Five by 8 – 5/11/10: Are we Greece?

1) – As the Minnesota budget drama plays out — extra credit for correctly predicting what movie the governor will quote when he vetoes the DFL budget bill today — more comparisons are being made comparing “us” to Greece. Steve Franta of Wayzata writes to the Star Tribune today:

The situation in Greece is dire. The country is on the brink of bankruptcy because of excessive government spending. Here at home, the Democrats’ cradle-to-grave benefit programs are sending us down the same path. Gov. Tim Pawlenty gets it; our DFL Legislature doesn’t. Wake up, folks.

Are we a young Greece? Sort of. It’s a problem of spending and borrowing. All of the politicians at the Capitol — including the governor — have some sort of scheme involving borrowing. It’s just a matter of who is borrowing from whom.

The other problem is Greece “faked’ its deficit problem, lying about it financial situation. Now, nobody — other than the European Union — will lend it any money. Here’s a Q&A on the crisis from Business Week.

It may not be debt that’s bad — this vlogger says — it’s debt you can’t repay.

2) Some of the worst news at the Capitol this session, however, is the departure of the dean of the Capitol press corps. Eric Eskola has chosen to take a buyout from his employer, the once-mighty WCCO. “Nobody cares,” he told the Star Tribune’s Jon Tevlin in declining an interview for his column today. It’s not just that another chunk has fallen from an institution many people grew up with; that’s been going on for years. It’s that people know the answer to many of Minnesota’s problems rest with a more informed and educated population, and it’s illogical to expect people to be more informed by providing less information. Eskola is a dying breed; a journalist who’d go above and beyond on a regular basis because what’s happening is too important to keep secret.

According to MPR’s Cathy Wurzer (via Twitter), “The Mn. Historical Society has been asked to enshrine Eric Eskola’s eye poppingly messy office for posterity. Saves him from cleaning it!”

3) I don’t have any background on who shot this video but it was uploaded to YouTube last evening. It’s a look behind the scenes at the Minneapolis light-rail system:

4) This video is getting big play in the world of sports. The mayor of Boston flubs the city’s great sports moment, while honoring Bobby Orr:

“Varitek splitting the uprights.” He meant Adam Vinateri. Jason Varitek plays for the Red Sox. There are no uprights in baseball.

But how great must it be to be a fan in a city where it’s fairly easy to mix up the names in all the championships the city’s teams have won?

5) One moment in time. The New York Times’ Lens blog has created a globe with images stacked on the location at which they were taken at the same time — 10 a.m. (CT) on May 2. This is pretty much where you’ll be spending much of your workday.



As part of their response to the state budget crisis, DFL legislators have proposed an income tax increase for wealthy Minnesotans. What sort of tax increase would you support, if any?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour:Lynne Rossetto Kaspar of the Splendid Table and Ray Isle of Food and Wine magazine.

Second hour: Travel expert Rudy Maxa.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – Both hours: Stephanie Curtis with her list of best and worst courtroom dramas.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: For almost a decade, Joel Kotkin and Mike Shires have been compiling a list of the “best’ and “worst” places for jobs in the country. And this year, they say is easily the most depressing. But there are places where the jobs are growing.

Second hour: Doug Lemov watched teachers closely for more a decade, — and learned that the best share several specific characteristics. Now, he’s got a new handbook that collects the best techniques.