Five at 8 – 7/8/09

You’ve probably seen this already but for the record, we will have a second today at which the date and time is 12:34:56 7/8/9.

1) Security concerns: I picked up my wife at the airport yesterday and passed that electronic sign which reminded me that the threat level is orange. It’s been orange since the Timberwolves were a good team. But it’s an electronic sign that can be easily changed if a decade comes along in which the threat level is pink. It’s silly, of course. We don’t know the difference between orange and pink and there’s nothing we can do about it anyway. How would we change? Walk backwards through the metal detector?

In Boston, the same “security concerns” are preventing artists — armed with a canvas and a paint brush — from painting the the tall ships that arrive in port this week.


Meanwhile, today a representative of the GAO will testify on Capitol Hill on its report on lax security at federal buildings across the country. The agency was able to smuggle bomb-making material into the buildings without detection. But at least the watercolors were kept out.

2) The New York Times has a slideshow of images of ethnic clashes in China.

The situation is providing yet another case study in how a government controlling the media can use it to full advantage.

3) Wonjon Park has cancer and it’s leading him to live through his art.

4) California is a basket case and proponents of legalization of marijuana smell an opportunity. Marijuana, Time claims, is California’s biggest cash crop.

5) Is it still camping if Minnesota officials make wireless Internet available at state campsites? The Rochester Post Bulletin columnist makes fascinating points in describing a recent camping horror story:

One of the things I like most about Carley is that there are no electrical hookups there, which scares away RV users and others who create temporary cities, complete with television sets, laptops and air conditioned sleeping quarters. To power all of those devices, they have to fire up a gas generator. Ever try to sleep at 6 a.m. on a summer morning with the windows open when your neighbor is mowing his lawn? Then you know what it’s like to spend a night across from an RV at Carley, only amplify the noise by a magnitude of four.

Great idea! Camping horror stories. Got any?

Related: No political vacation.

Bonus: What’s ahead for Al Franken? Former senator Dave Durenberger has an idea.


Is illegally sharing music immoral?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – Did someone say “basket case” and “California?” Kerri Miller tackles state budget woes across the country. Second hour: Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – Carleton College International Relations professor Roy Grow will be in the studio to discuss rising tensions and ethnic violence in China. Second hour: Live broadcast from the National Press Club, featuring Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Talk of the Nation (1 – 3 p.m.) – First hour: The politics of health care and an analysis of what Sarah Palin’s resignation means. Second hour: New York Times columnist Roger Cohen discusses his recent two week reporting trip — to Iran.

Cohen was on Charlie Rose a week or so ago. Scroll to 18:50 below, unless you want to hear even more about Michael Jackson.All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – In late 2007, the leader of a Somali resistance group delivered a fiery speech at the Minneapolis Convention Center, calling for fighters to take up arms against the Ethiopian invasion. This happened before any of the missing Somali men left Minneapolis. MPR’s Laura Yuen also reports on a Somali radio station interview with one of the missing men from Minnesota.

Former MPR producer Annie Feidt, now working in Alaska, will report on reaction to Sarah Palin’s resignation. David Welna — another person with a Minnesota connection — will report on the latest congressional push to ditch the “don’t ask; don’t tell” policy in the military.