5 X 8: The tornadoes of Trempealeau

1) HIS FIRST TORNADO

Not that we’re complaining, mind you, but it’s been a fairly quiet summer for tornadoes in Minnesota this year, a far cry from the predictions in the spring when tornadoes were striking tornado alley earlier than normal.

But when the cold front swept by Trempeleau County, Wisc., yesterday , it provided some spectacular images and no damage.

Joe Meyer also spotted it from Winona.

Related summer plagues: New-to-Minnesota mosquito species are worse than the local ones we’ve fought for years.The Asian Tiger and Japanese Rock Pool mosquitoes bite more. (Austin Daily Herald)

2) WHAT WE’RE SUPPOSED TO DO ABOUT WHITE PRIVILEGE

The woman who writes the blog, Rage Against the Minivan, teaches a class in diversity and pens an essay on white privilege and why it’s such a toxic discussion.

Simply put, privilege refers to an unearned advantage. It usually refers to something inherent . . . something you were born with rather than something you worked for. There are many types of privilege: economic privilege, gender privilege, heterosexual privilege, and of course . . . racial privilege.

Racial privilege can take many forms, from minor things to life-threatening things. White privilege can look like being able to grab some shampoo at the grocery store and being confident they carry products for your hair type. White privilege can look like being able to find a band-aid that matches your skin tone.

White privilege can look like waling through an upscale residential neighborhood without anyone wondering what you are doing there. White privilege can look like wearing a baseball cap and baggy pants and no one assuming you are a criminal.

But white privilege does not mean you’re racist, she says. So it’s possible to acknowledge its existence. So why don’t we?

3) THE GOOD OF GAMING

If video games contribute to violence among young people, why is youth violence at a 40 year low?

The connection between the two has been made so often over the years, that media repeat it without questioning it. Today, the Fargo Forum takes the claim apart:

Children spend an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The academy says studies have shown excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. It recommends parents limit entertainment media to no more than one or two hours a day.

But Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College and author of the book, “Free to Learn,” said he could never find any solid research to back up the academy’s statements.

Gray has researched the value of children’s play on all aspects of their development and is concerned that there’s been a tremendous decline in children’s freedom to play, especially their freedom to play outside with other kids, he said.

Some say kids aren’t playing outside because of video games, but what Gray has found is that kids would rather play outside with other kids. The problem is parents are afraid to let them play outside, and even when they do, the kids aren’t finding other kids with which to play, Gray said.

“Children are not allowed to walk to the corner grocery store, but they can play video games and enter into all kinds of adventures in the virtual world,” he said, adding that gaming has become a sort of substitute play.

Games that old people used to play: West St. Paul bowling alley is the place to buy shoes, beer signs, 40-foot bar (TwinCities.com)

4) FOUR SIMPLE WORDS: “I SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION”

MPR News continues its series on the state of mental health care in Minnesota today.

Kevin Breel is a 19 year old writer, comedian, and mental health activist. He’s struggled with depression for the last six years. “There’s a popular misconception that depression is just being sad when something in your life doesn’t go right,” he says in this TED talk. “Real depression is being sad when everything in your life is going right. That’s real depression.”

He says nobody seems to want to talk about “a massive problem.” But we don’t see it on Facebook or Twitter, so we don’t see the severity of it. Every 30 seconds, he says, someone in the world takes their own life.

He was almost one of them.

(h/t: Sue Abderholden)

5) THE FIRST DANCE FOR THE LAST TIME

Rachel Wolf, 25, of Nevada doesn’t have any plans to get married anytime soon. But her father is dying and she didn’t want to miss the chance for a first dance at her wedding..

Bonus I: A week or so ago, I mentioned the Ohio State football fan who named his brain tumor “Michigan,” so he could “beat Michigan.” Now the coach of Michigan has provided seats to the Ohio State – Michigan game in Ann Arbor. He says he wants to see the man “beat Michigan” too. (h/t: Matt Black)

Bonus II: Married To Obamacare: The Soap Opera (WBUR).

Bonus III: For the first time, Earth was photographed on the same day from near Saturn and near Mercury.

NASA/JPL

Bonus IV: How cool would it be to go to Peg Lynch’s house and ask questions like, “Basil Rathbone. What was he like?” James Lileks did. (h/t: Julia Schrenkler)

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Do women make better senators than men?

Second hour: Many of the great minds out in Silicon Valley have shifted their focus from gadgets to global poverty. A soccer ball that doubles as a light source. A water pump that’s powered by kids spinning on a merry-go-round. For all the innovation and good intentions behind these ideas, are they really helping to tackle the problem of global poverty? When it comes to the developing world – what works?

Third hour: Carl Hiaasen, author of “Bad Monkey.”

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): From the Aspen Ideas Festival: Pakistan at the Crossroads. Retired General Stanley McChrystal and former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani.

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – Detroit Bankruptcy Puts Pensions on the Block | Pentagon Presents Options for U.S. Action in Syria | Media Watch: Why The Obsession With the Royal Baby?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - There’s another invasive species Minnesotans are worrying about. Bamboo. It was brought to the U.S. in the 1800s for erosion control, now it’s spreading across Wisconsin and in to Minnesota. There are now several patches of it in Duluth, where experts are especially worried about it spreading along streams, where it can quickly take over and crowd out all other species. MPR’s Dan Kraker will have the story.

What makes Guy Clark a master songwriter? The country music legend crafts songswith the same precision and attention to detail he uses when he builds guitars. Clark talks with NPR about the staying power of his music and about his new album.