Inside the Daily Planet, 04/01/11


“Bravest Woman in Afghanistan” speaks Friday in Minneapolis by Mary Jane LaVigne, TC Daily Planet • March did not come in like a lamb in Afghanistan. On the first day of the month, in the northeastern province of Kunar, ten boys aged seven to twelve were shot while gathering wood. Nine died. According to the surviving child, two attack helicopters picked them off “one by one.” A NATO spokesperson called the incident a “terrible mistake” caused by “miscommunication” with helicopter crews.

April 4: Minnesota AFL-CIO plans ‘March for the Middle Class’ as part of national day of action by Staff, Minneapolis Labor Review • As part of a national day of action, the Minnesota AFL-CIO is organizing a “March for the Middle Class” Monday, April 4.

MUSIC | Volcano Choir at the Cedar Cultural Center: Total eclipse of Eau Claire by Kyle Matteson, TC Daily Planet • There are certain things in life that happen so few times that you feel pretty damn lucky to have seen with your own two eyes in person: an albino bald eagle, a meteor shower, a total lunar eclipse. You can add a Volcano Choir live performance to that list.

Jobs bill headed to House floor/node/46003 by Nick Busse, Session Weekly/Session Daily • He tried, but Rep. Tom Rukavina (DFL-Virginia) failed to convince his fellow committee members not to transfer $60 million out of an Iron Range trust fund.

Agriculture bill headed to conference committee by Susan Hegarty, Session Weekly/Session Daily • The omnibus agriculture and rural development finance bill is on its way to a conference committee.

Ted Nguyen finds success in home healthcare, media and film distribution by Tom LaVenture, Asian American Press • As a refugee boy who came to Minnesota with his family, Ted Nguyen once called the Twin Cities home.
Now living in Houston, Nguyen returned for the first time in a decade to represent his film distribution company and promote the action film, “Bay Rong” (Clash), from American Vietnamese filmmaker Lê Thanh San, that will enjoy at least a week-long run at St. Anthony Main Theaters starting March 25, 2011.


FRONT ROW SEAT | Mixed Blood Theatre’s Avenue Q takes the bus a couple more stops away from Sesame Street by Jay Gabler • Mixed Blood’s production is one of the first independent stagings of the 2002 musical, and it’s an interesting departure. This Avenue Q softens the original’s satirical edge, and plays up the characters’ relationships.

GOVERNOR ARNE CARLSON’S BLOG | Resolution versus stalemate by Arne Carlson •  Governor Mark Dayton’s March 28th letter to Republican legislative leaders was less about a negotiated budgetary settlement and more about framing the debate after he vetoes their budget proposal.  From a strategic perspective it was masterful.  It was clear, intelligent, and firm.  Assuming legislative Democrats remain firm, the Governor will have the upper hand.

MN PROGRESSIVE PROJECT | MN to defund family planning services by Rachel Nygaard • In another example of the misplaced priorities, the Minnesota GOP is working to remove state and federal funding for family planning services. Originally the language banned the use of any federal or state dollars for family planning, but upon realizing this would stop medicaid dollars coming to the state, they adjusted it to only ban state and federal funds from the Minnesota Department of Health.  The Department of Health provides family planning grants to clinics throughout Minnesota. The family planning special projets (FPSP) grants were implemented in 1978 under Governor Carlson and even Governor Pawlenty increased the funding for this program. This bipartisan measure provided 10 million dollars in grants to mostly rural communities helping them provide family planning and education. These funds provided cancer screenings, STI/HIV testing, medically accurate sex education and contraception. None of these dollars are used for abortion services.

DOWNSTREAM | Big Bird goes to school by Emilio DeGrazia • I really don’t know how they do it day after day–teachers at the elementary and middle school level. What did I find so hard about the kids? They are squirrels, as naturally they should be, primed to hop up and around whenever anything just slightly nuts pops up. The youngest ones are full of good life–fresh-faced eager-beaver squirrels hungry to see what a full-bodied out-of-school experience can offer them that ordinary school does not. They have the energy of dervishes and attention span of fireflies. And hardest of all on me was that they expect to be entertained.

NORTH BY NORTHSIDE | Bike lanes on the Lowry Bridge by Jeff Skrenes • One of the bright spots (of which there are many) on the redesigned Lowry Avenue is the ample space provided for bike lanes.  Last week some cyclists and I had a very wonkish discussion about how those lanes would be incorporated into the shiny new Lowry Bridge.  If you’ll notice from the design specs above, there don’t seem to be any marked bike lanes.  If the bridge is built exactly like this, I see three possible prospects, all of them unappealing in their own right:  bicyclists will have to share the road with high-speed traffic, bikers will share the walkways with pedestrian traffic, or bikers will be required to get off of their bikes and walk with pedestrians if they’re not willing to brave traffic conditions.