Five at 8 – 12/3/09: The passion for change?

1) Rupa Shenoy’s story this morning mirrors a theme I’ve found in the News Cut series, “The Unemployed.” Many people who lose their job or are otherwise unemployed aren’t staying home and watching Oprah. They’re using their talents by volunteering. The number of people who are attending Habitat for Humanity orientations, for example, has doubled.

Not mentioned, though, is another possibility. People have responded to President Barack Obama’s call for more people to volunteer. Which brings us — sort of — to David Brooks’ column in the New York Times this morning.

The election revolved around passionate rallies. The Obama White House revolves around a culture of debate. He leads long, analytic discussions, which bring competing arguments to the fore. He sometimes seems to preside over the arguments like a judge settling a lawsuit.

His policies are often a balance as he tries to accommodate different points of view. He doesn’t generally issue edicts. In matters foreign and domestic, he seems to spend a lot of time coaxing people along. His governing style, in short, is biased toward complexity.

2) Quick! Name Minnesota’s lieutenant governor. You don’t hear much about Carol Molnau, at least not since the Legislature fired her from her co-job as the head of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. That all follows a career as an influential member of the Legislature. Last night she appeared in New Ulm. “There’s deer hunting season, pheasant hunting season, and Molnau hunting season,” she told an audience.

3) Reader Dave Sours of North St. Paul sent an urgent message to me this morning. “This has to go on 5@8,” he wrote. He’s right. One-hundred days in Glacier National Park will make your morning.


Dave notes he was tipped to the project via the Boston Globe’s Big Picture blog. People recommending items for 5@8? Now, that makes my day.

Which reminds me: Colleague Nathaniel Minor — with good reason — is a fan of the Minnesota Pictures blog.

4) Former MPR colleague Chris Julin tried to give the Duluth News Tribune some money in exchange for reading the paper’s Web site. The paper wouldn’t take it, he writes. I wonder if he ever reads News Cut?

5) – Remember the computer outage a few weeks ago that slowed the nation’s air traffic? has the story behind the story.

It turns out that a smoothly running air transportation system depends on one guy — who has the key to a storage closet — coming to work:

When the router went offline, only the system maintainer–government telecommunications contractor Harris–knew that the backup card was not immediately available, and that one technician, who hadn’t come to work yet that day, had the key to the storage closet where the part was kept.

So the FAA had to wait until this technician was able to come to the site in Salt Lake City to replace the faulty card inside the router, reconfigure the software, and get the communications backbone back up and running so that the nation’s air traffic could get back to normal.


Daily forecasts have begun to call for flurries. Does the approach of winter fill you with joy or dread?

Oh, come on, people! How can you not love it?


Unfortunately, I’m suffering from the dreaded “flu-like symptoms” today so will not be writing.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Money can really wreck the romance in any relationship. Ruth Hayden offers advice on how to keep money in perspective, especially when one makes more than her partner.

Second hour: Paul Nicklen’s curiousity about animals in the Arctic has led him to lots of close encounters. One of those encounters was with a sharp-toothed leopard seal.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Investigative journalist and pilot William Langewiesche, author of “Fly By Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson.” He’ll talk about advances in aviation and computer technology that made the safe landing possible.

Second hour: A speech about China from the MPR Broadcast Journalist Series by Mary Kay Magistad, Asia reporter for PRI’s “The World.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: It’s Science Friday! An update on particle smashing at the Large Hadron Collider.

Second hour: Should mental health treatment be more scientific?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Euan Kerr gets to spend the day watching weird British TV commercials. An exhibit opens at the Walker.

Voters in St. Louis County head to the polls Tuesday for a special election that carries both a large price tag and potentially large ramifications for education across northern Minnesota. The district is seeking property tax increases to pay for nearly $80 million in new construction and repairs in the St. Louis County School District. District officials have also said its very survival hangs in the balance. Does it? MPR’s Tom Weber will have the story.

The November unemployment rate for the U.S. is out this morning (and probably is by the time you read this). We’ll discuss what it means.

Thomas Ricks will report on what the U.S. has learned from Iraq. And Greg Allen has a story on a minister who has created a colony of sex offenders in Florida.

  • Kim E

    I went to Glacier Nat’l Park about 10 years ago, and it’s still one of my favorite family vacations. Thanks for posting the link to those pictures, they are beautiful!

  • change

    Service work, (volunteering) is great, and at the same time you are helping, you are also boosting your resume.

    When service work becomes an ugly boasting fest is when an individual has to broadcast their generosity of time or money verbally, over the air or in print.

    Giving comes from the heart and does not need to be recognised.