1) THE UNHAPPY SURVEY
What's the profile of an unhappy person in the office and at home? She's a 42-year-old, unmarried woman with a household income under $100,000, working in a professional position such as a doctor or a lawyer, a new survey reports.
The survey of white-collar workers finds women across all demographics are 33 percent unhappier than their male counterparts. When it comes to extreme happiness, men are consistently happier than women, the survey showed. The higher up the economic totem pole you climb, the better it gets for women, but a disparity exists there as well, LiveScience.com reported.
I'd have guessed the unhappiest would be the one who's still working, but has been told his/her job is being eliminated.
2) ADDING JOBS
You don't hear a lot of news about companies expanding in Minnesota. Coincidentally, there are two today.
In Eden Prairie, the state is giving a $500,000 loan to Emerson Electric that the company does not have to pay back. In exchange, the company will expand and add 100 jobs.
In Otter Tail County, the Brunswick Corporation has announced it's expanding its manufacturing facility that makes Lund boats in New York Mills.
President Obama gives his long-awaited speech on a jobs program tonight.You can hear it on MPR, of course.
Somewhat related: Wired.com presents 10 jobs that didn't exist on September 20, 2001.
3) FAITH AND 9/11
To be honest with you, I'd hoped for more from last night's Frontline documentary on faith and 9/11. It was 15 minutes of video of people jumping to their deaths before we heard how people reconciled their faith in God with 9/11. The imagery distracted from the intellectual. Better to begin with "chapter 3..."
The CBC chose a different path, focusing instead on one religion: Islam. It has put together a compelling website with 10 Canadian Muslims. Unfortunately, it couldn't resist opening with images of jets hitting the World Trade Center, either.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is banning clergy-led prayer at this weekend's events marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Some religious groups are calling the ban a sign of prejudice against religion, NPR reports.
9/11 related: A new app lets you dedicate your Facebook status to a single victim of the attacks. (h/t: @thequeengeek)
4) THE LIFE OF THE TOW TRUCK DRIVER
"I have one impediment to making money at this job," Gopher Towing's Gene Buell tells the U Daily today, "and that's that I have a conscience."
With the kids returning to the U, you'd think times would be good for a towing company. But the recession has hurt.
"The biggest thing is trying to be nice to people when they're not nice to us," he said. "We treat everybody nice no matter what they call us."
5) MAGICAL BILLBOARDS
NewsCut loves stories about billboards, you know. The Quebec City Magic Festival came up with this billboard, but in the spirit of most magicians, the organizers refuse to say how it was done.
Republican presidential candidates held a televised debate last night. It was their first debate since Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined the race for the Republican nomination. Today's Question: What's your reaction to last night's GOP debate?
Last night, by the way, Rep. Michele Bachmann claimed gas was below $2 a gallon when President Obama took office. She was wrong last night, she was wrong last January when I first wrote about it. What do presidents have to do with gasoline prices? Not much.
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: President Obama reveals his jobs plan tonight before a joint session of Congress, but will it be bold enough to make any dent in the unemployment rate?
Second hour: What the recent release of thousands of pages of oral histories, phone logs and radio transmission from 9/11 tells us.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: former VP Walter Mondale.
Second hour: Rebroadcast of the GOP presidential debate.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: The jobs plans.
Second hour: The future of the National Football League.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - A section of West Virginia's mountain wilderness is being transformed for the arrival of tens of thousands of guests. Boy Scouts from around the country and the world will converge on what's to become a super-camp. And it's expected to provide an economic lifeline to an area in need. NPR will have the story.
Fed chair Ben Bernanke is giving a speech today in Minneapolis. MPR's Annie Baxter will be there.
Laura Yuen will report on what it's like to be a Muslim in Minnesota.
One of the frustrations of fighting wildfires is how long it takes to get the resources deployed to fight them. It must be very frustrating for people like Laura Clements (above) whose home near Austin is no more.
The Associated Press reports one such problem with a huge resource today: The inability to get a huge aerial tanker into the air. The plane can be filled in eight minutes and its computerized, gravity-fed water dump system can release its entire load in just eight seconds. It creates a swath three-quarters of a mile long and 300 feet wide.
We've seen this plane before -- in the southern California wildfires in 2006 and the 2009 Station fire in California:
But according to the Associated Press, while it's "on scene," it can't yet be used:
Firefighters can't use one of their biggest weapons against a devastating wildfire in Central Texas because they don't yet have the tanks and pipes to fill a converted jetliner with fire retardant nor a pilot to fly it over the blaze.
The Texas Forest Service says the DC-10 arrived from California on Wednesday, but it won't be used until at least Friday to battle the fire that's destroyed nearly 1,400 homes. Agency spokeswoman Holly Huffman says the state doesn't have the equipment to fill the plane and is awaiting the shipment from California.
The company normally has only a 12 to 24 hour delay in setting up operations.But in a recent fire further north, it took almost a week to get it into operation and a lot of damage can happen in a week.
She says even if the plane was ready, authorities don't have anyone to fly it because the pilot who was to conduct the drop has worked 14 straight days and must take two days off under policy.
The plane isn't operated by the government, which might have more than just one pilot to fly it. It's operated by a private company. It has been up near Yosemite fighting a wildfire started by a mobile home fire.
In another twist, the Austin Statesman reports that the city's fire chief chose to remain in Colorado on a golf vacation while the wildfires burned. She said the fires weren't in the city proper, though city firefighters were dispatched to help county efforts.(1 Comments)
Someone was going to say it sooner or later, I suppose. It's September 8th, and there's still three days to go until September 11. There's pushback to the near non-stop coverage of a 10-year-old event that is more about reliving it than remembering it.
Dave Zirin, writing on The Nation, focuses on the National Football League's plans for marking the anniversary on Sunday, but one gets the strong sense his barbs are aimed at a wider group.
From the now ubiquitous presence of military flyovers and honor guards at every game, to the armed forces recruitment stations set up outside preseason contests, to having war-gourmands like General David Petraeus toss the coin before the Super Bowl, to staging Fox's NFL pregame show from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan (with Terry, Howie and the gang dressed in fatigues), the league has treated our era of endless war as an odious exercise in corporate branding.
The NFL's plan for this Sunday, according to the league commissioner, is to help the country unite and recover from 9/11.
The last decade has more resembled a sweat-soaked fever-dream than anything resembling a "recovery." The statistics boggle the mind. More than 6,000 US troops have been killed. Over 550,000 soldiers have put in claims for disability. Among those unfortunate enough to have been born in the countries the United States has invaded and occupied, the death toll has been estimated to be as much as one million lives lost. The current number of war refugees and displaced persons reaches almost 8 million people. The economic cost to the United States has been estimated by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz to be as high as $5 trillion. Now everyone in Washington, DC, is shocked that a decade of tax cuts and war has led to record deficits, and working people are told to "tighten our belts." It's been an awful decade of lies and loss, and its reality will go unacknowledged this Sunday.
In all the scurrying to make sure "9/11 NFL Sunday" is a day to remember, one name is strikingly absent from the press release trumpeting the day's events: Pat Tillman. After 9/11, Tillman took the extraordinary step of leaving the NFL to join the Army Rangers. His experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan pushed him to question the official rational for the "Global War on Terror." He read antiwar authors. He told friends that he felt the war in Iraq was "f--in' illegal." Then he died at the hands of his fellow Rangers in an instance of what was deemed "friendly fire." The Pentagon and the Bush administration hid this reality from Pat Tillman's family. The NFL, for its part, inaugurated a USO center at Bagram Airfield in Pat Tillman's name without hinting at the complicated realities of either Tillman's service or his betrayal at the hands of those he trusted. The NFL's failure to highlight Tillman in this Sunday's 9/11 tributes is in some ways a relief, but it also reads like an act of cowardice. His story is a polarizing one that Roger Goodell wants to avoid on this day of "unity."(7 Comments)
Is it possible for anyone to be more deadpan while talking about a cataclysmic supernova he and his colleagues discovered "in our backyard?"
Peter Nugent explains how you can spot the supernova using a pair of binoculars and looking somewhere near the Big Dipper.
If you should spot it, just remember that you're looking 21 million years back in time.(1 Comments)
If you get enough real journalists in a room, sooner or later the discussion will evolve to the stories they're most proud of -- that they worked days on -- overshadowed by an insignificant but memorable story.
Trust me, somewhere today a journalist is turning in his/her story about terrorism, the economy, or famine, and nobody will remember it because the newscast will have this:
I'll just let the headline do all the heavy lifting here:6 Comments)
Mike Dukakis is firing back at Gov. Rick Perry for his jab at Mitt Romney last night.
Perhaps you remember the moment:
Former Gov. Dukakis tells the Boston Globe "All I know is that Perry was nice enough to compare my economic record with Romney's. But then, it would be very difficult not to do better than Romney's."
The reality? Politicians take too much credit -- and dish too much blame -- for things.
The early 1980s were a great time for Dukakis' home state but not because of anything Dukakis did. It was more the ebb and flow of an economy.
True, the state had lost lots of jobs in the '60s and '70s as the state's textile mills moved to the Carolinas.
But the explosion in jobs during the "Masschusetts Miracle," as it was called, had more to do with luck. Dukakis and other politicians rode the coattails of some small companies that struck it big with a nation entering the computer age. Digital Equipment, Apollo, Data General, Lotus Wang Labs, Prime Computer, and Polaroid were the big employers of the time.
The unemployment rate in Massachusetts then was 2.7%
Why those companies were there in the first place, however, offers a more instructional view of the economy -- and how jobs are created (rather than stolen from somewhere else) -- than punch lines at political debates attest.
The answer: That's where MIT was. And Harvard. That's where the smart people were. If they'd been in Texas, maybe the companies would've been located in Texas, too.
Today, however, only four companies in the top 10 list of employers in the state have anything to do with technology. The rest are mostly headquarters of retailers who provide low-level wages -- TJ Maxx (1) Staples (#2, that's Romney's company), BJ's Wholesale.
There is one health-care industry in the list, spawned, perhaps, by the Boston-area's hospital industry.
How much did a governor have to do with any of that? Not much, really.
Texas at the moment is hot, and part of it may have to do with political policies. Low housing prices and low taxes have encouraged companies to move there. Minnesota, for example, lost a fair number of high-paying railroad jobs when Burlington Northern merged with Santa Fe and everything moved south.
But that's not really creating jobs; that's moving jobs and while that distinction might be downplayed at the gubernatorial level, it can't be ignored at the presidential level. Taking a job from Minnesota, for example, and putting it in Texas hasn't created a job.
Lost in the assessment of the economy from the 1980s, is that its success depended on smart people with big ideas.
To the extent we're running short of jobs right now, perhaps it's because we're tapped out on big ideas.
Anybody got one?(6 Comments)
Starting next year, people who vote in Wisconsin will have to show an ID to prove they are who they say they are. Under the legislation, the Department of Transportation is supposed to give out free photo IDs to people who, for example, don't have driver's licenses, the most common form of photo ID.
But, the Department of Transportation in Wisconsin has told employees not to give out the free IDs unless people specifically ask that the fee be waived. If you were to, say, ask "for a photo ID so I can vote," you're charged $28 because you didn't use the magic words.
In effect, that would mean they're being required to pay $28 to vote.
Today, a mail room employee in the state's Department of Safety and Professional Services was fired because he sent an e-mail to his colleagues imploring them to tell everyone they know how to get a free ID, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"Do you know someone who votes that does not have a State ID that meets requirements to vote? Tell them they can go to the DMV/DOT and get a free ID card. However they must ask for the free ID. a memo was sent out by the 3rd in command of the DMV/DOT. The memo specifically told the employees at the DMV/DOT not to inform individuals that the ID's are free. So if the individuals seeking to get the free ID does not ask for a free ID, they will have to pay for it!!
"Just wanted everyone to be informed!! REMEMBER TO TELL ANYONE YOU KNOW!! ANYONE!! EVEN IF THEY DON'T NEED THE FREE ID, THEY MAY KNOW SOMEONE THAT DOES!! SO TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!"
Chris Larsen told his story this morning on a Madison radio station (hear interview here).
"They asked me why I sent it?" Larsen told the radio station. "I said, 'because I want them to be informed,' and they said, 'that's unacceptable.'"
Why would the Department of Transportation do such a thing? Because that's what the law says, though it's had little attention until now. Here's how it reads:
The bill also permits an elector who is eligible to obtain a Wisconsin identification card to obtain the card from DOT free of charge, if the elector specifically requests not to be charged.
A UW-Milwaukee 2005 study found that minorities disproportionately comprise the number of voters without licenses. Only 26 percent of African-Americans and 34 percent of Hispanics have a valid Wisconsin driver's license.
The League of Women Voters is trying to raise money to sue over the law.
In Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a voter ID bill earlier this year.(11 Comments)