Monday inspiration, the war in Libya, uttering the ‘N word,’ the 140-character war, and tears for a polar bear.
This week’s Monday Morning Rouser. I used to think nobody ever aged better than Paul Newman. Now I think that distinction belongs to Emmylou Harris. She turns 64 a week from Saturday.
If you’d like more EmmyLou, she performed a small concert for NPR in a hotel at SXSW on Friday.
1) YOUR MONDAY INSPIRATION
Anthony Robles is your new national collegiate wrestling champion. Robles was born with just one leg and didn’t take up wrestling until high school. He finishes the season undefeated.
2) THE 140-CHARACTER WAR
The United States is now involved in three wars — Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya’s civil war. Last week, when Congress could have been having a discussion about the U.S. role in Libya (there was one taking place at the United Nations), Congress was debating whether public radio stations could pay National Public Radio for some of its programs.
In the span of two hours on Saturday morning, the U.S. launched $63 million worth of cruise missiles. On Thursday, Republicans in Congress insisted funding public radio — about $50 million — would prevent the U.S. from beginning to get its budget deficit under control.
There’s certainly an argument to be made for coming to the aid of some people who want to overthrow their government, so why didn’t the nation have it? In the span of just a few weeks, Libya emerged from the cloak of utter irrelevance to an international target. Most of the discussion about jumping into a war took place on Twitter. Social networking has gotten deserved credit for focusing attention on the peaceful protests in recent months; in this case, however, it created a far too simple picture of the role of military intervention.
CNN’s national security correspondent penned an article, “Why Libya 2011 is not Iraq,” over the weekend.
The high level of anti-Americanism in the Muslim world that was generated by the Iraq War is unlikely to be replicated by U.S. military action against Libya, because Gadhafi is widely reviled in the Arab world. His antics on the world stage have earned him the enmity of even his fellow autocrats — who will not be welcoming him if he chooses to “retire” to Saudi Arabia as other murderous dictators of his ilk have in the past (think Idi Amin).
But there’s another way in which the war in Libya is not like the war in Iraq. We had a national debate before Iraq. But should there be such a debate?
Sen. Paul Wellstone certainly thought so, when he cast his “no” vote in the Senate just before the U.S. invaded Iraq:
This debate must include all Americans, because our decisions finally must have the informed consent of the American people, who will be asked to bear the costs, in blood and treasure, of our decisions. When the lives of the sons and daughters of average Americans could be risked and lost, their voices must be heard by Congress before we make decisions about military action.
There are, of course, big differences: France is taking the lead, for example. And there are no plans for soldiers on the ground in Libya. But these things — wars — seldom go the way people plan them to go. And the U.S. had plenty of money in 2002; it’s tapped out, the politicians tell us, in 2011.
There are also the same dangers Wellstone warned about, specifically a widened war in the Arab world. The Arab League, for example, that called for a no-fly zone, is now deploring the scope of the westerners’ intervention.
And, today, Yemen’s civil strife is percolating anew.
How is this supposed to end? Officials don’t seem to know.
3) UTTERING THE N WORD
Some Woodbury teachers and students were featured on 60 Minutes last night. They were discussing the decision to print a version of Mark Twain that eliminate the “N word.”
But what was most surprising — and shocking — was when the reporter actually said the “N word,” which proved it’s not just another word.
4) THE POWER OF PAPER CRANES
More than half of the University of Minnesota students studying in Japan have returned home, the U of M Daily reports. Members of the Japan Student Association are watching the continuing disaster, and have come up with their own way to help: origami.
5) KNUT CUT
News Cut is closing in on its 5,000th post. That’s a lot of information, but no post has received more attention and traffic over the years than this one. Three years later, it remains a popular page. We think it’s because of this picture:
That’s Knut, who was abandoned by his mother in a zoo in Germany and captured the hearts — obviously — of more than a nation. Knut is dead.
Web-based news outlets have surpassed newspapers and now draw more consumers than any medium except local TV news. The New York Times intends to start charging a fee for its Web content. Are you willing to start paying for news on the Web?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited Afghanistan this week and noted significant gains in the fight against the Taliban. But one critic says the war in Afghanistan is harnessed to a strategy that is bound to fail.
Second hour: Jazz singer Jane Monheit.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Michael O’Keefe, who served as human services commissioner during the Ventura administration, explains the challenges involved in slowing the growth of Minnesota’s human services spending.
Second hour: Minnesota Orchestra conductor Sarah Hicks, in a recent conversation from the Bright Ideas series, recorded in Minnesota Public Radio’s UBS Forum.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: TBA
Second hour: TBA
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – When writer Sarah Stonich was young, her father impressed upon her the value of having some land. She shrugged off her what she thought of as her dad’s obsession at the time. Yet years later, as a single mother with a son, she bought some undeveloped property near Ely in northern Minnesota. Her new book “Shelter” started off as a journal about building a cabin, but it soon spun off in many directions as life took over. MPR’s Euan Kerr will have the story.
MPR’s Brandt Williams will outline the findings of his four-month investigation into the sources of guns used in Minneapolis crimes.