Reporters with opinions (5×8 – 1/4/11)

1) REFLECTONS ON PARTISAN JOURNALISM

Mitch Berg, who writes the Shot in the Dark blog, reports that the new Legislature is cracking down on partisan journalism sites. They’ll still be allowed to cover press conferences, but won’t get credentials as reporters.

Let the debate begin anew. If you have a point of view, are you a journalist?

NPR, coincidentally, is beginning a two-part series today on newspapers with a slant. It focuses on examining British journalism.

2) WHY HAVE GOP EFFORTS TO MUZZLE MICHELE BACHMANN FAILED?

“House Republicans have created their own worst nightmare,” Slate.com says in a lead story today.


If Boehner’s gratitude is nowhere to be seen, it is because Bachmann presents a particular headache for the GOP. The Tea Party helped propel Republicans into office by attacking Democrats; now, with the dirty work done and popular support for centrist compromise growing, wild cable TV statements are looking more like a liability. And Bachmann is Exhibit A. But by withholding from her the formal power she believes she has earned, the GOP has probably compounded the problem. As Bachmann’s time in the Minnesota state senate made clear, rejection by party elders has a way of energizing her. If things had gone her way, Bachmann might have been tempted to move past Mama Grizzly extremism, but now, she’ll be sticking with it. Boehner should have seen this coming.

3)BLIZZARD WARS: STREET SKIING

Just when you thought the Midwest vs. East Coast Blizzard War on News Cut was over, along comes this little number:

Right back at you, East Coast. This is from Minnesota’s December blizzard (I might’ve posted this a few weeks ago, too):

Your turn. Who wins?

4) DRIVERS WHO DON’T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE

Some guy went careening down I-94 the other day after the highway had been closed in the middle of a snowstorm. What to do about people who drive badly in the snow? The Fargo Forum editorializes today:


A stretch of Interstate 29 about 12 miles north of Fargo offers a case study of the chaos that can result when drivers fail to heed road closures. On Saturday, New Year’s Day, a state trooper counted three semi-trailers and 14 cars stuck on the road, some stranded for a couple of days. Incredibly, law enforcement officers rescued one young man who was wearing shorts – it’s important, after all, to look like you’re driving to the beach in a blizzard.

Shorts?

5) ALL THE WORLD’S AIR TRAFFIC IN ONE DAY

H/T: Neatorama, which says:


The yellow dots are airplanes in the sky during a 24 hour period. Stay with the picture. You will see the light of the day moving from the east to the west, as the Earth spins on its axis.

Also you will see the aircraft flow of traffic leaving the North American continent and traveling at night to arrive in the UK in the morning. Then you will see the flow changing, leaving the UK in the morning and flying to the American continent in daylight.

Have we reached peak travel? According to one estimate, “vehicle travel in the U.S. would have to fall by half by 2050, or fuel efficiency would have to improve to 130 miles per gallon, or biofuels would have to make up most of the fuels on the market to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.”

(h/t: Midwest Energy News)

THE NOT-QUITE-VIRAL VIDEO OF THE DAY

Bubba the ladder-climbing dog:

Story here.

TODAY’S QUESTION

Gov. Mark Dayton is preparing to appoint a commissioner for the Department of Natural Resources. His choice may help determine the DNR’s approach to development, forestry and mining. What should be the chief mission of the DNR?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: What kind of reform do American schools need, and is there room for the rote test-driven education?

Second hour: Facing an ethical dilemma? New York Times columnist Randy Cohen might be able to give you some guidance.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – Both hours: Live broadcast from the Capitol rotunda, featuring the new legislative leaders, key lawmakers, and Gov. Mark Dayton.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Evgeny Morozov once bought the argument that the internet is good for democracy and the idea that tweets, blogs, and FaceBook are mightier than the sword. Now, he argues none of that is true.

Second hour: The latest on stuttering.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – The new Republican majority takes over complete control of the Legislature for the first time in at least four decades. While the first day is largely ceremonial, we’ll hear from some of the key players and new members.