Important lessons from the families in the Minneapolis shooting rampage, what's in a name in Quebec, the jump from space... in Legos, Minnesota's harvest, and how Michael Jackson rolls.
I stumbled across this piece of history while channel surfing the other night, stopped and was entertained by what I thought was a Saturday Night Live skit. Only it turned out to be the actual 1992 presidential debate, the last time it was hosted by a woman, in this case: Carole Simpson, then of ABC News.
It was a better debate than I remember, although the town hall format isn't that great when it's filled with "average citizens" who are too respectful to demand actual answers from candidates.
That "respectful" nature of the audience is pretty much what's behind today's controversy with Candy Crowley, the first woman since Simpson to "moderate" a presidential debate. The two candidates want to preserve the "just hold the microphone and look pretty" role they've assigned Crowley, knowing that the audience won't press them for actual answers.
Simpson has seen this stuff before. She told MSNBC, basically, that it's a sad commentary that the one role the Debate Commission had for a woman moderator is the one role that minimized her importance in the process.
The two people on the panel above neglected to point out, though, that the chair of the Presidential Debate Commission is a woman, the same woman who refused to meet with those school kids a few months ago who were presenting a petition calling for a woman to be named moderator of a presidential debate.
With any luck at all, someone in the audience will ask the candidates this question: Why are you two so afraid of women with questions?(8 Comments)
At a Fargo radio station, a woman calls in to ask that deer crossings be moved on the highway.
"You'd think they'd put them in smaller towns," she says.
Real or phony?(3 Comments)
As a baby boomer, war has always been pretty cut-and-dried with me. Vietnam does that to people.
It's not real hard to see issues of war that aren't hard to figure out in the first place. When people are putting lawn signs out to "liberate Iraq," the message is pretty clear: If significant foreign policy decisions are going to be based on lawn signs and bumper stickers, sending people off to war might be something you want to think about a little longer.
The most powerful blog post I've read today comes from Erin Kotecki Vest, who writes as Queen of Spain. Today, she writes about the morning ritual in her house, waking her 7-year-old up for school and encountering a 7-year-old who doesn't want to get up and go to school.
So she told her daughter, instead, to "get up for Malala," the young Pakistani girl targeted by the Taliban in Pakistan for wanting girls to get an education.
And I held her face in my hands, and I looked into her eyes.
Do you understand why you need to go to school today? And every single day?
And with a resolve I see ONLY in my daughter, especially when she's angry, she nodded.
We then went about our usual morning. Breakfast. Shoes. Backpacking grabbing...and we headed out the door.
As we left in the car I caught her in my review mirror. She was looking out the window.
Honey, are you ok?
I'm fine Mom. I'm mad.
I'm mad too.
Being a girl shouldn't be hard.
No, it shouldn't.
Years before we had a reason to go to war in Afghanistan, human rights advocates were trying to tell us what was happening to girls there, and for the most part, nobody much cared.
Then 9/11 happened and we all know the rest.
And we're justifiably tired of a war that doesn't seem to have any end, and seems intent on bankrupting the nation, as it did the the Soviet Union before us.
During last week's vice presidential debate, I thought of that as I heard both candidates try to claim the high ground in their fight, by talking about the 2014 deadline for leaving Afghanistan. Both sides, basically, favor leaving. I favor leaving, too. War stinks and it's easy to run against it most when it's lasted for 10 years.
But there's something about this war that doesn't necessarily lend itself to easy answers, and debates on the subject are closer to lawn signs and bumper stickers rather than well-considered complexities of foreign policy.
The fact is, sadly, Malala Yousufzai wasn't the first girl to be punished for wanting an education.
The Taliban, whether in Pakistan or Afghanistan, will stop at nothing to prevent it from happening.
"People are crazy," Razia Jan, founder of a girls' school outside Kabul, told CNN last month. "The day we opened the school, (on) the other side of town, they threw hand grenades in a girls' school, and 100 girls were killed.
Few people are mentioning this on the rare occasion when the war comes up in the presidential debate. Staying guarantees the deaths of more U.S. soldiers. Leaving probably increases the likelihood of more Malalas.
When is war worth fighting? What is the cost-benefit analysis of protecting girls anywhere from those who would deny them something as basic as an education? Is it our problem?
For many people, perhaps, the answer is as easy as figuring out which side "their guy" is on. But as people who watched last week's debate figured out, "their guy" doesn't seem to have an easy answer.
And I know exactly how they feel, although I'll actually say the words they won't: I don't know.(7 Comments)
A Minnesota-based debt collection agency is at the heart of a lawsuit filed by an Arizona couple over a defaulted student loan.
Michael Collier, a 100% disabled Army veteran, claims in the lawsuit that the company, Gurstel Chargo, garnished their savings to to cover his wife's $6,000 student loan, even though the money came from Social Security disability payments, which are exempt from garnishment.
But it's the accusation of the tactics the company allegedly used when the couple tried to get their money back that's getting attention.
According to a lawsuit filed last week in Phoenix, a representative of the firm told the couple they'd have to sue.
He was also told during this conversation that he should just sign the funds over as it would make a good down payment on the judgment, but was emphatically told that he would not be getting the money back. During this conversation, after Michael told the legal assistant that the funds were exempt veteran disability payments, the assistant told Michael "F- - - you! Pay us your money! You can't afford an attorney. You owe us. I hope your wife divorces you're (sic) a- -. If you would have served our country better you would not be a disabled veteran living off social security while the rest of us honest Americans work our a- - off. Too bad; you should have died."
Today, the Golden Valley-based company posted a response on its website:
We learned late last week of the lawsuit filed by Michael Andrew Collier and Kim Collier-Dingman. Gurstel Chargo takes the allegations made in the lawsuit very seriously and we have immediately launched an internal investigation to determine the facts. We are extremely disturbed by the allegations stated in the Complaint, as they are contrary to the policies, practices and values of our firm. We expect that all Gurstel Chargo employees fully comply with all state and federal laws, and we thoroughly train our employees to perform their job in a lawful and respectful manner. Under no circumstances does our firm tolerate the type of conduct alleged in the Complaint.
The Complaint states that the wrongful remarks were made during a telephone call. We have requested from the attorney that filed the Complaint the phone number of the phone that Mr. Collier was allegedly on, an approximate date on which the call occurred, whether the person who made the alleged wrongful comments was male or female, all in order to help us to get to the truth about what occurred. We have been informed by Mr. Collier's attorney that he is unaware of any of this information. To date, we have discovered no information to substantiate the allegations, but our investigation continues. Should these allegations prove to be true, we will take immediate corrective and disciplinary action.
(h/t: Nate Minor)(12 Comments)
Some years ago, several journalists at the Pioneer Press got into trouble for attending a Bruce Springsteen concert. Two investigative reporters were suspended by the management of the newspaper because the concert was a political fundraiser. The Star Tribune had also previously warned its reporters about attending an event that involved taking sides.
That was 2004. Why is the memory bank churning?
Because of this note on the Star Tribune's union website...
Here's a link with information about the gala concert slated for THURSDAY, Oct. 18 by locked-out union members of the Minnesota Orchestra. Attend the concert and support your brothers and sisters in the labor movement.
It's called LOMoMO and the LEGEND: The Locked-Out Musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra with Stanislaw Skrowaczewsk.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center Auditorium
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, conductor
Tony Ross, cello
Here's the Program:
Antonin Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B Minor, Opus 104
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Opus 47
According to the Musician's union, this concert replaces the opening night concerts that were cancelled by the Minnesota Orchestral Association along with the majority of the fall season.
The concert will be a celebration of the 110-year legacy of "world-class artistry our community has built and supported in the Minnesota Orchestra."
As you know, Management locked out the orchestra players after their contract expired Oct. 1 and then canceled the first six weeks of the season. Management is seeking pay cuts of 30 to 50 percent from union members.
Is it the same thing? Could it be perceived as the same thing? On such questions, ethics in journalism are determined.
On the one hand, the concert isn't a political fundraiser. On the other, it is a sign of support for one side in what is clearly a news story underway in the arts community.
Presumably, the newspaper's arts unit will provide coverage of the concert as a news story, or at least as a music event. But should other journalists not on the clock be allowed to attend?
You are the (managing) editor: What say you?
Note: The Minnesota Orchestra musicians asked MPR to record this concert. The Minnesota Orchestra asked MPR not to record it. MPR decided not to record the concert saying to do so would constitute taking a side in the dispute.(4 Comments)