Do you think you'll be able to retire, North Dakota: The Nigeria of the north, a hole in the ground in Babbitt, monument to an earthquake, and the call of the harvest.
You know how every now and again we post a video of some guy who nonchalantly catches a foul ball with one hand at a baseball game while holding a baby in the other?
This is not one of those times.
Translation not needed.
The incident happened in Taiwan this week. It's similar to a father who also took himself out of the running for father of the year in Florida earlier this year.(1 Comments)
President Obama was heckled last night by a man shouting, "Jesus Christ is Lord." That's a news story today.
But check out the crowd when the camera pulls back. Nothing can happen anymore without dozens of cellphone cameras capturing the moment.
It's hard to overestimate how the cellphone is changing our lives. Once considered an evil, some schools are using them as educational tools.
The Detroit News today documents how teachers in Michigan are having students use them to get kids interested in Shakespeare, for example:
Once considered a distraction best banished to lockers during the day, cellphones increasingly are becoming an educational tool. While some high schools still ban phones in class, some districts -- such as Plymouth-Canton and Chippewa Valley -- are allowing teachers to explore the benefits of instant class connectivity and feedback.
In Palmer's English class, for example, students can text full-length responses about "Romeo and Juliet" to a website that allows him to simultaneously display the best responses on the board.
Science teachers can send students on nature hikes to use their camera phones to photograph their findings. Even using the social media network Twitter can teach students how to write in haiku, said Patrick Dickson, an educational psychology and educational technology professor at Michigan State University.
"We're in a world where people have to learn continuously and they're not going to just do it in classrooms," Dickson said. "More and more learning is going online. If they want students to remain economically viable, our schools have to teach them how to do this."
In New York today, an experiment is beginning to provide cellphone service in the city's subway system. It's the last gasp of a dying civilization, some people insist. From a New York Times blogger:
Their forecasts are rooted in a lesson painfully learned over many years: For leather-lunged cellphone addicts, no subject is too inane and no personal detail too private to be withheld from anyone within a 100-yard radius. When you think about it, it is a small miracle that we've had no reports of a murder committed by someone who snapped after listening to one high-decibel phone conversation too many in which every third word was "like."
Others advise the gloom-and-doomers to get a grip. This is really more about providing wireless Internet access than enabling phone conversations, they say.
And in a move that will strike terror into the hearts of teenagers everywhere, TG Daily writes today, India's telecoms regulator has today introduced a cap on the number of text messages that can be sent from a mobile phone.
The danger of a presidential campaign that begins the moment the last one ends is the political media needs a story line every day for four years. Today's hot story is that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may get into the race.
The report comes after Texas Gov. Rick Perry, anointed the frontrunner by the same people who made Rep. Michele Bachmann and Gov. Mitt Romney the frontrunner before him, was embarrassed by about 1,000 delegates at the Florida Republican Party convention, who made Herman Cain the straw poll winner. Nobody not named Cain believes Herman Cain is going to be elected president.
The New York Times' Nate Silver suggests that the party is still a battle between moderates and conservatives, an intra-party squabble that seemed settled years ago.
One way to view the 2012 campaign is as an effort by the Republican Party to identify a viable, electable alternative to Mr. Romney. With other candidates, like Mr. Perry, potentially failing on the electability front, it is easy to see Mr. Christie's appeal. The fact that Mr. Christie's ideology is somewhat amorphous -- without, like Mr. Romney's, seeming slippery -- is a potential sign of strength, an indication that he may have the persuasive abilities to rally the party behind him, while also appealing to general election voters.
But as Jon Stewart pointed out last evening, Christie probably isn't the inside-Republican's cup of tea, either.(1 Comments)
It's cloudy in a great part of Minnesota today, which could deny us the opportunity for one of the most spectacular skyward moments -- the northern lights.
A geomagnetic storm began yesterday when a Coronal Mass Ejection collided with Earth's magnetic field.
Greater Minnesota gets all the bragging rights. With no clouds, and no light pollution -- especially in northern Minnesota -- it's already been a great show. MPR's Updraft blog has a photo from Grand Portage.
Here's a video uploaded from last night's display in Norway:
If you can get a good photograph of the northern lights in this part of the world tonight, we'd love to look at it.
Here's a tutorial on how to photograph them.(3 Comments)
Mac Hammond, the head of a megachurch in Brooklyn Park, has joined the campaign of Rep. Michele Bachmann, sending people scurrying for the Internal Revenue Service's statutes on churches and politics.
"She is a sister in the Lord that is as committed to his word as any of you in here are," he told his flock., while noting that it's a personal endorsement, not a marshaling of religious forces.
Churches -- and every other tax-exempt non-profit -- are barred from endorsing a particular candidate in exchange for the tax breaks the institutions enjoy. Several pastors in Minnesota have openly defied the ban with few apparent consequences.
It's a slippery slope for the IRS to monitor. On the Sunday before the 2004 presidential election, for example, the pastor of a California church delivered an anti-war, anti-poverty sermon (which was called, "If Jesus debated Senator Kerry and President Bush"), and complaints to the IRS led to a two-year probe into whether the church had, in effect, endorsed John Kerry for president. But it took no action against the church, saying it believed it was a "one-time occurrence."
Where did the ban on church politicking come from? Then-Sen. Lyndon Johnson in 1954, according to the IRS:
In 1954, Congress approved an amendment by Sen. Lyndon Johnson to prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes charities and churches, from engaging in any political campaign activity. To the extent Congress has revisited the ban over the years, it has in fact strengthened the ban. The most recent change came in 1987 when Congress amended the language to clarify that the prohibition also applies to statements opposing candidates.
There'll be another challenge to the no-politics-from-the-pulpit rule this Sunday. The Alliance Defense Fund, a group of conservative Christian preachers, is holding another Pulpit Freedom Sunday.
A survey last year from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found about half of the public (52%) thinks churches should keep out of politics, "while 43% say churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political questions." That survey reversed the narrow majority in a similar polls from 1996 to 2006, that found people think churches belong in the political arena.(4 Comments)
Southwest Airlines has a likely public relations nightmare on its hands after it booted a lesbian couple for kissing on the plane.
Actress Leisha Hailey, best known for playing Alice Pieszecki in the now defunct Showtime lesbian life drama "The L Word," says she and her partner, Camila Grey, were thrown off a Southwest Airlines flight for kissing.
"We have always promoted tolerance, openness and equality both as a band and as individuals. We both come from loving homes where our parents not only love and accept us, but are also proud of who we are. We believe everyone has the right to live openly in this society as equals.
In no way were our actions on Southwest Airlines excessive, inappropriate or vulgar. We want to make it clear we were not making out or creating any kind of spectacle of ourselves, it was one, modest kiss. We are responsible adult women who walk through the world with dignity. We were simply being affectionate like any normal couple. We were on the airplane less than 5 minutes when all was said and done.
We take full responsibility for getting verbally upset with the flight attendant after being told it was a "family airline." We were never told the reason the flight attendant approached us, we were only scolded that we "needed to be aware that Southwest Airlines was a family oriented airline."
No matter how quietly homophobia is whispered, it doesn't make it any less loud. You can't whisper hate. We ask this airline to teach their employees to not discriminate against any couple, ever, regardless of their own beliefs. We want to live in a society where if your loved one leans over to give you an innocent kiss on an airplane it's not labeled as "excessive or not family oriented" by a corporation and its employees. We find it very disturbing that the same airline who lauds itself as being LGBT friendly has twisted an upsetting incident that happened into our behavior being "too excessive." The above is not an apology and we are in the process of filing a formal complaint with the airline. We hope that when all is said and done a greater tolerance without prejudice will evolve."
The airline, which promotes itself as "the official airline of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA), and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, says it wasn't the gay kiss that caused the problem, it was just the kiss.
Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive. Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all Customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender. The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight. We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling short of their expectation.
But a quick check of the Southwest Airlines Facebook page suggests if it was about the "gay thing," that's OK with many of the customers:24 Comments)