The climate change quest (5×8 – 11/12/12)

In search of the new normal, the land of racist tweets, the cult of the military personality, what the election meant, and the amazing shrinking Thanksgiving.


Here’s the Monday Morning Rouser:

1) IN SEARCH OF THE NEW NORMAL

Tornadoes in November? Two of them hit the east metro Saturday night when 70 mph winds were recorded in downtown Saint Paul. Normal? What’s normal?

David Pogue of the New York Times set out to discover the truth about climate change with three things in mind: Is there climate change? Are WE causing it? And if so, is there anything we can do about it?

In the end, it’s all about the sock puppets!Meanwhile, the cleanup continues after Hurricane Sandy. Military veterans are turning out by the hundreds to be part of the recovery effort.Two weeks after the hurricane, it still seems like the rest of America doesn’t “get” the magnitude of the disaster, nor the heroism on display. What a magnificent people we can be!2) LAND OF RACIST TWEETS

During the day after the 2012 presidential election, a group of geography students and academics monitored racist tweets about the election on Twitter. The group says technology — specifically: Twitter — “reflects the society in which it is based, both the good and the bad. Information space is not divorced from everyday life and racism extends into the geoweb and helps shapes its contours; and in turn, data from the geoweb can be used to reflect the geographies of racist practice back onto the places from which they emerged.”

Where did most of the racist tweets come from? A couple of states in the deep south. But Minnesota was right there in the ratio of racist tweets…


The prevalence of post-election racist tweets is not strictly a southern phenomenon as North Dakota (3.5), Utah (3.5) and Missouri (3) have very high LQs. Other states such as West Virginia, Oregon and Minnesota don’t score as high but have a relatively higher number of hate tweets than their overall twitter usage would suggest.

Here’s the interactive map:

racism_map.jpg

3) WHAT DID IT MEAN? WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO MEAN

Maybe it would be a good idea to start asking people on the election ballot why they voted the way they did. It’d make it easier on the country to try to supply its own definitions. Today, there are several stories trying to nail down the “what it means” thing.

MPR’s Tom Scheck and Laura Yuen visited Edina and found the conservative social agenda was a turnoff. People wanted more independence and now want more compromise.

Meanwhile, NPR reports the Tea Party says the problem is Mitt Romney et al., weren’t conservative enough.

It also means that cities rule… and everywhere else doesn’t.

And it means the end of a — too short — golden age of comedy…

4) THE CULT OF THE MILITARY PERSONALITY

When your affair is compromised because one of your mistresses sends hate mail to another lady friend, maybe you’re not the person who should be getting the benefit of the doubt from journalists and political types. Yesterday on the TV talk shows, political analysts wondered why David Petraeus needed to quit the CIA, what with his sterling reputation and character and all.

“Even after his carefully crafted public persona was unraveling, they were still buying into it,” Spencer Ackerman writes on Wired.com’s Danger Room. He writes that journalists were perpetuating myths, something that often happens in matters of the military.

5) SHRINKING THANKSGIVING

It’s only a matter of time before Thanksgiving is just another day. Last year, the controversy involved stores opening at midnight, giving people a head start on Black Friday. Now, the stores that call the shots have decided to open at 9 pm on Thursday.

Target has joined WalMart in the earlier time. Sears will open even earlier — 8 pm. The companies say it’s what people want.

TODAY’S QUESTION

Citing an extramarital affair, CIA Director David Petraeus resigned his post. Today’s Question: Did CIA Director David Petraeus do the right thing when he resigned?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Does job retraining work?

Second hour: Famous R&B singer Bettye LaVette joins us in studio to talk about her new album, ‘Thankful ‘N Thoughtful,’ her new book ‘A Woman Like Me’ and what it’s like looking back on 50 years in show business.

Third hour: Storms and the electric grid.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Former Republican congressman Vin Weber and former DFL Speaker of the House Margaret Anderson Kelliher discuss the meaning of the election and our political future. Recorded at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – When your child returns from war.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - What happened when an Israeli pop star recorded songs in the language of an enemy country, Iran? Her Persian album became a huge hit among Israelis. And it’s made her an underground sensation in Iran. NPR reports on singing in a taboo tongue.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency promises a “major announcement” about the condition of the heavily polluted Minnesota River. MPR’s Mark Steil will have the details.

Could you eat for a week on a food stamp budget? A group of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders in Minnesota is joining others across the country to find out. They’re calling it the “food stamp challenge,” and they’re hoping to raise awareness about hunger in Minnesota. Julie Siple will report.