When schools stand behind students (5×8 – 11/1/11)

Walking the talk on bullies, Dale’s tribute to Tom, asking for help, the work of Congress, and when science is cool.


If schools are ever going to walk the talk about bullying, it’s going to take some school officials who won’t turn to soup when the first parents start calling.

San Diego has a school superintendent with some guts. Supt. Bill Kowba said adults criticizing the selection of Rebecca Arellano and Haileigh Adams as homecoming king and queen are “demonstrating such a lack of tolerance and are presenting such a negative role model for children with their hateful comments,” the Los Angeles Times says.

He called the critics ” bullies.”

Arellano was made the king on Friday, and Adams was named the queen at a dance on Saturday. The kids at the school didn’t seem to have a problem.

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But some anonymous students objected to the selection and said traditional roles should be observed for the king and queen. Arellano responded on her Facebook page:

“For all the girls who think tradition should be continued, go back to the kitchen, stop having sex before you’re married, get out of school and job system, don’t have an opinion, don’t own any property, give up the right to marry who you love, don’t vote, and allow your husband to do whatever he pleases to you. Think about the meaning of tradition when you use it in your argument against us.”

Meanwhile, on the traditional side of things: Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian have called it quits after just 72 days. Reportedly, the two could not agree on where to live. He wanted Minnesota. She wanted California. We call that “a close call.”

But listen, lovebirds: These are the sorts of things you talk about before you get married.

Just for kicks, MTV looks at the numbers behind this traditional marriage.


“I’ve felt helpless and lost all day,” Dale Connelly writes on his blog today about his longtime radio bud, Tom Keith, whom you know by now died Sunday night at an age far too young.

He was also a softie, and a servant, always aware that his livelihood depended on an audience willing to pay the freight. Quite naturally he channeled his inner ex-Marine when he developed our Morning Show playlist guidelines, declaring that all listener requests must be turned in no later than 5 days before the date of broadcast. No exceptions. And with equal ease he tossed those regulations aside whenever anyone asked. If you were a grandmother needing to hear a specific song for your grandson’s birthday sometime in the next half hour before the kid’s bus comes, Tom Keith was your man. The harsh rules he had written could not stand up to anyone’s polite request.

Tom was not a prima donna or a show off, which was ironic given that he had such showy talents. His name was known to millions as one of the last surviving radio sound men, but he was not terribly interested in increasing his profile. He said no to television projects with Hollywood stars, and decided to stop touring with Prairie Home Companion when he got tired of the road. He would turn down commercial voice jobs because Schniederman’s was delivering a couch that afternoon, and he had to be at home to meet the truck. Above all, he was a man of his word and he always did his job, which was to make the work in front of him as good as it could be. He was frugal, sensible, practical, and oh so Minnesotan.

Dale, of course, was part of Euan Kerr’s marvelous remembrance that ran on All Things Considered last night, and Gary Eichten will host radio calling hours for Tom at noon today. We hope you can make it. Don’t worry about dressing up.

My colleague, Ali Lozoff, dug out this great picture last night and posted it on her Facebook page…


“This guy wanted to get his picture taken on the APHC stage and asked Tom to be in it,” she wrote. “Tom immediately struck this Maggie the Cat pose, cracking everyone up. He laughed and walked off the porch. A great memory.”


People in the Twin Cities are rallying on behalf of the parents of Nora Boss. She’s a two-year-old girl who has been diagnosed with Wilms Disease, a childhood cancer which affects the kidneys. “Twelve weeks of chemotherapy, inpatient time in the hospital, invasive surgery, travel expenses, time off of work and major medical expenses – the Boss family has fallen in need of your support!” an appeal posted online says.

And there’s this…

We are asking for donations to support our benefit and silent auction being held on Sunday, November 13th at Hells Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. Nora’s parents are amazing people. Jen, works as a server in the restaurant industry and Andy works in a dental supply warehouse. The family has always supported small local farmers, businesses and entrepreneurs. We can say with confidence that their like-minded friends will be made keenly aware of your support and will in turn have loyalty to those who have had the opportunity to assist us in our efforts.

Details on the event can be found on the Facebook page.


Only two members of Congress have missed more days of work than Rep. Michele Bachmann, the New York Times reports. One of them was shot in the head, the other was recovering from cancer surgery. Rep. Keith Ellison also missed more than 10 percent of the votes taken. He said he had an injured knee. Second District Rep. John Kline never missed a vote, the paper says.

Next year, an election year, should be easier for all. The House will get one week off after toiling for each two weeks.


Science is probably the weakest subject area for America’s kids, partially because the standardized tests focus on reading and math. But still, aren’t most cool teachers the science folks?

(h/t: neatorama)

And then there’s John Goodge, a University of Minnesota Duluth scientist who is studying the 2 percent of Antarctica that isn’t covered by ice.

“It turns out there are rocks and glacial deposits that we’ve been finding that actually seem to confirm the idea that Antarctica and North America would have been neighbors at one time!” says Goodge, who has returned with 2,500 pounds of rocks.

The National Science Foundation yesterday posted a video and story about the expedition.Bonus: How to cut an addiction to the Internet. The BBC reports on psychotherapy treatments like “eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.”


A scientist who has been a prominent skeptic of global warming is making news with his latest conclusion: that global warming is real after all. The scientist, Richard Muller, conducted a two-year study of the earth’s surface temperatures. He found that temperatures are rising fast. Today’s Question: How have your views on global warming evolved over time?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Since the 2008 financial crisis, bankers have been heavily criticized for continuing to make millions in performance-based bonuses while their banks escaped failure only by taking public bail outs. How do executives defend their big bonuses while their businesses flounder and the public decries their hefty paydays?

Second hour: Having followed Mexico’s cartels for years, border security expert Sylvia Longmire takes readers deep into the heart of the drug world to witness a dangerous underground that will do whatever it takes to deliver drugs to a willing audience of American consumers.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – The new director of the Office of Higher Education, Sen. Larry Pogemiller.

Second hour: Remembering Tom Keith. Guests are Dale Connelly, Sue Scott and Mike Pengra.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: What should schools teach a about sex?

Second hour: When a loved one is stuck in a spiral of drugs and alcohol, what do you do when it’s just “a matter of time?”

  • Bonnie

    As usual I skim Newscut, there is way too much to absorb in one quick pass. I will return once or twice later in the day. Let me just quickly add a note to say thanks for the Tom Keith remembrances, here and elsewhere on MPR. I still can’t believe he’s gone. He brought me such pure joy.

  • bench

    As a geology grad student at UMD, it was very interesting talking with Dr. Goodge and also the students working with him on the samples etc.

    It points out one positive effect of global warming- less ice and more rocks to look at!

  • Heather

    Aren’t the homecoming king and queen selected by their fellow students? Sounds like the critical ones may be suffering a bad case of sour grapes.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Ah, my adopted home – the land of fruits and nuts.

    Do I think having two young women as homecoming royalty is strange? You bet…. But I think the whole idea of royalty is pretty strange.

    Do I think less prejudiced, more enlightened young people should be able to make their own decisions in matters such as this? You bet…. No harm, no foul.

    If heterosexuals did a better job of maintaining healthy, loving relationships, there might be more justifiable debate.

    Until then, we should shut up and get out of the way.

  • Kassie

    While I don’t doubt the family with the sick girl isn’t in need and I know the costs of a sick child are great, but what makes this sick child’s family more deserving than the many others out there that she gets highlighted on News Cut? Every child with cancer, every adult with cancer, has costs that aren’t covered by insurance. Lost jobs, medical equipment, more dinners out, all of it adds up. So, maybe instead of us sending money to a family we don’t know (and on News Cut because they have friends who can advertise well), we should direct our money to working for better family leave laws, better health care coverage for all, increase presence of places like the Ronald McDonald house and overall a health care system that supports the whole family.

  • Cara

    Homecoming and other ‘crowning’ problems have been around for a long time. When I was in high school 35+ years ago our Winter Sports King was a young man who campaigned for the title, didn’t play winter sports and edited the weekly underground paper. He was selected by fellow students in a huge upset against the gymnastics and basketball players.

  • Bob Collins

    // than the many others out there that she gets highlighted on News Cut? Every child with cancer, every adult with cancer, has costs that aren’t covered by insurance.

    I think if you go back and look at 5×8 over the years, you’ll see quite a few mentions of the extent to which people go to help other people, especially sick children.

    News Cut tells personal stories. Behind every big clinically-reported big-issue public radio story on things like family leave and health care, is a human face and an individual struggle.

    Today is no different. And, trust me, today isn’t the day I start apologizing for giving them a paragraph.

  • Kassie

    Bob, I don’t think you shouldn’t give them a paragraph, but we need to acknowledge that these people got a paragraph because they have privilege that most parents of children with cancer don’t have. They speak English, they have tech savvy friends, they have a cute kid that people can get behind. But the answer isn’t giving individual families money. the answer is changing the system so we don’t have to give families money. Just as I tell everyone to not give panhandlers money, and to give it to the social services agencies, this case is the same. It may help this family, this time, but it won’t help the Hmong family with limited English or the transplanted family with few friends.

  • Bob Collins

    //But the answer isn’t giving individual families money. the answer is changing the system so we don’t have to give families money.

    You make it sound like people have to make a choice between two worlds. There’s nothing to prevent you or anyone else from trying to change the system.

    No, it won’t help the Hmong family or the transplanted family. So maybe the next paragraph is about the the Hmong family or the transplanted family.

    It makes no sense at all to me to not do whatever you can to help someONE because someONE else might not immediately benefit.

    Your mileage may vary, but my favorite saying is always going to be “lead, follow, or get the heck out of the way.”

    As I recall, you had a dog in need of medical help a few weeks ago and tweeted about it. As a result, if I understand your subsequent tweets, you had offers of help.

    It’s no different here. Fortunately, people have a desire to help one person at a time. Or one dog at a time as the case may be.

    God help us when we view that as a sign of weakness.

  • kennedy

    During the run up to prom in my senior year of high school, there was a vote to select the song. It was typically a ballad or some sort of love song. This year there was a group of students who rallied around a high energy alternative rock song which won the vote.

    The organizers overrode the student vote and instead selected a pop ballad, and they never even played the song the students chose. I have the mp3 and listen to it whenever I am reminded to question authority.