Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A good start

Minneapolis, Minnesota

With half of Minnesotans on suicide watch owing to the duration and intensity of winter, and with half poised to slit their wrists if the Coleman/Franken recount does not end during recorded history, sunshine coupled with sustained high temperatures cannot arrive too soon.

Even if this morning began with windchills of –15º to –20º, today's deep and piercing sunshine is a good start, a welcome uptick from yesterday's gray overhang and dump of slop. Once we emerge from tonight's thermometer low of –6º, we will have a shot at remaining above freezing during coming days.

There even are glimmers of hope on the recount front. Assuming that the final witnesses can make it to St. Paul from our blizzard-strewn counties to the west, Team Franken might rest its case this afternoon – two or three weeks ahead of predictions. After Team Coleman's rebuttal and any Franken re-rebuttal, plus closing arguments by both sides, Coleman's legal challenge to the State Canvassing Board's final report could go to the special panel of three, state court judges next week.

After that? Stay tuned. While Franken told some Democratic senators yesterday that he saw light at the end of the recount tunnel, Coleman's campaign manager asserted to some reporters that it really was the light of an oncoming train.

For drama queens and others of every stripe, we have enjoyed or endured (take your pick) months of civic distemper on every topic. From those on the left – complaining about the left-right-and-center – to those on the right – carrying on about the right-left-and-center – it seems none of us are happy about anything.

(Notwithstanding a new Gallup poll that says Minnesotans rank themselves fifth highest for health and happiness.)

Well. At least someone is trying to cope.

The front page of this morning's Star Tribune newspaper featured an interesting juxtaposition. At the top center, the president was quoted as saying "The future belongs to the nation that best educates its citizens." The adjacent story reported about a substitute teacher in St. Paul who was sent home from school yesterday after blowing a 0.18% on a Breathalyzer test.

Probably not the kind of education, or coping, the prez had in mind.

Coping is a state of mind that requires a positive outlook. For example, anyone who still qualifies to pay capital gains taxes in any amount can be added to the endangered species list. (I know that hurts and isn't funny.) Further, at least for now, it appears that close to 90% of the country is still employed at least part-time. (Also not funny).

Our entertainment industries stand ready to help. The owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team has taken to the airwaves to pitch season tickets for five bucks a game – with the
promise that anyone laid off during 2009 will receive a refund.

Only medical tests, however, can remove the darkest cloud on the horizon. Joe Mauer, our hometown star catcher for the Minnesota Twins, had kidney surgery in December. Joe has been able to catch, throw, and swing a bat in spring training, but he still cannot run without back pain and has yet to play a pre-season game. This is not good as we await results of today's magnetic resonance arthrogram in Fort Myers.

Joe's good health would help get the baseball season off to a good start. Could the rest of the world be far behind?

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