The prepay debate, should public radio reveal when story subjects are underwriters, women in the Oil Patch, spam on the phone, and don't mess with Peggy.
In two weeks, Reggie Deal will plop down in a seat at Target Field at Minneapolis and be generally unimpressed by the skyline, the giant Target ad on Target Center, or the big light pole beyond the rightfield bleachers. Deal won't see any of those things, but despite being blind, he'll drink the scene in with other senses.
"There are a lot of things you're able to experience," he tells MLB.com, "when your faculties take over and supplement what's not there."
Deal has started a mission to visit 30 baseball parks in 30 days. He's sandwiching Minneapolis in between Boston and Phoenix.
"I want people to have a different visual of what blindness entails," the Wyoming man said. "People get caught up in the negative, but there are ways to work around it."
He's documenting his trip on his Facebook page (he's also on Twitter), where it's obvious one of his biggest challenges will be how to fit in all the fans who want to meet him into what must surely be a hectic schedule to make the ballgames and the airline connections.
"People ask me, 'How can you enjoy the game without seeing it?'" he said. "I say, 'You don't realize how much of the game you can pick up on until you close your eyes.'"(3 Comments)
"What did you do during the war, daddy?"
If you're a baby boomer, you grew up hearing that question asked of our fathers and friend's fathers. Everyone did something during World War II.
My dad joked that he didn't do much of anything, that he was based in England, and it wasn't until he died years ago that we found a diary in which he occasionally mentioned the condition of men in the field hospital where he worked. They were the the bomber crews who flew suicide missions over Europe.
I often wonder if anyone in the next generation will learn about the war in Iraq and the one in Afghanistan in a history class, only to run home and ask daddy and mommy, "what did you do during the war?" and whether there might be some shame about the answer.
Peter Sagal, the host of "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" on NPR, references this in a piece he's written on his blog today about a visit to Walter Reed Hospital on Saturday.
While "The Good Soldiers" is a superb work of reporting and non-fiction writing, what really struck me - more than the heartbreaking stories of soldiers working, suffering and dying, and then trying to adjust to life afterwards - was the dates. The regiment that Finkel followed to Iraq was sent there as part of the "surge," and stayed there from April 2007 to July 2008. I don't know about you, but I remember those years really well. I published my first book, I travelled all over the country with my show, including to New York City to accept a Peabody Award, I attended a lot of fun parties, I shared a lot of good times with my wife and kids. I had a grand time. And all during that period, I can't say I spared more than a passing thought for the men sent into the meat grinder of the Iraq War. As Finkel notes, we were told the surge worked. We were told violence was down. And it was. Fewer Americans died during those months than in the terrible days of 2003 and 2004. (For a gripping account of the early days of the war, see Martha Raddatz' "The Long Road Home.") But some did die, and more were gravely wounded, and I wasn't paying attention. Reading Finkel's book, I felt some shame about that, and some regret, and conceived a wild notion to take advantage of an upcoming trip to DC to try to rectify that error.
When we salute veterans for their service now, we do so usually at a sporting event. We fly some planes over, we stretch out a big American flag, we stand and applaud while a vet gets a basketball at half court.
It's all so noble and, in a way, glamorous, and self-serving. We feel better about having shown our concern and respect. Good for us. But we don't see Walter Reed.
The first soldier was in bed, surrounded by six members of his family, including his fiance, who was slumped over asleep. His left foot was missing, and he was in obvious pain, and also obviously in a fog of painkilling drugs. I chatted with his family, and heard about his injury - an IED in Afghanistan. My memory of this first visit was foggy, because I was slowly realizing something that for the life of me I had not anticipated: the men I would be meeting were not in rehab, or in recovery. These were not the guys I had read about in magazine features, gamely learning to walk on prostheses or deal with TBI,, months after their injury. These were guys who had just been gravely hurt, weeks or in some cases days before. They were sitting with family members who - also just weeks or days before - had gotten a call from the Army or Marines saying, "Your son has been wounded in battle," and had with hearts pounding and tears streaming thrown things into a bag and gotten on a plane for Germany or Washington. These wounds were fresh and raw, in every sense.
I will not, or can't give you details of every visit I made that morning, even a day after. I sat by bedsides and, as Trudeau advised, asked them what happened, and heard their stories. As I listened, I tried to focus, and control my own feelings of horror and dismay, and my growing urge to walk out of the room and tell the Sergeant, patiently waiting outside, that I could take no more and needed to leave now. (The sergeant told me later that this does happen.)
Sagal didn't meet Jason Edens of Franklin, Tennessee. His family took him off life support at Walter Reed on Friday, two weeks after he was shot in the head while on patrol in Afghanistan.
"I thought originally he made the wrong decision, but after he went to Basic Training and came out and graduated, I saw that the Army made him a man," said his father, Jim Edens.
At the height of the war, my youngest son joined the Navy. He's a paramedic and noted that he was told many Marines die trying to protect the Navy corpsman. That was what he'd end up being -- a Navy corpsman. Some months later, just before he was to leave, he decided the Navy wasn't a great idea afterall, and the recruiter, upon learning this, told him if he didn't continue into the Navy, his family would never be proud of him.
Every time I read a story about Walter Reed, I wonder how many of the people there were told the same thing.
We have our own struggles making sense of wars. So does Germany, which is struggling with how to welcome German forces back from Afghanistan. "In Germany, we are not proud of our veterans," Roderich Kiesewetter, the head of the Association of Reservists of the German Military Reserve Association and a member of Parliament for the ruling Christian Democrats, tells the Washington Post today.
"If you look at the U.S. guys, you look at the day they return from Afghanistan or Iraq. In Germany, there's no one who is greeting them at the airport. There's no comparison," said Andreas Timmermann-Levanas, the head of the Association of German Veterans, who served in Bosnia and Afghanistan and has pushed for a veterans day.
On Saturday evening, I attended the annual "gala" fundraiser for the Minnesota chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. During a few speeches, I heard a reference I hadn't heard in several previous years -- the needs of veterans. On a table nearby, DVDs offered advice on services for returning veterans.
These wars aren't really going to end for more than a generation. There's still time to come up with a good answer to the question.
Within minutes of the announcement -- one year ago this week-- that Navy SEALS had killed Osama bin Laden, political wags noted it'd play big once President Obama's re-election campaign began.
What many people didn't see coming, was Obama would use a more popular president to tell the story...
It's probably no coincidence, then, that today Mitt Romney invoked a less popular president to answer the ad.
"Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order," Romney told reporters at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.(2 Comments)
Minnesota singer and legend Bobby Vee announced on his website today that he has Alzheimer's...
Vee also posted video of some recent recording sessions in Arizona...
Hard to believe, but it's been 13 years since Bobby Vee was interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio. In 1990, writer -- and former MPR reporter -- Leif Enger profiled Vee, who was playing in Storm Lake, Iowa on the 40th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly.
Fargo, North Dakota in the mid-1950s was hardly rock-and-roll country. In fact, it was country-and- western country. Bob Velline grew up going to the Moorhead Armory to see Johnny Cash, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow.
Vee: I remember very clearly listening to the Lem Hawkins show on the radio in Fargo. And one day he played a song by Elvis Presley called "That's all right Mama". They didn't call it rock-and-roll, I just thought it was really good country music
As rock-and-roll gained steam (and a name), the Vellines put away their trumpets and trombones and acquired guitars. Pretty soon Bill Velline and a few friends started a band; not to perform, just to play. Bobby was five years younger than Bill. He wasn't invited.
Vee: My brother would go and he'd come back all pumped about this music: "aw, man, it was great", "well, what'd you do Bill? " "Aw, we did some Elvis songs and some Buddy Holly. " "Bill, you gotta bring me along! " And I was five years younger. "Yeah, okay, just be quiet! " And I got there and what I realized, listening to them play, was that nobody sang. They just played the music. So they'd be playing some Gene Vincent song or something, and nobody sang, so they'd get lost in the music. And I would say, "Bill, it's the bridge, it's (sings): well I wanna wanna lotta lotta lovin', "oh, yeah, thanks! ", and little by little I started singing the songs.
It was the sort of thing that was happening all over; the television 50s, only real; teenagers in 10,000 garages were strapping on guitars, mimicking and mangling riffs off their 45s, producing enormous noises and parental apprehension. And then, unlikely as it seemed, several performers at the top of the charts undertook a midwestern tour: the Winter Dance Party, it was called. Holly and the Crickets, Ritchie Valens, the Big Bopper, Dion and the Belmonts. The Vellines and their buddies bought tickets.
Vee's band played the Moorhead event that Holly and his entourage were to play at.
More recently, Vee talked with TPT's Minnesota Original series...(9 Comments)