Rape and reality (5×8 – 8/23/12)

Here we go, Minnesota, here we go!

(h/t: Ochen Kaylan)

1) ONE WOMAN’S STORY

For a Fargo woman, Rep. Todd Akin’s remarks on rape hit home in an especially hurtful way. A 50-year-old woman, whose name is not being released, tells the Fargo Forum she was raped when she was 16. She got pregnant.

“That time in my life was very difficult. I was virtually homeless and I had very troubled parents, and I had to struggle through that on my own. I think as hard as that was, as a 16-year-old girl, if I had heard a senator say something that would make me think that I somehow could have prevented it … I don’t know what it would have done. It certainly could have tipped the scales for me” to attempt suicide, DL said.

Related: Five politicians who got science wrong. Michele Bachmann’s contention that vaccine causes mental retardation is like the “free” square on a bingo card, but who else? LiveScience.com has the answer.

2) REMEMBERING THE FLOOD

It’s been five years (this week) since floodwaters raced through southeast Minnesota, killing several people, and we’re still learning new stories of what people went through. Today, the Winona Daily News introduces us to Dick Hengel of Minnesota City, who was trapped in his basement as the water poured in. He made it out, and woke up in the hospital without a leg.

The house has been rebuilt but Mr. Hengel hasn’t been able to go to the basement since.

3) WEATHER AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Who do you trust to tell you about climate change? In Boston this week, a convention of local meteorologists is learning it’s them.

The conference is providing plenty of opportunities for the weatherpeople to learn more about climate change, and one of the groups doing the presenting says there’s plenty they could learn…


Given the climate change-fueled storms, heat waves, droughts, and wildfires that have dominated the past year, global warming will undoubtedly be a “hot” topic at this year’s conference. But, amazingly, many broadcast meteorologists remain lukewarm to the subject: The majority of weathercasters, including many with AMS certification, don’t believe that humans are causing climate change, let alone that it’s dramatically shifting our weather patterns. These meteorologists are missing the opportunity to be journalistic heroes who can inform the nation about our increasingly poisoned weather.

Though TV weatherpeople have come and TV weatherpeople have gone in the two years since I wrote this post, there’s little indication many are interested in tackling the subject.

More science: Our changing forests. NPR’s “Picture Show” documents how one forest has changed over the last century.

4) MAYBE THEY SHOULD BE MORE LIKE COMO

It took more than two months, but school officials in Anaheim, Calif., have determined that the annual “Seniores” and “Señoritas” events are demeaning to Latinos.

The Los Angeles Times reports, “In the most recent event in June, two boys dressed as a gardener and the woman pushing the baby stroller. Other students dressed as U.S. Border Patrol agents and ‘gang members with bandannas and tear drops,’ the investigation found. Some students wore large sombreros and fake mustaches.”

Maybe more schools should be like St. Paul’s Como High School. It’s hosted more foreign students as part of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program than any other school in the country. Today, the Pioneer Press profiles Jane Allawi, 15, who has left her family in Bethlehem to spend the year in St. Paul.

Related: A look at the International Festival Faribault. (Minnesota Prairie Roots)

5) TIMEWASTERS: ABBEY ROAD

If this isn’t the most famous crosswalk in the world, what is? It’s Abbey Road, made popular, of course, by the Beatles. The Current’s Andrea Swensson came across this live webcam yesterday and passes it along. It’s like waiting for an accident to happen, as tourists stand in the middle of the street to take a picture. It may help you get through the day. You’re welcome. It’s what we do.

Or you can just watch your friends at the Minnesota State Fair.

Bonus I: How would you explain Minnesota to, say, the people of Vienna? The U.S. embassy there used an intern — he’s from Minnesota — to try in this video just posted…

Bonus II: A lion cub meets dad for the first time. (h/t: Marc Drummond)

Bonus III: Now that Augusta National has decided to admit women, should women’s private colleges start admitting men? A Boston Globe letter writer lights the match.

Bonus IV: Back to school tips. How to doodle in math class. Because you’re never going to really need to know how to graph a parabola.

TODAY’S QUESTION

The Minnesota State Fair opens today and runs through Labor Day. Today’s Question: What’s the hidden gem at the State Fair?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman at the State Fair.

Second hour: Meteorologists Paul Huttner and Craig Edwards.

Third hour: Replay of previous shows with actress Kathleen Turner and comedian Lizz Winstead.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): From the State Fair, Tom Crann hosts Dr. Jon Hallberg, who will answer health/medical questions.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – Walk into a tea shop in Kabul and, Dexter Filkins told Charlie Rose, you’ll hear talk of fear. What happens when the Americans leave? Dexter Filkins discusses Afghanistan after the U.S. leaves.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Twenty years ago this week, Hurricane Andrew practically wiped an entire city off the Florida map. The city of Homestead eventually made a comeback, thanks to a real estate boom. But the Great Recession nearly set the community back again. Today, yet another rebound is emerging. NPR visits the Homestead area.

  • allie

    RE #1: A very dear and loved friend is a child of date rape. We love her more than darn near anything in the world, and her mother is one of the best I’ve ever seen. The very best. But to those who say ‘legitimate’ rape (whatever that means) doesn’t cause pregnancy: Well, clearly, it does.

    I am sure my anger pales in comparison to what her mum feels when reading such ignorant and callous remarks about what does and does not constitute rape. Ugh.

  • Christin

    The fake science these politicians use is incredibly troubling. Do they really think we citizens are that dumb? Or are they actually that dumb? How many of our citizens are actually surprised by some of ignorance being spewed? Where is our ability to analyze what we read and hear? I am not trying to be rude; I am seriously asking.

    How dare any one try to convince us that we cannot get pregnant by rape; last I checked my uterus doesn’t have magical rape avoidance powers.

  • Chris

    Akin isn’t exactly an outlier in the GOP. There is a very troubling piece by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker this week about how much money from billionaires is being funneled to the GOP. One result is that no republican candidate can take a position on global warming other than the Koch brothers approved position.

    Then there is the low information voter. Some people make decisions not based on facts as much as emotion and the divide in our country is such that some republicans can’t oppose Akin because that would mean supporting some socialist elitist that wants to take your guns…not a rational position but they’ve bought into something at the gut level that they can’t support a democrat even if it would be in their personal interest to do so.

    Citizens United could be the real story of this election if Romney wins the GOP takes over the Senate.

  • kennedy

    Re #3: TV weatherpeople are in the entertainment business. I would expect that they would be very cautious of publicly taking a stand on a controversial issue as it puts their livelihood at risk.

    Galileo was right, but was threatened with torture and died under house arrest. Consequences may not be as severe in this case, but I expect most people would not unnecessarily risk their job. Keep mum on climate, look good on camera, predict weather for the next few days, live a quiet happy life.

  • Bob Collins

    And that comes exclusively from the politicization of science.