclosures were up 33% in the 3rd qtr of '10 compared to '09
Brown County foreclosures were up 60% in the 3rd qtr of '10 compared to '09
Clay County (Mn) foreclosures were unchanged in the 3rd qtr of '10 compared to '09
Crow Wing County foreclosures were up 15% in the 3rd qtr of '10 compared to '09
St. Louis County foreclosures were up 36% in the 3rd qtr of '10 compared to '09
Want to play with this yourself, just go to Google Maps in your browser...
1. Punch in any US address into Google Maps.
2. Your options are Earth, Satellite, Map, Traffic and . . . More. (Select "More")
3. The drop down menu gives you a check box option for "Real Estate."
4. The left column will give you several options (You may have to select "Show Options")
5. Check the box marked "Foreclosure."(1 Comments)