Five at 8 – 10/1/09: Stories to talk about

The big story in the news, I guess, is that Tim Pawlenty has shuffled some paperwork to make some money to run for president. It’s a logical follow-up, I suppose, to the coverage last week that revealed that Tim Pawlenty would soon shuffle some paperwork to make money to run for president. My guess is the only people who really care about this sort of news — let alone are affected by it — already know this sort of news. I have to admit it. I’m bored with the news (Was there a bigger waste of time than the Michele Bachmann calendar photo ‘story’?). I’m bored with Tim Pawlenty, or at least the coverage of the process of his eventual run for president, and election that is three years away. Run. Don’t run. I’ll catch up with you in 2011 to see how it’s all going. In the meantime, I wonder if there’s anything or anyone else out there worth talking about?

1) We had to put our dog down a few weeks ago. I don’t know if we ever got his ashes and if we did, I don’t know what I did with them. The ashes of the dog before that sat on the workbench for a few years before I finally spread them around the…. oh, I don’t remember where I spread them. After reading Nikki Tundel’s story on how pet owners are remembering their dead pet, I’m wondering what’s wrong with me?

In other news….

2) Richard Dawkins on The Colbert Report last night:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Richard Dawkins
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Michael Moore

3) Another asking of the question: Why do some people persist where others don’t? Born without a left hand, Kevin Laue is now a freshman at Manhattan College, having earned a scholarship to play for the Jaspers and a chance to live out the dream of anyone who has been told they couldn’t play a sport they loved because of a physical defect.

4) Driving while texting. OMG, it’s not just for kids, anymore.

5) Minnesota Public Radio’s Preston Wright is profiled in today’s New York Times. It’s a story about urban homesteaders in St. Paul who have bought foreclosed properties.

“It’s astonishing to me that they were showing this home and they hadn’t cleaned it up,” he said. But when you buy a house out of foreclosure, a more common occurrence since the housing bust, unsavory surprises are part of the bargain.

The takeaway: Wright reached his 40s without ever possessing a credit card or accumulating any consumer debt.

Bonus: What’d I tell you? Brett Favre makes a great play, people get all excited, and the “give us a new stadium” push starts anew. Coincidence? You can’t stop drives for public stadiums. You can only hope to contain them.

The people we meet: Nice job by the South Washington County Bulletin, profiling Calvin Woody. “Woody” is just a guy patrolling the schoolyard who reminds us that we should just go do what we do and make a good impression doing it.


Members of the International Olympic Committee will vote Friday on the city that will host the 2016 Games. Among the contenders is Chicago, with strong support from Barack and Michelle Obama. What would a Chicago Olympics mean for the Midwest?

For one thing, we’d get regional Olympic soccer here.


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: A new poll shows that a majority of Americans feel shut out of the current effort to reform health care, yet are split on whether interest groups are a positive or negative influence on the debate. Midmorning looks at the role of lobbyists in health care overhaul, and how much they are impacting negotiations.

Second hour: Obsessive compulsive disorder traps its sufferer in an endless cycle of doubt and rituals invented to combat it. A psychologist and a broadcaster who’s worked to overcome OCD talk about the way the disorder is viewed, and the therapy that seems to work.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Civil rights leader Julian Bond joins Gary Eichten in studio. Bond was at the forefront of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and is currently the chairman of the NAACP.

Second hour: Lisa Jackson, head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at the Commonwealth Club of California about the Obama administration’s plans for improving the nation’s water quality, creating green jobs, and tackling climate change.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Just how dangerous is football?

Second hour: Motor city native Daniel Okrent on how Detroit can rise again.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – NPR asks the obvious question: Is Afghanistan Vietnam? We also consider this blog post in The New Yorker: Gorbachev Was Right.

In Afghanistan, after an initial and failed attempt to use special forces more aggressively to hit Islamist guerrillas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the Soviets began to pull back into Afghanistan’s major cities and to “Afghan-ize” their military operations. As they prepared to withdraw, Soviet troops moved away from direct combat, particularly in the countryside, and instead concentrated on training and equipping the Afghan forces. They also provided supplies and expertise the Afghans lacked–air power, for example, and SCUD missiles.

  • My sympathies on the loss of your dog. And people handle the death of their pets in different ways, Bob. There is nothing “wrong” with you.

  • bob

    Bob, have you officially expressed your point of view regarding the Pawlenty coverage to your bosses at MPR? I share your perspective that it’s boring. I’d go a step further and declare that it is not even news. So, what’s the imperative for MPR to give it any air time at all?

    Regarding your dog notes, we had the ashes from two of our dogs in the back of a clothes closet for years. We finally did spread them in our garden this summer. We had to euthanize our 13 year old greyhound earlier this week, but I made a vow that the ashes will go straight to the back yard.

  • Bob Collins

    I’m generally reluctant to express my opinion in the newsroom, Bob.

    Seriously, the flaw of every newsroom is the same. We (the news industry) sometimes cover things because everyone else is, and we forget to ask the two most important questions in the news business: who cares?

    The minute-by-minute coverage of every little thing Pawlenty is doing toward a run for presidency is process without substance. If the bottom line is it’s an indication he MIGHT run for president — and that is the bottom line — then that’s not telling us anything we didn’t already know.

    We went through the same thing with Ventura MIGHT run for governor and, even, Pawlenty MIGHT be VP. At the end of the day, what’s the big meaning of it all?

  • John P.

    I think the formation of exploratory or fund raising committees really is the start of a run for the presidency. He may not have filed the paperwork yet, but these activities truly do constitute the beginning of a run. I guess that’s news, but not a big suprise.

  • Heather

    Pawlenty might run for president?


    Bob, honestly? Tell them in the newsroom that I care more about your dog. I’m sorry for your loss.

  • kennedy

    I’d like hear some financial figures on the stadium before the PR machine gets revved up. Much more interesting than the early political machinations of a run for president.

    How can Jerry Jones do it on his own while other NFL owners beg/extort public money?