The summer shutdown (5×8 – 6/10/11)


There’s little indication politicians at the Capitol are capable of avoiding a state shutdown, the net effect of which is difficult to say for certain because the parameters for shutting it down haven’t been set yet (although I took a shot at it here)

MPR’s Tom Scheck visits with some of the state workers who will be asked to pay the price for the Legislature and governor’s apparent failures. A woman who works at the security hospital in St. Peter says it’ll cost $1,300 a month for health insurance, an important thing for her because her husband is recovering from cancer.

They might be able to get severance pay, the Star Tribune says. That’ll cost the state a few million. Thirty-six thousand layoff notices will arrive in the mailboxes today.

The state workers will get the bulk of the news coverage during the shutdown because they’re the most visible — and easily found — victims. But we should — and will — get an opportunity to hear from the people the workers serve through what they do. Is that you? Tell us about it below .

Meanwhile, City Pages assesses who’s to blame for the mess.


Only 300 tickets have been sold for the big benefit concert for tornado recovery in north Minneapolis, MPR’s Cathy Wurzer tweeted this morning, confirming the report here a few days ago of slow sales. Is it the economy? The cause? The all-star lineup? You tell us. The goal was to raise $100,000 and it doesn’t appear that’s going to happen.

But perhaps this has something to do with it…


That’s what you get if you followed the original link from the Star Tribune’s arts blog about the concert. This is the link you want.

Down in Joplin, destroyed by a tornado, nature keeps piling on. A rare fungus is infecting the blood of the tornado victims.


The sooner that police and other public servants realize that someone always has a camera, the safer we’ll all be. This amazing video was shot by a man who watched Miami police shoot and kill an eratic driver.”They handled us like we were criminals,” a woman said. “The officer came over to the driver’s side, on my left, and just put the gun to my head.”

“They took everyone’s phones and smashed them,” she said.


big_fish_2.jpg The biggest silver-phase northern pike in the history of Minnesota has been caught. Maybe. Mark Plumley of St. Croix Falls caught it in Ely on Wednesday. It’s over 18 pounds. The problem is current state records don’t list a category for the silver pike, nor for a silver-phase northern pike, the Duluth News Tribune says. ” In more recent years, the fish has been considered a color phase of the northern pike, not a distinct species. caught just one fish on Wednesday, but he made it count.”

“It’s a gorgeous fish,” Ron Schmidt of Smitty’s on Snowbank said. “It’s old. Half its teeth are gone.”

When you catch an old-timer like that, does part of you say, “let it go” ?


Looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift for your nerdy dad? Build this light that tells when the space station is visible overhead:

ISS Lamp from Nathan Bergey on Vimeo.

Plans and directions for building one are here. If you build it by Monday night at 10:49 p.m., you can test it out. The space station will be directly over St. Paul. Find other sighting times here.

Bonus: This video on YouTube has people concerned. It’s a rabbit without ears that was born in April, near the radiation-spewing nuke plants in Japan.


Layoff notices are starting to arrive today for 36,000 state employees. They would be among the first to feel the direct effects of a possible state government shutdown. Today’s Question: How would a state government shutdown affect you?


I am off today, traveling to New York. Several people will post in my absence today.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: As the governor and Republican leaders meet privately, the state is closing in on a government shutdown July 1st. How can the two sides reach a compromise? What impact will media campaigns have on the outcome?

Second hour: Siri Hustvedt, author of “A Summer Without Men.”

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Former GOP governor Arne Carlson.

Second hour: BBC’s “World Have Your Say” progam—live from Cairo, Egypt. “Who Has the Power in the Middle East?”

Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The genetic culprits behind autism.

Second hour: Why do disasters seem to be happening more often?

  • nt moore

    Re the shutdown, here’s the letter I sent to my local senator:

    Dear Senator Miller,

    I’ve been working with colleagues over the last few months to organize a pair of science education workshops for K-12 teachers in the SE MN area. The offerings have proved to be quite popular, and we now expect to serve about 50-60 teachers in July and August. Some of the teachers participating are the elementary school staff at the new WAPS STEM elementary program at Jefferson, which you may heard about. The workshops will provide participating teachers with a completely revised curriculum, and in past years the effort has lead to substantial improvements in student learning.

    While most of the effort has been funded by external sources, all of the money to run these meetings has been routed through WSU’s business office, and the meeting is a university event. If the state government shuts down and MMB deems MNSCU non-essential, we will have to cancel the workshops.

    Please understand that if the state government shuts down, even for a few days, there will be real and painful effects and the quality of life in Minnesota will decrease. The workshops I mention are a much more compelling example than Whitewater being closed for a few days…

    Similarly, I’m teaching a summer physics course in June and most of the students plan to take the continuation course in July. Again, if we have to cancel classes, even for “just” a week in July, it will mean a substantial hit for the university ($950/student*35 students ~= $33k just for one class – there are MANY classes offered in July!)

    I do not envy the decisions you have to make, but I strongly encourage you to resolve the budget issue promptly!

  • Tyler

    Regarding recording the cops: Youtube is blocked here at work, but if you posted the video I think you posted, something extraordinary happened – the person who recorded that video took the memory card out of his phone and kept it *in his mouth* while they smashed his phone.

    I’m concerned about the state of individual rights in our country. More and more stories about overly vindictive police officers doesn’t reassure me.

  • Shannon

    That City Pages article was great. There is blame to be pushed around, of course, and if people could realize that it wasn’t Republicans OR Democratsbut BOTH of them that got Minnesota to where it is now, compromise could be viewed with a more positive light by the public, and thus more politicians might see it as a viable road to take.

    But instead, we have the inflexible Tea Party and far-right Republicans, which City Pages did well to describe:

    “These are individuals who basically don’t understand what government does,” he says.

    Many of the Republican freshman legislators in Minnesota would actually welcome a government shutdown as an alternative to compromise, says Frank.

    “I’ve sat at meeting with some of them who just don’t mind if the government shuts down — seriously,” says Frank. “They just don’t like government.”

    If they hate government so much, they should allow Minnesota to go to a unicameral legislature. But then that would lead to them being declared “unessential” and getting laid off.