Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly, and Minnesota leaders announce “Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense” at Augsburg-hosted press conference

On February 25, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and retired astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, co-founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions, joined Minnesota leaders at Augsburg College to announce a new bipartisan organization, the “Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense.” The coalition’s members – which include leaders from across sectors and parties – will urge their elected officials to advance policies that help keep guns out of the wrong hands.

Giffords was wounded severely during a 2011 shooting that resulted in six deaths. She and husband, Kelly, have announced similar coalitions in New Hampshire and Oregon during the past several months.

Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow welcomed the event’s guests to campus and offered opening remarks at the press conference.

Media coverage of the event includes:

Jeanne Boeh offers her take on Minnesota economy in Star Tribune article

Minneapolis Star Tribune - logoJeanne Boeh, professor of economics at Augsburg College, was one of several experts quoted in a recent Star Tribune article on the current state of Minnesota’s economy. She attributes Minnesota’s steady economy to its diversity, which makes it less dependent on agriculture than neighboring states.

“Because we’re a diversified economy, we will keep trudging along at a lukewarm pace and eventually the labor shortages will happen and employers will raise wage rates more in order to get good workers,” Boeh said. “I think we are OK.”

Read Main Street’s mood is resilient despite rocky markets on the Star Tribune site.

Michael Lansing interviewed by Pioneer Public Television, publishes MinnPost article

Pioneer Public Television - logoPioneer Public Television (PPT) recently included an interview with Michael Lansing, associate professor of history at Augsburg College and author of Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics, in an episode of Compass, a program that focuses on public policy and other issue of importance to PPT’s community.

Lansing’s book details the history of the Nonpartisan League, a political movement active in North Dakota, neighboring states, and some Canadian provinces in the early 1900s. The interview is available online on the PPT website.

Additionally, MinnPost - logoLansing wrote an article for MinnPost that examines the trend of comparing the current sociopolitical climate with the “Gilded Age” of the late 19th century. He argues that the results of recent presidential primaries in New Hampshire, which overwhelmingly rejected candidates viewed as having ties to the political establishment, reflect an important change in voter attitudes.

“American voters now believe they are living in a second Gilded Age,” he writes. “This shift has the potential to transform our nation’s politics.” He adds that regardless of the final outcomes of the nomination processes, this change is a noteworthy signifier of Americans’ rejection of the status quo.

Watch History Collaborative & Agrarian Revolt on the Pioneer Public Television site.

Read A second Gilded Age at last? on the MinnPost site.

Michael Lansing interviewed on history of North Dakota, Minnesota caucuses

TheForumOfFargoMoorhead - logoThe Forum of Fargo-Moorhead recently published an article on North Dakota’s short-lived presidential primary and its return to the current caucus system. Included in the article were statements by Michael Lansing, author and associate professor of history at Augsburg College.

Lansing said that since North Dakota returned to the caucus system in 1935, the state “has even less of a role in primary races than ever.”

He added, “The same is true of many Upper Midwest states.”

Read: Robin Huebner reports: ND’s place in presidential primary history on the Forum website.


Andy Aoki helps answer WCCO’s “Good Question”

WCCO - logoWCCO recently sought counsel from Andy Aoki, professor and department chair of political science at Augsburg College, to answer a viewer’s question about the timing of the New Hampshire Primary and the Iowa Caucus.

“Why do Iowa and New Hampshire vote first?” was the focus of the recent Good Question segment.

Aoki provided a straightforward answer.

“Today, they’re first because they want to be,” he said before explaining the history of the events in more detail. The segment goes on to explain how the advent of television turned the previously ignored New Hampshire primary into a nation-wide media spectacle. This prompted the state to pass a law requiring that they remain the first to select a candidate.

How did Iowa end up voting earlier? “Technically, New Hampshire is the first primary and Iowa is the first caucus, so they’ve worked out a little agreement,” Aoki explained.

Read and watch: Good Question: Why Do Iowa & New Hampshire Vote First? on the WCCO site.

Michael Lansing interview appears on South Dakota Public Broadcasting

SDPBRadio - logoMichael Lansing, associate professor of history at Augsburg College, was interviewed by South Dakota Public Broadcasting for the Dakota Midday radio program. Lansing is the author of “Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics,” which presents the history of the Nonpartisan League as a model for future political movements.

Lansing describes the League as a grassroots organization started by Midwestern farmers in 1915 who were getting “ripped-off” by the large grain milling and transportation corporations in the region.

“I know that’s pretty strong language,” he said. “But if you look at the evidence in retrospect, it’s rather true.”

Listen to: Dakota Midday: Insurgent Democracy (13 minutes) on the SDPB Radio site.

Doug Green lends expertise to Star Tribune article on “Pericles”

Minneapolis Star Tribune - logoThe Star Tribune recently sought input from Doug Green, professor of English at Augsburg College, on the disputed authorship of the stage drama “Pericles, Prince of Tyre,” which is being performed at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

Many believe that the first two acts of the play were written by an unknown playwright, but that the final three acts were written by William Shakespeare. Others believe that Shakespeare started the work early in his career and finished it after he had gained more experience. One piece of evidence in support of dual authorship is the play’s absence from the “first folio,” the first collection of plays Shakespeare published.

“If it’s not in the First Folio, people are skeptical,” said Green. “Almost from the get-go, the first two acts don’t look like Shakespeare. We know it was played by the King’s Men and it sounds like Shakespeare but it is pretty clear that Shakespeare had a major hand in the last three acts.”

Read: Act One for Joe Haj: ‘Pericles’ gives Guthrie audiences a look at his work on the Star Tribune site.

KSTP interviews Joseph Erickson on Minneapolis Public Schools’ superintendent controversy

ABC 5 Eyewitness News - logoABC affiliate KSTP recently aired an interview with Joseph Erickson, professor of education at Augsburg College, about the Minneapolis School Board decision to replace Sergio Paez, their first choice for Minneapolis Public School’s vacant superintendent position. Erickson served on the board from 2002 to 2006 and was its chair for two of those years. During this period, the school board hired two superintendents.

“This is their job. Hiring the superintendent and setting policy is their job,” Erickson said. “They should take it very seriously.”

He also pointed out that the current board is in a rare situation: interim superintendent Michael Goar is still available should the board decide to offer him the position. Usually, a district’s second and third choices have moved on to other positions at this point in the process.

Video and text versions of the interview are available on the KSTP website, “Minneapolis Public Schools Still Searching for Permanent Superintendent.”

Jeanne Boeh discusses U.S. and Minnesota economics on Twin Cities radio stations

WCCO - logo MPR - logoThis month, Minnesota Public Radio and WCCO Radio sought input from Jeanne Boeh, professor of economics at Augsburg College, on the economic outlook for 2016. First she appeared on the “John Hines Show” to discuss the impact of a recent drop in the Chinese stock market on the U.S. economy.

Earlier this week, she joined Louis Johnston, a professor of economics at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, on MPR’s “News with Kerri Miller and Tom Weber” for a conversation about U.S. and Minnesota economics in the new year. The professors discussed the apparent discrepancies between stock market losses coinciding with higher employment rates. Boeh points out that while the overall employment rates are rising, some groups, such as African-American Minnesotans, have seen employment rates drop.

Listen to the MPR interview here (.mp3) and the “John Hines Show” interview on the WCCO News audio site.