Built-in goodness (5×8 – 10/18/10)

How we’re wired to be moral, the influence of music in our lives, why so many people aren’t interested in voting. gleefully Moorhead, and why the house always wins.

Welcome to Monday. Everyone sit down and….. no, never mind. The Monday Morning Rouser says so. (h/t: Bill Childs)

First, a note of personal privilege. My oldest son turns 25 today. A lot of people think 18, or perhaps 21, constitutes adulthood. Twenty-five constitutes adulthood… and a lower auto insurance bill.


Can science teach us right from wrong. Morality is usually the territory of philosophers and theologians. New Scientist has unveiled a new project in which scientists suggest we have “goodness” built into us. One researcher says science — not religion — shows us the best way to thrive in a moral world.


The extent to which music influences people’s lives is never more evident than when a young musicians dies. Minnesota rapper/musician Eyedea — Michael Larsen — died yesterday morning. We don’t know how. Within an hour or so of the news, more than 300 people had commented on a tribute page on Facebook.

He was a guest on The Current a little over a year ago.


An Associated Press poll this morning has all you need to know about the state of the electorate with just a few weeks to go before the election. Democrats are likely to sit this one out. The survey finds an “enthusiasm gap” between Republicans and Democrats. Up to half the people surveyed who voted Democrat in 2008 say they likely won’t vote on Election Day. Sixty-three percent of people who voted for change, now think nothing they do will lead to it.

Meanwhile, the Center for Public Integrity is out with a study today that might help explain why politicians hope people don’t pay attention to anything but their campaign ads. Scores of lawmakers who “opposed” federal stimulus action, have tried to get a piece of it.

Those asking for money include Tea Party favorites like freshman Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former presidential candidates Ron Paul and John McCain and Republican congressional leaders like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana.

Many Democratic leaders who had boasted they prevented lawmakers from inserting special spending requests in the stimulus law when it passed also engaged in the behind-the-scenes letter writing to secure funding afterwards, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Here are letters Minnesota congresspeople sent to federal agencies.

A lot of the money simply disappeared. In Duluth, for example, the Duluth News Tribune tried to find out how the Twin Ports spent the money. It couldn’t.

More politics: A Hastings pastor, in violation of IRS rules, endorsed Tom Emmer for governor yesterday, daring opponents to file a complaint.


How is it that in so many deals, Wall Street always seems to win? Easy. The deck is stacked.


Nathan Bowser spent his time between his dad’s home in Moorhead and his mom’s home in Fargo, and went to school in Moorhead. All of his friends and his support were in Moorhead. But when his dad died, he had to go to school in Fargo, because his family didn’t have the money for tuition in Moorhead. “That was really, really devastating for all of us,” says Nathan’s mom, Elain Archuleta. “It was extremely hard on him.” So the kids in Moorhead organized a benefit to at least keep him in choir.


Each Monday now through the election, we’ll pose a question on an issue that’s pertinent to the race for Minnesota governor. Today’s Question: What role should a governor’s religion play in his performance in office?


We’re in the middle of a membership drive. Some of these programs are rebroadcasts.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: A decorated combat veteran, Rhodes Scholar, and White House fellow confronts the realities of the choices we make when he begins a correspondence with a convicted murderer who grew up in a similar neighborhood in Baltimore and shares the same name.

Second hour: As a Jesuit priest in a gang-ridden neighborhood in Los Angeles, Father Gregory Boyle has seen his share of violence and unnecessary death. The jobs program he created offers youth a different path from gang life.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – Both hours: Former Vice President Walter Mondale speaks at the Westminster Town Hall Forum about his new book, “The Good Fight, A life in Liberal Politics.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: TBD

Second hour: TBD

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – We’ll have coverage of today’s one-day special session of the Minnesota Legislature. It will pass $75 million flood relief legislation.

In most years, rural Minnesota is fertile ground for Republican candidates. But this year could be different. In fact. several Republican mayors say they aren’t sure they’re going to back Tom Emmer for governor, and the main reason is his approach to the state budget. MPR’s Tom Scheck will report.

With the election nearing, advocates say foreclosure could threaten to keep some voters from the polls. The number of foreclosures this year is expected to be more than 3 million nationwide, 30 percent greater than two years ago, when the problem of some groups using foreclosure lists to single out and challenge voters became an issue. Advocates and elections officials want to make sure voters who have been affected by foreclosure know their rights. MPR’s Jess Mador will have the story.

  • Thanks for posting the first video! What an awesome way to keep the “Mondays” away! (clicked on the blog today because of the Eyedea story)