Five by 8 – 6/14/10: A crude awakening

Do you have a right to see the oil, is it OK to be tough on politicians, should joggers do more walking, is there life after the National Guard deployments, and why do gardeners use seed bombs?


It’s Monday. Here’s the Monday Morning Rouser:

1) Last week, BP insisted it was not preventing the news media from talking to workers trying to clean up the disaster on the Gulf. This is BP not interfering with the news media.

“Recent media reports have suggested that individuals involved in the cleanup operation have been prohibited from speaking to the media, and this is simply untrue,” BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said last week.

2) MPR’s Tom Scheck looks behind the stump speeches of GOP-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer today, trying to figure out what state agencies he’d eliminate. Specifics have been hard to come by, but Scheck does a good job of putting together the fragments.

My head is still buzzing from Kerri Miller’s grilling of Emmer last week. No question about it: It was a rough round of questioning, which — by the way — is not a bad thing for people who — for the record — haven’t been forced to run for office. There are a lot of things wrong with the electoral process in Minnesota, but candidates being asked tough questions isn’t one of them. On the other hand, it should be interesting to see what other candidates agree to visit Miller’s program between now and November.

And then we have the other side of the coin: Journalists who get cozy with the people they’re supposed to be covering. On Sunday, NPR’s On the Media grilled CNN’s Ed Henry, who was one of the journalists who doesn’t appear to understand why there were any number of better choices for how he should spend a weekend:

Meanwhile, the blog “The Big Picture” considers the public relations effort behind large corporations complaining about news coverage:

Really? You think the corporate-owned wimpy US press has been too hard on you? Just because you nearly brought down the entire global economy through your recklessness, then took trillions in taxpayer money as a reward for your irresponsibility, then — instantly — returned to business as usual. Somehow, you think everyone should be going easy on you?

3) Maybe all that running isn’t so good for you, joggers. An opinion piece from today’s Boston Globe:


Yes, health plays a part, but the addiction to running, like any other addiction, transcends rational thought. I was addicted for years until I learned the hard way that there was no cartilage left in my left hip. We’re talking bone against bone, and that hurts. It was then that I started surgeon shopping.

4) What we don’t see after the welcome-home ceremonies end. Minnesota National Guard soldiers are getting lessons in how to adjust to the new normal — life after being away from home:


“When you come back, your job changes, your family has changed, you’ve changed,” said Bonnie Wasberg, Kelly Wasberg’s wife. There’s a lot to work out, and the reintegration programs can help family members to support their soldiers.

The Marshall Independent provides a glimpse today in how they do it.

5) In its story about guerilla gardeners, the St. Paul Pioneer Press introduces us to “seed bombs,” balls of seed that guerilla gardeners — they plant gardens on land they don’t own — lob onto property they think needs beautifying.

The article was likely inspired by a Woodbury Bulletin a profile of a woman in Woodbury, who planted a garden on a vacant lot. The city is using her as a test case:


Initially, city staff said Hall had to remove the garden by June 7, but later decided to use hers as a test case of the appeals process. A three-member appeals board will review the case, likely within weeks, and then make a decision.

Ron Glubka, Woodbury’s chief building official for inspections, admitted that Hall’s is an unusual situation. Public encroachment violations typically deal with public parks. Hall planted on a future development site

Of course, these things can always go too far. A few years ago, a neighbor didn’t like all the dandelions in an adjoining yard in Woodbury. So he snuck in and put down weed-killer. There’s a park near the Woodbury Bureau of News Cut where abuttors have cut down trees. The better to see a pond in the park.

TODAY’S QUESTION

Five bars are charged with violating the Human Rights Act by offering Ladies’ Night discounts to female customers. Do you think Ladies’ Night promotions are a form of discrimination?

Bonus: Carl Kasell plays soccer announcer:WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: A new report indicates that the Twin Cities has the second-highest rate of unemployment for African-Americans among large metropolitan areas in the U.S, and that African-Americans in the Twin Cities are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as whites. While the recession has played a role, some say the study confirms what they have long witnessed.

Second hour: Acclaimed writer Ngozi Adichie writes about the cultural collision faced by Nigerians living in America and Africa. A product of both worlds herself, Adichie skewers the stereotypes cherished on both sides of the Atlantic.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Upon her retirement from Cal Polytech, former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Sandra Gardebring discusses the future of higher education, the implications of the oil spill, the role of the courts, and political discourse today.

Second hour: An event recorded at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, featuring prominent people involved in — and reporting on — the 1960 presidential campaign.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: TBA

Second hour: You know the feeling: A routine date suddenly becomes the person you’re going to marry. You meet someone at a party, and you hit if off. Something just clicks. Ori and Ron Brafman explore that moment of connection and how you can recreate the experience. The book is “Click: the magic of instant connection.”

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - MPR’s Brandt Williams looks at the murder rate in Minneapolis.

Manufacturers and retailers -like Richfield-based Best Buy– are starting to push 3D TVs much more aggressively, hoping consumers will eventually embrace the technology. Entry-level 3D systems cost $2,000 to $3,000 now and there’s not much content beyond Monsters vs. Aliens. But ESPN and the Discovery channel are launching 3D channels. Gaming companies are getting deeper into 3d. Film studios are primed to pump out a stream of 3D movies for home viewing. And before long, every new TV sold will be 3D-capable. MPR’s Marty Moylan takes a look.

  • http://www.skyseastone.net/jvstin/ Paul

    My head is still buzzing from Kerri Miller’s grilling of Emmer last week. No question about it: It was a rough round of questioning, which — by the way — is not a bad thing for people who — for the record — haven’t been forced to run for office. There are a lot of things wrong with the electoral process in Minnesota, but candidates being asked tough questions isn’t one of them. On the other hand, it should be interesting to see what other candidates agree to visit Miller’s program between now and November.

    I was very glad that Ms. Miller was uncompromising in her interview. I would be disappointed, but not surprised, if other candidates shied away from her for awhile…

  • kennedy

    So we have the carrot and the stick of media access being used by politicians. Vice President Biden’s party invite for favored reporters is the carrot. Being shunned for a tough interview (as we expect for Kerri Miller) is the stick.

    We, as consumers of the news, bear the burden of trying to balance this pressure. If we don’t demand real and informative news coverage, the slide toward softball interviews and repetition of press releases will continue.

    My low opinion of voters (and the public in general) leads me to expect continued erosion of real reporting as networks pursue ratings.

  • JackU

    I was listening to WWDTM when Carl Kasell let out the mighty GOAL!. I was a little disappointed in Klein and Peter Sagel. They are both play on the fact that they are Jewish and neither compared it to the blast of the shofar. (Which was the first thing I thought of when I heard it.)