Five by 8 – 6/1/10: Around the planet

The Monday Morning Rouser (Tuesday edition) is for the graduates. Sure, you can’t wait to put your school in the rear-view mirror. You’ll be back. (h/t: Nick Young)

1) Is it me, or is Earth becoming an immensely hostile planet?

Look at this amazing photo from Guatemala City.


There was a storm and then the earth swallowed up a large block. But to where? Where does the hole go to? Where does all the the “there” that was there go? And how do you fix this if it’s deeper than the Statue of Liberty is high, National Geographic says.

More images are at this Flickr feed.

Meanwhile, oil is still pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, and it now appears as though it will for a few more months. The blog, The Big Picture, says the disaster is the oil industry’s Three Mile Island and will likely change the way it operates.

Our expectation is that the oil business is about to enter a period of intense scrutiny and regulation worldwide. It will confront higher cost structures and much more inspection and regulation. This will eventually be reflected in higher oil prices. These strategic cost changes will pile on the geopolitical risks associated with oil. The current news from the Middle East is an example of cause with the outcome being a higher oil price.

The GOM events have given a boost to onshore crude drilling activity and alternate energy sector expansion. These and domestic natural gas will have some positive impact over time. Any expectations of immediate results in those areas are problematic and limited.

2) Do we lack ideas for fixing the financial woes facing Minnesota cities, or do we lack people willing to listen to solutions? The Minnesota League of Cities has launched a Web site — with accompanying video — to engage residents.

What do you think? What city services do you and your family use?

What would it mean for you if those services were reduced or eliminated?

How should these services be paid for?

3) While we were commenting last week on the string of suicides at a Chinese manufacturing facility that makes the iPhone and iPad, American workers were killing themselves, too.

Charles Lattarulo, clinical director for employee assistance program (EAP) provider Harris, Rothenberg International, said suicides and attempted suicides among the 2,600 organizations and 8 million employees they cover surged after December 2008.

“We used to get these types of calls once a week, maybe once every two weeks. Now we get a suicidal call every single day,” he said, and as a result he’s had to provide additional crisis management training for his staff. “Our EAP counselors have been transformed this past year from EAP counselors to crisis counselors because it’s so common now.”

4) Could Texas’ decision to teach its students more about Jefferson Davis, and less about Thomas Jefferson spread to Minnesota? Texas, because it has a statewide curriculum, usually dictates what textbooks are used in the rest of the nation. Tomorrow On Thursday on MPR’s Midday, we’re unveiling a new documentary, The Great Textbook War, which will consider the question and also discuss what Minnesota’s kids should learn. I’ll be live-blogging the discussion in MPR’s UBS Forum (there’s still room for you!). Today, however, an Associated Press story suggests Texas’ departure from the norm may not spread as much as feared. Textbook companies say technology will allow them to more easily print different textbooks for different states. “”Why would we walk in with stuff that we know might be rejected and knock us out of a business opportunity?” one official says.

5) In Europe, naturally, they’ve launched the Let’s Colour Project, an effort to “transform grey spaces with vibrant colour. A mission to spread colour all over the world.” They actually painted all the buildings in this film.

Here are images of the people who did all the work. (h/t: McKenna Ewen)

There. We started with the earth opening up and swallowing a building. And ended with others painting theirs purple. It’s quite a planet, isn’t it?


Twin Cities nurses plan to stage a one-day strike on June 10. Are there professions that should not have the option of going on strike?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The oil spill and the political fallout.

Second hour: Hip Hop artist Brother Ali is a member of Minneapolis’ Rhymesayers collective. His latest album is called “Us.”

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Louis Johnston, economics professor at St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict. bv

Second hour: TBA

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Israel’s attack on the Palestinian aid flotilla.

Second hour: TBA