The Monday Morning Rouser:
There’ve been a few articles recently examining the philosophical gulf between Wisconsin and Minnesota, and today the New York Times drills deeper by looking at the other Twin Cities: Duluth and Superior, Wis.
Few places reveal the chasm like Duluth and Superior, where life along the border has come to look like a jarring, real-time experiment in which neighbors’ lives are suddenly heading along separate trajectories.
In Duluth, where Mr. and Ms. Smith live on a quiet cul-de-sac on a hill, there are signs of labor expansion. Minnesota lawmakers last year voted to grant in-home child care workers and personal attendants permission to form unions. But in Superior, where the Smiths have taught at the city’s high school for nearly two decades, labor’s power diminished precipitously after a decision by Wisconsin lawmakers, parts of which are still being contested in the courts, to solve a budget crunch by slashing bargaining rights for public-sector union workers and raising their shares of health and pension costs.
For the Smiths, the effects were instant. With more than $6,000 less in an already-lean annual family budget, Ms. Smith, a Spanish teacher who had worked part time to spend mornings with her children, had no choice but to move to full-time hours. “We just weren’t going to be able to make it,” she said.
An owner of a foundry, meanwhile laments its location in Duluth, noting higher personal income taxes. A gay couple in Wisconsin plans to move to Duluth. A 41-year old mother of three with a need for the kind of health insurance Minnesota offers says she’s staying put in Superior for now. She’s a Republican and says “she’s not there yet.”
2) SAM BERNS’ HAPPY LIFE
Massachusetts high school junior Sam Berns was old before his time. At age 2, he was diagnosed with Progeria, a rare, rapid aging disease. “No matter what problems we are facing, there’s always room for happiness in our lives,” Berns said. He was the subject of an HBO documentary last October, around the time he made this TED talk.
He died on Friday.
Related: Kayla Koranda remembered as caring, driven teen (Rochester Post Bulletin).
3) SEEING NO EVIL
Some things we know but prefer not to think about, says John Gray – whether it’s the truth about the invasion of Iraq or the failures of the financial system that led to the banking crisis.
Not everyone moving to North Dakota is a short-timer. Even after the drilling in the Oil Patch stops, there will be jobs for the life of the oil wells. Paul and Marcia Whitcomb thought they’d try North Dakota, make some money and then return to Arkansas. But they’re staying for good, the Fargo Forum reports.
“We couldn’t have the jobs we have or live this way or live in a house this nice anywhere else we went in the country right now,” Paul said of the new home that replaces the RV they’ve been living in for a couple of years.
The home became available when the couple that was renting couldn’t afford the $4,000 monthly rent anymore.
Related: West Virginia residents cope, with days of water woes still ahead after chemical spill (Washington Post).
5)THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
Nowhere on this week’s calendar is there a requirement that you thank your parents for all they’ve done for you, which you should anyway, says Ben Stein.
BONUS I: Each year at the employee cabaret/winter party, MPR News reporter Tim Post finds something about the MPR culture to create a mini-doc. Last year it was the growing number of people who stand up in their cubicles. This year: the healthy-walking craze.
BONUS II: Blake Shippee & Jeremy Marshik demonstrate the art of navigating the ice-laden street in Duluth.
(h/t: Cathy Wurzer)
Does Minnesota need a stronger anti-bullying law?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Should the Minnesota minimum wage be increased?
Second hour: Tess Viegeland on quitting a job without a backup plan.
Third hour: Amy Tan’s “In the Valley of Amazement” made the list of New York Times’ Most Notable Books of 2013. We’re rebroadcasting Kerri’s conversation with Amy Tan from November 2013.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm) – MPR’s Chris Farrell interviews Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota about the economy.
The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – Three Iraq War veterans reflect on the Al Qaeda takeover of Ramadi and Fallujah.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Ruth Ozeki’s novel “A Tale for the Time Being” examines time, suicide, bullying, war, quantum physics, the tsunami, and a host of other topics in a novel which begins with an extract from a diary written by a Japanese high school student found washed up in a Hello Kitty lunchbox on a beach in British Columbia. MPR’s Euan Kerr will talk with the author.
Russian media cannot or will not cover the plight of gays in the country. Thats why LGBT advocates hope western journalists will report boldly on Russia’s anti-gay policies next month in Sochi. The Winter Olympics there present a prime opportunity. But will American media risk upsetting their
Russian hosts? Thats the challenge for NBC’s Olympic coverage today. NPR will provide the story.