Not everybody loves the State Fair. There was even a time in my own life, I admit, when my attitude went like this: "Oh, my God, the fair is here again? The exhibits? The crowds? The noise? The food?"
Then I experienced a conversion, and now my attitude goes like this: "Oh, my God! The fair is here again! The exhibits, the crowds, the noise! The food!"
It's all in the punctuation.
Get ready. The State Fair starts Thursday.(6 Comments)
"The U.S. Federal Reserve mounted an unprecedented campaign to head off a depression by providing as much as $1.2 trillion in public money to banks and other companies from August 2007 through April 2010," reports Bloomberg News.
The staggering amount far surpasses the $160 billion given in public bailouts to large banks after the 2008 housing market collapse.
How much is 1.2 trillion?
Denominated in $1 bills, the $1.2 trillion would fill 539 Olympic-size swimming pools.(5 Comments)
I'm always the last one to spot a trend, so maybe this is news to no one but me. But the fairgrounds now have benches with messages of up to 14 characters -- often the names of people or organizations -- built into them. A visit to the State Fair Foundation's website reveals that the benches are a perq of membership at the $1,500 level. That puts the "recognition benches" in the middle range, between recognition bricks for $250 and recognition tables for $2,500. It amounts to selling the naming rights to infrastructure. For city managers in a struggling economy, I'd like to offer a thought: recognition manholes.
Meanwhile, the Public Insight Network here at MPR wants your help identifying cool, out-of-the-way spots on the fairgrounds. What's your favorite hidden highlight? I'm partial to Steichen's grocery Store and Deli, myself.
We'll feature a Fair Hound every day of the fair on All Things Considered, and in other ways on the Internets.
Everybody's got a right to personal happiness and fulfillment, I guess, and if Gary Eichten wants to try life at a different pace, that may be up to him. We'll see. But I'll bet anybody one of Gary's famous Jacksons that he'll be more of a force as a retired person than most people are at the height of their careers.
Over on Facebook, we're inviting listeners to tell us their favorite Eichten stories. I don't have a story, exactly, but an observation: Gary's interviews with then-Gov. Jesse Ventura were a public service of the first order. Ventura thought the media were jackals, and he became more and more unwilling to explain himself to them. But somehow Ventura had a soft spot for Eichten, and Eichten capitalized on the opportunity. He'd grill the governor, and the governor would come back for more. I listened to those interviews from my desk at the Star Tribune with a mixture of admiration and envy.
Gary has done lots of great work besides that, and most recently picked up a Graven Award to prove it. The Premack judges who gave it to him cited "his commitment to public affairs journalism, excellent interviewing skills and deep knowledge of Minnesota politics." We'll all hear more about his career between now and January. But I'm still betting that we'll hear a lot from him after January as well. (To be clear, notice that I said I'll bet any body -- up to a maximum of one, that is -- "one of Gary's famous Jacksons." Not one of mine.)