Lena Horne has died. Here’s the Monday Morning Rouser:
1) Should there be any morality in the financial promises you make? There was troubling moment or two in last night’s 60 Minutes story on people walking away from their mortgages. A young man declared he felt no responsibility to pay his mortgage, even though he can afford to. So he and his bride have stopped making their monthly payment and with the money they’ll save, they’ll rent an apartment nicer than their house. “It’s the ‘in’ thing to do,” he declared. Swell.
A man who has set up a company to help people walk away from their mortgages declared that people shouldn’t let emotion — or morals — play a part in their decision. We’ve seen the likes of him before — they were mortgage brokers who helped get people into mortgages they couldn’t afford.
But the clients now are different. One in five foreclosures is by people who can afford their mortgages.The comments have run the gamut, but there’s this defense: It’s what big business does.
A government official says regular people shouldn’t walk away from their mortgages because it’s the wrong thing to do. It’s irresponsible. Other regular people will get stuck paying for those who walk away. Big business got millions of dollars from the government to save them and they used that bail-out money to dole out millions of dollars in bonuses while not paying back their debt to the government. Meanwhile, the average American is losing his/her home but it’s irresponsible for that average American to walk away from a fraudulent mortgage! How does that make any sense?
2) Why? Because it’s Betty White, that’s why.
The New York Times — predictably — has the finest line of any review of Betty White’s Saturday Night live appearance: All it took to reinvigorate a 35-year-old comedy show was the presence of an 88-year-old woman.
3) Should America buy American? The Boston Herald makes a big stink because the government bought its swag for the U.S. Census overseas. Or did it?
Meanwhile, a new census analysis shows whites are fleeing the suburbs.
4) Much has been made of Twitter’s and Facebook’s utility for giving voice and exposure to protesters in Iran and elsewhere. But they’re not the only ones using social media; so is the authoritarian state they protest. Twitter and Facebook give Iran’s secret services superb platforms for gathering open-source intelligence,” according to Devin Gaffney of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. New Scientist reports on a conference that considers more research into all of the interactions spawned by the Web.
At the Raleigh meeting.. Gaffney … described how in mid-2009 he set up software to archive every message posted by Iranians using the social messaging service Twitter to coordinate dissident protests. Now that the buzz from bloggers and journalists declaring that this was a “Twitter revolution” has subsided, Gaffney is analysing the 766,263 tweets he has collected in order to assess how justified that description was.
At the time, Twitter boasted about its role in connecting the protestors, but Gaffney’s initial results suggest that Twitter had a greater impact internationally. “Evidence so far suggests a demographic of non-Iranians generating awareness about the situation,” he says.
Gaffney is now trying to find out if the Iranian government itself has been monitoring and reacting to online activity, and whether the authorities have used Twitter to keep track of the protests. “Twitter and Facebook give Iran’s secret services superb platforms for gathering open-source intelligence,” he says.
Today’s MPR commentary is about the usefulness of social media by another authoritarian state — parents.
For example, when Emma and her boyfriend broke up, I learned about it on Facebook several days before she was ready to tell me. The public gossip flew faster than the personal message. But hasn’t that always been the case with social networks? What’s concerning is how prominently Facebook encourages gossip, complete with candid photos, while more personal communication takes a sorry back seat. As if we all were tabloid celebrities.
When Emma finally told me the news, though, I said just what mothers have said for centuries: “I’m so sorry you’re sad. I was hoping it might not be true.” Some things must still be spoken face to face. There is no virtual substitute for tears and a hug.
5) The changing face of politics. SCOTUSblog looks at the appointment of Elena Kagan as Supreme Court nominee and more:
As the days wound down this past week toward Kagan’s selection by President Obama, the nation could look West and East and see cultural conventions on the verge of change, much along the lines of Dylan’s title track. At the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, a Republican U.S. Senator who is a Mormon and has absolutely solid conservative credentials was dumped by his own party. In Boston, some 2,400 miles — and perhaps a world — away, the gay rights movement got a serious hearing in the Moakley U.S. Courthouse on its plea to change the nation’s legal perception of marriage.
What those events have in common, though, is that both will figure in the fight over the future of the Supreme Court that begins later this morning with the announcement of Kagan’s nomination, and both will influence, in coming months and years, the political pressures on the Court.
It’s the best analysis you’ll read today.
Advocates for children warn that they are at risk from cyberbullying, adult predators and other dangers on the Internet. What steps do you take to protect your kids online?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Author Siri Hustvedt investigates the causes of her migraine headaches and episodes of uncontrollable shaking that began shortly after the death of her father (originally broadcast on 3/25) .
Second hour: Sassy spinster Elizabeth Philpot befriends young working-class Mary Anning over their love of fossils. In this historical fiction, the unlikely pair navigate the early 19th century sexism of England’s scientific community as they try to gain ownership and respect for their archaeological finds (originally broadcast on 3/31).
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: The IP-endorsed candidate for governor.
Second hour: Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – NPR, of course, will have plenty on the Supreme Court nomination and its reaction. It will also look at the possibility of a national ID card.
MPR’s Dan Olson reports on the 20-year-old Americans with Disabilities Act, which , requires transportation officials to make conditions safer. In Minnesota, advocates say, compliance has been slow. Officials say they are making progress. He’ll sort it out.
It is another day of waiting for the DFL solution to the suddenly-huge state budget gap. The MPR Capitol team is staking out hearings and meetings today and we’ll have plenty on the subject here on MPR NewsQ during the day.