Archive for August, 2008

Found Photo: State Fair

From the Metblog Flickr Pool.

"Ready, Aim, Fire" originally uploaded by katbaro.

"Ready, Aim, Fire" orginially uploaded by katbaro.

Unapologetic Compensating

On Sunday we were headed across town and happened across the Wheels of Italy car show on Excelsior near Lake Calhoun.

If you saw Ferraris and Lamborghinis tearing through Uptown and around Lake Calhoun on Sunday, it was for the annual show. Surely every red-blooded man yearns for a car that will go 200 mph before even shifting to 6th.

Minnesotans may seem conservative when it comes to their cars, but it turns out they just hide the good ones in their 10 car garages for the right summer day.

Minnesota Public Radio vs Twitter Account Squatter

Someone set up a Twitter account called @MPRmn and automated the posting of items from Minnesota Public Radio‘s RSS feed to Twitter with Twitterfeed. MPR made a good faith effort to contact the individual and when that didn’t work they went to Twitter management and asked if they could get in touch with the account holder. Twitter management talked to the account holder. Now MPR has the name @MPRmn; the original account holder has the account (with all the followers) and a different screen name (@MPRmnfan). MPR never talked directly to the previous account holder.

So now @MPRmnfan is accusing MPR of bullying.

Minnesota Public Radio contacted Twitter to stop these updates. Apparently MPR does not value the Twitter community. 10:59 PM August 23, 2008 from web

Several people have commented on how valuable this service is. I expect legal threats from large corporations, not MPR. 10:59 PM August 23, 2008 from web

It’s unfortunate that Minnesota *PUBLIC* Radio does not want to make their news public, and that this service has to go. 11:03 PM August 23, 2008 from web

Instead, people who have been following @MPRmn will now likely get a human with a bias filtering the news articles linked on Twitter. 11:04 PM August 23, 2008 from web

No more news updates will come from this account. Direct your complaints about MPR’s abusive bullying to @bcollinsmn now @N614EF. 1 day ago from web

According to MPR’s Interactive Producer Julia Schrenkler:

@pfhyper yep, fed by MPR directly now. we tried to contact the person who set it up but there was no info. @ replies will be seen by staff. about 4 hours ago from web

@taulpaul threat? no. MPR tried to contact him/her, couldn’t, no contact info/transparency. @MPRmn reassigned to MPR by Twitter, by req. about 3 hours ago from web

@taulpaul it seems Twitter reassigns the name and lets the old acct holder pick a new name on that acct, retaining the followers etc about 3 hours ago from web

@taulpaul tried to contact to ask for acct access via twitterfeed/twitter. not sure what language Twitter used when they contacted him/her about 2 hours ago from web

Hoo, boy, where to begin?

#1: @MPRmnfan’s righteous indignation over MPR’s thwarting of the “public service” they were supposedly providing is laughable. They are not providing any information that is not already available on MPR’s website. The accusations that MPR is trying to keep information from the public eye, that MPR is biased, and that MPR doesn’t value the Twitter community are just ludicrous. (Okay, you could argue MPR has bias, but it’s not on account of their Twitter policy.)

#2: Dumping an RSS feed into Twitter is not valuable. Period. (Unless you’re the Daily Planet and your RSS feeds are abominable.) Especially when an organization already has a pretty good Twitter presence, which MPR does. The whole point of having a Twitter presence as an organization is that there are people behind it. If I just want RSS, there are feedreaders and Cullect and Friendfeed and all sorts of aggregation tools for that. How is a human vetting which news stories from the website go to Twitter any more biased than what goes up on MPR’s website in the first place?

#3: MPR did not ask you to set up this account. You are squatting. You are using their name and logo. It’s in bad faith and in poor taste. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to request access to an account that has their name on it. It was nice of them to ask instead of just slapping you with a C&D.

#4: What does Bob Collins have to do with anything? Sure, dude is cranky, but how is that related to any of this?

@MPRmnfan’s rationale is beyond ridiculous and the response sounds like a temper tantrum at best.

This isn’t just about Twitter and what’s good and bad Twitter etiquette. It’s about misrepresenting yourself as part of an organization and then having the nerve to be indignant when they call you on it.

I wonder if they go through this exercise again with The Current’s Twitter accounts.

TC10 Lottery Losers: Another Race Option for the Ladies

Women Run the Cities logo

Women Run the Cities

The TC10 is a pretty sweet event, but unfortunately it’s so popular that not everyone makes it into the lottery. So if you already started your training only to find you didn’t get in but you would still like to complete the distance, try Women Run the Cities™ at Minnehaha Park.

Women Run the Cities™ is a running/walking event for women and girls featuring a 10-mile run, 5K run/walk, and 1-mile girls run. It is open to all women, from experienced runners and walkers to beginners.

The Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Women (MNCREW) organization created this event to encourage women of all ages to engage in a healthy and active lifestyle while promoting networking among professional women in the real estate industry.

[A] portion of the proceeds from Women Run the Cities™ will benefit the Ann Bancroft Foundation’s Dare to Dream mini-grants, which have helped nearly 600 girls and women in Minnesota.

The race course is a loop up one side of the Mississippi River, over the river, down the other side, and back to Minnehaha Park. This mirrors a portion of the TC10 and Twin Cities Marathon course.

It takes place the weekend before the TC10/TC Marathon. Late September is a good time of year for a road race. The weather should be good (last year’s record heat notwithstanding), the leaves will have started to change a little, and that part of town is just beautiful.

Newclear Energy

Your favorite extra-N US Congresswoman and mine, Michelle Bachmann, has been doing a lot of talking about energy in the past few months. “Two dollar gasoline!” she shrieks, “Babies as cheap food!” Yes, Mrs. Bachmannn, very good. Too bad it’s all total bunk. And even if it wasn’t, too bad you’re aiming in the opposite direction from the rest of the world. Gasoline? Seriously? Welcome to 1900, Mrs. Bachmannnn.

But, even besides returning to the womb of gasoline, she’s started pushing for nuclear energy. Nuclear energy! Honestly.

True, nuclear power produces no harmful emissions (only steam), it does produce mountains of what is known as “nuclear waste.” This waste is not like C02 emissions, where it’s plausible to excuse humans of generations past by saying “How were they to know?” No, it is very much known how dangerous nuclear waste is. Disagree? Ok! Let’s put the nuclear waste in your back yard.

So, when Michelle Bachmannnnn asks us to support nuclear energy in Minnesota (even though a nuclear plant hasn’t been built in the US since the 70s), you can imagine I’d be a little skeptical. MnIndy has my back, yo: Blinky the Fish

While pro-nuke evangelists like Bachmann preach that nuclear power can stand on its own without subsidies, they conveniently fail to mention the Price-Anderson Act, which limits the U.S. nuclear industry’s liability in the event of an accident to a total of about $10.5 billion. After that, the taxpayers pick up the tab—and that could conservatively run into the hundreds of billions of dollars.

Estimates of the value of the Price-Anderson subsidy to the industry vary widely, from $237 million to $3.5 billion annually. However, it’s clear that the subsidy insulates the industry from much of its risk and unfairly distorts nuclear power’s competitiveness in the energy marketplace.

I am not going to get into the hundreds of billions of reasons why I am uncomfortable with nuclear power. But I’m also not going to sit here and complain like a commonplace hippie without suggesting something better. Something better we can do here in Minnesota.

Geothermal? Not only can we do it, they’re already doing it in Iowa. At my cousin’s middle school, in fact. Iowa! The backwards, backwater-bumpkin of the Mid West. Ethanol? Well, ok. Corn is a horrible energy-sucker when it comes to making ethanol (and we have a huge ethanol corn growers lobby). But there are all sorts of grasses we can grow that will produce way more energy right here in Minnesota. Feel free to add your own source to the list. There are many more.

But wait! Don’t we live in Minnesota? Aren’t we supposed to be one of the most innovative states in the country, and therefore in the world? Our governor has been a spectacular leader on the alternative energy front (and I’m not too concerned about digging about to figure out why–who cares!). I think his established leadership on the subject could produce discoveries and innovations that would render nuclear waste obsolete. No: not only could it, it should.

What do you think?

Minnesota State Fair Fashion: Backwards White Hats

Walking through the Mn State Fair midway last night, I discovered an alarming trend. I found hundreds of young men wearing backwards hats. I counted 84 in this one area alone. Here is some shaky video I took to document the event.


Unfortunately, it’s hard to make out all the hats in the crowd, but they’re there. What State Fair Fashions 2008 have you noticed?

Bob Barr needs help to get on Minnesota ballot

Bob Barr for President

Flickr Image: Bob Barr for President

According to figures released August 19, Bob Barr, the official Libertarian candidate for President of the United States, only has 150 signatures on the petition to get him on the Minnesota Ballot. He’s already confirmed on the ballot in 38 states and finished or in court in 9 states. Minnesota is SO far behind.

It’s puzzling that most voters — fully 55% — say Barr should be included in the fall series of presidential debates, yet the Minnesota Libertarian party can’t seem to organize well enough to get Barr on the state ballot.

But it’s not too late — the deadline is September 9, with an internal goal of August 25 so the Secretary of State’s office can verify them.

Want to sign your name on the petition? Check the official MN Meetup group to see where they’ll be (MN State Fair today).

Mike Ferguson, the national field director of Bob Barr 2008, confirmed yesterday that Barr is coming to town sometime before and/or during the Republican National Convention. Meanwhile, there are lots of videos on YouTube if you’re wondering just who this guy is and how he differs from two choices presented to us.

Laughing Liberally, Saturday at the Ordway

I got an email via the Minneapolis Drinking Liberally mailing list about a Laughing Liberally event this Saturday at the Ordway.

(I’ve never actually attended a Drinking Liberally event, but it seems interesting in theory.)

(Laughing Liberally “showcases the brightest progressive comedians from across the nation.”)

So I read the email and I was all, “That’s nice. Wait, that’s in St Paul, not Minneapolis. RNC ongoing? Traffic? Anyway.” In spite of that gut reaction, I clicked through to the Ordway’s Laughing Liberally event page and saw that my man Baratunde Thurston is going to be performing. Dude, you didn’t even tell me you were going to be here!

So, if you like your comedy and your progressive politics all mixed up together, this should be worth a trip to St Paul during the RNC (in case you, like me, were trying to stay far far away from it).

Saturday, August 23, 2008
$15.00 (plus fees)

Purchase tickets by calling the box office at 651.224.4222
Or online at Promo Code: DRINK

Make sure you use the promo code, whether you call or order online. My girlfriend bought ours today and found out those seats are normally $45. Ticketbastard charges still apply.

This is part of the Ordway’s Urbanites series, so you can also use the promo code URBAN, though I don’t know how much of a discount that is.

(And yes, I know that the RNC doesn’t actually start until September 1.)

Putting lipstick on a pig?

In an news story turned odd from the Strib “This Friday, lots of people from across Minneapolis are expected to attend a block club-style gathering in the Hawthorne neighborhood to talk about crime, homelessness, community and citizenship. ”

According to Terry Collins of the Star Tribune Dyna Sluyter, a North Minneapolis resident, has “Flip flopped” on a party to show support for the Hawthorne Neighborhood.

Fret not, the party is still going to happen and is being called the “Dyna-mite Party” despite these words by Dyna Sluyter

I don’t believe I invited y’all to have a picnic in my yard, which happens to be your preferred location,” she said in a recent post. She threatened to leave the area for her outstate retreat.

“So, if your group of do-gooders want to come ‘slumming’ up here and put some lipstick on the pig that is North Minneapolis crime, please wait for an invitation instead of imposing yourselves,” 

I guess not everyone wants to be Johnny Northside.

Ofcourse, if you really want to try and put some lipstick on a pig there are other options.

Are these a bunch of do gooders gone awry?

Twin Cities Media Alliance announce 4th Annual Fall Media Forum

On the heels of June’s National Conference for Media Reform and last November’s stirring Life After Newspapers conference, the 4th Annual Fall Media Forum promises to be high-energy and a great opportunity to keep the discussion going about media ownership, net neutrality, evolving citizen journalism, and more.

Mark your calendar:
Saturday, October 4th, 2008
9:00am — 3:00pm
Minneapolis Downtown Central Library

The theme for this year’s event will be “Media Forum: Tools for Democracy, Strategies for Change”. Confirmed presenters include local Fox 9 news anchor Robyne Robinson and Amalia Anderson from the Main Street Project.

Registration will begin in early September. Watch for details on

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