Free hugs here (Five by 8 – 9/7/10)

Monday Morning Rouser – special Tuesday and ‘summer is over’ edition:

1) Yesterday, GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer told impatient reporters asking for his budget plan that he’d give them all a hug. He didn’t. But maybe he’s onto something:

Why didn’t we think of this before the State Fair? Someone did.

2) Two deaths over the weekend have us considering who will be the civil rights champions of the current generation? Jefferson Thomas died on Sunday. He was one of the Little Rock 9, students who integrated the high school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. He had white friends before he went to high school, but didn’t have many once he got there.

“Eventually, I ran into them … and they were not at all happy to see me,” Thomas added. “One of them said, ‘Well I don’t mind playing basketball or football with you or anything. You guys are good at sports. Everybody knows that, but you’re just not smart enough to sit next to me in the classroom.'”

He narrated this documentary:

Closer to home comes word that another pioneer has died. Ken Wofford, a Tuskegee airman, served in both World War II and Vietnam. He was from Golden Valley. He helped convert the Air Force from propeller-driven aircraft to jets. He is a member of the Minnesota aviation hall of fame.

They struggled against inequality and as they pass, the country slips backward. A federal court says there’s nothing wrong about a white man calling a black man, “boy,” the New York Times reports.

3) A new study says there’s no medical evidence that bipolar disorder makes people violent — it’s the booze and drugs they turn to, according to the BBC:

“The link between mental illness and violence is often grossly exaggerated when in fact people with mental health problems are far more likely to be the victims of crime than the perpetrators,” said an official with a UK mental health charity. But an executive of another mental health organization criticized the findings, saying it underplays violence caused by people with schizophrenia.

More science! Want to lose weight? Go to sleep. A study shows young kids who get at least 8 hours of sleep a night tend to be less fat than their non-sleeping peers.

4) Today’s 5×8 is brought to you by the number 2, which is how many years in a row, Nikki Tundel has captured the best of the now-concluded-but-not-forgotten Minnesota State Fair, by focusing on animals in dress-up.

And if you’ve forgotten last year’s, here:

Of course, you can never have enough sheep video when you run a blog. Over the weekend, they had the running of the sheep in Reeds Point, Montana. Here’s last year’s:

5) How do you hold onto summer in Minnesota? You ride through a soybean field on a perfect day. (Minnesota Prairie Roots)

Off we went, bouncing along the field road under a beautiful blue sky scuttled with white clouds. Honestly, September days in Minnesota don’t get much better than this–sunshine and soybean fields, country air and spacious skies, princess waves and smiles as wide as the horizon, dog hugs and happy kids, laughter and the love of family, my family.

Discussion point: MPR’s Tom Weber reports today that school districts in the state are trying to figure out how to spend over $150 million in federal cash. This is money Congress send to the states as part of an “emergency” to save teacher jobs. But several school districts say they might stash the money in reserve. Question: If you’re stashing the money, where’s the emergency?


At the start of each week now through the election, we’ll pose a question on an issue that’s pertinent to the race for Minnesota governor. Today’s Question: Should public schools have to seek voter approval for operating funds?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s executive order forbidding state agencies from accepting or applying for funds connected to federal health care reform has pleased conservatives and enraged Democrats. Midmorning looks at what the decision means for the state, and at what other states that oppose federal health care reform are doing.

Second hour: When writer Sara Gruen went to see the work being done at Great Ape Trust, an Iowa research center where scientists are studying how apes acquire and understand language, she came away transformed. Her time there inspired the new novel “The Ape House.”

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Retiring Minnesota National Guard Adjutant Gen. Larry Shellito will be in the studio to talk about his career, and the role of the Guard in foreign wars.

Second hour: Broadcast of the gubernatorial debate, held this morning in Duluth.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: TBA

Second hour: Coming out at work.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – What’s it like heading back to class when your school got clobbered by a tornado? Wadena kids are going to school at the college. MPR’s Tom Robertson will have the story.

On the first day of school for most kids in Minnesota, Tom Weber heads to one of the state’s ‘worst performing’ schools for the first day of their first year with an influx of money from the feds to turn their school around. What’s different at the school? What will kids notice? Are school leaders hopeful this might be an actual help, or just the next program with money?

Today is the day Bedlam Theatre completely vacates its Cedar Riverside location. Chris Roberts reports on the impact the theater/music venue/restaurant had on its neighborhood and what the future may hold.