Giffords returns to Congress, Minnesota as an ATM, how to bully a teacher, the inside story of the death of bin Laden, and your dinner shouldn’t dance.
1) THE RARE MOMENT OF COURAGE
Who thought there’d actually be a moment of inspiration coming from the U.S. House of Representatives when it made its debt vote yesterday? Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made her return to Congress, seven months after being shot in the head in a mass shooting in Tucson.
Giffords was able to vote, despite the obvious effort it took to get to Washington. Three members of Congress didn’t vote (See breakdown of vote here). Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA.), Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI.).
Why not? Rep. Baca was undergoing ankle surgery. Rep. Hinchey was recovering from colon cancer surgery. Only the Wisconsin congresswoman appears to have ducked the vote. Rep. Moore took part in the debate that preceded it.
Meanwhile, Nate Silver, the numbers guru at fivethirtyeight, has looked at the fine print of the deal.
The further you go out in time, the more likely it is that the cuts enshrined in this deal will have been swamped by more recent changes to policy.
That isn’t to say that the cuts are an accounting fiction. Particularly when control of the government remains divided, the status quo may tend to prevail. But they need to be discounted fairly heavily, especially in the back half of the deal where the bulk of the cuts are concentrated.
So the “crisis” is over? It is once Jon Stewart delivers the benediction:
Hearing Carl Kasell rap the debt crisis made the debt crisis worth having.
2) MINNESOTA AS AN ATM
The federal government may specialize in spending more than it takes in, but not in Minnesota. The Economist looks at state federal tax receipts vs. the amount of federal dollars spent in a state (as a percentage of a state’s GDP). What state provides the feds with the biggest surplus?
Curiously, the biggest recipients of federal dollars vs. taxes paid are some of the “reddest” states in the country.
3) HOW TO BULLY A TEACHER
When 15-year-old Phoebe Prince hung herself after being bullied in the South Hadley (Mass.) High School, teacher Deb Caldieri was one of the few teachers who responded with any significant compassion. She also the only one who spoke out.
4) THE INSIDE STORY OF THE KILLING OF BIN LADEN
The New Yorker has a must-read article that reveals the “inside story” of the operation that led to the death of Osama bin Laden earlier this year.
After a few minutes, the twelve SEALs inside helo one recovered their bearings and calmly relayed on the radio that they were proceeding with the raid. They had conducted so many operations over the past nine years that few things caught them off guard. In the months after the raid, the media have frequently suggested that the Abbottabad operation was as challenging as Operation Eagle Claw and the “Black Hawk Down” incident, but the senior Defense Department official told me that “this was not one of three missions. This was one of almost two thousand missions that have been conducted over the last couple of years, night after night.” He likened the routine of evening raids to “mowing the lawn.” On the night of May 1st alone, special-operations forces based in Afghanistan conducted twelve other missions; according to the official, those operations captured or killed between fifteen and twenty targets. “Most of the missions take off and go left,” he said. “This one took off and went right.”
5) YOUR DINNER SHOULDN’T DANCE
I am not responsible, really, for this horrible, disgusting video posted on Robert Krulwich’s blog. My colleague, Eric Ringham, is.
This squid that constitutes someone’s dinner, is dead. Until you add the soy sauce.
With this, of course, comes your daily source of science, courtesy of Mr. Krulwich:
Soy sauce, rich in salt, caused its muscle cells to fire. To get motion, add sauce.
Because this squid was just killed, its muscle cells were still intact and operational. A live squid moves it tentacles by sending an electrical command from its brain to its muscles. The commands say “contract” or “relax.” But since this animal lost its head, its brain can’t send signals. Salt acts as a substitute.
Bonus: Toby Benham, a climber and BASE jumper, calls himself “lucky chance.”
Congressional leaders and the president came within days of a default before reaching a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling. Today’s Question: What does the debt-ceiling crisis say about our political and economic system?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Has President Obama governed too much from the middle?
Second hour: The future of medicine.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: U of M political scientist and former congressional staffer Kathryn Pearson analyzes the budget and debt limit debate in Washington.
Second hour: An Aspen Ideas Festival discussion about Muslims in America.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The struggle over the debt and the next generation.
Second hour: The new world of TV and instant access.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – It’s a long way from a small town in northeast Wisconsin to Hollywood, but over the last five years young actor Bridger Zadina has built a career there. He’s now appearing in a new independent film called “Terri” with John C. Reilly. MPR’s Euan Kerr interviews him.