What’s on MPR News – 3/22/19

No posts today. Road trip for an interview for a future post.

March 22, 2019
(Subject to change as events dictate. This page is updated throughout the day.)

9 a.m. – 1A with Joshua Johnson
Domestic news roundup. For months, speculation has brewed over the release date of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into the 2016 election. It could be any day now. Questions about the nature of the release – whether the report will be made public, or if it will be released at all – have lingered since January, when then-acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker told reporters that the investigation is wrapping up. Will the public see the report? If so, when? And what might we learn about the 2016 election?

The Seattle Times is reporting that the FBI has joined the U.S. Department of Transportation in a criminal investigation into the certification of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8. The investigation initially began after Lion Air Flight 610 crashed in Indonesia in October, and has widened with the issuing of subpoenas in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Finally, a federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Department of Interior “did not sufficiently consider climate change” when allowing oil and gas companies to lease federal land in Wyoming. How might the ruling affect the relationship between the Trump administration and the fossil fuel industry?

Guests: Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief, The Daily Beast; Evan McMorris-Santoro, correspondent, Vice News Tonight on HBO; Danielle Kurtzleben, politics reporter, NPR.

10 a.m.- 1A with Joshua Johnson
A week after a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, the government there agreed to ban semi-automatic guns. The ban includes all the weapons and parts used in the attack last Friday. In announcing the decision, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “It’s about all of us. It’s in the national interest. And it’s about safety.”

In other news from around the world, a devastating cyclone hit Mozambique, leaving tens of thousands of people in need of fresh water and rescue.

Prime Minister Theresa May asked the European Union for a short extension during the ongoing boondoggle over Brexit.

And President Donald Trump said that the United States could get tougher on Venezuela in the midst of the country’s political crisis. How could Trump’s foreign policy affect leadership in Venezuela?

Guests: Michael Goldfarb, host of the First Rough Draft of History Podcast; Courtney Kube, national security and military reporter, NBC News; Franco Ordonez, White House correspondent, McClatchy, focusing on immigration and foreign affairs.

11 a.m. – MPR News with Angela Davis
On Friday, Gov. Walz is expected to announce an adjusted budget proposal. How is the legislative session going?

Guests: Brian Bakst, Briana Bierschbach, MPR political reporters.

12 p.m. – The Takeaway
After all the drama in 2016, the Democratic National Committee has reformed the nomination process. New rules. Same game. Will it make a difference?

1 p.m. – Science Friday
The deserts and hills are all abloom out west. Why are superblooms such a rare sight? Plus: how scientists measure this winter’s snowpack, using laser-shooting planes. And moving to renewable energy in New Mexico.

2 p.m. – BBC NewsHour
North Korea withdraws from liaison office meant to improve relations with the South, 47 people now known to have died in yesterday’s explosion in China, and Japan hires more than 700 disabled people to meet government quotas.

3 p.m. – All Things Considered
The week in politics; New Zealand one week later; the evolution of the Boeing 737; South by Southwest: what it means to be an independent artist; an Iowa town was ordered to reduce a levee. Then it flooded.

6:00 p.m. – Marketplace
In 1989, President Bush used a televised address to tell the nation that crack cocaine was America’s most serious problem. Marketplace has the story behind the president’s address, and what it says about the war on drugs and its legacy.

6:30 p.m. – The Daily
How New Zealand banned assault rifles in six days. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand promised to change the country’s gun laws after a mass shooting in Christchurch left 50 people dead. Less than a week later, she did it.

Guest: Jamie Tarabay, a New York Times correspondent based in Australia who has been reporting in New Zealand.

7 p.m. – The World
Still coping with the Hiroshima bomb in Japan. Before a Japanese woman 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. But it’s an uphill battle. Because science doesn’t support her claim.

8 p.m. – Fresh Air
A replay of Terry Gross’ 2008 interview with poet and essayist W.S. Merwin, who died last Friday at 91. Merwin was the United States poet laureate from 2010 to 2011; he won two Pulitzer Prizes, one in 1971 for ‘The Carrier of Ladders’ and another in 2009 for ‘The Shadow of Sirius’. He also won a National Book Award. The themes of his work are memory and mortality. William Stanley Merwin was known in the 1960s as an anti-war poet. Later on he became an environmental activist, and worked to restore the rainforests of Hawaii, where he lived.

8:30 p.m. – A replay of a 1993 interview with Dick Dale, the guitarist known for creating the surf sound of the ’60s. He died on Saturday at the age of 81. He influenced the Beach Boys, the Cure, Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix and many others. Dale was known as the ‘King of Surf Guitar”.

  • Jack

    Disclaimer – I am not a pilot, I’m an accountant.


    “Doomed Boeing Jets Lacked 2 Safety Features That Company Sold Only as Extras”

    From the article: “There are so many things that should not be optional, and many airlines want the cheapest airplane you can get,” said Mark H. Goodrich, an aviation lawyer and former engineering test pilot. “And Boeing is able to say, ‘Hey, it was available.’”

    Also from the article: “The three American airlines that bought the 737 Max each took a different approach to outfitting the cockpits.

    American Airlines, which ordered 100 of the planes and has 24 in its fleet, bought both the angle of attack indicator and the disagree light, the company said.

    Southwest Airlines, which ordered 280 of the planes and counts 36 in its fleet so far, had already purchased the disagree alert option, and it also installed an angle of attack indicator in a display mounted above the pilots’ heads. After the Lion Air crash, Southwest said it would modify its 737 Max fleet to place the angle of attack indicator on the pilots’ main computer screens.

    United Airlines, which ordered 137 of the planes and has received 14, did not select the indicators or the disagree light. A United spokesman said the airline does not include the features because its pilots use other data to fly the plane.”


    I’m shocked the FAA and other aeronautic regulatory bodies don’t require redundancy for safety systems in all planes as mandatory equipment.

    As an accountant, my work undergoes regular COSO testing that reviews internal controls which are built into processes to ensure that the processes work right and avoid risk. Nothing I do can place a human life at risk. Why can’t work that relates to true life and death risk be also subject to similar testing (or does it and the testing is providing inaccurate results)?

    Finance and accounting folks shouldn’t be making life or death decisions for companies.

    • // don’t require redundancy for safety systems in all planes as mandatory equipment.

      All planes or just passenger jets.

      Because all planes would be impractical. There’s a weight limit with, say, general aviation aircraft. Would you require two batteries, two alternators, etc.

      Boeing offering a “pay us and it’ll work better” policy is idiotic. But it seems like offering new regulations and demanding new equipment before we determine the cause of the crash is messed up.

      I also tend to agree with the Missouri congressman who wants to look at overseas pilot training. U.S. pilots aren’t crashing in the Max 8. Maybe it’s luck; maybe it’s better training. But I do suspect that pilot training is an issue here too.

      The proper thing to do right now is wait to see what the investigation finds .

      • jon

        From what I’ve read, this was a known issue among those who fly them that if you find yourself fighting with the stall indicator you flip off the automatic systems and keep flying…

        Of course the fact that there were automatic systems that were willing to crash the plane is problematic, and should be resolved, and most pilots may not have instinctively turned off the automatic system when it happened.

        I’ve also heard that the 737 MAX was still labeled as a 737 rather than given a new model number because that meant they didn’t have to re-train pilots (or didn’t have to retrain them as much).

        Anyhow if what I’ve read is true (and at this point I’m not sure that to be the case*) then I suspect you are spot on that there is a training difference out there that is highlighting some of the problems. That said, no pass for boeing because it’s a “known issue” when there should have been no issue to start with.

        *in the world of aviation I trust newscut more than most other sources, except maybe articles written by Sully (particularly in the world of passenger planes)… and most of his complaints (that I’ve read) have been about the bureaucracy not catching the issue rather than the technical details.

      • Jack

        I completely agree with you. I’m thinking more of the safety areas where sensors are involved as they are prone to failure.

  • Gary F

    Curious to know which US airline companies are using this plane.

    • Barton

      Southwest for sure. I’ve had a lot of friends talk about canceled flights b/c the planes cannot fly (aren’t allowed to fly).

    • Jack

      Per NYT: American, United, and Southwest have them in their fleets.

  • MrE85

    ” And moving to renewable energy in New Mexico.”

    New Mexico has a way to go before it meets the renewable energy goals Minnesota have already met, but good for them for passing the Energy Transition Act. You have to start somewhere.

    “How New Zealand banned assault rifles in six days.”

    They are better people than we are. Full stop.

    “How is the legislative session going?”

    Slowly, and with little to show more than halfway through. It’s going to be another last-minute pileup, I’m afraid.

  • Jeff

    I’m still wondering, Boeing put in this stall prevention fix, is it something that can happen often? Or if you were a pilot you would likely notice you’re headed towards a stall and take corrective action?