Stanley Crooks speaks, is hitting 'like' on Facebook free speech, menstruating women and camping, order a TV and get a gun, and the Hudson crash and warning signs.
Shakopee Mdewakanton leader Stanley Crook's "quote of the day" in the New York Times is bound to grate the thousands of Minnesota families decimated by unemployment.
"We have 99.2 percent unemployment," he told the Times in an article today. "It's entirely voluntary."
Crooks doesn't do interviews very often. I'd guess MPR has been trying to interview him for over 20 years. In 1997, his cousin responded to a story about disputes over the limited tribal "membership" by telling us, "it's just nobody's business what we do with our money. Somebody wins a lottery out there, we don't go to their house and say, 'Well, how do you spend your money?'"
Crooks opened up to the Times a bit more in the article portraying the future of Indian casinos as threatened by states that want a piece of the action.
But it's the effect of all the casino money -- tribal members get $1 million a year -- that pervaded the article.
Despite its wealth, however, the Shakopee reservation has few mansion-size homes, although most families have at least one high-end car in the driveway. Many tribal members own large second homes off the reservation and nearly everyone sends children to private schools. Expensive hobbies like thoroughbred breeding, big game hunting and elaborate trips -- which sometimes last for months -- are common.
Families say it is difficult to teach children the value of money when everyone knows no one will likely ever need to work.
"Why dig a hole when you don't need to dig it -- when you can pay someone to dig a hole?" said Keith B. Anderson, the tribe's secretary and treasurer, who once worked for Target as an industrial designer. "Instead of budgeting a dinner and movie, you can go to dinner and a movie and have dinner again and see another movie, but you can't see enough movies and dinners to spend all your money."
Related: The top federal prosecutor in South Dakota is reopening homicide investigations that led to the Pine Ridge uprisings in the 1970s (Los Angeles Times).
You work for a guy running for re-election. When you fire up your Facebook account (on your own time), you hit "like" on the Facebook page of the person running against him. Can you be fired?
A lower court says "yes." And that's set the stage for a landmark appeal.
Related "what don't you get about the Constitution?": A charter school in Louisiana is going to end its practice of forcing pregnant students out of the classroom. (BBC)
More tech: Curtis Gilbert's story today that your e-mail address can be made public by the cities that have it is quite an eye-opener. But there's another angle in it also worthy of consideration -- cities that drag their feet when it comes to releasing information that is public, essentially gutting the spirit of the data practices law.
3)MENSTRUATING WOMEN AND THE THREE BEARS
The National Park Service has released a research paper in response to the "long-standing concern" that the odors associated with menstruation could lure in hungry bears, putting women at a higher risk than men of being mauled, the Mother Nature Network reports today. Surprise! It's an urban legend.
Despite the conclusion, the Park Service issued a new set of guidelines.
There may be no sadder story in these parts lately than the deaths of three high schoolers, whose vehicle slammed into a truck stopped near a construction zone on I-94. The Star Tribune reports today the driver was looking for a piece of paper to get the attention of a young woman driving a car nearby when he hit the truck.
A spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, however, provides a curious response to one of the boy's parents, who notes a flashing sign warning of the construction zone was not illuminated.
"It doesn't matter how many signs in the world we put up -- and I don't want this to come across as insensitive -- or how far away we put them, if people are not watching and paying attention, it's not going to matter," said Christine Ouellette, a spokeswoman for the agency.
She says there've been lots of crashes at the location and the main cause has been inattentive driving.
Question: Isn't the point of warning signs to get someone's attention? If someone's already paying attention, why are there signs at all?
More signs have been put up, by the way, since the accident, the newspaper says.
When D.C. resident Seth Horvitz ordered a flat-panel TV on Amazon, he didn't expect to get an assault rifle in return, Wired.com reports. He ordered a 39-inch Westinghouse LCD for $320 from a third-party seller. On Tuesday night he got an assault rifle, which is pretty lousy at picking up digital signals, it turns out.
Somewhere, perhaps, someone is wondering why he had to have a background check to watch some TV.
Bonus I: Why can't we get cool stuff like this in Minnesota?
(h/t: Ben Chorn)
Bonus II: They don't make Olympic bodies like they used to. (NPR)
Bonus III: Why are so many gay athletes reluctant to be like Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx?
Related: A tribute to local basketball writer Tim Allen, who took his own life this week, according to friends.
A convicted murderer with an IQ measured at 61 was executed in Texas this week, prompting criticism from the ACLU and other groups. Today's Question: Should states where the death penalty is legal require a minimum mental capacity before sentencing someone to die?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: Poverty in America.
Second hour: Are kids overtested in school?
Third hour: Should pilots be armed?
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): A new documentary from the America Abroad series: "Religious Minorities in the Middle East."
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) - What the future holds for Cuba. President Raul Castro says he wants to reform the economy. But progress is slow. The Cuban population is aging and needs services the system can't provide. Young Cubans look elsewhere for opportunities.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The lows and highs of European unity. Thanks to the European Union's open borders, so-called coffee shops in the Netherlands sell plenty of legal marijuana to foreigners. At least one Dutch border city got fed up with its reputation as a pot haven. So it's cracked down with new laws to keep the rest of Europe out of its coffee shops.
#4 Ms. Ouellette is not being insensitive at all. It's important to remember that cars are a sort of heavy machinery and we are licensed to drive them for a reason. High speeds and inattentive driving will result in destruction.
The general public would likely throw a fit if a construction worker operating a front loader crashed because he was looking for a piece of paper in his cab because they are specially licensed to drive them. And those machines don't go over 40 mph. I don't know how fast the kid was going, but judging from the damage in the photograph the speed looks to have been pretty high. We aren't licensed to drive bicycles. Why? They aren't all that dangerous. We are licensed to drive vehicles. Why? They can be very dangerous.
I know we all have moments of distraction while driving. But I can't sympathize with the father and his blame of the faulty warning sign.
@#3 the "new set of guidelines" looks just like the set of guidelines that was in place a few years ago when me and the wife went backpacking in YellowStone... and they even say in the link "The question whether menstruating women attract bears has not been completely answered (Byrd 1988)."
Though there is a significant amount more of them around things not related to menstruation that are not on that page... things like hanging your food out of reach of bears... camping 100 yards up wind of your food, putting all food in air tight bags/containers to keep the smell from getting out... putting all toiletries in air tight bags to keep the smell from getting out... where to urinate to keep bears from tearing up the ground to find out what the smell of urine is...
The way I see it from the guide lines bears are a lot like my dog. He might not be out to eat everything he smells (thank god) but he sure as hell wants to smell everything he can, and even better figure out what it is he smells. Anything that stinks out of the ordinary in the back country can draw a bear in, and any time there is interaction between humans and bears it's dangerous.
@#4 Signs aren't to get your attention... signs are to let you know what you need to do. you need to be paying attention to see the signs.
That being said, there are technological solutions/assist systems for this... Radar detectors. Most construction zones will set off a radar detector and that will alert drivers they need to be attentive. Part of why I got the radar detector is because of the IR warning system (supposedly the same thing that let's cops catch all green lights when their sirens are on.) however that warning system only ever went off once... to warn me of an ice road, in June... it does however work very well on long trips to let you know that you are approaching an area (either a city or construction zone) where more attentiveness is needed, though it doesn't distinguished between construction zones, stores with automatic doors, and police.
In Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304, a case decided by the Supreme Court in 2002, the court ruled 6-3 that the mentally retarded cannot be executed.
It's not surprising that Texas, with its culture of death, would wish to execute a man with an I.Q. of 61, but that decision was ultimately made by one Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, who blithely refused to consider the appeal.
Scalia is a lawless justice who makes his own laws without regard to precedent and without consideration for any kind of morality but his own. He used the Court to overturn the 2000 Florida election results, he campaigns from the bench, and is in general a stain on the body politic.
Impeach him before he kills again.
// Signs aren't to get your attention
So why are they bright orange? And flash? What other road signs flash? And are bright orange?
Why doesn't, for example, a "yield" sign flash?
If a sign says "construction zone ahead," it's not telling you what to do, it's saying "pay attention." That presumes that drivers in their current state aren't.
When they space out three large DOT dump trucks, why do they put the crash pads on the back if there isn't an assumption that people aren't paying attention?
So, I live in New Richmond. I've been getting off I94 at exit 4 to avoid all the traffic circle construction so I don't know what the signage closer to the accident looks like, but before exit 4 there's just one sign -- the black kind with the letters that light up. It just says there's construction ahead. It doesn't say there's a lane closed, or which one, and I dare say it's not always on (or very hard to read in daylight). It certainly isn't all lit up, or orange, or blinking, or really that noticable at all, and it's pretty far over to the right. It's like a visual "Psst". During my evening commute, there's usually no sign of a backup or slowdown of any kind at that point, or in the stretch of highway visible from the exit I take (pretty good sightline).
It's unfortunate that the driver was looking for paper instead of letting the passengers do it, but when the signage is weirdly subtle and doesn't give much actual information, and the traffic flow looks normal, a sudden slowdown could certainly take one by surprise.
Regarding #4: Our jobs as drivers are to PAY ATTENTION to the road and traffic in front of us and around us. In my mind, a sign is there to give me notice about what to expect ahead that is different than where I currently am on the road, whether that be an exit sign or construction sign. If my attention isn't on my job as a driver to be looking ahead, then no sign is going to work regardless of color or flashing lights. Ultimately, I have to be watching traffic in front of me to avoid rear ending anyone; no sign is going to save me from that on it's own. (There have certainly been no signs warning me of wildlife on the road the few times I've been within inches of hitting a deer, elk, or cow--it was up to me and my attention to notice the animal and prevent a collision.)
Is it possible that a better lit sign or more frequent signs could have prevented this? Sure. Is it likely? We're all too human to be perfect and there's probably still a likely chance that the young driver, distracted as he was, would have never seen the sign in enough time (or registered what it meant to him). He clearly couldn't or didn't see the stopped traffic (brake lights?) in enough time; why would we expect a sign outside of the car to solve a distraction going on within the car?
As a cyclist and regular freeway commuter by car, I see all too many situations where fellow drivers are not paying attention to the situation around them, let alone what is coming ahead. It happens to all of us to some extent, so maybe our goal should to limit the distractions we allow ourselves to have in the car and not to put up a certain number of warning signs that many drivers may never see or acknowledge.
Re #4: The state of Wisconsin should have a PR person review public statements. I know the intent is to protect their legal backside, but is it necessary to publicly blame the victim after this tragedy? The public statement makes the Wisconsin DoT look defensive, insensitive and petty.
On a side note, it can be distracting or harmful to have too much signage. A while back, the Minnesota DoT started a campaign to promote the zipper merge. When a lane closure is marked too far up the road, drivers pile into the open lane and create extended backups. Rather than indicating which lane is closed, I notice more signs simply indicate a lane closure ahead.
What if there's a sign, but it's off?
And what does it tell you that there have been "lots" of accidents at that particular location? Does "lots" mean "more than is typical in a construction zone"? If so, they should point the finger the other way.
Whether the sign was on or off, and whether it was there or not, is irrelevant. The one thing that can prevent these sorts of things is attentive driving. Unless there is a blind approach, I find it very hard to see how anyone can make the excuse that a lack of signage caused them to crash into a construction site, especially one with large machinery and workers in fluorescent vests.
// t a lack of signage caused them to crash
I'm not aware of anyone saying a lack of signage caused a crash. I'm not aware of anyone who doesn't acknowledge that driver inattention was the cause of the crash.
What's being discussed is the assertion that no number of signs or methods could have prevented the crash once a driver failed to pay attention. In other words: once a driver becomes a distraction, there is no ability to regain attention.
// I'm not aware of anyone who doesn't acknowledge that driver inattention was the cause of the crash.
A quote in the STRIB article linked on NewsCut by the driver's own father: "Nobody has mentioned anything about this faulty sign," Taylor said. "In my heart, yes, it would've made a difference."
So yes, there is no blame for a lack of signage, but even in the face of certainty, the father would not like to place the blame wholly on inattention.
And Bob, your disdain for those who hate spoilers made me laugh out loud at work. :)
// And Bob, your disdain for those who hate spoilers made me laugh out loud at work. :)
Lindbergh made it!!! (Whoops. I did it again)