America’s newest folk hero (Five by 8 – 8/10/10)


1) Show me the jury that’s going to convict Steven Slater. Truthfully, who hasn’t had days on the job when you’ve wanted to swear at everybody, grab a beer, and jump out of an airplane? Slater, a flight attendant for JetBlue, had it when his plane was taxiing after landing and a passenger got up and started grabbing his carry-on before the plane reached the gate ( Oh, yeah, you know the type, right?). The two mixed it up a bit and, finally, Slater decided you could take the job. So he hurled invectives over the intercom, opened the plane’s doors, deployed the emergency chute, grabbed a beer, said ‘buh bye,” jumped, and drove home. The cops arrested him (nothing about the passenger, who technically may have committed a felony).Slater’s background is the stuff of the working class in 2010: balancing the stresses of family and career. He cared for his dying father, and now he’s caring for his mother. And he gets to do the “perp walk” in front of New York reporters. Even Koua Fong Lee’s attorney could get this guy acquitted.

2) Gov. Tim Pawlenty joined the list of people who are opposed to the idea of a mosque near the World Trade Center site.

“I believe that 3,000 of our fellow innocent citizens were killed in that area, and some ways from a patriotic standpoint, it’s hallowed ground, it’s sacred ground, and we should respect that.”

Sacred ground. You know, like a garbage dump.

Let’s hit the News Cut Wayback Machine.

If the World Trade Center site is hallowed ground, what is the site where the remains of the nearly 3,000 killed are buried? If you answer, “a garbage dump,” you win. For 9 years, relatives have been trying to get politicians to understand that their loved ones should be “on sacred ground.” They wouldn’t listen. No politician put out a press release with concern about respect for the families.

“There is no reason for all eternity that my son has to be in the garbage,” said Diane Horning, whose 26-year-old son, Matthew, was killed at the World Trade Center. I interviewed her husband in the piece above.

3) It’s primary election day in Minnesota, a good day to dust off an old post I made on Polinaut years ago considering the relatively archaic way in which we still cast votes, “Voting the Dark Ages Way.”

The idea that unless you vote, you don’t have a right to engage in a discussion about the future of the country is flawed logic because it assumes that the choice I’m given is a clear one; that there is a candidate representative of that element of the discourse I could bring to the table, were I not muted by my decision not to vote.

Don’t get me wrong. I “get” the old “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain” thing. I just happen to think, yes, you can.

And if we really want people to vote: let’s get the process out of the 19th century.

According to the Minnesota secretary of state, a high number of absentee ballots have been received for this election, which apparently was the whole point of moving the election to a time of year — August — when many people won’t pay attention. Still, legally, you can’t vote absentee ballot just because it’s more convenient. You have to have a reason why you wont’ be able to drag yourself to the local school gym, or wherever you’re required to go to cast a ballot.

Is there a more technologically advanced way to register what’s on your mind?

More politics. Time seems to think this segment is everything that’s wrong with politics.

Says Time:

In the new issue of Vanity Fair, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer is quoted making the following observation: “What they teach you on the first day of press-secretary school is to worry about blowing something up by giving attention to it. … ‘Don’t blow something up.'” He goes on to explain that those rules no longer apply. With the Internet, the story will blow up anyway. You have to respond.

4) From the Department of I Give Up: Welcome to Minnesota, where a girl — age 12 — faces drunk driving charges in Winona.

5) Imponderables for 20: Why don’t people play horseshoes anymore?


Yesterday, Google and Verizon released a joint policy proposal supporting an open Internet, but also allowing broadband providers to charge extra for premium services like entertainment and gaming. Is it time to change the way we pay for the Internet?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Tthe case against summer vacation. Summer vacation is an ingrained element of American childhood. But research on summer learning loss indicates that many lower class students are being hurt by an extended period away from school.

Second hour: An American mountain climber and mountaineer retraced the journeys of both Shackleton and George Mallory, discovering Mallory’s body on Mount Everest. His adventure is chronicled in a new film called “the Wildest Dream.”

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Elections expert Joe Mansky answers questions about voting procedures.

Second hour: David Kirkpatrick, author of “The Facebook Effect.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: What police can do to restore trust in law enforcement.

Second hour: A look at the civilian cost of fighting the war in Afghanistan.