1) DISPATCHES FROM ''PLANET PARENTHOOD''
What's the line between a spanking and a beating? Jamie Godlewski of Coon Rapids answered the question "what would you do?" by trying to stop a man from beating/spanking his son. WCCO reports he paid the price by being the target of a beating himself.
"I was worried about the kids. I didn't care if he was going to harm me or not, but those kids, I wanted them to be safe," he said.
The art of parenting (continued): A few years ago parents mostly used technology to keep their children off some Internet sites. Now, the technologies allow parents to gather a huge amount of intelligence on their kids. But the kids are striking back with their instinctive defense mechanism: Sneakiness.
Related: A couple of weeks ago, the Internet went buzzy, passing along the video of a commencement speech advising kids they're not special.
"Sometime in the last decade boosting a child's self-esteem became a disreputable practice, sort of like letting him drink Mountain Dew at breakfast," John Keilman writes in today's Chicago Tribune.
Really? When your son strikes out in a Little League game, do you holler from the bleachers that he should have practiced harder? When your daughter asks if she's smart, do you say you'll let her know after you see her report card?
Of course not. You tell your son, "Good try," then offer to help him get better. You tell your daughter that she's very smart, then say she still needs to work hard to get good grades. You keep it real but you encourage them. You pat them on the back. You try to help them feel better about themselves.
Even more parenting: Boxes for people to leave their unwanted babies in are reappearing in Europe.
2) AFTER THE FLOOD
Jay Cooke State Park is going to stay closed for awhile, the DNR says. It's not hard to see why.
Somewhere in Minnesota today, people are going to work and trying to figure out how to fix this.
There are, of course, plenty of places to see some of the flood damage in the Northland, but the Department of Natural Resources has some of the most intriguing photographs of damage to the state parks in the region, including some before/after shots now that the water has gone down and all that's left is the nothing. Find it here. It's hard to see, in particular, how Jay Cooke State Park can reopen anytime soon.
Lessons from the past: There are a lot of people in Minnesota, especially along the Red River, who have graduate degrees in flood recovery. The 1997 flood in Granite Falls and Grand Forks (and elsewhere) and last year's disaster in Minot have led to a common piece of advice for Duluth-area victims of the recent floods: Be patient. And also watch out for all the people trying to rip you off.
3) NPR'S MUSLIM "EXTREMISTS" STORY
NPR's new ombudsman doesn't write anywhere near as much as the awesome Alicia Shepard did when she had the job, but we're going to go out on a limb and suggest he'll be getting plenty of reaction to NPR'S story about "radical Muslims" in the U.S. military.
The story says the FBI has launched "more than 100 investigations into suspected Islamic extremists," but then adds that only a dozen are considered "serious."
There are a lot of "coulds" and "mays" in the story, a lack of definition of what an "extremist" is and why the phrase "100 suspected extremists" is used if only a dozen cases may be serious?
"If these guys are a not considered loyal to the USA, why not just discharge them from the military?" one commenter asks. Good question. The military certainly knows how to throw people out.
4) THE DEAD TREES OF NORTHFIELD
Griff Wigley, of Locally Grown Northfield, has been keeping an eye on a failed attempt to plant some trees at one of the more prominent intersections of Northfield. They've stood as silent testimony to.... something.... for more than a year, he writes today.
5) WHERE ONE'S RIGHTS END AND ANOTHER'S BEGIN
How do you protest an ordinance against swearing in public? By swearing in public. In Middleborough, Massachusetts yesterday, protesters lamented the city's new fines for public swearing.
"We disagree with the idea that the government should be regulating our speech in this way because it's an individual and family matter," said Middleboro resident Debbie Lafond, 38, who brought her 4-year-old son Caleb to the protest. "If they can regulate this, what's next?"
I think (swearing is) against a higher moral law," a local pastor said. "That's the law that I would like to see people bend to."
Bonus I: Proof that pelicans live around Big Stone Lake and the Ortonville dam:
Bonus II: And ducks live in China...
Bonus III: The beauty of the farmer's market.
Bonus IV: Aaron Sorkin's Aaron Sorkin plagiarism:
VIRAL VIDEO OF THE DAY
Related: When people are forced to dance at weddings. (Trail Baboon)
The Supreme Court on Monday struck down parts of Arizona's immigration law, ruling that immigration policy remained a federal responsibility. President Obama said the ruling made clear the need for comprehensive revision of federal immigration laws. Today's Question: What should be the main goal of U.S. immigration policy?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
I will not be posting here today (Paul Tosto will be). I'll be spending part of the day at Northfield's Laughing Loon Farm, which was severely damaged in flooding last week, and at which volunteers are gathering today to pitch in.
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: Frank Deford, sportswriter, novelist and regular contributor to NPR's Morning Edition. His latest book is Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter. (Rebroadcast)
Second hour: Anne Lamott speaks about her new memoir "Some Assembly Required." (Rebroadcast)
Third hour: Buddy Guy, legendary blues musician. His new memoir is "When I Left Home." (Rebroadcast)
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Architecture and mystery writer Larry Millett, speaking at the Club Book series about his craft. He's the author of award-winning architecture books including "Lost Twin Cities" and a series of Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) - The long reach of the Colorado River. A live broadcast from the Aspen Institute.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Officials say every town in Carlton County was hit hard when last week's rains pushed rivers out of their banks, closing bridges and flooding homes. In the town of Barnum, all of the town's residents were evacuated last Friday. Days later, residents are joining people from throughout the region to help neighbors recover from the flood. Residents in these areas say this kind of disaster could strike anywhere people have built homes and businesses along rivers in Minnesota. MPR's Stephanie Hemphill is following the story.
Less than 1 percent of Minnesotans carry flood coverage. But with what seems to be more flooding as the climate is changing, should our ideas about flood insurance be changing, too? Had more people in Duluth purchased flood insurance (if they even could), would worst of losses have been prevented? Tom Crann will talk with Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Michael Rothman.(6 Comments)
College costs are rising faster than incomes and student loan debt is through the roof. That's led to all kinds of hand wringing about whether college is worth it.
But every time we're ready to ditch that part of the American Dream, it seems that new data surface to tell us to hold on.
Newly released numbers on wealth and asset ownership by the Census Bureau show education still deeply divides the haves and have-nots.
|Median Value of Household assets 2010|
|No High School Diploma||$7,270|
|High School Graduate Only||$42,223|
|Some College, No Degree||43,580|
|Graduate or Professional Degree||$245,763|
College seniors who graduated in 2010 carried an average of $25,250 in student loan debt, according to the Project on Student Debt.
Minnesota students graduated in 2010 averaging $29,000 in loan debt, about $1,500 more than the previous year.
No one should let debt overwhelm them. The New York Times wrote recently of a generation of students who took on more college debt than they could afford and are struggling badly now in a weak economy.
But that's different than saying college isn't worth it. For most of us who aren't entrepreneurs or super geniuses, college offers a real opportunity to build wealth.
-- Paul Tosto(7 Comments)
In the June 14 flood in Dakota, Goodhue and Rice counties, a third of Dayna Burtness' Laughing Loon Farm was washed away. But there was still a chance the first-year full-time farmer could make a go of it at her herb, flower, and vegetable farm in Northfield , which supports local restaurants and St. Olaf college with produce.
Then a hail storm hit three days later and she knew she was in big trouble. She lost thousands of dollars in equipment and ready-to-be planted vegetables, most of the peppers, the eggplants, and many beds of beans, beets, spring mix, and spinach. Even where some vegetables appear to be making a go of it today, Burtness is counting it as a loss because she doesn't know what pollutants were in the floodwater and hers is a farm that stresses organic and sustainable practices.
Laughing Loon Farm owner Dayna Burtness, right, and volunteer Louis Tafte, who works at the Bachelor Farmer restaurant, weed tomato plants Tuesday, June 26, 2012 on the farm's five acres near Northfield, Minn. Flooding and hail damaged the crops in June, but Burtness hopes to save the tomatoes by pulling weeds and fertilizing them with composted chicken manure. (MPR Photo: Jennifer Simonson)
It was a quick fall from lofty heights. Just a few weeks ago, her work fed a president and his guests at the Bachelor Farmer restaurant in Minneapolis on a presidential swing through the Twin Cities.
The region south of the Twin Cities got a little bit of attention after the flooding, but then the flash floods struck the Duluth area, and the attention shifted north, leaving Burtness on her own. She had to lay off one employee, leaving her only with two additional helpers, and her dog.
There is no flood disaster assistance from the usual sources, either. She couldn't get crop insurance, she says, because figuring out a value involves five years of crop results and this is her first full year.
There's still a little bit of the farm left on the land she rents, but the race is on to save the young crops that are left on land. Much of the topsoil has washed away and a nearby creek left only a pile of sand.
"I did some crying and puking," she said today, the first day she would find out if her plea for help would be answered. It was.
Up until today, it's been too wet to get into the fields to start trying to save what's left. A call for volunteers was answered today by about a dozen people who heard of Ms. Burtness' ordeal. An organic farmer from Hutchinson showed up, so did some local students, and a retired 3M'er pitched in.
This morning, the team alternated between adding chicken manure to bruised tomato plants and pulling weeds and thistle from the rows. The land is scarred and the tomato plants will struggle to survive, especially with competition from the invaders. Potato beetles have also showed up this week to add another challenge.
Things didn't look good last weekend, "but the plants have pepped up a bit in the last few days," Burtness says. She says of the the crops that are left, about half the income-making potential is with the tomatoes.
During a lunch break this afternoon, Burtness acknowledged her spirits have pepped up a bit in the last few days, too.
Volunteers help Laughing Loon farmer Dayna Burtness weed and side dress her tomato plants Tuesday, June 26, 2012 near Northfield, Minn. Floods and hail in mid June damaged or destroyed some of the farm's crops.(MPR Photo/Jennifer Simonson)
There'll be another volunteer day either late this week or on the weekend. To learn more, visit the Laughing Loon website.