Being the "half full" kind of person I am, let's start the annual News Cut "Embrace Winter!" theme early this year. The best part about the season? Pretty sunrises -- like this morning -- happen at a reasonable hour.
On the not-so-much side of things, now that I've marked the edges of the driveway for the snow plow, and bagged up the leaves, gassed up the snowblower, and dragged out the winter coats, there was only one thing left to do. Prepare Lucie the Blog Dog for her inaugural winter by trying out doggie snow boots.
This isn't going to work.
1) Leon Williams of Baudette couldn't find his way into World War II because he was too old, he told the Grand Forks Herald. Now, he's the oldest hunter in Minnesota. He's 100. He won't be hunting today, however. Wednesday is pinochle day at the senior center in Williams.
2) Has the FBI finally found the connection between some Minneapolis teens and an apparent recruiting operation for insurgents in Somalia? Dutch authorities have arrested a man who may be responsible, MPR's Laura Yuen reports. The U.S. has asked the Netherlands to extradite the man but a Dutch newspaper says that may come with strings attached, if it comes at all.
How does Al-Shabaab recruit? According to Radio Netherlands, a radio station holds a quiz show with weapons as a prize. "The show's contestants had to recite passages from the Qur'an and answer general knowledge questions. The winner received prizes including a Kalashnikov, two hand grenades and an anti-tank mine. A lottery with a machine gun and ammunition as the prize was held for the runners up."
3) We finally know who Carly Simon was singing about in "You're So Vain." But ... who is it?
4) A new TED video. The science of climate change in four minutes.
As long as we're into condensation, here's the decade in 7 minutes:
OK, but just one more. Here's Colbert in 60 seconds:
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|11/10/09 in :60 Seconds|
Bonus: How news smart are you? This Pew quiz reveals that most people can't handle relatively easy questions about the news (they're not as hard as the occasional News Cut Quiz). Yeah, I got all 12. Bottom line: The more schooling you got, the more you know about current events. The older you are, the more you know about current events. And most people with less than a high school education don't know who Glenn Beck is. (h/t: Dave Gamble)
Today is Veterans Day, when the United States pauses to recognize the contributions of those who have served in the military. What's the best way to honor veterans for their service?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander proposes that a 3-year undergraduate track would save money for students, universities, and the U.S. government alike. Some critics are concerned that shortening college will limit exploration, and leave no room for error.
Second hour: Mary Karr has described the writing her first memoir, "The Liar's Club" as a scalding experience. Her third and latest memoir talks about her burning need for sobriety and belief in God.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Studio guest is Minnesota native Richard Moe, retiring president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Second hour: MPR documentary, "The Vietnam Tapes."
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Political Junkie Ken Rudin looks ahead to the most interesting races in 2010, and the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America talks about her fight to remove the "anti-choice" provision from the final version of a health care bill. Hmmm. Only one side of that story, NPR?
Second hour: NPR's Washington editor and health policy correspondent each
explain what is actually in the bill and its political prospects in the Senate.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Jonathan Hamilton of NPR reports from Afghanistan on a unit that's lost 11 soldiers already, just three months into a year-long deployment.
Jason Beaubien looks at why illegal immigration in the U.S. is dropping.
Here. Here's a Kleenex.
And this blog has a great collection of family reunions. If by "family" you mean a dog.
(h/t: Jonah Keri)
The health care reform effort at the Capitol is raising an old dilemma for some politicians: Is a bill always "better than nothing"?
North Dakota Nebraska Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson is the latest facing the issue, and he's decided it's not.
"Faced with a decision about whether or not to move a bill that is bad, I won't vote to move it," Nelson told ABC News.
Nelson is opposed to a public option.
Minnesota politicians may be faced with the same dilemma, only this one is over a tax on the medical device industry that's in the House bill, according to MPR's Elizabeth Stawicki.(13 Comments)
"This generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have volunteered in the time of certain danger. They are part of the finest fighting force that the world has ever known," President Barack Obama said this week at the memorial service in Fort Hood. "They have served tour after tour of duty in distant, different and difficult places. They have stood watch in blinding deserts and on snowy mountains. They have extended the opportunity of self-government to peoples that have suffered tyranny and war."
While Obama was speaking before a nation at attention, Michele and Robert Jersak stood before a nearly-empty classroom at Century College in White Bear Lake on Tuesday to finish his sentence.
"When they come back, they are not the same," Robert Jersak, a communications professor at the college said.
"I come from a military family," his wife, Michele, a counselor at the college, added, "and I naively believed that once you're home, you're safe."
Their talk, "Returning Home After Combat: Challenges and Contributions," was part of a week-long celebration at the school, where about 200 former soldiers are enrolled. A handful of faculty attended along with a man whose son is due home soon. "I want to know what to expect," he said.
A single student said he was there because his best friend is ex-military and lost. "I need to figure out how to help him," he said.
The apparent lack of interest by the student body in the topic, however, was matched by the absence of any recently deactivated veterans. There's more to supporting soldiers than waving a flag or putting a yellow ribbon magnet on the car. You have to actually talk to them.
"This war is so different," Michele Jersak said. "People forget about it. We can switch it off." She trains Minnesota state college counselors to understand returning soldiers, and is, herself, at the front lines of the war. As a counselor, she handles the "re-entry" shock of veterans. And every one has it, she suggested. Most don't like to talk and non-veterans aren't anxious to inquire and -- when they do -- they often ask the question Ms. Jersak says they should never ask: "Did you kill anyone?"
"We'll take a citizen and turn them into a warrior," her husband said. "They go from security to chaos. From trust to mistrust." It can take six months to train them but they can go from a war zone to civilian life in a matter of hours, not always successfully. She laments one student in her class who was only days removed from fighting in Falujah, Iraq. "He didn't stay in class because I didn't catch him early enough," she says.
She made it clear to me and the few others attending that she wasn't referring to post traumatic stress disorder. Instead, she was talking about, "normal reactions to abnormal events."
I thought about that this afternoon when a Facebook e-mail from an old high school classmate arrived, telling me about the priest who married her and her husband and who was a Marine chaplain with service in Vietnam and Iraq. He also suffered from depression, the outgrowth of post traumatic stress syndrome.
A month or so ago, he jumped off a bridge in Rhode Island.
Nobody comes back the same.