Your speech to a joint session of Congress (5×8 – 9/1/11)

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(Photo: KPCC)

1) THE ABSENCE OF HOPE

You’ve probably heard that the president and the speaker of the House were feuding again yesterday over a speech the president wants to give outlining a jobs plan. Most of the coverage was about the politics of the feud. Jobs? Not so much.

Coincidentally, in Los Angeles yesterday, a jobs fair drew about 5,000 people — most of them black — before it even started. It was an accumulation of — as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times said — “wasted wisdom.”


It was, one woman told me later, “like going back to the old days,” pre-Barack Obama; “before black politicians got complacent and forgot they’re the ones that represent us.”

The president who campaigned on hope is presiding instead over hopelessness. And doing little, it seems even to his fans these days, to rectify the economic malaise. The Job Fairs, the Town Halls, the Kitchen Table Summits … they are all part of a campaign to put political pressure on not just Republicans, but our Democratic president.

Our sister station in Los Angeles — KPCC — reported it this way:


When 26 year-old Rekita Charles showed up around 4 a.m., she was the third person in line. By 7 a.m., that line wrapped around a city block. Charles is a single mother with three children and a full course load at Southwest College. She’s worked as a receptionist, guarded properties and handled customer service, but in the couple of years none of her job experience seemed to help.

“Remember it was a time where I could quit one job and just be like, I’m gonna find me another job next week. I’ll get the newspaper and get me a job. But now, it’s just like…non-existent,” she said.

A day earlier, thousands turned out at a job fair in Atlanta. People camped out overnight wearing their best suits.

Maybe the people who should be speaking to a joint session of Congress, are people who stand in line for hours waiting for a shot at a job. And going home without one.

Is that you? If you were invited to speak to Congress, what would you say that might make any difference? Make sure it includes specifics of a jobs plan.

Of course, this all assumes people in Washington and New York have some solution to the woe. NPR reports there’s no indication anyone knows how to end this mess.

2) IT’S THE RAIN

There’s another potential hurricane out there and, sure as shootin’, the weatherpeople will be out on the beach talking about the wind, missing the #1 lesson from last week’s disaster: It’s not the wind; it’s the rain that’ll get you., the Washington Post reports:


“People aren’t scared of rain; they’re scared of wind,” said Kerry Emanuel, an MIT professor of atmospheric science who has studied hurricanes. “In most people’s minds, a hurricane is principally a wind event, and if they have heavy rain — it’s incidental, it’s too bad.”

The media generally think along the same lines, which is why hurricane coverage typically features a soggy, windblown weather reporter standing on a beach, shouting warnings of greater fury to come.

“Rainfall isn’t sexy. Everyone went to the coast looking for the wind and the storm surge,” said David Vallee, a National Weather Service hydrologist in Taunton, Mass.

In a generic storm, the experts said, most people who die aren’t whacked by flying debris; they drown in fresh water.

In Brattleboro, Vermont, the water has receded, and now there’s a flood of nice people underway (Brattleboro Reformer).


One man whose spent nearly eight hours per day helping clean tools and put the shop back together, (motorsports shop owner Stan)Lynde met at a coffee shop.

“He just asked me if I needed help with anything. I said sure and he’s been here every day since working his butt off,” Lynde said.

3) 9/11 AT 10

PBS NewsHour has been soliciting videos of people describing how 9/11 has changed their lives. Here are a couple of Minnesotans’ reaction.

4) SAY SOMETHING NICE

What if we had a national holiday in which everyone just said nice things?

Go ahead, right down there in the comments section…

5) DAILY FAIR ZEN

Mark Wheat’s favorite things at the State Fair…

If you saw a pregnant woman drinking at the Fair, would you say something? A group trying to raise awareness of fetal alcohol syndrome tested the question this week, WCCO reports.

Bonus: “Nothing says you’re on an American street” more than the big, blue mailbox, Nancy Pope, the postal historian at the Smithsonian, says. But, the San Francisco Chronicle says, they’re disappearing fast. Most of them have been removed because nobody uses them.


What has changed is us. In the 1970s, when women entered the workforce in earnest, letter writing began to decline because women – who had been the primary letter writers – had less spare time. At the same time, long-distance phone calls became cheaper.

“The Internet didn’t kill mailboxes. We started the process long before the Internet came around,” Pope said.

TODAY’S QUESTION

Although the Minnesota State Fair prohibits smoking in public buildings and in the seating areas of entertainment venues, fairgoers encounter lots of cigarette smoke. Today’s Question: Should the State Fair prohibit smoking on the fairgrounds?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Travel expert Rudy Maxa at the State Fair.

Second hour: Food writer Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: An MPR special report and a discussion with St. Paul school superintendent Valeria Silva and Eric Mahmoud, founder of Harvest Prep and Best Academy, on ways to improve the achievement of minority students.

Second hour: Biz Stone and Evan Williams on the future of the Internet..

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: What’s next in Afghanistan?

Second hour: The age of information overload.