You are… (Five by 8 – 8/25/10)

1) Let’s play “You are…” !

You are the county commissioner in Crow Wing County. In Brainerd, a long-time family farmer is facing thousands of dollars of additional tax payments. He transferred the farm to his children, and the notice to renew the homestead credit went unnoticed. It’s an honest mistake but cutting the family a break would set a bad precedent. Five members voted. The first four split. You’re #5. What do you do?

Give ’em a break? What say you?Market Research

Find the answer on the Brainerd Dispatch Web site (Update: Link fixed). And be sure to note the reaction of the farmer and his wife.

You are the cops. A Shoreview man pulled his daughter out of a swimming pool. She wasn’t breathing. He gave her CPR and she regained consciousness. But he didn’t call 911, You’re the police. Do you charge him with child endangerment?

Do you charge the man?customer surveys

Find the decision on the Pioneer Press Web site.

2) Timewasting: On Twitter last night there was a small debate over who had the better campaign ad involving their children — Mark Kennedy in 2006 or Tom Emmer in 2010? I’m not sure why Norm Coleman wasn’t part of that discussion. His daughter was a winning booster in 2002, but couldn’t pull it off with a remake in 2008. Bottom line: The younger and cuter the kid, the better for the campaign.

Which brings us to the broader subject of kids and campaign ads and the suggestion to spend some time on The Living Room Candidate Web site, which looks at presidential campaign TV ads in history. One of its collections involves ads featuring children. None of the ads involve the candidates’ children, though. Almost all involve kids in danger of being nuked.

Campaign ads with kids are supposed to help us identify with the candidate. Truth be told, I wonder if that couldn’t be more accurately accomplished with an ad showing a kid throwing a tantrum, screaming “I hate you and I wish I’d never been born,” running to his/her room, slamming the door and punching a wall. Cut to the candidate spackling a hole in the wall: “Please elect me. Because running a state is way easier than raising a kid.”

Or maybe you have one of those perfect families that politicians all seem to have.

3) The Star Tribune thinks that maybe people in the suburbs are getting better bus service than people in the city because the stations are nicer and the buses are fancier in the suburbs. And by “suburbs,” one guesses, the Strib means southwest suburbs since bus service elsewhere isn’t very good.

“Everyone recognizes there are these nice black buses, more expensive ones, going to the rich southwest suburbs,” Metropolitan Council member Tony Pistilli, of Brooklyn Park, once observed. “Living in the northern suburbs, I hear that from people all the time.”

Here’s what Pistilli doesn’t hear:

“I can’t get a bus after 7:50 in the morning from my suburb, which lies just 7 miles east of downtown, while people in the city get one every few minutes. I’ll take a cruddy bus over no bus,” said Bob Collins, who also pays an increased Washington County sales tax that goes more to provide transportation projects in Hennepin and Ramsey County rather than add bus service in his own county.

Curiously, the Star Tribune makes note of the fact the suburbs — like Woodbury — are not fairly served, but focuses on the suburb vs. city cliche anyway.

If you missed it: Here’s a neat video from the Pioneer Press, showing the Central Corridor light-rail system, which will link to buses to the suburbs in downtown St. Paul that don’t exist.

4) The pregame ceremony before last night’s Twins game in Texas featured the Golden Knights Army parachute team. What happened next may be a metaphor for the Twins’ march to the World Series:

Words I never thought I’d type in my lifetime: The Minnesota Twins put Jim Thome on the bench so they could get Drew Butera in the game.

Words I was pretty sure I’d type after seeing that the Twins played Drew Butera over Jim Thome: The Twins lost.

5) The New York Times reports the federal government had its chance to prevent a salmonella outbreak in the egg industry, but didn’t.

Faced with a crisis more than a decade ago in which thousands of people were sickened from salmonella in infected eggs, farmers in Britain began vaccinating their hens against the bacteria. That simple but decisive step virtually wiped out the health threat.

But when American regulators created new egg safety rules that went into effect last month, they declared that there was not enough evidence to conclude that vaccinating hens against salmonella would prevent people from getting sick.

Related: What does your refrigerator say about you? People, apparently, snoop in other people’s refrigerators the way they snoop in people’s medicine cabinets (I hear). “Open the fridge door,” the Boston Globe says, “and it mirrors you: What you are buying, eating, sipping, enjoying. Bathed in oracular fluorescent light is the real you.”

So people are designing and rearranging what’s in their refrigerator to make a better impression. At my house this week, Mrs. News Cut threw out that thing in the fridge that was smelling up the house. And also that other thing.

Bonus: Any discussion about better Internet service has to battle a perception problem. Let me give you an example with two headlines today:

From MPR: Broadband summit asks how to close rural digital divide.

From the BBC: Faster broadband networks could spell the end of the games console, experts say.

On the other hand, being able to watch someone breaking into your house on your cellphone is pretty cool.



Sales of previously occupied homes fell by 27 percent last month to their lowest level in 15 years. Unemployment remains high at 9.5 percent. Are we in a second recession?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer says Minnesota is losing jobs to South Dakota. Midmorning discusses taxes, private companies, and how state governments can impact an employer’s decision to relocate.

Second hour: Molecular biologist Beth Shapiro uses ancient DNA samples to travel through time, looking for clues to what caused the mass extinctions of species like mammoths more than 10,000 years ago. Her research could provide lead to strategies to preserve and protect species today.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: History professor Sara Evans discusses the history of the 19th Amendment.

Second hour: Andrew Bacevich, author of “Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War.” He spoke recently at Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: NPR political editor Ken Rudin discusses last evening’s primary results in several states.

Second hour: On police procedurals, like Bones, the forensic investigator always gets her killer with science. Reality is often much more complicated. Host Neal Conan talks to forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs, the mind behind Bones, the books and TV show.