Aquí está tu Monday Morning Rouser!
1) If you can handle death row, can middle school be that tough? In Atlanta, Tom Dunn has traded in a life working with convicts for one working with school kids. He quotes Frederick Douglass: "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
2) Why does the number of homes for sale continue to drop when the number of home sales is lagging? It sounds like a case for Teresa Boardman, who writes the St. Paul Real Estate blog. "For buyers there are fewer choices and the most desirable homes are selling very quickly. Buyers still seem to think that the home they want will be around for awhile and that has not been the case for the last several months," she writes.
3) Tell the truth, now. You're keeping an eye on whether your colleagues are washing their hands in the rest room aren't you? Some Brit researchers are, too. They monitored a month of restroom traffic to see what messages on an LED worked best. "Is the person next to you washing with soap?'' was the overall winner, which the researchers said showed people respond to what others might think of them.
All of this, of course, is prevention for H1N1, which people are still saying is not a big deal, ignorant, apparently, that some hospitals aren't taking new patients and the health care system is already being maxed out.
Last week it was revealed that three little pigs at the Minnesota State Fair had H1N, which brings up the question: Can our pets get H1N1? Experts aren't saying "yes," but they're not exactly saying "no" either.
4) Two stories in the major papers today hold little optimism surrounding the "war on terror." First, New York Times reporter David Rohde -- you may recall he was rescued from his Taliban captors a few months ago -- is recounting his ordeal.
On the first day there, I went to the bathroom and returned to find Tahir with a fresh cut on his calf. It looked as if someone had drawn a line across his leg in red ink. A local Waziri militant had taken out his knife and tried to cut off a chunk of Tahir's calf, saying he wanted to eat the flesh of an Afghan who worked with Westerners. One of Atiqullah's guards had stopped him.
In the same issue -- today's -- the Times reports the Taliban's war chest is overflowing, thanks in part to heroin addicts.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports today that a rising number of Western recruits -- including Americans -- are traveling to Afghanistan and Pakistan to attend paramilitary training camps.
5) Miracle, schmiracle. What are you doing leaving your stroller unattended on a subway platform?
Actually, there wasn't a kid in the stroller. He was hiding in his parents' attic.
WHAT WE'RE DOING
After a few months away, I'm back doing newscasts on The Current starting today. But there'll only be one per day -- 4:20 p.m. with Mary Lucia.
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Public health officials are trying to figure out why a majority of Americans, including many public health nurses and doctors, have told pollsters recently they are wary of the H1N1 vaccine.
Second hour: Blues and pop singer Maria Muldaur. OK, I'll spot you Midnight at the Oasis. What else?
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Mitch Albom, columnist and author of "Tuesdays with Morrie," joins Midday in the studio to talk about his latest book, "Have a Little Faith."
Second hour: Explorer and Minnesota native Dan Buettner speaks about his latest research into regions of the globe where people live particularly long, healthy lives.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Is Afghanistan another Vietnam?
Second hour: The state of women in the workplace.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The Army Corps of Engineers is considering ways to prevent flooding in the Red River Valley. MPR's Dan Gunderson has that story.
NPR's Melissa Block pulls the tough duty, profiling the outgoing governor of Oregon while fly fishing with him.(3 Comments)
Let the panic begin! California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's spokesman says he'll sign a bill waiving an environmental impact report for a developer's proposal to build a football stadium on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
Opponents have criticized the governor's intention to sign the measure, asking why a football stadium gets the waiver when hospitals and other businesses don't? And there's the faint aroma of tainted politics, too. The state senator whose vote moved the bill forward in the Assembly, happens to have a wife who works for the developer.
Now to find a team willing to move. Pro Football Talk says the Bills, Jaguars, Raiders, Chargers, Vikings, Rams, and 49ers are candidates.
The developer says he expects a team to be playing in the Rose Bowl or LA Coliseum for a year in 2011 and then move into the new stadium. The Vikes are committed to the Metrodome for 2011.
One potential flaw in the "Vikes might move" scenario: The developer might want a piece of the team.(3 Comments)
Don't be saying you're not interested in what has caused the huge die-off of the bee population. A third of the total human diet depends on the critters.
Now, then: Discover Magazine reports we now know what has caused a third of all commercial honeybees to die: Commercial bee agriculture. Bee inbreeding, basically. They once were a hardy sort, with the queen adapting to the variety of male drones with which she would breed.
All that began to change in the early 20th century, when farms and orchards started enlisting honeybees to pollinate their crops. Bees that were adapted to harvesting pollen from a variety of plants suddenly spent a month or more at a time surrounded by nothing but almond or apple trees. Farmers eager to increase their crop yields turned to commercial beekeepers, who offered up massive wooden hives stocked with queen bees genetically selected to produce colonies of good pollinators. These breeding practices slashed the genetic variety that helps any species survive infections, chemicals, and other unforeseen threats.
Ironically, the cause turns out to be the very sort of person who raised the alarm in the first place.
Bee experts are trying to adopt practices that lead bees to lead a more natural life. "Bees have been doing this for 80 million years," one says. "All we have to do is get out of their way."
Forgetting for a moment that it's partly a marketing gimmick by Volkswagon, The Fun Theory Web site is offering an interesting perspective on behavior. If things are fun, people will do it.
That was the theory many years ago behind Select A Candidate on the MPR Web site. Give people a little fun -- at that time online quizzes were fairly unique -- and if they become informed voters, so much the better.
The Fun Theory is being used to get people to recycle:
Or take the stairs:
or throw stuff in the trash:
(h/t: Ken Paulman)
There are any number of behaviors to encourage -- voting, or washing hands, for example. It's the how-to-make-it-fun part that's missing.
Perhaps it's time to change the name of newscasts to hoaxcasts.
Today's hoax-as-news event occurred in Washington where someone pretending to be from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced the organization was endorsing climate change legislation.
The event at the National Press Club ended when a real spokesman for the Chamber burst into the room.
"Whoops," says The Guardian:
In today's instant news era, that wasn't quite soon enough. Several green organisations tweeted or blogged on the about-face. Reuters news agency put out a straight news story about the Chamber's apparent U-turn, and the Washington Post and New York Times put the story on their news sites (both later removed the stories from their websites). CNBC actually sought - and got - comment from analysts. It also broke its programming to have a reporter read out the fake press release.
There once was a saying in newsrooms, "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." It might be time to bring that baby back.
Coincidentally, the New York Times announced today it's cutting 100 newsroom jobs. No word yet if one of the positions affected is the one that determines if a story is real.
(Update 4:55 p.m.) - The Chamber rattles the legal sabers.(5 Comments)