Five at 8 – 10/20/09: Start snitchin’

1) A story to think about the next time you see one of those “Stop Snitchin'” signs in Minneapolis. In Chicago, home to the YouTube-enabled beating death of a young man, residents of neighborhoods are trying “positive loitering.”

Although their numbers may be small — there are nearly 20 men and women on this night — the residents hope their impact is felt. Their mission, they say, is to restore order to Uptown, at least for one night of the week. The early response is promising, no matter how fleeting.

“The second they see us coming, we see them scatter. They go into their buildings, or they go down into alleys,” said Uptown resident Michael Garzel. “Even on 45-degree evenings with rain, we’ll still be out there because we see it working.”

(h/t: Nick Young)

Meanwhile, all eyes are on you, Mankato. Somebody stole a trike belonging to a developmentally disabled seven-year-old-girl who rides it for therapy.

2) Generational warfare, anyone?

The continuing bailouts are penalizing prudent savers to the benefit of the inprudent, says Allan Sloan in today’s Washington Post (reg. required):

Wall Street will be chowing down on essentially free money, while fixed-income people living off their investments will have to eat into their capital, take more risk or reduce their standard of living. A nice reward from their government for a lifetime of saving. Thanks for nothing, guys.

“Fixed-income people,” of course, is nicey nice — mostly — for “old people,” or, as the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Cynthia Tucker said on Monday’s Talk of the Nation, “The Greediest Generation.”

Well, that was a rather provocative line I used because I was trying to make a point that Federal spending has increased so much on seniors that they are, compared to children especially, relatively well-off, particularly, when you consider their health care. I actually started thinking about this a lot over the summer when there was so much controversy over health care reform, and seniors are the group most likely to be opposed to President Obama’s health care reform plans, although, interestingly enough, they are the people who receive government-backed insurance.

And, as I was watching this debate, and then most recently with the announcement that the president wants Congress to give seniors $250 tax because they won’t get a cost of living adjustment from Social Security, I thought, well, wait a minute. Why is the federal government spending so much time pandering to seniors? I certainly know that there are some seniors who were strapped, but there are many more people in other age groups who were strapped.

3) Meanwhile, from the youth-is-wasted-on-the-young file: competitive trampolining.

4) According to the blog, Smart Politics, Rep. Tim Walz has the highest percentage of campaign contributions coming from within the state. Rep. Keith Ellison has the lowest percentage. The blog, however, says Rep. Michele Bachmann has the most “grassrootsy” of the grassroots support. The state that donates the most money to Minnesota’s congressional delegation is California, and Ellison raises almost twice as much from there as from Minnesota. Expect a GOP press release criticizing the “Minnesota congressman from California.”

What all of this means… who knows?

5) Farewell, Vic Mizzy.


Recent changes to traffic flow on Hennepin and First Avenues in downtown Minneapolis have also moved bike lanes close to the curb. Planners hope a parking lane that separates bicycles from traffic will offer bikers some protection. What change would be most effective in helping cars and bikes share the road?

That reminds me: Remember this video I made on that bike-to-work day?

I vowed to try to ride to work once per week through the summer. Now that the biking season — for normal people — is about over, how’d that turn out? Not so good. I biked to work only one other time all summer.


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Richard Dawkins has a new book that lists the evidence that the theory of evolution explains how life on Earth came to be.

Second hour: Author Sherman Alexie reflects on moving off the reservation.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Steven Simon, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, discusses both the war in Afghanistan and the debate over what the U.S. should do next in the region.

Second hour: An America Abroad documentary explores the history and future of the U.S.-Mexico relationship. The program is called, “From NAFTA to Narcotics: The Cross-Border Economy.”

Talk of the Nation (1 – 3 p.m.) – First hour: How does health insurance really work? “This American Life” and the “Planet Money” team join guest host Ari Shapiro.

Second hour: Hoaxes and why we believe them. When NPR joins in the trivia as news, it’s hopeless.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Mark Zdechlik has the view from the state’s workforce centers, which are seeing demand soar as much as 55 percent compared to last year even as the official jobless rate falls.

NPR looks at the group that’s behind the bombing in Iran over the weekend that killed high-ranking officials of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. For the record, I may be the only journalist in America who doesn’t reflexively put “elite” in front of Revolutionary Guard.

Lynn Neary looks at the book price war that Target has just joined. Author Kate DiCamillo is on with Melissa Block, talking about her new book, “The Magician’s Elephant.”

And Daniel Zwerdling notes that 20 percent of U.S. airliners are now maintained at facilities overseas, and he’s got troubling stories about that.

  • Joanna

    Interesting fact about campaign financing, but out of context what does it mean, indeed? “highest percentage of campaign contributions coming from within the state”–in races

    running with stiff opposition or not?

    Percentage of what totals? low, high, compared to what?

    did they have money left over from before?

    do they have different policies on fund-raising?

    Any other Muslims in Congress?

    what’s the national context of the next race? We know a flood of money came in against MB after she said something wacky during primetime, so we know these races are not only of concern to our state; Walz got a lot of support from out of state when first elected because of the national context.