Local news

Hey, this is a very good site for us Minnesotans: the Minnesota Monitor.

Minnesota Monitor is an independently-produced political news daily featuring original and investigative reporting.

As a coalition of long-time progressive bloggers, freelance writers, and professional journalists our aim is to enhance and expand the political dialogue in the Minnesota. By combining the immediacy of blogging with time-honored journalistic inquiry, Minnesota Monitor intends to provide a platform for overlooked stories, policy and campaign analysis, and unique local perspectives on the important issues of the day.

Our contributing writers subscribe to a Code of Ethics and the pursuit of truth-telling, fairness, and accountability.

If you’re interested in what’s going on in Minnesota, just a look at the top stories right now shows a lot of stuff the regular news media aren’t even mentioning.

Come back, Henry Louis!

I’ve been prodded by Marcus to mention a recent article by Brian Leiter, Could Mencken Write for a Newspaper Today? I think I just assumed everyone was already reading the Leiter Reports regularly.

Anyway, where are our modern Menckens—the acerbic, secular critics of the culture of the mindless? It’s amazing what he could write in the early years of the last century; I’ll also point out that Ingersoll got away with scathing criticisms of religion in the 19th century. Nowadays, though, people are actually shocked that anyone would question religious belief.

Good question, Frau Professorin Doktorin Stemwedel!

Janet asks, “How should we professorial types be addressed by our students?” I’m introducing myself to a new crop of students in an hour, so this is something I also go through every year.

My answer: if the students don’t know the professor, the default should be “Dr” or “Professor.” Always. It’s the safe thing to do.

To my students, I always tell them I’d rather not be addressed so formally, and “Paul” or “PZ” are better choices. “Hey, Myers!” is a little too brash.

I think the appropriate way to answer the question is to turn it around: how do we professors address the students? If you insist on being called “Dr”, I think you should be expected to address all your students as “Mr” or “Ms.” We can set the level of formality to whatever we want, but it has to be reciprocal. Of course, I’m also at a small college where I get to know every student, and by name…I suppose another alternative at the bigger places is to insist on being called “Dr,” while addressing all your students as a nameless, faceless, tuition-paying mob.