Five at 8 – 12/21/09: When the jobs aren’t coming back

Here’s this week’s Monday Morning Rouser. Listen as you ponder this: Why has no one written a decent blues — or any other genre — song with Minnesota in the title?

Buddy Guy, by the way, will be performing with B.B. King in Minneapolis in February.

1) Last week, a political party in Minnesota sent out press releases with some back patting for a .2 percent decline in the unemployment rate in the state. It’s too soon for such celebrations. What to do about areas of the country where the jobs aren’t coming back?
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The money quote: “People say their jobs drive them crazy. But the truth is: They’re what keeps us sane.”

2) Making sausage. Who wins and who loses in the health care bill? The Associated Press reads the fine print and finds the most powerful politicians took care of their narrow interests.

It’s just one example of how the sweeping legislation designed to remake the U.S. health care system and extend coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans also helps and hurts more narrow interests, often thanks to one lawmaker with influence or bargaining power.

The Takeaway looks at how the deal got done (audio soon).

The measure passed the Senate on a procedural vote early this morning.

3) The Vikings lost to Carolina last night in the second game in the last three in which Bret Favre looked old and the Vikings appeared disinterested. But nobody likes a good team controversy like Vikings fans and now we’ve got one: Bret Favre apparently refused coach Brad Childress’ “request” to come out of the game, leading to a discussion about who’s the coach on this team?

Maybe this video has a clue.

4) Carbon! Get your carbon here! Now that the Copenhagen conference on climate change had ended with an agreement that most experts consider a joke, the price of carbon emission is dropping today, the Financial Times reports. Companies buy and sell the ability to emit carbon. The bottom fell out of the market over the weekend.

Related: Here’s a very neat slideshow (from the BBC) on efforts to make the Empire State Building more green.

5) Embracing Winter: A snowball fight in New York’s Times Square, organized via Twitter:


You have to admire the glee that a snowstorm in New York provokes. We don’t have that glee here. Why not? (Photo via @columbiajames)

They tried a similar Twitter-generated snowball fight in Washington. It was going well until a cop pulled a gun (not suitable for workplace):

We may get a chance to embrace winter around here later this week. More than a foot of snow is expected over Christmas. That’s a Golden Snowball Challenge storm.

Bonus: Tea with Tony Oliva. American Public Media’s “The Story” tells the tale of a woman who met a hero.

As a child, Kim Yaman always looked forward to listening to the Minnesota Twins in her grandparents’ dining room. She remembers hearing the roar of the crowd when Tony Oliva would come up to bat. Years later she met Tony in person while working at a Catholic charity. But her story doesn’t end there. One day while shopping with her 2-year-old daughter in a toy store, Tony walked down the aisle just as her daughter started throwing a tantrum. Kim will never forget what happened next.


The climate change conference that concluded last week in Copenhagen showed how hard it is to get the world community to agree on a course of action. What ought to be the next steps on climate change?


Posting might be a little light today. I’m working on a Flash presentation for a colleague on some effects of the health care bill.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: More and more college students hold jobs while they carry at least a part-time class schedule. And increasingly that work conflicts with college to the point students feel that have to drop out. A new study says the most commonly cited reason to quit college is the need to work.

Second hour: The Sounds of Blackness.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: As Congress debates a health care overhaul, former Minnesota Republican Sen. Dave Durenberger joins Midday in studio to discuss the latest developments.

Second hour: Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, speaks live at the National Press Club. He’ll discuss the latest in biomedical research and the hope it offers for human health.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Embedded journalists, a ferocious insurgency, IEDs, culture clashes. As reporters begin to leave Baghdad and head for Helmand Province, they take along hard won lessons of how to cover a difficult war.

Second hour: TBD

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Three more Minnesota school districts have gone to the four-day week this year. What do they hope to accomplish, and how has the one district already on the schedule fared after one year? MPR’s Tom Weber will report.