Two approaches to rape (5×8 – 8/20/12)

What the men in Brainerd know that a candidate in Missouri doesn’t, lessons from the flooding of Rushford, when lightning strikes, drunk in South Dakota at 14, and dispatches from the music man.

The Monday Morning Rouser:

Father and Son from William J. Meyer on Vimeo.


“I misspoke,” is political code for “I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about.” It would be great if a politician would occasionally say it in issuing the pseudo apologies for the damage they do by spreading their — let’s call it what it is — stupidity.

Todd Akin, a candidate for the United States Senate, fit as many ignorant thoughts in a sentence on Sunday as is possible using only the English language.

The Washington Post this morning compared Akin to Rep. Michele Bachmann, for her presidential campaign “story” about a woman she met on the campaign trail, saying the HPV vaccine caused her daughter to have “mental retardation.”

It said Akin’s technique is similar to Bachmann’s — quote an unidentified third party, in this case “doctors.” There’s a pretty good chance, of course, that no doctor told Akin any such thing.

People with whom Akin associates might well have said such things. But it’s also wholly unhelpful to repeat such baseless claims, because as a politician, repeating someone else’s claim makes it your own. A big-time candidate needs to know that.

What Akin said is likely a more common belief than most Americans realize. There are several examples of state lawmakers and even a federal judge nominee having expressed the same view (BuzzFeed has a rundown). And a quick Google search shows the view isn’t relegated to just a few rogue politicians; it’s one that some in the social conservative community believe — despite the medical community’s clear verdict that it’s nonsense.

This is part of Akin’s problem. Like Bachmann, he comes from this world and from a conservative district where getting to the right of your opponent is the name of the game. It’s hard to make the jump from that place into the political mainstream in a big-time race.

Those who have been able to do it successfully know how to moderate their rhetoric — if not necessarily their views.

Akin issued his non-apology apology on Facebook, which opened it up to immediate reviews (comments) which weren’t particularly glowing.

Takin’s outrageous comments, of course, are getting plenty of publicity. But there’s a group of men in Minnesota’s Lakes Country who aren’t getting that much attention, but should.

In Baxter/Brainerd, men wore high heels and walked to raise money in the fourth annual Walk a Mile in her Shoes: An International Men’s March to End Rape, Sexual Assault, and Gender Violence Saturday, sponsored by the Women’s Center of Mid-Minnesota and Sexual Assault Services.

Now that’s legitimate. (H/T: Brainerd Dispatch)


There’s a lesson somewhere in the flood of Rushford in 2007: Don’t necessarily depend on money from FEMA to help your town get back on its feet, no matter what the bureaucrats say.

One-hundred-and-seventy-six homes were destroyed, more than 4,000 were damaged, businesses were lost.

“Given the severity of this, everyone sort of thinks somebody should be there to help a little bit,” the city administrator at the time said, referring to federal disaster relief money. “And the question is — will they be there? At his point I don’t know.”

The answer? Sort of. The Winona Daily News says the city has paid out of pocket for a lot of projects it assumed would be reimbursed by federal disaster assistance. They’re still waiting.

“It’s frustrating,” the city clerk told the paper. “It takes forever sometimes.”

And because of that, the city had a cash-flow problem and its credit rating was downgraded, driving up the cost of borrowing even more.

Twenty inches of rain fell on Houston County five years ago this weekend.


There have been several cases of people struck by lightning in Minnesota in the last few weeks. The latest was in Duluth on Saturday when a young boy was killed while on a boat on Lake Superior. Someone captured the storm on film.


South Dakota police say a 14-year-old boy who was driving drunk has been arrested, along with his father, who sat intoxicated in the passenger seat.


Let the record show that Fred Child has the best job at American Public Media.

Fred has been out broadcasting from the Aspen Music Festival, where he sent along this proof that some of us were comparative failures at age 9. Yeah. She’s 9.

Bonus I: Cycling through the seasons in Minnesota and Canada.

My Path: The Seasons from tim harincar on Vimeo.

Bonus II: We say we hate Mondays but new research suggests we hate Tuesday through Thursday just as much. (BBC)


Unpaid interns at Fox Searchlight have filed a suit over their work at the film distributor, claiming violations of employment law. Similar complaints have been made against other media companies. Today’s Question: Who benefits the most from an unpaid internship?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Somalia’s transitional government.

Second hour: The high cost of child care in Minnesota.

Third hour: What is it about Ayn Rand’s philosophies that so captivate so many in American society?

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): A Chautauqua Lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Rohde, “Beyond War: The Failed American Effort to Back Moderate Muslims Since 9/11”

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – Lee Anderson of the New Yorker describes a Syria fractured across religious lines. Battles rage in city streets. Rebels insist it’s just a matter of time before the government crumbles. But no one can say for sure what happens if — or when — that happens.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – NPR looks at “the brave new world of location-based dating.” The Internet can help singles find dates across town. Some smartphone apps can help find dates across a bar. Or a cafe. Or grocery store. Guys tend to like this new technology. But women? Not so much.

Do you know someone with an interesting story to tell? Who’s the most interesting person you know? Submit their name and tell me why.