Five at 8 – 6/29/09

Monday, Rouser style:

Thank-you to all of you who documented the weekend. You can find the results in this News Cut post. I imagine we’ll have a few stragglers today, so you may want to check back again later on.

1) Persians are known for poetry, Davar Iran Ardalan says. Just look at their tweets from the post-election crackdown on protests. Today, a recount of the disputed election begins.

Did someone say recount? Is today the day the Minnesota Supreme Court issues its ruling on the Norm Coleman challenge of Al Franken’s Senate victory? My gut says “yes.” It’s said “yes” every day for two weeks, however. What if the court upholds Franken’s win? Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he’ll sign the the election certificate for Franken, even though Coleman could try to keep the fight alive.

2) After Minneapolis, the FBI is also focusing on Clarkson, GA., in the quest to find out what’s happening to Somali boys, and who’s responsible for their showing up in the middle of a war in Somalia.

3) Nikki Tundel’s presentation on people who clean up foreclosed homes is an amazing piece of work. Why did someone leave their shaving cream behind? What’s happened to the kid who had the hobby horse? The love letter? Someone couldn’t take a love letter? Are they still together? In New York, someone left pets behind.

The BBC has an infuriating story today about how a lot of this happened. A former Wells Fargo loan officer has turned whistleblower in a suit in which Baltimore is suing the bank:

“I think to some degree you knew you were putting people into loans they really didn’t need to be, but we were doing exactly what the company asked. At that time in the office we’d say ‘we’re riding the stagecoach to hell’.”

4) It took a few days but Britt Robson has finally been able to post his story on the Timberwolves draft. It’s well worth waiting for.

5) It’s day 4 of the Michael Jackson story and the New York Times wins the award for pulling a different angle out of its hat to keep the story alive. Why are African Americans embracing Jackson in death when he apparently didn’t want to be black in life?

Gerald L. Early, a professor of African-American studies at Washington University in St. Louis, pointed to Mr. Jackson’s self-image as an adolescent who hated the fact that he had a broad nose. In some reports, his father was said to have told Mr. Jackson he was ugly.

“If blacks were not, in some degree, emotionally and psychologically scarred from their oppression,” Professor Early said in an e-mail message, “they would hardly have needed the Black Power and the Black is Beautiful movements of the 1960s, efforts to restore their mental health.”

The story suggests Jackson “paved the way” for Barack Obama. OK, then.

“Are we rewriting history over Michael Jackson?” the BBC’s World Have Your Say program is asking.

How to assemble a TV obit.


It’s been nearly eight months since the election that Minnesotans thought would decide the race between incumbent Norm Coleman and challenger Al Franken. How has the Senate dispute affected your faith in the electoral process? Submit your responses here.


Midmorning – First hour: How the super rich serve society. A look at whether the wealthy might help drive the next economy. The guest is Robert Frank, who has now been mentioned in this space three times in the last three 5@8’s. Second hour: Sarah Weinman, who reviews mystery fiction for the Los Angeles Times and blogs at “Confessions of An Idiosyncratic Mind,” and Ron Charles, the book editor for the Washington Post Book World, have tips for summer reading. Do people still have time to curl up on the hammock with a book? In Massachusetts, educators are trying something different to get kids to bury their noses in one.

Midday – Constitutional law professor Suzanna Sherry from Vanderbilt University discusses the end of the Supreme Court term and the key rulings. At noon, a documentary from the “Inside Out” series, about the role of zoos in conservation and education.

Talk of the Nation – What’s to say about Michael Jackson? Talk of the Nation will try.

All Things Considered – Let’s say you’ve fallen behind in your mortgage payment, what happens when you to work with your bank to avoid getting in too deep, as the experts suggest? What happens? Sometimes, not much. MPR’s Jess Mador reports. NPR’s Rob Gifford will report the upper crust of Britain is returning to power. It hasn’t happened since Margaret Thatcher.

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