Tag Archives: Minn.

The Minnesota town overrun with drunk birds. “This American Life” with an amazing episode about police indifference in a Long Island town. And a transgender student left alone in active shooter drill is disgraceful

A moment of silence before we begin for the 2018 New York Yankees season. I don’t follow baseball much anymore but I do get into the playoffs, and that 9th inning of Red Sox-Yanks last night was crazy exciting and tense. Ah well, great season by the men in Pinstripes…

Sometimes, you see a headline on a story and you know there’s no possible way you won’t be reading the whole thing.

Such was the case last week when I came across this doozy, in the Washington Post:
“Drunk birds are causing havoc in a Minnesota town. Police say they’ll sober up soon.”

I mean… you gotta stop and read that, right? So here’s the deal: In the small burg of Gilbert, Minn., the local police are receiving reports from locals about birds that are “under the influence” flying into windows, cars and acting confused,” according to Police Chief Ty Techar.

So what’s going on? Have some college kids been bring their Stroh’s Lights over to the birds and pouring them down their gullets? 2-for-1 night if you can fly over at the old local tavern? Are the birds just high on life? (Thank you, I got a million of these, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal).

Nope. Apparently an early Minnesota frost meant that berries had fermented earlier than usual, Techar explained, and birds were eating them and getting drunk. (Please, make your own jokes here about a spinoff to the wildly successful game, maybe called “Angry Drunk Birds.”

Incidents around town involving intoxicated birds appear to be more prevalent than in past years, Techar added, because many have not yet migrated south. “It appears that some birds are getting a little more ‘tipsy’ than normal,” he wrote. “Generally, younger birds’ livers cannot handle the toxins as efficiently as more mature birds.” (Well sure, that’s true of humans, too!)

Turns out the birds should sober up soon, and I love the Gilbert police department’s press release about this, ending with the statements that locals should call police if the see:
— Woodstock pushing Snoopy off the doghouse for no apparent reason
— Big Bird operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner,
— The Roadrunner jumping in and out of traffic on Main St.

Too funny. Be careful out there, our flying feathered friends.

**Next up, on a much more serious note, I’ve raved often in this space about the incredible journalism done each week on the NPR show “This American Life,” which has millions of devoted listeners like me.

The show has been on a fantastic streak of great episodes lately, none better (in my opinion) than last week’s show, No. 657, called “The Runaways.” It’s about what happened in a Long Island town when MS-13 gang activity picked up dramatically, and the Suffolk County police department’s woefully inadequate, downright callous and insensitive way of handling it. The episode tells the story of three Latino immigrant teenage boys, what happens to them, and the way the Suffolk PD “investigates” their disappearance.

Now, this one maybe hit close to home for me because I grew up in Suffolk, and the town this all happened in, Brentwood, was 15 minutes from my hometown of Commack.
But I don’t think you have to be from there to be outraged by the actions of the Suffolk PD, and to have your heartbreak for families like those of Miguel Garcia (above.).

Done in conjunction with the outstanding journalism think tank ProPublica, this episode is astoundingly good. Take an hour on your next commute to listen and download it; it’s devastating and great.

Made me so mad, how much some lives are valued, and how little others are.

**Speaking of that, this story made me shake my head, and honestly, I don’t know what to say about it.

A middle school in Virginia left a transgender student alone during an active shooter practice drill last week,  because they didn’t know where to shelter them.

Students were shepherded into the boys and girls locker rooms during the drill at Stafford County Middle School in Stafford, Va., while administrators and teachers debated where to put the transgender student.

From this story, according to Equality Stafford, an LGBTQ organization: The student was forced to watch the adults charged with her care, debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter,” Equality Stafford claimed. “During this debate, she was instructed to sit in the gym with a teacher until the drill was complete, away from her peers and identified as different.”

The student was eventually told to sit in the locker room hallway, away from other students, for the remainder of the drill.

My goodness, what is wrong with people???

Good News Friday: A toddler thinks a water heater is a robot, and it’s adorable. Georgia with some bipartisanship greatness fixing a major rape kit backlog. And a man who thought a town in Minnesota was the worst place to live, ever, moves there. And loves it.

And a Happy Friday to you all. As you read this I’m probably stuck in L.A. traffic, because that’s apparently all you do when you visit Southern California. I complain about NYC traffic, but man…

Anyway, we start Good News Friday with thirty seconds of adorableness. Meet Rayna, a super-cute toddler who thinks an old broken-down water heater is a robot. So she talks to it like a robot.

Too cute for words.

**Next up, a slightly more serious good news story. A major problem in states across the country is the millions of untested rape kits that are sitting in police warehouses, unable to be tested because there isn’t enough money or personnel to test them all.

In Georgia, the problem is particularly bad, and a strong state representative, Rep. Scott Holcomb, was miraculously able to do something about it.

His bill, the Pursuing Justice for Rape Victims Act, got bipartisan support in the Georgia legislature and was signed into law last month by GOP Gov. Nathan Deal. The law requires Georgia to test every single rape kit it receives from victims.

It’s a fantastic result, as now more than 4,200 kits that have been languishing will be tested, and hopefully rapists will be arrested and thrown in prison.

“It’s an example of how people can come together and make a difference to fix a very bad problem,” Holcomb said.

The show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” did a great job on this story (below,) and major points for the “Schoolhouse Rock” theme.

**And finally today, a sweet story from CBS News’ Steve Hartman. A reporter from the Washington Post named Christopher Ingraham wrote about a study that said Red Lake County, Minn. was the worst place in America to live.

He got lots of mail from the county’s residents, of course, but not all of it was vitriolic. Some people asked Christopher to come visit and see for himself what the town had to offer.

Christopher did, fell in love with the place, and now he lives there full-time.

Very, very cool.