The issue that won’t go away, how money is buying justice, would you unplug for a week, where’s Peter Sagal, and renting a bike in Minneapolis.
The Monday Morning Rouser. This was recorded just a couple of doors down from the radio station I worked at in a small Massachusetts town — Great Barrington by name — before I left there to seek my fortune in Minnesota.
1) “This issue does not appear to be going away,” a reporter for ABC’s Good Morning America intoned this morning while doing a story on the proposed mosque/community center in Manhattan. The story led all three morning TV news shows today. Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison debated a colleague from New York on the issue this morning.
“It’s directly inapplicable. Every school kid knows the Pilgrims came here for religious liberty,” Ellison said. “If a group can be stopped from their house of worship… that’ll be a setback for the idea that you can worship as you see fit in America. That’s not the Constitution that the framers wrote. If you don’t let this Islamic community center here, why say it can go forward anywhere? You can always say this is not the right time, or the right place, but Martin Luther King said you can’t put a timeline on someone else’s freedom.”
“With every right, there’s responsibility. And it’s the responsibility of Muslim leaders to recognize the hurt here,” Rep. Peter King countered.
(If the video doesn’t load, go here.)
2) A new report this morning should reignite the debate over whether judges should be appointed or elected. The report from the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, Justice at Stake, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, says that “so much money is pouring into state judicial races from outside groups that it’s beginning to undermine public confidence in the courts,” according to NPR.
It couldn’t have happened without a landmark Supreme Court ruling on a Republican Party of Minnesota claim that Minnesota’s ban on judicial candidates revealing their political philosophies was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court agreed. Lawyers, lobbyists, and business raised the bulk of the contributions to judicial candidates. Minnesota ranked 17th in the country for the amount of money raised for Supreme Court candidates between 2007 and 2009. But Minnesota is one of only two states where judicial candidates did not run TV ads.
3) Would you unplug for a week? A handful of volunteers agreed to give up their technology for a week. They’ve now submitted their findings… with the help of technology.
In at least one case, the New York Times reports, the effect was most pronounced on other people trying to reach the disconnected:
But for many, finding the right balance can be hard. James Cornell, 18, spent his day away from his cellphone feeling jittery, and worried that he was annoying people by not responding to them. John Stark, 46, told his friends that he wouldn’t be responding to text messages, expecting them to call him on the phone if they needed to communicate. They sent text messages to his wife instead, asking her to relay information to him.
4) Where was Peter Sagal for this week’s “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me!”? Home in bed, blogging with his morphine. He got hit by a car while riding his bike last week. A blogger on morphine bears close watching:
Anybody who goes through this ends up with a lot of thoughts to process; it’s quite literally a near-death experience (I’m pretty sure that without my helmet I’d either be dead or near it). Right now, though, instead of thinking about What I Should Be Doing With My Life Now That I’ve Got a Second Chance (chances are, I’ll waste it reading blogs, like I do now) I’m just… amazed at the system we have in place to take care of people like me when stuff like this happens. Bystanders called 911; the ambulance and police were there within moments. I was taken right to a hospital with trauma docs at the ready, who alleviated my pain and would have been ready if I had been more badly injured than I was. And of course, I’ve got a tremendous support system in my family and my colleagues and my employers and all of you…
The key phrase, though, is, “people like me.” Meaning, in this case, people with a good job and excellent health insurance. This ain’t the time to go political on anyone, but, man, I’d hate to have been lying there, on that pavement, shaking and in shock, wondering, “How am I going to pay for this?”
5) I’ve been feeling pretty guilty passing people riding their bikes for the last few weeks. There they were out there in the heat and humidity and there I was in the luxury, air conditioned, Chevy Cavalier. Now that the weather has changed, it’s the bikers’ turn to feel sorry for me and everyone else stuck in a car. In that vein, Graham Lampa has produced a video on how to rent a Niceride bike in Minneapolis.
(h/t: The Deets)
Bonus: Teenagers can’t help it. They’re teenagers.
Latest reports say the U.S. trade deficit expanded by nearly 19 percent, a bigger jump than expected. Demand for American products is weak in Europe. But what about here? How great an effort do you make to buy US-made goods rather than imports?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Both the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and University System are embarking on searches to find their next chief executives. In an era of low budgets and high expectations, the job of college president might be tougher than ever. Midmorning explores the question, “What does it take to be a creative, effective, innovative college president in the 21st century?”
Second hour: Why do we like spicy food so hot we can barely eat it? Why do we appreciate artwork more when we know it was created by a famous artist? There are many mysteries about human pleasure, and Yale professor Paul Bloom, author of “How Pleasure Works” discusses them.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: St. Olaf College political scientist Dan Hofrenning discusses the Minnesota gubernatorial election.
Second hour: From the Aspen Ideas Festival: Charlayne Hunter-Gault tells her life story, beginning as the first black woman to attend University of Georgia.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The controversy over building mosques.
Second hour: Why are so few Americans able to swim?
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – A new study finds walleye in the Mississippi river are consistently exposed to emerging contaminants like endocrine disruptors and pharmaceuticals. But the chemicals are apparently not affecting reproduction of the state’s iconic fish. MPR’s Dan Gunderson will report.