Five at 8 – 2/1/10: The orphan dash

The parades leading up to Mardi Gras (February 16) started in New Orleans over the weekend. That inspires today’s Monday Morning Rouser:

For the record, Dr. John won’t be anywhere near New Orleans for Mardi Gras. He’ll be in Milwaukee.

1) Listen, missionaries, you can’t just swoop into Haiti, round up kids, and take them back to the U.S. as orphans. Ten Americans have been arrested on charges of human trafficking. They say the required paperwork has simply been lost. But one slipped a note to a BBC reporter early in the controversy that said they didn’t know paperwork was required.

Behind the headlines is fear that evangelical churches from the U.S. are racing into Haiti to rescue kids from their Catholic culture.

The arrest of the missionaries comes a day after fears were raised about sex trafficking and pedophiles operating in Haiti in the earthquakes aftermath.

Meanwhile, Haiti has been added as one of the world’s most dangerous paper routes.

2) Embrace Winter. When an ice storm makes a mess of your town — as it did last week in Hibbing — live (it up) with it.

Over the weekend, the Twins held TwinsFest, which appears to be replacing the St. Paul Winter Carnival as the first sign that winter is ebbing.

3) I found this Web site over the weekend which documents scientists who are on money around the world. Einstein, for example, is on Israel’s lirot.


We put politicians on our money, but if you believe all the polls, we don’t like politicians that much. Discussion point: Who would you put on U.S. currency?

4) Boys are in far more serious trouble than girls in school, a new study finds. Granted, researchers say, the gap in math and science between boys and girls is serious, but it’s nothing compared to the reading gap of boys.

Still, boys are in far more serious trouble, she argues. The gender gap in reading and writing at the end of high school, for example, is far wider than the gap in math and science ever was. More than a quarter of American male high school graduates can’t understand a newspaper article, compared to about 10 percent of girls.

Let’s consider that. One out of four American boys — graduates of high school — can’t understand a newspaper article.

5) If only the Vikings had called the coin flip for overtime possession correctly, we’d be entering the final week of the Vikings Super Bowl party. But, there was only a 50-50 chance of getting it right, right? Wrong, says the San Jose Mercury News.

But first, here’s what the researchers concluded: Using a high-speed camera that photographed people flipping coins, the three researchers determined that a coin is more likely to land facing the same side on which it started. If tails is facing up when the coin is perched on your thumb, it is more likely to land tails up.

How much more likely? At least 51 percent of the time, the researchers claim, and possibly as much as 55 percent to 60 percent — depending on the flipping motion of the individual.


In his State of the Union address, President Obama said the country faces a “deficit of trust” that makes it difficult to solve important public issues. That inspired today’s question: Does the country face a “deficit of trust”?


I’m still working on the story of the Wrenshall girl’s basketball team, which will require me to travel north this afternoon for the JV and varsity game.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s latest bonding request includes $89 million to finish the unit housing sex offenders at Moose Lake. Minnesota is one of several states that allows the civil commitment of what it considers dangerous sex offenders. The growing population of sex offenders is causing some to wonder whether there’s another way.

Second hour: Hillary Clinton’s quest for the White House and Sarah Palin’s rising star have led many political observers to believe that a female American president will soon be a reality. But a new book suggests that gender bias, and the vicious nature of American politics, still prevent significant obstacles for women in politics.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: The 12 DFL candidates for governor.

Second hour: The 7 GOP candidates for governor.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Inside the Tea Party.

Second hour: Do graphic images dehumanize the victims of disaster?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announces its preference for the flood mitigation route for Fargo Moorhead. Already there are factions against both a Minnesota and a North Dakota diversion. MPR’s Dan Gunderson will report on which of the routes is best.

NPR will report on the science behind life speeding up as you age.