In search of the new normal, the land of racist tweets, the cult of the military personality, what the election meant, and the amazing shrinking Thanksgiving.
Here's the Monday Morning Rouser:
Tornadoes in November? Two of them hit the east metro Saturday night when 70 mph winds were recorded in downtown Saint Paul. Normal? What's normal?
David Pogue of the New York Times set out to discover the truth about climate change with three things in mind: Is there climate change? Are WE causing it? And if so, is there anything we can do about it?
In the end, it's all about the sock puppets!
Meanwhile, the cleanup continues after Hurricane Sandy. Military veterans are turning out by the hundreds to be part of the recovery effort.
Two weeks after the hurricane, it still seems like the rest of America doesn't "get" the magnitude of the disaster, nor the heroism on display. What a magnificent people we can be!
During the day after the 2012 presidential election, a group of geography students and academics monitored racist tweets about the election on Twitter. The group says technology -- specifically: Twitter -- "reflects the society in which it is based, both the good and the bad. Information space is not divorced from everyday life and racism extends into the geoweb and helps shapes its contours; and in turn, data from the geoweb can be used to reflect the geographies of racist practice back onto the places from which they emerged."
Where did most of the racist tweets come from? A couple of states in the deep south. But Minnesota was right there in the ratio of racist tweets...
The prevalence of post-election racist tweets is not strictly a southern phenomenon as North Dakota (3.5), Utah (3.5) and Missouri (3) have very high LQs. Other states such as West Virginia, Oregon and Minnesota don't score as high but have a relatively higher number of hate tweets than their overall twitter usage would suggest.
Here's the interactive map:
Maybe it would be a good idea to start asking people on the election ballot why they voted the way they did. It'd make it easier on the country to try to supply its own definitions. Today, there are several stories trying to nail down the "what it means" thing.
MPR's Tom Scheck and Laura Yuen visited Edina and found the conservative social agenda was a turnoff. People wanted more independence and now want more compromise.
Meanwhile, NPR reports the Tea Party says the problem is Mitt Romney et al., weren't conservative enough.
It also means that cities rule... and everywhere else doesn't.
And it means the end of a -- too short -- golden age of comedy...
When your affair is compromised because one of your mistresses sends hate mail to another lady friend, maybe you're not the person who should be getting the benefit of the doubt from journalists and political types. Yesterday on the TV talk shows, political analysts wondered why David Petraeus needed to quit the CIA, what with his sterling reputation and character and all.
"Even after his carefully crafted public persona was unraveling, they were still buying into it," Spencer Ackerman writes on Wired.com's Danger Room. He writes that journalists were perpetuating myths, something that often happens in matters of the military.
It's only a matter of time before Thanksgiving is just another day. Last year, the controversy involved stores opening at midnight, giving people a head start on Black Friday. Now, the stores that call the shots have decided to open at 9 pm on Thursday.
Target has joined WalMart in the earlier time. Sears will open even earlier -- 8 pm. The companies say it's what people want.
Citing an extramarital affair, CIA Director David Petraeus resigned his post. Today's Question: Did CIA Director David Petraeus do the right thing when he resigned?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: Does job retraining work?
Second hour: Famous R&B singer Bettye LaVette joins us in studio to talk about her new album, 'Thankful 'N Thoughtful,' her new book 'A Woman Like Me' and what it's like looking back on 50 years in show business.
Third hour: Storms and the electric grid.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Former Republican congressman Vin Weber and former DFL Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher discuss the meaning of the election and our political future. Recorded at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School.
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) - When your child returns from war.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - What happened when an Israeli pop star recorded songs in the language of an enemy country, Iran? Her Persian album became a huge hit among Israelis. And it's made her an underground sensation in Iran. NPR reports on singing in a taboo tongue.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency promises a "major announcement" about the condition of the heavily polluted Minnesota River. MPR's Mark Steil will have the details.
Could you eat for a week on a food stamp budget? A group of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders in Minnesota is joining others across the country to find out. They're calling it the "food stamp challenge," and they're hoping to raise awareness about hunger in Minnesota. Julie Siple will report.
About #2: As a Minnesota liberal, it really disturbs me to hear people categorically disparage southern states as takers, racist, ignorant, etc. This sort of dialogue only extends the considerable divide that exists within our country and does absolute nothing to combat real racism, sexism, ignorance, etc.
We should call out racist, sexist, comments/sentiment/actions whenever and where ever we find them, even if its our own backyard. Thanks for posting this little wakeup call for all those that think racism doesn't exist in Minnesota. It sure does.
#5 SHRINKING THANKSGIVING
I'm amused with this notion that opening on Thanksgiving is new. Most Kmart's have been open all day on Thanksgiving for about 20 years. Sears opening earlier then should be no surprise.
Gas stations, Movie theaters, fast food joints - I don't see anyone complaining that those are open.
Replace military reporting for political reporters and you have this last election cycle.
Experts are one thing, but after time you just get so close you can't see the BS anymore. Cycle reporters to another topic for a month every 9 months or something. It goes for sports reporters and art's reporters to.
Bob, I hope you will allow this bit of thread jacking, but I think this topic is due for a re-inspection.
Back in 2010, you wrote Fact Check: Why businesses leave Minnesota.
Mostly, you were quite dismissive of the idea that companies were leaving MN for the South because of high taxes, but with the recent departure of Caterpiller to Wisconsin and Georgia (that state just keeps popping up doesn't iti, Bob?) I wonder if you might be interested in giving it another look.
I'm especially interested because I have joined the migration to the South, and I can directly attribute my relocation to taxes.
I am an electrical engineer that designs and programs technically sophisticated machines for the medical and pharmaceutical industries. After Obama's tax on medical devices passed, St. Jude laid off 500 people, and Medtronic laid off more than 1000.
The backlog of the new equipment my company had been slated to make in 2013 not surprisingly dried up too, and so the axe fell on me and many of my colleagues.
A national recruiter contacted me hours after I updated my LinkedIn profile, a very generous offer was extended and boom, off to the breath taking foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains we went.
I join one of the largest concentrations of engineers in the country gathered in Upstate South Carolina, and our ranks are growing by leaps and bounds..fact is, my new employer has asked me to contact my circle of colleagues up there to inform them that we have several new opportunities. And it’s not just us; BMW, Michelin and a host of those hated Big Pharma companies have set up shop down here in a big way.
If my experience is any indicator, it's not salaries and benefits driving business down here; I'm earning considerably more, and my benefit package is truly mind boggling.
And it's not that enigmatic "livability" that Minnesota likes to tout; my new home has every amenity you could want; beautiful, clean downtown, Clemson University, UofSC, Furman University within easy commute, a full buffet of technical schools, restaurants, shopping, parks, a symphony orchestra (not striking), sports, a huge entertainment complex every bit as nice as the Xcel to say nothing of the awe inspiring beauty all around us.
I firmly believe it is the friendly business climate in the South. That includes not only taxes, but worker compensation (which in MN is ridiculously high), regulation, and yes, even the tangible climate of hate towards business so prevalent in liberal states like Minnesota. Southerners LOVE big business and the captains of those ships are treated like heros. The newspapers regularly interview leading CEO’s and entrepreneurs…interview, not grill.
Don’t get me wrong, Bob. I hope liberal Northern states ignore the obvious and keep right on taxing the bejesus out of their businesses and successful people…it’s all to the good for us down here. But on the eve of what everyone expects to be a taxageddon, I wonder if guys such as yourself are ready to give any thought to the consequences.
About #2: As a Minnesota conservative, it really disturbs me to hear people categorically disparage southern states as takers, racist, ignorant, etc.
We're all in this together!
Also - Monday Morning Rouser - Don't they look Young.
// After Obama's tax on medical devices passed, St. Jude laid off 500 people, and Medtronic laid off more than 1000. The backlog of the new equipment my company had been slated to make in 2013 not surprisingly dried up too, and so the axe fell on me and many of my colleagues.
I think you have to be a little precise here. You state a chronology and, thus, a cause. But the fact is the medical device implant business has been suffering from poor sales.
St. Jude said the layoffs were partly due to the new tax; that is true. But there are additional factors to be considered.
I grew up in a New England milltown in the '70s so I know firsthand what an exodus to the south looks like and why companies do it. I've written about it extensively over the years (which is why I never felt particularly bad when textile mills closed in North Carolina).
I don't have what I wrote in '10 handy, although I expect it was more about data than supposition.
By the way, Polaris is expanding up in Wyoming, MN.
Hope things go well for you in South Carolina.
Thanks for the response Bob, but I'm not letting you off the hook that easily.
Massachusetts, a state that is at least as liberal as Minnesota has taken note of the landscape, and is taking action to do something positive:
"Financing for US and European medical device makers climbed to $27.4 billion in the 12 months ending June 30, from $13.1 billion five years earlier, as investors funded products aimed at aging baby boomers."
"But companies are now grappling with slowing economies, mounting cost pressures, regulatory risks, and a new federal tax on medical devices that will help pay for the national health care overhaul but could cost device makers an estimated $29 billion over the next decade."
"While the business outlook is cloudy at best, competition between states and nations to attract medical technology companies is heating up." [emphasis mine]
The Governor of Massachusetts coughed up a billion dollars to entice their bio-medical heavy hitters to stick around. Compare that to Dayton who assures us that taxing well paid executives back to the stone age "is a core value".
I'm guessing those fundamental differences in approach may have had something to do with the distribution of St. Jude layoffs leaning heavily towards MN...
Anyway, as you pointed out, you'll always have Polaris; there's an industry that won't be heading South anytime soon, eh? Maybe you're right...everything's peachy up there, nothing to worry about.
I won't even bring up Caterpiller again.
// Polaris; there's an industry that won't be heading South anytime soon, eh?
Also, what's the story with South Carolina's 9.1% unemployment rate? (Which reminds me that the piece you referred to compared unemployment rate in low-tax states with unemployment in "high-tax" states)
South Carolina, especially down-state, has a lot of unskilled and undereducated people, Bob.
The opportunities are outstripping the available talent...it's why our companies are willing to extend generous relocation packages to engineers from elsewhere.
The good news is, as I noted earlier, the state has made some major investments in technical and trade schools. BMW has teamed up with the state to create a tech school program uniquely tailored to the skill set they are looking for. Also a lot of the guys I work with are fairly recent Clemson EE grads who are staying put.
The South has a lot of catching up to do, no denying that. But it's not for lack of opportunity.
Minnesota has a lot of unskilled and undereducated people too, Bob.
The difference is that there was a robust market for them packing Fisher nuts, brewing beer, rolling up 3M Super 33 tape and bolting Cat D9's together. As the manufacturing sector continues to shrink the state will have less and less unskilled work available to absorb them.
Just look at the dismal grad rate of metro schools and extrapolate that to future unemployment rates. It's no joke.
Polaris can only hire so many bogie-wheel specialists, after all.
Of course, St Jude's and Medtronic's woes have nothing to do with the rash of recalls due to faulty products on the market, I guess.
TJSwift the piece bob wrote Doesn't say that tax's and job lose are not related.
In fact the words Bob uses are "This isn't too suggest, of course, that taxes aren't part of the mix. But to the original question of the caller, it's unclear what the balance is between taxes and other factors"
Many people quoted or reference in the piece (and reading the comments) felt that there is a connection. I think Bob's point was proof is scarce on if that was true. The quote in the above paragraph I think makes that clear.
Businesses will and can make money where taxes are high. Moving an operation to another state is a huge expense that takes years to recover from. A percent or two in taxes is a blip for most compared to that cost. Centralized logistics ( ever hear of on demand production) is going to be the biggest driver for most relocation in the next 5-10 years.
I was wondering why I had not seen a lot of comments from Mr. Swift lately on MinnPost, a site we both comment on. Now I know.
I echo Bob's best wishes for success at your new job in South Carolina, Swiftee.
Actually Robert, my move had less to do with my sudden silence on MinnPost than the editors decision to purge the site of dissenting voices.
I'm guessing everything is going smooth as a gravy sandwich over at the ol' echo chamber now, which is great...God knows I wouldn't want to be the cause of any unnecessary thinking happening.