Five at 8: May 19, 2009

  • You mean the swine flu epidemic didn’t end after we lost interest in it? A 16-month-old may be the second death in New York City from the flu. Researchers are still working on a vaccine, but it may take months. The big payoff, though, would be a universal flu vaccine, one shot that provides immunization against all types of flu, the Times reports. You’ll notice in that story that the fears of a flu pandemic are not rooted in the present, but are pegged to this fall.
  • It’s odd that only two newspapers have significant blogs dedicated to photography — the New York Times and the Boston Globe. Both are owned by the Times’ corporation. The Times has the picture of the day, which on Monday had a compelling spread on the effect of the Taliban uprising in Pakistan, a celebration in Sri Lanka, the stock market in India, a checkpoint in Israel, and a graduation in Indiana. The Boston Globe’s Big Picture, meanwhile, has a — as we say in Boston — wicked cool spread on the Hubble. Newspapers still have a big advantage over “new” media. Why don’t they take advantage of it?
  • Is the first sign of of pending economic troubles a reluctance to procreate? Let’s see the economists tackle that one. The Census Bureau already has, according to the BBC. The birth rate in the U.S. has declined. “The surprising part of the figures is that they reflect family planning decisions made from early 2007, when there were only a few signs of an economic slowdown in the US,” the story says. Immigration has also dropped slightly.
  • It must be youth baseball season. The first parental punch has been thrown. The truly disgusting part of that story? Only one parent stepped in to break up the fight.
  • Eric Ostermeier at the Smart Politics blogs says the Minnesota Legislature is on a pace to spend the most days in session (by decade) ever. Meanwhile, as you probably know, lawmakers have begun their 8-month vacation.
  • Bonus — or perhaps not. Cat yodeling. Mary Lucia would be horrified, I fear. (h/t: Tom Weber)


    I may stroll over to Regions Hospital where Minneapolis is honoring EMS workers for their work in the I-35W bridge collapse at noon.

    Midmorning – We’re still discussing Minnesota taxes in the first hour, but Rep. Ann Lenczewski, who heads the House Taxes Committee, has pulled out of the discussion. She’ll be replaced by Rep. Diane Loeffler, DFL-Minneapolis. Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen. I’ll be live-blogging here starting at 9, but I won’t be in the studio.

    At 10, polls say people are more comfortable describing themselves as “pro life.” What does this mean for the abortion debate?

    Midday – Todd Rapp and Tom Horner kick around the 2009 legislative session in the first hour. Then, doctors Patricia Simmons and Doris Taylor discuss advancements in science, as part of the University of Minnesota’s “Great Conversations” series. The U of M also provides audio here, including last week’s conversation with Kenneth Starr.

    Talk of the Nation – Did the business press miss the signs of the financial meltdown? Then, what’s left after memory fails?

    All Things Considered – There’s a brouhaha developing in Minneapolis over the city’s intention to inspect commercial buildings, Euan Kerr talks to an author about how food is changing in America, and the brain’s “God spot.”