Five by 8 – 7/19/10: Top secret America

The Monday Morning Rouser:

1) It’ll be difficult to read the Washington Post’s huge investigative report. Top Secret America, without comparing what the nation has become to the state secret nature of our cold war enemies past. You also can’t read it without realizing — again — that the attackers on 9/11 did more than destroy or damage three iconic buildings and kill thousands of people.

It’s also a big business. The Post’s Web site provides a map of secret America’s tentacles, which reach to Minneapolis, Bemidji, Brainerd, Mankato, and Rochester. 854,000 people in the county hold top-secret clearances. The terrifying bureaucracy also produces 50,000 intelligence reports a year, many of which are ignored.


“I’m not going to live long enough to be briefed on everything” was how one Super User put it. The other recounted that for his initial briefing, he was escorted into a tiny, dark room, seated at a small table and told he couldn’t take notes. Program after program began flashing on a screen, he said, until he yelled ”Stop!” in frustration.

The story took two years to put together.

Meanwhile, Russia is restoring some KGB-era power to its security forces, NPR reports this morning.

2) Minnesota has been ground zero in the raw milk debate since the government started targeting a farm near Gibbon where raw milk is believed to have sickened several people. But raw milk has plenty of supporters nationwide. “Legally I can feed my children fast food three meals a day. But then to get this incredible, nutrient dense, fresh local food, the farmer in my state is criminalized for selling that to me,” says a Maryland woman in an NPR story this morning. What can break the stalemate? Safer raw milk. Find the story here.

3) Fivethirtyeight.com’s Nate Silver has issued another forecast for the November elections. Things are looking grim for the Democrats. He calculates that the Dems will maintain the majority in the Senate, but only by about three seats, and that assumes Joe Lieberman will continue to caucus with the Democrats.

What effect will the gulf oil spill have on the election? That’s the subject of Cokie Roberts’ interview today.

4) Good question: Why do we listen to sad music when we’re sad?

5) Pro golfer John Daly has remade himself from a substance-abusing hacker to a crowd-favorite because of his outrageous golf fashion. That Daly is not aware of the U.S. flag code and its admonishment that the flag should never be worn as apparel, is not at all surprising. His choice of attire for yesterday’s final round of the British Open would have been less disrespectful had he chosen simply to burn the flag on the first tee.

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Some pro athletes deserve the attention for better reasons:

More sports: New commercials for the Minnesota Lottery air this week. John Randle can… sort of… act:

TODAY’S QUESTION

Last week, BP seemed finally to make some progress in stopping the undersea oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico. What effect should the Gulf oil disaster have on U.S. energy policy?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Last month, the Supreme Court ruled against the city of Chicago’s long-time ban on handgun ownership. Advocates on both sides of the gun-control debate are using this decision to re-evaluate the way guns are regulated in cities across the country.

Second hour: Motorcycle enthusiast and philosopher Matthew Crawford explores craftsmanship and what we lose in the modern workplace by not working with our hands to make a tangible product.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Art Rolnick wraps up his 25-year career at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve this month. He’ll talk about the economy and the value of education.

Second hour: A discussion from the Aspen Ideas Festival: “Is America Still the Land of Opportunity?”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Remembering the 1980 Cuban exodus., the Mariel Boatlift.

Second hour: Cheating in college.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - David Mitchell comes to Minnesota to read from his new novel “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet” which examines life in a Dutch settlement on the Japanese coast in 1799. MPR’s Euan Kerr will have the story.

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