The child left behind, where’s climate change, and we’ll die for our smartphones (5×8 -12/30/13)

The Monday Morning Rouser:


If you had to flee danger with your family, but couldn’t take all of your children, which would you leave behind? Xiong Nhia Yang ‘s father made the decision in 1964. His parents, fleeing Laos, left a teenage sister behind; she’d been injured by gunfire.

The family escaped to France and the United States, but nobody knew what happened to the sister, Sua.

Last year, her nephew, Kao Thomas Yang, traced her to southern Laos, KARE 11 reports.

“Is this a dream?” Xiong Nhia said when the two met at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.


The cold weather might reinforce the notion that climate change has eased — it’s a popular theory floating around online — but it’s an illusion, according to Smithsonian. Land temperature increases might be slowing somewhat, but that’s likely because the oceans are absorbing some of the temperature and their increase is unabated.

It’s tempting to think of climate change as a far off problem that we’ll have to deal with eventually. But an abundance of studies released this year show that the consequences of climate change are already being felt in a huge variety of ways, from the everyday to the catastrophic.

In terms of the former, Climate change is forcing insurance companies to raise their premiums, driving up the price of coffee, altering the taste of apples, helping invasive species take over local ecosystems, threatening the suitability of wine-growing regions, reducing our ability to perform manual labor, melting outdoor ice hockey rinks and causing plants to flower earlier.

And, of course, there’s the most direct consequence: warming. Globally, we observed the hottest November on record, part of a string of 345 straight months with above-average temperatures compared to the 20th century average.


Let’s recap: If you throw money at the Mall of America, you’ll be arrested in a few seconds. If someone steals your cellphone and accomplices start beating you, you’re pretty much on your own.

“Hundreds of people saw it,” Mark Andrew told the Pioneer Press about his beating. “Nobody came while I was getting assaulted. Whatever the reason, it was sad. It’s a sad commentary.”

“Somebody takes my phone, I’m going after them,” he said.

We love our phones.


For nearly 20 years Janice Pierce has taught students with emotional and behavioral issues at Technical High School in Saint Cloud. She believes in kids when others don’t, the St. Cloud Times reports.

Her son took his own life over the summer. He had many of the same problems her students face, she tells the paper. She kept teaching.

“I’m so proud,” Pierce said. “I’ve had so many kids turn into real successes. I always knew that they would.”


Oh, those radio people are natural huggers, you know.

Related: At the Starbucks in Newington, Conn. last week, the first person in the drive-thru paid for the order of the car behind him/her. And it continued. All day. A thousand customers in a row paid for someone else.

Bonus I: The Wisconsin Badgers gathered to watch the Packers-Bears game at the team hotel in Orlando. Here’s the reaction to Randall Cobb’s touchdown catch on fourth down, sealing the playoff birth for the Packers. Find the Bears fan.

Bonus II: Redwood Falls struggles with real world fallout of new sales tax law (Redwood Falls Gazette).

Does Mark Dayton deserve another term?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Politics is a never ending election cycle. Before we completely jump into the 2014 cycle, The Daily Circuit will look back at what happened in 2013. What were the big events or issues that marked 2013?

Second hour: When it comes to foreign policy, 2013 was dominated by Syrian chemical weapons, international fallout from NSA spying revelations and another round of Middle East peace talks spearheaded by Vice President Biden. What lies ahead for 2014?

Third hour: Washington Post book critic Ron Charles joins us to look back at the best books of the year, and to talk about what exciting titles to look for in early 2014.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm) – An American RadioWorks documentary about the history and value of the GED, called “Second Chance Diploma: Examining the GED.”

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – A closer look at what really happened in Benghazi. Plus: The latest from the Russian city of Volgograd following a suicide attack on a train station yesterday and a bus today.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak came into office 12 years ago as an opponent of public subsidies for downtown development. He leaves office this week as the champion of the Vikings Stadium and the planned Wells Fargo office towers nearby, both beneficiaries of generous public subsidies. MPR News reporter Curtis Gilbert looks at how Rybak has developed as a politician and what, if any, political future he’ll have.

UBER rides, which matches folks who want rides with limo and other drivers, is shaking up the Twin Cities transportation business. People who used to take cabs are now using their smartphones to arrange limo rides. MPR’s Marty Moylan will have the story.

Whale watchers are in for a treat off southern California’s coast. This winter, the variety and number of whales passing through those waters is unusually high. Its so unusual that even marine biologists arent exactly sure what’s going on. NPR will report.