5 x 8: Great speeches, jet noise, and Millennials afraid of phones


Much of our programming today will likely look back on what happened 50 years ago today — the March on Washington, punctuated by the now famous speech by Martin Luther King Jr.

The speech is rarely broadcast in its entirety, so many people have never heard it. This would be a good day to hear the speech that was supposed to go only 4 minutes.

  1. Listen Martin Luther King Jr. ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

    August 28, 1963

Whatever happened to the paper that speech was written on? King gave it to George Raveling, a volunteer who got near King. He’s still got it. He has had offers to sell it, but he won’t. “It belongs to the people,” he says. But he keeps it in a bank vault; it’s worth an estimated $25 million.

“We’ve seen change – the most significant that you’ve got to believe would have pleased Dr. King is having a black person in the White House, which none of us thought we’d see in our lifetime,” he tells the Los Angeles Times. “But at the same time, you’ll see articles that point out the unemployment numbers for blacks in 1963 are almost equal to what they are today.”

A NewsCut reader raised an interesting question the other day. When’s the last time someone gave a memorable speech that’s oft quoted?

Related: How a Carousel Ride Became Part of America’s Civil Rights History (PBS NewsHour)


This is what the noise situation around the flight paths at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport comes down to: Is it better to have a lot of people complaining about the noise, or a comparatively few?

Now that GPS is in the cockpits, the FAA is allowing airlines to fly more direct, precise routes, which puts them over the same house on most takeoffs.

Last night, two area congressmen held a meeting of affected residents, along with a representative of the FAA, MPR’s Jon Collins reports. They said their gathering information as Congress may intervene.

People living in south Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs questioned why there were no studies about the environmental, health or economic impacts of rerouting air traffic, Collins reported. That one’s easy: Congress waived the requirement when it reauthorized funding for the FAA in 2012.

“Please don’t allow the FAA to let airlines take off directly over our homes,” one woman said.

But it’s got to take off over someone’s home.

It’s not just Minnesota. Fifteen other airports are doing the same thing. In New York, for example, the new system is concentrating noise over Queens.

“Geographically, the aircraft will always be over the same spot every day — the same house,” said Joe Devito, manager of flight standards compliance at JetBlue told the New York Times. “Under the old procedures, I’d come in with engines powered up,” he said. “Today I’m going over the house with the engines on idle. That’s nice and quiet.”

People on the ground aren’t buying it.

The growing opposition wouldn’t be happening if not for a decision Minnesota officials made in the ’90s. After years of study, state officials rejected the idea of building a new airport in Vermillion in Dakota County. It was mostly cornfields and provided plenty of room for expansion. Minneapolis wasn’t thrilled about losing the economic benefit of the airport, and a lot of passengers thought the area — which now sprouts new neighborhoods — was too far to drive to get a plane.


I thought it was just newsrooms that were deathly quiet, compared to the old days. Apparently, things are too silent in offices all over the country, the Wall St. Journal says. And companies — especially sales offices — are losing money because it is.

The problem? Kids. Those kids under 35 who are more comfortable with the disembodied relationships of email instead of the telephone.

While Millennials—usually defined as people born between 1981 and the early 2000s—are rarely far from their smartphones, they grew up with a wider array of communication tools, such as texting and online chatting, and have different expectations for how and when they’d like to be reached. In the workplace, some managers say avoiding the phone in favor of email can hurt business, hinder creativity and delay projects.

Stephanie Shih, 27, says phone calls are an interruption. The brand marketing manager at Paperless Post, a New York-based company that designs online and paper stationery, doesn’t have a work phone. Nor do the majority of her co-workers. The company says that not having individual phone lines in open-plan areas protects people from unwanted calls, which can interrupt conversations.

This paragraph is a head scratcher, though:

Dana Brownlee, a corporate trainer based in Atlanta, says the issue of phone aversion frequently comes up in her project management training sessions. One of her clients, a manager at a large utility company, recently had to teach his young employee what a dial tone was and explain that desktop phones don’t require you to press “Send.”

More workplace: Former Patch editor sues over treatment during pregnancy, chronic illness (TwinCities.com).


Science is the only field, it seems, that regularly gets things done.  University of Washington researchers Rajesh Rao and Andrea Stocco have succeeded in hooking up one person’s brain to the Internet, and controlling the finger of another person, NBC reports.

“We want to take the knowledge of a brain and transmit it directly from brain to brain,” Stocco says.

Stocco said the technology could eventually be employed to help disabled people send distress signals through their thoughts alone — or even allow flight attendants or passengers on a plane to “mind-meld” with an operator on the ground if the plane’s pilot became incapacitated.

Rao and Stocco say their pilot study marks the first demonstration of noninvasive human-to-human brain interfacing. But Rao stressed that their signaling system deals only with simple on-off brain signals, rather than a person’s thoughts. Also, the system can’t be used to force subjects to do anything against their will.

(h/t: Matt Black)


A New Jersey court says someone who sends a text message to someone who’s driving a car can be held liable.

An Appeals Court ruled in the case of an accident in which a girl texted a friend in a pickup truck, just before he hit a couple riding a motorcycle. The cyclists lost parts of their legs. They sued not only the truck’s driver, but also the girl who was texting him.

On Tuesday, a state Appeals Court ruled that the girl in that particular case could not be held liable. But it also ruled “that a person sending text messages has a duty not to text someone who is driving if the texter knows, or has special reason to know, the recipient will view the text while driving,” CBS reported

Bonus I: No explanation needed, really. The Wisconsin guy sings while he sells you some corn.

Bonus II: Airlines Still Trying to Make Passenger Boarding Less Annoying (Wired.com).

Bonus III: Kids in a store find out there’s no clerk. They pay for their purchases anyway. Kids today, eh?

Do you support a “limited strike” against Syria?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: President Obama’s college rating plan.

Second hour: Duluth sex trafficking.

Third hour: Fifty years ago today hundreds of thousands of people joined together for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Among the inspiring and historic speeches and music, people were demanding equality and opportunity. What do Minnesotans remember from that historic day? And how far have we come in achieving equality since then?

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Gov. Mark Dayton. MPR’s Mike Mulcahy hosts.

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – A famous psychology experiment of the 1960s told subjects to deliver electric shocks to other people. Many of the subjects followed the order. Did that reveal a dark side of human nature? NPR will have the story.

  • MrE85
    • It was a good speech as I vaguely recalled (I covered the convention and was working up a piece in my hotel room while listening), but I’ll be darned if I can recall a single line from it.

      • MrE85

        It made a bigger impression on me, watching at home. The “red America, blue America” line in particular stuck with me.

      • Josh Ruhnke

        Isn’t that the speech where the line about “the Audacity of Hope” came from?

  • Matt Black

    Re #3) This was about 5 years ago, but my wife had to explain to a then 18-19 year old that when you were using a land-line to make a call you had to dial “1” for certain area codes.

    Where I work at, we all have phones at our desks but mostly prefer Skype chat or email. It gives us a written record so there isn’t confusion later.

    • Jordan Green

      Written record is the main reason I prefer e-mail. With phone calls I need to find paper and a pen or quickly open a document and try and type the important details, with an e-mail its all there.

  • Dave S.

    Somewhat related to #5…I just had to share this. The other evening, I was driving behind a car with a 8.5×11 sign in the rear window. It had a photo of a young man, with the caption “A drunk driver killed my brother.” There was also a MADD bumper sticker with the same statement. The vehicle suddenly swerved onto the shoulder and then back into the driving lane. As we came to a stop sign, I saw the driver was texting!

    • PJM

      People don’t seem to understand that texting is as bad (or worse than) drunk driving. I don’t remember where I read this (it could have been here even), but there was a study showing that reaction times were more severely diminished when the driver was texting when compared to when the driver was impaired. Essentially, every texting driver is equivalent to a driver with a BAC of much greater than 0.08.

      If drunk drivers were really this common, would we really tolerate it? So why isn’t the penalty for texting while driving as severe as a DUI? The punishment has to be so severe that people are afraid to get it.

  • BReynolds33

    The last speech that people often quote from? Probably Bluto in Animal House. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7vtWB4owdE

    • Forget it, he’s rolling.

  • Michele

    Re #2: As I recall the debate, Northwest (now Delta) opposed the plan to move the airport Dakota Co because they feared losing their virtual monopoly on air travel in this area. A new airport would introduce many new gates which would bring the likelihood of increased competition and reduced revenues (e.g. lower prices for consumers).

    It’s also worth noting that the “build new airport vs stick with what we got” debate was finally settled by the Minnesota Senate in 1996. At that time of the general economy was in a growth phase that helped improve Northwest’s balance sheet (assets) and profits, following the extreme debt Northwest incurred by the 1989 leveraged buyout. There were many well reasoned arguments for building a new airport in Dakota Co but, as with the more recent decision to use state and local money to finance the new Vikings stadium, reason didn’t rule the day. Instead legislators caved to money interests while claiming to be working in the public good.

    • David Wilford

      As I recall, it was the expense of building a new airport vs. increasing the capacity of the existing airport that led to the decision not to build it

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    We’ll eventually need a bigger airport, and since expanding the existing one seems highly unlikely maybe we should have gone ahead with the Dakota County one. Would have been far cheaper then than what it will be.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    Regarding speeches. I can’t recall any great quotes from the current one or his predecessor except for “I can hear you, the world can hear you and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon,” but that was ad-libbed.

    • MrE85

      That was a very good speech, perhaps his best. Nearly 10 years later, his predecessor said this:

      “On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.”
      PS: Bin Laden is dead.

      • But nobody can quote anything out of that speech without looking it up.

        • MrE85

          Point taken.

    • Dave

      And yet, they did not hear us for nearly ten years. That speech evaporated.

  • Kassie

    How about, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

    • BJ

      I was just going to say Reagan had a few I still hear now an again.

  • SW Minneapolis

    Every time I hear a plane go over my house, I think, “I’m so lucky to live 20 minutes away from an international airport.”

  • Sonya Burke

    #1) Herb Brook’s Miracle on Ice pre-game speech. “Great moments are born from great opportunity.”

  • Vince Tuss

    Maybe Ann Richards at the 1988 DNC, if only for the “silver foot” line? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtIFhiqS_TY

  • Caitlin Vanasse

    I have definitely seen people from my generation (myself included) spend too much time trying to find an answer online when simply calling would have been faster. (Or today when I looked online, tried calling, and eventually had to just go to the store to get the answer I needed.) That being said there are some new technologies I think offices could benefit from using more. I knew one office that used IM as a way for the receptionist to communicate with others to great effect.

    • I get particularly depressed when people in neighboring cubicles email each other.

      • Kassie

        I email people in neighboring cubes to communicate with them. It is about having a paper trail. And as a taxpayer, this is good for you because it keeps me accountable. My emails, any and all of my emails, can be requested by you as a journalist and member of the public. My conversations or instant messages cannot.

      • jon

        A few weeks ago I received a phone call from my cubicle neighbor… Took him a few minutes of explaining why he was calling before I interrupted and asked “Are you sitting on the other side of the wall?”

        We both had a chuckle and he came over and introduced himself…

        That being said I prefer email. It leaves a paper trail and it doesn’t break my train of thought if I’m working on something in depth.

      • Today’s Guest

        Neighboring cubicle email sometimes happen so what is said is not overheard by everyone in the area.

        • Which brings be back to the original thought: Today’s workplaces are far, far too quiet. They’re like libraries.

  • Here’s one I forgot about. “My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I
    am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the
    subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”


  • MrE85

    #4) That story on the former Golden Valley Patch editor is a dozy. I’ve got a blog over there: http://goldenvalley.patch.com/groups/bob-moffitts-blog/p/minnesota-drivers-declare-independence-from-gasoline