Five at 8 – 12/2/09: What now?

1) By now, of course,you’ve probably read or heard all about President Obama’s intention to send more soldiers to Afghanistan. Here’s a multimedia look at the speech from the New York Times that’s worth a visit. The Los Angeles Times finds it odd that the word victory was missing from Obama’s speech. Here’s the transcript. The word win doesn’t appear in the speech either. In President Bush’s speech at the start of the war, the word “win” was mentioned only once. The word victory also was not mentioned.

The parallels with Vietnam are certainly out there. Aljazeera, however, says it’s not another Vietnam. Richard Nixon’s secretary of defense says it is.

Wayback Machine time. It was less than two months after 9/11, and the NY Times’ R.W. Apple was already asking if a then-young war was another Vietnam? Here’s an interview with former president Nixon explaining why President Lyndon Johnson escalated the war in Vietnam. About one minute in, it gets eerily similar:

On Daily Show last night, columnist Thomas Friedman reveals he and other columnists had lunch yesterday with Obama and he disagrees with the troop build-up:

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2) MPR’s Sasha Aslanian is continuing her work on what the immigration issue looks like in the locked hallways of the justice system, and the scenes that play out therein.

The world of immigrant detainees is almost impossible to penetrate from the outside. It’s tricky to find out where people are being held. Detainees do not have the right to an attorney and they can be shuffled from one facility to another and whisked out of state without a goodbye to their families.

ICE granted MPR permission to interview a detainee held in Ramsey in person named David Soto. His own mother wouldn’t be able to do this. She’d have to talk with him via videoconference. That’s the only way families can visit here.

3) The Internet is at Defcon 1 this morning. Google is going to limit access to free news content.

4) By the time you read this, perhaps, the state official Gov. Pawlenty once dismissed as being “pessmistic” will have released the latest revenue report for the state, and it will show we’re still an economic basket case, according to reports. Bring Me The News ponders whether Pawlenty will be moved to make more cuts on his own (unallotment).

But what do these moves look like once they take effect? MPR’s Rupa Shenoy reports on one scenario: People getting out of prison without the medications they need. The police are even raising the possibility of more use of Tasers in the new era.

Meanwhile, Ottertail County last night experienced the year-end ritual known as the state’s Truth in Taxation hearings. Do these things do any good? Homeowners were angry about rising property taxes but were told the time to appeal the valuation of their property was last spring.

Things were much quieter, apparently, in Lyon County where only about 15 people showed up, and learned that property taxes are shifting from residential and commercial property toward farmers.

5) From the Just Because It’s Cool Dept: The Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog is presenting its annual Hubble Telescope Advent Calendar. One picture a day. Or you can just go to the Hubble Telescope Web site and help yourself. You can also print holiday Hubble cards.

Here’s a recent image from the Hubble:


Even after all of these years, I still don’t know what these astronomical Rorschach Tests mean or what we’ve learned from Hubble or how many generations it’ll take before what we’ve learned will make a difference in anything. But it’s a good way to kill a few minutes at work and make the rest of the world’s problems seem insignificant. And it makes me wonder whether somewhere out there in PrettySpace, someone’s got a fancy telescope pointed in our direction and is thinking our slice of the galaxy looks pretty and peaceful.

Oh, heck, since we’re on the subject of science, let’s consider the Bohr-Einstein Debates, re-enacted with puppets:

The Bohr-Einstein Debates, With Puppets from Chad Orzel on Vimeo.

If you understand any of this, you obviously don’t make your living stringing a bunch of words together.

One more science story: Loneliness may be contagious.


Last night, the president laid out his strategy for the Afghan war. Do you agree with President Obama’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan? That was also yesterday’s question here on 5@8. Only 28 percent of the relatively few who bothered to have an opinion supported the idea.


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The public has developed a dubious relationship with science as skeptics increasingly attack research on vaccines, HIV/AIDS , and climate change. Midmorning asks if Americans are actually becoming “anti-science” or if other ideological factors are involved.

Second hour: A group of VocalEssence singers give their annual Midmorning preview of the best Christmas carols, along with a few little-known, rarely performed seasonal songs.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Former Minnesota finance commissioners Jay Kiedrowski and John Gunyou discuss today’s announcement of the state revenue forecast.

Second hour: (Tentative) Asia reporter Mary Kay Magistad, who spoke last night at the Broadcast Journalist Series

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Political Junkie Ken Rudin.

Second hour: Terry Teachout, author of Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Tim Pugmire will recap the revenue forecast story.

NPR provides more day-after analysis of the war escalation and considers what Pakistan’s role is going to be.

Nina Totenberg will listen to Supreme Court arguments on the big issue in Florida where presumably well-off beach-front property owners object to the state’s policy of creating public beaches in front of their homes, even as it guarantees that it will replace the homeowners’ property if it washes away in a storm. American Public Media’s Marketplace covered this story last evening.

  • JackU

    Three cheers for the Einstein-Bohr puppet show. I took a Philosophy of Science course in 1983 and one of my papers was on the EPR paradox. I chose a “novel” interpretation of the EPR position that achieved a response similar to that of the Gargoyle (Pauli) to EPR from the professor (Physicist/Philosopher).

    Thanks for sharing that.

  • stacy

    Ha ha Bob! Everyone knows the Truth-in-taxation hearings don’t matter! Even local offiicals will tell you that it’s too late to make a difference.

    Meanwhile, the TNT statements are costly to produce and send– I bet upwards of $2 million a year statewide. We did a little survey asking people if they were useful. 9% said yes. Others said things like, “it doesn’t contain the info I want; it’s confusing; I only look to see if my taxes are going up or down; I don’t even look.”

    It’s a perfect example of why we have big budget deficits. We’re spending money on the wrong things.