Busting the birdman, tapped-out FEMA, should daycare providers be required to join a union, blues for Honeyboy, and 500 people in 100 seconds.
1) BUSTING THE BIRDMAN OF BLOOMINGTON
“What are you in for?”
“I fed the birds in Bloomington.”
OK, so Craig Brown was never really in danger of going to jail for feeding birds in Bloomington, but he’s been placed on probation for a year for doing so, the Star Tribune reports. Bloomington bans the feeding of wildlife, and neighbors complained that he was attracting rodents, deer, and birds by scattering feed on the ground, a charge he denied just before his case was to go to trial.
In an e-mail to the paper, Brown said his career as an ornothological ne’er do well is over:
“I am not worried about anything happening during the upcoming year of probation because I have long ago taken all of my feeders down and I am done feeding the birds as long as I live here in Bloomington,” Brown wrote. “I will continue to keep my three water sources in my backyard for the birds to drink from and bathe in, so we still will get a chance to occasionally see some birds out there through our windows.”
Feeding the birds per se isn’t illegal in Bloomington. Here’s the actual ordinance:
No person shall feed or allow the feeding of wild animals as defined in Section 12.91 of this City Code, such as, but not limited to, raccoons, deer, turkeys, ducks and geese, within any area of the City of Bloomington. For the purpose of this Section, feeding shall mean provision of non-birdseed mixtures, grain, fruit, vegetables, hay, mineral salt or other edible material, either on the ground or at a height of less than five (5) feet above the ground. Living food sources, such as fruit trees and other live vegetation, shall not be considered as prohibited feeding.
Song birds can be fed if the feeders are five feet above the ground. But not all birds eat from feeders. Some eat off the ground, and prefer, for example, corn or peanuts.
Cardinals, grosbeaks, crows, ravens, jays, doves, ducks, and cranes are in the corn club. Jays, crows, chickadees, titmice, and woodpeckers like peanuts. The problem is those feeds attracts house sparrows, cowbirds, starlings, and geese. And bears and deer.
Brown probably has the right idea. Give up. Birdies, you’re on your own.
Get a couple of these babies, instead, if you want to hear a little chirping.
2) READY TO GIVE UP YOUR DISASTER MONEY, MIDWEST?
FEMA – the Federal Emergency Management Agency — has run out of money. There have been 10 natural disasters in the country this year and the government is tapped out. It’s taking some money from Joplin, Missouri, where a tornado struck earlier this year. That’s over the objections of that state’s two senators. “If FEMA can’t fulfill its promise to our state because we have other disasters, that’s unacceptable,” Republican Roy Blunt said.
House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor says if the U.S. is going to need more money for disaster aid, it’s going to have to cut somewhere else.
What about you, Fargo Moorhead? Would you be willing to give up some of your federal money for your floods to help out the people of Vermont and upstate New York? Let’s face it: This year’s flooding in the Red River Valley was nothing compared to this.
Here are some other ways you can help.
Now that the hurricane didn’t pan out for the important people of Washington, the Washington Post says, people there are going on a food binge to eat all the junk food they bought in anticipation of hours of isolation.
Stocking pantries is a finite answer to an infinite problem: Life is precious and indefinite. It ends, eventually, whether you buy 17 tins of tuna or not. The tuna is the symbol of our fears, our attempts to take human control over something that is larger than humanity. Hurricanes are horrible. If the power goes out or the roof caves in — if something unspeakable happens — let it be known that we did the tiny things we could do to prepare. We bought the canned fish.
A five-year-old girl in Pennsylvania filed constant updates on CNN’s iReporter site about the hurricane. They’re as substantive as anything else the TV networks provided in live reports.
Oh, and another hurricane may be coming.
3) THE DAYCARE DIVIDE
Should daycare providers be forced to join a union? WCCO reports Gov. Dayton could sign an executive order soon mandating that daycare providers join AFSCME. Supporters say it will provide better training and more clout. Wisconsin and Iowa have gone down the same road.
More information? Here’s a pro-union website of child care providers, which contains this open letter:
The issue of homes being employees for purposes of negotiating with the state is a hybrid form of union. It’s not reducing any power of a home provider to run her business. In no way does a union tell you how to run your business. It’s a way to bring more providers together to advocate for themselves and parents. I can understand your opposition to unions who do a bad job. But the principle of union organizing is a democratic gathering together of folks to make their life better.
And here’s a site operated by providers who are against the idea of a union.
4) BLUES FOR HONEYBOY
The blues, the uniquely American music, is young enough that when an old blues man dies, it’s like losing Mozart.
David “Honeyboy” Edwards has died at age 96.
“You play a lowdown dirty shame slow and lonesome, my mama dead, my papa across the sea I ain’t dead but I’m just supposed to be blues. You can take that same blues, make it uptempo, a shuffle blues, that’s what rock ‘n’ roll did with it. So blues ain’t going nowhere. Ain’t goin’ nowhere,” he told the Associated Press in 2008.
Pour yourself a cup of joe, click this, and raise your mug to a pioneer. Work can wait.
5) 500 PEOPLE IN 100 SECONDS
If 500 people in a country, using 1,500 different images can come together to make this, isn’t anything possible?
Breaking arts news: We have a winner in the annual World Air Guitar Championship in Finland.
A recent rash of killings in Minneapolis has prompted alarm, in part because some of the victims have been quite young. One 14-year-old was shot while playing a game of tag. Today’s Question: What’s the answer to youth violence?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: How to trust your boss.
Second hour: How do small businesses access national representatives and impact federal policy?
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Live coverage of President Obama’s speech to the American Legion convention in Minneapolis.
Second hour: A Chautauqua Lecture by Erik Larson, author of “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin.”
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: TBA
Second hour: What is combat really like?
NPR will look at the songs of J.D. Souther.