Blizzard wars: Getting unstuck (5×8 – 12/29/10)

1) THAT’S NOT GOING TO BUFF OUT

We tried, East Coast, we really tried to give you the benefit of the doubt in the News Cut “blizzard war” with the Midwest over who can handle a little snow better. Look, we’ve got our faults here, East Coast, but it’s not our fault that New York City is on your side. (Be advised: There are multiple “F-bombs” in this video and I usually don’t link or embed video with obscenities. But this case is different).

The blizzard war category: Getting plows unstuck.

Some people are still stranded at airports out East. There are a few tales of passengers stuck on airport tarmacs for hours. Most of these involve foreign airlines because domestic airlines are subject to big fines for keeping passengers imprisoned for more than three hours. But why must our airline infrastructure collapse whenever there’s snow? Simple, says the New York Times’ Nate Silver: Airlines fly with fewer available seats now.

2) THE VALUE OF A SECOND CHANCE

Henry Covington is dead at 53. He apparently died last week and I missed it in all the holiday hoopla. He was an ex-con in Detroit who got a second chance and took it, helping the poor and the homeless. Mitch Albom wrote about him in his recent book “Have a Little Faith.”

Albom talked about Covington — and faith — during an appearance on MPR’s Midday a little over a year ago.

3) CUTTING THE CABLE CORD

No peeking. What is this?

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Answer: It’s David Katzmeier’s new-car-buying machine. He has done what more people are apparently doing: giving up cable and satellite TV, cutting the cord, and staying connected the old-fashioned way. He documents the process on the blog, Diary of a Cable TV Cord Cutter.

He talked to NPR’s Linda Wertheimer this morning about whether this was such a great idea. We admit thinking about this at Casa Bob (Actually, I’ve been thinking about this; I haven’t actually proposed the idea yet). If you’ve cut the cord, tell me your story below.As for Katzmeier, he gave up and reconnected. The cord is a noose, afterall.

4) WHEN THE INVISIBLE WAR IS VISIBLE

How’d you like to wake up on Christmas morning and see a picture of your kid in a warzone firefight?

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That’s Spc. Andrew Vanderhaeghen of Rochester on the right. A New York Post reporter called his mother, Heidi Hilgers-Heymann, on Christmas morning. “I kind of don’t remember a whole lot about what she said,” Hilgers-Heymann told the Rochester Post Bulletin. The story — which for some reason the PB doesn’t put online — says the picture diminished the Christmas spirit for a lot of families.

Should the Associated Press have distributed a picture of soldiers in a firefight on Christmas, if it upset the soldiers’ families?online surveys

The worrying is just beginning for other families. Their loved ones are heading to Afghanistan for the new year. MPR’s Elizabeth Baier profiles Col. Eric Kerska of Rochester. “The biggest problem is I’ve got to get enough wood stockpiled for next winter if I’m gone,” he said. “I’ve got to get enough stockpiled so Tina’s got heat while I’m gone.” He proposed to his wife 23 years ago while sitting in a tank at the Duluth armory.

Meanwhile, the Star Tribune’s Mark Brunswick makes contact with Minnesotan Alicia Perry, who spent the holidays in Afghanistan.


For James Perry, it’s hard to think of the little girl who once played with Barbies becoming an adult flying off to war. But it is just as hard to imagine his son going from sporting blue hair and an earring to expressing interest in the ROTC and then embracing the military.

5) THE QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY

Let the week of debate begin! The Vikings of 2009-10 showed up in Philadelphia last night after an extended absence, beating the Philadelphia Eagles behind third-string quarterback Joe Webb who might be looking better to Vikings this morning because he didn’t look awful. Next week in Detroit is the last game of the season and the last game of Brett Favre’s career. Assuming he’s cleared to play (he has a concussion), should the Vikings give Favre one last game? Or should they send Webb back out for some more NFL experience? “Don’t look now, but the Minnesota Vikings may have found themselves a quarterback,” Christopher Gates of The Daily Norseman declares. And some of the comments on his site suggest all is now forgiven.

Here are the highlights.

Bonus: Why can’t elephants dance? And why does chocolate melt but not jet airplanes?

TODAY’S QUESTION

Toward the end of December, many media organizations look back over the top news stories of the past year. What would you consider the top news story of 2010?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Personal finance in the new year. Guest: Ruth Hayden.

Second hour: The year in books.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Second hour: Evaluating teacher training.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Political talk with NPR’s Ron Elving.

Second hour: Writer Tom Payne considers the obsession with fame and celebrity.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The recent reprieve granted to North High School in Minneapolis comes with a large asterisk attached: Supporters of North who promised the district they could find enough 8th graders to attend next year as 9th graders were given that chance, and they’re now trying to recruit students. MPR’s Tom Weber will report.

– Kindred Kitchen is a food entrepreneur incubator/commercial kitchen on West Broadway Ave., in North Minneapolis. It just opened its doors at the beginning of November and has about 10 clients. MPR’s Brandt Williams will have the story.