The end of the Minnesota ice age (5×8 – 5/15/13)

So long, winter; the unanswered question of the marriage debate, a free press v. the United States, the reviews are in for the new Vikings stadium, and The Podium closes.


From the looks of things there’ll be no more ice attacks on Lake Mille Lacs. The ice may soon be off the lake, perhaps within a day or two.

Here’s the state’s largest lake on Sunday.


And yesterday afternoon…


Historically, however, the latest ice-out on Lake Mille Lacs is today in 1950.

Whether this constitutes a new record depends on how you define ice-out, according to the Minnesota Climatology Working Group:

The definition of lake ice-out varies from lake to lake, and individual to individual. For some, ice-out occurs only when the lake is completely free of ice. For others, ice-out is defined as the moment when navigation is possible from point A to point B. And yet for others, ice-out is when 90 percent of the lake is ice free. Due to the variable definitions of this rather subjective observation, the State Climatology Office attempts to contact the same individuals each year to maintain a consistent record.

By the way, the big pile of snow that appears every year in the Sears parking lot in Saint Paul is still there at this late date. But, oddly enough, it’s smaller and probably destined for a shorter lifespan than the one in 2011, which stuck around until mid-June. So maybe things weren’t as bad as we thought in 2013.

Meanwhile, a wildfire in Wisconsin isn’t getting much attention, but it’s ripping through the area. At least 50 structures, including some homes or cabins, have been destroyed in the area southeast of Solon Springs, the Duluth News Tribune said. Photographer Kate Bade has posted some amazing photos on her Facebook page.

Early this morning, the FAA post a no-fly zone over the area and one over Park Rapids, where another fire is burning. KSTP reports evacuations are underway in the area.


During the debate on same-sex marriage in the state on Monday, some senators voiced concern that wedding photographers, for example, would be forced to work at weddings of same-sex couples, even though they had a religious opposition to the marriage.

What the debate never got around to is this question: Who wants to give money to people to come work at their wedding if that person has a religious — or any other — distaste for the marriage? Please step forward and let’s talk about this.

One would imagine that Cadence Cornelius is likely to get a phone call long before the person unwilling to photograph a same-sex wedding would. She’s one-half of a married couple — both wedding photographers.

On her blog, she posted some of the most compelling images of Monday’s activity at the Capitol that we’ve seen. Here.


Sometimes, it takes a lot to get the nation’s major (and some minor) news organizations on the same page but the news this week that the Department of Justice seized private phone records of reporters in an attempt to find out who leaked a story about a potential al Qaeda plot is one of those times.

Under the banner of the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press, the organizations filed a protest with the Department of Justice.

Here’s the letter:

Media Coalition Letter Re AP Subpoena

Attorney General Eric Holder defended the moves, saying the information breach that led to people finding out about an alleged al Qaeda plot against an airliner was one of the most serious he’s ever seen.

In an editorial today, the New York Times says this isn’t an isolated case, but a troubling trend:

The Obama administration has indicted six current and former officials under the Espionage Act, which had previously been used only three times since it was enacted in 1917. One, a former C.I.A. officer, pleaded guilty under another law for revealing the name of an agent who participated in the torture of a terrorist suspect. Meanwhile, President Obama decided not to investigate, much less prosecute, anyone who actually did the torturing.

The Justice Department is pursuing at least two major press investigations, including one believed to be focused on David Sanger’s reporting in a book and in The Times on an American-Israeli effort to sabotage Iranian nuclear works. These tactics will not scare us off, or The A.P., but they could reveal sources on other stories and frighten confidential contacts vital to coverage of government.

In any event, the news of the seizures has left the Obama administration in a familiar position for many second-term presidents, mired in scandals real and imagined.

“Whatever else that means, it means that the President Obama we have will not be the President Obama he wanted to become,” NPR’s Ron Elving writes today.

Over to you, Jon Stewart…


News of the new design of the Minnesota Vikings stadium has reached the hinterlands of Packer Country, and you know we want to know what they think, even though we say we don’t care. But we do. You know we do.

Highlights of the comments from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Teams that play in glass houses need to grow stones, to paraphrase the old idiom.

Someday the Packers will play in the Superbowl there. Ironic.

Don’t worry about snow on the glass roof…. They never use it past December.

Good for them. And kudos to a city that continues to “get it” while it’s eastern neighbor just doesn’t. Go to Minneapolis and you see a city of innovation, a vibrant young population, a place that attracts jobs and a fun place to live. Even if their football team stinks, they do what they need to do to stay modern and relevant. In Milwaukee you have the opposite. No taxes for this or that! No improvements! We like our concrete city stuck in 1965 and you don’t like it, you can move!

A tale of two cities indeed. One that moved out of the 60s and one that’s stuck there.

More sports: That old saying about there being no cheering in the press box? That’s so yesterday.


Progress — or at least Minneapolis’ version of it — is claiming a musical institution. The Podium has announced its closing its shop for good on SE 14th Ave., in the city (Dinkytown). (h/t: Ali Lozoff)

A note on its website carries the sad news:

All good things must come to and end, and so it goes with The Podium. A veritable landmark in the history of Minnesota music, the Podium has grown from humble beginnings selling sheet music, pipe tobacco, and instruments to the world class purveyor of acoustic instruments that it is today. Recently, the building that The Podium resides in has been sold to make way for a mixed use retail / residential development. Despite concerted efforts by the community-at-large to stop the development, and diligent efforts to find a suitable spot for relocation, we are now faced with the difficult decision to close our doors for good.

We’d like to thank the many, many customers who have supported us over the past 54 years, and to the builders whose craft made our existence possible. Without either, there would be no need for a guitar store in the first place. We are indebted to your patronage and artistry, respectively.

Bonus I: Finally! A fact you can use to impress your colleagues today.

If you place 32 metronomes on a static object and set them rocking out of phase with one another, they will remain that way indefinitely. Place them on a moveable surface, however, and something very interesting (and very mesmerizing) happens.

(h/t: Curtis Gilbert)

Bonus II: The 84-year-old batboy. Bless his heart.

Bonus III: How the I35W is lit with color. Still the best article that’s ever been done on the subject. (Be sure to see all the examples of various holiday lighting)


Today’s Question: What do you think of the design for the new Vikings stadium?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Neil deGrasse Tyson, a leading astrophysicist and the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. (Rebroadcast)

Second hour: Joy S. Reidenberg, professor at the Center for Anatomy and Functional Morphology and Department of Medical Education at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. (Rebroadcast)

Third hour: The criminal justice system needs to rethink the way it manages teenagers who misbehave, according to Laurence Steinberg, an adolescent brain development expert at Temple University. (Rebroadcast)

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Steven John interviews NPR’s Alix Spiegel as part of MPR’s Broadcast Journalist Series.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The Political Junkie.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Paul Monti’s son, Jared, was killed in Afghanistan. Now, he drives his son’s truck. And by doing so he unknowingly inspired a hit song. NPR will have the story behind the number one country tune.