The Muslims are coming, Fight Night in Crude County, the curse of the ’67 Twins, the ‘zero’ debate renewed, and the mass nouns of sport.
1) THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING
It was a fairly ugly night in St.
Charles Anthony last night as residents complained about plans to build a mosque/Islamic center in the community. If you’re inclined to give the community credit, give it credit for putting it out there in the open for everyone to see, whatever it is.
The City Council voted 4-to-1 last night to deny a permit for the center in a former Medtronic building, and zoning laws allow houses of worship only in residential areas. City officials say it’s strictly a zoning issue because an industrial company in the building would generate more taxes than a church.
“Islam is evil,” resident John Murlowski testified, apparently eschewing a discussion about economics and taxes.
“I know this issue is very emotional for some people. We are a melting pot. We are all Americans,” resident Sadik Warfa said.
2) FIGHT NIGHT IN CRUDE COUNTY
Is oil changing North Dakota, or just emphasizing its existing nature? Prairie Public Radio’s Black Gold Boom is exploring the changing face of North Dakota in the wake of the oil rush.
The most recent is Fight Night in Crude County.
3) THE CURSE OF THE ’67 TWINS
You whippersnappers won’t realize this for awhile yet, but you know when your advancing age is most obvious to you? When the baseball players you watched as a kid die.
Dave Boswell, a pitcher for the mid-’60s Twins, died on Monday. Hardball Times recalls one of his legends — a fight with Billy Martin:
Outside of the bar, Boswell began fighting with veteran Twins outfielder Bob Allison for reasons that remain unknown. When Martin heard about the fight, he ran outside, apparently with the intent of breaking up the fisticuffs. Pitching coach Art Fowler, Martin’s ever-present drinking buddy, joined Martin to offer moral support. Rather than break up the fight, Martin hit Boswell repeatedly in the face. If it were a boxing decision, Martin would have been declared a winner by knockout.
The pummeling left Boswell unconscious, and in need of 20 stitches. Yet, Boswell held no grudges. Many years later, when asked about Martin for a 1988 magazine article, Boswell said: “I love Billy.”
There’s something impressive about a man willing to forgive his own manager for essentially beating him up. It would have been easy for Boswell to hold a grudge, to answer a question about Martin with a grimace and a terse “no comment.” But Boswell was better than that. If only for that reason, Dave Boswell deserves something more than a place in baseball obscurity.
By my count, Boswell is the 12th member of the 1967 Minnesota Twins team
to die. Many of them passed away at a fairly young age. Boswell was 67.
Related baseball: Minnesota high schools now use Bat-Ball Coefficient of Restitution bats. It makes a difference.
4) THE “ZERO” DEBATE RENEWED
Another teacher in Canada is in trouble for giving students zeroes. Mike Tachynski teaches at the same high school in Edmonton as as Lynden Dorval, the science and physics teacher who last month was indefinitely suspended for giving his students zeros, the CBC reports.
The school district feels failing to turn in assignments is a behavioral, not an academic problem. Dorval calls it social promotion. On Tuesday, Tachyvnski defended the power of the zero.
In his brief presentation (to the school board on Tuesday), Tachynski told trustees about the difference he noticed when he started giving students zeros for missed tests and assignments about 10 days ago.
“Instantly the urgency was there,” he said. “The following morning I had five kids waiting at my door at 7:30 in the morning waiting to get some of these zeros cleaned up.”
Tachynski had 27 students make up 74 different quizzes and assignments. In the previous two months, he was approached by only two students.
5) THE MASS NOUNS OF SPORT
The Heat and the Thunder are in the NBA finals, which gives us an opportunity to bring a grammar debate back to the world of sports, not seen since we debated whether the Minnesota Wild stink or the Minnesota Wild stinks.
Over to you, Deadspin:
British English just treats all team names–mass nouns, collective nouns, singular nouns–as plurals: Arsenal are the superior side in this one. In American English, this makes you sound like a poncy rock critic: Pavement are the most important band since Wire.
But strict formal verb agreement gets into trouble, too: The Thunder is relying on its fresh legs? When the Jazz or the Magic made the finals against plural-named foes, it was still possible to write around the problems. Now, we’re stuck.
Bonus I: I turned on The Story on MPR last night in the middle of Dick Gordon’s interview with Candace Gorman, an attorney who told the story of trying to defend her client in an environment where the fix was in on a fair trial. She had no attorney/client privilege, all of the evidence was renumbered at the start of a hearing to make it harder for her to make her case, and she couldn’t take notes when meeting with her client. “In what kind of tinhorn country does this pass for fairness?” I asked myself as I listened. Then I found out. Ours.
Bonus II: Without more anti-voter-fraud rules, there’d be more keggers messing up our elections.
Meanwhile, noted Ramsey County electoral scholar Joe Mansky may have a solution to Voter ID — issuing photo ID for voting right at the polling place.
City commissioners in Fargo want to expand the area where panhandling is illegal. City ordinance already prohibits begging downtown. Today’s Question: What do you think of creating city zones where begging is prohibited?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Who should foot the bill to prepare people for specific jobs?
Second hour: Gov. Dayton’s trade mission to China. Plus, the role and future of internships.
Third hour: Couples and their friendships.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Journalist Richard Louv , author of the best-selling book “Last Child in the Woods.” He spoke in the Twin Cities as part of the Club Book series, about nature and the future of the environmental movement
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The Political Junkie.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – While drama students study the classics all year at the U of M, for many of them their biggest dose of theatrical reality comes in the shape of Victorian melodrama on an old boat. In the latest of our Minnesota Mix series Euan Kerr reports the students perform more than 80 shows a summer in a converted showboat moored across the river from downtown St Paul. More than 9000 people are expected to join the cast for a taste of “The Vampire.”
Remember Watson, IBM’s supercomputer, which made headlines last year by trouncing the top two contestants on the game show Jeopardy? Watson donated its million-dollar prize to charity and is looking into occupations other than professional game show contestant. IBM’s chief medical scientist visited a Minneapolis hospital to talk about how Watson’s artificial intelligence could help doctors wade through loads of research data and apply that knowledge to treating patients. MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki will have the story.
Former Gov. Jesse Ventura issues his latest broadside on American political culture. Tom Crann talks with him today.
And MPR’s Mark Steil reports the heavy rains last month washed away tons of Minnesota farmland into nearby streams and rivers. The downpours illustrate how difficult it is to make progress towards cleaning up our waterways.