Five at 8: May 18, 2009

Here’s your Monday morning rouser: Boogie heaven. Just like Mondays.

I spy Paul Shaffer directing traffic, and a young Ron Wood not being old and creepy looking.

  • Civil rights legislation has hardly made a dent in society’s worst problems, Richard Thompson Ford writes in the Boston Globe. “These problems are a legacy of past racism, but not, by and large, the result of ongoing discrimination… It’s tempting to believe that we just need more of the same – that we’ve only been too timid in enforcing civil rights laws or too conservative in interpreting them.” He sees the high black unemployment rate being caused by African Americans’ inability to network outside their community. I hear a future Midmorning here.
  • Minnesota Budget Bites has an interesting assessment of Gov. Pawlenty’s decision to whack the general assistance program, figuring the poor would shift to MinnesotaCare. Meanwhile, looking at an old case study, it appears the governor is also undoing his mental health initiative in 2007. Disclaimer: The smartest person in my house makes her living helping Minnesotans get mental health (and other forms) care.

    Such a mess, yet I can’t help but notice the budget deficit was known to all when the session started last winter. Might it have been different if the sense of urgency for a solution had gripped the Capitol then, rather than in the last days of the session? Discuss.

  • National columnists are paid big bucks to monitor the state of affairs and put it in context for us? So how come so many of them don’t seem to understand that in the age of the Internet, blogs, and Twitter, you can’t steal someone else’s material anymore. Step forward, Maureen Dowd.How do you “inadvertently” lift an entire paragraph?

    More and more the timeline is raising the question of why, if the torture was to prevent terrorist attacks, it seemed to happen mainly during the period when the Bush crowd was looking for what was essentially political information to justify the invasion of Iraq.

    Dowd says she got it from a friend, which means at the very least, she plagiarized her friend.

  • I can’t tell if this is for real, or satire. GQ has a slideshow of cover sheets from the “secret” worldwide intelligence briefings of Don Rumsfeld for George Bush Each is adorned with Bible quotes.
  • The ongoing saga of James Lilek’s gazebo. Who hasn’t had a project like this? Meanwhile, I planted vegetables over the weekend where I used to plant flowers. The economy, you know.

    What we’re doing

    That’s 1-800-227 28…. Oh, wait. That’s over. Back to work!

    Midmorning – It’s easier to say you will reduce health care costs, as some big health care firms did earlier this month, than to actually do it. In the second hour: Rita Dove.

    Midday — These are the days Midday fans live for. A huge story at the Capitol, and Gary Eichten taking his show there. He’ll feature interviews with all four legislative leaders, key committee chairs and political analysts. On opening day, Gov. Pawlenty was absent from the show. Might he show up today? I’m guessing not. I’ll live-blog it here and chat with you about these last few days.

    Talk of the Nation – Ralph Eubanks tells the story of his grandparents and three generations of his family, on the black side, and the white side.

    All Things Considered — With the clock ticking closer to Armageddon the end of the legislative session, Tim Post will look at what higher education got out of the session, Tom Scheck will follow the action during the day, and Brandt Williams covers the start of the Fong Lee shooting trial in Minneapolis.

    Debbie Elliot has an interesting story: Prepaying for college. In Alabama, parents can pay for tuition while their kids are still young, locking in tomorrow’s education and today’s price. But the trust fund, it was reported recently, has lost 45 percent of its value. It sounds like educational Social Security.