Who’s ready for a little sacrifice? (5×8 – 3/29/11)

Will everyone share, reporters standing in water, Car Talk in three acts, a man and his goose, and marrying your iPad.


We’re heading for a federal government shutdown. Republicans are holding out for deeper spending cuts, but nobody is talking wars or Social Security, even though the experts insist that if the country is serious about cutting spending, three wars and old people are going to have to be a target. Everybody has to sacrifice in times of sacrifice, the speeches say, but everybody doesn’t. Congresspeople, for example. The Washington Post reports today that although there’s a program for members of Congress to give a portion of their congressional pay raises back to the government to help reduce the debt — only two did in every fiscal quarter. One of them, Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz gave a couple thousand.

Americans as a whole donated over $2.8 million, which kept the national debt from growing for all of 57 seconds.

In Minnesota overnight, the House passed its income tax cut while cutting local government aid for the major cities. That takes some of the lawmakers’ own cities off the hook for aid cuts. But a Senate plan more evenly spreads the pain — sacrifice, if you will — across the state.

Related: We have a new strategy in the effort to cut the costs of public employees. A New Hampshire state rep says if they’d die younger, it would be more affordable. “The problem with the N.H. Pension System is that people live too long. We’d be better off if we could get them to pick up smoking and they would die younger,” Neal Kurk said.

It’s been that kind of year in New Hampshire. Earlier this month, a legislator resigned after saying the mentally ill should get a one-way trip to Siberia.

Upon further review: Wisconsin spending will go up under the new budget, rather than down as the governor had earlier claimed.


Finally, we have our first picture of a TV reporter standing in water — or at least on the very edge of disaster — to properly explain the meaning of flooding along the Mississippi River…


(h/t: @ruhnke)

Actual flood information worth using: The St. Croix is the poor stepchild of area rivers. It doesn’t get as much coverage as the Minnesota and Mississippi. It’s not flood sexy enough. That changed this week when former colleague Matt Thueson launched his blog, Boomsite Blog, to document life on the St. Croix. It’s well worth adding to your daily routine.

And down in Northfield, Griff Wigley has discovered the beauty of the receding floodwater.


Suffolk University in Boston — of course — is presenting a play this week about the NPR talk show, “Car Talk.”

“To own a car is to know bitterness intimately,” the director says. “To live in this world might be that, too. To own a car is a very good metaphor, because it breaks down, it deteriorates, and so do we. It’s cause for bitterness . . . and they’re graced with the ability to turn that bitterness into humanity.”

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll change your oil.


If you could look up long enough these days, you may have noticed flocks of geese heading back to the area. In a few weeks, they’ll be stopping traffic while they lead their brood across the street. They’ll be making you miss your putt because of all of the goose poop on the greens. It comes with the territory. Relax. One of the critters may end up being your best friend…


How do you know when you might be over-geeking it a bit? When your love of your iPad rivals your love for your would-be-spouse. A man in California — of course — proposed to a woman by giving her an engraved iPad that said, “will you marry me?”

“I just wanted to share my excitement for Apple’s latest magical device bringing a little magic into my life!” he said.

Give it a year.


Isn’t airline flying bad enough?


As the end of March Madness draws near, TV ratings for the tournament series are the highest they’ve been in years. The NCAA tournament generates billions of dollars in commerce, though not for the players themselves. Should college athletes be paid?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Why schools need to teach the “art of arguing”

Second hour: The business of college athletics

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Kathleen Hall Jamieson of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania discusses the media, social media and democracy. Jamieson is at St. John’s University for a residency this week.

Second hour: The “On the Media” program explores the question, is NPR biased?

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Reaction to President Obama’s speech in Libya.

Second hour: When ordinary people commit extraordinary violence, David Livingston Smith argues it all begins with one simple thought: they’re a dog, or a brute, just vermin. Thinking of someone as less than human, he says, paves the way for atrocity.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – How some abusive priests might be slipping through the cracks, despite Church safeguards.

  • V

    The marriage last until the next Apple upgrade or new device.

    And, Bob, I’m unfamiliar with your goose allusion. It does sound like that Minnesotan game, “Duck, Duck, Grayduck.” 😉

  • Suzanne

    I listened to Kerri Miller’s discussion on college athletes being paid and I think her guest really missed the mark when he compared coaches, who get paid a great deal of money – with players. Coaches are there to earn a living; college student-athletes are there to earn a degree. With most of them earning full scholarships, they’re already being paid plenty.

  • Jamie

    // You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll change your oil. //

    Really funny, Bob.

    I just love that goose story. I hope we’ll get another update when s/he is put back in the park.

    Re: Sacrifice – I’m so tired of hearing people (mostly politicians) talk about how we all must make sacrifices. The working and middle classes and the poor have already been making lots of sacrifices. People who are poor especially are already sacrificing their health and safety, even their lives because Republicans refuse to make wealthy people and corporations pay their fair share in taxes. And because they’re just stindgy (sp?).

    What Republicans did in the MN House last night (I might be confused about these bills) will raise taxes on poor and middle-class people while giving the wealthy even more tax cuts (see MPR’s Capitol View). The tax cuts they’ve gotten in the last decade or so have not helped to create jobs, and these tax cuts would just be stuffed into their already bulging pockets too. Tax cuts and more tax cuts — it’s all about greed and nothing else. If they’d just admit it, I’d feel a lot better.