Just watch me! (5×8 – 4/22/13)

A call for more surveillance, in the Oil Patch and missing home, back to the flat land, voices from Laos, and the aurora in Minnesota.


The Monday Morning Rouser:

1) A CALL FOR MORE SURVEILLANCE

Remember when these caused a little stir in Saint Paul?

camera_seventh_cedar.jpg

When they went up in Saint Paul just before the Republican National Convention in 2008, local authorities were a little vague about whether the surveillance cameras would stay up past the convention.

They’re still up and they’re not going anywhere.

After last week’s events in Boston, surveillance cameras and close monitoring may never have been so popular.

“We’re not filming you. We’re filming a public area for the general safety and security of our population. That is the overriding concern, so just be aware when you’re out in public you are being filmed. Times have changed we need to change with them,” retired FBI Agent Michael Tabman said late last week.

“We need more cameras and we need them now,” writes Farhad Manjoo on Slate.com.


Surveillance cameras aren’t just the bane of hardcore civil libertarians. The idea of submitting to constant monitoring feels wrong, nearly un-American, to most of us. Cameras in the sky are the ultimate manifestation of Big Brother–a way for the government to watch you all the time, everywhere. In addition to normalizing surveillance–turning every public place into a venue for criminal investigation–there’s also the potential for abuse. Once a city is routinely surveilled, the government can turn every indiscretion into a criminal matter. You used to be able to speed down the street when you were in a hurry. Now, in many places around the world, a speed camera will record your behavior and send you a ticket in the mail. Combine cameras with facial-recognition technology and you’ve got a recipe for governmental intrusion. Did you just roll a joint or jaywalk or spray-paint a bus stop? Do you owe taxes or child support? Well, prepare to be investigated–if not hassled, fined, or arrested.

Several companies, he says, are working on software that will spot criminal activity before it happens.

But Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center says there’s no reason for a major outbreak of new cameras.

“The information was obtained by the systems that were in place, which suggests that there’s a sufficient amount of surveillance taking place,and that police are able to work effectively with the information that is provided and available.”

There has, however, apparently been a shift in public opinion.

“If you are not safe in your home and if you are not safe in the street then your privacy becomes kind of a hollow concern,” Jim Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, tells Politico.

Related: Tsarnaev Without Tears: The Legal Way Forward (The Atlantic)

When everyone is an eyewitness, what is a journalist? (Storyful)

2) MISSING HOME

Brian Martindale drives truck in North Dakota, but his family is back home in Minnesota. Martindale is married with three young children.

I Miss My Wife and Kids from Todd Melby on Vimeo.

3) BACK TO THE FLAT LAND

What do you do for kicks after you’ve spent the last three years on an expedition traversing 11,700 miles of North American wilderness by by kayak, canoe, dog sled and ski?

“We’ve been gone for most of last three years, so were going to spend some time reconnecting with friends and family Dave Freeman says.

He and his wife Amy, of Duluth, talked to Aaron J. Brown about their sojourn.

4) VOICES FROM LAOS

Legacies of War, a non-profit that is trying to raise awareness of unexploded bombs that cover 30 percent of Laos, makes a stop in Minneapolis today.

Related: Minnesota Korean War veteran finally receives POW recognition (Pioneer Press)

5) MINNESOTA MOMENTS

An aurora filmed in northern Minnesota last week. In distant worlds, there isn’t any snow in April, you know.

Minnesota Aurora from Mark Ellis on Vimeo.

Bonus I: Jerry Williams of Mora noticed an eagle in trouble in a field behind his home. “He said his first reaction was to get his small dog inside and out of danger from the bird, but once he realized the bird was injured and unable to fly, Williams immediately began making calls to get the bird rescued.” (White Wolf) Good pictures. (h/t: Joe Duea)

Bonus II: Manuel Segovia and Isidro Velazquez, the last speakers of a language called Ayapaneco. They refuse to talk to each other.

Bonus III: Iron Range media circles the wagons in nursing home story. (Minnesota Brown)

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Political second chances.

Second hour: Do we have mental health parity?

Third hour: What makes a good stepparent?

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): America Abroad on Global energy and innovations.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - More than a decade after he pleaded guilty to extortion and resigned from the Minneapolis City Council, Brian Herron is stepping back into the political realm. Now pastor of his late father’s north Minneapolis church, Herron is organizing debates in the city’s hot mayoral and City Council races. He has no plans to run for office again, but he feels called to educate his community about city politics. MPR’s Curtis Gilbert will have the story.

Marianne Combs has the story of Deanna and Roger Cummings, who founded Juxtaposition Arts in 1995. Best known for its public murals where accomplished adult artists work alongside youth to create neighborhood landmarks, Juxtaposition Arts is recognized for its ongoing commitment to reach out and excite kids with a passion for hip-hop and aerosol art, while also introducing them to traditional fine art forms and professional development.

  • jon

    @#1 – for being safer then we’ve ever been, we sure seem to act like we are in far more danger all the time.

  • Chuck

    Rouser: Good old Neil . . . Amazing how a nice pop tune has become an anthem in its own right. Dang it, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to this song again without tearing up.

    Thanks, Bob! Great choice for the day.

  • MikeB

    We do not need surveillance cameras over every inch of public space. That is giving in to paranoia and fear. We need to get back to normal. That is the response to crime and terrorism.

  • boB from WA

    RE #1: Being able to predict crimes before they happen? If you want a preview watch the TV show “Person of Interest”. Its interesting, but also gives me a desire to move to Albuquerque.

  • BJ

    boB from WA – With 500K people Albuquerque might be a little large to get away from it.

    This list of towns might work:

    Arizona – Tortilla Flat population 6 people

    Nebraska – Monowi population 1 people

    Minnesota – Tenney population 7 people

    South Dakota – Hillsview population 3 people

  • MN 123

    #1: Has no one read “1984″? Is this really the model we wish to have for our society?

    And re: BJ and Bob from WA: In towns of the size noted by BJ, everyone else in town knows what you are doing anyway, no cameras needed.