Rape and reality (5×8 – 8/23/12)

Here we go, Minnesota, here we go!

(h/t: Ochen Kaylan)


For a Fargo woman, Rep. Todd Akin’s remarks on rape hit home in an especially hurtful way. A 50-year-old woman, whose name is not being released, tells the Fargo Forum she was raped when she was 16. She got pregnant.

“That time in my life was very difficult. I was virtually homeless and I had very troubled parents, and I had to struggle through that on my own. I think as hard as that was, as a 16-year-old girl, if I had heard a senator say something that would make me think that I somehow could have prevented it … I don’t know what it would have done. It certainly could have tipped the scales for me” to attempt suicide, DL said.

Related: Five politicians who got science wrong. Michele Bachmann’s contention that vaccine causes mental retardation is like the “free” square on a bingo card, but who else? LiveScience.com has the answer.


It’s been five years (this week) since floodwaters raced through southeast Minnesota, killing several people, and we’re still learning new stories of what people went through. Today, the Winona Daily News introduces us to Dick Hengel of Minnesota City, who was trapped in his basement as the water poured in. He made it out, and woke up in the hospital without a leg.

The house has been rebuilt but Mr. Hengel hasn’t been able to go to the basement since.


Who do you trust to tell you about climate change? In Boston this week, a convention of local meteorologists is learning it’s them.

The conference is providing plenty of opportunities for the weatherpeople to learn more about climate change, and one of the groups doing the presenting says there’s plenty they could learn…

Given the climate change-fueled storms, heat waves, droughts, and wildfires that have dominated the past year, global warming will undoubtedly be a “hot” topic at this year’s conference. But, amazingly, many broadcast meteorologists remain lukewarm to the subject: The majority of weathercasters, including many with AMS certification, don’t believe that humans are causing climate change, let alone that it’s dramatically shifting our weather patterns. These meteorologists are missing the opportunity to be journalistic heroes who can inform the nation about our increasingly poisoned weather.

Though TV weatherpeople have come and TV weatherpeople have gone in the two years since I wrote this post, there’s little indication many are interested in tackling the subject.

More science: Our changing forests. NPR’s “Picture Show” documents how one forest has changed over the last century.


It took more than two months, but school officials in Anaheim, Calif., have determined that the annual “Seniores” and “Señoritas” events are demeaning to Latinos.

The Los Angeles Times reports, “In the most recent event in June, two boys dressed as a gardener and the woman pushing the baby stroller. Other students dressed as U.S. Border Patrol agents and ‘gang members with bandannas and tear drops,’ the investigation found. Some students wore large sombreros and fake mustaches.”

Maybe more schools should be like St. Paul’s Como High School. It’s hosted more foreign students as part of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program than any other school in the country. Today, the Pioneer Press profiles Jane Allawi, 15, who has left her family in Bethlehem to spend the year in St. Paul.

Related: A look at the International Festival Faribault. (Minnesota Prairie Roots)


If this isn’t the most famous crosswalk in the world, what is? It’s Abbey Road, made popular, of course, by the Beatles. The Current’s Andrea Swensson came across this live webcam yesterday and passes it along. It’s like waiting for an accident to happen, as tourists stand in the middle of the street to take a picture. It may help you get through the day. You’re welcome. It’s what we do.

Or you can just watch your friends at the Minnesota State Fair.

Bonus I: How would you explain Minnesota to, say, the people of Vienna? The U.S. embassy there used an intern — he’s from Minnesota — to try in this video just posted…

Bonus II: A lion cub meets dad for the first time. (h/t: Marc Drummond)

Bonus III: Now that Augusta National has decided to admit women, should women’s private colleges start admitting men? A Boston Globe letter writer lights the match.

Bonus IV: Back to school tips. How to doodle in math class. Because you’re never going to really need to know how to graph a parabola.


The Minnesota State Fair opens today and runs through Labor Day. Today’s Question: What’s the hidden gem at the State Fair?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman at the State Fair.

Second hour: Meteorologists Paul Huttner and Craig Edwards.

Third hour: Replay of previous shows with actress Kathleen Turner and comedian Lizz Winstead.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): From the State Fair, Tom Crann hosts Dr. Jon Hallberg, who will answer health/medical questions.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – Walk into a tea shop in Kabul and, Dexter Filkins told Charlie Rose, you’ll hear talk of fear. What happens when the Americans leave? Dexter Filkins discusses Afghanistan after the U.S. leaves.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Twenty years ago this week, Hurricane Andrew practically wiped an entire city off the Florida map. The city of Homestead eventually made a comeback, thanks to a real estate boom. But the Great Recession nearly set the community back again. Today, yet another rebound is emerging. NPR visits the Homestead area.