Revealing rural Minnesota, everything on a stick, is energy independence possible, crop-dusting season, and sometimes you have to just keep rowing.
If there’s one thing I’m learning from MPR’s series this week, The Price of Safety, it’s that the idyllic nature of rural Minnesota isn’t all that idyllic. Am I naive to believe the rolling acres of the beautiful country is a place where you can leave your door unlocked? I guess.
Yesterday, Molly Bloom profiled the use of guard llamas to watch over property in Park Rapids to help keep the druggies and other criminals out.
Jennifer Vogel’s latest installment details a land where cameras stand watch over the cabins and lakefronts, and private security firms patrol the vast farmland.
If you squint your eyes, it’s almost like…. well, you know.
It a fine series that you can find here, and which leaves you with just one question: Where can I still go in Minnesota where you don’t have to lock the doors?
The Minnesota State Fair’s pregame show — the Iowa State Fair — is underway.”A vast, sweet, savory, shameless wonderland that operates on its own terms,” the New York Times says in reviewing the latest “on a stick” fare at the fair.
Put anything on a stick and you’ll sell more of it, we learn. But you’ve got to get the idea past the on-a-stick police:
Lori Chappell, the fair’s marketing director, said officials look for items with the promise of longevity. The vendor proposing deep-fried Coke, for instance, was rejected as a potential “one-hit wonder,” she said, in part because it had no other offerings on its menu. (The treat was to be made by pouring Coca-Cola syrup into batter, deep-frying the mixture, then pouring more syrup onto the finished product.)
The pork chop on a stick is the most truly Iowan food at the fair, which is meant to celebrate the achievements of Iowa’s commodity producers, Ms. Chappell said. Iowa is the country’s top hog producer.
That may explain a surge of interest in another item: the double-bacon, double-deep-fried corn dog on a stick, for $5. It is a hot dog wrapped in a slice of bacon, then immersed in hot oil until the bacon is crisp. After it cools, it is dipped in a cornmeal batter flavored with bacon bits, then deep-fried again. It is surprisingly flavorless, with the thick coat of cornmeal overwhelming the meat within.
In Ohio yesterday, Mitt Romney promised America will be energy independent by the end of his second term in 2021 if he’s elected president.
Question: Do you see any possibility that the U.S. will someday not depend on importing energy?
Related: The rise — and possible fall — of wind power. (Washington Post).
For the last few weeks, the crop dusters have been working over Minnesota’s farm fields. A pilot walked away from a crash yesterday in Hanley Falls.
What’s the big danger when you’re a crop duster? Check this video shot last week. Note all the power lines and wires.
The crash in Hanley Falls was apparently caused by hitting a guy wire.
Here’s a profile of a crop duster in Iowa…
Jenn Gibbons has completed her quest to row a boat 1,500 miles around Lake Michigan. She left on June 15 to spread awareness and raise money for an organization — Recovery on Water – a rowing team for breast cancer survivors.
Like most of these types of endeavors, she had a website that documented her quest and also provided a tracking mechanism to allow people to see her current location.
That ended when she was raped.
“All I know is I’ve been able to keep going..” she said yesterday.
See the video about her quest here. Trust me. You want to watch it.
Bonus I: How can high school student Missy Franklin get $200,000 for her gold-medal performances in London and still retain eligibility to swim for an NCAA school, when football players get penalized when boosters sneak money to them? That’s the way the NCAA rolls.
Bonus II: Is there really not a cemetery you’d recommend for NPR’s Dead Stop road trip, Minnesota?
As covered in the MPR News series “The Price of Safety,” tighter budgets are forcing many Minnesota communities to reevaluate the money they’re spending on public safety. Today’s Question: How should public safety figure into a community’s spending priorities?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: A new ABC poll shows that more independents favor President Obama then his challenger, Mitt Romney. Are these independent voters truly independent, or actually closet partisans?
Second hour: The campaign in Iowa.
Third hour: In 1966 Julian Rotter published his famous IE scale. This measured whether the subject had an Internal Locus of Control – believing that they could affect the course of their life, that their choices would have an impact on what happened to them – or an External Locus of Control, in which case their life was guided by luck or fate and they themselves had little power to change things. The test has been developed in many ways since then, but it is still widely used today and the notion of Locus of Control has been particularly influential in healthcare. The BBC reports.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): From the Aspen Ideas Festival: the chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger. He talked about the lack of middle-class jobs.
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The Political Junkie.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Solving the problem of malnutrition in developing countries isn’t just a matter
of providing more food. Calories are not enough. Now, the focus is shifting to foods with specific nutrients. Public health experts have discovered one particular crop that provides the most bang for the nutritional buck. NPR has the story.