The child left behind, where’s climate change, and we’ll die for our smartphones (5×8 -12/30/13)

The Monday Morning Rouser:

1) THE CHILD LEFT BEHIND

If you had to flee danger with your family, but couldn’t take all of your children, which would you leave behind? Xiong Nhia Yang ‘s father made the decision in 1964. His parents, fleeing Laos, left a teenage sister behind; she’d been injured by gunfire.

The family escaped to France and the United States, but nobody knew what happened to the sister, Sua.

Last year, her nephew, Kao Thomas Yang, traced her to southern Laos, KARE 11 reports.

“Is this a dream?” Xiong Nhia said when the two met at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

2) CLIMATE CHANGE ISN’T A FAR-OFF PROBLEM

The cold weather might reinforce the notion that climate change has eased — it’s a popular theory floating around online — but it’s an illusion, according to Smithsonian. Land temperature increases might be slowing somewhat, but that’s likely because the oceans are absorbing some of the temperature and their increase is unabated.

It’s tempting to think of climate change as a far off problem that we’ll have to deal with eventually. But an abundance of studies released this year show that the consequences of climate change are already being felt in a huge variety of ways, from the everyday to the catastrophic.

In terms of the former, Climate change is forcing insurance companies to raise their premiums, driving up the price of coffee, altering the taste of apples, helping invasive species take over local ecosystems, threatening the suitability of wine-growing regions, reducing our ability to perform manual labor, melting outdoor ice hockey rinks and causing plants to flower earlier.

And, of course, there’s the most direct consequence: warming. Globally, we observed the hottest November on record, part of a string of 345 straight months with above-average temperatures compared to the 20th century average.

3) SMARTPHONES ARE THE NEW STARTER JACKET

Let’s recap: If you throw money at the Mall of America, you’ll be arrested in a few seconds. If someone steals your cellphone and accomplices start beating you, you’re pretty much on your own.


“Hundreds of people saw it,” Mark Andrew told the Pioneer Press about his beating. “Nobody came while I was getting assaulted. Whatever the reason, it was sad. It’s a sad commentary.”

“Somebody takes my phone, I’m going after them,” he said.

We love our phones.

4) THE TEACHER WHO BELIEVES IN KIDS FEW BELIEVE IN

For nearly 20 years Janice Pierce has taught students with emotional and behavioral issues at Technical High School in Saint Cloud. She believes in kids when others don’t, the St. Cloud Times reports.

Her son took his own life over the summer. He had many of the same problems her students face, she tells the paper. She kept teaching.

“I’m so proud,” Pierce said. “I’ve had so many kids turn into real successes. I always knew that they would.”

5) FREE HUGS

Oh, those radio people are natural huggers, you know.

Related: At the Starbucks in Newington, Conn. last week, the first person in the drive-thru paid for the order of the car behind him/her. And it continued. All day. A thousand customers in a row paid for someone else.

Bonus I: The Wisconsin Badgers gathered to watch the Packers-Bears game at the team hotel in Orlando. Here’s the reaction to Randall Cobb’s touchdown catch on fourth down, sealing the playoff birth for the Packers. Find the Bears fan.

Bonus II: Redwood Falls struggles with real world fallout of new sales tax law (Redwood Falls Gazette).

TODAY’S QUESTION
Does Mark Dayton deserve another term?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Politics is a never ending election cycle. Before we completely jump into the 2014 cycle, The Daily Circuit will look back at what happened in 2013. What were the big events or issues that marked 2013?

Second hour: When it comes to foreign policy, 2013 was dominated by Syrian chemical weapons, international fallout from NSA spying revelations and another round of Middle East peace talks spearheaded by Vice President Biden. What lies ahead for 2014?

Third hour: Washington Post book critic Ron Charles joins us to look back at the best books of the year, and to talk about what exciting titles to look for in early 2014.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm) – An American RadioWorks documentary about the history and value of the GED, called “Second Chance Diploma: Examining the GED.”

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – A closer look at what really happened in Benghazi. Plus: The latest from the Russian city of Volgograd following a suicide attack on a train station yesterday and a bus today.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak came into office 12 years ago as an opponent of public subsidies for downtown development. He leaves office this week as the champion of the Vikings Stadium and the planned Wells Fargo office towers nearby, both beneficiaries of generous public subsidies. MPR News reporter Curtis Gilbert looks at how Rybak has developed as a politician and what, if any, political future he’ll have.

UBER rides, which matches folks who want rides with limo and other drivers, is shaking up the Twin Cities transportation business. People who used to take cabs are now using their smartphones to arrange limo rides. MPR’s Marty Moylan will have the story.

Whale watchers are in for a treat off southern California’s coast. This winter, the variety and number of whales passing through those waters is unusually high. Its so unusual that even marine biologists arent exactly sure what’s going on. NPR will report.

  • Chuck

    The Monday Morning Rouser was raw and fantastic! But yow, it sounds like the lead singer is wrecking his voice by the way he sings.

    • Lowell George. He’s dead now. Died two years after this. Drugs.

      • Chuck

        Somehow that news never comes as a surprise.

      • 212944

        Heart failure at 34 in 1979 after some hard living. This clip is from the series of shows they did at the Rainbow in London which were culled as used as part of their live “Waiting for Columbus” album.

        Feat is still around, though on hiatus this year. They usually hit MSP when on tour, often at the Zoo.

  • Chuck

    #3 Smartphone theft: I know this isn’t a funny situation, but in the Strib’s coverage, they included this quote from the prosecutor, which struck me as amusing, though I’m not sure why:

    “’People ought to be able to sit and have a cup of coffee without fear of assault,’ said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, a longtime ally of [Mark] Andrew’s who endorsed him in the mayoral election, in a statement about the attack.”

  • Cara

    I love hearing Little Feat. Had a couple of their albums back in the day.

    Xiong Nhia Yang’s family story brought the reliable NewsCut eye moistening this morning. What a touching, lovely story!

    • tormann

      This is off of “Waitin for Columbus” 1978. Much better songs on this LP including “Willin”.

      • Used “Willin'” for a rouser about two years ago.

  • Dave

    It’s not that “we love our phones.”

    Does the value of a phone come as a surprise? It’s several hundred dollars and a major pain in the ass if it’s stolen. There’s nothing intrinsic about a cell phone that makes it special. My wallet was stolen once; I tried to get it back. Same for a bike that was ripped off. I would fully expect anyone to try and get it back — he’s not going to just sit there and watch someone run off with it. Furthermore, I would avoid drawing any major conclusions, or attempt to make any broad societal observations, from such an incident.

    I think what’s far scarier is that the whole thing seemed pre-mediated. The thief had hired goons ready to beat the victim into submission, which they did. Perhaps no one helped, in part, because they were too frightened by these weapon-wielding goons.

    Frankly he’s lucky to be alive!

  • DavidG

    #1: “objectively” seems an easy, rational choice: The injuries would slow them all down, reducing everyone’s chances. If she recovers from the injuries, a teenager is much better equipped to survive on her own.

    I’m sure that didn’t make the emotional part of the choice any easier, though.