We're bottoming out. Yesterday through the middle of next week marks the earliest the sun will set (4:31 p.m.). Starting next Wednesday, the afternoon sun will start setting later. But we still need the Monday Morning Rouser:
1) YOU ARE THE EDITOR
You're the editor of a local newspaper and the Associated Press has given you a gripping account of life with a medical team in Afghanistan. The award-winning photographer has taken many photographs that accurately depict war and that's the problem. Though the AP has informed families of dead soldiers that it intends to provide the images for publication, it's your decision whether to put them in the paper, and risk a backlash that the images are horrible and disrespectful. The AP gave you three months to think about it. Now it's your call to make. What do you do?
The Associated Press is defending its decision to publish photographs of soldiers who were wounded -- and later died -- in the war in Afghanistan.
The distribution and publication of photos of dead servicemen and women can be controversial because some people feel it disrespectful. Others feel such images reflect the realities of combat.
That is the AP's position, said John Daniszewski, the Senior Managing Editor responsible for international news and photos, including a number of conflicts around the globe.
"The photos show the work of the crew and the compassion and professionalism of the medics on board these helicopters in a way that is accurate, true and tasteful," he said.
2) STUDY: GAY TEENS TARGETED BY AUTHORITIES
Gay and lesbian teens in the United States are about 40 percent more likely than their straight peers to be punished by schools, police and the courts, according to a study published today in the Washington Post. Girls are especially at risk for unequal treatment, the paper says.
Related: Though the new leaders of the Minnesota Legislature say social issues aren't their priority, they may have no choice.
Meanwhile, later today Ted Olson will be in federal court representing those seeking to overturn California's ban on gay marriage, known as Proposition 8. The hearing could be the last stop before the case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court. Olson is an unlikely warrior for same-sex marriage proponents.
3) A "BUMP" IN THE NIGHT, AND ALL DAY, TOO
I suppose this isn't much of a secret, but journalists spend a significant part of their lives lamenting that they didn't know about a story someone else knew about. A story in the St. Paul Pioneer Press about St. Anthony Residence, where alcoholics can drink their final days away, is a perfect example:
But the men staying at St. Anthony say alcohol isn't just a habit -- it is who they are. If any kind of treatment were required, they would return to a homeless life of fear, disease and tremendous public expense.
It's not uncommon for a homeless alcoholic to cost the public more than $1 million during decades of drinking -- for multiple jail stays, emergency room visits, rounds of alcoholism treatment and other costs.
The theory is that taxpayers pay one way or the other. What are the other options?
Part two comes next Sunday.
4) QUICK! TELL ME!
Quick! Name the most frequently suggested name that listeners of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" suggest as a guest they want on the show. On Saturday, they got their wish.
5) "I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING GOOD"
Eleanor Gustafson of Brainerd is 92 now, but she was one of 16 million Americans who served in the military in World War II. She ended up at the front lines in France.
Bonus: We have our first Minnesota Christmas lights video of the year! This one in Clearwater, Minnesota features the traditional carol, Telstar.
Yet another bonus: The kind of thing that makes you appreciates opera more.
Classified diplomatic documents circulated last week describe an Afghan government beset by corruption at the highest levels. Do Afghanistan's future prospects justify the expenditure of American lives and resources?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Cardiologists are looking to stem cells as the new frontier in repairing, and replacing, damaged hearts. Two doctors on the cutting edge of cardiac stem cell technology discuss their research.
Second hour: Avi Steinberg spent time working in a prison library and saw first-hand what books and literature meant to some prisoners. Janie Paul works with prisoners on creative arts projects. They share their perspective on arts and humanities in the prisons.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Outgoing education commissioner Alice Seagren talks about challenges in education.
Second hour: From MPR's "Bright Ideas" series, Stephen Smith talks to the president and CEO of the American Refugee Committee, Daniel Wordsworth.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: TBA
Second hour: They've broken down all your most elemental beliefs -- even taking on that "candy from a baby" theory. It's harder than you think. Join Neal Conan for a conversation with Jamie and Adam of Mythbusters.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The Minneapolis School District is considering whether to push for a new state law that would require an entire redrawing of all school district boundaries in Minnesota. MPR's Tom Weber will have the story.
Cassettes are back, Chris Roberts says. Just as with the LP was once counted out because of CD's and MP3 players, the cassette was deemed dead too. However, some local bands are now rediscovering the lowly cassette as a cheap and hip way of sharing their music. The main challenge may be finding machines which will play the things.
Regarding whether or not to publish photos of wounded or dead troops: While they can appear to be different or more complicated, journalist ethics should be no different than personal ethics - do the right thing. The near universal "right thing" is in essence to treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves. The strong and valid argument that the horrors of war should not be hidden and sanitized is counterbalanced by the fact that the wounded and dead are victims who should have rights to privacy. Consent should be sought from the victims or their next of kin, and if denied, publication should not occur. An inability to make contact to receive permission after a serious attempt and after a mandated amount of time would result in implied consent.