He touched me (5×8 – 10/21/10)

Should a hockey fan sue over being grabbed by a player, little change likely in Minnesota congressional races, dispatches from the Department of Life’s Not Fair, mail on Mt. Everest, and Juan Williams has been fired from NPR.


If the Twins had beaten the Yankees, would Minnesota’s #1 topic today be a young man who got grabbed by a hockey player the other night? And would #2 be an alleged sexting quarterback? Or would we be too preoccupied with being one win away from the World Series?

Canucks center Rick Rypien grabbed a fan as he was being led to the dressing room on Tuesday evening.

“I was just standing straight up applauding as he was getting kicked out,” James Engquist told a reporter. “He was out of control. So then I said, ‘Way to be professional,’ and he obviously didn’t care for that comment and decided to grab me and almost dragged me over the rail.”

The irony? Minnesota doesn’t usually “get” sarcasm. Now it might land Engquist a payday.

Should it?

Should the fan sue?customer surveys


You’ve got a million places to turn to on election night; I get that. But I hope you’ll swing by News Cut that evening to help provide analysis to what’s going on around the country. I’ll be picking and choosing some of the best coverage in Minnesota and elsewhere and looking for the stuff nobody else is talking about. Stop by so I’m not talking to myself.

When Nate Silver talks, people interested in politics listen, though today Democrats may be blocking their ears while saying “la la la la la.” Silver, of Five Thirty Eight, says Republicans are going to control the House after next month’s elections:

They are now given a 75 percent chance of winning the House on Nov. 2, up from 73 percent previously. During an average simulation run, the Republicans finished with a total of 228 seats (up from 227): this would reflect a net gain of 49 seats from their current position.

But it appears unlikely there’ll be any change in Minnesota’s congressional delegation. Silver lists only the 1st District — that’s Tim Walz’s district — in play, and he gives opponents only a 21 percent shot at unseating Walz.

Silver gives Republican Michele Bachmann a 98.4% chance of retaining her seat.

Political marketing: How to make a viral political video. A key component? It needs people online to complain about it.


One guy, without the bright lights, an entourage, or a lot of money, made a big difference on a rural island in Virginia. He got rewarded with cancer.


Eric Larsen of Grand Marais has become the first person to reach the north pole, south pole, and the summit of Mount Everest in the same year. He also has proven that there’s no longer a place on earth where you can escape e-mail. The Duluth News Tribune has an e-mail interview with him.

I’m more relieved than anything right now and as we are still hiking out, I am still somewhat in expedition mode. Planning, preparing and executing this expedition has consumed over three years of my life and I am excited to be able to hopefully spend time with friends and family a bit more.

I am also a little bit sad. These experiences are fairly intense and going back to normal life just seems different. You know –forks, grocery stores, chairs…

Yes, we know.

Some other Americans are mountain-climbing today, too. Their stories aren’t quite as fun.


The other day I was talking to someone about the flight from Minneapolis that was diverted to Fargo because passengers were nervous about three Saudi passengers. “I feel bad about it, but I’d get nervous, too,” this person said. In admitting a character flaw, she was, if nothing else, being honest. From there, we had a good conversation.

That’s the kind of thing that got Juan Williams fired from NPR.


Great Britain is making deep cuts in spending to avoid bankruptcy. France is suffering widespread strikes and demonstrations over a bid to raise its retirement age to 62. Should the United States consider similar austerity measures?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour:A broadcast of Kerri Miller’s conversation with Jonathan Franzen about his new book “freedom.” Recorded at the Fitzgerald Theater on September 21.

Second hour:Author Per Petterson on writing.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Evan Williams and Biz Stone, the men who brought us Twitter. They spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Second hour: Garrison Keillor and Alexander McCall Smith, at the Fitzgerald Theater.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: How the mold for the female politician is shifting.

Second hour: The secrets of studying.

  • brian

    If you are going to be afraid or Arabs on planes, It seems like it would be more logical to be afraid of Arabs in western clothing, for two reasons:

    1. I don’t think traditional garb would be the first choice of terrorists looking to blend in.

    2. I’m sure TSA has looked very carefully at the Arabs already.

  • I can’t say I’ve ever been alarmed by the sight of Muslims on a plane (perhaps because, living in Mpls, I see so many people in traditional garb on a daily basis,) but a few years back, I came very close to sounding what would have been an unnecessary alarm on a light rail car in Amsterdam.

    It wasn’t long after the 7/7 attacks in London, and a (white) man wearing heavy clothing in late summer climbed onto the train car I was on, heaved a stuffed backpack onto the seat behind me, and walked away. Far away – far enough that, after the next stop, I couldn’t be sure he was still on the train. I sat there looking nervously around, and I wasn’t the only one, but I was also hyper aware of the Dutch disdain for Americans, and didn’t want to be “that guy” who created an unnecessary panic in a country not his own. Still, I was very, very close to becoming that guy when the backpack guy finally returned to the seat, grabbed the pack, and got off at the next stop. To this day, I’m not sure whether I did the right thing or not…

  • Re: France and raising the retirement age. I thought there already was a change in the US to SSI that raised from 65 to 67 the age one had to be before collecting full benefits? Btw, retirement ages overseas tend to be lower (Singapore’s was 55 for quite a long time; might still be) in order to open jobs up for the younger generation.

  • Jamie

    I would have said something, Sam. I wouldn’t have hesitated to do so. My policy is “better safe than sorry” in such a situation. So what if you’re “that guy”?

    I also call the police when I hear or see suspicious things, too. The dispatchers and the police officers themselves have told me that they WANT us to report suspicious things. They’d rather go out on a call and find nothing wrong than to go out on a call and find someone dead. In your situation there could have been MANY dead.

  • Jennifer

    Bob, this morning I heard someone expressing their disgust with the Juan Williams firing and as they were discussing it they referred to NPR as a “taxpayer funded organization” although I was under the impression that they do not receive any federal funding for operations. I was wondering if you’d be able to clarify that. Does NPR get federal funding? If so, how much and what aspects of their budget does that cover?

  • Ben Chorn
  • Ben Chorn
  • Bob Collins

    Jennifer, NPR gets funding via the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which gets federal funding, but the argument over whether it should or shouldn’t ALWAYS ignores why they do. The government dictates the revenue ability of public broadcasters, unlike commercial broadcasters. It’s a quid pro quo. So if one favors not having government involvement in broadcasting, one also has to define to what extent one wants to sever that relationship.

    The last figure I saw was that 2% of NPR’s funding comes from CPB.