Five at 8 – 8/6/09

It’s a quick scan this morning. I have to get into work early because I’m live-blogging the first hour of Midmorning when we discuss the relationship between alcohol and college sports. The new stadium was built with an idea of allowing tailgating. We all know that tailgating involves pounding down a few brews. Football in general is synonymous with getting drunk… or at least drinking. How is it that colleges can crack down on drinking on one hand, while embracing the culture that encourages it on the other?

1) Fifties and 60s at night, around 80 during the day. If this were January, would that be your prescription for a perfect Minnesota day? “We need more heat around here,” my meteorological colleague, Paul Huttner, told Tom Crann on All Things Considered yesterday afternoon. Paul details the sad story on his blog, Updraft. July was the coolest month in Minnesota… ever.

Today’s discussion point: So what? I just came in from watching the sunrise out on a bench on my lawn — a lawn that is gloriously green and not crunchy, by the way. The cardinals were singing a happy song. I’d just had a good night’s sleep with the windows open. The perennial garden has never looked better. The air is clear and — I think — clean. Perfect.

So where does this “our cool summer is a bad summer” narrative come from? What do we do when the temperature hits 90 around here? We close our windows, draw our shades, turn on the air conditioner, and try to get our homes and offices to be as cool as it is outside right now.

What’s wrong with us?

2) A tale of two Minnesotas in two stories:

Story 1: A growing number of businesses in Bemidji are putting up signs in the language of the local Native American community. Words in Ojibwe are popping up as welcome signs, on restroom doors and in grocery stores, MPR’s Tom Robertson reports.

Story 2: In Duluth, residents are criticizing racist T-shirts on sale at Canal Park. According to the Duluth News Tribune, “one of them said, ‘My Indian name is ‘Drinks Like Fish’ and the other said ‘My Indian name is ‘Crawling Drunk.'”

What’s wrong with us?

(h/t: JPRennquist on Twitter)

3) This is an idea that can catch on. Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. Though I suspect it could easily lead to “Dump some asbestos on the porch of your generous neighbor with the zucchini day.”

4) How do we put lipstick on this pig? By 2011, half of all mortgages in the U.S. will be underwater, Reuters reports. It was 26 percent last March. If 26 percent was enough to nearly collapse the financial system here, what is nearly half going to do to us?

5) The BBC — appropriately — is devoting live coverage today to the funeral of Harry Patch. He died last month at 111. He was the last living Brit veteran of World War I.

Bonus: Gulf War penpals get married after Facebook encounter.


Students who have been found intoxicated and ejected from a Gopher football game will have to take a Breathalyzer test before they can attend another game, under a policy being developed for the University of Minnesota’s new football stadium. The plan would tolerate no alcohol in the system of a student too young to drink and only some in students of legal drinking age. Officials are trying to limit rowdy behavior, which they say is closely related to alcohol use. Does alcohol have a proper role at campus sports events?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – We’re living blogging the alcohol-college sports discussion in the first hour (see above). Second hour: Research suggests that women in the workplace build better relationships than do men, but take fewer risks on the job. Do these behavioral differences make women better bosses, and how much of a role does our biology really play in our leadership ability?

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – MPR’s chief economics correspondent (I’m pretty sure we only have one), Chris Farrell, will be in the studio to answer questions about the latest economic news.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: In any war, civilian deaths present tactical, strategic and moral issues. The debate now focuses on Afghanistan. The segment looks at the rules of war and civilian deaths. Hour two: The connection between mass media and mass marketing thrived from the invention of movable type, until the Internet came along. Bob Garfield, of NPR’s On The Media, takes us through the digital ruins, and beyond — in his book, The Chaos Scenario.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – TBD

Let’s face it: This week is dragging. We need a Rouser.

  • JP

    Thanks Bob. I figured you’d like that.

    When I went to college at St John’s there was an on-campus pub called the “butcher shop” or “the butch” where underage drinking was ambiguously allowed. That is, it was technically illegal, but most of the people drinking there were underage. It seems as though the theory behind that was that upperclassmen would be on hand to observe and limit the amount of drinking the freshman and sophomores were doing. This stands in some contrast to the free for all that went on at area house parties where people drank as much as they could, and then some (in my case, at least). Well, actually, it wasn’t free, let’s not forget that people *profit* from those illegal house parties and it’s not just the enterprising students who are throwing them, it is also the liquor stores, the distributors, and lets not forget the landlords who allow them to happen on their properties.

    I’m not sure this is the approach or not, having an on-campus pub, and by the time I was one of those upperclassmen the place was closed down by the school administration. One thing is certain I never drove home drunk from a party at the “butcher shop” My dorm room was always only a couple of minutes walk away.

    If I were a college official (and I was once, albeit for less than a year) I would really be hamstrung by how to handle underage drinking, and especially binge drinking and all that comes with it.

  • bsimon

    “What’s wrong with us?”

    Who have you been talking to? We’ve been loving it for all the reasons you describe. Our only complaint is the drought. The temps have been great.

  • bsimon

    JP- interesting story. That’s the fundamental question: do you let kids learn to drink in a public, supervised environment, or do you force it underground where the blind are leading the blind?

    The U policy seems like a reasonable approach to try – where they’re at least saying that you have to be responsible; i.e. that you don’t get tested unless you have ‘a record’ and if you’re of legal age, you can still get in with ‘a record’ as long as you’re not tanked.

  • Tyler

    Hah! Zuchinni on the Porch day is a great idea – I think we need more “Prank” holidays. April 1 and May Day aren’t enough.