1) Are fly-off-the-handle media stars deserving of a seat at the political discourse table at NPR, merely because they've excelled at becoming media stars? Here's Alicia Shepard, the ombudsman at National Public Radio with her view:
But if (Glenn) Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, Sarah Palin or any other prominent conservative firebrand is making headlines, NPR should report that as part of the news -- not to promote them but to include when putting news in context.
Three of the four she mentioned work in the media. Only Palin has traditional political standing.
Back to Shepard:
I've said it before, and I will reiterate it. NPR is a mainstream news outlet. Its duty is to inform the public of all that is going on -- and that means airing voices and stories that many listeners might not like or agree with.
Given the vacuous nature of most news these days, it's not a service to the listener to prove one's "mainstreamness" by trying to be just like everyone else. Besides, the issue isn't really about one's views. Conservative views, of course, should be heard. And if it's a conservative voice that NPR really wants -- and this goes for liberals, too -- why not make the ability to have an intelligent political dialog instead of a food fight, a qualification for a seat in the studio? To do otherwise creates the impression that all conservatives are loudmouthed fools, and that's simply not true. Example? Rep. John Kline's appearance on MPR's Midday last Friday to talk about Afghanistan -- and his give-and-take with callers who agreed and disagreed with him -- was everything Public Radio should be.
Again, with Shepard:
But listeners deserve exposure to all sorts of voices discussing a wide range of perspectives on NPR -- not just those that are palatable to them.
What listeners deserve is what public radio has promised them -- intelligent discussions delivered intelligently. You cannot expect the audience to be open to different ideas by listening to people who do not have the ability to get theirs across without a flamethrower. For NPR to suggest that conservative views cannot be expressed without lowering a standard of intelligent discourse -- the very underpinning of all that is good about public radio -- is beyond insulting to conservatives and liberals.
A worthwhile (and related) read: Justin Kowacki takes on "an increasing public resentment toward intellectuals, literature, complexity and complicated communications in general."
2) What word best describes your feeling about President Obama? The New York Times is tracking them from employed and unemployed people. If only I could get enough people to type NEWSCUT. But that would be wrong.
3) What's Right With Us Department: A grandmother is robbed and slashed by a knife-wielding assailant in Boston. A parking valet armed only with an umbrella and a laid-off construction worker jumped in to help. Jay King said he had no choice. "When someone needs help, you help them,'' he told the Boston Globe.
In Michigan, meanwhile, a judge has ruled a man can sue the people who beat him up and shot him after he robbed them. He's claiming excessive force.
4) It's magic! Scientists have realized that magicians know more about the workings of the human brain than they do, so two researchers are teaming up with some magicians. It could change the way disorders like autism are diagnosed.
In other magic news, Carl Ballantine has died.
5) Facts you can use to end those awkward silences with co-workers today: Crabs trade sex for protection.
The discovery of the sex-for-security trait helps to explain a surprising quirk: how it is that females defend their territory just as successfully as males despite their smaller claws. It is also the first known case of male and female neighbours teaming up to defend territory in any species, according to lead researcher Richard Milner of the Australian National University in Canberra.
The trial of businessman Tom Petters has focused in part of the testimony of a former friend and partner, who wore a wire to record their conversations. Have you ever considered informing on a friend?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: This year's off-year elections are taking on more significance than usual, revealing a split in the Republican Party that could have repercussions in 2010 and 2012. Midmorning looks at election results, and the future of the GOP.
Second hour: Kerri Miller talked with authors Maxine Hong Kingston and Annette Gordon-Reed, the featured speakers at the National Book Awards at Concordia College in Moorhead.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Political analysts Tom Horner and Todd Rapp analyze the election results.
Second hour: A new documentary from American Abroad, called "Taking on the Taliban."
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m. ) - First hour: NPR political editor Ken Rudin talks about yesterday's election and tries to say something a thousand other pundits haven't already said.
Second hour: We know what high fashion looks like -- fragile models wafting down a runway or photos retouched to cartoon proportions. But with more campaigns featuring so-called "real women", are skinny models passe? Washington Post fashion editor Robin Givhan and the editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine talk about sizing up in the world of fashion.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Elizabeth Baier has the third installment in the MPR series, stress-testing the recovery. Minnesota's important manufacturing sector has shed nearly 43,000 jobs since the start of the recession, more than any other major industry. The pain of the manufacturing slump is acute in Albert Lea. The town has worked hard to diversify since a fire burned down the city's biggest employer, a food processing plant. Now with a relatively heavy reliance on factory jobs, which pay above average, the town has seen a spike in its jobless rate, but things are starting to look up.
MPR's Euan Kerr, the hardest working reporter in show business, profiles a Heart of the Beast play about peace activist Thich Nhat Hahn.
MPR's Tim Pugmire looks at politics' worst-kept secret: Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak's desire to be governor.
And Rupa Shenoy assesses the impact of a shortage of respiratory masks, and the fight over how the remaining devices will be distributed in the battle against H1N1. (Moved to tomorrow)
A cat in Iowa has tested positive for the H1N1 influenza virus, according to the American Veterinary Medicine Association. It's the first time, apparently, that a cat has been diagnosed with the flu strain, raising a new concern: the health of your pet during flu season.
"Indoor pets that live in close proximity to someone who has been sick are at risk and it is wise to monitor their health to ensure they aren't showing signs of illness," said Dr. David Schmitt, State Veterinarian for Iowa.
Two of three family members had H1N1; both have recovered. It's believed the cat caught the flu from the people, not the other way around.
But the cat backlash has begun. In Beijing a university is rounding up homeless cats, according to one report. And a cat shelter was set on fire.
"There is not a single medical expert or research to suggest any connection between the H1N1 virus transmission and cats," a retired professor is said to have told the Web site.
Until now, that is.
As Minnesota officials announce four more deaths from H1N1, Flu.gov is hosting a webcast with the latest information on the H1N1 flu vaccine. The experts are: Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Gloria Addo Ayensu, MD, MPH, Director of the Fairfax County Department of Health, Fairfax, Virginia; Dr. Pierre Vigilance, Director, District of Columbia Department of Health, Washington, DC.
Here are the highlights.
Q: What do you need to do at vaccine clinics to prove you're in the "risk" groups.
A: It's an honor system. We publish the target groups but we don't check. We hope people will do the right thing and if they're not part of the high-risk category (currently children, health-care workers etc.), they'll wait their turn.
Q: How long do people have to wait once a clinic has been announced?
People have been lining up a couple of hours ahead of time (in DC). People who show up once a vaccine session starts don't have to wait so long.
Q Why has there been a delay?
A: Flu vaccines are made in a method that's tried and true, but not reliable. The viruses that are inoculated into eggs were growing too slowly -- more slowly than expected. So the initial amounts that we had aren't what we hoped. We don't know exactly when the amount of vaccine "out there" will be enough. It may be things get better sooner in one area than another. Demand can change all the time.
Q: When will communities see more vaccine?
A: More is hard to quantify (huh?). It could be "some time" before the amounts that are out in communities feel very ample.
Q: If my child has been diagnosed with the flu, should she still get the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine?
A: Even if you believe your child has had the H1N1 flu, getting vaccinated makes sense. If you know your child has had H1N1 -- through state labs -- then the child probably wouldn't need the vaccine.
This year the seasonal flu vaccine has been in short supply, too. But getting the H1N1 flu ivaccine is more important. For seniors, the seasonal flu vaccine is important.
Q: Are you worried about running out of anti-viral medicine?
A: The commercial supply for adults is good right now. The availability for children has been spotty but getting better. We've released the liquid form of Tamiflu. There's also capsules that can be turned into pediatric doses by pharmacists, mixing adult capsules into liquid that children can have.
Q: If my children and I have asthma but we can't get vaccine in our community, should we go to a neighboring state?
A: Yes. But check with private providers and state health departments first.
Q: Why was decision made to put out vaccine when you knew there would be shortages?
A: We had a choice to make between protecting people and having things be neat and orderly. We couldn't tolerate withholding a vaccine that could protect some people.
Q: If a young child misses the window for the second dose, should they start over?
A: No, if you miss the four-week mark, it's OK. What you don't want is to get the second dose too soon. Two doses are needed in children under 10.
Q: Are health care workers considered a priority at clinics if vaccine isn't available at work?
Q: What can we be doing to protect ourselves while we wait for more vaccine to become available?
A: The ones we've been recommending: Cover your mouth, wash your hands, stay home if you're sick, get a seasonal flu shot.
Q: What's the difference between the mist and a shot?
A: The shot it is made from a killed virus. Mist is a virus that is diluted. Anyone over six months can get the shot. If you have an egg allergy , we recommend you not receive the vaccine.
Q: How can I be sure the vaccine is safe?
A: It's made the same way as seasonal flu vaccine. We're using the same processes and the same companies. 100 million people get the flu vaccine every year and we have an excellent safety record. We've increased safety monitoring. The risk from the flu is very real.
Q: How can you tell the difference between seasonal flu and H1N1?
A: The population affected by H1N1 is a younger than those affected by seasonal flu.
Q: Would someone with a suppressed immune system, would it be better to get two shots?
A: One dose should be fine. H1N1 vaccines in clinical trials have worked really well.
Q: Do children have some protection against H1N1 between the time they get the first dose and the second dose?
A: Yes, but only a little.
Q: Is vaccine linked to autism?
A: There's no scientific evidence of that. Some people have been concerned about primerisol -- a mercury-based preservative -- and we've asked manufacturers to make some that is primerisol free.
Q: Is H1N1 associated with more gastrointestinal symptoms than season flu?
A: We're seeing that.
Q: Are school nurses part of the priority group?
The Wednesday lunch at St. Paul's Central Presbyterian Church is a staple of the MPR News Department. It's one of the best lunch bargains in the Twin Cities. Sometimes you run into newsmakers there.
Today we stumbled on Kathryn Koob. She was one of only two women among the 52 Americans who spent 444 days as hostages in Iran.
Ironically, she was just profiled in a segment on Iowa Public Television. And today is the 30th anniversary of the day "students" took over the American embassy in Tehran.
All Things Considered is interviewing her and you can hear it tonight on the program.(1 Comments)
If you're going to fly first class on United Airlines, make sure you dress like someone who can afford to fly first class on United Airlines.
Best Buy executive Armando Alvarez used his miles to upgrade to first class on a flight from Washington to Connecticut a week ago Monday, then showed up wearing a track suit. He was denied boarding because he wasn't dressed for first class.(7 Comments)