If we could be married, most of these legal barriers would disappear. Instead, we have to spend precious days and considerable emotional energy during the pregnancy and while our baby is a newborn — for such a short time — at legal appointments and checking boxes on a list of legal needs that runs for pages.
The last agonizing minute will come standing in a courtroom those moments before a judge grants me — please, please — legal custody of my baby. Then I will finally be able to go on our baby’s birth certificate as the other parent.
”—All new parents face obstacles. But today’s commentary writer Annie Anderson reveals the additional hurdles that she will deal with while trying to adopt the child that her partner will give birth to next month. Read the whole commentary here.
State facility for the mentally ill risks losing license over turmoil
From reporter Madeleine Baran:
David Proffitt, the administrator of the state’s largest facility for the mentally ill and dangerous, began his new job in August 2011 with a vow to improve patient care and reduce the use of restraints and seclusion.
The Minnesota Security Hospital, however, shows few signs of turning around. If anything, some of the problems have worsened and new tensions have surfaced, according to eight employees interviewed by MPR News and previously unreleased state data from the Department of Human Services.
The use of restraints has more than doubled since Proffitt arrived. Employees describe a chaotic work environment made worse by confusing policies and a lack of adequate training. They said the turmoil has alienated employees, leading to the exodus of the facility’s top psychiatry staff.
In the meantime, the state has hired a private firm to investigate allegations by several psychiatrists that Proffitt created a hostile work environment and made sexually inappropriate comments. DHS Deputy Commissioner Anne Barry told MPR News the facility is now just a few missteps away from losing its license and being taken over by the U.S. Department of Justice, a result of mismanagement that set in before Proffitt took over.
Have we all been suckered in by that jobs-skills mismatch argument?
From reporter and On Campus blogger Alex Friedrich:
In the past year or so I’ve written and reposted a number of articles on the supposed jobs-skills mismatch in Minnesota (and America overall), and some questions have slowly started to nag me.
How can it really be that despite all of our top-flight educational resources there’s a mismatch — and that it’s the education sector’s fault?
Why do the laws of supply and demand magically fail to work in this sector of the labor force? If wages and salaries were increased, wouldn’t the job candidates come calling?
Why is it suddenly the government’s job to provide job- and vocational training for business after high school? Why don’t businesses do it themselves, as they used to decades ago through apprenticeships, internships and such?
Are businesses willing to invest in the solution if government is?
If such training (or a two-year degree) is now the minimum requirement for the 21st-century labor force, why don’t we make it free? A high school degree used to be the minimum, and we’ve funded that. Should we expand our concept of mandatory education?
“There’s something special going on in Minnesota right now. I think the day is coming when people will say that in Minnesota all our restaurants are strong, all our plates are good looking, and all our chefs above average.”—Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl talks with Tom Crann about Minnesota’s record number of James Beard Award nominations this year.
“The beauty of science and the beauty of studies like this is that it’s actually getting us to think of what we’re doing, so it’s not reflexive, so we actually step back for a moment and look at the big picture.”—Dr. Jon Hallberg talks with All Things Considered host Tom Crann about a new study showing that amoxicillin is no more effective in treating sinus infections than placebos.
He was an Internet futurist who thought the Internet had no future. Merely a fad. A passing fancy.
We were reminded of Clifford Stoll yesterday when we posted a photo from when the Internet first came to NPR. MPR News reporter Curtis Gilbert recently stumbled upon a gem from the MPR archives, a 1995 interview with Stoll by MPR host Paula Schroeder. Stoll was promoting his book Silicon Snake Oil (at the same time he also published a Newsweek article titled, “The Internet? Bah!”
We advise listening to the full interview (it’s short) because Stoll’s self-assured tone is at least half of the fun. A partial transcript is posted below for your reading pleasure.
STOLL: It’s (the Internet) a place for people to post both useful information and vicious, nasty messages. And they exist side by side. As a result, I expect the value of the Internet for communications in general isn’t very high. I don’t think it will ever replace face to face meetings and real rallies - things that get commitment and involvement from people. Rather, it induces a very shallow, ethereal and ephemeral involvement and as such, I think it’s grossly over-promoted and there’s a great deal of hyperbole surrounding it.
SCHROEDER: So you think, like, Newsweek magazine now has a page called “the virtual page” or something, and many newspapers as well, have a separate section devoted to technology and exchanging of information on the Internet. You think that it’s really not that important?
STOLL: I’d say it’s not that important. I think it’s grossly oversold and within two or three years people will shrug and say, ‘“Uh yep, it was a fad of the early 90’s and now, oh yeah, it still exists but hey, I’ve got a life to lead and work to do. I don’t have time to waste online.” Or, “I’ll collect my email, I’ll read it, why should I bother prowling around the Worldwide Web or reading the Usenet” simply because there’s so little of value there.
SCHROEDER: Well Clifford Stoll, there’s gotta be something of value. I know that we use it quite a bit for research here in our newsroom.
STOLL: Really? I’m sorry to hear that.
Stoll seems to have dropped the “Internet futurist” title, preferring to be identified as an astronomist. In a highly energetic TED talk from 2006 (think Doc Brown from Back to the Future - only more scattered and frantic) he said:
"Asking me to talk about the future is bizarre…If you really want to know about the future, don’t ask a technologist, a scientist, a physicist. No! Don’t ask somebody who’s writing code. No, if you want to know what society’s going to be like in 20 years, ask a kindergarten teacher."
Note: all research for this post was conducted on the Internet.
By a 5-1 margin, the Anoka-Hennepin school board voted Monday night to revoke its so-called ‘neutrality policy,’ which required teachers to remain neutral when issues of sexual orientation come up in the classroom.
And while district leaders say their move was not related to legal action, getting rid of the neutrality policy was a major demand in two pending federal lawsuits. In July, two national civil rights groups sued on behalf of several students. The National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center claim the students were harassed for their sexual orientation, and a key demand of the suit was that the policy be repealed.
Monday night’s almost unanimous vote accomplished just that. In its place, the board approved what’s called the “respectful learning environment" policy. The new language says teachers should not try to persuade students to accept or reject any viewpoint when contentious topics such as sexual orientation come up. It also says staff should affirm the dignity and self-worth of all students.
Analysis finds $55M shortfall in Minneapolis stadium plan
From reporter Tim Nelson:
A financial analysis obtained by MPR News shows the city is nearly 20 percent short of the pledge it hoped to make to the project. The report also includes some steep new fees in the deal, including a $25 charge to park on downtown streets on game days.
“Dave Hoops from the Brewhouse told me there’s even a North Coast Style now. It’s hoppier and more floral than West Coast, but with lower alcohol. There are other cities with beer identifies, and beer tourism cultures like this, cities like Portland, Ore., and Boulder, Colo. I think when we look back on the 2010s, we’re going to see that new breweries improved Minneapolis, but they transformed Duluth.”—Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl on the burgeoning beer scene in and around Duluth.
“Call it the Burning Man of the Midwest: a temporary city, built around artistic expression. Only this one takes place in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minn., in the middle of winter.”—National Public Radio takes a look at the Art Shanties.