Are we tougher than the East, why don't airports use the same security procedures, Jon Stewart becomes an insider, the arm-wrestling champion, and what good was TARP?
The last Monday Morning Rouser of 2010:
Teena Marie, one of the few white Motown acts, died over the weekend.
1) SNOW THROWDOWN
Is there a bigger rivalry when it comes to snowstorms than the one between Minnesota and anywhere on the East Coast? The assignment today is to document any grumbling -- OK, let's call it what it is: snow smug -- from these parts as the East Coast gets the attention of the national news media for the next few hours. (the New York Times is live-blogging the blizzard)
First up, Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press, commenting on yesterday's postponement of the Vikings game:
Oooooo, six inches of snow. Oooooo, I'm scared. Better call off the game and call in the National Guard. Heck, in Minnesota we dump six inches of snow out of our socks at the end of the day.
Far be it from me to defend the fans of Philadelphia, but we're duty-bound to point out that they sit outdoors for all of their games in the winter. Us? Only when the 71-degree comfort of the Metrodome isn't available. And even then, most of the ticketholders didn't show up for the outdoors game in the snow, when fewer than six inches fell.
"This is football; football's played in bad weather," Pennsylvania Gov . Ed Rendell told KYW-TV. "I, for one, was looking forward to sitting in the stands throughout the snow and seeing an old-time football game." Rendell -- get this -- does football commentary after Eagles' games.
In Massachusetts, they're reviewing the basics:
About a foot to 16 inches of snow was to fall on southern New England, about the same as fell in the big snowstorm this month in Minnesota, which we dismissed as mere nuisance, of course.
Tell it to the people at the Minneapolis impound lot, the Star Tribune says. People are running out of money and patience to bail their cars out after every four or five inch snowstorm.
But this week we get a little sun, which might cause a "baby bump," of some sort, according to a Dilworth man who says his research shows the connection between sunlight and baby births. Be careful what you wish for.
2) WHY DON'T AIRPORTS USE THE SAME SECURITY PROCEDURES?
James Fallows reports a site has been set up to gather data about the security screening at the nation's airports. Travelers through the holiday week are submitting their observations by e-mail to email@example.com or tweet @tsastatus. What the organizers are finding is a wide disparity in screening from airport to airport. Note Minneapolis-St. Paul below:
Find the status page here.
3) JON STEWART, OUTSIDE IN
What does it say when it took a comedian to get help for the first responders on 9/11? NPR tackles the question of Jon Stewart's ascension to Washington "insider."
"He's a satirist who has perfected the art of being taken seriously when he wants to and being taken frivolously when he wants to," says communications professor Bob Lichter, who runs the Center for Media and Public affairs at George Mason University.
"Here's a guy who will tell all comers that he's got a fake news show. It's not a real news show. And yet he bludgeons CNN into taking Crossfire off the air. Presidential candidates announce on his show. The president is a guest. He's become an influential insider."
And he earned that insider status by playing the role of the outsider.
Coincidentally, or perhaps not, the New York Times today elevates Stewart even higher, invoking Edward R. Murrow comparisons.
4) STRONG-ARMING THE COMPETITION
A Rushford man has won a world arm-wrestling world championship. Oddly enough, he says, the sport hasn't really caught on in the U.S.
5) DID TARP WORK?
The Wall St. Journal reports today that 100 banks that got government bailout funds have either failed or are about to. The WSJ story is behind a paywall but The Big Picture blog has an assessment of it:
There are many many reasons not to bail out failed banks: Moral Hazard, rewarding the incompetent, thwarting legitimate competition, reducing incentives to be risk averse. We can add another to the list: Throwing away billions of dollars .
Click the image for an interactive map, and note the comparatively large number of bank failures in Minnesota.
President Obama says the flurry of legislation passed in the lame duck session of Congress proves that "we are not doomed to endless gridlock." Does the work done in the lame duck session give you optimism for the next Congress?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: After repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' what happens next?
Second hour: Author John Reimringer's new novel tells the story of a young priest and his struggle with the vow of celibacy. But beyond being a story about the sacred versus the profane, the author says it's also a love letter to the city of St. Paul.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: MPR political analysts Todd Rapp and Maureen Shaver look ahead to the year in politics.
Second hour: New York Times columnist David Brooks at the 2010 Aspen Ideas Festival.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: TBD
Second hour: TBD
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Payton Thornton, 5, is going home to Alabama four months after having a successful stem cell transplant at the University of Minnesota. The transplant is the first time doctors have successfully treated the rare and deadly disease that causes skin to blister and fall off. MPR's Lorna Benson will have the story.
Faysal Warfa and Jamal Hassan call each other most nights, just to remind each other what happened on Jan. 5. The cousins lost two close relatives, including one of Warfa's brothers, in a brazen shooting at the Seward Market in Minneapolis. Their pain is still palpable one year later, MPR's Laura Yuen reports.
Apparently, the NFL's "concern" was over the 70,000 fans and the 3,000 stadium workers to get to and from the stadium safely. Uh huh.
Ask yourself this: if last evening's game was supposed to be played in Green Bay with a similar weather situation that was taking place in Philly, does anyone honestly think that the NFL and the Packers would have pulled the plug on the game? Or Cleveland? Foxborough? Chicago? Denver? Buffalo?
"What does it say when it took a comedian to get help for the first responders on 9/11?"
What it says is that it took a comedian to get the Democratic version of the 9/11 first responders aid passed.
Steward is a comedian, but he is also a very partisan one, who has a staff that is not above coordinating its satire with the DNC.
So, one may consider it plausible for a comedian to coordinate with the DNC to achieve a political end.
Does that refute the assertion that the comedian wields political influence and has become a Washington "insider"?
re: interactive map of bank failures
If you size the failures according to monetary loss, the Twin Cities become much less segnificant.