River watch (Five by 8 – 9/27/10)

Welcome to your Monday. Time to move. Here’s the Rouser:


I was sufficiently concerned by St. Paul’s decision to close roads along the Mississippi River this week to go look for what’s coming. So yesterday, we flew from Flying Cloud, down the Minnesota River (we’re swimming against the current where the Minnesota comes to the Twin Cities from SW Minnesota), to see whether it’s a significant flooding threat. The Weather Service says the Minnesota will rise to flood stage on Thursday. Highway 169 is already no picnic. (Click on the icon to view these images in full screen)

We didn’t fly over Zumbro Falls, which is one of the hardest hit areas of the state, since the images from the ground speak for themselves.


What happens when the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t pay close attention to what some non-profits are up to when it comes to illegally supporting individual candidates? More do it. On Sunday, more than 100 pastors sermonized on political candidates, daring the government to do something about it. Non-profits (churches, for example) who are tax-exempt are not allowed to work on behalf of individual candidates.

Pulpit Initiative Video from Alliance Defense Fund on Vimeo.


Why can’t we just privatize libraries? A private firm has now become the fifth-largest library system in the country. They don’t appear to be people people.

“A lot of libraries are atrocious,” Mr. Pezzanite said. “Their policies are all about job security. That’s why the profession is nervous about us. You can go to a library for 35 years and never have to do anything and then have your retirement. We’re not running our company that way. You come to us, you’re going to have to work.”


Here’s a theory: The people who design recreation parks are stuck in the ’60s. In my corner of suburbia, the park was rebuilt. The tennis courts and basketball hoops were replaced with new tennis courts and basketball hoops. Both are mostly empty. The two big baseball diamonds haven’t had a game on them all summer. Most of the organized sports have moved to the giant sports center across town.

Rupa Shenoy may have the reason why. Recreation is changing. In her story today, she profiles how community organizers are turning to soccer. And why not? The neighborhoods are changing. Tennis? Baseball? Basketball? Yesterday’s sports.

What’s happening in your neighborhood?


Dear person who’s got his/her 15 minutes of fame today by filming the landing of a plane with stuck landing gear in New York: What part of “heads down” don’t you understand?


Each Monday now through the election, we’ll pose a question on an issue that’s pertinent to the race for Minnesota governor. Today’s Question: Does the debate over same-sex marriage have a place in Minnesota politics?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Have the people who turned out for Obama in 2008 given up on hope and change?

Second hour: The photographer best known for the arresting image of a young Afghan girl that appeared on the cover of National Geographic in 1985 joins Midmorning to talk about his work, his innate curiosity about the world, and how he chose to use the last roll of Kodachrome film

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Jim Leach, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is coming to town Friday for a discussion about civility and democracy

Second hour: Gubernatorial debate about health and human services issues (recorded Friday in Brainerd).

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: How patients and insurance companies are adapting to the new health care law.

Second hour: NPR’s Michele Norris recounts her search for her family’s hidden past.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Hunger is often perceived as one of life’s intractable problems, affecting someone else’s family. But a new campaign launching today in Minnesota aims to show how hunger can spiral into larger problems that burden society. MPR’s Laura Yuen will have the story.

  • kennedy

    For the well-being of both church and government, campaigning for or endorsing a political party or candidate has no place in the life of a church.

  • BJ

    I think that church life can get involved with poplitcal. Just the cost is loss of nonprofit status. I’m OK with that.

    On privatized libraries, sounds like they are people people, just not lazy employee people. Looking to provide better service to clients seems pretty people people to me 🙂

    PS Bob I’m not sure but I think I pay a pretty large number every year to the local library, Hennepin, though my taxes now.

  • davidz

    Nice pictures, Bob. Hope you had a good flight, and a passenger to help with the photography.

  • vjacobsen

    I can not imagine many operations that are less suited to be run by a and as a business than a library (maybe a museum?). I worked in one through college, and I can’t think of many ways that the principles of running a library overlap with the principles of running a business. Maybe….ummm…nope. Libraries and the people who work there are not fast-paced places. I will say, though, those people DO WORK, but if you put video of them working next to, say, a stock trader, you might think they less productive, but at least a bunch of librarians never caused global economic crisis.

  • Kassie

    I think Minneapolis does a nice job of putting the right recreation facilities in to the right parks. The park closest to me ALWAYS has people on the basketball court and usually has people playing tennis. The small baseball diamond is frequently used for kickball.

    There are a few parks out there that I rarely see used, but Minneapolis has been great at putting in soccer fields all over the place and leaving up hockey rinks in the summer for bike polo. Smart people those recreation planners. (Though I’m sure some will think change hasn’t happened fast enough.)

  • kennedy

    On an individual level, one can be involved in both religion and politics without risk to the system. However, a religious organization’s involvment in politics risks the secular nature of our government. If the religion of the majority bends law and government to it’s liking, the religious freedoms of the minority are compromised.