Five at 8 – 6/16/09

  • The mystery continues. There’s no official cause yet, of course, for the Air France crash off the coast of Brazil a few weeks ago. A new wrinkle, the Boston Globe reports — composite parts. More jets are using composite material — plastics and fiberglass, for example — because they’re lighter than aluminum and don’t rust. But they might not be as strong, either.
  • Firearms revolt. A state-by-state revolt against federal regulation of firearms is underway, according to CBS News. It comes from Montana where the Democratic governor signed a bill that says “that firearms, ammunition, and accessories manufactured entirely inside Montana are not subject to federal regulation, including background checks for buyers and record-keeping requirements for sellers.” A similar law was proposed for Minnesota. It didn’t get a hearing and isn’t likely to pass a DFL-controlled legislature, but it would make a heck of a gubernatorial campaign issue among the 200 lawmakers who appear to be running to succeed Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
  • Self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed says he made up much of the information he gave U.S. officials to avoid “harsh interrogation techniques.” The Los Angeles Times says it’s part of a declassification of previously secret information about what went on behind closed doors.

    Meanwhile NPR reports Muslims are risking plenty by donating to charities. “Donors and their lawyers told me that FBI agents were knocking on donors’ doors at home and at their workplaces to interrogate them about their donations,” one person said, “asking questions like, ‘Did you write a check to a charity?’ or, ‘What do you know about that charity?’ ”

  • It would help if you have a degree in statistics but it’s impressive reading nonetheless. A professor in Michigan digs into the early results from Iran’s election. It’s been updated several time since Saturday (most recently this morning) and concludes that, yes, something smells funny. http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2009/06/recount-in-iran-coming.html examines whether a recount would do any good.
  • Airplane noise. Teresa Boardman of the St. Paul Real Estate blog digs into the graphical representation from noise at the Minneapolis St. Paul airport. It’s based on data you can find here. Anecdotally, noise levels are down in my neighborhood since the new cross runway opened. It would be interesting to get a comparison function over time to see who benefited from the runway opening, and who inherited the noise. Have you noticed a difference in noise levels?

    WHAT WE’RE DOING

    The big story today, of course, will be the official list of programs and services being cut by Gov. Tim Pawlenty through his unallotment strategy. MPR will carry his announcement live on the radio and online at 2 p.m. I’ll try to provide a digestible list here. I also want to hear from you. How will the cuts affect you personally?

    Midmorning – A discussion of health care and proposals for a single-payer plan in the first hour. I’ll live blog it on the site here somewhere. Also see this post from last night. Second hour: Teens and depression.

    Midday – Former Minnesota secretary of state Joan Growe will be in the studio on the 25th anniversary of her 22-ballot DFL endorsement for U.S. Senate. She was the first woman to be nominated for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota. Second hour: Daniel Brumberg of Georgetown University will answer questions about the situation in Iran.

    Talk of the Nation – The first hour is being pre-empted by Gov. Pawlenty. Second hour: What happens when gays and lesbians come out?

    All Things Considered – MPR’s Tim Pugmire will recap the governor’s unallotment cuts. Annie Baxter has a report on the impact of the economy on the effect of the economy on single women. NPR’s Richard Gonzales looks at predictions of $3 (and up) a gallon gasoline this summer. Another report will focus on another governor — California’s — whacking a state budget problem by proposing eliminating welfare, cutting health care for the poor and slicing education programs.

    • JohnnyZoom

      That’s twice in two days you’ve mentioned fivethirtyeight.com, Bob.

      Good for you. That’s a good site.

      The writers there are for the most part upfront about their own biases, but their stats discourses are fair. (and yes, I have degree in same)

    • Sam

      Re: airport noise, I live in Seward (Mpls), and there’s been a definite uptick in plane noise this month. It’s hardly oppressive (the planes are flying relatively high by the time they get to our neighborhood,) but it is definitely noticeable, especially if you’re outside.

      However, I got a mailing from the MAC about this last month, and I thought it said this was a temporary change while maintenance was done on another runway. Am I wrong about this?

    • bsimon

      Sam is correct about the temporary flight patterns directing more traffic over his neighborhood.

      In my case, we hear a little bit more noise, but not enough to complain about. We’re 1 mile north of the fence, but it is generally much quieter than when I lived further from the airport, but under a flightpath.

    • Kristi

      Re: the new runway. I live in NE Minneapolis and have noticed a huge increase in noise from planes. It’s pretty loud. If I wanted to hear it, I’d live in S. Minneapolis. There’s a reason I don’t. Grrrrr.

    • BJ

      Airport noise…

      Out in Crystal we have seen more large plane flights overhead.

      I really remember specifics this past weekend, but the maps only go to 5/31/09….

      Commented to my visitors about the extra noise.

      We had the Kare 11 helicopter flying over us all weekend also – must have been doing some training.

      I live 1 block from the Crystal Airport.

    • Elizabeth T

      I live near Lake & Cedar – there’s been a noticeable increase in frequency of flights.

      My son’s daycare is right at the corner of Diamond Lake Road & 35W. They’re really close to the approach anyway. Nowadays, it’s incredibly louder and more frequent. I had to stop talking to his teacher 3 times in five minutes due to the airplane noise being too loud to hear. Being so much closer to the runway than our home, it’s both louder and more frequent.

      Hopefully it will end soon … sooner than the 35W construction, maybe?

      BTW: OSHA’s rule of thumb is that if you have to raise your voice to be heard by someone about 3 feet away — it’s over the exposure limit.

    • Faith L

      I just moved into a house at 40th St and 10th Ave S, and we have a major uptick in noise that started Sunday morning at about 6:45 am and didn’t stop all day. It subsides at night but then this morning promptly at 6:45 am again, it started up . I am not a happy camper. Wonder if there is anything that can be done to speed up the repair of the runway that is causing this overflow…..?