Five at 8 – 6/22/09

Welcome to Monday — Rouser Day in these parts.

  • The St. Petersburg Times is in the middle of publishing an investigative report on the Church of Scientology. It’s based on two high-ranking church leaders who have left the church. The first part was published Sunday. Today’s second installment details the alleged destruction of evidence after the death of a church member who was kept in isolation for weeks in Clearwater.
  • The most compelling story I heard all weekend I heard on This American Life on MPR on Saturday. It was a segment on the origins of things. We never think how things we take for granted got to be in the first place. How is it, for example, that the government can keep you at arm’s length from certain information by claiming national security? It turns out it stems from the 1940s crash of a B-29. Widows of crewmembers sued by the government refused to turn over copies of the accident report. The crew was working on a top-secret project and the government claimed to turn over the report would be to reveal those secrets. The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the government (US vs. Reynolds) , even though it never reviewed the document.

    When the accident report was declassified, there were no secrets in it, only evidence of wrongdoing. But it was too late. The legal precedent stands to this day, even though it was built on a lie. Here’s a Web site dedicated to the case.

  • John Hodgman wowed ’em at the White House Radio-Televisions Correspondents Dinner in Washington over the weekend. He wowed me because he mentioned his dad is from my declining Massachusetts mill city hometown.

  • What’s a Minnesota summer weekend without blowing up something?

    The Lowry Avenue bridge demolition was filmed by Chuck Olson. Here’s a video of its last day. Sometimes, filming these things can be dangerous (language warning).

    This would’ve been a great weekend for one of our “Weekend in Minnesota” photo tours of the region. Aside from the demolition, we had Rock the Garden in Minneapolis, a country music festival in Wisconsin, a classical music festival on the civilized side of the St. Croix, and the strongest man competition in Rochester.

  • A tombstone tells the story. Have you ever read the obituaries in the morning paper, trying to get a clue as to the cause of death? In Ancestry Magazine, Ellen Notbohm, who went to North Dakota to look for her family’s history, stumbled across the tombstone of Evan Paulson. “Killed while on duty (a)s Night watchman at Mayville, N.D. Sept. 3, 1893 1 o’clock a.m.,” it said. The “most atrocious crime in Traill County” is forgotten no more. (h/t: Chuck Haga, Grand Forks Herald). MPR’s Nikki Tundel tracks the trends in tombstones in this classic from last month.

  • Bonus: Adios, Kodachrome.


    Midmorning – Are teachers just interchangeable parts? In the first hour, Kerri Miller and her guests discuss changes in the way teachers are evaluated. Second hour: Alzheimer’s and aging. Aside: Check out Euan Kerr’s story on a play at the Guthrie that uses comedy to discuss Alzheimer’s.

    Midday – Ambassador Bruce Laingen, who was in charge of the U.S embassy in Tehran, Iran when taken hostage in 1979. Before the protests broke out in Iran, Laingen talked about President Obama’s Iran strategy in this article in The National. Second hour: “What Makes a Small Town Work?” A panel discussion from Grand Rapids.

    All Things Considered – Five years ago, the first families in a wave of 5,000 Hmong refugees arrived in Minnesota. Toni Randolph talks to several families and resettlement experts about how they’re adjusting. NPR in Washington will have a story from Cleveland, celebrating the fact the Cuyahoga River doesn’t catch on fire anymore. Of course most of the mills and manufacturing plants are closed in Cleveland, which is bad for the economy, but apparently good for the environment. NPR’s Kathy Lohr will also report from Wichita on how things have changed with the death of Dr. George Tiller.

    Tomorrow on Morning Edition – What’s it going to be like to go car shopping with fewer dealers around?

    • That’s a fine piece of video from Chuck, of the Lowry Ave. bridge going down. Hope the crew celebrated with a “Greenie” at Tony Jarros afterwards.

    • bsimon

      “This would’ve been a great weekend for one of our “Weekend in Minnesota” photo tours of the region.”

      Another event for the list would be the ‘Back to the 50s’ car event. Not normally my kind of thing, but I went with father-in-law, brothers-in-law and nephew. It reminded me very much of the Oshkosh air show which is a comparable display of a wide array of individuals’ talents, interests & efforts.

    • KPM

      Re: MSRA’s Back to the Fifties… I never was a big car guy, but my girlfriend has a soft spot for all things fifties and rock’n’roll… We swung by, and I am now reformed – I just don’t know how anyone could not be moved by the sight of so much classic automotive Americana.

    • Re: Tuesday’s Morning Edition, I’m shopping for a (used) car right now. Ugg. Not my fav thing to do.

    • momkat

      Great to see Dylan back when he was cute (and maybe we all were.) Your 5 at 8 is really addictive, Bob.

    • Joshua

      Thanks for rounding up a copy of the bridge demo. A task that other local news organizations couldn’t seem to accomplish.