5×8 – 3/8/10: The new ‘fundamental rights’

The Monday Morning Rouser:

1) So we’re done with the whole “health care is a human right” thing, then? The BBC reports that four out of five people surveyed around the world say access to the Internet is a human right— a fundamental right. I’ll have to think for a minute about how many fundamental rights are rights we have to pay for. Wayback Machine: It’s 1995 and Newsweek says the Internet will never amount to much ( h/t: PRGeek). Tell it to the woman made famous because Conan O’Brien tweeted about her.

How about access to TV networks. Is that a right?

In South Korea, two families were asked to go without Internet access for a week.

2) It probably will never get that far, but we intend to live-blog the floor debate on a bill from Sen. Tarryl Clark of St. Cloud, that prohibits any state employee from spending public dollars at in-state hotels or meeting facilities that provide their customers with pornographic materials that link sex with violence. Nonviolent adult movies would be OK. The bill has a hearing on Wednesday. Someone will assemble a list of acceptable hotels. You see the obvious question, right? Who’s going to assemble that list and how is it going to be assembled and updated? The bill leaves it to state officials to figure out how to do that.

Capitol related: A lawmaker, Rep. Paul Torkelson, tells the New Ulm Journal that the news media is blowing the disputes between the DFL and Republicans out of proportion.

“I would argue that is over-emphasized by the media. That there is a lot of hard, good work that is going on every day in St. Paul in our various committee meetings and on the floor of the House, but it does not draw that much attention by the media because, in general, the media likes to cover controversial issues that sell newspapers, etcetera,” he said.

3) These are the kinds of questions that keep me getting up in the morning: If we could, should we clone Neanderthals (Insert your own political joke here)? The Archeological Institute of America asks the question.

The Neanderthals’ brains made them capable of some impressive cultural innovations. They were burying their dead as early as 110,000 years ago, which means that they had a social system that required formal disposal of the deceased. Around 40,000 years ago, they adopted new stone-tool-making traditions, the Châttelperronian tradition in Western Europe and the Uluzzian in Italy, that included a greater variety of tools than they had used in hundreds of thousands of years. But even if they were as adaptable as Homo sapiens, the question remains–if they were so smart, why are they dead? Chris Stringer of London’s Natural History Museum believes our species hunted and gathered food so intensively that there simply was not enough room for the Neanderthals to make a living. In other words, they had the same problem as many species facing extinction today–they were crowded out of their ecological niche by Homo sapiens. Finding a place in the world for a Neanderthal clone would be only one dilemma that would have to be solved.

4) Quiz: Astronaut Soichi Noguchi took this picture of a U.S. landmark yesterday from the International Space Station. What is it? (Click for larger image)


5) Some recent studies have suggested that music can help kids learn math, challenging the assertion by some that music programs in school are an unnecessary extracurricular expense. This week, a non-profit group — Ear Candy — is partnering with the Minneapolis Fire Department to collect used music instruments to keep music programs alive in the city’s schools.

Bonus: Fresh Eye on the TV. Friday night’s media panel on TPT’s Almanac.


The Twin Cities Auto Show opened last weekend after a year that rocked the car industry with government takeovers, safety recalls and volatile gas prices. Have recent events changed the way you think about cars?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Many economists warn that America’s unemployment rate will stay stubbornly high in the coming years. The question then becomes what happens to workers if job creation doesn’t happen?

Second hour: Bonnie Jo Campbell populates her fiction with characters who lead tumultuous lives, and she finds the humor and deeper meaning there, too.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Columbia University International Affairs professor Austin Long analyzes the Iraqi election results, and what they mean for security in the region.

Second hour: Stephanie Curtis j discusses Oscar winners and losers.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The high stakes of Iraq’s elections

Second hour: The Hurt Locker’s nine Oscar nominations didn’t stop some real military bomb squads from trashing it, as unrealistic. But since when has Hollywood ever

gotten a job right? Your job, in the movies.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – A southwest Minnesota broadband group has received almost $13 million in stimulus money to improve service to nine communities. They say a faster Internet will help economic development efforts. A group in northeast Minnesota tried unsuccessfully for stimulus money for a similar project. Why did the southwest group get the money, and others did not? MPR’s Mark Steil will have the story.

MPR’s Chris Roberts will report on Minnetonka Center for the Arts’ expansion into an unlikely place: the Ridgedale Mall

Dan Olson looks at the network of 40 routes in Minneapolis and St. Paul to improve biking and walking in the Twin Cities financed by the “Oberstar money,” the federal grant given to four metropoliltan areas – one of them the Twin Cities.

  • Steve

    Re: Landmark photo

    Is that the seven-mile bridge connecting Florida to the keys?

  • Bob Collins


  • Is internet access a fundamental human right? No.

    But I would say that it is a public utility, just as important as the power grid or the water lines, which means the state is justified in regulating its delivery and preventing the monopolistic nonsense that providers currently engage in.

  • John O.

    Re: Sen. Clark’s bill. A couple of questions (with tongue planted firmly in cheek, BTW):

    1) Will the committee reviewing said movies be bipartisan with an equal number of appointments to the committee allotted between the House and the Senate, appointed by the Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House?

    2) Will there be public hearings on any proposed lists of movies? Or would these be considered (ahem) “pubic” hearings?

    (And finally, not-so-tongue-in-cheek…)

    3) Is it me, or don’t the folks at the Capitol have more serious matters to attend to for crying out loud? Do we really need to spend taxpayer dollars on this sort of nonsense?

  • TJSwift

    With apologies to Reeses, re: Clark’s bill.

    “You got your moonbat PC in my common sense morality!”

    Seriously, if this is her version of what she thinks the voters of the 6th CD might find appealing, well it just goes to show how out of the loop leftists are when it comes to “traditional values”.