In the name of religion (Five by 8 – 9/9/10)

1) Just when the “mosque” controversy near the World Trade Center was dying down, along comes the Quran book-burning story out of Florida. And now the shoe is on the other foot, commentator William Saletan writes on One misguided preacher and his small band of misguided followers are being held up in other countries as representative of all Americans.

This is how it feels to be judged by the sins of others who destroy in the name of your faith. You’re no more responsible for 30 Christian extremists in Florida than Muslims are for the 9/11 hijackers. Yet most of us, when polled, say that no Muslim house of worship should be built near the site of the 9/11 attacks. In saying this, we implicitly hold all Muslims accountable for the crime of the 9/11 hijackers.

But a third of Americans, according to a new poll, believe mainstream Islam encourages violence against non-Muslims.

Who loses in all of this? People who want to have quiet reflection of 9/11, the Washington Post says.

More on religion: The New York Times Lens blog captures the rites of self flagellation.

2) Caution: Nice story ahead. From the Redwood Falls Gazette:

The Redwood Gazette featured a story about Joanne Kitto’s work at the Redwood Falls Public Library. Among other subjects, the article mentioned how Joanne collected items every year to take back to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation where she grew up–one of the poorest in the nation. “When the Gazette story came out, people came into the library to ask if I’d accept donations,” she said earlier this week.

Thrift stores offered five van loads of goods. The cops donated bikes. A business donated a truck to take the items to the reservation.

The takeaway: Some people have a better clue than some preachers.

3) Still waiting for social networking to knock you over? A new site – Intersect — debuted in beta yesterday. It’s not so much about what people are doing or what’s on their mind. It’s about their stories.

Is there room in the social networking universe for stories about people learning to milk a cow?

“Life is made of stories,” a tutorial on the site notes. And, it’s true, of course. I’ve been saying that on News Cut for almost three years. Here’s the problem: People don’t think they’re interesting, or that anyone else would be interested in reading about their lives. So check out Intersect and if you find yourself saying, “I could probably tell a story,” you need to get back here immediately and drop me an e-mail.

What kind of story? How about this one from A Lakeville man, an adult now, couldn’t get a liquor license for his BBQ restaurant because of crimes he committed as a kid back then. “I don’t know if those drugs I dealt killed people, ruined lives,” Brian Wheeler said. “I have to live with that. That’s my guilt.” He’s found redemption through pulled pork.

4) Traffic engineers in Canada have figured out a way to get drivers to slow down…

It’s a 3-D image stenciled on the pavement. Big points go out to the first person who can identify the potential problem with this. (Hint: It’s not all the rear-enders caused by someone who slams on the brakes to avoid hitting the fake kid.)

5) “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can — and will — be used against you in a court of law. Now, we dance.”

In New Zealand, homeowners caught two men spray-painting their home. So they made them dance until the cops arrived:

“I made them dance to humiliate them and I think I have achieved that,” the owner of the property in Whangarei, Northland told the Northern Advocate newspaper.


Even though presidents of both parties have professed respect for Islam, incidents around the country have suggested hostility toward Muslims in recent years. Is America becoming a less welcoming place for Muslims?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: As schools across the country convened for the year, the New York Times surveyed the recent research into how we learn and retain new information. And what researchers are finding could change how teachers ultimately reach students. Midmorning talks with a Washington University psychologist and a University of Minnesota educational psychologist about bridging the divide between the laboratory and the classroom.

Second hour: The history of the Ojibwe people goes back thousands of years and is interwoven into the story of the state of Minnesota. One writer and college professor is determined that Ojibwe history, language and culture not be forgotten.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Chris Farrell and Louis Johnston discuss the president’s new economic plans, and talk about whether money can buy you happiness.

Second hour: A panel discussion from the Aspen Ideas Festival about what children should learn in school.

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

Second hour: Liz Murray often had to sleep on the subway, in a hallway, or in

a friend’s spare bed. She discusses her new book, “From Homeless to Harvard.”

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Minnesota’s housing market is in the doldrums, with one exception. Some kinds of senior housing are doing just fine. MPR’s Dan Olson will report.

Nearly three months after a wave of tornadoes crossed northwestern Minnesota, more than 100 farmers in rural Otter Tail County are still recovering. The devastation was bad enough that many faced the difficult decision of whether to rebuild or not. MPR’s Ambar Espinoza will have the story.

  • Nick N.

    I don’t see how there could possibly be a problem with training drivers to ignore the fact that they are apparently running over a child.

  • Bismuth

    Canada just became a lot more dangerous for blond kids with pink balls and blue-and-white striped shirts.

  • Ben

    LOL! Exactly, Nick. Not to mention other kids running in to the street to play ball.

  • matt

    On the Koran burning – I am still dumbfounded that Petraeus states this puts our troops in danger. If, after 8+ years in Afghanistan, the actions of a mob of morons in Florida is going to tip us we should have left 8+ years ago. The insistence remains that this war is about terrorism but if the Muslim world sees it as something else, a religious war, we might want to reevaluate rather quickly (like 8+ years ago).

  • Bonnie

    If only the media had learned from my mother who taught me to ignore idiots who were bugging you. This guy in Florida never should have become a story. Here’s another thing that’s bugging me. How do you pronounce Muslim properly? I was told, by a Muslim, that it is “mooslum”, and yet I hear very few radio professionals pronounce it this way.

  • Ben Chorn

    what happens when it snows??? How then are we suppose to know to slow down?

  • Lesli from Minneapolis

    What happens when people see this image from the other direction and are distracted while they try to figure it out? Or traffic increases because it becomes a tourist destination?

  • Kevin M

    It’s a ‘boy who cried wolf’ scenario… What happens when drivers become inured to the stencils, plow right over them, and one day it actually IS a real kid? Faking people out to elicit a certain behavior is always a dangerous road to take – getting them to voluntarily take precautions seems much more stable as a course of action.