Five at 8 – 1/13/10: On Miep Gies

1) An old colleague of mine pens a first-person tribute to the woman who hid Anne Frank.

Miep-Gies-steve.jpg In the first half of 1929, two baby girls were born to Jewish families living in and near Frankfurt, Germany. One, sweet and dark-haired, had an older sister; the other, a smiling redhead, was an only child. As they turned 4 years old, the safe worlds their parents had created for them began to crumble. Hitler had come to power, and life for every German Jew was rife with danger. The dark-haired girl’s father decided to flee the country with his wife and children to Amsterdam. Some time later, the red-haired child’s parents made the same decision, eventually making their way to New York.

The dark-haired girl was Anne Frank, whose extraordinary diary, written in the years before her death at age 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, has made her the single most recognizable victim of the Holocaust.

The red-haired girl is my mother, Brunhilde Bachenheimer, and when I climbed the narrow stairs to Anne Frank’s hiding place 35 years ago, I was overcome with the realization that my own family had so narrowly escaped a similar fate.

MPR’s Midday program dedicates its second hour today to Miep Gries.

2) It’s all a matter of perspective. Two stories in the news this morning taken together. In Haiti, the sun is up and the devastation is apparent from yesterday’s 7.0 earthquake. It’s the poorest country in the western hemisphere and the international community is rallying to help. (Here’s how you can help)

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Meanwhile, in Knoxville, students at the University of Tennessee dragged their mattresses out of the dorms and into the streets to protest an injustice: Their football coach is leaving.

3) A little good news isn’t going to kill us. Here’s a little good news. It’s a United Way multimedia slideshow on the 100 Hard Hats program at Summit Academy.

4) Two stories this week didn’t seem to make sense at first blush. Gov. Tim Pawlenty asked that sections of Minnesota be declared a disaster area because wet weather prevented farmers from bringing in their crops. Then, yesterday, the Department of Agriculture announced Minnesota set records for crop yield in Minnesota. The West Central Tribune sorts it out this morning. The crop was big, but the quality was poor and corn is being rejected at Minnesota’s elevators. Farmers will be throwing some of the crop away.

“Try to raise a family on $9,000 and work the way they do,” an ag official said.

5) The Supreme Court will hear the case this morning of a firm suing the NFL because it got shut out of an exclusive deal to manufacture sports gear. As usual, the finest story on this can bef found from the SCOTUSblog.

While the case focuses on pro football, the outcome is expected to have a significant impact on other pro sports leagues as well – basketball, hockey, soccer, stock-car racing, tennis. Even major league baseball, despite its antitrust immunity, has been sued over joint promotion of fan goods. And while the case focuses on the joint marketing of fan gear, the outcome may well reach beyond the vending enterprise to at least some facets of the competition on the field or court. That is because combined activity by league owners is not confined to marketing fan gear. (Beyond sports, the principles at stake in this dispute may well affect the legal future of other joint ventures that take integrated action, because the Court may decide more broadly than the sports context.)

What’s at issue today is the very economic power of professional sports.

Yesterday, the court took up whether the federal government can lock up sex offenders after they serve their terms. There was a moment, Slate reports, when it appeared Clarence Thomas would ask a question:

I almost start a mini press riot today at the Supreme Court, so certain am I that Justice Clarence Thomas is about to ask a question for the first time in nearly four years. In a case about indefinite detention for sex offenders, he summons someone to bring forth a law book; he puts on his glasses and reads carefully from the book, then leans forward toward the microphone. To his left, Justice Stephen Breyer looks at him expectantly. I nudge my colleagues on either side and hiss, “He’s gonna do it, he’s gonna do it.” We all start craning and gaping. And then Thomas, who hasn’t asked a question at oral argument since Feb. 22, 2006, takes off his glasses, tips his head back up against his headrest, and closes his eyes.

Bonus: Poker players who win the most hands end up losing the most money.


The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Classical Minnesota Public Radio is marking the event with special programing this evening. What’s your most memorable experience of the Ordway’s 25 years?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Candidates for governor recently were asked by the Minneapolis Star Tribune about their mental health histories, after Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton recently disclosed his past struggle with depression and alchohol abuse. Political figures also have spent a lot of time in the past year coming forward with revelations of sexual affairs. Should the public know everything, whether it wants to or not? Note: I’ll be live-blogging the program.

Second hour: Elizabeth Gilbert’s first memoir, “Eat, Pray, Love,” on world travel and personal renewal after divorce became a blockbuster bestseller. In her latest book, “Committed” she explains how she came to make peace with marriage as she gives it a second try with a new partner.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Jane Kirtley of the U of M’s Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law discusses current controversies in media ethics.

Second hour: Midday remembers Miep Gries, the woman whose family hid Anne Frank from the Nazis.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Political Junkie Ken Rudin on Harry Reid’s racial gaffe, and Sarah Palin’s Irish touch.

Second hour: A closer look at the NFL team gear case before the Supreme Court

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Gourmet, Vibe, Modern Bride. Some popular magazines have gone under as advertisers moved to the Internet. NPR looks at how publishers revise their strategy to keep magazines in business.

  • Kim E

    Thank you for sharing the tribute to Miep Gies. What a wonderful story of an ordinary person who did extraordinary things.

  • Bob Moffitt

    That West Central Tribune story did a nice job of explaining the problems with this year’s record crop yields in Minnesota. Thanks for the link, Bob.

    As expected, corn and soybean prices dropped after the crop estimate was released, adding to some famers’ woes.