1) BEGGING FOR ATTENTION
Oh, it’s on in Moorhead! A Moorhead reader’s letter to the Fargo Forum, describing the Salvation Army bellringers as “noisy” beggars, didn’t go unnoticed. “Went to my local Hornbacher’s store and was instantly accosted by the first beggar of the year. You know, some guy wearing red and clanging around with some ridiculous bell begging for my hard-earned money so that they can give it to people that do not work as hard as I do,” Richard Kodadek wrote.
“We apologize, but we think we’re out there for the right reasons: to help other people,” the head of the bell-ringing effort told the Forum.
The Red Kettle campaign is behind last year in almost every location in the state.
2) PAWLENTY’S NEW PARDON CONTROVERSY
A couple of months ago, I spent an afternoon at a meeting of the Minnesota Board of Pardons. Dozens of people who had already paid their debt to society begged to have their names cleared, mostly so they could get a job. Most were rejected and a headline on the front page of the Star Tribune this morning is why:
Jeremy Giefer served time for having sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend (he later married her)and received a pardon from the panel, which includes Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Giefer is charged now with sexually assaulting another girl before and after the pardon.
The newspaper considers whether the pardon will hurt Pawlenty’s presidential chances, comparing it with Mike Huckabee’s commutations. Huckabee commuted the sentence of a man who — a year ago yesterday — allegedly killed four cops in
Alaska Washington state.
But the two aren’t close to being the same. A pardon merely clears the name of someone who is already free of his/her prison and jail time and has been for more than 10 years. A commutation actually lets someone out of prison.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times today reports on the difficulty offenders are having finding work. It’s never been easy to get a job after prison, now it’s pretty much impossible. “In a bad economy, there are fewer jobs, and when people don’t have jobs, they’re more likely to commit another crime and get sent back to prison,” said John Schmitt, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington think .
3) “IT’S THE PHOTOGRAPHER”
Joao Silva, a contract photographer for the New York Times, stepped on a land mine while on patrol in Afghanistan with a group of American soldiers. He lost both of his legs and has suffered internal injuries. The Times has taken the memory card out of his camera and made this slideshow.
Even after he was badly hurt, he kept shooting.
4) IF A CONGRESSMAN SPEAKS BEFORE AN EMPTY HOUSE, DOES HE MAKE A NOISE?
An Indiana congressman got upset yesterday when the House refused to recognize him. What makes Steve Buyer’s moment of fame most fascinating is there was nobody else on the floor to be recognized. As usual in Washington, the House chamber was empty except for the one representative looking for some C-SPAN face time.
5) THIS IS WHAT NET NEUTRALITY LOOKS LIKE
For months, tech journalists have struggled to explain why net neutrality is, and why it’s an issue before Congress. Comcast and Netflix have solved the dilemma. Last week Netflix announced a new pricing option for people who stream its movies over their computers or Internet TV. Now, Comcast wants to know who’s going to pay for all that bandwidth on the Internet? Netflix says Comcast is demanding extra fees to carry the additional programming and is threatening to put up a roadblock between you and Netflix.
“Comcast’s action amounts to setting up a ‘toll booth’ on the Internet,” Cecilia Kang, the tech writer of the Washington Post, says.
President Obama has frozen federal employees’ pay for two years to fight the deficit, but union officials say the freeze won’t help much and unfairly hurts working people. Is it fair to freeze the pay of federal workers?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: San Francisco takes aim at McDonald’s Happy Meals by requiring restaurant meals to meet certain nutritional guidelines in order to include a toy with the food purchase. Will it change our children’s health Should parents or the government be policing meals?
Second hour: VocalEssence singers give their annual Midmorning performance and best effort at nearly unsingable Christmas carols.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Former ambassador Barbara Bodine discusses the diplomatic implications of Wikileaks disclosure of classified communications.
Second hour: A debate from the Intelligence Squared series about screening vs. profiling of airline passengers.
One of the people who participated in the debate, Asra Nomani, has written more about why she would accept profiling by airport screeners:
In the debate, I said, “Profile me. Profile my family,” because, in my eyes, we in the Muslim community have failed to police ourselves. In an online posting of the Intelligence Squared video, a Muslim viewer called me an “Uncle Tom.”
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The legality of Wikileaks
Second hour: TBA
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Many of Minnesota’s 52,000 Hmong residents arrived 30 years ago as refugees. Some left their homeland in the mountains of Laos, often with little more than the clothing they wore. MPR’s Dan Olson will report that although Hmong poverty is still an issue, poverty rates are down sharply and life for many Hmong is improving.