1) FACEBOOK: FRIEND OR FOE?
You're unemployed and you certainly need a job. You've got a lead on one; you even have an interview. And it's going pretty well right up to the part where the interviewer asks you for your Facebook log-in. What do you do?
The Maryland Department of Public Safety -- the potential employer in this case -- says it will review the policy.
2) THE WAY WE WERE
I grew up in the Sputnik and Telstar era. We played astronauts and everyone wanted to be John Glenn. I thought flying would be my ticket to a career in space. So today I'm wondering if anyone not my age has the same wistful reaction to this?
This is the last time you'll see the shuttle Discovery on the pad at Cape Canaveral. Later this morning, it heads to space for the last time. The U.S. is getting out of the manned space business. We'll be hitching rides with the Russians. For generations, lots of people have said we shouldn't be spending money on space because there are problems right here on earth to spend money on.
So now we're not going to space, and we don't have the money to do much of anything, anymore. Spectacular? Maybe later.
The wonder at the achievement of getting off terra firma was lost years ago and interest in it only seemed to return when astronauts died.
Today's discussion point: What separates the U.S. from everywhere else now? Are we running out of gee whiz? Or have we just gotten so used to see it that we don't recognize it anymore?
Today's launch is set for 3:50 p.m. Here are three ways to watch it.
3) WAR STORIES
Concordia College's women's basketball squad in Moorhead takes on St. Benedict tonight in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference semifinals. That'll be a couple of hours of not thinking about her husband for its star, Maggie Bauernfeind of Rosemount. She married her high school sweatheart last October, and then he shipped out to Iraq.
"Basketball helps me keep my mind off of it and it gives me a focus. I'm dreading basketball being done, because I think it's going to be a lot harder for me," she tells the Fargo Forum.
4) WHEN PEOPLE DO GOOD
The kids at Sauk Rapids-Rice were just about finished with their entry in next months regional robot competition in Duluth. Then they realized that key parts to make the thing go were missing. It appears they were stolen.
Robot rivals at Apollo High School in St. Cloud had extra parts and extra space in their high school. So their coach and team members invited Sauk Rapids-Rice over to help them finish.
5) TABLET WARS
Apple now has competition firing live ammo, the Boston Globe's tech guru says:
The regime of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi has reacted violently to street protests. Hundreds have been killed and Gadhafi himself has vowed to die in his effort to hang onto power. How should the world community respond to the bloodshed in Libya?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: As Wisconsin politicians navigate their next moves, the outcome of the budget-labor battle may impact the labor movement for the next generation. Will unions, and public opinion of them, become weaker or stronger?
Second hour: Over the past 30 years rap and hip-hop have emerged as a powerful and influential cultural force. Midmorning examines the power and the poetry of rap music, from the "old school" to the present day.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Professor Michael Barnett of George Washington University on the uprisings in Arab nations. He is author of "Dialogues in Arab Politics."
Second hour: Congressman Keith Ellison, speaking at Westminster Presbyterian Church about interfaith dialogue.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Is single motherhood is bad for society?
Second hour: What can the U.S. do about Libya?
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - What happens if the government shuts down? There is a budget showdown approaching on Capitol Hill. And, if Democrats and Republicans do not come to an agreement on a spending bill, the federal government could shut down. It happened in 1995. Social Security checks didn't go out, National Parks were closed, passports and visas weren't issued, and people were angry.(7 Comments)
We're about to start -- if we haven't already started -- the long slog toward congressional elections in 2012. In a video making the rounds from the National Journal, analyst Charlie Cook suggests we shouldn't expect any real change in the makeup of Congress:
Did someone say "Wayback Machine?"
Here's Congressional Quarterly's assessments on the 2010 congressional elections, which was published almost as far ahead of the actual election as Cook's:
With 257 of the 435 U.S. House seats, Democrats are strongly favored to retain their majority in the 2010 elections -- though history points to party losses in the first midterm election of President Obama. Most of the 435 congressional districts have such well-entrenched incumbents that the 2010 House races there will be landslides.
And this took second place in Carleton College's Golden Schillers competition for short films produced by its students.
I'm attempting to find out who the first place finisher was.
Update 11:11 a.m. 2/24 - Lew Weinberg at Carleton reports:
Swim to the Surface." It was made by Chloe Nelson (2014), Ellie Schmidt (2014) and Grace Zarah (2014).
View it here.
Another poll is out today to muddy the discussion water over which side is winning the public relations battle in Wisconsin.
A Rasmussen poll shows 67% of those surveyed nationwide do not agree with Senate Democrats' decision to leave the state to prevent a vote on a bill stripping some public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights. Republicans, as you might expect, were against the move by a wide margin. But, somewhat surprisingly, Democrats were split on the question.
On the question of whether public employees should even have unions, the results were generally split.
Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com deconstructed some polls a day ago, including one -- a Gallup poll -- that showed people in favor of public employees being in a union and one -- Clarus -- showing people are not in favor of public employees being in unions.
There was some bias in the wording, but generally, he says, people tend to support unions less during times of high unemployment:
But there are an awful lot of issues on which the American public has ambivalent feelings, but nevertheless objects to rights being taken away. People might think that alcohol has a negative influence on society, for instance, but I'd imagine that relatively few want to ban it. Even on an issue like abortion, this pattern can sometimes be observed -- about as many Americans describe themselves as "pro-life" as "pro-choice", but polls generally show a clear majority opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade.
A University of Wisconsin poll expert tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he thinks Walker has lost ground in the struggle.(18 Comments)
With uprisings continuing to sweep across the Middle East, there wasn't much in today's first hour of MPR's Midday to make us think someone at the Pentagon isn't dusting off plans to take over Saudi Arabia's oil fields. You know, just in case.
Michael Barnett, author of "Dialogues in Arab Politics," seemed to stun even host Gary Eichten -- and, presumably, much of the listening audience -- today when he matter-of-factly described a scenario for any uprising in Saudi Arabia by forces not friendly to the United States.
"What defense strategists have planned," Barnett said, "is if we were to see a rebellion ... If the Saudi government were to topple, it would not necessarily break in a way that the Americans would favor. The contingency plans would be to try to go in and... not take over the government, but try to protect the oil fields. So the expectation then is that American troops would be dispatched to protect those oil fields and control them and basically claim jurisdiction over them until you can begin to have a stable government that is moderately pro-U.S. or at the very least is willing to sell Americans oil."
Those have been the plans since the 1973 Arab oil embargo, according to Barnett. "That's not a new strategy," he said. No, but it's one that seems more possible these days.
The good news, according to an NPR report today, is that Saudi Arabia is a different beast than other nations in the region:
Thomas Lippman, an analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations who has written extensively on Saudi Arabia, says he strongly doubts that there will be unrest in the kingdom "because no one questions the legitimacy of the regime, and the king is personally popular." Yes, Saudi Arabia has problems, Lippman says, "but the place is not stagnant as Egypt was. Everyone knows there is going to be change in the next few years" as the older members of the royal family die off.
There have been a few, very limited signs of unrest in Saudi Arabia -- isolated reports of Saudis demonstrating for better pay, some criticism of the royal family on the Internet, heated political discussions among the country's large Shiite minority. These incidents, and the general sense of uncertainty hanging over the entire Middle East, are already driving the price of oil upward.
Barnett's segment on Midday is well worth listening in its entirety, if only to begin to understand the complexities facing the United States and the realities it faces in the region. For example, one caller -- Hassan -- called to say Libya presents a "great opportunity" for the United States to show the Arab world that it cares about people by intervening militarily in the strife (mighty generous with other people's kids, there, Hassan).
"If you intervene in Libya, then why aren't you intervening in Bahrain? Or are you simply giving encouragement to the green revolution in Iran, and encourage protesters in Iran to believe there might be an American intervention and embolden them when in fact the United States might have no interest in intervening militarily to protect protesters in Iran," Barnett said.
"I'm all for the U.S. being a force for good," another caller said, "I wonder about the extent to which the U.S. is viewed in the world, if we were to plop down 20,000 soldiers in Libya, I think it would be widely perceived as a power grab for Libya's oil."
"If the Americans were to go charging in, they'd be stigmatized," Barnett acknowledged. He said the U.S. would have to take a backseat to the Europeans, who don't like taking "a command position."(1 Comments)
Complaints over ticket refund policies has spawned a bill at the Capitol which could make it easier for consumers to get all of their money back if an event is postponed.
A group of lawmakers -- partisan at that -- has filed a bill with some sweeping reforms of the way tickets to events are sold.
Included in the measure is a requirement that anyone who buys a ticket that turns out to be counterfeit, gets the ticket price and fees back, though it's not clear from whom. Restrictions on reselling tickets would be illegal, and teams and promoters could not sell electronic-only tickets if it's intended to make it difficult for the ticket-buyer to resell the tickets.
Refund policies would also require teams and concert promoters to refund all the money they made upon selling the tickets, not just the purchase price. This would include convenience fees, printing fees, and handling charges.
Advertising for an event would also have to include all of the various charges that are included.