Five at 8- 9/21/09: Problem-solving the American way

Monday morning. It’s time to bow our heads. Let us play:

1) 60 Minutes was more like 60 Seconds last evening, which was too bad because this segment is a story worth telling, and now, retelling. The leap in technology is remarkable. But it’s impossible to watch this segment without thinking about the things that are possible when the right people are motivated. It’s also a reminder how many people are coming home from Iraq without an arm or two.The Associated Press, meanwhile, profiles Michael Graves, the Minneapolis designer who has turned his talents toward products for the disabled.

2) It’s beginning to sound familiar. The Washington Post has gotten its hands on a secret memo from the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, who warns that the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict “will likely result in failure.” The memo also says the Afghan government is corrupt.

In other words: We’re losing.

Italy wants to bring its troops home from Afghanistan. The Taliban says history is on its side.

When does the issue move into the political dialog here?

3) A good way to kill a few hours and get a better picture. allows people to make and post charts. Take this one, for example. It’s the consumer price index by major groups. Clothing, it notes, used to cost twice as much as everything else (the ’60s). Now it costs half as much.

Play? Yeah, that’s what they want you to do. That way you’ll pay later.

4) There aren’t many better ways to start a day than with a Nikki Tundel moment. Today’s discovery:

Participants at the Ramsey House Finishing School for Young Ladies spent part of their school vacation studying the Victorian era — a time of morals, modesty and manners. Instead of seasonal attire like swimsuits and flip flops, these girls donned corsets and petticoats. And rather than roasting marshmallows, they enjoyed formal tea parties.

5) Who knew? There’s a kinship between gangsta rap and radio talk show hosts. Egos, haters, feuds, and verbal skills,

I’ll admit that the parallels between Jay-Z and Rush Limbaugh do not seem obvious, and to grasp them you need to look beyond the violence and misogyny that have made rap a favorite target of the right wing. (Come to think of it, perhaps each of these realms will be chagrined to be likened to the other.) But as soon as you dig beneath the surface, the similarities between talk radio and gangsta rap are nothing short of uncanny. And these similarities are revealing, too.


What will it take for you to recover from the recession?

The recession is showing signs of easing, but for many people it could be some time before a sense of security returns. What will it take for you to recover from the recession? Has the economic crisis cost you something besides money?


Midmorning (9-11a.m.) First hour: How much of the opposition to President Obama is based on race?

Second hour: Louise Erdrich across the decades.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics discusses U.S. health care reform efforts, and health care systems around the world.

Second hour: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Haynes Johnson and Washington Post reporter Dan Balz, speaking to the Commonwealth Club of California about their new book, “The Battle for America 2008.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: What U.S. soldiers face in combat, how new tactics, and new policies are playing out in Afghanistan.

Second hour: Bill T. Jones celebrates Abraham Lincoln in dance.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Ambar Espinoza previews the History Museum’s display of a replica of the most complete and best preserved T-Rex ever discovered.

NPR’s Tracy Samilton tours a lab where scientists are trying to figure out how to make one a battery that can power automobiles.

Debbie Elliot’s story is first-person accounts of the uninsured in New Orleans.

And a segment looks at the question of whether kids should walk to school more, and ride the bus less.


Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was basking in the adulation of his $1 billion stadium (is Zygi Wilf going to want one just like this?) on Sunday night before a national TV audience. The bad news is that national TV was watching Jerry Jones.


  • fasolamatt

    NPR’s Tracy Samilton tours a lab where scientists are trying to figure out how to make one that can power automobiles.

    News Quiz preview: “one” refers to:

    A scientist?

    A T-Rex?

    An MPR Blogger?

    The contents of Jerry Jones’ nose?

  • Tyler

    How is it even conceivable that we’ll “win” in Afghanistan? The country has never escaped from the Stone Age, so we can’t bomb it back to there.

    The populace is made up of warring tribal factions, and there’s no strong federal presence. Add to that a weak-to-non-existent economy, and you’re left with…?

    What’s to win.

  • Bob Collins

    Part of the plan said the goal is to use troops to “protect” Afghan civilians, rather than a policy of offensive attacks, many of which kill civilians.

    It’s hard to believe that the people of Afghan WANT the Taliban in power.

    Do they really want people who’ll throw acid in the eyes of girls who want to go to school? Do they really want a death sentence for bloggers who dare write about the treatment of women?

    If the answer is “no,” then perhaps the war is “winnable” on a hearts-and-minds campaign. But if the answer is “yes,” there’s no reason for the U.S. to be there with a strategy that they can win, and it’s highly unlikely the people of the U.S. will put up with the death of their kids on their behalf.

    But at some point, it has to become part of the national dialogue beyond the threat of terrorism to Amera, because otherwise the strategy becomes “we’ll die over there so we don’t have to die over here,” and that’s got 10 miles of flaws in it.

  • JackU

    On Afghanistan I can only point to the movie The Man Who Would Be King based on Kipling its a wonderful way to spend a few hours. Particularly if you are a Sean Conory and/or Michael Caine fan.

  • Joanna

    For the Mon. AM boogie-woogie infusion, many thanks!

    The book that convinces me that we are following the British and the Russians’ path to failure in Afghanistan is Jason Elliot’s An Unexpected Light, written before the occupation by the Taliban (about trips in 1979 and 1999) with a profound respect for the people of Afhanistan.