It did, but will they last? Comedians fire back at Congress. Bike crackdown at the U of M. How to turn around a school system. The kids are alright.
1)WHAT GOOD WAS THE STIMULUS?
Did the stimulus bill create jobs? Let’s get this settled once and for all. Over 100 ads on TV are claiming it didn’t. FactCheck.org is out with the verdict:
But it’s just false to say that the stimulus created “no jobs” or “failed to save and create jobs” or “has done nothing to reduce unemployment” – or similar claims that the stimulus did not produce any jobs.
As we have written before, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report in August that said the stimulus bill has “[l]owered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points” and “[i]ncreased the number of people employed by between 1.4 million and 3.3 million.”
The larger question is whether it created jobs that last? The Star Tribune reports that for many job counselors who were hired with stimulus money, the answer is “no.”
Related: In Duluth, competitors are unhappy that stimulus money was used to provide spiffy new buses at a private company. They’re used to take people to the Twin Cities.
2) CONGRESSIONAL FOOD FIGHT
You knew this was coming. A day after Congress (and the media) criticized comedian Steven Colbert’s testimony before a House committee, the comedians fire back.
In an editorial, the Fort-Worth Star Telegram says Colbert was worth taking seriously:
He said that as a free marketer he would normally leave the problem to the invisible hand of the market — then pointed out that the market has already sent 84,000 production acres and 22,000 farm jobs to Mexico and shut down a million acres of U.S. farmland “because apparently even the invisible hand doesn’t want to pick beans.”
He suggested that giving immigrants visas to work the farms could help provide safeguards against worker exploitation. With that, plus improved pay and working conditions, maybe Americans would be willing to take the jobs again. Or “maybe the easier answer is to just have scientists develop vegetables that pick themselves.”
The satiric point: We could devise a doable, rational solution — or chase an absurd and impossible one.
Are immigrants taking American jobs in the fields of Amerca? No, the Associated Press reports today. They’re taking jobs Americans won’t do.
3) “STOP” DOES NOT MEAN “GO”
A crackdown on bicyclists who don’t stop at “stop” signs at the University of Minnesota isn’t making the grade with some students.
“I don’t really feel like I’m a threat to other people on my bike,” she said. “I think that it’s stupid. I don’t really know who I’m going to hurt by going through a stop sign when there are absolutely no cars.”
Elsewhere on the crime patrol: The underwear burglar has apparently been caught in Fergus Falls.
4) BACK TO BASICS
If “smaller is better” as some education experts say, how come the largest public school in Massachusetts has gone from being one of the worst to one of the best? Two words: Reading and writing.
5) THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT
What if we focused on what kids do know how to do instead of what they don’t? An AP-generated grenade asks “are we raising a generation of nincompoops?”
Susan Maushart, a mother of three, says her teenage daughter “literally does not know how to use a can opener. Most cans come with pull-tops these days. I see her reaching for a can that requires a can opener, and her shoulders slump and she goes for something else.”
OK, I’ll bite. #1, why do you need a can opener? #2, an entire American generation couldn’t set the clocks on their VCRs. Both of my kids are of the targeted generation. One commented the other day that he still gets a thrill when 400 laptops reboot because he tells them to. He’s in charge of servers for a major company in the Twin Cities. He’s 24. I don’t think the kid can cook. Does he have to? Son #2 saved someone’s life the other day. He’s a paramedic and he knew what to do. I wouldn’t. Would you? He’s 22.
Here’s another bomb from the article:
Google means kids don’t have to figure things out or solve problems any more. They can look up what they need online or call mom or dad for step-by-step instructions.
The same mom and dad that calls it The Googles? Times change. People adapt. Old skills that aren’t needed are replaced by new ones that are.
Discussion points: What “skill” didn’t you need that your parents did?
Bonus: The Big Picture looks at fall. Favorite: A pumpkin as a canoe.
How did Francisco Liriano become an ace again for the Twins? The Hardball Times provides the proof,: images comparing last year’s Liriano with this year’s version.
President Obama said Monday that the American school year is too short, and he noted that students in other advanced countries have about a month more of school each year. Should we have a longer school year?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Republicans have recently released their new policy ideas as a “contract with America” to win over voters. Midmorning considers whether tough economic times and anti-incumbent sentiment will help Republicans recapture the House and even the Senate in November’s elections. We’ll also fact-check candidates’ claims in the local gubernatorial election.
Second hour: If music is a language, its lyrics are flying in the face of the rules of English grammar. Midmorning explores the grammatical slip-ups that make popular music great, but still irk the experts.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Education Minnesota president Tom Dooher talks about the teachers union’s views on education reform.
Second hour: A debate about dealing with terrorism suspects, from NPR’s “Intelligence Squared” series.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The changing roles of men and women. Men lost most of the jobs in the recession, women outperform men in school, and many earn more at the office.
Second hour: Adrian Goldsworthy joins host Neal Conan for the real story of Antony and Cleopatra.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – There are groups considering placing wind structures on Lake Superior’s north shore to take advantage of strong off-shore winds. There are communication companies that want to place additional cell towers to fill in the many gaps in coverage along the shore. But there are concerns that either of those structures could do a great deal of harm to birds following the shoreline on their fall migration south. MPR’s Bob Kelleher will have the story.
MPR’s Euan Kerr will have the story of a 7 1/2 hour play at the Guthrie.