A day in the life of Occupy (5×8 – 12/5/11)

Occupy around the nation, the things we don’t have, dying to please in the NHL, why people crash, and NPR’s new boss.


The Monday Morning Rouser features Hubert Sumlin, who died yesterday:

1) A DAY IN THE LIFE OF OCCUPY

It’s a familiar problem in the foreclosure crisis. Someone makes timely payments until a health problem sucks up the money, then the bank forecloses. That, apparently, is the story of a Minneapolis man, who will be the third person the Occupy Minnesota movement has tried to help forestall foreclosure. The group is 1 for 2 so far in occupying homes of people who have been foreclosed upon.

The Uptake interviewed Bobby Hull at his Columbus Ave. South home which the group will attempt to occupy on Tuesday.

In Chicago, about 30 Occupy protesters have climbed atop an old motel to support a pastor who’s been camped out in a tent there. He wants to tear down the former drug den and build an economic development center. The pastor came up with the idea after attending a funeral for a young man in the neighborhood. (Video)

A few dozen protesters were arrested at the OccupyDC site after a shed became the lightning rod for the protest. The incident was the first confrontation at the protest site which has largely been spared the showdowns in other cities.

In Massachusetts, a Boston Globe-Suffolk University poll showed residents there split on the Occupy movement. But it clearly seems to break down along political lines.

2) THE THINGS WE DON’T HAVE

“Sam,” who blogs fairly anonymously at the blog, “Blogging at FL 250,” is a good example of a terrific writer who gives blogging a good name. He’s a Minnesota-based pilot for a regional airline with the ability to connect the rest of us to his exploits and observations. He has a poignant story in his latest post about our ability to fixate on the things we don’t have.

It’s a post called “Wanting,” and it’s based on a miscarriage.

3) DYING TO PLEASE

The New York Times is taking a long look at the life and death of Derek Boogaard, the former member of the Minnesota Wild who died last year. Thousands of Wild and NHL fans made Boogaard their favorite, and it wasn’t because he could score. It was because he entertained them with what appears to ultimately have killed him. As much as the New York Times series focuses on the systemic problems of concussions in sports, it’s hard to escape the notion that it’s also a look at the kind of people we are.

Here’s part two.

4) WHY PEOPLE CRASH

In the last week there have been an unusual number of accidents in which cars ended up in rivers and lakes. Just last night, for example, a pick-up truck traveling east on Vadnais Boulevard in Vadnais Heights went into the lake and ended up upside down. What are the odds that a deputy on a dive team happened to be driving by. He put on a wet suit and rescued the man inside, who wasn’t breathing, the Pioneer Press says.

Yesterday morning, a woman died after the SUV she was driving rolled down a hill and into St. Louis Bay in Billings Park.

Pick-up trucks and SUVs tend to be involved in dry-weather accidents because drivers, especially men over 45, have an improper sense of security. Women crash at a high rate because they don’t adjust for road conditions, the Purdue University study, reported in the Chicago Tribune, says:


“My theory is that women tend to drive at the same speed regardless whether the road is wet or dry, failing to compensate for the reduced friction. But interestingly, women’s crash rates do go down on snow and ice,” (Purdue University researcher Fred Mannering) said.

An earlier study conducted by Mannering found that there was no major decline in serious-injury accidents in the 1990s when antilock brakes and air bags became standard equipment on vehicles. His hunch was that people drove faster or more easily became distracted, perhaps lulled into feeling safer thanks to the safety technology.

5) THE NEW BOSS

The new boss of NPR (formerly National Public Radio) is beginning his first full week of work at the news organization with an age-old dilemma: How to make or keep NPR relevant in all sorts of media without alienating the local stations which have made it an information powerhouse?

“One of the strengths of public radio is localism,” Gary Knell tells the New York Times. “The fact is the stations need NPR because we find these anchor programs, and NPR needs the stations for the local connectivity that they provide.”

Last Thursday, Knell went on NPR’s Talk of the Nation and said, “I think we have a fantastic product with millions and millions of listeners who support us each and every day, and I want to continue in that tradition and try to work to build a sustainable economic plan for NPR that’s going to last for years to come.”

Seems innocent enough, but the comment angered some listeners — public radio listeners are notoriously detail-centered — when he referred to NPR’s content as product.

“When did NPR become a product, not a service? I know this sounds nitpicky, but there is an important distinction in the corporate world. A product is something for sale or profit. A service is something which is provided, hopefully, independent of vested interests. This country desperately needs information services which are passionately independent and neutral, not a product for sale,” one listener wrote.

Bonus: Jazz for cows. Why not?

TODAY’S QUESTION

An Intelligence Squared debate being aired on Midday today looks at the question of whether too many young people go to college. Unemployment among college graduates is high, and student-loan debt now exceeds credit-card debt. Today’s Question: Is the value of college overemphasized?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Making sense of congressional redistricting.

Second hour: Flying with children.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: St. John’s University historian Nick Hayes, on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union.

Second hour: A debate from NPR’s Intelligence Squared series: Do too many kids go to college?

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: U.S. options in Syria.

Second hour: Actor John Lithgow.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - New findings in the psychology of dishonesty. Are creative people more likely to be dishonest? Some researchers say they could be, because they have the creativity to talk themselves into lying or cheating.