Five at 8: May 14, 2009

Don’t forget there’s a live chat here at 1 p.m. about the joys and concerns of biking. Share your tales and tips.

Now, then…

  • Having a Bike-to-Work Day is a nice little promotion, Charlie Quimby acknowledges at his blog, Across the Great Divide, as long as you don’t expect it to change anything. “But like bring-a-can-of-pork-and-beans-for-admission rock concerts and this-time-you-be-the-designated-driver Saturday nights, they won’t undo habits designed into our culture and our cities,” he writes.

    Did I mention we’re having a chat today?

  • One out of every four ballots submitted from people living overseas in 2008 went uncounted, according to a congressional report. “Registration deadlines, notary requirements, lack of communication, mail delays, poor address information and state laws that put in place untenable mailing dates are all severe problems,” Sen. Charles Schumer, chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, said at a hearing.

    Why do we cling so fervently to the idea of a paper ballot and the mail system? Why not allow people overseas to go online and submit their votes? “Because it could open the system up to fraud and abuse,” opponents say. One out of four.

  • Researcher Hans Rosling has a truly interesting set of graphics showing the state of the AIDS epidemic over the years. It took 25 years for AIDS to stabilize, “but that doesn’t mean it’s getting better,” he says in this new TED video that was posted last night.
  • The Boy Scouts Explorer program is now training the kids in confronting illegal immigration. At this rate, who will be left to build benches along wooded nature paths?
  • What do you do with a jet that lands in the Hudson River? You cut it up. Here are some photographs in an interview with CBS. Better story: According to the photographer’s blog, US Airways wanted to use the guy’s pictures, but then refused to pay for them. The insurer — AIG — blocked the online publication, so the photographer started a “free Flight 1549 photos” campaign. Some of the images are here, and a profile of the photographer is here. I had no idea “industrial photography” could be so beautiful.


    Midmorning – A rebroadcast of the interview with Temple Grandin on the emotional life of animals. Oh, speaking of which…

    Midday – Who will be the next Supreme Court justice? I notice Amy Klobuchar’s name is getting mentioned by some of the local wags. If she were to get the gig — she won’t — would Gov. Pawlenty then appoint a senator? If so, how about Norm Coleman? These are the sorts of stories political reporters dream about.

    Talk of the Nation – First hour: The military and mental health care on the battlefield. Second hour: TV series’ finales. Seven characters from major shows will bite the dust, four will get married, and two will be institutionalized (we know House is one, in Mayfield, no less. If I were to joke that he’ll be treated by Dr. Theodore Cleaver, would anyone under 50 get it?).

    All Things Considered — Sasha Aslanian reports on a federal education program that helps immigrant/minority/low-income kids go to college. From Washington, Pam Fessler reports that while charitable giving is on the decline, “giving circles” are increasing.