1) No doubt, we'll hear the phrase "the traditional start of summer" uttered by newsies over the next few days. One wonders if by making major holidays three-day weekends, we've reduced the significance of the holiday.
Each year, we ask News Cut readers to tell us the story of their relatives' or friends' (or themselves, sometimes) service to the country. Please do so, in the comments section.
I don't remember his name, if I ever knew it. He was just one of the grease-monkeys up the street at the Texaco station, the one I used to ride my bike to with a pocketful of dimes to buy Cokes out of the vending machine. He was the one who looked at me funny when I bought a pack of cigarettes -- Salems -- out of the vending machine. "They're for my father," I insisted, even though they weren't. And he made sure I knew that he knew that when he said, "Sure." Then he stopped being there and a few months later another grease-monkey said he was dead. His Jeep overturned "somewhere in Vietnam," he said. That was the first time I knew someone who went off to a war and didn't come back. I didn't even know his name.
2) If you could build your house from scratch, would you put in a furnace? Would you make more energy than you use? The blog, The Adventures of Johnny Northside, provides a terrific tour of a passive solar house under construction in Hudson, with 22-inch-thick walls, blinds that open and close automatically, and a view.
The only thing missing is the pricetag. The builders also have a blog here.
3) Is there a bigger waste of time than expending energy analyzing a gubernatorial candidate's choice for lieutenant governor? Probably not, judging from the inside view provided in the story from MPR's Mark Zdechlik today. The big news in it, perhaps, is that Mae Schunk got more coverage today -- nine paragraphs -- than she got in four years of being Jesse Ventura's lieutenant governor.
"I had a fear of saying the wrong thing," Schunk said. "You know this is the media. This is going out all over the whole state. But I guess I did alright."
Sometimes I walked into his office and I said, 'governor, this dish rag is getting a little bit soiled.'" she said.
But the most intriguing quote is this one:
Schunk said she and Ventura talked about her taking on the job of education commissioner, but decided that position required full-time attention.
Which brings up the question, if being a lieutenant governor isn't a full-time job, what is it? The job pays $78,197, by the way.
Discussion point: What's the best job in Minnesota?
4) A lot of smart people have expended a lot of carbon dioxide discussing why online comments are so uncivil and what can be done about it. National Public Radio expends more. In its All Things Considered story, NPR points out that suggestion that Web sites let everything fly because that's what gets "page views" -- audience. There's good news, NPR reports. Web site editors have realized that comments are content too and are starting to take editorial responsibility for them:
The reason people come to blogs, the story says, is the best ones converse with the audience.
5) There was nobody in charge aboard the Deepwater Horizon on the day it exploded. A woman who issued a "mayday" was reprimanded.
Bonus: iPad and velcro.
Meanwhile, the iPad is launching internationally.
Imponderable: Lou Reed and his wife are holding a concert in Australia. You won't be able to hear it. It's for dogs.
After complaints from users and government officials, Facebook has introduced measures to simplify its privacy controls. Have you had a privacy problem on a social network?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Are you glued to your job?
The recession saw a huge number of layoffs, scaring many into staying in jobs that they ordinarily would have quit. But there are signs that people are beginning to feel confident enough in the economy that they're willing to voluntarily leave their jobs. Career counselor Amy Lindgren offers advice for listeners about how to find new opportunities in a tough market and when to know it's OK to walk away.
Second hour: From his 1970 debut album to his more recent work, the songs of Loudon Wainwright III have provided a keen and humorous commentary on his personal relationships, society, and current affairs. His most recent album takes a look at the country's current economic woes. (Rebroadcast)
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Carleton College international relations professor Roy Grow discusses reconciliation between the U.S. and Vietnam as we head into Memorial Day weekend.
Second hour: NBC Meet the Press moderator David Gregory interviews Gov. Tim Pawlenty on "Meet the Press, Across America."
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - It's Science Friday! First hour: A very similar blowout spewed oil in the Gulf for nine months 31 years ago. So why don't we have better prevention and cleanup technologies than we did back then?
Second hour: Gardening on the cheap.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - A class of systemic insecticides first introduced in the 1990s is now ubiquitous across the urban landscape. The use is expected to increase as people treat for emerald ash borer in the Twin Cities. A University of Minnesota researcher says there are troubling indicators the insecticide stays active longer than previously thought and is killing beneficial insects. She's starting a new research project this summer examining the impact of neonics in urban areas. MPR's Dan Gunderson will have the story.
Chris Roberts profiles Zoo Animal, one of the most well-regarded indie rock bands on the local scene. A new CD features songs with devout Christian themes, but is Zoo Animal a "Christian" rock band? Yes and no.
MPR's Tim Nelson visits Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the completion of the chapel at the cemetery(6 Comments)
Every time I write one of these "near miss" posts, I get a bucketload of email from pilots and controllers who remind me I don't know what I'm talking about and the media is exaggerating the problem, but it's undeniable that the National Transportation Safety Boad -- which does seem to know a thing or two -- is reporting more "near misses" this year involving airliners than I've ever seen.
Here's today's release, which occurred last Friday in Anchorage and involved US Airways Flight 140 from Phoenix (A319) and a cargo jet (B747):
According to the TCAS (collision avoidance system) report from the A319 crew, that aircraft was approaching ANC when, because of the effects of tailwinds on the aircraft's approach path, the crew initiated a missed approach and requested new instructions from air traffic control. The tower controller instructed the A319 to turn right heading 300 and report the departing B747 in sight.
After the A319 crew reported the B747 in sight, the controller instructed the A319 to maintain visual separation from the B747, climb to 3000 feet, and turn right heading 320. The A319 crew refused the right turn because the turn would have put their flight in direct conflict with the B747. The A319 crew then received a resolution advisory
to "monitor vertical speed" and the crew complied with the descent command. During the descent, the A319 crew lost sight of the B747. At about 1700 feet above ground level,
the A319 crew received a "clear of conflict" aural command.
One supposes one of the first questions will be why the controller directed one airliner to a heading that put it on a course with the other one.(3 Comments)
MPR's Tom Scheck calls out attention to this little piece of constitutional savagery as described in the
Toronto Toldedo Blade.
A Michigan lawmaker crafted a bill that requires reporters to be registered.
Says the columnist:
"I mainly just wanted to stimulate discussion," he told me. "I didn't think the bill would be likely to pass, but I thought I'd put it out there and if there was any support from your profession, we'd move forward. Heck, I thought it might be helpful to legitimate journalists," he said.
Indeed, he made some valid points. "There are fewer legitimate reporters who cover the legislature all the time. I see stuff being written by people I never heard of, and I don't know whether they have any credentials.
"You have bloggers and editorial writers who write about what we are doing who never come up here and have no idea what's going on. If I need a plumber, I want one who has credentials and who is licensed by the state."
So, he reasoned, why not reporters? His bill would set up a governor-appointed board to determine who could be a Michigan Registered Reporter. According to his specifications, successful candidates would have to show that they had a journalism degree, three years of experience, or other qualifications, including letters from already sanctioned reporters.
The columnist -- an ombudsman -- points out the bill also requires registered reporters to be of good moral character.(7 Comments)
Gov. Pawlenty has issued an order for the display of the American flag over the holiday weekend:
Governor Tim Pawlenty today ordered that all U.S. and Minnesota flags be flown at half-staff on state property from sunrise until noon on Monday, May 31, 2010, in honor and remembrance of the sacrifices of those brave men and women who have served our country in the past and of those who serve our country today.
Big points to the governor for having a clue regarding the U.S. Flag code, which says:
On Memorial Day the flag should be displayed at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
Memorial Day is the only holiday with a specific directive for how the flag is to be displayed.(1 Comments)