Recently on The Daily Show, journalist Sebastian Junger and producer Nick Quested discussed their documentary Hell on Earth about the ongoing civil war in Syria. They made an intriguing comment about why ISIS terror attacks haven’t happened in the U.S. as much as they have in Europe:
“Thank God this country has been spared most of the kinds of attacks Europe has been suffering the last few years. The theory for why that is, is that the Muslim population in America has been really successfully integrated into our economy, our culture, our society. In Europe it has not. And I think the lesson for America is let’s make sure that we are as inclusive a society as possible, because that is actually what protects us from the kinds of violence, the tragedies we’ve been seeing almost every week in Europe on the news.” -Sebastian Junger, The Daily Show, June 7, 2017
Continue reading Minimizing Terrorism by Integrating Muslims
The first weekend in June, more than 15,000 people came together in downtown St. Paul to pack meals for the famine in Somalia. The nonprofit Feed My Starving Children organized the mobile packing event, setting up their warehouse in the RiverCentre.
At the end of the #LoveSomalia event, nearly 5 million meals had been packed. My family attended for a shift on Sunday, doing our small part to pack a few boxes.
What’s amazing about this story is that Somali Muslims approached an unapologetically Christian organization to ask what they could do. Feed My Starving Children responded by setting up this emergency event in eight weeks. Continue reading Muslims & Christians Coming Together for #LoveSomalia
Just when I was starting to blog about other things (two posts in a row!), the tunnel comes up again. This time the proposed River-to-River Greenway and Robert Street tunnel in West St. Paul received high-profile coverage in the Pioneer Press.
Unfortunately, it’s not good news:
Plans for the tunnel are on the shelf for now as officials wait for retail development to play out nearby.
As the article explains, there’s potential for development on both sides of Robert Street where the tunnel would cross. That’s not new. So far, none of those projects have come together (the last attempt by Pebb Enterprises failed because they wanted the city to pitch in $4 million to make it work).
What is new is the city saying they don’t want to hinder any potential development, so the tunnel can’t happen.
This is odd for several reasons: Continue reading Robert Street Tunnel on Hold for No Good Reason
This week I finished reading American War by Omar El Akkad. It’s a fascinating speculative story about a second American Civil War 50 years from now.
Two days after finishing, I turned on the radio and there was Omar El Akkad talking about his book. Even better, he was making an appearance in St. Paul the next day. Score.
A Word About Author Readings
I love seeing authors in person. It’s such a unique way to get a glimpse into who they are and how they create. It’s an opportunity that takes the book reading experience so much deeper.
And they’re almost always free.
I wish I had done a lot more of that in college when I was still learning how to be a writer. (One of my first experiences of it came in college—Wendell Berry reading Jayber Crow.)
Continue reading Author Readings & American War by Omar El Akkad
Today I met Tina Liebling, a Minnesota state representative who is running for governor in 2018. It feels so early to be thinking about the 2018 campaign for Minnesota governor. But if I’ve learned anything about the 2016 campaign it’s that we need to be more involved.
Everybody complained in 2016 that they didn’t like any of the candidates. Well, if you want a candidate on the ballot that you like, you need to get involved early and support the candidate you want to see. Continue reading Time for Minnesota’s First Female Governor?
I went for a bike ride today in the glorious June weather. I decided to check out the River-to-River Greenway trail in my own West St. Paul neighborhood.
Well, I biked the sections of nice trail, OK trail, crappy sidewalks and really bad connections that make-up what could eventually become the River-to-River Greenway trail through West St. Paul. It’s not officially designated as such just yet, mainly because West St. Paul is dragging its feet and turning its nose at about $3 million of county, state and federal money. More on that in a minute.
Here’s the path the River-to-River Greenway currently takes:
Continue reading Biking the River-to-River Greenway