America’s third world (5×8 – 3/7/11)

The motel generation of kids, radicalization of Muslims to be investigated, pushing the season, whatever happened to Ila Borders, and the science of Up proven.

The Monday Morning Rouser. They say it’s impossible to be unhappy when you’re playing bluegrass. We should all be playing bluegrass today. This was from Saturday’s Winter Bluegrass Weekend, sponsored by the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association.


There’ll be a lot of issues discussed in political circles this week and most of them will be utter trivia compared to the issue in this piece from 60 Minutes last night. Two million more children have become homeless in the last two years — there are 16 million of them now. Pay attention to the kids talking about what it’s like to be homeless and hungry, and the little girl who feels guilty that it’s her fault.Here’s an interview with the reporter on the story, focusing on this statistic: We’re about to hit a 25-percent poverty rate for kids in America.


Rep. Keith Ellison is objecting to hearings into the radicalization of Muslim Americans. He says it’s fine to investigate “radicalization,” but wrong to focus only on Muslim Americans.

“That would suggest an equivalency that’s not there,” Rep. Peter King responded during their appearance on CNN yesterday.

Who’s right?

The hearings should focus on radicalization of Muslim Americansonline survey


The gifted Aaron J. Brown is pushing the season up north

This is the time of year where we wear our attractive spring coats earlier than we should; chest exposed to the elements. Normal cold, thus, feels colder. With daylight savings time upon us we plunge our early mornings back into darkness, all to create resplendent light when we are inside eating dinner. We know this all works out in the long run, but still, it seems mad. Where at the beginning of winter I am quick to flip down the flaps of my winter hat, today I resist until my ears throb with pain.

Temperature is nothing more than time. Wait long enough and you’ll get the climate you like after enduring months of one you despise. It is no wonder that we are the way we are. The place we live has something for everyone, but mostly suffering. Nevertheless, when pressed our attitudes, like our conversation, may extend ever so gently beyond the realm of weather.

He brings up an interesting assertion: ” Even penguins yearn for spring.”

We have reached the point of winter when we realize that we have survived it once more.

Tough? Audrey Kletscher Helbling will give you tough. Like Girl Scouts selling cookies all day outside a gas station — it’s still winter, you know — in the lovely town of Courtland.


A few weeks ago here on 5×8, I relayed the story of the first woman ever to throw batting practice to a Major League Baseball team. For local sports fans, that may have conjured up memories of Ila Borders, the woman who pitched for the St. Paul Saints, and then the Duluth-Superior Dukes in the old Northern League.

Where is she now? Gilbert, Arizona. She’s a firefighter there, the East Valley Tribune (Mesa, AZ.) reports.

“You go to Little League games and see girls in ponytails out there now,” Borders said. “That’s great, and I hope that, in a small way, I helped open people’s minds to that ,” she said.

5) UP!

People who follow me on Twitter will understand why this is among the most memorable stories of the day (so far): It is possible to lift a house with enough helium balloons

Bonus: Bach’s most famous organ piece, played on glasses.

(h/t: The Big Picture)


The U.S. Postal Service is losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year. It says it will be unable to pay its bills this year unless Congress lets it stop Saturday delivery. Do you need the U.S. Postal Service?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: As the state tries to solve the $5 billion deficit, most cities across Minnesota face higher taxes or reduced services. What changes will local residents see as city lawmakers deal with tighter budgets?

Second hour: Grammy-award winner Patti Austin stops by to talk about her 53-year musical career that took backstage to a major health issue she faced.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Anaysis of current events in Libya and the uprisings in the Arab world. Bruce Jentleson of Duke University is the guest.

Second hour: NPR president Vivian Schiller at the National Press Club (I may live blog this).

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: We keep hearing that Libya is a tribal country, that pro-Gadhafi forces include mercenaries from other parts of Africa, that the mercurial Libyan leader promoted himself as the leader of a unified Africa. But are all Africans in Libya mercenaries?

Second hour: The Planned Parenthood funding controversy. Guest: Sara Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Uncle Sam fills up his coffers every year with tax dollars paid by undocumented workers using phony Social Security cards. Where does this money go? And why do undocumented immigrants pay taxes in the first place? MPR’s Elizabeth Baier has some answers.

  • Chris

    Pretty handy to rule out any “equivalency” as a justification for refusing to investigate. Question begging at its finest.

  • But as long as we cut the budget, America will be strong and free.

    It’s stories like this that make we wonder where it was that we went wrong as a nation, that this gets no action or even consideration from our politicians.

  • bob

    This is just the latest indicator that we’re quickly becoming a dystopic society, owned and run by a plutocracy.

    In light of these findings, anyone who still professes to be a shiny happy optimist about the future of our nation needs a serious reality check..

  • JackU

    In the Computer Game Rise of Nations:Thrones and Patriots you are able to select a government progression. The two starting options are Republic and Despotism. These progress to Democracy and Monarchy. The final options are Capitalism and Socialism. I always thought the jump from Democracy to Capitalism was a stretch, but now I’m not so sure.

    I haven’t watched the exchange between Rep Ellison and Rep King yet, but I suspect Rep King isn’t willing to accept that people like him might be radicalized, that’s what happens to “them”.

  • Teej

    Yeah, folks seem to forget about the radical Christian terrorists murdering doctors and blowing up clinics.

  • Sam

    Re: the coming 25% poverty rate for children, a wonderful old Hubert Humphrey campaign speech comes to mind. It included one of my favorite political quotes of all time:

    “We have forgotten that we are our brother’s keeper. We have forgotten about each other… And we have had, as the measure of our success, that ‘those who already have too much shall get some more,’ rather than ‘those who have too little shall get enough.'”