Wisconsin: The documentary, Stewart on NPR, are there too many ‘heroes’, the snow emergency business, the end of coffee, and cats with thumbs.
1) WISCONSIN: THE DOCUMENTARY
It’s all over — at least for now — in Wisconsin, where Republicans did an end-around the missing
Republicans Democrats and stripped public unions of most of their collective bargaining rights.
Coincidentally, it came on the same day the first citizen documentary of the protests was released. (h/t: Perfect Duluth Day)
How did you get to this point, Wisconsin? The associate editor of the Capital Times in Madison blames the New York Times. John Nichols says Gov. Scott Walker was smitten with a New York Times story about a Janesville auto plant work who was layed off from his job. The auto union member said it was time for everyone to sacrifice, including public employee unions.
That, according to the Capital Times, made Walker dig in. The problem? There was no such union man, the New York Times later acknowledged in a correction:
“A front-page article on Tuesday about reaction among private sector workers in Wisconsin to Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to cut benefits and collective bargaining rights for unionized public employees referred incorrectly to the work history of one person quoted, and also misspelled his surname. While the man, Rich Hahn (not Hahan) described himself to a reporter as a ‘union guy,’ he now says that he has worked at unionized factories, but was not himself a union member. (The Times contacted Mr. Hahn again to review his background after a United Auto Workers official said the union had no record of his membership.)”
“It is rare that we can so precisely pinpoint a moment when media made a difficult situation worse. But this is one of them,” Nichols claims.
2) DAILY SHOW ON NPR
3) TOO MANY HEROES?
“Has the word “hero” been so overused that it’s losing its meaning?” NPR’s Linton Weeks asks, noting the number of stories using the word lately. He quotes Alan M. Webber, a founding editor of Fast Company magazine:
I suspect that if the American public’s nerves weren’t quite so badly frayed by all the over-attention to bad behavior, if we weren’t all addicted to a culture of celebrity and extreme amplification of every news story, in other words, if the whole country were only a little bit more sane,” Webber writes on The Washington Post website, “then we’d have a more modulated reaction to most events, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And we’d reserve the word ‘hero’ … for actions and circumstances that actually merit their application.”
We throw it around too much? I would argue — and you can certainly argue right back below — that the problem is we don’t throw it around enough.
There’s nothing wrong that a few more stories about heroes won’t fix. This is Chanda Taylor, talking to the Washington Post in December about the death of her sister, and her desire to keep all eight orphans together:
How is it working out? Not easy. She needs $500 a week just for groceries. She’s a mail clerk. But she’s determined to keep the kids together. CBS’s Wyatt Andrews blogged about an update to the story he reported this week (see story):
From start to finish, I couldn’t get one question out of my head: who does this?
Who takes on this level of responsibility: nine children (8 plus her son) when your job barely pays $12 an hour– and when so many alternative choices, including foster care, or sending the children to willing fathers might have been reasonably made? Taking one, two or three children after a family tragedy would represent a sacrificial level of love and duty–but eight?
Who does this? Chanda Taylor.
Now tell me about a hero you know.
4) THE SNOW EMERGENCY BUSINESS
One third of the hundreds of cars towed in Minneapolis during snow emergencies this winter have come in neighborhoods surrounding the University of Minnesota, the U Daily reports today. It’s a target-rich environment. Students aren’t veterans of the convoluted snow emergency system in Minneapolis, and there’s not much off-street parking there in the first place. Is it a big profit business? The city says it makes about $8 a car in Minneapolis.
5) GOODBYE, COFFEE?
Well, swell! Climate change is beating coffee, the New York Times reports. Coffee beans, a finnicky crop, requires a particular combination of temperatures. The temperatures are changing, however. In
Columbia Colombia, the annual production has dropped from 12 million bags of coffee in 2006 to nine million last year.
That, as you might expect, is pushing prices higher. Many coffee chains and smaller coffee shops in these parts are suffering and passing on the higher prices. So what’s the “tipping point” at which you start your day with something else? How much would you not pay for a cup of Joe?
Related: Starbucks is 40 today and is running a promotion with Foursquare check-ins.
Bonus: Cats with thumbs. (h/t: Mary Lucia)
Today a member of Congress plans to hold hearings on what he calls the radicalization of American Muslims. Critics say the hearings will fan the flames of anti-Muslim hatred. What do you think about the hearings on Muslim “radicalization?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Gov. Dayton wants Minnesota’s snowbirds to pay more taxes. His proposal targets residents who fly south for the winter to pay a prorated portion of their income taxes to Minnesota. Is this a fair way to help balance the state’s budget?
Second hour: What if John Kennedy had been assassinated before he became president? What if Robert Kennedy had not been killed and went on to defeat Nixon in 1968? A longtime political reporter looks at how American history might look different.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Former congressman Tim Penny, co-chair of the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform, discusses the wrangling over the federal budget and debt.
Second hour: Live broadcast from Westminster Town Hall Forum with filmmaker Larkin McPhee, who produced the controversial documentary, “Troubled Waters.”
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Myths and realities about public workers.
Second hour: Rachel Hadas talk about her new book, “Strange Relation,” documenting her husband’s decline into dementia.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The House Homeland Security committee holds a hearing on radicalization of American Muslims. Minnesota DFL Rep. Keith Ellison is scheduled to testify. He’s angry about Muslims being singled out as the focus of the hearing. MPR’s Brent Neeley will be there.
Laura Yuen will sit with some Twin Cities Muslims who are gathering to watch remotely.
Some new research is out on the genetic impact of endocrine-active chemicals. MPR’s Dan Gunderson reviews it and will tell us about the impact on the rivers and fish around here.