It takes a tornado (5×8 – 3/5/12)

Why do disasters recalibrate us, redshirting kindergarteners, public radio comedy, the moral dimensions of art, and a sled dog protest against sulfide mining.

The Monday Morning Rouser…


There seems no end to the sad stories from last week’s tornadoes. Tornadoes, it seems, are unlike any other weather story. Each brings a particularly engrossing set of angles to it.

Last week, we considered our inability to get along — people giving up on an intelligent democracy, talk show hosts calling young women “sluts,” respected reporters writing that they’re glad a political opposite had died of a heart attack, and white supremacists in Duluth. A few days later, people drive across the country to ask people they don’t know, “how can I help?” Tornadoes recalibrate us.

What is it about tough times that bring out the best in us?On Saturday morning I posted this picture of Marta Righthouse of Marysville, Indiana, going through the rubble of her home.


On Saturday evening, I received this e-mail from Nita Putterbaugh of Burlington, KY:

Hi Bob, Saw your post about the Marysville, IN tornado-pic of Marta Righthouse. I live in Burlington, KY which is 150 miles northeast of Marysville, Henryville Indiana. We were showered yesterday with lots of debris from the storm. I found items with “Mae Righthouse, R1, Marysville, IN”, Mike Montgomery on Henryville Otisco Rd, and a phone bill for Charles Troncin in Henryville…and lots of other items that apparently came from the schools. Do you have any contact info on any of these people, I would like to try to make contact with them. The force of mother nature is powerful. Finding their items, gives me the sense of human compassion to at least try to return them. Thank you for any help you may be able to do for me.

Another comment attached to the original post indicates that someone else 100 miles away also found paperwork from the Righthouse clan.


“If everyone does it then the effect will be canceled out,” Malcolm Gladwell said last night during the 60 Minutes segment on the growing trend of holding kids back from kindergarten a year, to give them an advantage over other kids. Gladwell is partly responsible for the practice, and the one that instructs parents to “have your babies in the wintertime” to take advantage of the date cut-off school systems have for beginning school.

It’s called “redshirting,” and it raises another question: “Is it possible to give your kids an advantage without putting other kids at a dis advantage?

“I would prefer him to be an older in the class and become a leader in his environment, rather than a younger and be more of a follower,” one woman said.

One other question: How come there were no fathers in the piece? Why does this appear to be a “mom only” issue?3) STANDING UP FOR COMEDY

The highlight of the year at MPR is the “employee cabaret,” a talent show of people work at the world headquarters. This year’s was held Friday night.

As usual, reporter Tim Post led the comedy video division with his take on the latest workplace trend: standing up while working. Three words that aren’t a trend: public radio humor.

Stand up from Tim Post on Vimeo.

The evening was hosted by Daily Circuit co-host Tom Weber, who produced the show’s intro:

Intro ’12 from T. Weber on Vimeo.


Friday’s presentation to the Nobel Peace Prize Forum by Dessa:

Watch live streaming video from nobelpeaceprizeforum at

Watch live streaming video from nobelpeaceprizeforum at


Former state Rep. Frank Moe is racing the end of winter in a protest over sulfide mining in the Lake Superior watershed. Moe, a sled dog musher, left Grand Marais last week on his way to Saint Paul to deliver petitions against the mining plans.

The team reached Duluth yesterday.

PolyMet wants to convert the former LTV mine near Hoyt Lakes to a copper-nickel mine. Opponents say it will be the largest permitted destruction of wetlands in Minnesota history.

Bonus I: Two Timberwolves check out what all this ice fishing stuff is all about.

Bonus II: Augsburg’s dynasty. Wartburg and Augsburg have won every NCAA wrestling title since 1995 (NY Times)

Bonus III: Is this the new iPad 3?

Bonus IV: Los Angeles to Minneapolis-St. Paul in 40 seconds.


NASA has just uploaded a new video from the International Space Station showing a route from the Baja Peninsula to Minneapolis St. Paul. It takes awhile to download. Find it here.

The sequence of shots was taken February 5, 2012 from 05:23:05 to 05:30:41 GMT, on a pass from the Pacific Ocean, west of the Baja Peninsula, to Lake Superior. The first land that can be seen over the Pacific Ocean during this pass is that of Guadalupe Island west of the Baja Peninsula. As the ISS travels northeast, the cities of San Diego and Los Angeles can be seen along the coastline near the right side of the video. Continuing northeast, the cities of Phoenix and Las Vegas are seen, until the ISS passes over Denver under cloud and snow. The pass ends looking soutwest at the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Guest Gov. Dayton got some good news last week with the announcement of a $323 million budget surplus, but he and state GOP leaders remain at odds over how to create jobs. And how much political capital is he risking with his effort to get a new stadium built for the Vikings ?

Second hour: Last year the Tiger Mother polarized notions of parenting. This year we have yet another reason to supposedly look to the French for better tips at life. Parenting. Pamela Druckerman details her observations on why French kids seem to behave better and throw less tantrums. She also looks at how French mothers are able to maintain their pre-children life after having children.

Third hour: A small Minnesota church is finding out the high cost of standing up for same-sex equality as well as an unexpected lifeline from the very people it decided to support.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): The head of the Transportation Security Administration John Pistole on aviation security and counterterrorism efforts. He’s speaking at the National Press Club.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Does consistency matter in electing a politician?

Second hour: A discussion of women’s rights in the Arab revolution. Plus: Magic and the brain with guest: Teller.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – NPR revisits “A Wrinkle in Time.” Fifty years ago Madeleine L’Engle published “A Wrinkle in Time.” The classic work of science fiction for children has never gone out of style. What makes L’Engle’s book still so compelling to young readers is that its author refuses to condescend to her audience.

  • Bob Moffitt

    Debris from the North Minneapolis tornado fell in my neighborhood, miles away. It was a strange feeling, knowing that this was once part of someone’s home.

  • jon

    I don’t understand how holding your kids back puts them ahead…

    Seems like teaching your kids to think and analyse things before they go into school would be much more effective then just hoping they will, like a fine wine, improve with age.

    You know what indicated some one was going to far to the rest of us when I was in grade school? Skipping a grade.

    Sure, those who skipped a grade weren’t in a “leadership position” in 5th-8th grade, that was for the popular kids, who according to facebook, are working security at the local mall now, where as those that skipped a grade are research professors at universities…

  • Aaron

    That Tom Weber Intro video to the cabaret was genius, I think Eichten may have found his second career in acting!

  • vjacobsen

    The red-shirting thing irritates me. I’m with jon and I agree 100% with what he said. Anyone I know who red-shirted their kids did so because their kids weren’t “emotionally ready”. I still don’t know what the heck that means. Although I do know someone who red-shirted her son when he could have started at a totally normal age and now she’s having issues because he’s too far ahead of his class and the school he’s at has limited options for him to work at the higher level he needs to be at.

  • Paul Weimer (@princejvstin)

    I think the destructive power of a tornado, combined with its capriciousness in who and what it hits, does influence how people react to it.

    “But there for the grace of God go I”.

  • Barbara

    Tragedy always pulls people together. I am certainly happy about that,it gives me hope. Thanks for including that ,Bob

  • kennedy

    I guess today is a 4×8?

    Re: redshirting

    Kids are smarter than you think. They know when a classmate has been held back. The kids comments I have overheard are generally not favorable. Instead of leaders, classmates perceive ‘redshirts’ as slow learners. Why else would they be held back? On the other hand, the few kids who skipped ahead a grade are perceived as smart and gifted. ‘Redshirting’ will give your kid a reputation among peers, but it may not be the one you want.

    Now if the goal is to get a physical advantage for sports, it may give a benefit.

  • BenCh

    I think the red-shirting kids isn’t so much of actually giving someone an advantage from age, I think it stems from the parent’s involvement. The ones doing this are the ones who already care about a child’s schoolwork.

    Conclusion- nurture, not nature, will help kids.

  • Susan

    My son was born in late July. When he turned 5 we decided that we’d rather he be oldest in his class than youngest, so we “redshirted” him. It’s turned out great. He does well academically, has great friends, and is active in athletics. He’s exactly where he should be. And, since he’s doing well, his teachers have always been able to count on him helping others in his class and they’ve had more time to spend with those kids who need it. I can’t see how “redshirting” him disadvantaged any other kid in his grade. I’d recommend redshirting a child to any parent with a summer baby.

  • Denise

    Our son was born in late August of When was enrolled in school he was the youngest in his class. I never considered “red – shirting ” him. I figured his late summer birth date was the luck of the draw. We enrolled him at a Math Science Magnet school in Mpls. Our son was tested and accepted into the gifted program in first grade. He has since then graduated from high school and college. He took quite a few math and science courses that make my head spin thinking about them. He went on and earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and is now considering graduate school. I do not think birth date matters. Oh, and he is an accomplished athlete. He played basketball and soccer and currently is a road racing cyclist. His father is an accomplished business owner and holds a graduate degree. He too was a late summer birthday. My brother was born in November and in those days the cut off was 12/ 1 and he too did very well in school and work.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Re redshirting kids:

    If the little darlings that are held back a year don’t live up to all of their parents’ academic expectations, at least said parents will be able to get one of those “My Kid Beats the Crap Out of Your Honor Student” bumper stickers.

  • Candi

    There are dads all about red-shirting – they’re also known as hockey/baseball/football/etc coaches. My oldest son went to daycare with a boy who was held back for “maturity” reasons. We knew this boy since he was a baby and he was definitely as ready as any child to start school when he was supposed to, but his hockey coach dad was insistant that he needed more time (now he looks like a behemoth compared to his classmates). But, when you look at what extras get funded and what gets cut in public schools and where the most attention is focused in college, it appears that excelling in sports is what will get a child ahead. That said, I’m glad my son is a musician and tending toward being a geek like his parents. Hopefully, we’ll be able to relate better when he’s a teenager!

  • Jessica Pierce

    In regards to the lady in Kentucky who found mail – I am family of Mike Montgomery. If no one has responded on how to get his mail back to him, please let me know. He is in the hospital in VERY bad condition still.

  • Jessica

    In regards to the woman who found mail in Kentucky, I am family of Mike Montgomery. I can get him his mail if no one has responded yet to this article. He is still in the hospital in severe condition. Thanks!