Girl power (5×8 – 2/3/11)

The cookie revolution, where does Minnesota’s toxic waste go, redefining rape, football skeet, and the battle of Lake Shore Drive.

February out the front window this morning…


Sunrise this morning in the Twin Cities was around 7:30, the earliest since November 30. The sky is brightening by 7. In the afternoon, there’s still some twilight in the west at 6 p.m. That’s winter heading for your rear-view mirror…


Unrest is spreading across Minnesota as young Girl Scouts are fighting back against the closing of campgrounds with the only weapons they’re allowed to have — cookies. The Star Tribune reports a cookie protest — Girl Scouts refusing to sell cookies — is catching on.

“It’s been spreading like wildfire since Saturday,” said Kim Zaiman, a troop leader in Maplewood. “There are many, many people that are withdrawing from the cookie sale.”

The River Valley Council is unloading four campgrounds. The Girl Scouts are having tough times and the United Way is reallocating funding to combat poverty. Some say a cookie sale strike would only hurt lower income Girl Scouts.

Unclear in the story is whether a Scout or a parent came up with the cookie protest.


What happens to all the low-level radioactive waste and other toxics that are generated in these parts? It ends up at the University of Minnesota, the U Daily reports.

The facility is filled with 500 sealed containers of low-radioactivity gloves and paper, the byproducts of more than 1,000 laboratories on campus.

“[The labs] have materials, some common, which might have special hazards,” Phelan said. “If we just hold it on shelves for a couple of years, all the radioactivity will be gone.”


A comedian treads on pretty unstable ground when he/she takes up the subject of rape.

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The Weekly Standard says “nonsense.”

But the legislation does not in any way “suggest that some kind of rape that would be okay.” There is absolutely no evidence that the legislation would “redefine” rape as to exclude a case in which an incapacitated woman is sexually assaulted. As Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee says, it would merely codify the longstanding interpretation of the Hyde amendment regarding statutory rape:

“We do not believe that the Hyde Amendment has ever been construed to permit federal funding of abortion based merely on the youth of the mother (“statutory rape”), nor are we aware of evidence that federal funding of abortion in such cases has ever been the practice,” Johnson explained. “It is true that the new bills would not allow general federal funding of abortion on all under-age pregnant girls — but this is no change in policy.”

Meanwhile, statistics out today show Minnesota has a lower teen pregnancy rate than North Dakota. Minnesota has one of the lowest rates in the country. The study suggests 14-to-16 year olds are avoiding sex, kids over 17 are using contraceptives more.


From the Department of What If: What if the rules of football were changed so that the defense could shoot down a field goal attempt?


You’ve seen this iconic photograph from Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive, right?


What was it like to be stuck in it?

Ten hours on a bus. What would you do?

How many shovels do you use? I use two. When you snowblow your driveway, do you follow up by scraping it? I do. Is there something wrong with me?

The Boston Globe investigates the declining fashion brought on by winter. The best part: It found an employee of a college in New Hampshire who wears a Snuggie at work. The college has ordered her not to talk about it.

Bonus: Target Center math. The Timberwolves say attendance at last night’s game was 12,662. The arena seats 20,500. This is what Target Center looked like last night as the players were introduced:



February is Black History Month, which was instituted to educate the public about the achievements and experiences of African Americans. How relevant is Black History Month now?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: What happened to American innovation? In his State of the Union address, President Obama said that the first step to winning the future is to encourage American innovation, and called this “our generation’s Sputnik moment.” What does America need to do regain its role as the innovation nation?

Second hour: Pete Hautman has won a National Book Award for his young adult novels, and while he loves the genre, he says there are reasons not to write young adult fiction. He explains why, and talks about his newest nove.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: The latest from Egypt. Guest: Brian Atwood.

Second hour: Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke from the National Press Club.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Pakistan recently, and very quietly, passed Britain to become the world’s fifth-largest nuclear power.

Second hour: Clarence Lusane talks about the black history of the White House.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – With heavy flooding appearing likely, MPR’s Dan Gunderson takes a look at preparations in Montevideo and Granite Falls, two towns in the bullseye. I’ll be in Moorhead on Monday and Tuesday. Are you putting together your flood plans? Contact me, please.

Alejandro Gonzales Inniaritu, once known for his complex intertwined narrativefilms such as Babel, now tells the tale of a man dying of cancer. The film, called Biutiful has drawn acclaim from around the world (including maybe the Oscars) The movie opens 2/4 in the Twin Cities. MPR’s Euan Kerr will have more.