My daddy’s name is ‘donor’ (Five by 8 – 8/18/10)

The life of a sperm-donor child examined, sensitivity and the First Amendment, the love of a good siren, a ban on satire, and the secrets of outdoor photography.

1) ‘My Daddy’s Name is Donor,’ a story on NPR’s Tell Me More is a pretty compelling segment on the children of sperm donors. Three women — Wendy Kramer, founder of an online network where offspring and their sperm donors can connect; Elizabeth Marquardt, author of the study “My Daddy’s Name is Donor” and Alana Stewart, who is trying to find her sperm donor father — discuss what it means to become a parent this way.Is there a price offspring pay later? NPR producer Alicia Montgomery says her son has a sperm donor dad, but that doesn’t mean his life will be any less worth living.

2) It’s a battle of columnists in today’s Pioneer Press on the mosque issue. Local scribe Joe Souchery posits that the right to build a mosque near the World Trade Center isn’t a constitutional issue; it’s a sensitivity issue.

If the issue is tolerance, where is the reciprocity? It seems to me that we have been customarily charitable to our Muslim brothers and sisters, from acknowledging their workplace or school needs to accommodating what might or might not be carried in a cab. In fact, with factions among us so intent on undermining our own history and essentially religious founding, it is unusual, at best, that we must continually acquiesce to the public nature of the Muslim faith. I can think of no other faith that requires this public accommodation and no other society so willing to provide it. How much money have we spent retrofitting bathrooms?

Columnist Kathleen Parker turns Soucheray’s argument on its head:

The idea that one should never have one’s feelings hurt — and the violent means to which some will resort in the protection of their own self-regard — has done harm rivaling evil. It isn’t a stretch to say that the greatest threat to free speech is, in fact, “sensitivity.”

Both make the same leap, tying the religion of criminals to all members of a religion. Regardless of your view of the mosque issue, at least it brought the underlying attitudes and anger out into the open. They’ve been festering for nine years.

So perhaps it’s time to stop framing the debate around one mosque in one city.

In Poland, meanwhile, a debate has broken out this week over the fate of a wooden cross.

Dr. Laura has given up her radio show after a tirade involving “the N word.”

Dr. Laura played the victim on Larry King last night. “I want to regain my 1st Amendment rights,” she said.

If she had simply said the “N word”, rather than actually saying the whole word, would there still have been a controversy? Does it change the meaning of what she said? Why do I ask? Because in the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that an asterisk is not sufficient to cover up an obscenity.

3) For some people, like Mike Nelson of Mankato, there’s nothing more beautiful than a siren.

Related: What can we blame for the humidity of this summer? Corn.

4) How would this idea play in the U.S.? Satire has been banned in Brazil, until after the presidential election.

To mark the occasion, Mother Jones presents the top five moments of political satire in the U.S.

5) The secrets revealed. The Marshall Independent profiles outdoors photographer Bill Van der Hagen.

“I give all the secrets, I don’t keep any of them,” he said, adding people can visit to see his Photoshop techniques. “Some of the techniques I get requests for how I did it and I videotape how I did it. People feed off it. They send me back stuff and say ‘this is what I did with it,'” and he learns from them how to stretch his expertise.

“Photoshop is an absolute obsession,” he admitted. “Because of the digital age, I enjoy the landscapes and some of the experimental stuff. They give me more freedom to play with digital color and things like that.”

Gorgeous images found here.


It was 90 years ago today that women won the right to vote. How have women changed American politics?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: New questions about the human costs of the diamond trade have been raised in recent weeks. The nation of Zimbabwe held its first sale of diamonds after a two-year ban, even though observers say the Zimbabwean military is abusing gem miners and forcing them to work at gunpoint. “Blood diamonds” have also been a prominent topic in the United Nations war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. We’ll talk the new sources of blood diamonds and whether consumers know or care about the source of their gems.

Second hour: Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater captured the hearts of the public when he escaped from his job on an airline emergency exit slide. Midmorning asks why the wayward employee has become an American folk hero.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Jim Klobuchar on the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre .

Second hour: Tom Emmer, Mark Dayton and Tom Horner debate the issues at the Minnesota Chamber’s gubernatorial debate.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: John McCain burned through $20 million in a fight with a tea partying, radio hosting former congressman.And young Ben Quayle is on the ballot. NPR’s political editor, Ken Rudin, spells out the stakes in Arizona and Florida.

Second hour: Anchor babies and the 14th Amendment.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Nurses in Duluth are voting today on whether to approve a one-day strike. MPR’s Bob Kelleher will have the latest.

  • Heather

    “I can think of no other faith that requires this public accommodation and no other society so willing to provide it.”

    Ummmmmm… what about businesses — and the government — closing down COMPLETELY for Christmas? Schools closing for Easter break?

    I’m curious, though. What retrofitting of bathrooms?

  • Tyler

    I think the siren story is one of the coolest stories MPR has ever done.

  • Bob Moffitt

    “Related: What can we blame for the humidity of this summer? Corn.”

    Hater. 😉