The Monday Morning Rouser...
(h/t: Chuck Pederson)
If you've spent any time at all in front of the TV this weekend, perhaps you're feeling a bit of despair and hopelessness, hearing how bad the future might be and how awful the present is. Here, let me help you with that.
These are the young people from the Silver Ribbon Organization at Minneapolis' South High School. They were honored on Saturday by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota organization for their work in educating students at the school about things such as depression and eating disorders.
The student-led group meets every other week to talk about their illnesses, treatments, and recovery, according to the school website. Sara Brown, shown speaking, started the group (she graduated in 2005) years ago after the suicide of a cousin.
I don't have a lot of details on the group; I'll be doing a post on them at a later date. But it was a good reminder that underneath the things we might perceive as the way things are, is a layer of reality, where people are doing good things because it's a good thing to do, and there are people and things worth being proud of.
It's a shame politicians and their cronies who run special interest groups haven't figured out a way to build TV ads around that fact, because people would cancel plans to stay home and watch political ads if they did, and the democratic process wouldn't crush the spirit of people.
If there really is a significant "middle" in American politics, why do the people who encourage a far left and far right atmosphere that leads to gridlock keep getting elected?
There were a couple of very interesting national news segments over the weekend that well described the problem with American politics. But the failure of this supposed "middle" to show itself on Election Day (or, for that matter, earlier in the political process) remains an unexamined mystery.
On this weekend's This American Life (Red State/Blue State) , Sarah Koenig examined politics at the state level in formerly independent-thinking New Hampshire, where there is a terrible price to be paid by "moderate politicians."
Meanwhile, CBS News has the profile of Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, who is retiring this year because of Congress' failure to compromise. Had he run again, he probably would've lost, experts say, because he brokered a compromise on debt that more than 100 congresspeople supported, but which most then abandoned when the political heat got too high.
Discussion point: If the "middle" has disappeared, is it because there is no middle? If we don't get the government we want, why do we get the government we have?
Here's something you don't see every day: An editorial apologizing -- sort of -- for an editorial. Saturday's Pioneer Press editorial endorsing the same-sex marriage ban while insisting it wasn't must've gotten plenty of blowback because today the newspaper acknowledges it wasn't particularly well written.
The primary arguments against the amendment are clear and compelling: The Constitution is not the place for legislating marriage; and same-sex partners should have the same opportunity to profess their loving commitment, and gain the advantages of its recognition by the state, as heterosexual couples do, and for the same reasons.
Some of the arguments for the amendment are complicated. In the context of the broader, longer-term discussion of how we define marriage, we thought it useful to give weight to those arguments. The premise of that approach, as well as how we executed it in Saturday's editorial, is arguable.
In any case, we should have been more direct about the premise, and we should have made our respect for the anti-amendment arguments more evident.
Not addressed in the "edipology" was why, after more than a year of reporting the facts surrounding the issue, the newspaper used Wikipedia as its source for information in the editorial.
Related: The 2012 election is almost over. The 2016 campaign is underway. (h/t: Vince Tuss)
And MPR's Public Insight Network found an undecided voter last week...
In North Hudson, a man probably could have put his feet up and watched the Packers yesterday. Instead, he packed up food and supplies for Hurricane Sandy's victims.
In New York, some people are noticing that the recovery effort and the restoration of services seem to be falling along class lines.
"We're living like cavemen," one resident of The Rockaways said. "It's like we're forgotten. It's like they say, 'O.K., when we get to them, we'll get to them.' "
Meanwhile, two brothers from New York arrived in North Dakota's Oil Patch three weeks ago looking for work in the oil industry. Then their hometown was hit by the hurricane. Stay or go back? That was the question.
And in the absence of an appropriate response to the problems in some sections of the region, people are using Facebook to do the job.
And what did newspeople have to do to cover the story? This...
That's a great example, by the way, of the unsung heroes in the news business: technicians, camerapeople, and engineers.
Tomorrow is Election Day. Today's Question: How do you plan to spend the evening on Election Day?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: High school dropout rates.
Second hour: Debating the Electoral College.
Third hour: Broadcast of faith and politics panel recorded at College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Rebroadcast of last night's U.S. Senate debate, hosted by Cathy Wurzer.
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) - The Hurricane Sandy recovery effort.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Nobody knows who'll win the presidential election.But there are people already preparing for a presidential transition if one is needed. There are about 70 days between the election and the inauguration. For officials handling the potential transition, that's not a lot of time. NPR looks at presidential transitions past and, maybe, future.
It hasn't been easy for the out-of-state electric grid linemen who've poured into the Hurricane Sandy areas to get power back. What's happening to people who still don't have power in the northeast is a horrible mess, but it's not the fault of people who have left their home and families to try to do something about it.
People like the ones from Minnesota, for example.
Some linemen have come from as far away as Arkansas and Arizona to help out.
But sometimes people are what people are. In Bridgeport last week, people started throwing eggs at linemen after the city's mayor complained the city wasn't getting the attention it deserved from the utility.
My nephew has been dispatched to Connecticut to help out and maybe he's felt a little of the angst of customers. When he posted this on Facebook yesterday, he noted "at least some people love us.4 Comments)
I made a reference in a post last week about a colleague's husband who greeted news that his cancer had metastasized into his brain with "okee dokee" -- two simple words (or maybe it's one) that can inspire -- do inspire -- the rest of us to consider the perspectives of life.
His name was Ben Blat and he passed away yesterday.
Blat, Benjamin R
Age 41, of Minneapolis was called Home by his King and Friend on November 4, 2012. Survived by his adoring wife Amy Hyatt-Blat; parents Alan and Jean; brother Robert (Jenni); nephew Owen and niece Sydni. Ben's legacy also includes Amy's nieces Caitlin and Lauren and the special children of the Sunday Morning Friends classroom at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church.
It's a good thing Ben was a personal trainer at the St. Paul Eastside YMCA because he never met a snack he didn't like. A lifelong swimmer, Ben swam with the Masters program at the U and with sea lions in Maui. He was a gracious volunteer at Minnesota Public Radio events, his blue eyes and huge smile greeted guests from the Fitzgerald Theater to the Minnesota State Fair. Known to many as "Ben the Bear", he was a big, gentle, kind and joyful soul who truly loved his Lord, his "Honey", his family and his friends, both old and soon-to-be. Favorite spots included the front pew, any grill, Lake Harriet, COP and Jim's poker table. Ben graduated with honors from Emory University in Atlanta with a degree in biology.
High-fives and bear hugs to Dr. Schneider and his band of champions at the HealthPartners Riverside Cancer Care Center, recipients of Ben's gratitude, bagels and standard "okey-dokey" response over the last five months of treatment.
Ben's wife, a professional event manager, plans to continue keeping him on her volunteer roster and assign him the role of "Sunshine Provider" for all of her future events.
Visitation 4-7 PM Thursday, Nov. 8 at Washburn-McReavy Edina Chapel, W. 50th Street & Vernon Avenue at Hwy. 100. Memorial service 11 AM Friday, Nov. 9 at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church, 50th & Knox Ave. S. Mpls. Bowties are encouraged for memorial service. Private interment Lakewood Cemetery. Should friends desire, contributions may be sent to the family. www.wasbhburn-mcreavy.com Edina Chapel 952-920-3996.
After I posted his video of his aerial camera trip along the rivers of the Twin Cities last week, I heard from Jason Reel, the in-real-life pilot whose radio-controlled contraption serves as the camera platform. He'd mentioned the last in the series is one from Grand Marais.
He posted it this afternoon. Sit a spell and relax for a minute or two on your trip from political story to political story today.