Do Minnesota’s weather woes come from Nebraska, hockey backtracks on its efforts to make the sport safer, the impact of the government worker, buying black, and the lights over Lapland.
1) MAKE IT STOP, NEBRASKA!
While the Twin Cities were baking yesterday, much of the rest of the state was getting flooded by an endless stream of storms that may continue today.
Duluth, a city on a hill, can’t exactly head for higher ground.
This is unbelievable video coming from the city — at East 3rd and North 7th…
And East Hillside…
… and the view on Restormel Street.
… Cascade Park and First Ave West…
Up until the last 24 hours, the worst flash flooding in Minnesota history occurred 40 years ago, when Little Falls was victimized. About 10 inches fell near Fort Ripley and damage totalled $20 million.
Judging by this picture, uploaded on Twitter by Flygirl_Jules at 9th Ave East and Skyline Parkway, it’s going to be worse in Duluth.
We’ve already had more rain in a shorter period of time than the 1972 flood. Coincidentally, flash flooding hit Duluth that September.
What’s going on here? Corn, a Weather Nation forecaster said on his broadcast last night. Specifically, he said, corn in Nebraska, offering no particular proof of the theory.
On his outstanding weather blog, Paul Huttner relayed the results of a climatologist’s home-grown experiment on this in 2010, finding dewpoints were higher near corn in St. James:
My take away from Pete’s little experiment is that corn does play a role by increasing summer dewpoints in densely planted areas. The effect is real, and millions of acres in the Midwest are planted with corn. This is not instrument failure, but rather success in picking up on the air mass modification by some row crops.
The next question is; are the higher moisture levels significant enough to cause additional low level moisture to fuel thunderstorms and enhance rainfall? In science, we call this process a “feedback loop.”
There are still many unanswered questions about corn and humidity. But on one day in August in the sweaty summer of 2010, a guy with a “psychro dyne” in a corn filed in St. Paul confirmed what many meteorologists have long observed. The corn is making things more humid in Minnesota….at least in the middle of the corn field.
By the way, the weather in Lincoln, Nebraska today will be 95 and stormy. I blame Kansas.
Stay safe, Duluth.
2) HOCKEY BACKTRACKS
In the aftermath of Jack Jablonski’s devastating injury — he was paralyzed — when hit from behind in a JV hockey game last winter, youth hockey officials tightened the rules to prevent checking from behind, increasing penalties for players who do so.
The Star Tribune reports today that Minnesota Hockey is likely to undo the rule and go back to the way things were. The paper reveals a split within the youth sport with many of its officials not wanting to change the way things were in the first place.
But, they needed a good reason to do so at a time when a kid with a bright future in front of him is paralyzed, his friends and family calling for the crackdown on hitting from behind in the first place.
This is what they came up with:
The push to undo the changes at the youth level apparently stems from concerns that the penalties take players off the ice for too long and hampers their ability to learn how to properly play the game.
Try this with your young son or daughter at home and let us know how it turns out. “I’d send you to your room for pushing your sister down the stairs, kid, but it would hamper my ability to learn how to properly behave.”
There isn’t as much checking in youth hockey, officials say, so a five- or 10-minute penalty changes the nature of the game. But it’s the youth hockey system that feeds the rest of the hockey world and if it’s delivering players who don’t know the rules of the older system, what is it’s value?
Ken Pauly, the coach of Benilde – St. Margaret, where Jablonski played, called checking from behind “the most dangerous play in hockey and we should all be standing shoulder-to-shoulder on that one.”
But Hal Terse, who coaches at Providence Academy, told the paper, “If we get too aggressive, a generation of kids will be afraid to go in the corners or play along the boards for fear of getting kicked out. I’d like to believe we have the ability to coach the kids to play more safely and empower the referees to call the game properly.”
One wonders what the parents of young hockey players have to say?
3) THE IMPACT OF THE GOVERNMENT WORKER
Can private business pick up the lost jobs from smaller government? The theory is being put to the test and so far, at least judging by today’s New York Times story, it’s not working.
After the stimulus money ran out, government payrolls have been shrinking, especially local government. In many cases — half the cases, actually — those are teachers.
And that, the article claims, is what’s stalling the economy:
Businesses can also be hindered by government cuts. They not only lose prospective
If governments still employed the same percentage of the work force as they did in 2009, the unemployment rate would be a percentage point lower, according to an analysis by Moody’s Analytics. At the pace so far this year, layoffs will siphon off $15 billion in spending power. Yale economists have said that if state and local governments had followed the pattern of previous recessions, they would have added at least 1.4 million jobs.
Conservatives have argued that the government was bloated after a hiring surge during the housing boom and is now returning to a more appropriate size. Michael D. Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, criticized the president’s budget proposal to give states an additional $30 billion for teachers, police officers and firefighters. “Those new public sector jobs must be paid for with more debt and taxes borne by the private sector,” he wrote.
What’s happening here? The country is learning that government workers by things from private businesses.
4) BUYING BLACK
This is a nearly incomprehensible statistic. In the entire United States, there are only three black-owned grocery stores. It comes in this insightful PBS NewsHour story about what happened when a suburban Chicago family tried to spent a year patronizing black-owned businesses.
“Don’t just say that black unemployment is four times that of whites,” Maggie Anderson says. “Say that black businesses only get 2 percent of the $1 trillion of black buying power, and then say that black businesses are the greatest private employer of black people.”
It might explain why the unemployment rate among blacks is in the double-digits.
“If buying black-only has the effect of encouraging African Americans withdraw into ethnically monolithic communities, I think that would be a grave mistake,” a commenter on the PBS site said. It was one of the few that wasn’t vitriolic.
5) LAPLAND’S LIGHTS
Three years of “Northern Lights” over Sweeden.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on the Affordable Care Act, the health reform law that many Democrats regard as President Obama’s signature accomplishment. Today’s Question: What’s at stake for you in the Supreme Court’s health care ruling?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Florida perspective on Obama’s immigration decision.
Second hour: How to invest in the current stock market?
Third hour: Is Earth near a “tipping point” when it comes to climate change?
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm):
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The Political Junkie.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Catholic bishops are launching a”Fortnight for Freedom” campaign — two weeks of praying and fasting because the Church believes its religious freedoms are threatened by the Obama administration’s health care mandate. But not all Catholics agree. NPT reports on a controversial religious/political protest.