What’s on MPR News – 3/15/19

Friday March 15, 2019
(Subject to change as events dictate. This page is updated throughout the day.)

9 a.m. -1A with Joshua Johnson
Domestic news roundup. On Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Boeing 737 Max planes operated by American companies or flying in U.S. territory, after a deadly crash involving a 737 Max aircraft in Ethiopia. Why did the FAA wait so long to ground these jets?

That’s only one of several investigations we’ve been following this week. On Wednesday, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison – an additional 43 months on top of his original sentence for charges of federal conspiracy and obstruction. Meanwhile, Andrew Weissmann, a prominent member of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into the 2016 election, will leave the team and the Justice Department, according to two sources who spoke to NPR’s Carrie Johnson. Does this mean the Mueller investigation is wrapping up? And if so, will the report be made available to the public?

And in 2020 campaign news, Beto O’Rourke – former Texas congressman and senatorial candidate – has thrown his hat in the presidential ring.

Guests: Abby Phillip, White House correspondent, CNN; Reid Wilson, national correspondent, The Hill; Julie Pace, Washington bureau chief, The Associated Press.

10 a.m.- 1A with Joshua Johnson
International news roundup. The Brexit legislative boondoggle dominated the global news headlines this week. Members of Parliament voted this week against the idea of leaving the European Union without a deal, and on March 12 they voted against a new withdrawal deal for the second time since January. Prime Minister Theresa May is under increased pressure with the March 29 deadline looming.

In Northern Ireland, one former British solider will be prosecuted in connection to the killing of unarmed civilians on Bloody Sunday. The massacre “became one of the main flash points in the Troubles, the 30-year struggle over the status of Northern Ireland that claimed at least 3,500 lives,” according to The New York Times.

And students in 40 countries planned to protest government inaction on climate change this week. Reuters reported that this Friday’s demonstrations are expected to be the largest yet.

Guests: Uri Friedman, staff writer, The Atlantic, covering global affairs; Emily Tamkin, freelance foreign affairs reporter; Paul Danahar, Washington bureau chief of the BBC.

11 a.m. – MPR News with Angela Davis
Minnesota’s new Human Rights commissioner, Rebecca Lucero, says that human rights should be accessible to everyone. This belief is based on injustices she witnessed at an early age. She now runs the department that looks at discrimination in the workplace, along with other key human rights issues.

Commissioner Lucero will join Angela Davis to talk about how the Department of Human Rights works and how it works with Minnesotans to fight discrimination.

12 p.m. – The Takeaway
his week President Trump faced a rebuke by Senate Republicans first in a vote calling for the end of U.S. support for the war in Yemen, and then on Thursday when the Senate voted 59 to 41 block the emergency declaration Trump invoked to fund the border wall. What does this mean for the relationship between the president and Republicans in Congress?

A look at the murmurs among the Republican Party about several potential primary challengers taking on President Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020. So far, the most vocal has been former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld.

And an interview with presidential hopeful Jay Inslee about the costs of combating climate change.

1 p.m. – Science Friday
The teenagers from this years Regeneron Science Talent Search share their winning projects. From the hunt for exoplanets to HIV therapies. Plus Ira Flatow talks to youth striking against climate change.

2 p.m. – BBC NewsHour
We hear from a man who hid under a table inside the Mosque attacked in Christchurch, and had to watch as dozens of people were killed and wounded around him. We talk to Helen Clark, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand.

3 p.m. – All Things Considered
The terrorist attack on a New Zealand mosque; the week in politics;a history of grounding planes; weaponizing civility.

6:00 p.m. – Marketplace
Between grounded planes and the national spotlight falling on the college admissions process, this week in the economy has been a busy one.

6:30 p.m. – The Daily
The family that built its fortune on the opioid painkiller OxyContin has never been held legally accountable for the epidemic that the drug helped unleash. Here’s why that could change.

Guest: Barry Meier, the author of “Pain Killer: An Empire of Deceit and the Origin of America’s Opioid Epidemic,” who has reported on the opioid crisis for The New York Times.

7 p.m. – The World
Still coping with the Hiroshima bomb in Japan. Before Etsuko Nakatani was born, her father got radiation sickness from the Hiroshima atomic bomb. She fears that she could still get sick because of it too, and she’s suing the Japanese government for help. It’s an uphill battle because science doesn’t support her claim.

8 p.m. – Fresh Air
We remember studio drummer Hal Blaine who died Monday at the age of 90. His distinctive sound could be heard on thousands of recordings from the late 1950s and on for 25 years. He was part of the studio session band, The Wrecking Crew. Blaine played on the hit records, “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes, “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys, “I Got You Babe,” by Sony & Cher, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” by The Byrds, “Monday, Monday” by the Mamas and the Papas, “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra, and many many more. (REBROADCAST from 5/9/01)

8:30 p.m. – Chef Lidia Bastianich is known for her Italian restaurants and her popular cooking show on Public broadcasting. Her memoir My American Dream: A Life of Love, Family, and Food (now out in paperback) details her early life in Italy on a farm where they grew and raised their own food. When communist Yugoslavia took over the area of Italy where her family lived, they fled, became refugees, and eventually ended up in America.

  • Jack

    Boeing 737 Max – I find it very disturbing that the training related to the MCAS addition to the software didn’t start until after the Lion Air accident. Even more so, from the accounts I have read, it appears that the scenario isn’t in flight simulators but rather that the training is a video and white papers.

    How can a major change be made to the plane’s software system but not be communicated to the plane’s pilots and purchasers?

    Seeing the flight path graphs is horrifying, those killed must have been aware of the unfolding tragedy.

    • As this unfolds, there are failures on different levels. Training & communication is the most obvious, but the whole thing begins with putting overlarge engines in place on a fuselage not designed for them and having to “fix” the resulting aggressive takeoff attitude through software. Then the Trump vanity wall shutdown comes and delays the bureaucratic correction process for a month. In the meantime, two 737s crash with similar circumstances and the FAA, loath to damage Boeing sales and stock prices, dithers. Trust in the FAA is lost as data recorders are sent to France for the forensic work. Finally, under pressure from passengers and airline employees, the FAA gives in and plans to take the plane out of service in the US – but Trump, ever the impulsive show pony, releases his “statement” ahead of the FAA. So it goes in Trump’s kakocracy.

      • As near as I can tell there’s no indication that the engine was “too large”. It had to be moved with regard to the wing, because the fuselage was extended. Anytime you change an airframe, there’s always going to be an aerodynamic change. That would also have been the case if the engines had been placed where they had previously been and with the identical engine.

        It’s seems entirely likely that the aircraft is airworthy in its present airframe configuration, but the smoking gun,it seems to me, is that Boeing didn’t reveal elements of the plane’s operability until the Indonesia crash. I honestly don’t know how any training can be accomplished without that information.

        It’ll be interesting to see what the NTSB/FAA finds in reviewing the flight tests data (which, theoretically, it already should have in order to get an airworthiness certificate).

        Is it a computer issue? Maybe. I’m interested in finding out if there’s any pilot option to just shut down the system and just fly it manually without being overridden. It wouldn’t appear so, however, since it’s hard to imagine that wouldn’t have been the first thing the Ethiopian pilot would’ve thought of.

        I don’t see how these things are back flying by May as the timetable currently suggests.

        I also find it interesting the CVR and FDR are going to the French, and not to American investigators.

        • I also find it interesting the CVR and FDR are going to the French, and not to American investigators.

          It was mentioned yesterday during one MPR/NPR news segment that the reason for this is the suspicion that the FAA and Boeing are pretty cozy and those looking into this crash want the appearance that this investigation should have at least the appearance of an independent investigation.

          • Jack Ungerleider

            That’s what I heard also. Basically the Ethiopians went to Europe for help. In many ways it makes sense. If it had been an Airbus plane I would expect they would reach out to Americans for help.

        • This CBC article offers a bit of explanation on the engineering trade-off: https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/boeing-737-business-impact-1.5054535

          The fact of the matter is that the placement of the larger, heavier engine would change the center of gravity, and rather than redesign the entire aircraft, a software fix was implemented. No doubt if the aircraft had been designed from day one for the heavier engines, no such kluge would have been necessary. It really is not so much the aerodynamics as the weight & balance in the nose pitch issue.

          • The redesign included composites, more aerodynamic vertical stabilizer etc…. all of which changes things like the center of gravity. The CG was going to change anyway because they extended the fuselage.

            And just flying from here to there changes the center of gravity and the weight and balance with the fuel burn. That’s what flight testing is for. It’s not somethign that needs fixing and software can’t change any of that anyway.

            Mary Schiavo’s quote is just weird. “If it pitches up too much, that can cause the plane to stall.” Well, yeah, that’s the angle of attack.

            The CBC description sounds very simplistic. The “software fix” sounds similar to adjusting trim, which is a constant adjustment in any plane as any flight configuration changes….increased or decreased airspeed, change in direction, an altitude change etc. There’s nothing hard about that.

            I go back to my original suspicion that this is a training issue, not a design issue. It’s insane that Boeing considered the plane a mere new version of the 737 and not a new model requiring training.

            My guess is when the report comes out, there’s going to be mass confusion by the crews of both Indonesia and Ethiopia, they got way behind the airplane, and were making control inputs in desperation that only hastened their demise.

            I’d love to see the data from the flight tests, but the fact that so many Max 8’s were flying in the US without issue (at least once Boeing acknowledged the changes it made), tells me that the variable here is what the pilots knew vs. what the ones on the doomed airplanes knew.

            At the end of the day, Boeing’s going to lose billions on this.

          • Agreed – Training is key, since this “fix” would have been unusual for even an experienced pilot to suss out on his/her own when the automatic systems behaved unexpectedly. But one still wonders if engineers are in charge or MBAs when these decisions are made, both about the initial hardware mods and the subsequent (lack of) training. Not a single one of these should have been delivered without a fully developed training regimen that included simulators.

        • Jack

          I am always glad to get your take on aviation matters since you have experienced that many of us don’t have.

  • I’m guessing 1A will modify its morning lineup to cover the right-wing terrorist attacks in New Zealand.

  • Al

    I’m loving the turn the 11:00 hour has taken after MPR brought Angela Davis into the fold.