Minneapolis Mayoral Election; Vote For Your Favorite Three

Today is election day for Mayor of Minneapolis and there are thirty-five candidates and the system to be used to elect one of them is called Ranked Choice. This means you are asked to vote for your top three candidates, and that is why there are thirty-five candidates. Of course, a very small fee and simple candidate registration system also helped.  For more information from the newspaper look here.

Ranked Choice voting works like this. You vote for your top three candidates, or just one, if you wish. Then when no candidate has 50% plus one of the vote, the votes for the least popular candidate are thrown out and the second place candidate is advanced and the total taken again. That means if you vote for Alpha as your first choice, and Alpha is the least vote getter, then your vote for Beta in second place becomes your first choice. This process repeats until there is one candidate with the 50% plus one. This process is all computer generated so we will see who wins.

Remember that this is the state that prides itself on no voter fraud but where in 2008 a candidate’s supporters found 300 ballots in the trunk of a car, and then found a couple hundred in a living room and kept finding lost ballots until their candidate won. No one ever asked, like a judge, just how these ballots got in the car. How wonderful that all of those lost ballots were found so the people who cast those ballots would not be disenfranchished! This is the state where the Secretary of State just put up a web based voter registration system. This is so people in Uzbekistan can register to vote in Minnesota. How terrific! Remember, making a person show indentification before registration or voting is merely an effort to supress the vote!! No doubt, limiting the vote to residents and citizens does supress the vote.

Abraham Lincoln, the Morrill Act and the National Academy of Sciences

I heard a speech by new University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler on Saturday, April, 20. He is an impressive person, a chemical engineer by training, who now runs one of America’s largest, and best universities. He began his speech by telling us, the Men’s Club of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, that Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the North’s worst year in the Civil War, signed the Morrill Act (http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Morrill.html) in 1862. The act created the land grant colleges, of which, the University of Minnesota is one, by granting 30,000 acres per congressman to each state “not in rebellion against the United States.” The act was extended to Southern states after the war.
The Morrill Act was sponsored by Justin Smith Morrill, a Vermont congressman, (later Senator),  Its purpose was to “promote education in agriculture and engineering.” It is the main building block of the rapid expansion of public higher education in the late 19th century.
I thought the comment about Lincoln was very interesting as he was dealing with defeats on the battle field, and difficult generals, and yet had time to plan the nation’s future. He also signed an act in 1863 that created the National Academy of Sciences, whose members “were to promote science, medicine and engineering.” That is leadership.

Kaler then spoke of education today. He pointed out that the cost of education today is less than an inflation adjusted cost in 1967. He urged government to get with it and increase its support for education.
Kaler then spoke of the “achievement gap” or the academic performance gap between racially diverse student populations. He surprised the group by saying that Minnesota had the third highest, trailing only Michigan and Wisconsin. This prompted later conversation on possible reasons, but Kaler did not suggest any. He did mention that in early childhood education, the first three years are the most critical and that it is important to engage the very young in conversation. This can be reading to the child, but I think it is equally important to engage in conversation. We should be able to do this.

The mornings talk covered Lincoln’s focus on education, government’s decline in support for education and the importance of early engagement in the educational process.
I found this discussion to be most important as it indicated that Eric Kaler is continuing the work begun by Justin Morrill and Abraham Lincoln. We should all hope he succeeds, and I think he will.

Tubby Smith Gets Fired- Is this the right move?

Norwood Teague is the new athletic director at the University of Minnesota who just fired a fairly famous coach yesterday. His action is proper for the following reasons.  A coach is judged by how well he coaches. This is determined by the improved perfomance of individual players during the player’s career. Smith’s players didn’t seem to get better. Strike one. 
Players own the first half of a game and coaches, by making moves, control the second half. Smith’s teams were often ahead in the first half and got beaten in the second half.  Briefly, he got out coached. Strike two.
A coach must run a program that can compete in the conference or league. Smith’s teams could not win in the Big Ten. Strike three.
Norwood Teague has made the correct move and now needs to find a coach that can achieve the three goals set out above for a coach.
I suspect he has someone in mind.

The State Hockey Tournament

This is the day that the boys hockey champions are to be determined with class 1A game at noon and the class 2A at 7PM. All games are played at the Xcel Center, the Wild’s home ice. Attendance yesterday for the 2A semifinal was 19,351, a sell out, and such is the level of interest in these magnificent games.
In semifinal games, Hermantown beat Breck in double overtime, 3-2 and will play St. Thomas winner 11-0 over East Grand Forks. Experts say St Thomas is the best team in the state, even though it plays in 1A, the small school division. It may move to 2A next year. The exciting 2A games saw Hill-Murray beat Wayzata 3-2 and Edina beat Duluth East 3-2. The Hill Murray game ended with the last Wayata shot bouncing off the goalie with. 4 seconds remaining. It seems the theme song for these games is Tom Perry’s “I Won’t Back Down.”
I grew up in a non hockey area and was only introduced to the hockey tournament by accident in the 1970’s when a friend suggested we go to a game. From then on, I ‘ve been hooked and have invented excuses to be there. I was compelled to attend games earlier but now they are streamed on prep45.com so I can watch the games worldwide.
It is now two hours before game time, so I need to get some stuff done, because nothing will keep me away from the 1A game at noon,

Update: St. Thomas won 5-4 with a power play goal with 6 seconds to go. It is their third straight and now they move to class 2A. This is the Minnesota State High School League concept of the English promotion and relegation scheme. So far, no 2A team has been relegated to 1A. The MSHSL doesn’t actually have a promotion and relegation scheme, but it is something to think about!

Final update: Edina beat Hill=Murray 4-2 to take the 2A crown. The deciding factor was the Edina goalie and the Hill-Murray habit of hitting the pipe. I guess the two go together. All in all, the hockey gods decided it was an Edina evening.