Picking up in Duluth, the jobless recovery, the jobs we do, the Neiman-Lanpher snit remembered, and 21 images to restore your faith in humanity.
1) PICKING UP DULUTH
(Photo: Sunrise this morning in Duluth, via Gary Carlson on Twitter)
It's the fact you have to step back and consider in all the video and images of the flash flooding in Duluth. Nobody -- at least no humans -- died.
This was the biggest flash flood in more than 40 years in Minnesota, and everyone is OK. There have been lesser floods since the 1972 Little Falls inundation. People died in those floods. On August 18, 2007, for example, heavy rains and blocked rivers in the Rushford area created flash flood conditions. Seven people in southeast Minnesota lost their lives.
But before that sets in, some have taken the time to play. Here's the story of people who went JetSkiing yesterday...
Disasters give us a glimpse at our humanity that often disappears when days are normal. The things that separate us begin to define us. Disasters show us who we really are.
Disasters show us our best side, the side where people still tear up because an 8 year old survives certain death.
Today, Duluth starts to pick up the pieces of a city that hung together.
2) THE JOBLESS RECOVERY
If people can't get jobs, how can there ever be an economic recovery? APM's Chris Farrell today declares that the economic recovery "is going to be a jobless one."
"So you know, businesses are really embracing productivity rather than hiring workers. 'Let's get more out of our people before we hire more.' And you've got the information technologies, and those have wiped out whole departments of low-level, white-collar workers. And then of course there's globalization. So Jeremy, if you look at a lot of these companies -- the S&P 500 companies, the ones that we talk about all the time -- they're hiring. They are hiring. But much of the hiring is going on overseas," he says on Marketplace today.
It portends a future few people seem to want to talk about. The world may not need all the people who will be looking for jobs in the future.
I thought about this yesterday while listening to the American RadioWorks documentary, "Bridge to Somewhere," specifically, the part in which an old ad was played in which Jimmy Durante pleads for American business to hire people as a matter of patriotic duty as a part of the New Deal.
Discussion point: Does business have a patriotic duty to hire people?
3) THE NEIMAN - LANPHER SNIT REMEMBERED
No obituary of painter Leroy Neiman, a Saint Paul native, is complete without a mention of the 1997 snit between he and a Saint Paul Pioneer Press columnist that had local politicians on their knees begging him to bring a museum to the city that by now would likely be closed.
It was the summer of 1997, when Neiman, who long before had moved from Saint Paul, considered opening a museum in the city. The Legislature, in fact, had appropriated $500,000 for the project. The Saint Paul City Council bought the Jemne Building, to provide a home for the museum.
Then, former MPR colleague Katherine Lanpher, who was a Pioneer Press columnist then, wrote, "I think his work stinks." (Some examples of his work here)
It was a great example of when newspaper columnists held more influence here than they do now.
Neimann pulled his support for the museum. Then Mayor Norm Coleman and then-Gov. Arne Carlson traveled to New York to beg him to reconsider.
Letters poured into the paper urging Lanpher's head be delivered on a platter. But her editor stuck behind his columnist, going so far as to write a commentary explaining to people why it's important for newspaper columnists to be allowed to express opinions that are unpopular.
That story -- the story of how one person's opinion kept a city from making a bad mistake -- was left out of today's Pioneer Press Neiman obit.
4) THE JOBS WE DO: THE CHEF
Scott Meldahl has a calling: Serve the seniors in Fergus Falls meals with fresh ingredients and make their day.
"It was that feeling of providing a bright spot in someone's day, that creating of a memory that drove me to grow my skills and push forward in this career choice," he says.
(h/t: Jessica Sorensen)
5) TWENTY-ONE PICTURES TO RESTORE YOUR FAITH IN HUMANITY
Why didn't I think of this before? Wait. I did. Buzzfeed, too, tires of the drumbeat of hopelessness. "People aren't always awful," it says in introducing its presentation of images to pick you up. "Sometimes, they're maybe even just a little bit wonderful. "
As journalists, we have to ask ourselves constantly, "why do so many people crave this?" And, moreover, we have to ask ourselves why we see these as a threat to more serious stories of the day?
(h/t: Barb Abney, who is hoping you'll add your own to this list. "What if kindness went viral?" she asks.)
Bonus: And then there are the kids of Greece, New York (language warning).
The kids taunted the woman about taking her own life, unaware that her son had taken his.
Originally posted on Reddit, the video prompted its users to begin a campaign to raise money to provide a vacation for the woman. It's raised over $100,000.
"Instead of letting what happened rip us apart as a community, I hope it helps bring us together," the chair of the school board said. "This (incivility) is a problem not just in this district but of the nation, and what are we actually doing about it," she said. "... What are we all going to do to make sure this doesn't happen on another bus in another school district tomorrow?"
It was a stormy season even before the heavy rains and resulting floods that struck Duluth over the past day and a half. Today's Question: Do you worry that severe weather is becoming less of a fluke?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
It's the first day of the MPR membership drive. Many of these shows are rebroadcasts.
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Second hour: Brian Cox, author of The Quantum Universe.
Third hour: Diana Reiss, professor of psychology at Hunter College. She is the author of "The Dolphin in the Mirror."
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): TBA
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) - The mistake of "supermax" prisons.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Gov. Mark Dayton tours Duluth today. We'll have an update on the clean-up in the city.
NPR takes a look at Disney's "princess marketing machine." Consumers spend some $4 billion a year on the princess culture.
Your headline said it all -- and it's the biggest bright spot in all the news of property loss, death of the zoo animals, etc.
This morning's news report about using a financial incentive to encourage driving under the speed limit is based on a very old well established principle in the field of applied behavior analysis, of which the guy reporting the story had never heard, namely that immediacy of reward almost always prevails over size of reward. I made a very similar proposal to the Minnesota Highway Dept over 20 years ago, which needless to say fell on deaf ears. The procedure is almost certain to work well, It will have some glitches because it doesn't distinguish between very wealthy people who don't care about the loss of a few dollars and poor people who are more affected, but that could be adjusted by setting the starting value based on the price of the annual license fee. It is a solid idea.
Re Duluth - Hard to be 2000 miles away at times like this. Don't know what I could do even if I was there. Wax apocalyptic?
Re Lanpher Neiman - Good for her. Good for her editor. I always thought of his stuff as "so what?". Did he happen to be friends with Garrison? And Chameleon Coleman unsuccessfully attempted to brown nose him? I'm SHOCKED! SHOCKED!
And Bob, thanks for the positive pics. One of the many reasons we love you. If at least one of those doesn't jerk a joyful tear, you should probably get your jerk checked.
I never cared for Neiman's work, but I wouldn't be too quick to assert that a museum devoted to his work would have failed. I would even go so far as to suggest that such a museum might be more successful than many convential art museums, due to his popular appeal. If the Terry Redlin museum can thrive in Watertown, SD, why wouldn't a Neiman museum thrive in the Twin Cities?
I'd forgotten about the Lanpher feud, but it was in a good cause. I thought the link you provided wasn't very good (more pictures of Neiman than of his art), but when I used Google Images to find more examples, I found that most pictures of Neiman's art have LeRoy Neiman in them!
Apparently he was more famous for having painted than he was for his paintings. I do remember that when I was young and he was popular, I chalked his fame up to one of those grown up things I didn't really understand. Well, I'm long past grown up now and I still have trouble seeing the greatness in his art.
//If the Terry Redlin museum can thrive in Watertown, SD, why wouldn't a Neiman museum thrive in the Twin Cities?
I've never been to Watertown. What else is there to choose from in the area of culture and the arts?
Does business have a patriotic duty to hire people?
Expecting "business" to adhere to any duty other than the bottom line is a bit of a fool's errand, in my opinion. Sure, the head of a company might occasionally decide to do something because it just seems like the right thing to do, but s/he'll probably never make that decision if s/he knows that the company will lose money as a result.
Perhaps a better question might be whether our political leaders have a patriotic duty to align the laws that govern business and global trade with the interests of American workers. With all the talk about "job creators" and "the 1%," we've been allowing meaningless slogans to replace the real debate over how our government balances the interest of our country's business leaders with the interests of those of us who will never be more than employees. And don't get me started on how hostile the American government (and, sadly, the American people) have become towards the labor unions that virtually created the middle class a few generations back...
// I still have trouble seeing the greatness in his art.
I remember in the '60s, he did commemorative posters for each of the Major League Baseball teams, pretty much the same style as all of his other stuff. I think I hung an Indians an A's one in my room, but I was, like, 9.
Somewhere, I'm sure, those posters are rolled up and safely stored.
I may open up a museum in Woodbury with them.
Mark - "more famous for having painted than he was for his paintings." Nice. I'm gonna steal it in some form. I'll mail you the royalty checks. :-)
and Bob, you've never been to Watertown?!? Be careful. You'll never want to leave. (OK, you might not have to be too careful. But there's some good fishing lakes nearby.)
No, never been to SD. It's on my bucket list, tho.
Kind of surprised Bob hasn't at least flown over SD in his piloting adventures.
On Neiman's art and a museum: I missed the battle about a Leroy Neiman museum in St Paul because I was living in Madison at the time. I believe the museum would have had a some success because Neiman's art was targeted at a different audience. His emphasis on sports and sports figures would have attracted those fans to the museum. Sometimes an art museum is for people who like art museums.
Bob - Never been to South Dakota AT ALL ?!?!?
Take some time. A road trip. A surreal range from the ridiculous to the sublime. And back. Money back guaranteed.
// Kind of surprised Bob hasn't at least flown over SD in his piloting adventures.
My plane is still geographically restricted to the Cannon River Valley during flight testing.
Before, had to rent a tired Piper Warrior, capable of going about 90, and it cost about $125 to rent. It would take 5-6 hours just to GET to SD and back, never mind actually sightseeing.
I work in public radio. :*)
The Buzzfeed link was excellent not only for the great photos on the page but because in the comments I discovered Matt has a new video.
Bob - "... rent a tired Piper Warrior, capable of going about 90, and it cost about $125 to rent."
You could buy some bags of Roundup and have it be a working vacation :-)
// Discussion point: Does business have a patriotic duty to hire people?
Under US law, the sole "duty" of a business is to deliver value to shareholders. That's precisely indicative of how the US has bastardized capitalism.
If your question is rephrased to "should business...." that's entirely different.
I just checked, the bus monitor vacation fund is well over 200,000. I am shocked by that video, horrified.
The Duluth story is astonishing.
I was thinking hydroelectricity and how much energy was in all that falling water. Looking at a map of the rainfall total, a conservative estimate is at least 7" of rain over 300 square miles. If the rain was falling from a height of 5,000 feet, the potential energy is almost 600 million kilowatt-hours. That is enough to power more than 100,000 homes for a year.
I've been asking myself this question for years: "And, moreover, we have to ask ourselves why we see these as a threat to more serious stories of the day?"
Thanks for putting it down here, Bob.