Who are the next heroes, writing a life's story one peck at a time, welcome to Grand Forks, the things you learn playing football in Stillwater, and another BWCA video.
From the Department of Silver Linings, it's pretty standard hurricane-coverage template material to assume that hurricanes are a bad thing. And, of course, they can be very bad things.
But not entirely, perhaps.
Here's the current drought situation in the United States. The deep red is the worst of it.
Here's the expected track of Hurricane Isaac.
Someone who could really use it, is about to get a lot of rain.(5 Comments)
Posted at 11:53 AM on August 27, 2012
by Bob Collins
A couple of dispatches from the State Fair.
This video features a sword swallower, which leads us to wonder how someone breaks into the sword swallowing business?
We heard from New York transplant Waqar Ahmad, who has taken a liking to the State Fair and who has set up a Facebook page to document faces at the fair.
"I have been mesmerized by this anthropological experience otherwise known as the Minnesota State Fair. An interest in people-watching and photography led me to this project," Waqar reports.
Did you miss Chastity Brown on the MPR Current stage? Well, here.
Question: Would we like ducks as much if they actually could sing?
If what the wife of a Mankato football coach is saying about her husband's arrest on felony child porn charges is true, there's another chapter in the book of people taking cute pictures of their kids naked.
"The charges against my husband are ridiculous and baseless," Melodee Hoffner said at her husband's attorney's office today. "My family does what every family does - we take videos and pictures of our kids in all their craziness. My husband would not ever abuse our children or any other children."
Her husband, Todd Hoffner, head football coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato, took his broken cellphone to the university IT department to get a new one and the video and images transferred. The technician called the cops when he/she saw the images.
He was charged with possessing child porn and using minors in a sexual performance or pornographic work.
"It's a difficult distinction to make. What's a cute butt and what's pornographic?" That's a classic quote from Stan Rebert, York County (Pennsylvania) district attorney, who charged a 59 year old woman with child porn after she took her film of her two-year-old granddaughter getting out of the bathtub to WalMart.
Fifteen months later, the charges were dropped and the woman, Donna Dull, filed suit against the police.
The same thing happened in Arizona. Lisa and Anthony "A.J." Demaree dropped film off at WalMart of their vacation to San Diego. Several of them were "bath- and playtime" photos of their daughters. The kids were taken from the home for a month. Neither parent was charged with a crime, although the police released statements describing photos that they contended went beyond playtime.
The couple was placed on a sexual offender list. Mrs. Demaree was suspended from her educator job for a year.
A judge returned the children when he viewed the photos and found them to be "innocent" in nature.
"If one of these images that our folks reviewed somehow circulated and it was reported that our office had seen that or that CPS had seen that and basically turned a blind eye, I think most people would say, 'That's not right, you aren't doing your job. You're supposed to be acting to protect children from potential exploitation and an image like that is suggesting that maybe something else is going on here that ought to be investigated,'" a spokesman for the Arizona attorney general told the Arizona Republic newspaper.
The FindLaw Crime and Criminals blog noted the case and explained the guidelines authorities have to make in making these kinds of charges.
Though many acts are obviously sexually explicit, "sexually explicit conduct" under federal law also includes "lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person." Federal court have identified some factors to help decide whether genitals in particular images constitute a lascivious exhibition. These factors include:
Whether the genitals or pubic area are the image's focal point;
Whether the setting is sexually suggestive;
Whether the child is depicted in an unnatural pose or age-inappropriate attire;
Whether the subject is nude, partially or fully clothed;
Whether the image suggests a willingness to engage in sexual activity; and
Whether the image is intended to elicit a sexual response in the viewer.
"The downside of society's increased awareness that bad things happen to children is an increased tendency to see those bad things everywhere," Lisa Belkin of the NY Times parenting blog wrote.
In the Hoffner case, according to the Associated Press, the videos show the children dancing and exposing their genitals.
The Star Tribune describes them this way...
According to the charges, in one video, all three drop towels covering their bodies and jump around, while an 8-year-old boy fondles himself and the two girls bend over and spread their buttocks. In a second video, the girls are dancing naked and the boy enters naked, wearing only a football helmet. In the third video, one of the girls is shown being awakened in bed and told by a male voice "to go potty" before she is followed to the bathroom in her underwear with the camera focused on her buttocks.
The system will sort all of this out. In the meantime, the message to parents is clear: Don't take pictures or videos of your children unclothed.(12 Comments)
The Minnesota Court of Appeals today upheld your right to flash high beams at oncoming drivers.
In August 2011, Aaron Neil Sarber flashed his high beams -- twice -- at an oncoming car, which turned out to be a police cruiser driven by a Mille Lacs County sheriff's deputy.
The deputy stopped Sarber and cited him for violating a Minnesota statute, which says "[w]hen the driver of a vehicle approaches a vehicle within 1,000 feet, such driver shall use a distribution of light, or composite beam, so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver."
But Sarber appealed, saying there was no proof the "brief flashing projected 'glaring rays . . . into the eyes of the oncoming driver.'"
A district court judge ruled against Sarber but today the Minnesota Court of Appeals said although an officer may lawfully stop a driver for violating a traffic law, no matter how insignificant the violation, "a stop is not justified if it is based on a mistaken interpretation of the law."
Up until now, Minnesota courts have not addressed the question of whether flicking high beams violates the law. The Court of Appeals ruled it does not:
Briefly flashing one's high beams at another driver does not, standing alone, amount to use of a light "intensely and blindingly." A bright light of extremely short duration does not amount to "glaring rays." Accordingly, it is a common practice for drivers to flash their high beams to warn other drivers of hazards, or to signal others to adjust their own headlights. Although by no means authoritative, the Minnesota Driver's Manual (published by the Minnesota Department of Vehicle Safety) recommends that drivers flash their headlights to alert a sleepy or distracted driver approaching in the wrong lane. Our unpublished cases also document instances where state troopers have flashed their high beams to signal approaching drivers to adjust their headlights.
The court indicated, however, that failing to dim high-beam headlights when approaching another car is against the law.14 Comments)