Celebrating death, dementia and the tubby person, can we call them the 'Stinkies', the top and bottom Minnesota companies, and duck cam returns.
Which is more important: A few farmers or a city of fewer than 3,000 people?
Last night, after winning a court fight, the Army Corps of Engineers blew up a levee sending the Mississippi River cascading onto 130,000 acres of farmland. It was an attempt to lower the river that still threatens Cairo, Illinois.
Did it work? Check out the river gauge from the National Weather Service...
That chart also tells us something about one of the causes of Mississippi River flooding in the first place.
"This is our industry, this is our factory, we grow food for the same folks trying to blow up our levee," Cathy Allred, one of the farmers, told the New York Times.
"I poured my whole life into that farm, and I'm 60 years old and I don't want to start on anything else," another said.
Eventually the water will drain, some of the farmers may rebuild, and things will be back to normal, with only a little damage to political careers like that of Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley who had an answer when asked which should be sacrificed: the farms or the city?
"Cairo. I've been there, trust me. Cairo," he said. "Have you been to Cairo?" he added. "OK, then you know what I'm saying then."(10 Comments)
Free speech trumps disorderly conduct. That's the bottom line of a case from the Minnesota Court of Appeals today which has ruled that two animal rights protesters had every right to chant loudly and even threaten violence against the mother of a fur store owner. The Appeals Court overturned the jury convictions of two men.
In its order today, the court might have also set a record for the most use of asterisks in a decision. In a 1978 case, the court said, "the supreme court held that a retreating 14-year old girl's statement to police, f**k you pigs," did not constitute fighting words because she directed it at two police officers sitting in a squad car located 15 to 30 feet away. The court noted that there was no reasonable likelihood that the statement would 'tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace of to provoke violent reaction by an ordinary reasonable person.'"
Isaac Peter, 19, and Michael Lawson, 21, were arrested on disorderly conduct charges in March 2010, after a business owner told police the two yelled that "they knew where he lived; they knew where his elderly mother lived; and they knew his vehicle license plate number," according to today's court ruling.
The court said someone's "conduct" can't be separated from the "political speech," which is protected by the First Amendment, also citing a case of a man who rode a horse through a gay pride festival in Minneapolis while shouting anti-gay epithets; and a group of people dressed as zombies protesting consumerism in the city (they were cited because they scared a girl who thought they were really zombies).
Neither of those cases constituted "fighting words," which is the only condition under which someone's speech isn't protected by the First Amendment, the court indicated.
The Appeals Court also said that Minneapolis' disorderly conduct ordinance "is in danger of being struck down unless it is restricted to prohibiting only fighting words and conduct that is not inextricably linked to protected speech."4 Comments)
In the coverage of the killing of Osama bin Laden yesterday (and again today), MPR News is making liberal use of the resources of the BBC. That bothered (a little bit, anyway) a listener who wrote to the network today to wonder why.
"I am curious why it's not being reported by NPR reporters, even if that means simply waiting for their regular news shows," the listener wrote. "Thanks for satisfying my curiosity. (Not that I don't appreciate the global perspective, but today especially I guess I want to hear *us* talking and explaining first before I hear from others.)"
It's a great question and, frankly, we welcome the opportunity to explain some of the discussions that take place at the highest levels of the newsroom during breaking news.
Steve Nelson, MPR's program director provided the play-by-play in his response:
Thanks for the note. Yesterday newsroom leaders spent a lot of time considering options for coverage of this story. Our immediate decision was to put on as much coverage about the death of Osama bin Laden as we could. We tried to choose the best available option for our audience at any given time, much like a web site throughout a day or a newspaper when selecting stories for page one the next day.
We were connected to internal NPR and BBC alerts all day so we knew what to expect and how to compare the two. In addition we were monitoring various wire services and CNN.
Here is some of our thinking through the day.
Morning Edition 6a-9a - Since the story was so important, we dropped all of our local stories that were planned for the day, and stayed with NPR almost exclusively.
9a-noon - Midmorning and Midday covered the story with a range of guests and calls from our audience.
Noon - We had a choice to air NPR programming -- basically, Talk of the Nation -- or the BBC's World Have Your Say, a global call-in show. We went with NPR, largely because their first guest in the hour was Colin Powell, a perspective we hadn't heard.
1p - We cut away from the NPR newscast at the top of the hour to go to a briefing from John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. He had a lot of good, new information and the details proved compelling. We stayed with that briefing for around 40 minutes before returning to NPR's coverage.
(Bob notes: More about that here. That was a brilliant decision.)
2p - We aired the BBC Newshour instead of NPR. We wanted a harder news treatment and magazine style format of Newshour, rather than a "talk" format from NPR. We also wanted the BBC's global perspective. This was the first BBC coverage we had on our air Monday.
3p-6:30p - All Things Considered became available from NPR and we aired it, but this time mixing in MPR News stories relevant to Bin Laden's death.
6:30p -- We aired a lengthy BBC report -- The Hunt for Osama Bin Laden -- instead of Marketplace. Marketplace was offering seven minutes about Osama bin Laden, which we aired at 6:20.
7p - The World, at its regular time, was almost all about Osama bin Laden.
8p - We pre-empted Fresh Air with a special wrap up hour from NPR.
9p and 10p - We aired BBC. The Story was produced mostly last week, so it was out of date. We thought the BBC's coverage at 10 would be stronger than As It Happens. Plus, the BBC was live, and As it Happens is taped earlier in the evening.
Hope that helps. Thanks for the feedback and feel free to contact me with any other thoughts you have.
Maybe what we need to warm things up around here is a good, old-fashioned climate-change debate.
NASA released this image today (strongly suggest you click on it to get the larger image) showing the difference between Arctic sea ice in September and the sea ice in the same location in March.
The yellow lines mark the the median sea ice extent observed by satellite sensors in September and March from 1979-2000, according to NASA.
The amount of sea ice in March was the second lowest recorded during that time. The amount in September was the third-lowest.
New data showed that the amount of older, thicker ice had increased slightly over last year. "Data through the third week of March shows an increase in sea ice one to two years old, and older than two years old, compared to recent years," NSIDC noted. "However, the amount of older ice remains much lower than in the mid-1980s, and there is still almost none of the oldest ice (older than four years) that used to dominate much of the Arctic Ocean."
The chances are if you take away any of those involved in tracking down and killing Osama bin Laden, he'd still be alive right now. That much is an inescapable conclusion of most any of the stories that have revealed the background of last weekend's raid on Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.
But Americans don't pay a lot of attention to the details when the pollsters call. When the Gallup organization called 645 of them yesterday, the chances are pretty good that few of them had yet watched John Brennan's news conference yesterday that offered details on how the operation was carried out.
It's one reason why the stories about who the American public think deserves the credit, deserves to be taken with a grain of salt.
When 12 percent of the people say the president, who had the option of not approving the raid, deserved no credit for bringing Bin Laden down, let's just say that's a good indication that polls don't reveal a scholarly approach to reality. Similarly when 25 percent give no credit to President George Bush, it reveals the truth about polling: Most every question might as well be "Who do you like? Don't worry about why."
Eleven percent of those surveyed didn't think the most important part of killing Bin Laden was actually killing him. Otherwise, they would've said the military deserved the most credit.
The truth is: We don't have enough information to answer these sorts of questions with any degree of accuracy. A good followup poll question to almost any poll like this would be "how do you know?"
My money is on "I don't."
Meanwhile, a Washington Post poll, taken on Monday, shows a 10% jump in the number of people who think the U.S. is headed in the right direction, compared to a similar poll in March. Really? If that's true, then how come "Bin Laden is still alive" wasn't one of the reasons in previous polls about why people have thought the country is heading in the wrong direction?
In that poll, by the way, 32% of those surveyed said they had heard little or nothing at all about the killing of Bin Laden.(11 Comments)