Doing the right thing (5×8 – 11/24/10)

Lessons from the kidneys, Tom Hackbarth and the jealous kind, secrets of success, shut up and get scanned, and eight over 80.


What kind of person calls up a hospital and offers to donate a kidney? The Nicholle Hayes kind. The 34-year-old married mother of four was the first link in a kidney transplant chain celebrated yesterday in the Twin Cities when all of the links met each other, according to MPR’s Lorna Benson. It couldn’t have come at a better time for us news consumers; it was a good story about decent people doing the right thing.

I used to lie in bed and dream about the day a family got the good news that there was a kidney for a loved one. How many activities had to be planned around dialysis? How tired were they? How many tears were shed by people who loved them, watching them go through this? Would the recipient wake up from surgery feeling better than when he or she went in?

Is there any reason in the world to not give someone hope?


For sheer weirdness, the story of the day is Rep. Tom Hackbarth being stopped by police while walking down an alley in St. Paul, his legal gun by his side. He was looking for a woman he met online who’d told him earlier she was going out that evening with a girlfriend, but whom he suspected was out with a man.

“It’s not like I was really jealous, but you know how you meet this person and you really like her, and she’s saying all the right things, but you think she’s feeding you a line of bull—-? She’s giving you all this … and you want to figure out what’s going on. Well that’s what I did,” he told the Pioneer Press.

The Press quotes the police report:

An officer asked Hackbarth what he was doing. “Hackbarth said he was a state legislator and was headed back to work,” according to a report by one of several officers involved.

“I was looking for my girlfriend,” the report quotes Hackbarth as saying. “It was a stupid jealousy thing. I thought she was seeing another guy and I was going to check on her. She was suppose(d) to be at one of the shops over here, so I parked my truck and went to look for her car.”

KSTP has the video of Hackbarth.

“I don’t know why this thing is even news,” the state representative told the station.


The secret of success? Filling a niche. Just ask University of Minnesota student Chris Hui, who has built a business customizing sneakers.

(h/t: Jason DeRusha)


The Star Tribune has fallen in line with many other newspapers across the country in telling people to, basically, “shut up and get scanned.” In its editorial today, the local newspaper-of-record, chastises the public — and some of the media — for raising concerns about airport scanners:

It’s also likely that getting ahead of the flap would have muted the exaggerated news-media focus on the small percentage of air travelers — about 1 percent of the 2 million screened every day — who have chosen pat-downs instead of scanning this month. An education campaign could have pointed to opinion polls that show a majority of Americans support the use of body scanners. And that’s despite the spread of inaccurate rumors about the technology and its use.

The editorial mirrors one that appeared in the Los Angeles Times this week that actually was titled “Shut up and be scanned.

“There’s no bright line to indicate where our quest for security becomes intolerably invasive of our privacy, but we’re still pretty sure the TSA hasn’t yet crossed it,” it said.

It was a different tune, Dan Surber of the Daily Mail recalls, when security measures called for the eavesdropping on international calls.

But what’s most interesting — and predictable — about the Star Tribune editorial is its refusal to take responsibility for what it says is needless coverage of the airport security issue. It blames (in order) comedians, YouTube, the Internet and TV for overblowing the issue. Newspapers, anyone?

Here’s what’s on the front page of the Star Tribune website and on the front page of the printed Strib this morning:


Here’s the editorial cartoon next to the Star Tribune editorial today:


And here’s some of the nearly 50 articles on the subject in the Star Tribune in the last few weeks:



The Fargo Forum has posted a neat project — one that I tried to organize on News Cut a couple of years ago but couldn’t get enough entrants for. It’s a profile of people over 80 who are still working. The paper received 125 nominations and whittled the list down to eight, traveling across North Dakota and meeting one each day.

Here’s an example:

8 Over 80: Howard Langemo of Valley City from Paul Amundson on Vimeo.

Here’s the whole project. In particular, check out the 94-year old who says he has a “mandatory retirement age” of 100. Well done.

Bonus: On this date in 1859, Cass Gilbert was born. He’s still living.

Congrats: News Cut regular Derek Schille and Amanda have a new baby boy today. 7lbs.13oz., he reports.


Have you seen an idea that caused you to think, “I wish I’d thought of that”?. I’m preparing a future themed 5×8. Send details to me.


Historical documents suggest that the feast in 1621 which inspired traditional Thanksgiving meals in America included poultry, venison, fish and corn. What Thanksgiving dish is special to your family?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: How confident are experts that our fiscal health is on the up and up and does the public’s willingness to spend indicate anything about our economic recovery?

Second hour: The Dictionary of American Regional English’s chief editor Joan Houston, who has dedicated much of her career to deciphering and explaining regional variations.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: New University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler.

Second hour: Garrison Keillor interviews former Vice President Walter Mondale, in a stage performance Monday night at the Fitzgerald Theater.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: New 8th District congressman Chip Cravaack.

Second hour: Jane Leavy, author of “The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood.”

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Earlier this week, I invited people to share their property tax statements. The results — mostly from Minneapolis — were startling with double-digit increases. And yet, state officials released a report this week showing that proposed property tax increases are the lowest since 2002. How can this be? MPR’s Brandt Williams will explain.

Tom Robertson will tell us that the number of people seeking heating assistance is up, and some community agencies around the state say they’re already turning people away because of a lack of funding. Congress has so far failed to act on fully funding the program. So what happens when a more conservative Congress is sworn in in January? Will it be a target for cuts?

It’s become a tradition: Chicago blue-collar rocker Ike Reilly’s annual pre-Thanksgiving party at First Ave. Chris talks with Ike about being straight ahead rock n roll in an age of string and cello infused indie rock and what his songs say about America. MPR’s Chris Roberts has the story.

  • Tom

    Bob, I wish I had heard about your employees over 80 project! My when my 94 year old grandpa stopped working at the Science Museum of Minnesota, he had been a security guard/information attendant there for about 30 years. As the story goes he was still putting money into savings.

  • BJ

    that Kim Norton Video was GREAT. My fear of heights was triggered!

  • jsk

    Maybe the STrib not listing newspapers in the blame game is a concession on their part that newspapers are quickly losing relevance. LOL.