Five at 8 – 6/24/09

It’s a somewhat abbreviated 5@8 today. I had to take Mrs. News Cut to the airport for an early-morning flight. Apologies.

The best part about being up for sunrise? Everything seems possible. MPR’s Nate Minor captured the moment in St. Paul this morning.


  • “We’re all endowed with curiosity, but a lot of us, for very good reasons, stop using it after a certain point. After a certain age, we tend to substitute opinions for thinking.” That’s Phil Terry, a business consultant, quoted in a Lane Wallace column in The Atlantic today that asks if thinking is coming back in fashion? The solution to substituting opinion for facts, she suggests, is Aristotle and the classics.
  • There are plenty of people out of work, of course, but apparently not enough of them know how to weld a perfect weld, or are electric linemen, or respiratory therapists. “For these hard-to-fill jobs, there seems to be a common denominator. Employers are looking for people who have acquired an exacting skill, first through education — often just high school vocational training — and then by honing it on the job. That trajectory, requiring years, is no longer so easy in America,” the New York Times says.
  • The Wolves. People are talking about the Minnesota Timberwolves. In June! The team swung a big trade late yesterday as it tries to forget it ever heard of Hibbing. There’s plenty of coverage out there but when it comes to the Timberwolves, only Britt Robson matters.

    And if he was wrong to bum-rush (Mike) Miller instead of waiting for a more propitious moment to deal him, he was absolutely right in his timing with Foye. If the kid who’s heart is on the wrong side of his body can ever make another deal with the devil that is longer than the month of January–if he can display that dazzling blend of clutch shooting setting up daredevil drives setting up beautiful feeds setting up more clutch jumpers for longer than 30 days, than the Wizards have depantsed David Kahn and all the snickers about his lack of genuine front office decision-making will turn into a shaming din. But that’s not the way I’d bet on it happening.

  • Do you know the difference between the Appalachian Trail and Argentina? If so, you may cut in front of the South Carolinians in line. Minnesota may have its share of weird politics, but we’re not South Carolina.

  • What do you wear to a Beekeeper’s Ball? Honey bees are shaping up to be the latest urban agricultural must-have, the new backyard chicken, according to the New York Times. This I’ve got to see. If you’re in the Twin Cities — the actual cities — keeping bees, let me hear from you.
  • As Minnesota pulls back from the concept of health care for the vulnerable, let’s look — again — at the Massachusetts experiment of health care for everyone. Slate is the latest to do so. It was a “resounding success”… on paper. But “roughly one in 10 state residents still failed to fill prescriptions, ended up with unpaid medical bills, or skipped needed medical care for financial reasons. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent to insure more Massachusetts citizens, but many people still weren’t getting necessary care. What happened?”

    Meanwhile, a story on Morning Edition today led me to this question: What’s the point of looking for long-term solutions, if our politicians only know how to think short term? It’s the story of a poison control center which costs $6 million a year to operate, but keeps people out of the more-expensive emergency rooms.

    Back in Minnesota, Steve Perry reports in Politics in Minnesota, the absence of one-time money for the next budget fix puts us right back in the soup.

  • Bonus: It’s been more than a week, I wonder how the digital conversion is going.


    Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – How likely is a greener auto industry? Kerri Miller examines the question with a couple of reporters who cover the industry in the first hour. Second hour: The man known for the “Endless Soup Bowl” and other eating experiments joins Midmorning to discuss the latest on food and diet research and his time at the USDA.

    Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – MPR’s Jon Gordon talks about the role of technology — Twitter, cell phones and YouTube in the popular uprising in Iran. Second hour: New York Times columnist Tom Friedman’s speech, which he gave last night in St. Paul.

    Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – The pleasures and sorrows of work.

    All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Sea Stachura reports on a summer camp for kids whose parents are in Afghanistan and Iraq. Tom Weber will have details on the University of Minnesota Regents’ vote on a dry TCF stadium. David Kestenbaum tracks the efforts of a clown, who is owed $200 by one of the big auto companies.

    Bookmark News Cut

    By tomorrow morning, MPR will have rolled out its two new Web sites, including one for news. That’s where you’ll find News Cut, but if you access this blog through the regular URL, you may not find it so easily. So please be sure to bookmark now and tomorrow morning you can access News Cut via your bookmark while you learn your way around the new sites. Don’t let me down here. Bobby’s gotta eat.