The things that stink (5×8 – 11/16/11)

Invasion of the stink bug, war toys for therapy, death of a Munchkin, what now Occupy, and the vanishing Minnesota native.


Why can’t we ever get a swell invasive species that minds its manners and makes life easier? And no, this isn’t a continuation of yesterday’s top item on 5×8. The Department of Natural Resources has issued a press release warning that the stink bug, a native of Asia, has been found in Plymouth:

Native to Asia, brown marmorated stink bug is a relatively new invasive insect pest that has spread to 33 states since it was first detected in Pennsylvania in 2001. While not yet common in Minnesota, it previously has been found in Ramsey, Anoka, Washington and Winona counties. The adult bugs are a half-inch long, mottled brown, and shaped like a shield. The species is distinguished from other brown bugs by an alternating black-and-white color pattern on the margins of its abdomen, and dark antennae with light-colored bands.

And they sneak in your house through cracks and then when they’re disturbed they — get this — stink.

On the other hand, it offers the opportunity for mindless, scientific research:

Why can’t the stink bug feed off Eurasian Milfoil, and the Emerald Ash borer? Or chew on buckthorn?


The WAR-TOYS project explores war from the perspective of children in the path of war. “Because cognitive ability is often ahead of language development, children typically share their experiences and cope with associated feelings through indirect methods of communication, such as art and play,” Brian McCarty says. Their accounts of war are often lost in studies. But ask a kid to play with toys, as he does with kids in Israel, and the stories are shared in their language — toys. (h/t: Julia Schrenkler)


Karl Slover has died. He was the lead trumpeter in the Munchkin band in the Wizard of Oz. There are only three left.


Was the “homeland” threatened by the Occupy protests? Wonkette suggests that the organizing agency for the simultaneous crackdown on the two-month-old campaign was the Department of Homeland Security.

Rick Ellis, of the Minneapolis, is the source for the assertion:

According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.

“Occupy demonstrated a successful tactic,” David Meyer, author of The Politics of Protest: Social Movements in America, tells NPR. “The success of a tactic is always going to be limited in time either because people get bored or authorities find a way to deal with it.”


What are the odds the person you’re talking to in Minnesota is actually from Minnesota? New census data says 60 percent of people in Minnesota were actually born here, MPR’s Brandt Williams reports.

Bonus: An actual deer in headlights:

This happened Friday night in Huron County, Michigan. (h/t: Neatorama)


Gov. Mark Dayton ordered Tuesday that the state give child-care providers who receive a state subsidy the chance to vote on whether to form a union. Today’s Question: Do you think unionized child care is a good idea?


The Big Story Blog will look at Gov. Mark Dayton’s order that the state give child-care providers who receive a state subsidy the chance to vote on whether to form a union, and will explore other issues related to child care in Minnesota.


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Recent polls report Americans aren’t as interested in foreign policy as they are in domestic economic issues. But defense spending is on the chopping block and GOP Presidential candidates are going public with their foreign policy ideas. We explore the defense and diplomacy issues facing the United States on the world stage.

Second hour: Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Audrey Betcher of Rochester libraries and Kit Hadley of St. Paul libraries discuss the future and purpose of libraries.

Second hour: From the “Times Talks Series,” New York Times political reporters Matt Bai and Nate Silver on the current political climate.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Political talk with NPR political editor Ken Rudin.

Second hour: Robert Frank says that the super rich are so rich they need yachts for their yachts. Now, Frank says that kind of spending is making the rich the most unstable force in the economy…the high-beta rich.

  • This is NOT lucy

    from the Wonkette attachment: “Good to know the FBI and DHS are “always there to help a brother out.” (This is their motto, in Latin.)”

    How lovely that the FBI is working hand in hand with the Department of Human Services.

    Same article another excellent one liner and visual: “AND, on Thursday, the Ocupados are planning to (finally?) march on the New York Stock Exchange. If they throw a roll of pennies on the trading floor, this should create a distraction and then they can just demolish the whole evil building,”

  • BenCh

    It would be interesting to see the exact reasons WHY people move to/from Minnesota. It mentions those in their 20s as college graduates (probably looking for jobs), but there isn’t any talk about percents of movers who are here (or move from here) for education etc.

    (For instance I moved from Minnesota to Montana for my undergraduate, moved back to Minnesota for graduate school)

    Still very interesting.

  • David

    We had a stink bug this summer that came off some flowers I bought for my wife from the Saint Paul Farmer’s Market.

    I wrapped it up in a tied plastic bag and tossed it in the trash.

    Side note: My first experience with a stink bug was many years ago in Jamaica. One landed on my hand and bit me. I went to stomp it and got several “Noooo Mon!” calls from my buddies. So if a bunch of dudes, outside, don’t want to deal with the smell it must be pretty bad.

    P.S. Did you notice that I said they bite.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Regarding War Toys for Therapy –

    This one catalyzed a memory some twenty years old.

    I was in El Salvador and got word that a helicopter had been shot down. We went to the scene and sure enough, a smoldering chopper in a corn field.

    The surviving injured pilot had been removed by people from the nearby village, and I went to see if I could interview him and any witnesses to the incident.

    I found some little kids who were giggling and happy as clams, playing in the dirt with some toys. I went over to talk with them, and discovered that they were playing with toy soldiers.

    At the time I thought that it was sadly ironic. But perhaps they were doing their own therapy.

    (Today is the 22nd anniversary of the murder of 6 Jesuit priests and their housekeepers by the U.S. supported, trained, funded and advised El Salvadoran military. Two of the murdered priests were my friends.)

  • Kassie

    I was born here. As were my parents. And most of my Grandparents and most of my great-Grandparents. And I’m pretty damn proud of that.

  • Curtis

    I know the comments are to be addressed to the post itself and not to other commenters, but I wanted to ask Kassie: why are you proud of that? And I don’t mean this in a snarky way, but in a sincerely curious one. If your parents or grandparents had been born elsewhere, would you be less proud of your heritage?

    This post along with yesterday’s “East Coast Letter” have brought up some thoughts about origins and culture that I think are really fascinating.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Curtis – Perhaps the issue with the term “proud” is a matter of semantics.

    Personally, I primarily think of “pride” as a good feeling that comes from achievement.

    Not “proud” of being black, or white, or gay, or from Minnesota. That’s all luck of the draw.

    That said, I think I understand – and agree – with Kassie’s use of the term regarding her home and that of her ancestors.

  • Yolanda

    “New census data says 60 percent of people in Minnesota were actually born here, MPR’s Brandt Williams reports.”

    I wonder what the census was ten years ago before the fauxll?

    and then BenCh said:

    “It would be interesting to see the exact reasons WHY people move to/from Minnesota”

    Move? They flee, they run for their lives to get as far away from the invasion of stink bug.

    Faux Real!

  • Kassie

    So late in answering…

    I have 8 different ancestries that I know about and no traditions from any of them. But, I’m full blooded Minnesotan with very Minnesotan traditions. We go to the State Fair. We vote DFL* (not democrat). We eat hotdish. We give money to non-profits and we listen to public radio. We don’t like to get too close too fast and we don’t ever ask certain personal questions.

    I’m fiercely proud of my state. I really think Minnesota is the best state out there, though I have basically not lived anywhere else. I’m proud of the weather. I’m proud my ancestors stuck out the weather. I’m proud of our parks and our huge music scene and theater scene and the land of 10,000 non-profits. All things my ancestors helped build.

    When I think of my identity, I think of myself as Minnesotan. I realize that I also am white and middle class and a woman, but the first thing that comes to mind is “Minnesotan.” And I’m proud to call myself that.

    *I don’t actually vote DFL. I generally vote green, but my DFL ancestors (particularly the FL) would be proud of that too. Minnesotans have an independent streak in politics.

  • Curtis

    Thanks Kassie, I appreciate the reply. For whatever reason I’ve never really identified with a place in that way and I’m always left wondering what “Proud to be Minnesotan” or “Proud to be American” actually means to the individual. Don’t know if I’ll ever fully understand but every little bit helps.