It was 8 years ago today (5×8 – 10/25/10)

Opening the Wellstone file, to have and have not for retirees, even more Juan Williams fallout, the common thread of the world, and puppies!


Thank goodness the weekend is over and we get to the Monday Morning Rouser:

1) COMING: THE FBI FILES

MPR News has cracked open the FBI file on Sen. Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash eight years ago today. The story will be posted around 11 this morning, along with hundreds of pages. The FBI tracked Wellstone because he was an anti-war protester.

We still have the big 2002 section on Wellstone on the MPR site, although much of the audio on it is the nearly-extinct RealPlayer format.

Today’s MPR commentary comes from Shannon Drury, a student at Carleton when Prof. Wellstone recorded his unlikely victory in the U.S. Senate race.

2) TWO SUNDAY STORIES THAT DON’T PLAY WELL TOGETHER

In the middle of an economic disaster,some stories just don’t get along. Yesterday in the Pioneer Press, Gail Marks Jarvis pointed out that people who were able to leave their money in the stock market, are back to where they were before the market crashed.

Having $8,000 to show for your retirement when you started with $10,000 is not pretty. But let’s look at how you would be sitting if you followed good investment principals (sic).

If you had put 70 percent of your money in a stock-market-index mutual fund and 30 percent in bonds, at the market’s low point, you would have had less than $7,000 of your $10,000 — in much better shape than the all-stock investor. Now, because stocks have climbed, you would have roughly $10,090.

If, however, you put half your money in the stock fund and half in a long-term U.S. Treasury bond fund, you would have had about $7,700 at the scariest time and would have about $11,300 now.

That’s a lot better than the person who pulled their money after it plunged to $7,700. Parked in a savings account, the $7,700 would have climbed to only about $7,800 now.

Meanwhile, 60 Minutes profiled the long-term unemployed — PhD’s, masters holders, and college graduates with no hope, trying to beat the homeless person to the recyclable bottles and cans.There are 5,000 janitors in the U.S. with PhD’s, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Seventeen-thousand Seventeen-million people have jobs that don’t require their level of education.

3) ARE OBJECTIVENESS AND FAIRNESS THE SAME THING?

James Naughton, the retired president of the Poynter Institute — a journalism think tank — considers last week’s firing of Juan Williams by NPR and, in the process, blows up the myth of objectivity.

We journalists are not and never have been objective. We are, like all humans, conditioned by experience, upbringing, and education, and thus incapable of mindless neutrality. But we strive for fairness. The problem with a journalist participating in opinion-mongering programs on Fox — or on MSNBC — is that these programs by their very nature are unfair. They thrive on inciting and showcasing bias.

Williams was an NPR “news analyst.” What is that? New York University’s Jay Rosen attempts to answer the question.

NPR recognized the problem but tried to finesse it by re-classifying Williams as an “analyst.” Big mistake. The job of analyst, as NPR defines it, is so tightly constrained that it excludes almost everything Williams was doing for Fox. So why didn’t NPR simply get rid of Williams years ago when he began to generate view-from-somewhere controversies with his appearances on Fox? The likely reason was identified by Farai Chideya, who used to work at NPR: a diversity problem. NPR had almost no black men on the air.

Rosen and NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard will be appearing on today’s On Point from WBUR at 9 a.m. CT. It’s a show MPR does not carry, but which you’ll be able to find here.

Last night, the head of NPR apologized to her staff for the way the firing was handled.

The #1 search keywords on the New York Times Web site this morning? Juan Williams.

4) ONCE YOU GET PAST RACE AND POLITICS…

“No matter where you go in the world, you’ll find some people live their lives for meaning and purpose, and the others are men.”5) PUPPIES!

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It was the 20th annual Halloween parade for dogs in New York’s Tompkins Square. Here’s the gallery. And an even better one via Flickr. And here.

TODAY’S QUESTION

Each Monday now through the election, we’ll pose a question related to the race for governor. Today’s Question: Has political spending by outside groups in this year’s campaign been a good thing?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Pundits have been arguing that America’s days as the most powerful nation in the world are numbered, and recent polls indicate a majority of Americans share that belief. Is the anxiety about America’s decline based in reality, or just a symptom of difficult times?

Second hour: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently gave a speech in which he warned about the growing divide between the military and civilian world, and the creation of a military leadership that has less and less in common with the people it has sworn to defend. Midmorning examines the military-civilian divide and its repercussions.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First half: 5th District congressional candidates.

11:30, – 5th District congressional candidates.

Second hour: : 8th District congressional candidates debate.

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

Second hour: TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Annie Baxter had her profile of Michele Bachmann on the air this morning. This afternoon, she’ll profile Tarryl Clark.

  • nicki

    The last line of #2 should, unfortunately, read 17 million.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Bob, I already thought you were pretty cool. Then you started off the day with Jerry and sealed the deal.

    I await the files on the late, great senator collected by the organization founded by the cross-dressing paranoid with a mix of curious anticipation and dismay.