Who inspired you ? (Five by 8 – 9/17/10)

1) MIT and Harvard have produced a video taken from a discussion recently among members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. They were talking about ways to inspire kids to go into the sciences when the talk turned to what inspired them to do so:

And this inspires me to encourage you to tell us who inspired you most toward your passion in life. Name names. A teacher inspired me, but not for the reasons you think, nor the passion you might think.

2) Is losing your home the new shame? Today’s Pioneer Press story that Sen. Mee Moua has lost her St. Paul home and has moved in with relatives has that theme running through it. Moua’s parents owned the home, which they purchased for over $800,000, dropped in value to about $500,000, and sold in foreclose for over $300,000. But Moua never said anything publicly about the problems, which she shares with millions of other Americans.

“When it started, I was embarrassed, and I thought I would feel public shame,” Moua, who didn’t run for re-election, told the Pioneer Press. “But I’ve come to terms with it, and I know I did my best.”

From the sound of the article, she and her family may move from Minnesota.

Moua’s story from refugee camps in Thailand to the Minnesota Legislature has always been hailed as the American story. Now she’s living the new American story: the loss of her home.

She’s at least the second Minnesota legislator who faced foreclosure problems. Rep. Marsha Swails’ home fell into foreclosure twice. She recently announced she and her husband, whom she’s divorcing, are paying off tax liens and selling the home.

3) Jon Stewart announced last night he’s holding a rally on the National Mall next month. The Rally to Restore Sanity will be held in Washington on October 30. His fellow comedian, Stephen Colbert, then announced he’ll hold a competing rally, the March to Keep Fear Alive.Reading Twitter and Facebook reaction to the announcement of Stewart’s rally reveals that the partisans on both sides think the rally is primarily aimed at the other guys.

4) MPR’s Mark Steil does a fine job of explaining why the issue of continuing — or not — ethanol subsidies to farmers isn’t a city vs. rural issue. Other farmers say they’re the victims of those subsidies. A chicken-farming group, for example, says the subsidies end up boosting the price of corn, which increases the cost of the food they feed chickens. Another group says 3,000 jobs have been lost in the turkey industry because of the subsidies to ethanol producers.

5) Back in the day when wars required most people in the United States to sacrifice something, baseball players went off to war, too. Writer Bruce Markuson says, however, that baseball’s role in the Vietnam war has gone largely unnoticed. Until today.


More than a third of Americans reportedly think it’s acceptable in some circumstances to stop making payments and abandon a home.Would you ever walk away from a mortgage?

This reminds me of an old News Cut presentation I made, long before you started reading it.


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The first genetically modified animal for human consumption.

Second hour:William Gibson, the father of cyberpunk.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Minnesotan and best-selling author John Sandford talks about his latest Virgil Flowers novel, “Bad Blood.”

Second hour: Republican Tom Emmer, speaking at the U of M’s Humphrey Institute gubernatorial candidates series.

Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: A car that gets 100 miles per gallon.

Second hour: The spooky physics of “dark flow.”

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – For 40 years, barber Eddie Withers has cut hair at the same neighborhood barbershop in south Minneapolis. MPR’s Brandt Williams reports that his is one of the few African-American business owners in the area. He’s had thousands of customers, from famous professional athletes to neighborhood kids, and one kid who grew up to be a public radio reporter. But in 2008, his shop burned down in a suspected arson. It’s taken nearly two years to rebuild the shop. Now he’s back in business.

Dan Olson examines the three candidates’ positions on LGA, and what it means for cities, particularly Minneapolis and St. Paul, where both mayors based their budgets on the assumption they’d get the full amount of state aid they were expecting.

  • Who inspired me toward my passions? My older brother inspired me toward Science Fiction and fantasy. My HS History teacher inspired me to love ancient history. My friend Felicia inspired me to take up photography.

    And many other people…

  • Jon

    Regarding farmer vs. farmer – aren’t the feedlot folks always going to be negatively impacted when the grain folks have a good year? Regardless of what raises the price of corn, it would mean higher prices to feed the confined cattle, chickens, etc. The only way that the feedlots would get lower feed costs would be for the grain farmers to get paid less for the crops they grow (i.e. for it to be a bad year for the other guys). I would think those two groups are always blaming eachother for their hard times, despite the fact that neither would function without the other.

  • Re: Rally to Restore Sanity

    I’m thinking pretty much everyone who thinks the rally is about “the other guys” is actually part of the group the rally is about. Some serious sanity restoration is needed throughout the political spectrum.

  • JackU

    If Stewart (and Colbert) get more people to their rallies then Glen Beck can we take that as a good sign?