Five at 8 – 12/1/09: Huckabee’s Willie Horton

Today begins the third year of MPR’s News Cut. It was two years ago yesterday that the blog debuted. I got a nice present when a colleague said he looked over the shoulder of someone at a Minneapolis (I think) coffee shop yesterday morning to see what the unsuspecting person was looking at on his laptop. It was News Cut.

One of the things I thought we’d do more of is a feature called Three Minute Tales, like this one. Unfortunately, we just haven’t gotten the tips from readers about people they know who are doing interesting things. Why is that?

Let’s get to today’s 5@8 because that guy at the coffee shop has to get to work.

1) Police have killed the man thought to be responsible for the killing of four police officers in Lakewood, Washington.

This is probably a real bad week for any prisoner going before a parole board. What governor is going to release anybody days after a guy who should still be in prison murdered four cops? But, according to, Arkansas doubled its apparent dereliction when it told Washington authorities it was withdrawing it “no bail warrant” after Maurice Clemmons was arrested there in May. But what was he doing in Washington?

Nine years ago, Mike Huckabee, then the governor of Arkansas, commuted his sentence. He pardoned him a second time in 2004.

Huckabee wants to be president. He can probably think about doing something else. Why? This is why.

Wisconsin has its own he-shouldn’t-have-been-released controversy. Lindon Roy Knutson was indefinitely civilly committed as a sexually violent predator in Wisconsin and admitted to sexually assaulting at least 10 victims. They let him out last year. Yesterday in Willmar, bail was set at $500,000 for Knutson, who stands accused of beating, sexually assaulting and robbing a 73-year-old woman Nov. 22. In a church.

2) On Thursday, MPR’s Midday will air the Commonwealth Club of California speech by Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot of the US Airways plane that ditched in the Hudson River. This week, these video simulations are making the rounds of the Internet.

Follow the link for more.

3) Oh for the love of love! Put down the iPhone!

“I was fishing in my purse for a tissue or something, and I looked over, and I could tell that he was under the table like James Bond texting, you know, or BlackBerrying. And I was kind of like, ‘Do you really think that I don’t see you over there kind of like trying to hide your paraphernalia from me?That’s kind of rude. You do not want to see a guy’s paraphernalia, at least on the first or second date.”

Tales from the front lines of romance in the Crackberry age.

4) It started out as something of a joke, but now it appears to be growing more serious. In California, a man started a movement to ban divorce, after California voters repealed the right of same-sex couples to marry. “Since California has decided to protect traditional marriage, I think it would be hypocritical of us not to sacrifice some of our own rights to protect traditional marriage even more,” the 38-year-old married father of two said.

5) What do you do while you’re waiting for President Barack Obama to call you? A Lakeville, Minnesota medic got the “Happy Thanksgiving” call from the president at her remote Air Force post in Afghanistan. She got the honor because of her work in the aftermath of a roadside bomb explosion, the Air Force said in a press release.She’ll soon have more company in Afghanistan. President Obama speaks to the nation tonight (you can hear it here online or on your favorite Minnesota Public Radio station at 7 p.m. CT) to explain his decision to send more troops.

Do you favor or oppose the sending of more troops to Afghanistan?(opinion)

Tangent time: A Duluth woman is suing the government after a letter she mailed to her son in Iraq was allegedly returned to her with the word “Deceased” stampedon the envelope. He’s alive, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Bonus: For no reason. No reason at all.


Today is World AIDS Day. Although health authorities have focused for decades on prevention, the number of new HIV infections remains constant. Does AIDS still seem like a serious threat to you?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Home sales went up 10 percent in October because of the federal government’s tax credit for first-time home buyers. Some say the tax credit should be extended to keep the recovery on track.

Second hour: President Obama makes a prime time pitch to the nation tonight. He’s expected to say why more troops are needed in Afghanistan and how they will be used. The president also is expected to talk about how the U.S. might work more closely with Pakistan.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: A preview of the president’s speech on Afghanistan, with Brian Atwood, dean of the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute, former assistant secretary of state.

Second hour: A Marketplace special report on global warming. “The Climate Race.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Measuring progress in the fight against AIDS.

Second hour: Whatever text you prefer, theologic or literary, the end of days is

most often prefaced by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and those pesky horsemen

who bring no good. But who says the end of the world has to be apocalyptic?

A look at prophecies, testaments, and interpretations of the end of the world.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – The Public Utilities Commission meets today to take up Centerpoint Energy’s proposal for a rate increase. It’s a pilot program to test a new way of charging customers. MPR Ambar Espinoza is tracking it.

NPR’s Corey Flintoff considers what to do with all the “stuff” the military has accumulated in Iraq. We’ll also have part two in the exploration of California’s medical marijuana law, and there’ll be a visit to a shelter for battered Muslim women.

  • Nate

    Happy anniversary!

    I love the blog. It’s one of my 10 morning reads and I love the media/societal/whatever criticism that you bring forth.

    We all just need to get a little better at commenting.

  • bsimon

    Sadly amusing is the history of the Willie Horton ad; one of the ‘minds’ behind the original ad was Roger Ailes, who said “The only question is whether or not we show a knife in his hand.” Of course, now that he runs Fox News, will Ailes attack his employee, Mike Huckabee, similarly?

  • Joanna

    I read NewsCut every day, either in the morning or the evening, and I truly appreciate your series about interesting people, whether they be students, recently unemployed, or people dealing with floods. Thanks!

  • Lindsey

    Kitten surprise!!!! Totally made my day. Thank you Bob!

  • Momkat

    News Cut is my favorite blog. The heroic Captain Sullenberger and then Kitten Surprise: doesn’t get much better than this.