Five at 8 – 6/8/09

First, of course, the Monday Morning Rouser, culled from the streets of Minneapolis.

You can find a far more professional version of Buckets and Tap Shoes here.

  • Through all of the coverage of the auto industry woes, few stories have explained how closing auto dealerships is supposed to help car companies become stronger. If you close the places where you sell cars, how are you supposed to sell more cars? In today’s editorial, the Star Tribune questioned the wisdom of the closing 54 dealerships in Minnesota…

    The lack of transparency in the decisionmaking (sic) process is angering the dealers almost as much as the decisions themselves. Owners are struggling to understand why the businesses they’ve spent lifetimes building are being targeted during a recession in which profitable small businesses should be celebrated.

    The Boston Globe, however, reveals the strategy today, however. Fewer dealers creates less competition. Less competition creates a bigger demand. A bigger demand creates higher car prices.

    Remaining dealerships will be able to charge more for cars, analysts say, because fewer dealerships make it harder for buyers to spark bidding wars. And as auto companies scale back factory production, heavy discounts and dealer incentives will dry up.

    Consumers will pay $2,000-$6,000 more for cars under the plan. That’s the thanks you’ll get for bailing them out, apparently.

    Meanwhile, opponents of the Chrysler bankruptcy plan have been filing documents challenging the bankruptcy. SCOTUSblog is doing a great job following them.

  • It was a big weekend for the Vortex 2 tornado chasing project. A TV weatherperson is tagging along and is providing a great blog of the effort, including Friday’s moment when they “caught” a tornado. Not enough images, though. There’s a video on YouTube with the tornado they caught in Wyoming, however.

  • “The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate; He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.” Take that, Shakespeare! Ernest Lawrence Thayer actually wrote three versions of Casey at the Bat in June 1888. Bob Costas pens his own tribute to the poem with the requisite appearance, apparently, of George Will. If you’ve got RealPlayer on your computer, you’ll love the audio of this 1888 performance.
  • A correction to a post I made Friday while watching dozens of windmill towers creep along at a South St. Paul railroad crossing. I said that Suzlon, the India-based manufacturer, doesn’t have a plant in the U.S. It does. In Pipestone. My apologies. In other news: Suzlon has announced big layoffs at its Pipestone plant.
  • Mud and dirt. The Minnesota High School Rodeo Association held its regional championship rodeo in St. Peter over the weekend. I didn’t even know there is a high school rodeo association. But if it’s possible to make mud beautiful, these pictures — the Look of a Cowpoke — from the Mankato Free Press do. The state finals will be in Hugo in a couple of weeks.

    On the subject, Rae Kruger of the Marshall Independent has a piece in today’s paper about the rodeo circuit in these parts.


    I’m in a traveling mood this week. What’s happening in your community? Rodeos? Tornadoes? Let me know and I’ll go take a look.

    Midmorning – First hour: Efforts to reform mortgage-lending practices. Second hour: Author Jane Hamilton.

    Midday – First hour: Jobs and the Minnesota economy. Second hour: Former Minnesota GOP Congressman Vin Weber, speaking last week at the U of M Humphrey Institute about President Obama’s domestic and national security strategies.

    Talk of the Nation – First hour: California is an economic disaster. What does that portend — if anything — for the rest of us? Second hour: As HIV is increasingly criminalized, who’s really to blame?

    All Things Considered – NPR will profile Charles Springle, the Navy commander who was one of five people killed by a U.S. soldier in Baghdad. He’d devoted his career to helping soldiers with mental health issues. Pam Fessler profiles Eric Sheptock, who blogs about the homeless in Washington.