The guy who precipitated the Answer Man item on Dallemand's desk today just sent this e-mail:
Good stuff here. I see the comments this morning are spirited regarding your support of the district. I believe that as the economy contracts fewer people will be on your side and more will call for thrift. In the end, this will only hurt the district when they come to taxpayers, hat-in-hand, trying to convince us how much they need additional funding.
The Answer Man responded in this way:
I'm sure you're correct regarding reaction to the column, though to say I support the district on this desk issue is incorrect. My point is that after two years or thereabouts, it's been blown out of reasonable proportion. Thanks,
1/ The Pentagon and Obama White House deserve credit for new rules to allow journalists to fully cover the return of fallen military heroes. The new policy seems reasonable: If the families of fallen soldiers and sailors are OK with photographers covering the return of their loved ones, the government should be as well. The average Joe could care less about this as a free press issue, but it's an important acknowledgment by the new administration that restrictions on a free press diminish all of us.
2/ The New York Post cartoon was an abomination.
3/ So are the ads in the Star Tribune that are placed dead-center in the middle of news pages, cutting the page in two and sometimes separating news content that logically should be packaged together. I'm all for creative advertising displays in newspapers, but not when it befuddles readers.
4/ I'll do a live chat with readers from noon to 1 p.m. a week from today, and hope to make that a weekly habit.
Here's a reasonable response to the Answer Man's item today on Rochester Schools Superintendent Romain Dallemand's notorious desk:
Dear answer man. I guess my desk which cost about 200 bucks was a steal. But then the school has significantly deeper pockets. The only problem I have is letting the school dig in my pocket for that desk.
Aside from the strange image of "letting the school dig in my pocket for that desk"...
Taxpayers and voters will render a final verdict on whether the cost of that desk was excessive. I do think the fascination with the desk and the attempt to turn it into a symbol (a la the $100 Pentagon hammer) of wasteful spending is just as extreme and excessive -- more disturbing to me is how it's used as a convenient hammer by people who apparently have other agendas and go far beyond reasonable civility in attacking Dallemand.
The March issue of Diabetes Forecast magazine tells us how nervous doctors can make us.
"A new study found that people's blood pressure rose within sight of a doctor, then dropped sharply when the physician left," the article says. I'm not sure if there's a solution to this. How about name tags that say "health practitioner" instead of Dr.?
This article reminded me of a physician I visited for an appointment who lectured me and then checked my blood pressure. The only time in my history at that medical center, my blood pressure was elevated.
The doctor tried to get me to start taking blood pressure medicine. The internal medicine expert could literally cite research articles verbatim, but didn't understand the "real-world" needs of patients who are sometimes unable to afford such expenditures. In the end, I chose a different physician.
A nurse later reviewed my blood pressure readings, all of which were actually quite good — except the one taken by the internal medicine specialist. And the nurse said flatly, "you don't need blood pressure medicine."
According to Diabetes Forecast, a separate study concluded that "White-coat hypertension should not be considered a harmless condition."
Hate to say it, but we've had our lunch eaten in the past week on the Elk Run story, with both Minnesota Public Radio and today the Star Tribune reporting on what may be a billion-dollar break in the pending biotech development near Pine Island. We're in need of a few background sources at the clinic and Capitol, comparable to those who've been whispering in the ears of MPR and Strib reporters, for whatever reason, but not to the local newspaper. Any volunteers?
Here's a reminder about the program on Thursday -- I'll have more on this shortly, including some ideas on how the Post-Bulletin might get involved in a companion effort to explore what "inclusivity" means and why it's important.
Two Rochester community leaders working on projects to make the city a more welcoming place for people of all backgrounds will be featured in the February meeting of Post-Bulletin Dialogues, coming up Thursday.
The monthly P-B Dialogues series is an informal community conversation about local news and issues, led by Managing Editor Jay Furst. The event Thursday will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Rochester Public Library auditorium.
Kay Hocker, Diversity Council executive director, and Father Nick Mezacapa, a leader of the newly launched Neighborhood program, will lead the discussion, outline their projects and engage in an open dialogue with the audience.
For more details on the program, call Furst at 285-7742 or go to his blog, Furst Draft, at Postbulletin.com.