Resilience (5×8 – 1/12/11)

Moving on after tragedies, religion is in the DNA, the last Nelson, the mess at the U, and overdoing birthdays.


How do you go on? Silently, sometimes aloud, that question permeates the country in the wake of Saturday’s shootings in Tucson. Renee Splichal Larson, no doubt, can answer the question for the families of the tragedy’s victims. A year ago today, her husband, Benjamin Larson, the son of two Duluth pastors, died when the orphanage where they were staying collapsed in the earthquake in Haiti.

She told us shortly thereafter about that day:

“We struggle along with it all the time,” Renee told MPR’s Tom Crann recently. “It’s not that we ever reach a point and say, ‘well, glad I understand that,’ or look back on it. It’s still as confusing to us today as it was then.”

We’ll hear more about Haiti during the day today. During Midday, the head of the American Red Cross will speak to the National Press Club. For sure, the question of why the Red Cross has millions of dollars still in the bank, rather than spend it in the country.

Some things are changing because of Haiti, but not necessarily in Haiti:


People who are religious tend to have more children, so it’s possible for scientists to track a predisposition to be religious. It’s genetic, reports today.

A religious group that makes up only 0.5 percent of a population could make up 50 percent within 10 generations, according to one of the models.

“All people who work in this area know there is a genetic basis to being religious, in the sense there is a genetic basis to all human behavior,” said Robert Rowthorn, a professor emeritus of economics at Kings College in Cambridge, who developed the models.

It’s unclear, however, what we’re to do with this information, although researchers seem to be tracking the growth in Islam.


It’s unlikely that 50 years from now, we’ll notice that a younger member of a TV family has passed away. It’s unlikely that we’ll feel we lost a family friend, as Baby Boomers often do these days. They don’t become part of our lives the way they did in the ’50s and ’60s.

David Nelson, the last of the Ozzie and Harriet clan, has died, NPR reports.


Next to the state budget, is there a bigger mess in Minnesota right now than the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team? Last week, guard Devoe Joseph decided to leave the team and transfer. This week, Trevor Mbakwe was jailed after violating a restraining order. The only people happy about the mess, it seems, are the people whose job it used to be to cover it for the local newspapers.

Jeff Shelman is one of those guys. He writes about it on his blog today:

I’m just glad I’m not playing traffic cop on this story. Because it probably isn’t going to go away. Will he be charged? Does this impact his settlement in Florida? What will the media-phobic head coach say about this? I’m glad this isn’t under my watch.

Maybe I’m crazy, but it certainly seems that college sports teams harbor more knuckleheads than ever. And it isn’t just a Gophers thing. Also this week, an unnamed University of Washington basketball player may be under investigation for a sexual assault. The same thing happened at Michigan State earlier this fall. And don’t even get me started on college football.

More sports (sort of): It’s good to be North Dakota these days. While other states struggle with money woes, North Dakota is flush with cash. So one of the biggest legislative pushes this year is enshrining a word/logo into the state’s constitution that some find racist.


This ad agency created this satire — at least I think it’s satire — about a campaign to support a kid’s birthday party. Recently, however, I’ve read some posts on Twitter and Facebook describing what some of you are doing for your little one’s birthday, and now I’m not so sure this a joke.

Come on! Bring it. We’re all about the dirt, here at News Cut. Tell us about your birthday party excesses. You’ll feel better unloading your burden.

Bonus: Did former governor Tim Pawlenty miss any media organization yesterday when he was out promoting his candidacy book?


President Obama will be among the speakers at the memorial service to honor victims of last Saturday’s mass shooting in Arizona. If you could speak at this evening’s memorial service in Arizona, what would you say?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: While the political rhetoric on health care reform law has cooled, efforts to repeal it are still moving forward. Guests take a rational look at the political positioning and how individual states are trying to either challenge or implement the law.

Second hour: How will the Arizona shootings impact public attitudes towards stricter, comprehensive gun control laws?

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Paul Eisenstein on the future of the auto industry. The North American International Auto Show is underway in Detroit.

Second hour: Gail McGovern, CEO of the Red Cross, on the anniversary of the Haiti earthquake. She will speak to the National Press Club.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: NPR political editor Ken Rudin assesses the impact of the rampage in Tucson on theHill.

Second hour: What worked and what didn’t, a year after the quake in Haiti.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Biermaier’s Books, one of the largest used book dealers in the state, will close after 60 years in Dinkytown. Owner Bill Biermaier says he’ll miss working with customers. MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar looks at what has kept him in business all these years and how the used book business has changed.

MPR’s Stephanie Hemphill reports that Minnesota’s leading business lobbying group says the state’s environmental review process isn’t working, and it wants to make some changes, including allowing project developers to conduct their own environmental reviews. The effort comes as the Legislative Auditor is preparing a report on how the environmental permitting process is working.

MPR’s Dan Olson explores rebuilding efforts a year after the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti.

The Minnesota state health dept report on long-term care cites a survey of “service gaps” in counties. Number one is non-medical transportation. How do rural counties get seniors to their doctor’s appointments? Who’s there to do the driving? MPR’s Dan Gunderson will have the answers.

  • Bonus: Did former governor Tim Pawlenty miss any media organization yesterday when he was out promoting his candidacy book?

    Shouldn’t we take the former Governor at his word when he says he is not a candidate for the Presidency at this time??

    Okay, I guess we all needed a laugh in the morning…

  • A interesting news item that seems like it is kinda flying under the radar is the backlash over the closing of the Main Ave SE interchange with I-94 in Moorhead. The Fargo Forum today in an editorial advocated that the city just open the ramps themselves and “let the legal chips fall where they may.”