It takes a tornado (5×8 – 3/5/12)

Why do disasters recalibrate us, redshirting kindergarteners, public radio comedy, the moral dimensions of art, and a sled dog protest against sulfide mining.

The Monday Morning Rouser…


There seems no end to the sad stories from last week’s tornadoes. Tornadoes, it seems, are unlike any other weather story. Each brings a particularly engrossing set of angles to it.

Last week, we considered our inability to get along — people giving up on an intelligent democracy, talk show hosts calling young women “sluts,” respected reporters writing that they’re glad a political opposite had died of a heart attack, and white supremacists in Duluth. A few days later, people drive across the country to ask people they don’t know, “how can I help?” Tornadoes recalibrate us.

What is it about tough times that bring out the best in us?On Saturday morning I posted this picture of Marta Righthouse of Marysville, Indiana, going through the rubble of her home.


On Saturday evening, I received this e-mail from Nita Putterbaugh of Burlington, KY:

Hi Bob, Saw your post about the Marysville, IN tornado-pic of Marta Righthouse. I live in Burlington, KY which is 150 miles northeast of Marysville, Henryville Indiana. We were showered yesterday with lots of debris from the storm. I found items with “Mae Righthouse, R1, Marysville, IN”, Mike Montgomery on Henryville Otisco Rd, and a phone bill for Charles Troncin in Henryville…and lots of other items that apparently came from the schools. Do you have any contact info on any of these people, I would like to try to make contact with them. The force of mother nature is powerful. Finding their items, gives me the sense of human compassion to at least try to return them. Thank you for any help you may be able to do for me.

Another comment attached to the original post indicates that someone else 100 miles away also found paperwork from the Righthouse clan.


“If everyone does it then the effect will be canceled out,” Malcolm Gladwell said last night during the 60 Minutes segment on the growing trend of holding kids back from kindergarten a year, to give them an advantage over other kids. Gladwell is partly responsible for the practice, and the one that instructs parents to “have your babies in the wintertime” to take advantage of the date cut-off school systems have for beginning school.

It’s called “redshirting,” and it raises another question: “Is it possible to give your kids an advantage without putting other kids at a dis advantage?

“I would prefer him to be an older in the class and become a leader in his environment, rather than a younger and be more of a follower,” one woman said.

One other question: How come there were no fathers in the piece? Why does this appear to be a “mom only” issue?3) STANDING UP FOR COMEDY

The highlight of the year at MPR is the “employee cabaret,” a talent show of people work at the world headquarters. This year’s was held Friday night.

As usual, reporter Tim Post led the comedy video division with his take on the latest workplace trend: standing up while working. Three words that aren’t a trend: public radio humor.

Stand up from Tim Post on Vimeo.

The evening was hosted by Daily Circuit co-host Tom Weber, who produced the show’s intro:

Intro ’12 from T. Weber on Vimeo.


Friday’s presentation to the Nobel Peace Prize Forum by Dessa:

Watch live streaming video from nobelpeaceprizeforum at

Watch live streaming video from nobelpeaceprizeforum at


Former state Rep. Frank Moe is racing the end of winter in a protest over sulfide mining in the Lake Superior watershed. Moe, a sled dog musher, left Grand Marais last week on his way to Saint Paul to deliver petitions against the mining plans.

The team reached Duluth yesterday.

PolyMet wants to convert the former LTV mine near Hoyt Lakes to a copper-nickel mine. Opponents say it will be the largest permitted destruction of wetlands in Minnesota history.

Bonus I: Two Timberwolves check out what all this ice fishing stuff is all about.

Bonus II: Augsburg’s dynasty. Wartburg and Augsburg have won every NCAA wrestling title since 1995 (NY Times)

Bonus III: Is this the new iPad 3?

Bonus IV: Los Angeles to Minneapolis-St. Paul in 40 seconds.


NASA has just uploaded a new video from the International Space Station showing a route from the Baja Peninsula to Minneapolis St. Paul. It takes awhile to download. Find it here.

The sequence of shots was taken February 5, 2012 from 05:23:05 to 05:30:41 GMT, on a pass from the Pacific Ocean, west of the Baja Peninsula, to Lake Superior. The first land that can be seen over the Pacific Ocean during this pass is that of Guadalupe Island west of the Baja Peninsula. As the ISS travels northeast, the cities of San Diego and Los Angeles can be seen along the coastline near the right side of the video. Continuing northeast, the cities of Phoenix and Las Vegas are seen, until the ISS passes over Denver under cloud and snow. The pass ends looking soutwest at the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Guest Gov. Dayton got some good news last week with the announcement of a $323 million budget surplus, but he and state GOP leaders remain at odds over how to create jobs. And how much political capital is he risking with his effort to get a new stadium built for the Vikings ?

Second hour: Last year the Tiger Mother polarized notions of parenting. This year we have yet another reason to supposedly look to the French for better tips at life. Parenting. Pamela Druckerman details her observations on why French kids seem to behave better and throw less tantrums. She also looks at how French mothers are able to maintain their pre-children life after having children.

Third hour: A small Minnesota church is finding out the high cost of standing up for same-sex equality as well as an unexpected lifeline from the very people it decided to support.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): The head of the Transportation Security Administration John Pistole on aviation security and counterterrorism efforts. He’s speaking at the National Press Club.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Does consistency matter in electing a politician?

Second hour: A discussion of women’s rights in the Arab revolution. Plus: Magic and the brain with guest: Teller.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – NPR revisits “A Wrinkle in Time.” Fifty years ago Madeleine L’Engle published “A Wrinkle in Time.” The classic work of science fiction for children has never gone out of style. What makes L’Engle’s book still so compelling to young readers is that its author refuses to condescend to her audience.