Images from the Southeast storms, the seven sisters of Loyola, sun of Art Crawl, the walleye matchmaker, and the best baseball fan.
"Janis Ian is up in Studio M on Midmorning," I said to my 20-something son on our coffee break a little bit ago.
"Who?" he said, appearing to speak for his generation.
True, she only had two hits, but one of them confronted what the U.S. didn't want to confront.
It's a well-known story that the song earned her death threats and concert jeers from conservatives, but it also broke new ground, eschewing what she called "Folk Nazism."
"I caught the same amount of flack from the folk audience who turned their backs on me because I put drums (and a harpsichord) on a record and had a hit record. You were supposed to starve," she said in this 2009 interview.
Janis Ian performs
tonight Friday night in St. Paul. I'll post the Midmorning audio shortly.
There's nothing pretty about utility poles and lines snaking around urban neighborhoods. Can a solar panel really make it worse?
Apparently so, at least in New Jersey, the second-most-solar state in the country. The utility company is putting small solar panels on utility poles and people in Bergen County aren't happy about it.
"I hate them," Eric Olsen of Oradell told the New York Times. "It's just an eyesore."
I looked up Mr. Olsen's address and loaded it into GoogleMaps. It's easy to see why he'd think ill of the devices. He's got a lovely neighborhood. Just wait until they have to start cutting the trees to allow the sun to hit the panels....
But the general complaint about the panels is common when it comes to alternative energy. It's different and thus constitutes "an eyesore."
The people of one upscale neighborhood in Woodbury successfully fought a wind turbine that would've provided much of the power needed at a new high school a few years ago. None of the homes were within four or five city blocks. It would be an eyesore, they said. The city agreed.
But this runs through the same property and nobody seems to notice...
We generally don't like people "moving the furniture." Things that take some getting used to aren't what we're used to.
Have you traveled along I-94 in the Monticello-St.Cloud area recently? More than 150 huge transmission towers are going up as part of the CapX 2020 project. The next phase will add towers all the way from St. Cloud to Fargo. They're 140-170 feet tall and are spaced every 1,000 feet. They're an eyesore, perhaps as much as when I-94 first bulldozed its way across the state.
Ten years from now, we probably won't notice they're there. Until someone sticks solar panels on them.
(Utility pole photo from sameold2010 via Flickr)(10 Comments)
The Minnesota Senate has passed a bill requiring all Minnesotans to present a photo ID in order to vote.
And a bill was officially introduced in the Minnesota House this week that would add a constitutional question to the ballot asking if people should be required to show a photo ID when voting. The question reads:
Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to require that all voters present an approved form of photographic identification prior to voting; all voters be subject to identical eligibility verification standards regardless of the time of their registration; and the state provide at no charge an approved photographic identification to eligible voters?
It's been one of the more emotional issues over the years pitting Democrats against Republicans.
Republicans claim the bill will reduce the chance of voter fraud, even though there doesn't appear to be significant incidents of voter fraud in Minnesota. Democrats claim the bill is intended to dampen turnout among the party's usual constituencies, and there's at least some evidence to show that's not a significant problem, either.
The national movement for voter ID gained its momentum from Indiana once the U.S. Supreme Court ruled its 2005 law constitutional -- three years ago today, coincidentally.
A 2007 study from Jeffrey Milyo at the University of Missouri found no significant change in voter turnout after it was enacted:
The findings that emerge from my analysis are that photo ID is associated with: i) an overall county-level turnout increase of almost two percentage points, ii) an insignificant increase in relative turnout for counties with a greater percentage of minority and poor population, iii) no consistent or significant impact on relative turnout in counties with a greater percentage of less educated or elderly voters, and iv) a significant relative increase in turnout for counties with a higher percentage of Democrat voters.
The study ran counter to a Rutgers University study of the 2004 election, suggesting voter ID laws suppressed turnout among minority and low-income voters.
In the absence of firm evidence of traditional arguments, much of the debate about voter ID has shifted instead to the cost of implementing the law and providing photo ID to voters who don't have one already.
The 2012 ballot is certainly going to be a long one if all of the proposed constitutional amendment questions are approved by this year's Legislature.
Today, Republicans in the House filed another one. This one proposes an amendment requiring a three-fifths vote to enact a law imposing or increasing certain taxes.
The bill would require a "super majority" for tax increases, not unlike the 60 votes needed in the U.S. Senate to end a filibuster and get major legislation through.
Why wait until next November?
Sixteen states require a supermajority vote to increase some or all taxes. Seven require a two-thirds vote, six a three-fifths vote and two a three-fourths vote.(8 Comments)
The Minnesota Twins lost again -- embarrassingly lost -- this afternoon and their fans are on the ledge, looking down.
Just look at some of these comments from the Star Tribune Twins blog after the team said today that Joe Mauer wasn't ready to play at the end of spring training:
"Mauer is a bum. All that money, and he was able to do commercials, and NOT getting ready for his $23 million a year job."
"Mr. 'Take the Money and RUN' Mauer. How someone making $184 million can not get himself in shape to play baseball is absolutely pathetic."
"Wow Twins, Welcome to loserville, USA"
It didn't matter if the Vikings choked, the Wolves were putrid, the Gophers self destructed, and the Wild underperformed. We always had the Twins to keep us from being losers. And by we, I mean you, Minnesota.
But here we are and all is lost. The team is 9-14. When do the Lynx start?
Granted, this is not a good situation, but I've been playing with history a bit today in search of a silver lining. Come in off the ledge, and let's talk about this. Here are a few nuggets from today's research:
** Over the last six seasons, the Twins have had losing records on this date in four of the seasons (including this one). In two of the three (throwing out this season), they won the AL Central Division. In the one year they didn't -- 2008 -- they won 88 games and lost the division to the dastardly White Sox by only 1 game.
** In the last decade, the average record on this date of the team that went on to win the Central Division title is just 13 wins and 10 losses. Only four games better than the Twins are now. Not great, but not that big a difference.
** In the 16 seasons since the AL Central was created (throwing out the strike shortened 1995 season), the team with the best record in the division on this date, went on to win the division (or, in the case of strike-shortened 1994, lead the division at the end of the season) 9 times.
** The three most talented teams in the division are clearly Minnesota, Chicago, and Detroit. All three have losing records at the moment.
That's not to say there aren't historical lessons that confirm that things really are as bad as Twins fans think they are.
** The Cleveland Indians are fairly far ahead of the Twins at the moment and if they win tonight, it will be Cleveland's 16th win of the year. Only once has a team winning 16 games by April 28 not gone on to win the AL Central Division. It was the 2000 Minnesota Twins.
** Only three teams from the AL Central have ever made it to the World Series. Only one -- the White Sox -- won. In 2005, they had 16 wins on this date. Of the two losing teams, neither had a winning record on this date (Cleveland 11-12 in 1997 and 1-1 in 1995).
It's true the pitching is weak, the team's best player doesn't play, there are too many injured players, the best closer in baseball is saying "no mas," and the team isn't built well for the stadium they have to play in.
But if I'm the one providing the hope and optimism for you, you've got far bigger problems than any of those, Twins fans.(1 Comments)