Five at 8 – 6/26/09

The sun sets at 9:03 this evening. There are only 15 more days here on which the sun sets after 9 p.m. It’s one of the endearing qualities of the region; drive-in movies don’t start until 10 p.m., for example.

Last night, I took this picture at sunset out at South St. Paul Airport (Fleming Field)

Summer in Minnesota provides more “daytime” to enjoy where we live.

New Minnesota Timberwolf Ricky Rubio complained about playing in Minnesota the other day; he said it was too cold here. So here’s the deal: It’s time for the annual “Minnesota Weekend” photo show on News Cut. Take your camera with you this weekend, take a picture of something uniquely Minnesota and send it to me. Ideally, we’ll have a great cross-section of life here.

Here’s last year’s project:

Ricky, you’re going to love it here!

Now, then. It’s Friday. Fridays are for “soft landings” into the weekend.

1) It’s Bring Your Guns to Church Day tomorrow in Kentucky. “God and guns were part of the foundation of this country,” Pastor Ken Pagano told the New York Times this week. “I don’t see any contradiction in this. Not every Christian denomination is pacifist.”

2) Are you sick yet of all the stories about how Twitter is helping bring democracy to Iran? Farhad Manjoo has the other side of the story in Slate today with “The Revolution Will Not Be Digitized: How the Internet helps Iran silence activists.”

The big story in Iran is confusion–on a daily basis, there are more questions than answers about what’s really happening, about who’s winning and losing, about what comes next. The surprise isn’t that technology has given protesters a new voice. It’s that, despite all the tech, they’ve been effectively silenced.

3) Keillor looks back as Prairie Home Companion turns 35. Yes, mentioning Keillor is a cheap attempt to get people to click their way to News Cut. He’s one of the handful of subjects that always causes a spike in traffic here. So is any story about Bob Dylan (whoops, sorry). And Coleman-Franken (my fingers slipped on the keyboard), and Amy Goodman (Welcome, Amy Goodman fans).

4) Is the U.S. becoming the late ’80s Russia, when the infrastructure began collapsing? Time has a feature today on the nation’s rail transit system, which is — literally — a disaster.

Even as national public-transit ridership hits levels not seen since the 1950s — the decade when the new interstate-highway system began siphoning travelers off trains — federal funding has not risen in step, leaving the biggest systems struggling to pay for the very capital projects that could improve performance and safety.

It’s a timely story considering that light-rail in Minnesota is five years old today.

5) Why you can’t trust the online product reviews you read.

Bonus: In the Loop has been looking into the story of Michael Kinsell, the 18 year old who thought he would be the next Mr. Rogers. Kinsell booked and even sold tickets to an event where Tom Hanks, Yo Yo Ma, Bette Midler, Gov. Schwarzenegger and even the reclusive Prince were slated to come.


If you’ve lost your job, or you’re worried about it, what’s your Plan B?

Of course, this raises another question with me How can you have lost your job and not be worried about it? Follow the link above to discuss it.


Why, yes, there will be a News Cut Quiz posted here later today.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Recent college graduates are facing the toughest job environment in decades. Two career counselors talk about how to navigate the job market and find meaningful work in a slow economy. Second hour: Whether it’s your fantasy career or a job possibility in the wings, you should have an idea where your next job will be, according to career advisors. But knowing you should have a “Plan B.” This is Plan B day at MPR.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Jim Walsh of MIT’s Security Studies Program will discuss the situation in Iran. Second hour: Economist Robert Frank, speaking at the Commonwealth Club of California about “Common Sense Principles for Troubled Times.”

Talk of the Nation (1 – 3 p.m.) – It’s Science Friday. The talk focuses on alternative energies– from diatom oil to hydrogen storage in chicken feathers. A look at wind’s potential to power the world and an airplane the flies itself. Chicken feathers? Sure. Check it out.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Laura Yuen has a follow-up to “The State Budget in Your Backyard. She talks to city, education and health officials to see how the governor’s unallotment plan affects the city. Former MPR reporter Martin Kaste will have a piece via NPR asking whether the biofuels effort is dying. Seattle has decided to stop using biofuel in its city fleet. They’re looking for something greener.

Trivia: Want to feel old? The Timberwolves pick last night of Ricky Rubio is the first time a player has been drafted in the NBA who was born in the ’90s. (h/t: Bill Simmons)