Five at 8 – 6/12/09

5) It’s a dark, dark day for those of us who cannot carry a tune. Singing in a Choir is Good for You, reports Alison Young, a host of MPR’s classical music service. The tone deaf might as well go buy a cat. (h/t Julia Schrenkler, Tom Weber)

4) If you still think “space shots” — as we used to call them in the old days — are cool, I recommend Spaceflight Now. The shuttle Endeavour is to lift off on Saturday. Former CNN anchor Miles O’Brien is leading the coverage, which begins at 3 a.m. tomorrow. If you’re staying up late tonight to get your vanity Facebook URL, just stay up a little longer. Oh, and Mark Polansky, who is commanding the mission, is on Twitter.

3) Charter schools have been taking it on the chin recently, but the work of one in Northfield is worth noting. A group of 6th-8th graders are rehabbing a boat as part of a project to learn about the Mississippi River. That sort of creative teaching reminds me of Peter Denny, the Washburn High School teacher in Minneapolis who got kids interested in things like science by having them build airplanes — real airplanes. Peter has since retired and the program was shut down. Take your seats, kids.

2) The reviews are in on the first comedy show entirely taped, edited and broadcast in a war zone. The New York Times says Stephen Colbert’s week in Baghdad was “unexpectedly charming,” but he’s no Bob Hope.

Now this:

1) Here’s a topic we touched on in a good give-and-take on Twitter the other night. Is there a fair link between the Republican Party and the shooter at the Holocaust Museum? By way of NPR, the New Republic’s Jonathan Chait stirs it up.

First, the “conventional political classification” is a rubric that accounts for extremists on the far right or left who abhor Democrats or Republicans. Ralph Nader has a lot of bad things to say about the Democratic Party, but that doesn’t make him hard to classify on the left-right spectrum


I may drive out to Redwood Falls today for the Minnesota Inventors Congress (there’s very little weekend News Cut audience so it may not be worth spending your money to go). If I do, posting will be non-existent here. But click to here anyway because I’ve got to eat, too.

Midmorning – First hour: Life after death. Second hour: Wolfgang Puck on life before death.

Midday – First hour: Bird experts Chet Meyers and Jim Williams. Second hour: Playwright Tony Kushner speaking with Guthrie Theater Artistic Director Joe Dowling earlier this week. Kushner discusses his work, including his latest play, “The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.”

Talk of the Nation – It’s Science Friday! NASA’s upcoming moon launch, could planets collide in our solar system, twin European spacecraft studying the origins of the universe a look at the controversial experiments of psychologist Stanley Milgram, what are fingerprints for, and the world’s stinkiest flower blooms again. Yes, it’s the Corpse Flower. Been there. Done that.

All Things Considered – Tim Post provides an update on the University of Minnesota’s plans for dealing with less state funding. Students are said to be pleased, but staff are worried they ll take the brunt of cuts. Euan Kerr profiles the large exhibition of pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

  • Bob

    Regarding the issue of whether the Republican establishment bears any culpability for domestic terrorist acts, Paul Krugman’s 6/11 NYT op/ed (“The Big Hate”) notes the following:

    “Today, as in the early years of the Clinton administration but to an even greater extent, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment.

    Krugman asserts that these forces have gone out of their way to provide a platform for conspiracy theories and apocalyptic rhetoric, and that “Whatever dividing line there was between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd seems to have been virtually erased.”

    Krugman observes that while Rush Limbaugh’s rants today aren’t very different from his rants in 1993, “(Today) he occupies a different position in the scheme of things. Indeed, according to a recent Gallup survey, 10 percent of Republicans now consider him the ‘main person who speaks for the Republican Party today,’ putting him in a three-way tie with Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich. So when Mr. Limbaugh peddles conspiracy theories…that’s a case of the conservative media establishment joining hands with the lunatic fringe.”

    Krugman also lays blame at the feet of the R.N.C. for its fatuous and incendiary claim that “the Democratic Party is dedicated to restructuring American society along socialist ideals.”