A finished quilt; an ongoing war (5×8 – 5/19/11)

Caron’s tour of duty, an eye on Iowa’s pigs, the Vikes’ stadium from the outside in, measuring up to Harmon, and long-lasting marriages are increasing.


When News Cut first started in 2007, one of the first posts was this feature with Caron Lage of St. Cloud. She intended to make a quilt to mark the deaths of people in the war in Iraq. It kept getting bigger. (Sorry, iPeople. You won’t see this)

Each six inch quilt square represents one American service person who has died in the war. On each block are 212 black beads or French knots representing the Iraqis who have died. The total display represents 3,100 American military lives lost and 655,000 Iraqi citizen lives lost.

It’s done now, and will be on display at Waite Park Library over Memorial Day.


If legislation in Iowa (and Minnesota) is passed, Mark Bittman of the New York Times could be arrested for the picture he posted overnight on his blog about his trip through Iowa. He found a factory farm and no one was around, so he went in:

Note the wooden slats, which are hosed down so the manure falls under the barn; it stinks. (Neither of the open-air pig farms I’ve been on this week have any odor at all. Just saying.) There’s a pile of dead pigs, which has clearly been there for a while. Pig corpses also fill a nearby bin. That’s to be expected — none of this is surprising, but it’s ugly.

Pending legislation in Minnesota would make it illegal for anyone to photograph such a scene.

As the UWM (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee) Post put it...

Not only would it outlaw photographs and videos taken without permission at farms and slaughterhouses, it would extend the injunction to other animal industries, such as puppy mills and pounds.

The bill’s language explicitly prohibits the production, distribution or possession of photos and video taken without permission at an agricultural operation, and distribution is kind of the media’s thang…

But wait, there’s more. As if this blatant breach of our rights to free speech and free press wasn’t enough, they also want to make it illegal to simply possess such images. In other words, they want to make it illegal for anyone to have visual evidence of animal abuse – itself a crime, need I remind you.

Supporters say the legislation is needed to prevent people from fraudulently gaining access to their property. But Bittman says he tried to contact the owner dozens of times for a tour of his facility. He never heard back, he says.

From what I could tell at the Legislature’s Web site, the bill never got a hearing in committee and at least one original sponsor jumped off the legislation.


Bob Ingrassia at Idea Peepshow has been peeping through the fences at the former Army Ammunitions Plant, or as football fans like to say, church. It’s the future home — maybe — of the Minnesota Vikings football stadium.

In today’s MPR commentary, anti-tax activist Phil Krinkie says the Vikings are in no position to demand a new stadium. Earlier this week, Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett says it’s a win.


Are you tired of Harmon Killebrew stories? Me neither. Today’s comes from Tomm Henninger of Stats Inc.

This writer experienced Killebrew’s impact firsthand. In nearly two decades of interviewing baseball players past and present, he may be the only one who, when asked if he could make time for me at some point, said, “How about now?”

Another time I was to meet Killebrew in the Twins’ offices. He was coming to town for a team function, and typically the Twins kept him running when he showed up for a 24-48 hour stay. On this occasion, it turned out, he was meeting me upon arriving at the Metrodome from the airport. It was our first meeting, and I was touched that he had even made time for me. Then, as we made our way to a conference room, I witnessed for the first time how Killebrew touched lives. As we walked between cubicles, he warmly greeted each secretary and staff member, calling each by name, inquiring about family or referencing a previous meeting.

That’s when I realized the real power of Killebrew. We don’t often meet people in any walk of life who are like him. Now that he has passed and we have his legacy to ponder, how he touched people will stick more with this writer than how he pounded a baseball.

The Star Tribune notes Killebrew’s support of the Miracle League, which builds specially designed rubber turf fields to accommodate wheelchairs and crutches.

“This is really Harmon’s best home run,” said Bob Lietzke, board president at Bennett Family Park, where a Miracle League started four years ago. “He hit that long one at Metropolitan Stadium, but this is his biggest home run of all.”

We’re sad about Killebrew’s passing for the obvious reasons, of course. But his death — and the death of people like him — touch us more than some others because he was a better person than many of us are, as if there’s nothing we can do it about now.

Meanwhile, on its fine blog, the Minnesota Historical Society came up with this item of the day from 1965.



Surprise! Marriage seems to be doing well on its own, thank you very much. The census bureau reports more than half of all currently married couples — 55 percent — have been together at least 15 years, and 35 percent have marked their 25th anniversaries. Six percent have been married more than 50 years. That’s a 1-2 percent increase over 1996, the Boston Globe reports.

Fifty-five percent of people answering the census have been married just once. First marriages ending in divorce lasted about 8 years, the bureau said.

I like this couple’s chances:


Recent days have seen developments in the Republican race for president. Some prominent names have joined the field of candidates, and some have left. Today’s Question: What do you think of the field of Republican presidential candidates?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Republican legislative leaders Amy Koch and Kurt Zellers.

Second hour: Justin Cronin, author of “The Passage.” His book “Mary and O’Neil” won the Pen/Hemingway award.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – After the president’s speech: Updates from the Minnesota Capitol as the legislative session nears an end.

Second hour: UBS Forum discussion about bullying.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: How to talk to kids about money.

Second hour: Doctors, patients and bedside manner.

  • Jim Hartmann

    Anyone with their name sponsoring that bill (#2) is saying “I have something to hide”.

  • Jon

    Regarding #5, if fewer people were getting married these days (as might be indicated by the recent news in the uptick of cohabitators owning houses out of wedlock), wouldn’t that result in the average marriage getting longer (i.e. there are fewer people in their first years of marriage)- or did they factor that in?

  • Scott

    I doubt if “Mark Bittman of the New York Times” has really been to an “open-air pig farm” in warmer months. Yes, they do smell. I imagine the smell is not unlike a New York City subway.

    The automatic hog-comfinement building systems are very well controlled: ventilation, lighting, water, feed, etc. If a problem develops the system dials the farmers’ cellphones and they can deal with the problem in short order.

    As for “just walking in uninvited when know one was around” I believe that falls under the catagory of breaking and entering.

    My brothers-in-law, in Iowa, have an automatic hog-comfinement building and they treat their animals with utmost respect. That is also the case with the ground they till. It is what puts food on their table, your table and Mark Bittman’s table.

  • Jamie

    I don’t know which is worse: the whole getting-the-father’s-permission thing (yes, they DID say “permission” in the beginning, later it was “your blessing” which is just as bad in this case since he was apparently doing it without his “girlfriend’s” knowledge), OR the icky cheesy public proposal.

    Yuck to both!!

    If someone ever proposed to me that way, I’d get up and walk out. Actually, I’d never get involved with someone like that in the first place.