Five at 8 – 2/8/10: A kid on the streets

Monday Morning Rouser has a classical theme today… classical as in “class,” that is.

John Dankworth died on Saturday.

1) There’s nothing sadder than stories about homeless teens, about kids who get messed up because of parents who helped mess them up. It often involves an abusive parent who — eventually — leaves, leaving children who are well on their way to hopelessness.

In the end, as a Duluth News Tribune story reveals, everybody had a believable story, but only the kid is on the streets:

When her son started running away, Oie said she put missing child posters in spots he’d be likely to go, staying up nights terrified about how to find him. They took him to doctors, she said, put him through treatment programs. The state took custody of Zach to pay for his treatment at centers across the state, she said.

He was in and out of foster homes. While at one, he lit another kid on fire, causing him third-degree burns on his stomach and chest, Brooke Oie and her husband said. Between foster homes, they would sometimes bring Zach back to live with them, only to encounter so many problems that they’d send him away again.

On a given night, there are another 649 like him in Minnesota.

2) The MPR NewsQ team has done a nice job assembling the radio stories you’ll be hearing this week and providing some additional material for the focus on the National Guard’s Red Bulls. One of the most insightful elements is Madeleine Baran’s history of post-traumatic stress disorder.

3) The story behind the story on last evening’s Super Bowl ad in which Jay Leno appeared in an ad for his competitor, David Letterman. From the New York Times.

As Mr. Burnett described it, Mr. Letterman had the idea to invite Mr. Leno to participate, playing off a similar ad he put together with Ms, Winfrey the last time CBS had the Super Bowl in 2007. “Dave wrote the bit himself,” Mr. Burnett said. “He just thought: it’s the Super Bowl, you’re supposed to entertain people.”

Meanwhile, if only dogs could talk.

4) This sounds serious. Two cans of pop per day week can double your risk of pancreatic cancer, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota. But none of the stories on the subject I’ve ready today have mentioned what is my risk of cancer anyway? If it’s 1 in a million, 2 in a million isn’t a big deal, is it? Here’s a calculator from the Washington University School of Medicine. In my case — a 56-year-old man with no history of cancer, not fat, non smoker — shows I am at “average” risk. But what’s average?

Next, I turn to the Harvard report on cancer risk and am told:

One concern with an index such as this is the potential for inappropriate precision to be conveyed to the user.

That’s good advice, but how often do we hear of studies that some activity raises your risk of cancer?

Still searching, I turn next to the Oncology Channel reports the five-year survival rate is only 5%, but says nothing about the risk.

A WebMD slideshow says the risk of getting pancreatic cancer is 1 in 76.

Dr Ang Peng Tiam, medical director, Parkway Cancer Centre in Singapore, said: “I drink more than two soft drinks in a week so indeed, I’m not going to change my habit just because of this report.”

What if people like a can or two of Coke a day? In a corn syrupy kind of way, it gets to an age-old question. What’s the point of life? To enjoy it, or to live longer?

5) We have another round of the Golden Snowball Challenge underway. Here are this storm’s contestants:’

Meteorologist Range Average
Chikage Windler (KSTP) 5-11 8
Craig Edwards 6 6
Ron Trenda (WCCO) 9-13 11
Erik Maitland (KMSP) 5-10 7.5
National Weather Service 6-10 8
Sven Sundgaard (KARE) 3-6 4.5
Paul Huttner (MPR) 5-10 7.5
Ian Leonard (KMSP) 4-6 5
Mike Fairbourne (WCCO) 6-8 7

What if the weatherpeople actually delivered their forecasts like this:


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: President Obama is pushing the U.S. to build clean energy to remain competitive in the 21st century global economy. But following a recent boom in green investment, China will soon be in the lead. Midmorning discusses the race to develop green technology.

Second hour: As education secretary, Rod Paige promoted No Child Left Behind as the best way to reduce the achievement gap between black and white students. In his new book, Paige argues the persistent gap is the most important civil rights issue.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: State economist Tom Stinson will be in the studio to discuss the condition of Minnesota’s economy.

Second hour: Live broadcast from the National Press Club with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The future of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Second hour: The U.S. will be home to 400 million Americans by 2050. And that rise in population — is the key to our economic strength. Joel Kotkin discusses the next 100 million Americans.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – The state’s latest report on the construction contracts going to women and minorities still doesnt hit MnDOT goals. However, when it comes to stimulus spending on construction contracts, Minnesota is doing better than the states as a whole. MPR’s Dan Olson will have the story.

Maj. Jeff Howe, a member of the Minnesota National Guard Red Bulls 34th Infantry Division, returns soon from his second deployment. Ambar Espinoza talked with him from Iraq about his deployment and activities as well as what he anticipates from his reintegration. His wife Sheri, says it will be good to have him home, but having been through this once before, there are some aspects of his return that she dreads.

NPR will report on how social networking has changed the “break up.” Is it harder to cut ties to your ex when Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Linked-In have you in a virtual bind?

  • sm

    The weather guy going a Stephen Colbert impression? Most excellent. And he could have added: Okay, you solar power disciples, on a day like today, where’s your power now?

  • Kim E

    I am thoroughly entertained by the “Who dat” dog! The dog, however, looks really confused, like “why are you all pointing and yelling at me?”