Five by 8 – 6/22/10: Fear and loathing in Fremont, Nebraska

A town at war with itself over Hispanics, the mystery of the tornado video revealed, oil spills are good for comedy, joy and tears at Grandma’s Marathon, and a winner in the National Hollerin’ Contest.

1) Fremont, Nebraska approved a new law yesterday that bans illegal immigrants from jobs and housing in the town. Residents object, apparently, to the influx of Hispanics in general because nobody in town knows how many are here illegally.

There wasn’t a lot of concern expressed against big government and eroding freedoms. The ordinance would require businesses within city limits to use E-Verify, a federal immigration data base, to doublecheck new hires’ identification documents. To rent in the town, you have obtain a $5 occupant’s license afer submiting your identification to the Fremont Police Department for verification.

“There will be a ripple effect,” a man from nearby Iowa said as he promised to push a similar measure there. “Towns are screaming for help. They’re crying for help.”

Fremont supporters of the ballot measure said they were motivated by jobs lost to illegal immigrants and by rising costs from emergency rooms and classrooms handling illegal immigrants, the Omaha World Herald said.

Screaming for help? Perhaps. But 55% of the town’s registered voters didn’t bother to vote.

So, what’s the real issue here: Illegal immigrants or the existence of a Hispanic culture? Much of the debate over the legislation was actually about the predominance of Spanish language in the town.

2) Thanks to News Cut reader Josh, we now know who took this video I posted here yesterday:

Michael Callahan, who lives between Ellendale and Clarks Grove, took the video, according to KAAL TV. We mised this yesterday but he assigned a gender to the tornado. It’s a “he,” he says. The house made it through OK, but a horse was killed on the property.

Meanwhile, the clean-up continues in Wadena. MPR’s Tom Robertson reports 1,000 truckloads of debris has already been removed.

3) When Michelle Bachmann makes a Daily Show clip, Jon Stewart is having an easy night. “Am I the only one of the two of us who listens to what you say?’ Stewart said as Bachmann contradicted herself. Again.

I’ll post the video in a bit. Check back.Here’s the latest from the Department of Oil Spills Are Good For Comedy. Guess who makes an “appearance”?

At The Big Picture, Barry Ritholtz has the speech President Obama should have given last week.

4) Such a touching story in today’s Duluth News Tribune. A woman sidled up to her father-in-law in Duluth last weekend…

“I asked him if he could keep a secret,” she said. “He said, ‘I can keep a secret better than anybody you know.’ And I told him that we were having a baby, and he was going to be a grandpa again.

“And he put his arm around me and said: ‘We’re going to all cross this together,’ ” Andrea Ruth said. “I won’t ever forget that.”

The finish line was Grandma’s marathon. And ‘grandpa’ was Norman Ruth, who died of a heart attack after the race.

5) We have a winner in this year’s National Hollerin’ Contest. My favorite part, though, is the reporter in the front taking notes. Or maybe it’s a judge. But it’s clearly a serious assessment underway.


New research finds that women in Minnesota still earn less than men doing the same work. What will it take to achieve equal pay for women?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Many companies that could afford to pay interns do not, on the theory that the experience and contacts are enough compensation. But that may be changing, even in a difficult economy.

Second hour: Jazz trumpeter Doc Severinsen talks about his many decades playing music, leading bands and his long running gig on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Hospital and nurse representatives answer questions about the issues in the nurses contract situation.

Second hour: TBA. It’ll be either Tim Pawlenty’s speech last night, or Garrison Keillor.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The disorderly conduct case that captured the attention of the country: The way up to the pPresident — the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis GatesJr. Almost year later, Gates’s lawyer and Harvard colleague, Charles Ogletree, reflect on race and class.

Second hour: Queen Latifah talks about her book, Put On Your Crown

  • When Michelle Bachmann makes a Daily Show clip, Jon Stewart is having an easy night.

    Jon Stewart dances the happy dance when my distinguished Congresswoman opens her mouth.