Ripped from the headlines during the dog days of August...
1) Don Hinz' P-51 returns home to Fleming Field at South St. Paul this afternoon. The Woodbury man used it in an education program to teach students and others about the Tuskegee Airmen. He crashed and was killed in Red Wing several years ago. The Red Tail Project has been restoring the plane. It made its debut last week at the big air show in Oshkosh.
2) Approximately 23.6 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes and it is believed that 25 percent don't even know it, the New York Times reports. "With vigilant monitoring and self-control, Type 2 diabetes can be kept under control. Six men and women speak about living with diabetes." Nice feature.
3) How to join the mob. We don't hear a lot about organized crime out here in flyover country. But in Philadelphia, it's an art form. George Anastasia, the crime reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirier provides some video tutorials on the "rules" of the mob on this Web site. I found out about it via a journalism blog today that indicated the ad at the beginning of the videos shows how desperate newspapers are for cash. The ad is from a strip club.
Speaking of the mob, City Pages' Hart Van Denburg looks at the Twin Cities' social media mafia. Who are the big thugs?
4) Discussion point: How do we have productive political discussions?
A couple of videos and incidents have been buzzing around the Internet in recent days. There's this one from a Pennsylvania town hall forum last weekend.
And this one -- originally posted on Polinaut -- from a candidate in Toledo:
Are these indicative of anything? Do we not bother discussing things with politicians because we don't think politicians listen? Here's a Rep. Keith Ellison video being circulated. People make their points -- fairly respectfully -- and he moves on to the next question rather than discuss the point.
Is the "town hall forum" dead? Why do politicians keep having them?
"The level of intelligent discourse in this country -- whether it be arguing about easily checked facts on like Obama's birthplace or something far more complicated like health care -- has reach abominable lows, with far too many people willing to scream instead of listening, egged on by a media that craves ratings more than truth," Mark Willen writes on kiplinger.com.
Was there ever a period of a "high" level of political discourse in America? When?
5) Quick! Name a living scientist! Now name one who's not Stephen Hawking. Don't feel bad. You're not alone.
The national debate continues over efforts to reform the country's system of providing and paying for health care. Political leaders, interest groups and care providers are sparring daily in the media and halls of government. What's missing from the health care debate?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Hooman Majd, Iranian-American journalist and author of "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ." Second hour: Daniel Silva, author of the new book, "The Defector."
By the way, tomorrow morning at 9, I'll be live-blogging a Midmorning show about booze at the new Gophers' stadium.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Former congressman Tim Penny will be in the studio to talk about the federal deficit and the state budget problems. Second hour: Stanford University scientist Nathan Wolfe, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival about the transmission of viruses.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Rep. Joe Sestak, a Democratic congressman who'll challenge Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA). Then, Peter Segal of Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me! (Incidentally, the end of his segment with Chuck Barris last week was drive-off-the-road funny) Second hour: A teenager during the Watts Riots, Walter Mosley was astonished to find his father, the most law-abiding man he knew harbored deep anger. Understanding that rage became essential to the crime novels he wrote as an adult.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Tom Robertson reports from Bemidji, where a growing number of businesses are adding signs in the Ojibwe language.
From Washington, Audie Cornish profiles Aaron Schock, the youngest member of the House of Representatives. He's 28.
First off for a scientist: Frederick Driscoll. (Okay I cheated. I went to Science Buzz and found a name. The article is here.)
I heard the story about the "Tea Party Patriots" on ATC yesterday afternoon. For me the amazing thing is that most of the people in groups like that would never have been part of the "Sons of Liberty", it was too radical.
Bob, I think that the "Day at the Capitol" events are a good way for groups with specific concerns to be heard, if they are well-organized and planned.
First, you hold a big rally or gathering to show your numbers. This impresses the media. Then you march en mass up the steps of the Capitol. That makes for "good tv." Finally, you break up into for prearranged meetings with your elected officials. Finally, your communications types (like me) writes an guest op/ed or letter to editor for the dailies on your key issues.
If that doesn't work, you "throw the bums out" at the next election and elect your own bums.
There does seem to be a trend away from discourse toward harangue. The cause may be an overabundance of information. The wide spectrum of information across the internet allows individuals to seek out sources that are comfortable and agreeable. Lack of exposure to alternate opinions promotes blind allegiance. Blind allegiance leads to faith and stridence replacing facts and thought.
Does it all come back to safe seats? If a representative has a safe seat, there is no way that congressperson will vote anything but the party line. In actuality, most representatives need to move further from the middle to protect themselves from primary challenges.
Opponents already know how a Member of Congress will vote, so why be cordial when you can’t influence a position?
Representatives already know party positions and where activist challenges are likely to come from, so what’s the point in town hall meetings?
Perhaps representative Ellison has it figured out. Let the opponents vent and DON’T create a “you tube viral event”.