Five at 8 – May 29, 2009

  • How Minnesota Supreme Court rulings play out — literally — on the street: Hubbard County has ordered police to stop using breathalyzers to catch suspected drunk drivers because of an April Supreme Court ruling that said defendants have a right to the device’s source code to determine if it’s calibrated correctly. Cops don’t have the code. The Park Rapids Enterprise said the ruling — and subsequent action — could derail hundreds or thousands of pending DWI cases in Minnesota.
  • Who’s in your cockpit? “Sam,” who writes the Blogging at FL250 blog has done it again. A blistering assessment of the training and qualifications of some pilots who are flying people around on regional carriers disguised as just smaller planes in big airlines. This all springs from the Colgan Air crash — in that case the plane was made to look like Continental Airlines. The coverage of the crash focused on a few conversations between the pilot and his inexperienced first officers, and generally ignored the near scandalous situation that the Twin Cities-based pilot-blogger describes. His “circle of blame” for the situation — which reallyis an accident waiting to happen — includes… you.
  • The Sweet Story of the Day: A cab driver and his fare in Cambridge, Ma.

    A close second in this category: Dana and Patrick James’ unexpected honeymoon, thanks to someone they met on a plane.

  • DFL campaign cash bundler Sam Kaplan is reportedly being vetted before being appointed ambassador to Morocco. On Thursday, the Obama administration nominated three other fundraising fat cats and Slate Magazine considers the “cushiest” ambassadorships in the world. “The swankiest gigs, according to former ambassadors, are the Scandinavian countries–Norway, Sweden, Finland–as well as Luxembourg and the Caribbean islands,” it reports.
  • Scientists in Germany have inserted a human gene for language into a mouse. It doesn’t talk, but it squeaks differently. “It would have been truly spectacular if they had wound up with a talking mouse,” another researcher said, jumping to the lead for the most obvious statement of a newsmaker this year.


    Midmorning – I’m live-blogging the second hour of today’s how, during which host John Moe will consider the lure of sports. You can share your story here. In the first hour. The first hour will examine the possible bankruptcy of GM.

    Midday – The program wraps up its look at the economy, the American dream, and the middle class with a call-in featuring Chris Farrell in the first hour. Second hour: President Obama’s national security advisor and retired Marine General James Jones, speaking to the Atlantic Council of the United States.

    Talk of the Nation – It’s Science Friday! How your brain decodes the spoken word, the bacteria that thrives on your skin, art that communicates DNA (sound familia? I wrote about it on a Five at 8 a few weeks ago.), and the tale of the world’s first telescope. Alas, no talking mouse.

    All Things Considered – Laura Yuen’s piece on Somali gang activity (originally scheduled for last evening) is slotted for this afternoon’s broadcast. Ambar Espinoza looks at the progress of the Highway 23 bridge replacement in St. Cloud. Nina Totenberg looks at the appeals court decision to overturn a Connecticut firefighters exam because too many white candidates were in a position to advance. Sonia Sotomayor was on that panel.

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