A question of morality (5×8 – 1/25/13)

Maple Grove hockey and the culture that makes kids do things, the highlight of Mr. Avohou’s job search, what cold looks like, bad lip reading the inauguration, and poor rich guys.


Maple Grove hockey, school officials, and parents have circled the wagons to prevent anyone from knowing for sure what it is the kids on the hockey team did to warrant a suspension that got the city in an uproar.

Citing privacy concerns, the high school athletics bosses held a news conference yesterday to talk about how to “move forward,” refusing to comment on reports it involved some sort of sex tape. Whatever it was, it apparently didn’t rise to a criminal level because the police said they don’t know anything about it.

That leaves it a question of morality, which is why this paragraph in today’s Star Tribune is significant.

Vernig and Wendy Loberg, who oversees athletics for the school district, said reports of the incident had swept through the school via social media, including Twitter and Facebook. Loberg also said that what occurred was part of a larger societal problem and that risqué movies and TV shows contribute to the problem.

“When we look at our role models, and we look at our shows that are No. 1 in the eyes of kids, [it’s] ‘Jersey Shore,’ ‘Hangover,'” Loberg said.

Which brings up the obvious question. While some shows are idiotic — risqué, if you will — what is it that would make some hockey kids make a tape and other kids, who may watch the same shows, just get on with their homework instead?

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done here when we talk about character, when we talk about community, when we talk about integrity, when we talk about responsibility and respect,” the school principal said.


If this story ends the way it should, Martial Avohou, of Moorhead, should end up with a job. He’s, apparently, the kind of person an employer should want — the kind who thinks of others.

WDAY reports Avohou was out looking for a job this week when he noticed a man clinging to railroad tracks downtown and a nearby woman yelling for help.

A man was clinging to the tracks, and a train was coming. Avohou could’ve kept walking, but he didn’t. “God has allowed me to save a life today,” Avohou said. “Because if I was not here, I swear to God, this guy was dead.”

Watch the video at the link above.


How about that diurnal cycle of heating and cooling? That’s fancy weather talk for changes in temperature and it comes from NOAA, which has released this animation of the cold snap over the last few days. It appears the continent is breathing. Of course we don’t see this assault because nothing much has changed in our neck of the woods. But to the south, it’s got to be a little maddening.

(h/t: Live Science)

Our neat meteorological event of the day comes from Vermont. These are known up there (they-ah?) as “snow rollers.” The snow has enough moisture to it and the wind blows hard enough that it rolls up the snow into a snowball.


And this picture, taken Tuesday, shows lake-effect clouds over Superior and Michigan. You’re in there, Minnesota (click image for the really nice view).




Can a person making $17.5 million a year be underpaid? NPR reports this morning that an Oklahoma professor says LeBron James, the best player in the NBA, “is getting hosed” because of a salary cap in the league.

Imagine if other fields were set up this way. You’re the best young software engineer at MIT, and instead of getting hired for an insane starting salary by Google, you just put your name in a pool with other engineers. The worst companies in America draw random numbers and you get a letter saying you’ve been hired to work in the IT department at Best Buy.

Now all these rules are all laid out in the collective bargaining agreement between the owners and the players. Why would the players want this system? Because most players are not LeBron James.

The comments section of the story suggests even considering such a thing proves NPR’s move to the right:

Hey, it’s National NeoCon Radio! Let’s think about this from a different view, shall we? The grown man chases a rubber ball around a room and gets paid more than 350 average school teachers, COMBINED! More than 300 police officers, COMBINED! More than 300 nurses, EMTs, and on and on and on through the 99.something% of all working Americans. And he’s underpaid? No, when considering the value he adds to sustain our society, he is grotesquely over paid. The “adds value” argument is lame: what is the “adds value” of a teacher? Do you calculate the portion of the salaries of all their former students? What then, should the value of all of Bill Gates’s former teachers be in this “adds value” argument? What about nurses or EMTs who saved a life? Should they get a cut of the value of every former patient? And isn’t the answer Neocons give to working people: if you don’t like it, get another job? If Lebron is so underpaid and abused at $17,500,000.00/year, he could quite. Get a new job at McDonalds making about .$14,000.00/year. Then he would be in a more “fair” neocon world, right?

Bonus: It doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?

Return of the Sun from Glen Milner on Vimeo.


MPR News’ chief meteorologist, Paul Huttner, says if current weather trends continue, below-zero temperatures will be rare or nonexistent by 2040. Today’s Question: How would warmer weather change the way you experience a Minnesota winter?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: This week on the Friday Roundtable, panelists will discuss the expectations, and the political roadblocks, for President Obama.

Second hour: Homelessness in outstate Minnesota.

Third hour: Women in combat.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): A new debate from the Intelligence Squared series: “Can Israel live with a nuclear Iran?”

Science Friday (1-2 p.m.) – Dogs were the first animals to be domesticated, but how it happened is not quite known. Ira Flatow looks at a canine mystery. Plus, Hurricane Sandy pummeled Northeast beaches. Should we rebuild them?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Many concentration camp prisoners managed to compose music on scraps of newsprint — even on toilet paper. In recent years, a music scholar managed to track down and revive thousands of their original compositions. NPR will report on the musical resurrection.

  • BJ


    Lots of rumors. At least one report has Maple Grove police being contacted by school, but they either took a pass or are still investigating. Lots of rumors.

  • Bob Collins

    // but they either took a pass or are still investigating.

    Read the story I linked to. It’s in there.

  • BJ

    I read it. The quote seems weird. My guess is this story will have more to it in a few weeks.

  • B

    The Beyonce portion of the BLR video is one of the best things ever.

  • Bob Collins

    Well, the cops made it sound like they heard about this like everyone else and asked the school and got stonewalled.

    I suspect we actually won’t hear much more about this, given the broad nature and ability of “privacy concerns” to shut down almost every inquiry.

  • Drae

    I seriously question the role of “Jersey Shore” or Hollywood in general for creating the wide-spread morality issues we keep seeing in sports – from college football, to cycling, to high school hockey. “Jersey Shore” didn’t create and enable Sandusky. I think the uncomfortable and sad truth is this culture is formed a little closer to home than Hollywoodland, and in reading that article I saw a lot of adults making a lot of excuses and that only enables this culture to continue. I certainly hope the high school is able to make some changes but it seems to me that this is an issue across all varieties and levels of sports. What’s really sad is that althetics is supposed to be a positive, beneficial influence on kids, and instead we’re getting this.

  • Disco

    Someone will leak the details. It will happen.

    On the other hand, I cynically have to imagine that there are interests afoot in “protecting” what happened at a wealthy suburban school. Conversely, witness the absolute torrent of negativity surrounding the incident at Washburn High in Minneapolis.

    One of the hockey moms whose son was NOT involved said something to the effect of “boys will be boys.”

    Well, I am a boy, and I was in high school once, and I certainly never was disciplined like this. So that’s a weak excuse for poor parenting. I wasn’t in sports in HS, so I don’t know how much blame lies with the coach, but I still think it goes back to the parents.

  • Bob Collins

    // Conversely, witness the absolute torrent of negativity surrounding the incident at Washburn High in Minneapolis.

    Oh, my, I couldn’t disagree more. There are so many parallels between the two incidents. You’ve got:

    — Educators blaming ignorance and stupidity

    — Defenders saying “hey, why are you focusing on this and not the great stuff going on here.

    — The invocation of privacy rights to prevent any real knowledge.

    — The question of whether the punishment fit the crime.

    — The question of whether there was a crime at all.

    — The accusations that it was blown out of proportion.

    What you did have at Washburn that you don’t appear to have at Maple Grove (yet) is a victim and, hence, someone to speak for the victim(s) and prompt people to get over their priorities and understand that there’s a victim.

  • KTFoley

    Most of the hullabloo seems to be that the high school won’t release to the press the full details of what sparked the discipline. The reaction seems to be that, on its face, the school’s answer is not legit.

    Why is that? What is the general public’s actual need to know what happened, above and beyond our pressing curiosity?

    I am very, very wary of the notion that the school should make public the private details so that the public can decide whether the details could just as well have been left private. It’s just too easy to unleash a whole lot of harm & tarnishment that, once committed, cannot be undone.