The Monday Morning Rouser:
1) The volcano in Iceland is still spewing ash, the European airspace is still mostly closed, and people who don't quite understand what happens when ash enters a jet engine are saying "enough" with the caution that's stranded travelers and disrupted their lives.
What's the big deal?
Still, it's possible we haven't seen anything, yet. Check out the U.S. Geological Survey fact sheet on volcanic ash:
When volcanic ash accumulates on buildings, its weight can cause roofs to collapse, killing and injuring people. A dry layer of ash 4 inches thick weighs 120 to 200 pounds per square yard, and wet ash can weigh twice as much. The load of ash that different roofs can withstand before collapsing varies greatly--flat roofs are more likely to collapse than steeply pitched ones.
Because wet ash conducts electricity, it can cause short circuits and failure of electronic components, especially high-voltage circuits and transformers. Power outages are common in ash-fall areas, making backup power systems important for critical facilities, such as hospitals.
Eruption clouds and ash fall commonly interrupt or prevent telephone and radio communications in several ways, including physical damage to equipment, frequent lightning (electrical discharges), and either scattering or absorption of radio signals by the heated and electrically charged ash particles.
CBS's Bob Schieffer on Sunday said the situation has people his age remembering life before jet travel...
My grandkids believe everything in America is about an hour or so away. Earlier generations appreciated how broad and diverse our country is, because they had to travel through it, not glance at it from 30,000 feet.
Before jet planes made it possible for politicians to fly home every week to raise money, campaigns were a lot cheaper.
Slate Magazine has a nice primer on ash clouds here.
2) This is Patriot's Day in Massachusetts, and the annual running of the Boston Marathon. Run it yourself with this virtual route.
3) Peter Sagal, the host of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" is a funny guy who writes an occasionally serious post on his blog. Today, he's considering the differences between the hatred of the Bush administration:
Back to our current disputes, which has already begun to have subtle and not-so-subtle echoes of the Civil War. There is a lot of similarity to those who say "I want my country back," and those who demand the restoration of our Constitution, whether they did those things in 2004 or 2010. But there must be, and I think there is, a profound difference, if only because of the nature and policies of the regime they are protesting. But let us judge not, lest we be judged.
4) Sure, now that biking season is at hand, we could revisit the tired, old bike vs. car debate. But why not just drop in on the bike vs. bike discussion, instead.
5) Let's go to work today with all the enthusiasm and inspiration of Eddie Feibusch. He's 86 years old now and he's spent almost 70 years doing what somebody's got to do -- sell people zippers.
The St. Paul School Board will vote this week on whether to cut elementary band and orchestra programs, as well as middle school athletics. What extracurricular programs had an important impact on your life?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour The complexity of international adoptions. The Russian government suspended adoptions of children by U.S. citizens after a Tennessee woman sent her adopted child back to his Russian homeland. While many international adoptions go smoothly, experts say adopted children often have complex emotional and psychological issues that may not surface until much later.
Second hour: The Decision Tree. In an age when an overwhelming amount of medical information is at our fingertips, how do we make smart, informed health care decisions? A new book aims to help readers take control of their own medical destinies with an innovative system called "The Decision Tree." (Rebroadcast)
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page and his wife, Diane Sims Page, of the Page Education Foundation discuss education policies and the achievement gap.
Second hour: TBA
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Education secretary Arne Duncan.
Second hour: A search-and-rescue dog handler talks about calling on man's best friend to help look for the lost.
A situation in Somalia today certainly leads us to appreciate the First Amendment even more than we obviously do.
Proclaiming that music is un-Islamic, insurgents in Somalia have warned radio stations to stop playing music. The government of Somalia -- there's a phrase that's as strange to write as it is to read -- has told any radio stations that comply that they will be shut down.
What's a radio station to do? The New York Times has the answer:
"We have replaced the music of the early morning program with the sound of the rooster, replaced the news music with the sound of the firing bullet and the music of the night program with the sound of running horses," said Osman Abdullahi Gure, the director of Radio Shabelle radio and television, one of the most influential stations in Mogadishu.
The previous director of Radio Shabelle was gunned down last year.
Elsewhere on Planet Media:
At a high school in
Seattle Spokane, the principal has confiscated every copy of the school newspaper after a column in which students were asked, ""If you could be famous for anything, what would you be famous for?" Some of the answers included, "Dropping a nuke on the Middle East." "Being JFK's assassin." "Leader of the KKK." "Killing the president with a trident."
Meanwhile, in Virginia, police A raided the offices of James Madison University's student newspaper Friday, confiscating hundreds of photos of an off-campus riot last weekend, according to the Roanoke Times.
The police and the county attorney intend to use the seized photographs to find those who broke the law at the riot.
"The community was really upset about what happened," the editor of the paper said. "I understand that they want to find all these people. But this is between what's right and what's wrong."(1 Comments)
A laptop fell from a medical evacuation helicopter over the weekend, missing a boy in St. Cloud "by inches," according to WCCO.
What are the odds?
Assuming a laptop qualifies as "parts falling off an airplane," about 10 million to one.
A recent article in a Pittsburgh newspaper said that's about the same chance you have of being elected president.
What's more likely? According to the statisticians, you're more likely to:
Die from contact with hot tap water (1 in 5,005,564 ).
Die from contact with a venomous animal or plant. (1 in 3,441,32)
Die from legal execution (1 in 3,441,325).
See a UFO today (1 in 3,000,000)
The Book of Odds says you also have about the same chance of dying in an elevator accident within a year,(3 Comments)
What causes earthquakes?
"Earth scientists believe that most earthquakes are caused by slow movements inside the Earth that push against the Earth's brittle, relatively thin outer layer, causing the rocks to break suddenly," according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes," Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi said today. He's a "senior cleric" in Iran.(6 Comments)
Two months ago, Gov. Tim Pawlenty held the door wide open for reporters to examine his religious views and the extent to which they influence his decisions on state policy, such as his plan to cut health care for the poor and mentally ill.
He did so by declaring to a conservative convention in Washington, "God's in charge. There are some people who say 'Pawlenty, don't bring that up. Its politically incorrect.' Hogwash! ...I say to those naysayers that try to crowd out God from the discussion, if it's good enough for the founding fathers it's good enough for us."
At the time, I wrote that reporters should use the opportunity to quiz Pawlenty about his religion. His spokesman later wrote on Twitter that none did, then turned aside my request to ask the questions of the governor.
From the sound of a piece in the National Journal today, others aren't having any better luck at getting the gov to open up about his religion. A post -- "Evangelicals for T-Paw?" tries to make a case that presidential candidate Pawlenty could be the next Mike Huckabee, but it falls woefully short. The article notes only that Pawlenty is an evangelical Christian by marriage, but does nothing to indicate what that means to the governor or what principles he brings to the "discussion."
Until he sits for a discussion on religion, there'll always be a difference on the question of evangelical Christianity between Tim Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee.
(h/t: Hart Van Denburg, City Pages)(4 Comments)
Being a son of the Bay State, I remember the Boston Marathon when it was a strictly amateur affair. While it was the premier marathon in the U.S., it gave no prize money for winning. The point of running in it, was running in it.
So this guy, who stopped along the way to kiss a woman from Wellesley, gets the official News Cut marathon winner designation.
Why would a runner who went to the trouble of training for the marathon stop in the middle of it to kiss a woman? Because he could.
The marathon itself was a battleground for civil rights in the '60s. Kathrine Switzer tried to run in the race in 1967, only to be hustled off the course by marathon boss Jock Semple.
This picture, taken by a friend of mine at the start of today's race, has me wondering what Jock would say today, were he still alive.5 Comments)