The Christmas trees by the side of the road (5×8 – 12/27/11)

Dumping the tree, the pride of Longville, the brawl at the mall, the death of representative government, and everything you’ve heard about Ricky Rubio is true.

The Tuesday Morning Rouser…


I suppose you can learn a lot about people by their discards on trash day…


But this is something I’ve never been able to figure out: the Christmas-is-over-now-get-that-tree-out-of-here mentality that, in this case, sent the tree to the landfill (another thing I’ve never figured out) hours after the clock struck midnight on Sunday. What’s the rush? In order to have this tree by the side of the road at 7 yesterday morning, the family must have been taking it down and storing the ornaments and lights on Christmas afternoon or Christmas evening. That must have been some fun.

We rush to start the holiday season now; many of the chain stores starting putting up Christmas displays after Labor Day. We rush to get it out of the house now, too.

I’ll take our tree down sometime next week, maybe on New Year’s Day. The wreaths hanging outside on the garage? If they’re down by April, I’ll be ahead of my usual pace.


The Mall of America is poised to become the new Block E.

It started in the food court when a group of kids started fighting, then it spread through the rest of the mall.

“There were drinks thrown on the floor and chairs being thrown everywhere,” shopper Tess Dessalgne told KARE. “Everyone started running towards the fight.”

Here’s what it looked like. Warning: language advisory.

Mall officials say they will “review security.” What would you suggest?


It’s not hard to figure out why Congress doesn’t get your life. There’s never been a bigger economic gap between representatives and the people they represent, the New York Times and Washington Post say. Somehow, people in Congress have gotten richer while the rest of the country has gotten poorer, it says.

While the median net worth of members of Congress jumped 15 percent from 2004 to 2010, the net worth of the richest 10 percent of Americans remained essentially flat. For all Americans, median net worth dropped 8 percent, based on inflation-adjusted data from Moody’s Analytics.

Going back further, the median wealth of House members grew some two and a half times between 1984 and 2009 in inflation-adjusted dollars, while the wealth of the average American family has actually declined slightly in that same time period.

Al Franken is the richest Washingtonian from Minnesota at $8.7 million. Amy Klobuchar is next at $724,000. The top 7 spots for net worth are all Democrats, but there are more rich Republicans. Either way, nobody’s waking up on Capitol Hill today not knowing how to make ends meet.

The Post figures one of the reasons things are so polarized in Congress is because the members can afford it. See the graphic.


How will the people of Longville, Minn., be spending New Year’s Eve? Probably watching native son Levi LaVallee, who plans to drive a snowmobile up a ramp in the San Diego harbor for an attempt a a world record for snowmobiles, the Pioneer Press says.

The 29-year-old Minnesotan was supposed to make the jump last New Year’s Eve but the snowmobile, minus the snow, pitched down and crashed, cracking his pelvis, collapsing his lungs, fracturing a vertebrae and breaking some ribs.


Everything you’ve heard about Ricky Rubio is true!

After last night’s game, he tweeted:


I don’t know what that says but if it’s “I get a headache watching my teammates miss easy three-pointers that I made possible with my terrific passing,” then he’s right.

Still, the fans are giddy, as they should be (and here). The squad has suddenly become the anti-Vikings.


The race for the Republican presidential nomination has focused for months on Iowa, where the first-in-the-nation caucuses are still a week away. Campaigns have flourished and foundered before anyone has had a chance to cast a formal vote. Today’s Question: Is our current system of caucuses and primaries a good way to pick a nominee?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, discusses the growing concern regarding the use of biological agents as catastrophic weapons targeting civilian populations.

Second hour: Fairy Tales are often used as the basis for modern day story lines. But recently we’ve seen a real upsurge in the number of television and movie projects based on these favorite storylines. Why are these historic tales making such a comeback now?

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Nick Hayes of St. John’s University on the protests in Russia.

Second hour: Susan Orlean, speaking about her book, “Rin Tin Tin.” She spoke at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The future of nuclear power.

Second hour: John Brown and the raid that started the Civil War.