Blogosphere

American Legion Post #84 exceeds 2020 membership goal and meets the National Commander

KYMN Radio - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 11:44am

NEW PRAGUE, MINNESOTA February 19, 2020 – Northfield American Legion Post #84 had the privilege of meeting the American Legion National Commander, Commander Bill Oxford in New Prague Wednesday night, as he continued his tour through Minnesota. “It was an absolute honor to meet our leadership at the national level, Northfield Post #84 Commander Michelle

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Minnesota’s presidential nomination primary to take place March 3

KYMN Radio - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 11:30am

Get ready for Election Day On March 3, also known as Super Tuesday, Minnesotans will vote in a presidential nomination primary for the first time in nearly 30 years. Find your polling place Find out where to vote on the Secretary of State’s website. Register to vote on Election Day You can register or update your

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More Carbon Capture PR BS

Carol Overland - Legalectric - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 9:40am

Here we go again, more misleading crap on “Carbon Capture and Storage,” as if it’s a happening thing… It’s NOT! Great Plains just announced its “Minnesota Carbon Capture Forum.” From the inbox:

Good grief, do we really need to go through this again? Come on, folks, start with this basic tome. You can’t pump stuff into the earth without consequences.


Great Plains Institute has THIS CARBON CAPTURE PAGE, and declares their folks are “experts.” Last time around they had Mike Gregerson flying around the country, and he probably did learn a thing or two about carbon capture, and now, he’s not one of the “experts.

Great Plains Institute got about $1 million dollars in 2017 to put together a “Carbon Capture Coalition” and promote the notion of carbon capture and storage.

How much since? Who knows, but for sure it’s a lot. Circa 2005-2009 or so, the Joyce Foundation, Doris Duke Foundation, and of course the Energy Foundation, put up a lot of money to support coal gasification and promotion of the notion of carbon capture. “Environmental” groups including local Great Plains, Izaak Walton League (I was there when Bill Grant referred to carbon capture and storage as “the way forward for coal,” and his promotion of coal gasification at the Saw Mill Inn), Fresh Energy, MCEA, and nationally, Clean Air Task Force and others…

Joyce Foundation gets $$$$ and gives $$$$

For those of us who have been through Excelsior Energy’s Mesaba Project, which as a last minute last ditch effort added “carbon capture” to its doomed project, this talk about carbon capture and storage quite an insult. Excelsior got money for promotion, and what they proposed for the project was a farce, a claim of capturing a small amount of the CO2, and taking it to the plant gate, that’s it! That’s because capturing more than a small amount costs a LOT for the technology, a prohibitive amount, in dollars, and it costs more than you want to know in plant efficiency, just not worth that loss, and keep in mind, that’s just the capture. Where would it go? Not that it was contemplated to go anywhere, but piping it to North Dakota would require yet another pipeline (good luck with that), pumping stations every 75 miles or so, and pumping and monitoring facilities at the end.

Ex_EE1067_Plan for Carbon Capture and SequestrationDownload Excelsior Energy’s Sequestration grant press release June 24 2006Download

And an overview from Overland:

IGCC – Pipedreams of Green & CleanDownload

Here’s some of their past follies from 2007, where the toadies on parade went to Grand Rapids, the heart of the Mesaba Project area:

IEDC gets carried away Electricity 2020 in Grand Rapids

Onward, gotta get on the road… more later…

Categories: Citizens

Representative Todd Lippert

KYMN Radio - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 9:38am

District 20B State Representative Todd Lippert talks about the second week of the Legislative session and the committees that he is serving on.  He is the vice-chair of the Long-term Care Committee and has two bills that will come up on Monday; one concerning family care-giving grants, and one relating to respite care for alzheimer’s

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Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer Training to be held at Camp Spring Lake-Rosemount, MN

KYMN Radio - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 8:26am

FEBRUARY 2020, Morris, Minn. — Do you enjoy learning about the natural world?  If so, consider becoming a Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer!   Camp Spring Lake-Rosemount, MN is hosting a Minnesota Master Naturalist Volunteer Training beginning March 18th, 2020. Master Naturalist volunteers complete a 40-hour hands-on course with expert instructors and fellow learners – studying natural

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Every Dam Day: My Life as a Beaver

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:30pm

So, this Winter has been pretty rough for me. I built my lodge in Turtle Pond, again. I stashed hundreds of sticks bellow the surface, so that when the water iced over in the winter, I could slide through my lodge into the water below. It was supposed to be like a giant walk in refrigerator!

But calamity struck, and the entire pond froze solid, again. I couldn’t get to any of my snacks. This keeps happening, but I’m sure next year it will work perfectly. But anyway, I had to move, so I traveled through Lyman Lakes into Spring Creek. I tried building a dam so that the creek would form a pond that I could use, but someone kept destroying it. I heard him mumbling something about “maintaining the ecosystem” and “protecting the biome,” but I think he is really just out to get me. For a while it was okay, I didn’t have a nice home or neighborhood, but I was making do. I built a small den in the muddy bank of the creek, and there are enough trees nearby that I could cut them down and eat them in the relative warmth of the creek. It didn’t last, though. That mean guy has been coming back, and this time he brought minions. They have chicken-wire that they wrap around all the tastiest trees. They said something about “saving rare species,” but they are definitely sadistic, because they leave the gross ones like walnut and buckthorn, but block all of the maples, which are my favorite. They even covered most of the Elms and Hackberries. I would leave and head into the Cannon River, but now that Lyman Lakes have frozen over, I would freeze trying to make it downstream. Like I said, it has been a rough winter.

The post Every Dam Day: My Life as a Beaver appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Single-Platform CSA Candidacy

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:29pm

Dear Carleton Community,

I’m here to introduce myself to you as a candidate for president of the CSA next year. I’m running on a single-issue platform. Carleton bathrooms need better toilet paper. You may be asking yourself, how can someone run on a single issue platform? This is a fair question, but I assure you that when you try the certainly not singular ply of the toilet paper I plan to implement, you won’t have any more questions. If you are not convinced to vote for me, “Four Ply” Fred, here are some additional reasons.

  1. Multi-ply paper is a gender neutral investment that will benefit all people
  2. More ply means less wipes, increasing the efficiency of each piece, saving paper and thus, the environment
  3. Increased productivity
    a. No more fidgeting around in your chair because you used industrial strength sandpaper to wipe your sensitive parts
    b. Have to go while you’re in the library? Instead of going all the way home to use that Charmin ultra-soft you and your roommates bought, you can stay in the library and keep working
    c. Increased woodshop productivity—without facilities stealing all of the sandpaper from the woodshop, they will finally be able to finish all of their projects I believe, nay, I know, that I am the right candidate for this race. Don’t #ActivateCarleton, instead #WipeTheWeitz, #BidetTheBaldspot, and #SmearAwaySayles

See you at the polls.
Four Ply Fred.

#CharminForAll

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Categories: Colleges

the Intellectual Spot RIDDLES

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:27pm

◉ Who is Lincoln’s logger?

◉ What has three legs, balances on a stick, and reads the newspaper?

◉ What’s extremely flat, likes attention from strangers, and feels most at home on the floor?

◉ Take the hole out of it and it’s half. Read it a bedtime story and it’s prudish. What is it?

◉ Seven eyebrows more than hairs; more than sheets it rarely wears; then it makes a stop at Zayre’s. Whom I speaking of?

◉ What are dangerous to your grades, essential to the liberal arts ideology, and more afraid of you than you are of them?

◉ Who takes Accutane instead of coffee for improved performance?

◉ Explain Hegel’s dialectical method.

◉ What’s universally hated, may or may not exist, and makes a perfect scapegoat for literally all of your problems?

◉ Unity and whole; unity and hole; gaping esoterica obfuscated strung out in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

◉ Chocolate and caramel sauce it has; drink it a lot and I am glad; coffee it sometimes can be graced to include; what am I, if not in the nude?

◉ (MB)(PQ)

◉ What’s slow to get moving, quick to get distracted, and secretly hoping to get more Christmas candy for very low prices?

◉ It was a rainy day in south-central Georgia in the peak of the hot summer months. I’m talkin’ August. The town of Albany, GA has a big state park. The Chehaw park. But us locals call it Lover’s Getaway. But sometime in the peak of August in the southern hot humid hellish summer it froze over. You may wonder why this was. I wondered too. But one thing was for sure: It was not a lover’s getaway anymore—that was certain. A fable, if you will. Not so much a riddle.

◉ [{(SP)(QR)}(RW)]

◉ Shoes and other wares I sell; but what’s my name I will not tell; I urge you to think long and deep; but about my name don’t say a peep! Who am I?

The post the Intellectual Spot RIDDLES appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

The Bald Spot announces long-awaited CSA presidential candidate endorsement

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:25pm

Carleton voters must choose between three sharply divergent visions of the future.

The incumbent president, Anesu Masakura, is clear about where he is guiding the CSA Senate — but he simply cannot continue with that vision any longer, as he’s graduating.

On the candidate side, an essential debate is underway between two visions that may define the future of the College and perhaps the nation. Some in the college view President Anesu Masakura as an aberration and believe that a return to a more sensible CSA Senate is possible. Then there are those who believe that President Anesu Masakura was the product of political and economic systems so rotten that they must be replaced.

The CSA Senate Presidency is often portrayed as a tussle between moderates and progressives. To some extent that’s true. But when we spent significant time with the leading candidates, the similarity of their platforms on fundamental issues became striking.

Nearly either of them would be the most progressive president in decades on issues like student-led activism, laundry fees and Carleton’s allocations of resources. Where they differ most significantly is not the what but the how, in whether they believe the College’s institutions and norms are up to the challenge of the moment.

Many Carleton voters are concerned first and foremost about who can beat Anesu Masakura. But with a crowded field and with traditional polling in tatters, that calculation calls for a hefty dose of humility about anyone’s ability to foretell what voters want.

Choosing who should face off against Mr. Anesu Masakura also means acknowledging that Carls are being confronted with three models for how to govern this College, not two. Carls must decide which of their two models would be most compelling for the Carleton people and best suited for repairing the College.

The large and raucous field of candidates has made having that clean debate more difficult. With all the focus on personal characteristics — age and race and experience — and a handful of the most contentious issues, voters haven’t benefited from a clarifying choice about the party’s message in the election and the approach to governing beyond it.

It was a privilege for us on the Carletonian editorial board to spend more than a dozen hours talking to candidates, asking them any question that came to mind. Yet that exercise is impossible for most Carls, and we were left wanting for a more focused conversation for the public. Now is the time to narrow the race.

The history of the editorial board would suggest that we would side squarely with the candidate with a more traditional approach to pushing the nation forward, within the realities of a constitutional framework and a multiparty country. But the events of the past few years have shaken the confidence of even the most committed institutionalists. We are not veering away from the values we espouse, but we are rattled by the weakness of the institutions that we trusted to undergird those values.

There are legitimate questions about whether our CSA Senate system is fundamentally broken. Our CSA elections are getting less free and fair, the Tuesday Group and the Dean of Students Office are increasingly partisan, peer institutions are flooding society with misinformation, a deluge of money flows through our College. And the economic mobility that made the Carleton dream possible is vanishing.

Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it.

That’s why we’re endorsing the most effective advocates for each approach. They are Luke Norquist and Andrew Farias. Both of them. Basically, we’ve given it a lot of thought, and have concluded that you should pick between those two, is what we’re saying. You’re welcome.

The post The Bald Spot announces long-awaited CSA presidential candidate endorsement appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

From the Archives: Ask the Ethicist: Buying a car at Carleton

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:23pm

Note from the original 2003 publication: The purpose of the “Carleton Ethicist” is to provide insight and reflection on everyday dilemmas facing individuals on campus. The “Carleton Ethicist” is not one person, but instead a group of Carleton faculty, staff, students, administrators and alumni who take turns responding to submitted questions.

Question of the Week:

I am considering buying a car. At Carleton, I would use it to buy groceries, run errands and attend more are and music events in Minneapolis. Assuming I can afford it, is it ethical to buy this car, or do my planned uses justify the environmental costs of car use?

Ethicist’s Response: By Katja Meyer ’02 and Lesanna Dobrahner ’04

The American transportation system is automobile-based and, subsequently, we are the major contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. However, living at Carleton may be one of the few times in our lives when we can divorce ourselves from this petroleum dependency. Though recent expansion in Northfield reinforces automobile use, it is still possible to effectively get around in Northfield and beyond by walking, biking and using public transportation.

When considering your perceived need for a vehicle in Northfield, you should think about how much you actually need to drive a personal vehicle in town. Walking and biking can bring you to downtown Northfield and as far as Target. If you need to go to the clinic or somewhere further, there are several public transportation options. Between the intercampus shuttle and the Northfield Transit, you can get anywhere in Northfield, either for free or for $1.

Walking and biking to the Twin Cities, however, is not a very convenient option. Taking the Co-op bus and hitching a ride with a friend are your two main options. While this is more complicated than walking to Econofoods, it can be done and it reduces your fossil fuel consumption. Also, as you may know, Carleton arranges special transportation to many large music and cultural events. This option is often easier than driving yourself to the Cities and finding a parking spot.

If you have considered what you might use a car for and still think the uses outweigh the environmental costs, there are a few things you can do to make yourself a conscientious car owner. First, you can make a commitment to using the vehicle only when you are leaving Northfield. This means using your feet or bicycle when you go to the Rec Center, Econofoods, or Blue Monday’s. Second, you can avoid driving alone and decrease fuel consumption by carpooling to the Twin Cities. Finally, you can take fuel efficiency and overall emissions into consideration when making your car purchase.

You can get around and maintain an environmental conscience whether or not you decide to purchase a car. Ultimately, it is up to you to weigh the pros and cons of car ownership and environmental costs and make a decision based on what is most important to you.

The post From the Archives: Ask the Ethicist: Buying a car at Carleton appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Caucus for Davin Sokup if you want a young, queer, progressive State Senator

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:21pm

Are you tired of national politics? It’s just a couple of weeks until Super Tuesday, and we’re surrounded by the presidential race. But look a bit closer to home and you’ll find different Democratic candidates in the campaign for Minnesota’s state senate.

This coming Tuesday, February 25 at 7 p.m., precinct caucuses will give Carleton voters a chance to support a state senate candidate. The candidate who earns the most delegates at caucuses will win the Democratic-Farmer-Laborer (DFL) party’s endorsement later this Spring, then go up against current Republican State Senator Rich Draheim come November. The DFL is currently two state senators away from controlling both the Minnesota Senate and House; this race could be the tipping point, and I want it to tip toward Davin Sokup.

Davin is a young, working-class carpenter who owns a local small business. He also happens to be transgender. When I first met him, he spoke about how his experience coming out and how transitioning inspired him to raise his voice for himself and his communities, eventually leading to his bid for office. As an outspoken queer woman myself, I could immediately relate. Nothing is more crucial in politics than having people who share our experiences representing us at every level. And Davin would be the first openly transgender state legislator in Minnesota. Listening to Davin, this smart and friendly young person who understands queer experiences and actually remembers what it’s like to be in college, I was immediately energized to make history that will truly impact the Carleton community.

Davin’s priorities are stacked with progressive policies that matter. He is committed to fighting climate change by bringing renewable energy to the area and pushing for sustainable agriculture, while supporting the workers and farmers who do these jobs. He plans on mending education systems to reduce student debt. And he supports policies like Medicare For All that will finally put healthcare, as a human right into, law.

But these policies will never get passed if people don’t show up at caucuses and say that they want them. So for the past month and a half, I have been on the ground with Davin: knocking on doors, making phone calls, and even marching at the Northfield Women’s March. We have talked to countless people who are sick of having a state senator who doesn’t represent them, and we have urged them to come to caucuses and say so.

Now, I urge you: caucuses are this Tuesday at 7 p.m.. If you live in most places on campus, your location is at the Weitz. If you live in Parrish, Page, Rice, or CANOE, your location is St. John’s Lutheran Church. Confirm your location at caucus.dfl.org. Then show up, support delegates for Davin, or even run to be a delegate yourself. This is the time to raise your voice.

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Categories: Colleges

Hot shooting leads Knights to win over Hamline, keeps playoff hopes alive

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:19pm

Kent Hanson (Sr./St. Paul, Minn./St. Paul Academy) poured in a game-high 33 points, including a 6-for-10 performance from 3-point range, as the Carleton College men’s basketball team registered an 88-78 victory over visiting Hamline University. The triumph coupled with results elsewhere in the MIAC keeps the Knights’ postseason hopes alive.

Carleton (11-14, 8-12 MIAC) shot 62.5 percent for the game, tied for the third-highest figure in recorded team history). The Knights made 8-of-18 three-pointers (44.4 percent). Hamline (6-18, 4-15 MIAC) shot 53 percent on the game and went 9-of-25 (36 percent) from beyond the arc.

Carleton, which leads the MIAC in trips to the free-throw line, was 20-of-27 at the charity stripe, while Hamline had only one free throw in the contest.

Hamline raced out to an 11-4 lead at the 14:30 mark of the opening half, but a Hanson triple sparked Carleton’s 25-7 run over the next seven minutes. The Knights would not trail again. The Carleton advantage grew to 49-32 by halftime, and the hosts maintained a double-double lead for all but 47 seconds in the second half.

Hanson was 9-of-16 overall and 9-of-10 at the free-throw line en route to his eighth career game of 30 or more points, and the fourth such contest this season.

Alex Battist (So./Maple Grove, Minn./Maple Grove) added 21 points, and Jeremy Beckler (Fy./Lino Lakes, Minn./White Bear Lake) chipped in 20 points, marking the third time this season Carleton has had three players score at least 20 points in the same game. Isaac Tessier (Fy./White Bear Lake, Minn./White Bear Lake) finished with eight points and a career-best eight assists, while Henry Bensen (Sr./Roseville, Minn./Roseville) notched six points and seven assists of his own.

Luke Siwek finished with 27 points to pace Hamline, with Michael Dillon contributing 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds for the visitors.

Entering the day, five things had to break Carleton’s way for the Knights to make the playoffs. Three of those transpired on Wednesday. The Knights won, St. Olaf lost to St. Thomas (76-69), and Gustavus Adolphus lost to Saint Mary’s (71-63).

Wednesday marked the regular season finale for Carleton, which has the bye on Saturday. The Knights will be scoreboard watching on Saturday, Feb. 22 to see if the other two required events occur.

Should Gustavus lose to Augsburg and St. Olaf fall to Macalester on Saturday, it will put the Knights, Gusties, and Oles into a three-way tie at 8-12 in conference play. In that scenario, Carleton claims the No. 6 seed I the MIAC Playoffs due to the head-to-head tiebreaker.

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Categories: Colleges

Knights climb back into fifth after day three of MIAC Championships

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:17pm

On the third day of the MIAC Championships, the Carleton College Women’s Swimming & Diving team turned in five swims that garnered All-MIAC Honorable Mention. Those performances helped the Knights move back in to fifth place in the 11-team standings.

Emma Lederer (Sr./Madison, Wis./Madison West) earned All-MIAC Honorable Mention twice on Friday, while Kyle Fraser-Mines (Jr./Tyngsborough, Mass./Tyngsborough), Ada Meyer (Sr./Seattle, Ore./Ingraham) and Alison Cameron (So./Reno, Nev./Reno) also captured individual recognition.

In the 100-yard butterfly, Lederer finished in fifth place at 58.26 to earn her first All-MIAC Honorable Mention of the evening. She cut 0.5 seconds off her previous standard to set a new personal record. Baggett touched the wall in 11th with a time of 59.87, shattering her old personal best by more than 2.6 seconds.

Cameron received her all-conference honorable mention thanks to her sixth-place performance in the 400-yard individual medley. She reached the wall with a time of 4:42.46.

Meyer was one of five Knights to score points in the 100-yard breaststroke. She touched the wall at 1:05.45 to take fifth place and secure All-MIAC Honorable Mention. Julia Luljak (Fy./Baltimore, Md./Park School of Baltimore) came in ninth with a time of 1:06.59, besting her old personal record of by 2.55 seconds. Morgan Mayer (Sr./Garrett Park, Md./Georgetown Day) swam 13th at 1:10.20, and Kate Grossman (Jr./Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township) took 14th at 1:10.84. Claire Neid (So./Denver Colo./George Washington) sliced more than 2.1 seconds off her personal best during the morning prelims, then earned 15th in the finals with a time of 1:12.64.

In the 100-yard backstroke,Fraser-Mines grabbed fourth place, matching her personal record with a time of 59.90. Lederer was right behind at 59.94, good for fifth place as both Knights earning all-conference honorable mention. Meanwhile, Maddie Damberg-Ott (Fy./London, Great Britain/Channing School) captured 10th place with a time of 1:00.56, taking nearly 2.5 seconds off her previous personal record. Lydia Boyum (So./Bethesda, Md./Walter Johnson) collected 12th place with 1:00.87.

Carleton also scored points in the 200-yard freestyle, as Serena Lee (So./Muscat, Oman/The American International School of Muscat) collected 14th place at 1:59.33 to take more than a second off her previous personal record down from 2:00.70. Fraser-Mines followed close behind, finishing in 15th place at 1:59.37.

The session wrapped up with Lederer, Lafferty, Baggett, and Fraser-Mines placing fifth in the 200-yard freestyle relay with their combined time of 1:39.52.

The Knights entered day three eight points behind Saint Benedict but exited Friday with a 36-point advantage. St. Catherine (467 points) opened a bit of margin on St. Thomas (417) and Gustavus (414) in the 11-team competition. St. Olaf (301) is fourth, followed by Carleton (251) and St. Ben’s (215).

The 2020 MIAC Championships conclude on Saturday with preliminary races at 10:30 a.m. with the evening championship session beginning at 6:30 p.m. The schedule of events includes the 1650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, women’s 3-meter diving, and the 400 freestyle relay.

The post Knights climb back into fifth after day three of MIAC Championships appeared first on The Carletonian.

Categories: Colleges

Tears for a broken kora: African musicians mistreated by US Customs

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:15pm

After a successful two-week American tour with his group 3MA, renowned Malian musician Ballaké Sissoko was returning home. Following his final gig in New York, Sissoko boarded an Air France flight to Paris while his custom-made “kora,” a West African string instrument, was tucked away in the plane’s cargo. When Sissoko arrived on February 4, he opened the kora case to find his instrument completely dismantled and destroyed.

Sissoko visited Carleton in the fall of 2015 with Kassé Mady Diabaté at the invitation of French and Francophone Studies Professor Chérif Keita. Keita invites a number of African musicians to Carleton every year to perform African music on non-Western instruments. However, Keita has noticed a disturbing trend in U.S. Customrs’ treatment of African musicians over the years.
“It’s a disturbing trend. African artists from many countries have been faced with the same situation: extreme vetting, which the Trump administration came with. All of a sudden, the U.S. customs are requiring that artists from Mali list all their gigs from the past 15 years? Many of these artists have never been to school or had an agent. Clearly rules like this are meant to block them,” Keita explained. “Requiring all these things makes it impossible for these artists to come tour the U.S.”

Sissoko is an internationally recognized musician with no criminal record who has toured and performed in the U.S. a number of times. He was part of an NPR Tiny Desk concert in 2011, and has released a number of highly acclaimed collaborative albums and records with Grammy award winning artists such as Taj Mahal and Vincent Ségal. Yet, Sissoko, and other African artists often face brusque treatment when traveling in and out of the U.S. Keita and others who work to bring African artists to the United States have for years lamented the lack of professionalism with which African artists are treated with when compared to their European counterparts.

“Now a musician has to prove that he or she has no criminal intent? As if the burden of the proof is on them to prove that they don’t have any criminal intent by coming to the U.S. to perform? So why do you doubt their motivation, their intent for coming to just work professionally? And that’s what we want to see happen; that they are treated as professionals just like musicians coming from anywhere in the world,” said Keita.

The destruction of Sissoko’s kora is not only a devastating loss of his livelihood, but also a symbolic loss for Mali. Since 2012, a brand of Islamic extremists have threatened the tradition of music and musicians in Northern Mali.

“These people came to Northern Mali and started spreading a brand of Islam that they said is not compatible with the tradition of music. So they started publicly breaking musicians’ instruments and threatening their lives,” explained Keita. “Many of these musicians were deprived not only of their lifestyle, but their ways, the means of their livelihood.”

And yet, Sissoko’s instrument was destroyed not by the extremists taking hold in Mali, but by United States Customs, where Sissoko hoped to perform freely, absent from the threats faced in his own country.

In a public letter, University of London Professor and Radio Presenter, Lucy Durán wrote, “And yet, ironically, it is the USA Customs that have in their own way managed to do this. Would they have dared to do such a thing to a white musician playing a classical instrument? What does this tell us about the attitude of the Trump administration towards African musicians? This is an unprovoked and sad act of aggression, a reflection of the kind of cultural ignorance and racism that is taking over in so many parts of the world and that endangers the best of musicians from Africa and elsewhere.”

TSA relased an offocial statement that “after a thorough review of the claim, it was determined that TSA did not open the instrument case,” yet Sissoko claims he found a TSA note in his kora case saying that the case had been opened and possibly searched. More broadly, TSA has denied any wrongdoing in regards to African musicians and their instruments.

“The TSA denies this. But would a musician do this to their own instrument? The instrument is their profession, their livelihood. This is not necessarily a position against TSA as an institution. But there needs to be accountability for this kind of thing within TSA. They still have the responsibility of finding out who did this,” said Keita.

Keita along with other African music educators in the United States feel heightened responsibility to these musicians who they often invite to perform in the US. The disturbing trends in the treatment of these musicians raises the question of taking new precautions in flying with non-Western instruments.

“I feel a very big responsibility. I work with many agencies and managers to facilitate the movement of these musicians around the country. Law offices working on visas sometimes contact me to write a letter. I feel that these people are my allies. It’s because we’re all doing the same thing teaching about Africa’s humanity and Africa. It’s teaching Africa’s humanism to the outside world,” said Keita. “It’s part of my duty as an African who lives in this country, who teaches in this country. You know, it’s my role as a bridge.”

Over the past few years, Keita has written a number of letters to African embassies and cultural ambassadors in order to get visas approved for African artists to perform in the United States. Keita has also recently written a letter regarding the destruction of Sissoko’s kora.

“This is exactly the argumentation I put in my letter to the embassy. How does that look nice when those two things, in Mali and in the US, are put next to each other? It’s horrible. It sends a bad message. If musicians hear these stories, how can they board a plane with peace of mind when they’re not sure that the instrument will be intact when they get to their destination?”

The kora is an instrument made out of half of a calabash gourd, with 21 strings and a free standing bridge. Kora music is an essential part of oral tradition in many Western African cultures and is widely celebrated in a number of West African nations, including Mali. For a fairly conspicuous instrument, it seems surprising then that a TSA agent would need to take the kora apart entirely to ensure its harmlessness.

“Looking at the kora, now you can see everything in there. You can see everything. This instrument has nothing to hide. What would you need to take it apart for? There could be many motivations for why this is happening. But the end result is that it’s not pretty,” said Keita.
Sissoko’s kora was tailor-made to his dimensions, and is impossible to replace. They aren’t available in shops. The gravity of this destruction has spurred an outcry in the international community.

“The global response has been very sympathetic,” said Keita. “It is having a very big impact. So I hope that this is a warning to somebody and not to just monkey around and play around with people’s lives, because that’s what this incident is.”

Sissoko is in the process of commissioning a new kora. But the damage done to the reputation of the United States as welcoming to African musicians has already been done. Keita asserts that despite the possible risks, he wants to continue to invite African musicians to perform at Carleton, in the safest ways possible for both them and their instruments.

Keita said, “So many musicians ask me when are you going to bring us back again to Carleton? Because this is an environment with a thirst for education, a thirst for knowledge of the world. We place the artist at the heart of that.”

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Categories: Colleges

CCCE and Gould Library host voter registration event for students

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:12pm

On Tuesday, February 11, the Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE) and Gould Library facilitated a Voter Registration event for Carleton students. The event was put on to encourage out-of-state students to register to vote in Minnesota in the upcoming primary elections.

CCCE Peace and Conflict Fellows Sophie Rogers ’21, Jelilat Odubayo ’21 and Win Wen Ooi ’22 worked with Katie Lewis, the Cataloging and Government Documents Librarian, to put on the event.

Lewis commented that although the Library had not hosted a Voter Registration before, “the Library staff were very positive about the idea.”

She added, “Hannah Klein, the publicity and outreach assistant at the Library, designed an awesome digital sign to help promote the event.” To prepare for the event, Lewis also spoke with the Elections Director for Rice County to ensure that they were meeting the deadline for online registration for the Primary.

Reflecting on the event, Rogers ’21 said that “tons of people stopped by” and that “many seemed interested and lots had already registered or re-registered.” By the end of the event, about a dozen people were newly registered.

Lewis also commented, “Some students mentioned that registering online was not easy to figure out on the State of Minnesota website. If you live on campus, you have to first enter zero for your address number, and then select the name of your dorm building from the list of street names. So it’s a different address than what people are used to using.”

Even though the pre-registration deadline has now passed, students can still register to vote in Minnesota on Election Day. Rogers explained, “If you are a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old on Election Day, have been a resident of Minnesota for 20 days and have finished all parts of any felony sentence you can register on the same day, using your OneCard.”

Rogers also noted, “If you live in any of the residence halls, townhouses, Faculty Club or most campus-owned housing, then you vote in Ward 1, Precinct 1 (W1-P1). Your polling site is at the First United Church of Christ (300 Union St), next to the Weitz Center.”

In the future, Lewis commented that the Library is “very open to the possibility of hosting a Voter Registration at the Library again.”

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Categories: Colleges

Math department receives $495,341 grant to hire female assistant professor

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:10pm

Carleton’s Mathematics department recently received the Clare Boothe Luce grant for $495,341 dollars toward the hiring of a female researcher and Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Carleton’s Mathematics department, which in recent years has taken steps to diversify its faculty and students, will now be able to further its role in gender representation in STEM. The award will also provide many opportunities for students due to the resources this grant provides.

The Clare Boothe Luce grant, named after a successful politician, diplomat and playwright, comes from a private institution that supports women in science, math and engineering in higher education.

With the building of Carleton’s new Integrated Science Center, this grant comes at a time when Carleton is starting to revitalize its STEM departments.

One of the biggest benefits of this grant, according to Eric Egge, head of Carleton’s Mathematics department, is the opportunities it provides for the selected professor.

“This gets her career launched in a really exciting way. The resources that are connected with this grant will allow her to do a whole bunch of different things that would be a lot harder to do without those resources,” said Egge.

Some of the many opportunities available to the potential professor would be the hiring of additional summer students, bringing in research collaborators from other places, and even hosting a mini symposium. In the past Carleton has provided funding for these kinds of resources but this grant provides a considerable number of additional opportunities.

This grant is one of the many ways in which Carleton has attempted to diversify its Mathematics department.

Egge explained, “We have been trying to diversify along a variety of axes for a number of years and certainly increasing the representation of women amongst our faculty, majors, and students is high on that list.”

One of these actions has been the hiring of women in tenure track positions. Caroline Turnage-Butterbaugh, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, and Kate Meyer ’09, an Assistant Professor of Mathematics who is finishing her post doctorate at Cornell University, are two examples of esteemed faculty that continue to be examples for women within the department.

“That’s just at the faculty level,” said Egge. “At the student level, we have a whole variety of ongoing efforts. We have an organization called SWiMS+ (Society for Women in Mathematics and Statistics) which is designed to help make our community more welcoming for women in math.”

The Summer Mathematics Program for Women ran for nearly 20 years before its end in 2014. This program brought in twenty sophomore math majors from across the country and was led by Deanna Haunsperger and Steve Kennedy. The ending of this program was due to a lack of funds from the National Science Foundation.

Carleton has finished campus interviews and is currently in what Egge calls the “quiet period” of the hiring process, where nothing happens in public view but there is a lot going on behind the scenes. The math department hopes to make the final results public soon and welcome a new mathematics professor to Carleton College. Until then, Egge says, “We are really excited by the Clare Boothe Luce foundation’s support. We have been working on this sort of thing for a very long time and to have these kinds of resources to put towards it is a really exciting development.”

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Categories: Colleges

Computer Science department implements new registration system

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:08pm

On Monday, February 3, all students enrolled in Computer Science (CS) classes, as well as students on the department interest list, received an email detailing a new registration system. Titled “The Match,” the system pairs students with CS classes using algorithms similar to those that match medical students to residencies.

Students were asked to fill out a form ranking Computer Science classes numbered above 201, indicating which class they prefer to take next term. For this pilot term, most, but not all of the seats in these classes will be filled with the Match. The rest of the seats will be filled during regular registration, according to the email.

The Match will not be used for the first two classes in the CS sequence, CS 111: Introduction to Computer Science and CS 201: Data Structures. Students will enroll in these classes during regular registration as usual, the email stated.

This new system comes as no surprise to students. The Computer Science department has struggled with long waitlists for some time. “They offered Artificial Intelligence again and all the slots were filled by the time the seniors had registered. A bunch of the juniors and CS majors couldn’t get in at all,” said Jessie Bauskaf ’20, Student Departmental Adviser for CS.

Department Chair David Liben-Nowell and Professor Anna Rafferty spearheaded the efforts within the CS department to revamp registration. They presented the Match proposal to the Education and Curriculum Committee (ECC) on January 22, following a November 2019 ECC meeting where CS registration challenges were discussed at length, according to meeting minutes.

The implementation of the Match has come with its share of challenges. At the Registrar’s Office, the additional work outside of usual registration times proved to be an issue. “My concerns boil down to having an abbreviated timeframe to work out the details of the system, and I was considering what my office’s workload and deadlines looked like over the second half of the term,” said Registrar Emy Farley.

On Friday, February 14, Match notifications were sent out. All participating first-year and sophomore students received the same email, which stated that none of them had matched to a class. The email reminded students that some seats will still be available during regular registration. “We strongly encourage you to register for a CS course you’re interested in if it has seats available, or to waitlist a CS course if there is not a course with seats available that you would like to take,” the email read.

While these open seats may allow first and second-year students to register for a class, it also means junior and senior students may register for a second and third course, taking advantage of their seniority. “This problem is going to be worse in this term,” said Prof. Anna Rafferty addressing this issue. “Pulling all of the Class of 2020’s seniority—that doesn’t seem fair to them.”

Meanwhile, students can still register for CS 111 and CS 201 during regular registration, although some underclassmen may still be shut out if these courses fill up with older students.

Regardless of underclassmen’s results, the new system could still mean a decrease in waitlists compared to past terms. This information will become available when regular registration is complete. The Computer Science Department remains optimistic that The Match will only become better next Fall, when more seats are assigned through it.

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Categories: Colleges

Janus, justice, and dealing with what’s before us

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:04pm

I want to frame this question awkwardly. I want to press into something unspoken, unseen, invisible in its obviousness.

When I was asked what to make of our democracy, of this democracy, in the face of the president’s acquittal, I was hard-pressed to find a clear, concise answer. Do I say it’s been broken, abrogated, mutilated? Is this a miscarriage of justice? Is this a descent from normalcy? I can’t tell. I’m not shocked by any of this. Of course this happened. Of course he got away with it. Why?

I’m still unsure. I think what I’m afraid of most is that this is all so easily, so obviously expected. Not in some cynical way that seeks to put the blame on the Republican party as a corrupt body looking to skirt justice. Of course a Republican senate would acquit a Republican president. That’s not the scary thing. I believe such explanations of the blatant obviousness of the situation are simply punditry, explaining away that other obvious thing, the glaring reality we can’t look in the eye, lest it destroy us.

What frightens me is that some of us still hoped that the Republicans in the senate might have seen the error of their ways, might have stood up for what some of us believed was innate to America, innate to democracy, innate to justice. It is a naïvite that unsettles me in its simplicity, in its belief in a common moral Americana that we all supposedly owe ourselves to, cling to, find hope and solace in. It’s a belief in the patently absurd.

Trump, his acquittal, his lawlessness, his vile nature, isn’t American. But it isn’t, at the same time, unamerican. This notion we cling to of a higher set of values in abstractions like justice, truth, the American way, are many faces of a false god, one so obviously dead to historical reality that our continued deference to it in liberal spaces seems like some sort of mass psychosis, one rooted in an internal logic of a want for hope.

America, it has been said, is a flawed democracy, one always progressing toward its own betterment. I can’t really believe this. America is an idea, one that slips between the cracks of imagination and reality and contorts itself in ways that obscure and reveal selectively. America is good, America is just, America is right — true always, spoken only sometimes, never questioned in less than favorable moments. In their collective shame, liberals never seek to blame America as a notion—instead they pain themselves to wonder how they could have fallen so far from the ideal that supposedly transcends history. This idea, of perpetual America, has taken on its own body, its own image.

Like all symbols, all mutable images, it shifts, cortorts, and reforms itself for the sake of its own survival. Every corrective measure of this democracy is supposedly a reversion back to the initial ideal, the ahistorical god; a correction from a slip in the mission. The idea of American justice at its inception was an idea of justice for a select few, in particular privileged, land-owning white men. All others, all people outside that particular niche, were objects to be seen as selectively part of the whole, selectively excluded from it. Women, so far as women constitute a concrete material category, were selectively given power, selectively oppressed, selectively courted as objects of the law’s desire and the law’s derision.

America configured itself as a notion that could sometimes include, sometimes exclude, always positioning itself oh-so tentatively. This is true for Black Americans, Asian Americans, Natives, queer people, Jewish people, poor people, disabled people, on and on into the many receding identites spoken of as sometimes part of, sometimes excluded from, America writ large.

Black folk were, and have remained to a large extent, objects of the law’s control. But when it is convenient, they can be folded into a liberal notion of America’s melting pot, part of this grand, one Americana. Progressively the law includes them as citizens, subjects, voters, but it will always find ways to obscure, exclude, and alienate. American justice evolves to make them flat subjects, equal voters, but finds ways to deny them the vote. American justice, we are told, liberated them to become free citizens. Yet we forget it was American justice, by design, that enslaved them. And yet still it is America’s system of justice that creates the conditions for mass-incarceration, voter disenfranchizement, police abuse, and legally sanctioned mass murder.

The notion of the law as a perfect standard, as something that can be unceremoniously abrogated by one man in one senate trial, is an imagined thing. Presidents before Trump have committed worse crimes. They have killed, plundered, raped, massacred. They have violated basic moral precepts for generations. Presidents have assisted in genocidal programs across this continent. They have tested tools of death, tools of torture, tools of destruction on black and brown people throughout our history. They maintain secret prisons where they torture innocents. In the last decades alone, we have imprisoned families of supposed terrorists.

The current director of the CIA herself oversaw a facility that tortured a pregnant woman ceaselessly. American justice at work, away from here. Not injustice, just this kind of justice. Not abrogated, but whole, in its cruelty, its inconsistency, its evil.

Of course none of these actions committed by senior federal officials were crimes, because the targets of violence and evil were not subject to American law. They were excluded from justice, humanity, personhood, by the law’s ability to conceal, to hide, to obfuscate.

Can we not get a grip? Is it absurd to say that successive generations of war criminals can be celebrated but Trump’s acquittal is extraordinary? What did we charge the president with, anyway? Abuse of power for trying to sway an election?

What of the children who have died in ICE custody, who have been abused and tortured, ripped from their families for the simple crime of crossing a border? A border set by warfare, by death, on land that was conquered and stolen? Is this not a crime, patently? Can we not charge this president with negligence, with abuse, with murder?

American justice does not exist. And yet it is all that exists. American justice conditions what we view as acceptable, what we view as natural, what we view as right, good, moral, true, false, holy, sacred, profane, real and unreal. It conditions who we view as citizen, and who we view as enemy.

And when waves of progress form, when the collective shame of the elite breaks, it takes under its wing new bodies, so as to gaslight us all, so as to pretend it was not American justice that dehumanized them all along.

Justice as perpetual Americana is a conditioning notion, an inheritance of meaning that we play with in perpetuity, sometimes as a tool for liberation, more often as a tool of justification. What we term acceptable, what we understand as just and right and part of the American way is always a condition of what we include and what we discard. And so often abuse, evil, are set to the side of justice’s gaze, so as to become, implicitly, normal, acceptable, and above everything else, fine.

But justice, while a diachronic, strategic body of ideas, sometimes freezes. Sometimes, it takes upon it a body of its own, a caricature of itself that some of us might hold onto for sanity. Liberals, for want of safety or assuredness, cling to an image of justice as flat, as level, as all encompassing; they cling to a piece of the system, a snapshot of moments where justice is good, freeing, right, when it makes us feel stable.

I think that image, that liberatory side of the many faced god before us, was shattered for some in the past week. I am sure that for others, nothing has changed. And for many, they will forget this violation of their want, and will return to their belief that things are right how they are.

Of course our system of justice acquitted a criminal. It does so every day. Justice is not flat, it is not blind. It is a product of the imagination to think it so. If Trump is not condemned for murder, for war-crimes, for rape, for financial infractions, why would he be condemned for anything at all?

My greatest concern, in all of this, is how liberals, and in particular white liberals, could look toward the American past, look toward its abuses, its evil, and imagine that there was ever such a thing as true American justice. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

All of this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t aspire to justice, that we shouldn’t work to create an America that values truth, decency, humanity, and equality. The point I’m trying to make is that America has never done these things, and that to pretend that there is something that has been lost in this Trump fiasco is to ignore a history of corruption, violation, and patent evil.

We can believe in justice, and say that this is a clear violation of the ideal to which we believe we should be holding ourselves. But we cannot say this is a violation of American justice. It is a symptom of it, the natural consequence.

Justice is not flat. It is not equal. Democracy, the belief in a general equality of citizens, the belief that our system of laws and governance should embody that belief, does not exist in America the way we might desire it to. American justice, American law, is a notion; it is not an ideal. And for now, American justice looks like Trump’s acquittal, as it always was bound to.

If you want real justice, real democracy, real humanity, Trump would have been gone a long time ago.

For murdering children.

Don’t forget that.

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Categories: Colleges

Discrepancies in financial aid for domestic and international students

Carletonian - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 10:01pm

As my boots trudged through the snow to carry me across campus, the one thought that came to my mind was “I really chose to live in this tundra.” Being an international student from a lower socioeconomic background, I didn’t really have the resources to fly to America and tour Carleton, so I did the next best thing: I googled Carleton College, — and after realizing I had spent 15 minutes looking at a Canadian school, I thought this should be fine. Although there were many reasons why I chose Carleton, a big factor was the financial aid.

Over the course of a year and a half, I have come to fall in love with Carleton and, more importantly, my fellow Carls. Though I chose Carleton for financial assistance, I stayed at Carleton because Carleton reciprocated my love. Or so I thought.

After a family emergency, my financial situation suddenly worsened and I was unable to financially support myself. Thankfully, Carleton has a system called Special Circumstances Financial Aid, that allows students additional financial aid in the case of an unforeseeable event, such as a medical expense or a natural disaster.

With all the confidence in my heart, I applied for the additional aid, only to get rejected. The email accompanying the mortifying news said that Carleton doesn’t have enough resources for me, especially because the financial aid policy for international students is “very strict and limiting.” My interpretation of this was something along the lines like: the international community is either not equally valuable or that they won’t bring in the same returns as the domestic students. Both equally upsetting but bringing up an important point that I hadn’t considered. We, at Carleton, love to boast our diversity, but there is one particular topic we ignore: class diversity.

From my observations of the Carleton community, a huge majority of Carls tend to look past other students’ nationalities; in fact, we love to engage in conversations about different cultures. This was one of the reasons why the Financial Aid Office’s news shocked me. When international students give their all to this community, does the college have no responsibility in treating us the same?

Beyond that, it showed me the shortcomings of Carleton’s socioeconomic diversity that it boasts about so much. The majority of international students at Carleton pay full or nearly-full tuition. How many international students do we cater to who need massive aid to attend Carleton? The answer is shameful.

Though I can’t entirely blame the Carleton College Financial Aid Office for this discrepancy, there definitely needs to be a bigger conversation about how diverse we really are on this campus. Does having token people of color on the front pages of college brochures do enough, or should we reevaluate the resources we have available and where we appropriate them? Is the distribution equitable?

Though it is no surprise that Carleton needs full-tuition paying students to sustain the College’s resources, there is no denying that there is an unfair distribution of the monetary resources both between and within domestic and international cohorts.

We, as the Carleton community, are missing out on an entire population of international students from lower socio-economic backgrounds and untapped potential for a greater diversity of experiences and conversation. Once we can actually feel the diversity of people and experiences at Carleton, the need to prove it on brochures will dissipate on its own.

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Categories: Colleges

The Weekly List – Breakup Songs

KYMN Radio - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 7:00pm

This week, on the anniversary of Sonny & Cher getting divorced, Rich brings us a list of breakup songs.

The post The Weekly List – Breakup Songs appeared first on KYMN Radio · Northfield, MN · AM 1080 & FM 95.1.

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