The first born (5×8 – 11/23/10)

Mysteries of the sibling, the women who was exhausted defending the president loses her job, the daily pat-down, autotuned scientists, and Minnesota’ barns.

A three-day workweek? Who’s kidding whom? The nation has pretty much punched out.


A study out today finds what every parent with more than one child can tell you: First-born children are more intense than those at the end of the line:

Out of 121 congressmen and senators included in his sample, Zweigenhaft found that 51 were firstborns, 39 were middle children, and 31 were youngest children. It wasn’t a huge over-representation of firstborns, but the difference, he says, is too significant to ignore.

Several surveys and studies conducted throughout the years have found that firstborns do edge out later-borns in lots of high-achieving professions, from corporate CEOs to college professors to U.S. presidents and Supreme Court justices. There’s even evidence that firstborn children are about 3 IQ points smarter than their second-born siblings.

Discussion point: How do you compare to your siblings?

More kids: People are less tolerant of harming kids, an expert in Sasha Aslanian’s story says today. There’s been a drop in the number of child abuse cases in Minnesota, she reports. If the downturn is a cultural/social thing, how do we explain this intriguing last paragraph of the story?

Children of color are still vastly over-represented in those numbers. Native American children are six times more likely than white children to wind up in the child protection system, and black children are four times more likely.


This woman…

… has lost her job.

“They called me in on a Friday afternoon,” Ms. Hart told CNBC in an interview on Monday, “and said they had made a decision…we should make that cut.”


A new poll shows Americans, who had supported the new TSA airport screenings, are having second thoughts.

What’s behind all the angst surrounding the airport screenings? We’re a modest lot. It’s a culture thing, says. Our modesty is what makes the rules.

The universality of these emotions has led some researchers to theorize that they’re a necessary social glue, motivating us to play nice within the community. For that reason, being asked to break those rules — by stepping into a body scanner or allowing a stranger to pat your genitals — elicits a strong emotional reaction. This may be particularly true for people with medical devices or other characteristics usually kept private.

Whatever. The TSA has issued the rules for people who refuse the X-Ray screening or pat-down, amid calls for an “opt-out day protest.” Basically, you will be killed… by your fellow passengers.

The new clarified policy for those who refuse pat downs by a TSA Transportation Security Officer (TSO), any pat down, is that the person who is refusing the pat down will be advised that they will be denied entry into the airport, and be escorted from the security screening area by TSA TSOs or police officers. If the person refuses the pat down again, they will be approached by a Supervisor TSO (STSO), who will again explain that a refusal of the pat down will result in the immediate removal from the security area by police officers. Following an escort out of the security area to the pre-security area the person will be informed that that they are being denied entry and that they may not attempt to reenter security.

If any person who has refused a pat down makes any attempt to go towards the gate area the TSA security checkpoint will be immediately shut down. The shutting down of a security checkpoint may result in a passenger evacuation of a terminal due to a security breach. Any evacuation of passengers would be based on a threat assessment at the discretion of the TSA and law enforcement at the terminal.

Once a Checkpoint has been shut down due to a person that has refused a pat down attempting to head towards the gate area, that person will then be deemed to be disruptive and interfering with airport screening and may be subject to both criminal and civil penalties.

It’s a “we’ll wear you down until you accept this” strategy. It didn’t work for this guy who had to get scanned/patted after his flight:

In order to enter the USA, I was never touched, I was never “Backscatted,” and I was never metal detected. In the end, it took 2.5 hours, but I proved that it is possible. I’m looking forward to my next flight on Wednesday.



There aren’t many barns left in my town (Woodbury), and photographing them has been on my to-do list. There’s only one working farm left in the city. Fortunately, two Web sites in the region have focused on Minnesota’s barns this week.

Dale Connelly’s Trail Baboon has a guest writer today who made a trip back to the family farm in Scott County, and the barn that’s not long for the world.

Audrey Kletscher Helbling, who pens the excellent Prairie Roots blog, was so inspired by the new book, The Barns of Sibley County, that she took photos in Rice and Waseca counties.

North Korea launching a war? A blizzard is coming? We still don’t have a governor? I’ve got your cure for the nonsense: Browse barns.

Bonus: Michele Bachmann gets asked tougher questions by British anchorpeople than the ones in the U.S. Watch how the host loosens her up with a couple of softballs before the real questions begin.


Officials could soon begin a hand recount of 2 million ballots cast in this month’s voting for a Minnesota governor. Do you have confidence in the Minnesota recount process?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Journalist Richard Wolffe tracks President Obama’s difficult two years in the White House from his easy win, to recent personal battles with Republicans.

Second hour: News consumers have more options than ever, and some experts would argue that we are overloaded with news and information. Two journalists argue that we are fortunate to have better fact-checking tools to navigate this new media landscape than ever before.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Elections expert Ned Foley answers questions on the day the Canvassing Board meets about the gubernatorial election.

Second hour: Jim Klobuchar in studio to talk about football and the Vikings.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Another study shows a shocking achievement gap between black and white boys. So how do we change it?

Second hour: Ina Garten.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – An electric supplier to much of northern Minnesota might need to raise rates from 12-16 percent early next year. They say it’s because of the high cost of wind energy. One local utility reports rates have increased 80% since 2000. That translates to about a 40% increase in consumer bills for electricity. Dan Gunderson will have the story.

It’s possible to eat local on Thanksgiving — food that’s from identifiable farmers/growers. Nancy Lebens will walk us through the how-to’s, and the tastes that you’ll have to do without.

Last summer a chain of kidney transplants involving 10 people provided new kidneys for five patients. Until now, the donors and recipients have been anonymous. Now they all want to meet each other. Lorna Benson is attending a luncheon today where that will happen.

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