Five by 8 – 6/3/10: Your worst day at work

1) When you go to work today, at least millions of people won’t be noticing the mistake you made, like this one that cost a Detroit Tigers pitcher a perfect game when the umpire ruled the final batter safe last evening.


Umpire Jim Joyce, who actually has had a great reputation as an umpire, is now branded for life as the umpire who blew the call. Tough job.

“In the end, nobody’s perfect. We just do the best we can,” Jim Posnanski writes on the Sports Illustrated Web site today. But he wasn’t talking about the umpire, even though he could have been.

Discussion point: Describe the biggest mistake you ever made at work

2) The longer the BP oil disaster lasts, the crazier the ideas for stopping it. But the nuclear option will not be used to stop the earth’s bodily fluids, the New York Times reports.

“Probably the only thing we can do is create a weapon system and send it down 18,000 feet and detonate it, hopefully encasing the oil,” Matt Simmons, a Houston energy expert and investment banker, told Bloomberg News on Friday, attributing the nuclear idea to “all the best scientists.”

Still possibly on the table: “lowering giant plastic pillows to the seafloor and filling them with oil, dropping a huge block of concrete to squeeze off the flow and using magnetic clamps to attach pipes that would siphon off the leaking oil.”

Tomorrow on Science Friday on MPR, they’ll think the unthinkable: That we’re not smart enough to stop the leak.

3) Supporters of raw milk have picked up an unlikely ally in the wake of the e.coli outbreak traced to a Minnesota farm. Attorney Bill Marler, who’s made his reputation litigating food poisoning outbreaks, says there’s a double standard going on.

This may be a bit of a shocker to my raw milk fans, but, on this, I may agree with them–which clearly must mean that I’ve gone off the reservation, or stopped being a so-called lap dog (or attack dog) of the FDA and Big Ag. Let me be clear though: I am not saying that health officials should not crack down on raw milk producers who poison customers. Nor am I saying that raw milk producers should escape being held accountable for the injury and damage caused by contaminated raw milk. I simply believe that raw milk producers should be treated no more–or less–strictly than any other producer of unsafe or contaminated food products. And this is especially true for ready-to-consume products, like raw milk or fresh produce, where there is no kill-step involved in the production process. Bottom line: Raw milk outbreaks should be publicized, but so must outbreaks involving contaminated lettuce.

4) Dispatches from the Department of Nice Try: A Moorhead man, picked up for a hit-and-run incident, says he was being bitten by a tarantula at the time of the accident.

In Minneapolis, the Great Yellow Pages Revolt continues.

5) Maybe this is why BP can’t seem to plug the leak — the inability to focus for extended periods of time. The Internet, Nicholas Carr tells Robert Siegel, is robbing us of our ability to concentrate. “I’d sit down with a book, or a long article,” he tells Siegel, “and after a couple of pages my brain wanted to do what it does when I’m online: check e-mail, click on links, do some Googling, hop from page to page.”

Surfing, skimming, and scanning — that’s what our brains are now conditioned to do. Concentrate and think deeply? Not so much.

More about us: Helicopter parenting creates neurotic kids, a new study says.

The study, which surveyed college freshman, is one of the first to try to define exactly what helicopter parenting is, and measure it. The term was originally coined by college admissions personnel when they started to notice a change in parents of prospective students — parents would call the admissions office and try to intervene in a process that had previously just been between the student and the college, said study researcher Neil Montgomery, a psychologist at Keene State College in N.H.

Bonus: Dale Connelly’s last show is tomorrow.

This decision comes as a surprise to me. As many of you already know from your personal stories (so generously shared on this blog) when you get to be a certain age, the sudden changes that come are often dark and unwelcome but we are resilient people who are very good at imagining the worst and naturally inclined to hope for the best. This is another one of those situations that only appears dire. Greater trials are visited every day on good people who are much less deserving of trouble. Because I know you’ll be concerned, I want to assure you that I’ll be fine.

Dale’s Trial Balloon blog is one of the finest pieces of online writing in the Twin Cities. There’s no other online community in the region that has been consistently as participatory and intelligent as that one. It was, as the name implies, a Trial Balloon. A great one. The good news: He’ll continue it — as Trail Baboon — on his own Web site.

Let us sing:


Israel’s attack on a boat carrying supplies to Gaza resulted in nine deaths and a diplomatic crisis. Does Israel remain a good strategic partner for the United States?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Obama’s new oil commission will consider new regulations in response to the spill to punish BP and even ban drilling offshore. Midmorning looks at the impact of such laws not only on the environment, but on our access to affordable oil.

Second hour: Author Isobel Coleman says feminism is gaining strength among women who practice Islam, and some of the rationale comes from the surprising source: The Koran.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – A new American RadioWorks documentary, “The Great Textbook War,” – followed by a discussion with educators and listeners. Stephen Smith hosts. I’ll be living blogging it here starting at noon.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: In Pakistan, Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep found that concerns over electricity often outweigh terrorism. And religious fundamentalism is often shunned. Inskeep talks about reporting on NPR’s Grand Trunk Road series and his journey into Pakistan and India.

Second hour: In his mid-f50s, Lee Kravitz lost his job, and found himself adrift. He took stock of his life, and didn’t like what he saw. So, he started to make amends, paying old debts, fulfilling forgotten promises. Lee Kravitz talks about his book, “Unfinished Business.”

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – A lawsuit seeking to end Minnesota’s ban on same-sex marriage has managed to receive the kind of attention activists would have rather avoided: At least two national groups are trying to help influence both the legal case and public opinion during an election year. The lawsuit has failed to gain broad support among gay rights advocates because many believe its chances of changing current law are slim. There are also concerns that the lawsuit will hurt a separate effort in the state Legislature to lift the ban. MPR’s Elizabeth Dunbar will have the story.

Brandt Williams has the latest on Minneapolis’ crime rate. We’ll hear from people in the Hawthorne neighborhood of north Minneapolis and from city officials about their tactics.

  • Worst mistake at work?

    Hoo, that’s a tough one. I sometimes tend toward the LaGuardia model of mistakes.

    For legal reasons I can’t discuss the worst mistake I ever made. So, yeah.

  • Jim!!!

    Thanks for telling us about Dale’s last show. I miss the Morning Show already.

  • lost in all the hoopla about the Detroit no-hitter call was how just as obvious a scewed-up umpire call in Seattle cost the Twins with a loss that never should have ended that way-& ask the Twins & Tigers if a single game mattered after last year! There has to be a once-a-game challenge for catches or out calls on the bases as the NFL already has-to end games the way it went last night is a disgrace-& NO balls & strikes WOULD NOT be in question-of course this remedy is too practical for MLB!

  • Two things about nuking the well:

    1) The former Soviet Union did this five times successfully and we apparently never even knew about it until just recently.

    2) The push against this idea comes from BP because they still want that oil, and are dragging their feet because by August they’ll have relief wells working. The relief wells will only slow the leak, the theory being that if it’s slowed, it can be capped.

    But no matter how we deal with this, no one alive today will ever see a recovered Gulf of Mexico, and there’s a good chance the oceans will die before we get around to reining in the oil companies and other major polluters.