Five at 8 – 3/17/09

  • If this economy turns out not to be the next Great Depression, what are we going to do with all of this video and stories that are based on the assumption it will? Will there be a display at the Minnesota History Museum 100 years from now. “Step right this way, ladies and gentlemen where you’ll see how Minnesotans used their $90 a month cellphones to tell each other how much the economy mirrored the Great Depression.” A poll out today says about half of us believe it.

    The New York Times is presenting videos with people in a fascinating series “The New Hard Times.” They’re inviting you to interview your neighbors and friends and send your own. Tip: Shoot it in black-and-white.

    Program note: Midday takes on the economy at 11 a.m. And be sure to check out Cathy Mayfield, MPR’s youth reporter’s (I didn’t know we had one, either), look at payday loans.

  • Is the housing market picking up or falling down? Realtor Teresa Boardman, who writes the St. Paul Real Estate blog, reports on absorption rates — how long it would take to sell all the homes on the market at the current pace. She reports we’ve gone from the Shop-Vac to toilet paper level, and Q-tips are on the horizon. Maybe.

    Program note: This afternoon on All Things Considered, Jess Mador looks at mortgage modification scams. I suspect the story will be on the Web site here by early afternoon.

  • In the aftermath of the Daily Show’s anti-CNBC rants, I mentioned on Twitter that even if they told me what was going on, I wouldn’t have understood what they’re talking about. How do I know? Because after months of talks about credit derivatives and swaps and bundling, I still don’t know exactly why the meltdown happened. I only know that some congresspeople, who passed a bailout bill that gave away their oversight to the Treasury Department, are suggesting corporate executives kill themselves.

    Local writer Erik Hare took me up on my challenge. How’d he do?

  • Country-of-origin labeling started on Monday. It’s a difficult concept when you recall former state epidemiologist Mike Osterholm on MPR a month or so ago noting that a typical food in our homes can be made up of ingredients that come from as many as 12 different countries. The blog, The h, has a chart of cool/uncool. Example: Cool: Sliced cantaloupe needs to be labeled. Uncool: Fruit salad does not. It sounds like Jesse Ventura’s ranting over the inequities of the sales tax.
  • What happens to your underwear in space? When you hear that the space shuttle crew is conducting science experiments, now you know. Oh, that reminds me, if you want to see the space shuttle overhead, go here and be sure to enter your location (Go here for St. Paul). The best view looks to be Thursday.

    Posting might be a little light today. I’m filling in for Jon Gordon on Future Tense today.