When tornadoes hit cities (5×8 – 5/23/11)

How to help with the cleanup in north Minneapolis, Minnesota is caught in the middle of a presidential race, muskrat hate in Grand Forks, Sandra Bernhard on Wits, and Kate Couric on Katie Couric.

The Monday Morning Rouser…


The North Minneapolis tornado, of course, is the big story this morning. And so is the one that struck Joplin, Missouri, a city about the size of Saint Paul Woodbury (h/t: Garrett via comments). Already this year we’ve learned something important: Tornadoes hit cities and the mythical “heat island” we often thought protected the Twin Cities from tornadoes obviously doesn’t.

We’re still getting some images in from the Sunday afternoon weather. Here are some posted to Flickr.

This is probably the most compelling video we’ve seen so far.

Are cities prepared for this sort of destruction and the immediate aftermath? A curfew was imposed last night in North Minneapolis, creating some tension because people didn’t know where they could go for shelter. Plus, a curfew comes with cops in riot gear and tear gas.

In Joplin, where more than 80 people died, the city’s Web site had plenty of information for people who want to help clean up today. Minneapolis’ Web site, as of early this morning, still had no information about the storm, or information for residents looking for shelter.

That left social media to do what social media does best. Urban Homeworks took the lead on putting together a volunteer plan and Facebook and Twitter spread the information. Volunteers should meet at 8 10 this morning on the 1800 block of Emerson Avenue. According to a Facebook post-tornado page, “Volunteers may contact Ryan Petersen at 612-701-2653 or ryan.petersen@urbanhomeworks.org. If you cannot make it but would like to contribute tools or machinery,feel free to contact them.”


The other significant story today will be Gov. Tim Pawlenty is announcing he’ll be doing something he’s been doing for a few years: running for president. Things are falling into place nicely for Pawlenty. Many potentially electable Republicans have decided not to run, several of the ones who get a lot of coverage don’t have much of a chance of getting elected, and the race for the nomination is starting to shape up as a two-person race between Pawlenty and Mitt Romney. Here’s a “preview” video he’s put out in advance of today’s announcement.

There’ll be a lot of attention on Minnesota in the next year and a half. The former governor will make Minnesota look like heaven; the Democrats will try to make it look like Mississippi. Sorry, Mississippi.

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver says Pawlenty has to run against “the ghost of Mitch Daniels.”

At the same time, there is a dangerous dynamic for Mr. Pawlenty — and perhaps also for Mr. Huntsman and Mr. Romney — in that the chorus of conservatives who are dissatisfied with their field is only likely to grow louder. Mr. Pawlenty no longer has to compete directly against Mr. Daniels — but he still has to compete against the idea of Mr. Daniels, a candidate who perhaps was perceived as having somewhat more gravitas and who (because of his service in the George W. Bush administration) was more familiar to some within Washington. As a commenter at the conservative grass-roots blog RedState astutely noted, Mr. Daniels’s decision could give rise to a number of “unfounded myths of what a great candidate and president he would have been.”

Bud Buck — Dale Connelly — says it’s going to be a great year for anyone in the overly-dramatic-music business.

More politics: E.J. Dionne lets the media have it for wanting politics to be civil and respectful, and then ignoring those who are civil and respectful in favor of those who aren’t.


There’s a muskrat invasion underway on the North Dakota-Minnesota border near Grand Forks, the Fargo Forum reports. Muskrat populations are high because abundant water conditions the past couple of years have created ideal habitat for them, the paper says. A single muskrat will have 33 babies this summer. “They’re just destroying the roads out there,” Lipsh said. “There are no shoulders on them, and the water is high. They burrow under the road and collapse the road,” a highway engineer said. Unlike gophers, there is no bounty program on muskrats.


There was another episode of Wits on Friday night. Here’s a secret. Every day in the last couple of months, Julia Sweeney’s 2010 Wits monologue on talking to her kid about sex has been the most popular page on the MPR News Web site. Think about that. Think of all of the things that have happened in actual news in the last 6-8 weeks, and none of it strikes a chord like a comedian having the same talk with her kid that every other parent — well, most other parents — have to have sooner or later.

Sandra Bernhard was the guest Friday night. For the record, she’s never had a conversation with anyone that most parents have also had.


It’s commencement season, of course, and this week’s pick is Katie Couric, who spoke over the weekend — and spoke, and spoke, and spoke (her speech lasted a half hour!) — to the graduates of Boston University. “The critics said I lacked gravitas, which I’ve decided is Latin for testicles,” she said.

Bonus: The Lost Beatles Photographs. A series of previously unreleased photographs has just been released. Included is this one from the old Met Stadium in Bloomington in 1965.



By law, the Minnesota Legislature must adjourn by midnight tonight. The governor could call a special session to address any unfinished work. Today’s Question: How would you grade the performance of the governor and Legislature this session?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The Minnesota budget stalemate.

Second hour: Loyalty is a quality that many people hold in high regard. But a new book argues that loyalty has its down side.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – Both hours: Live from the State Capitol Rotunda on the final day of the 2011 legislative session. Gary Eichten and Mike Mulcahy with Gov. Dayton, all four legislative leaders and key lawmakers on the major issues.

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

Second hour: Bill Moyers’ Journal tackled some of the decade’s thorniest issues — war,

recession, and climate change — while provoking thoughtful conversation about everything from poetry to the American Dream. Moyer’s PBS show is gone, but the conversation continues in a new book.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Of course, we’ll have the latest on the cleanup in north Minneapolis. Mark Zdechlik is in Iowa watching Tim Pawlenty.

Georgia’s famous peaches and Vidalia onions are harvested largely by migrant workers. So the state’s pending crackdown on illegal immigrants is rattling nerves across the Latino community– and amongst farmers who fear that their industry might collapse. NPR will have the story.