1) TOO MUCH PATRIOTISM?
Is it time to dial back the patriotic festivities at sporting events? Commentator Frank Deford thinks so:
It’s also true that in the United States sports games are more associated with the military and mass displays of patriotism than are other amusements. I’ve always wondered why it is SOP — standard operating procedure — for the national anthem to be performed at games, when no one would ever expect “The Star-Spangled Banner” to be played at the theater or the opera or a rock concert or at the start of the Academy Awards this Sunday.
Why is this strictly an athletic devotion?
And, now, at the start of major sporting events, it’s also obligatory to have military jets flash overhead. The Olympics sends up doves; we send up fighter planes.
And yet, it can be magic:
2) FIRESIDE SPAT
There’s no other story in these parts these days than the one from Wisconsin. Here’s Gov. Scott Walker’s address to his people last night:
Sen. Mark Miller gave the Democrats’ response.
At last check, the Wisconsin Assembly is still debating the bill that strips some public unions of collective bargaining rights. They’ve been going all night.
So here we are, pretty much the same place were were yesterday. We’re talking about this on MPR’s Midmorning this morning. Walker’s comments are resonating with somebody. Several polls out of Wisconsin show he’s got significant support, although at the moment the public unions are getting most of the attention.
Richard Hurd, a professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University, told All Things Considered last night about how collective bargaining rights vary state by state. His statistics were fascinating, including this one: Public employees usually have better wages than the private sector, but that’s true in any state, whether there are unions or not. But public sector workers tend to be higher educated, he says, and on an education basis, are paid less than their private-sector counterparts.The New York Times’ editorial today takes the unions’ side:
The game is up when unionized state workers demonstrate a sense of shared sacrifice but Republican lawmakers won’t even allow them a seat at the table. For unions and Democrats in the Midwest, this is an existential struggle, and it is one worth waging.
And Mother Jones considers four possible ways this thing ends.
For the Daily Show, by the way, Wisconsin is comedy gold.
3) THE RAPE THAT DOESN’T END
In Maryland, about 10,000 parole hearings are held each year. Only about three rape victims show up each year to try to keep their attacker in prison. The Washington Post has today’s must-read story of one of them.
4) SOUTH DAKOTA’S CHINA SYNDROME
In South Dakota, the House has sent a bill to the Senate requiring women to wait at least 72 hours after she meets with a counselor to determine if she is voluntarily seeking an abortion. The Argus Leader notes a new angle surrounding anti-abortion legislation: The need to compete with China:
“The United States is in a strategic competition with China. China is a country which has a military which teaches its soldiers to hate America, it’s a country that grows 10 percent a year economically, it has something like 1.4 billion people, and I think that we need to safeguard our economic growth and our population in order to compete with China,” (Rep. Brian) Liss said, adding his argument for the bill is “completely secular.”
Opponents of the legislation point out South Dakota has voted against a ban on abortions twice.
5)GOING OUT WITH A BANG
We don’t know very much about the circumstances surrounding this video. Only that family members of “Uncle Gerald” somewhere wanted to send him off with a fitting goodbye upon his recent death.
Bonus: The 9/11 Memorial Museum has just released a multimedia timeline, featuring new video.
Soon-to-be Viral Video of the Day: This is what it looked like in Japan when new Twins’ player Tsuyoshi Nishioka came to bat.
The political uproar in Wisconsin may be spreading to Ohio, where a similar bill to curb collective bargaining rights for public employees is under consideration. Could what’s happening in Wisconsin happen here?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The Wisconsin uprising.
Second hour:Is it still possible to reinvent yourself?
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Rep. John Klinetalks about the Afghanistan war, the uprisings in the Arab world, and domestic concerns facing Congress.
Second hour: NPR’s “Intelligence Squared” series debate: “Is The Two Party System Making America Ungovernable?”
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: States with budget problems.
Second hour: How Groupon is hurting old-line business.