Five at 8 – 8/13/09: What about Rosemary?

1) An Osakis family heads to the hospital for a baby’s delivery. At the height of labor, their farm burns to the ground, the Osakis Review reports. Of course you know what happens next, don’t you? “News of the disaster spread throughout the community and an outpouring of support began to flow. People came to clean; neighbors offered to house the remaining cows; women brought and served food; local businesses came forward with food donations. Everywhere they looked, people were coming to help.”

A commenter on the story gets it right:

You drink coffee and gossip with your neighbors, never thinking they’d be there to the end. I just think, this is such an awesome and difficult time. Makes you appreciate what you have and not what’s missing.

The takeaway? Drink coffee and gossip with your neighbors today.

2) Well, maybe people with differing views can have a conversation and walk away with their views intact. Here’s a story via Daily Kos of Joan Baez and several people protesting her concert having a discussion. “You know, they just wanted to be heard. Everyone wants to be heard. I feel like I made four new friends tonight,” she told her concert audience later.

I was thinking last night when I read the story, “she was just on MPR’s Midmorning.” Then I looked it up. It was last November.

Meanwhile, more on the ongoing discussion from America’s most trusted journalist:

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3) What’s the matter with kids today? Apparently nothing, the Pew Research Center’s latest survey would seem to suggest. They want to be more like their parents. The Generation Gap, it says, has been bridged. The Beatles appear to be at least party responsible.

Says CBS:

Young people, far from rejecting the values of their parents, seem to fault themselves for not living up to those standards. People under 30 tend to think older people have better moral values than they do, the poll said.

Let’s think about this. It’s great and all that kids want to be more like us. That’s an ego stroke if there ever was one. But might there be a little skewed pedestal-to-truth ratio here? Better moral values? Really, kids?

4) Discussion point: The Minneapolis woman fighting eviction from her home certainly has put more powerful people in a pickle, hasn’t she? Rosemary Williams, 60, lost her home when her monthly mortgage payment jumped from $1,200 to more than $2,000. She tried to do what all the experts say people should have done: She tried to renegotiate and come up with a solution that would work for both sides. No deal. Her supporters have been willing to be arrested as they stage a sit-in, but the cops have no interest — at least yet — in video of them throwing a 60-year old woman out on the street.

Now, MPR’s Elizabeth Baier reports, Williams has inspired another homeowner — this one in Robbinsdale — to similarly fight for her home.

The women are looking for someone to say, “yes, you’re in a bad spot and, yes, there must be a solution to this problem that benefits both sides; that another boarded-up building isn’t good for anybody. Let’s come up with a resolution.”

And that’s the problem. Even after all these months of the crisis that started in housing, that logic hasn’t taken hold yet. Remember the initial days of the bank bailout in the last days of the Bush administration? It was supposed to address these problems by figuring out a way to protect the banks and the struggling homeowner. These are the “toxic assets” the government was supposed to take off the banks’ hands so they could be reworked. Given a blank check by Congress, the Treasury Department looked at that idea for about a week, and then decided to just give the money to the banks instead.

Since then, we bought a car company and gave $4,500 to relatively well-off people who had cars — often too big for them to operate efficiently — to buy new cars. We’ve given non-homeowners money to buy homes, many of them the ones from which people were evicted.

The economic news of the day? The Federal Reserve says the economy is leveling out, and it’s starting to end programs designed to keep it from imploding. Good news all around. Happy times are coming again.

I see your rosy picture and I raise you by some reality in the headline sent to the back page of the paper:

U.S. Foreclosure Filings Hit New Record; Up 32% in July

Sixty-year old women are still sitting on their porch steps wondering why they have to lose their homes they’re willing to pay for. Just like they were two years ago. How did we go through the last two years, and not have anything significant done about the problem?

“We’re discussing with the investor multiple options for the property and have reached no decisions at this time,” a spokesperson for the mortgage company, GMAC, said in an e-mail to MPR, adding that GMAC did not originate Ms. Williams’ mortgage.


5) Would you feel better about spam e-mail if it helped charity? Would you be willing to pay a penny for every e-mail you send? Is the postage stamp coming to e-mail?


This week, Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska is hosting the 91st PGA Championship — a major coup, even for the state with more golfers per capita than any other. In the past, Minnesota also has welcomed the NCAA Final Four, NHL All-Star Game, WE Fest Country Musical Festival and the Republican National Convention. What else is out there? What is the ideal spectator event for Minnesota to host – and why?


This afternoon, I’ll have another installment in “The Unemployed,” profiles of people trying to get a job. Unemployed? Contact me and let’s discuss your story.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Many argue that simply going to college will put graduates at an advantage for higher salaries. But is there a tangible earnings difference between going to Harvard and Harvey Mudd? Second hour: The lingering power of Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl.”

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Award-winning author and sports writer John Feinstein will be Gary Eichten’s guest to talk about golf, with the opening round of the PGA at Hazeltine in Chaska. Second hour: Ken Fisher, speaking at the Commonwealth Club about his book, “How to Smell a Rat: The 5 Signs of Financial Fraud.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The health care debate. Second hour: The truth about exercise.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback announces his revised budget today. MPR’s Brandt Williams will have the story.

NPR will report on new TSA rules being rolled out. When you buy a ticket now, you must provide your full name and gender. Check your ID first; the name has to match perfectly.

  • Tyler

    Re: point# 4 – Amen, Bob! Well written.

    //Let’s think about this. It’s great and all that kids want to be more like us. That’s an ego stroke if there ever was one. But might there be a little skewed pedestal-to-truth ratio here? Better moral values? Really, kids?

    We don’t know what you don’t tell us. What did you REALLY smoke in college?

  • Bob Collins

    My oldest son, who works at the same company I do, was remarking last night what an eye-opener it was when — in his first week — he caught one of my many (and former) newsroom tirades.

    Hey, I doubt Rick Pitino’s kids knew what the old man was REALLY up to, either.