Five by 8 – 6/11/10: Pawlenty’s Indecision 2012 Tour

The comedic road to the White House, failure is an option in the Gulf, a bag of donuts makes incompetence better, why do soccer fans insist I watch more soccer, and the end of climate change fear.

1) Here are the unedited clips from last night’s Daily Show with guest, Tim Pawlenty. The one question not asked: Why does the media label “exclusive,” interviews with presidential candidates who’ll take national publicity anywhere they can find it?(This one contains naughty language)(So does this one)Pawlenty is taking a page from his presidential-candidate mentor, John McCain, with his appearance here. Get Jon Stewart on your side — and when Daily Show puts up not one, not two, but three unedited clips on its Web site, Jon Stewart loves you — and you get the demographic bounce. McCain was Stewart’s “David Letterman’s mother” during much of the 2008 presidential campaign and had at least nine separate appearances on Stewart’s show. At some point, though, the laughs had to give way to hard questions and McCain stopped being Stewart’s sidekick.

Today, Pawlenty’s “I Haven’t Decided to Run for President, Hey, Is That a TV Camera?” Tour continued with a stop at Good Morning America.

One other unasked question: How often does Pawlenty go to his daughter’s soccer games these days?

2) From the Department of Second Verse, Same as the First: The Gulf oil spill is bigger than the experts thought. The Washington Post reports:

The one scientific certainty: It’s a lot — and more than some of the same scientists thought just a couple of weeks ago. It’s so much that the crews trying to siphon it to the surface are going to need a bigger boat.

How big? The blog, Live Science, puts it in perspective with several News Cut-like examples:

After 52 days, the leak will have released enough crude oil that, had it been refined into gasoline, could power a 2010 Toyota Corolla on a drive from Earth to the Moon, and back, seven times, according to Toyota. And a Toyota Prius, which gets 48 miles per gallon, could drive around the Earth almost 186 times.

We need more of these. That’s today’s assignment. Submit your entry into the News Cut “Translate the oil spill into terms we can understand” contest in the comments section below.” The winner receives nothing. Of course.

What we need, Timothy Egan writes today, is the Apollo 13 team to get on this…

Watching BP’s hapless attempts to contain the nation’s worst oil spill — from blind reliance on a faulty blowout preventer to deployment of a useless 280,000-pound container dome to the bizarre top kill of golf balls and mud — I wondered what happened to American ingenuity. Yes, I know, they’re Brits. But it’s our spill, in our waters, from a well that was cemented by Halliburton, the Texas company that Dick Cheney ran before Big Oil moved into the White House.

It is, of course, difficult to make sense of the scale of all of this. But this new map tries. It provides a great series of “tentacles” with references that shows how the spill inflitrates dozens of different angles. It’s a great use of the medium.

As opposed to the use of the other medium…

3) Every disaster starts with some incompetence — momentary or otherwise. The Boston Globe investigates how two kids making connections in Minneapolis, ended up in the wrong city.

Inside the room, he played a dirtbike racing game with two other boys. About a half hour later, he heard his name and another name called over a loud speaker, directing both parties to the front of the room. There, the attendant asked him and a girl their names and destinations, Kieren said.

As they replied, the attendant “wasn’t paying attention,” Kieren said yesterday. “She was talking on something, a radio,” he said, cupping his right hand over his chest.

The employee walked the children to the girl’s gate first. There, Kieren noticed the word Boston over the desk.

“I thought that was strange, but I didn’t say anything. I wish I had said something. Then we went to my gate. I didn’t see the sign this time, and I just went on the plane. When I sat down, I heard that we were going to Cleveland, but I just thought I had to catch another flight to get to Boston.”

The kid, who was supposed to go Boston but ended up in Cleveland, said Cleveland was OK “because they gave me some free food and stuff from Dunkin’ Donuts.” Dunkin’ Donuts makes everything — even a trip to Cleveland — OK. Not that Minnesota will ever know.

Yesterday, the Web site, Bring Me the News, distributed an old — January 2009 — story that Dunkin’ Donuts was coming to the Twin Cities. Euphoria swept the region. The word was passed from one Dunkin’ fan to another. Look at the the third item under MPR’s “most shared” list:


That’s right! Bigger than the nurses’ strike. The problem? It’s not true. It was not only an old story, the efforts to bring Dunkin’ to the uncivilized world (You can go to a Dunkin’ in Russia; you can’t go to one in Minnesota.) have apparently fallen through. Our only hope now is that Delta drops us in the wrong city.

4) Can the Big 10 stand the Nebraska Cornhuskers? Eric Ostermeier at Smart Politics calculates the likely effect of Nebraska joining the Big 10. You don’t need a degree to figure this one out, Minnesota.

Apparently, it’s political-blogs-tackle-sports-day today. Nate Silver at calculates the World Cup odds today.

The World Cup doesn’t officially start until the string of the “what’s wrong with the U.S.?” stories start. It can start now.

So, here’s the thing: No other sport that I can think of puts such pressure on the non-sports fan to get with it as soccer does. Why? You don’t hear NASCAR fans demand that others watch NASCAR, or baseball fans pressure non-baseball fans to watch the Twins. What is it with soccer fans — especially you Twin Cities soccer fans — that matters if someone else doesn’t follow the sport you love?

Meanwhile, there’s a rule against cursing by World Cup players. But with so many different languages, how does a ref know someone has cursed in another language? The refs have to learn all the four-letter words.

And here’s how to watch the games — I’m sure they don’t call them games, but I’m not a soccer fan — online. For free.

5) The number of people in the UK who believe in climate change has dropped by 20 percent in five years, the BBC reports. At the current rate, the fear of climate change will be eliminated by 2030, or about the time New Scientist says climate change kills 500,000 people.

Bonus: Class Act. A fight breaks out at North St. Paul’s graduation.

A science teacher was giving a speech at the time of the incident. Perhaps the combatants disagreed on whether the latest research on climate change had been properly peer reviewed.

(h/t: Pioneer Press)


What does the World Cup mean to you?


I have to do a bunch of writing today for a post I’m working on, so posting for today may be light. Sorry.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Professionals are why unions have seen some growth, while the membership in traditional trade unions has declined. And budget deficits at the state and federal levels may create even less bargaining room for public employee union members like teachers.

Second hour: A new study says the kids of lesbian couples are better adjusted than children raised by heterosexual partners. Parenting by lesbian and gay couples is at the heart of the controversy over whether same sex marriage should be allowed in more states.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: A series of MPR reports about an education program designed to help struggling students, and a discussion about why these programs work, or don’t work.

Second hour: The BBC’s World Have Your Say program discusses World Cup soccer.

Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Food allergies and how to diagnose them.

Second hour: Every day we get tweets, emails, texts, and phone calls. Are we overloading our brains?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Poor single adults around the state who were covered by Minnesota’s General Assistance Medical Care will see a change in their health care coverage. The new system funnels all patients to four hospitals, all in the metro. How are geographically isolated patients handling this? MPR’s Tom Robertson will have the story.

Brandt Williams looks at Minneapolis’ crime problem. The numbers show that some categories of violent crime are up in Minneapolis. But there are a few residents who say people getting involved will make a difference and they’re doing something about it.

MPR’s Euan Kerr talks with comedian Bobcat Goldthwaite, who comes to Mn to do stand-up again.

  • vjacobsen

    You know, a wealthy politician running for public office here could blow a ton of his or her own money on TV ads, or this politician could invest his or her own money in opening some Dunkin Donuts shops in MN.

    Just a thought.

  • You should see the angry e-mail I got from soccer-lovers for my story from last night. They were ticked. Sorry: we don’t like soccer. It doesn’t make us bad. It makes us… us.

  • Jim!!!

    With a leak estimate of 30000 barrels/day, and a conservative estimate of 20 gallons of gas refined from each barrel, that’s 600000 gallons of gas per day. At 48 miles/gallon, you could drive that Prius 28800000 (28.8 million miles). The circumference of the earth is about 25000 miles, so you could drive that 1152 times. ( I think I got that math right, I wonder it the guy who did the calculation above was using a different route.)

    To drive 1152 times around the earth in a day you’d have to be going 1.2 million miles per hour, or 20,000 miles per minute, or 333 miles per second. That’s substantially less than the speed of light at 186,000 miles/second. The amount of time dilation you’d experience would be about 1.4 seconds. You’d be 1.4 seconds younger than those that stayed behind for the day. (

  • Jim!!!

    Oh fudge! I got the time dilation off by a factor of 10. You’d only be .14 seconds younger.

  • Steve

    Being governor sounds like a nice gig. Get paid to show up to work whenever you feel like it and travel the world to further your own personal success.

  • bsimon

    I like the title.

    The whole “I don’t know if I’m running” thing seems designed to set up a later claim that “it wasn’t my idea – I was recruited!”

  • JackU

    This page from ExxonMobil says that the standard U.S double-hulled barge moves 30,000 barrels of gasoline. If that’s the case and we substitute oil for the gasoline, that’s one barge per day of oil.

    52 days of oil makes for 52 barges. In St Paul you usually see 2 boats in a tow, you might see as many as 4 or 5. I think the most they do down river is 15 (3×5) but I may be wrong. The next time you’re down by the river look at the barges lined up and try to imagine one new barge every day for the duration of the spill.

  • Tyler

    Ugh, I haven’t seen Stewart pander to a guest like this in a long time. I can’t believe some of the statements he’s letting slide.

  • Al

    Actually Jack, if you go further down river past the locks they go wider than 3 barges. They do 5 or 6 wide I think. Of course I’m not sure you could trust their seaworthiness if you were to take them many miles from shore.

  • kennedy

    If 30,000 barrels per day is accurate (and this seems to be a big if) 52 days worth would cover …

    …Lake Calhoun with oil almost 6″ thick.

    …Target Field (turf only) with oil about 80′ deep.

  • Duke Powell

    The assignment is, “Translate the oil spill into terms we can understand.”

    Well, here’s a good example.

    A typical fire hydrant produces water at 1500 gallons a minute. If you turned it on and ran it all day, it would result in 2.16 million gallons of water of flow in 24 hours.

    That is slight above the latest estimate of oil leaking from the BP well.

  • Bob Collins

    I LOVE you guys!!

  • JohnnyZoom

    >> It’s so much that the crews trying to siphon it to the surface are going to need a bigger boat.

    I wonder if the Jaws reference was intentional