The Tuesday Morning Rouser:
The countdown to 9/11 is on. Every news organization is looking for a new angle and a different way to tell you what threat is lurking behind the rose bush, 10 years after the luckiest shot in the history of terrorism. I was working in the hangar at Fleming Field in South St. Paul yesterday, when a TV crew walked in and asked if they could ask me questions about 9/11 and aviation.
I’d already seen the silly warning from the Department of Homeland Security, so I knew what this story was going to say: “Small airplanes are dangerous to the public.”
“Violent extremists with knowledge of general aviation and access to small planes pose a significant potential threat to the Homeland,” according to an intelligence bulletin issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.
Never mind that authorities point out they have no information that says terrorists are trying to figure out how to get a small airplane. “A significant potential threat? What does that mean? That it’s not yet a significant threat. But you can’t get a story out of that.
Look, it’s been 10 years and small airplanes aren’t hard to find. If they played a significant role — say a role as big as a Ryder truck, for example — in terrorism, don’t you think one would’ve been used by now? Other than the kid who killed himself in Tampa and the guy who ran it into an IRS office in Texas (people have run cars into IRS offices too, by the way), where’s the evidence warranting an unusual warning?
Earlier in the day, I was out at Flying Cloud, where they have this blockade against the terrorists.
The Metropolitan Airports Commission has spent thousands of dollars to create the appearance of security. Is that really going to stop a dedicated terrorist? No, but that’s not the point. The point is for you to think it would stop a dedicated terrorist, just as some in the media needing a good story think an open gate puts us on the brink of a terrorist attack.
The very best thing we could say 10 years after 9/11 is we’re not a country full of people afraid of their shadow anymore. We’d be wrong.
2) THE COST OF ‘SAFETY’
How much has it cost to keep us ‘safe’ since 9/11? The Daily Beast has figured it out:
So where are we now? Check out this Slate.com story:
Ten years after 9/11, al-Qaida is in profound disarray. Osama bin Laden is dead. Fanatical Islam is on the decline. Our military remains the most sophisticated and experienced in the world. And yet, 10 years after 9/11, it’s also clear that the war on terror was far too narrow a prism through which to see the entire planet. And the price we paid to fight it was far too high.
3) DULUTH RALLIES FOR HIGH SCHOOLER
Brooke Wright, a high school senior, lost her eyesight in March during surgery for a brain tumor that had been discovered four days earlier, the Duluth News Tribune reports. “She also lost her sense of smell and taste and was left with numbness in her face, symptoms that have abated only slightly since then. She isn’t expected to ever see out of her right eye again, but there’s hope for her left eye,” the paper says.
It’s cost the family about $100,000 so far. They have no health insurance. “We just send them what we can; send everybody something,” her father, Chris Wright, said about paying the medical bills.
People have been chipping in and organizing benefits. Brooke, meanwhile, is trying to train to participate in an inline skating half-marathon up north in a few weeks.
4) YOU ARE EDITOR: NAMING NAMES
For the past few days, I’ve been fascinating by the Star Tribune’s reporting of Saturday’s shooting of a woman who tried to flee a state trooper on I-94 in Woodbury. The trooper, David Kalinoff, was dragged by Debra Doree, 48, of Landfall, when she took off after he apparently spotted what appeared to be drugs in the car. That’s the substance of the story so far, which has appeared in the paper three times.
This is the notation in each of the stories, this one from today’s final paragraph:
The woman, who lived near the shooting scene, a half-mile west of the Interstate 694/494 interchange, had no previous criminal record in Minnesota. Her husband, Scott W. Doree, 53, has multiple criminal and traffic convictions in Pine, Ramsey and Dakota counties, including for drug possession and drunken driving.
Her husband was not in the car and there’s no evidence he was involved in the incident, at least not yet. The question: Should someone’s criminal record be the subject of a story in which his/her involvement has not been indicated?
“Maybe they were his drugs,” a pal on Twitter said yesterday. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe they were the drugs of a neighbor of the woman. Should that person’s criminal record — if there is one — be publicized on the possibility?
The Associated Press and KARE 11 did not include the husband’s past in its stories about the incident.
5) PEOPLE DOING GOOD (CONT’D)
In early 2009, LeVan Williams was living the bachelor’s dream. He was a young, successful, pharmaceutical salesman, making a good salary and living in his Chicago condo, the Chicago Sun Times says. Life was good, but he felt something was missing. He knew he wanted to help his community. Why not adopt a kid in need?
He ended up with six.
“They said, ‘We have good news, we have you a little boy,’ ” Williams said. “Then they asked me if I ever considered taking more than one child, and I was like, ‘no.’ Not unless they had brothers and sisters, because I wouldn’t want to break up a family.”
Then he got laid off.
Bonus: Google raised the bar on its doodle this week in honor of what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 65th birthday.
It took three months to make the tribute, its author reports.
Now, if Google can just stop indicating that thriving businesses have closed. It’s “Places” site apparently makes it easy for “vandals” to say the businesses are permanently closed, the New York Times reports.
By the way, YouTube is streaming the Wembley Queen concert until this evening.
President Obama will address a joint session of Congress and the nation Thursday night to explain his plan to promote job growth and improve the economy. Today’s Question: In today’s economy, what’s the best strategy for creating jobs?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: FBI terrorism informants.
Second hour: The future of the “Arab spring.”
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Economist Ed Lotterman explains the Federal Reserve system and of all its controversies.
Second hour: National Press Club broadcast, featuring former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Real stories from real people.
Second hour: Poet Philip Schultz on his dyslexia.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Thomas Friedman and his co-author looked at industry, innovation and the drive for education in the Far East. Their conclusion became the title of their new book: “That Used to Be Us.” NPR interviews the New York Times columnist on how America fell behind and how it can come back.
The growing population of homeless teens also struggles to find enough to eat. And free food, from food shelves or food stamps, is sometimes used to barter for a place to sleep. MPR’s Julie Siple talks with youth on their own, who constantly balance paying for a place to stay with something to eat.
South Africans Stanley Trollip and Michael Sears write detective thrillers together under the pen name name Michael Stanley. Their books about a murder investigator David Kubu Bengu in Botswana have been translated into Spanish, French and Italian, and they have enjoyed international success. They do this despite the fact Trollip lives half the year in Minnesota. They read from their new book “Death of the Mantis” at Once Upon a Crime on this evening and MPR’s Euan Kerr talks to them.