Celebrating Minnesota (5×8 – 6/27/11)

The Monday Morning Rouser:


Late June/early July is our kind of time. Every weekend, there’s a breathtaking array of festivals and events that reveal the diversity of the state and give us a chance to get away from the drone of state shutdown consequences.

This weekend did not disappoint. In Minneapolis, the gigantic Pride parade took center stage (Sorry, iPeople. Images are via Flash)…

In St. Cloud, they celebrated Granite City Days

The people of of Garvin, Minn., celebrated the town’s history over the weekend, setting up a temporary museum and considering what it was like to grow up there. “Everyone knew everyone,” a woman told the Marshall Independent. “The sense of community made it a good place to be a kid. After going to Wednesday night movies projected on the side of the Garvin elevator, the place to stop was Courtney Morgan’s cafe.”

That’s what Minnesota needs: more movies on the side of the grain elevator.

In Duluth, the celebration was more solitary: paddling at sunset. Sigh.


We’ve switch to more fuel efficient cars, we’re swapping out incandescant light bulbs for CFLs, and we’ve bought more fuel-efficient appliances. But when it comes to saving energy in the home, are we just running in place? Cutting one energy hog while adding more with our newfangled technology.

What’s the biggest energy suck in the home now? It’s the cable, satellite, and DVR box, the New York Times reports. The combination uses 10 percent more electricity than a typical refrigerator, holder of the previous record for kilowatt pig. Nationwide, they consume more energy in a year than the entire state of Maryland.

It is possible to put the items to “sleep” manually, allowing them to “wake up” if there’s something that needs watching or “taping,” but the cable and satellite companies won’t make it automatic because they don’t think customers will tolerate the time it takes for them to warm up.


Some things don’t change. Huffington Post reports on a Gallup poll that shows 40 percent of Americans prefer to have a son and only 26 percent a daughter. That’s the same percentages as a similar poll in 1947. Americans who are younger than 30 say they would prefer a boy to a girl by a 54% to 27% margin. That boy-preference gap declines to 12 points among those 30 to 49, to 5 points among those 50 to 64, and finally to only 2 points among those 65 and older. This is a perfect example of the phrase, “youth is wasted on the young.”

Meanwhile, a preschool near Stockholm is doing what it thinks is best to eliminate gender bias. It’s banning the words “him” and “her.” Mercifully, “it” is still OK.


How did Joe Mauer so quickly go from hometown hero to prima donna? By being one, apparently. The sportswriters and Twins fans who so embraced, say, Nick Punto, have turned against the Twins’ Mauer, who is oft injured and doesn’t want to play anywhere but firstbase.

On Friday night, a mediocre pitcher called out Mauer for his pitch selection. That doesn’t happen with All Star catchers. But it did.

Today, the Star Tribune’s Jim Souhan rips Mauer

He has proved to be the softest of stars, and if that wasn’t bad enough, his $184 million contract could prevent the Twins from retaining a valuable veteran who plays whenever and wherever the Twins need him.

Mauer makes $23 million a year. Michael Cuddyer is making $10.5 million in the final year of his contract.

While Mauer seems intent on turning his name into a punch line, Cuddyer offers everything you would want from a professional athlete.

The Hardball Times quizzed its stat-centric readers on the question of how many of Mauer’s remaining years will be healthy. Most said 3-4 years, which is pretty good for a catcher of his age.

Should he play them elsewhere?

Better baseball: A war vet who lost an arm caught a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Friday night…

Here’s his story.


Last Tuesday, the residents of Poznan, Poland set a world record when they released 8,000 Chinese lanterns into the sky to mark the shortest night of the year.


With today’s announcement, Michele Bachmann is officially running for president. Today’s Question: What sort of a president would Michele Bachmann be?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Is alternative medicine ready to claim a spot at the mainstream table?

Second hour: Don McGlynn joins Kerri Miller to discuss his new musical documentary, Rejoice and Shout, which traces the evolution of gospel through its many musical styles – spirituals and early hymns, four-part harmony-based quartets, the integration of blues and swing into gospel, the emergence of Soul, and the blending of rap and hip hop elements.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: The presidential campaign of Michele Bachmann.

Second hour: MPR outgoing president Bill Kling.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The NPR series on China.

Second hour: Redefining black women.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Mark Zdechlik is covering Rep. Bachmann’s presidential announcement in Waterloo.

These are tough times for the ethanol industry. The Senate voted to end a major subsidy. Efforts to grow the market have seen limited success. Even cellulosic ethanol, a major hope for the future, seems to be going nowhere. Some say the industry has peaked. And Minnesota ethanol plants are wondering what sort of economic impact they’ll feel. MPR’s Mark Steil will have the story.

State employees are growing increasingly anxious as it seems more likely that some 25,000 –or more– of them of them could be laid off. They’re worrying how they’re going to balance their own budgets if the governor and legislature can’t come up with a budget for the state, forcing a shutdown of all state operations not deemed essential. MPR’s Martin Moylan will report.