Kids today (5×8 – 4/1/11)

No baby, the love is on for Rachel, the nuns of summer, the nearly naked run, and watering plants made hard.


Today’s 5×8’s theme is kids.

1) NO, BABY!

Babies are so yesterday. The CDC is out with its annual study on fertility rates and Minnesota, you’ve apparently taken up a new sport. Nationwide, birth rates are down for women under 40, up for women over 40, way down in the south and west. Fertility rates have dropped 3 percent in the state. That’s the same number for South Dakota. Wisconsin and Iowa have also dropped. Only North Dakota has increased in the upper Midwest, which provides a clue about what’s going on — the economy.

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The birth rate was down by 6 percent for second children. My children read the blog — occasionally — so I have nothing more to say on this particular factoid. But feel free…

2) THE LOVE IS ON FOR RACHEL

rachel_fundraiser.jpg If you pay too much attention to the legislative session — and how can you not? — it’s far too easy to think that nobody looks out for anybody anymore. So Rachel Sandell’s story in the Duluth News Tribune today is a good reminder that we’re still a people who don’t look the other way. Her story is not unusual — a region rallying around someone who needs help. She’s a high school senior with liver cancer and today she comes home from Nevada, where she’s been undergoing treatment since finding out it’s spread.

A fundraiser tonight that was supposed to be at her church, has now been moved to a high school to accommodate all the people who wanted to volunteer. Some businesses donated a day’s sales to help her. Others donated items for an auction. A Facebook page documents a lot of this.

That’s who we are as people, but who are we as a society? Commentator Luther Granquist, in a Star Tribune op-ed today, documents the differences this state made in the lives of those who needed protection and asks “does this state aspire to help or to deny?

It provides one perspective for today’s discussion point: “Who are we?” Discuss.

3) THE NUNS OF SUMMER

I miss the excitement of opening day. Fifty years of rooting for the Cleveland Indians can do that for you. The first song my children learned was “Take Me Out To the Ballgame,’ but that was back when hope really did spring eternal, and kids were all about baseball without needing the parents to organize everything.

NPR’s StoryCorps takes us back to that time today with the sweet story of Sister Catherine Garry, a lifelong Dodgers fan. She became a baseball fan while teaching third graders:

“The boys would come in with their baseball cards and I’d say, ‘It’s not time for baseball. Now put them on my desk.’ And of course, while I gave them work to do, I would look at the baseball cards,” she says. (Listen)

Do kids still bring baseball cards to school?

4) KIDS, EH?

Minnesota State University Mankato students were among the nation’s college students taking part in the Nearly Naked Run yesterday. Participants arrived fully clothed, but then stripped down to their underwear before running a mile around the MSU campus, according to the Mankato Free Press. Their clothing was donated to a thrift shop.

5) WATERING PLANTS MADE HARD

We have a winner in the annual Purdue University Rube Goldberg Machine contest. This one isn’t it, but it is claiming the record for the most number of “steps” in a Rube Goldberg machine.

The winner of of the contest was the defending champion — the University of Wisconsin Stout. But there doesn’t appear to be any video of it.

TODAY’S QUESTION

Porky’s drive-in restaurant, a fixture in St. Paul since 1953, will close on Sunday. Customers say they will miss not only the food but the memories and way of life that Porky’s represents. What place has closed that you really miss?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The high stakes of college admission.

Second hour: How to pay off your student loans.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: MPR political editor Mike Mulcahy and Capitol reporter Tim Pugmire answer listener questions about the major issues in the 2011 legislative session.

Second hour: David Brooks, who spoke Thursday night at the Westminster Town Hall Forum about his new book, “The Social Animal.”

Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Radiation, how to prepare for a warming planet, and a biography of cancer.

Second hour: Can jokes with a science twist be funny?

  • Emily

    I am a woman who has been married for 6 years, reaching her 30th birthday in 2011, and economically defined as lower middle class. My parents and extended family are now in the delightful phase of full on harassment about when they will be blessed with grand babies. I no longer say (jokingly) “never.” I have now plotted that when conception does take place, I may not let anyone know until the kid is a year old. Joke’s on you, Dad. Pushing me into a corner has turned me into the stubborn, rebellious teen I wished I was in my youth.

  • sue

    It seems that we are not one thing, but many. We have tea-partiers who want taxes cut and government to get smaller. We have “intellectual elite” liberals who want our government to take care of those who can’t/won’t take care of themselves. I think the bottom line is that the current legislature is busy pushing its social agenda (voter id, stem cell research) and its pro-business agenda (tax cuts/breaks) and gearing up to aid the billionaire Vikings, that they forget that they are supposed to be for SMALLER governement. They want judges to decide if teenage girls get medical services, they want big state government to decide employment issues rather than smaller local governments. Why can’t we all take a step back, look at what’s required of us as a people – providing for those who can’t (not won’t ) do it for themselves, public safety, courts, education, and then reforming the other stuff. Lets cut loopholes (tax breaks for BIG corporations, not small business owners, tax credits for buying long term health insurance), and tax services. Poor people buy things, rich people buy services (accountants, attorneys, decorators). Why are they exempted from sales taxes? Lets really look at who we are and what’s important rather than who the voters and contributors to political agendas are.

  • Paul J

    Bob, a correction: I didn’t listen to the audio, but the lifelong Dodgers fan print story says it was Sister Vincent. Sister Catherine was her friend pictured with her.