It’s all in the mind (Five by 8 – 8/17/10)

1) Members of the class of 2014 have never felt it unusual at all to see a Korean-made car on the highway. They’ve never written cursive (have you tried lately?). American companies have always done business in Vietnam. These are factoids in Beloit College’s annual “mindset list,” which was issued today in time for freshman orientation.

I didn’t see this on the list but this one comes to mind: The Class of 2014 hasn’t had to remember phone numbers. Got one for the list? Post it below.

2) It’s not really about a mosque. That much is more obvious as “the mosque story” dominates the news cycle for another day. And it is dominating the news again. Are we closer to the real issue? It would appear so.

Joe Klein of Time stakes out one side today:

My grandmother’s maiden name was Rachel Mendoza. Her family–a famous Sephardic tribe–migrated to Spain after the Romans kicked the Jews out of Israel. They lived there peaceably, sometimes prosperously, sometimes creatively for the entire Cordoba period, the era of Islamic rule. They were kicked out of Spain, with all the other Jews, in 1492–by the Catholic King and Queen, Ferdinand and Isabella, who were quite the religious fanatics when they weren’t busy funding Christopher Columbus. The point is, Islamic rule in Spain was some of the better times during my family’s 2000 year wander. The last 100 years have been, without question, the best of times for us Mendoza/Kleins because of the rights we enjoy under the United States Constitution. Those who would mess with those rights now may win some short-term political victories, they might shave some more points off the President’s poll ratings, but they will not succeed in the long run–because this is America and the forces of tolerance always prevail over those of bigotry. And if the bigots do succeed in the long run, this won’t be America anymore.

Bigots? What say you to that allegation, editorial cartoonist Mike Lester of the Rome (Ga.) News Tribune?


Here’s one:


(Aside: If you don’t mind narrowly edited ‘F-bombs,’ Daily Show’s Jon Stewart delivered the goods on the issue last night.)

3) The easiest job in America? That’s easy: The high school civics teacher who has to teach about the Constitution. Everywhere you look, the Constitution is lurking. If the mosque story doesn’t provide hours of lecture-hall fun, what about this story? In Colorado, a homeowner is flying a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, which has been a fixture at tea party rallies. His homeowners association has told him to stop. “When you buy [a house], the declaration creates a contract between the association and its owners. As an owner, by contract, you’re giving up your constitutional rights,” the homeowners association boss said.

4) In California, the Senate is considering a bill to ban plastic bags. Supporters have produced a “mockumentary.” Regardless of your position on the issue, at least it’s political advertising that’s about an actual issue, Minnesota. (h/t: Boing Boing)

5) Salad shooter. A scene from last weekend’s Minnesota Game Fair:

Bonus: From the “Department of Are You Serious?”: There’s a chance of frost up north.

From the Department of Raised Right: A six-year-old girl in Texas saved a two-year-old from drowning, then refused a reward for her heroism:

“After I saved her, her mom said go tell her daddy he owes you a $100 or something for saving her daughter’s life, but I really didn’t want it because I didn’t want that much money,” she said.


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called for major belt-tightening in the Department of Defense budget. Which defense programs and initiatives can the country afford to lose? And will this have an affect on the national debt? Three military budget experts take a look inside defense spending.

Second hour: In the film “Inception,” corporate thieves enter people’s dreams and steal their ideas. While some of the concepts in the film are purely hypothetical, it’s raising new awareness on the world of dream research.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner discusses the Lee trial, the prevention and punishment of crime, and techniques for prosecuting new and old cases.

Second hour: Environmentalist and writer Bill McKibben, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival about global warming. He is author of the best-seller “The End of Nature” and is scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The proposed Islamic center near ground zero isn’t the only controversial mosque. Host Neal Conan talks about the mosques in communities across the country.

Second hour: Tom Bissell’s spent untold hours playing video games, not for the graphics but for the story telling. He discusses why video games matter.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – The retirement of Sen. Mee Moua and Rep. Cy Thao means there won’t be a Hmong representative in the state Legislature for the first time in eight years. Moua will most likely be replaced by former St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington, who enjoys a level of respect in the Hmong community. But he didn’t have to campaign hard to win the DFL primary, defeating four Hmong candidates. Says community activist Tou Ger Xiong: “It’s not that Harrington won. It’s just that we, as a Hmong community, lost.” Some political observers predict it will be many years before a Hmong candidate is elected to the Legislature. What does this mean for Hmong interests and the broader power of identity politics? MPR’s Laura Yuen will have the story.

Minnesota leads the nation in the number of tornado touchdowns this year. But there are people out there who are happy to hear the sirens. MPR’s Tim Nelson reports they have one of the world’s loudest hobbies.

  • Members of the class of 2014 have never felt it unusual at all to see a Korean-made car on the highway. They’ve never written cursive (have you tried lately?).

    My cursive has always been poor. My teachers despaired ever teaching it to me. I disliked it, and even when cursive is required, its a hybrid sort of print-cursive writing.

  • kwatt

    Pretty soon that list will include “Pushed buttons to make a phone call.” That’s when we’ll all feel really, really old.

  • vjacobsen

    I find the Beloit list completely underwhelming, especially the pop culture references. YAWN. Not knowing how to write cursive is hardly new, but maybe it’s worthwhile to have a discussion about the importance of penmanship.

  • TJ

    * Cloning has always been possible.

    * Humans have never been able to beat computers at chess.

    * Welfare “as we know it” never existed.

  • Matt W

    One thing I’ve noticed with my little sister (who would technically be 2015, I guess) is the missing pile of library books when she is writing reports and papers for class. I have to admit I get pretty jealous watching her find her info by keyword searching on some website instead of trying to speed read some book at two in the morning with a notepad and pencil.

  • Good stuff, Bob. It’s not really about a mosque anymore, is it? The photo of Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan’s tombstone nails it.

    The Muslim immigrant Aliou Niasse, who alerted authorities to the Times Square bomb would be another.

    And the list goes on.

    Name one? Ug.