When people do their jobs (5×8 – 1/21/13)

Saved by the routine, MLK’s speech in full, throwing food in the air, the wedding ring and the Oil Patch, and what makes Ely unique?


The Monday Morning Rouser:

1) SAVED BY THE ROUTINE

Great things happens when people do their jobs. That’s a mantra that propels football teams to Super Bowls without anything particularly flashy.

It’s also what may have kept someone alive in Carver County.

It wasn’t anything flashy that may have prevented an armed assault of the variety we’ve seen in the last few months. Just an attention to routine, apparently.

The Star Tribune’s story yesterday was about how easy it was for murderer Christian Philip Oberender to obtain firearms. But it was also a story about how a county sheriff — Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson in this case — may have prevented a large tragedy by an attention to a routine task.

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Just two days earlier, Olson had scanned the day’s shift reports and froze when he tripped over Oberender’s name. A scan of a Facebook page then showed firearms spread out like a child’s trophies on a bed inside the home, along with notes about the Newtown, Conn., gunman who shot 20 children to death.

As a result of Olson reading the reports, deputies found: 13 guns, including semi-automatic rifles, an AK-47, a Tommy gun, assorted shotguns and handguns, including a .50-caliber Desert Eagle, the Star Tribune reported.

Job well done.

2) THE SPEECH

This is, of course, the Martin Luther King Jr., holiday. A portion of the “I have a dream” speech will probably find its way into your ears at some point and it’ll probably be the the same 20 seconds that gets quoted all the time. But the speech had so much more to it. Here, then, is the annual NewsCut tradition: The entire speech.

“In the spirit of MLK, it’s time for President Obama to deliver a major policy speech on the eradication of poverty in America,” commentator Tavis Smiley says. “He ought to tell us how the richest nation in the history of the world is going to confront the scourge of poverty.”

3) THROWING FOOD IN THE COLD

We’ve reached the “let’s throw stuff into the air” stage of winter in Minnesota.

One local TV meteorologist this morning was throwing hot water into the air to explain the science behind throwing hot water into the air. It’s not the cold, he says, it’s the dry air which makes water evaporate quickly.

Water? Harumph! I made this a few years ago. I’m still trying to clean up the stains on the deck.

4) SO THAT’S WHAT HUSBANDS ARE FOR!

Was a New York Times story last week about the difficulty women have getting through a day in an Oil Patch full of men a fair portrayal? Sort of, says a Forum communications reporter.

Amy Dalrymple writes that she’s never had the problems in Williston portrayed in the Times last week, but a husband and a wedding ring help.


I learned early on that guys in Williston can discreetly spot my wedding ring in what seems like seconds.

I thought I was being paranoid, but then my suspicion was confirmed. I accidentally forgot to wear my ring on my first visit to a man camp. A month later, I visited again and the security guard immediately recognized me and asked if I’d just gotten married. We had only spoken briefly.

I don’t go to the bars often enough to know if this is a fool-proof strategy, but for any ladies looking to avoid unwanted attention in the Oil Patch: Put a ring on it, even if it’s fake.

More Oil Patch: Production has dropped for the first time in 20 months (Bloomberg)

5) WHY ELY IS UNIQUE

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Ely is getting some bigshot love today. Gerry Snyder wrote to President Obama months ago looking for something to put in the city’s time capsule. Just as he was about to give up, he tells the Duluth News Tribune, Obama came through with a two-page hand-written letter.

As a result, NBC’s Today show airs a segment today on what makes the area so special.

Also up north: What’s the story with all the dead trees in northern Minnesota?

The few, the special: Time to make another plea for the people you think I should talk to as part of NewsCut. Who are the people doing some special things or who have led fascinating lives with little attention? Tell me here. Here are some samples.

Bonus: Study suggests Tweeting can help you lose weight. (Wired.com)

TODAY’S QUESTION

During his lifetime, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. pursued the struggle for civil rights via a number of different issues and causes. Today’s Question: If he were alive today, what issues would Martin Luther King be working on?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Live coverage of the inauguration for most of the day today.

8 a.m.: Coverage begins with AP live blog.

9 a.m.: NPR special coverage begins. Listen to the live audio here.

10 a.m.: Live video stream begins from the PBS News Hour.

10 a.m.: Obama takes the oath.

4 p.m.: Continuing live video and blog coverage ends.

6:30 p.m.: Continuing live audio coverage ends.

9 p.m. – 10 p.m.: A special one-hour audio wrapup of the day’s events airs on MPR News.