Five by 8 – 5/3/10: When luck runs out

Mondays are for the Rouser, but today it seemed fitting to make it a blues piece.

1) A car bomb in Times Square didn’t work right over the weekend, a guy’s underwear bomb fizzles on Christmas. The difference between a normal day and an international tragedy is the incompetence of some people. But this weekend’s “near miss” in New York has us thinking “what-if?” Apparently, the New Yorker’s Nick Paumgarten is too. He considers the work of Irwin Redlener at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University:

The idea of preparedness, during the Cold War, was absurd, a fantasy; a full-tilt exchange of warheads would have been unsurvivable, and so, as people came to recognize the futility of the Eisenhower- and Kennedy-era placebos and sops (duck-and-cover, Bert the Turtle, back-yard fallout shelters), they stopped thinking about preparing. Prevention was all. But a terrorist attack is different: harder to prevent, easier to survive.

Bombs have been going off all over the world for years — why has New York been spared since the first World Trade Center attack? Luck.

It’s New York, so there’s always at least one camera watching (like downtown St. Paul in that respect). At least one caught the image of the guy who apparently drove the car bomb to Times Square. Here’s the game changer: He’s white.

When they find this guy — and they will — will he be tried in New York?

2) David Longbehn, a 25-year-old veteran of the St. Paul Police Department, is going to get some time off, as is standard when police officers are involved in a shooting. Officer Longbehn is the officer who fought off an an attack by 21-year-old Jason John Jones and fatally wounded Jones, who is believed to have been one of two people who killed a Maplewood police officer a few hours earlier.

Officer Longbehn was featured on an episode of Animal Planet in October 2008. You can watch it here.

Longbehn was also one of several police officers and city officials sued by the protesters at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul for a raid on a home several days before the convention started. (Read affadavit)

3) This is one of those “what’s right with people?” days. So here’s one: A 90-year-old woman had a “bucket list” item remaining go to a prom. So she did, thanks to her great grandson.

In New Ulm yesterday, about 75 seniors went to their prom, too.

4) I wish This American Life would encode individual segments, but they don’t. So if you want to hear the very definition of poignant, you’ll have to scroll ahead to Act 3 of this week’s Scene of the Crime program. Dan Savage tells the story of the death of his mother and his return — sort of — to church. Here’s some Kleenex.

5) The best images and observations from this weekend’s May Day parade in Minneapolis can be found here, here, and here. Favorite: “Young anarchist biker-types.”

Bonus: How long could you go without the technology invented after you were born. There’ll be a fair amount of “tsk tsking” abut the younger generation as the result of this story in the University of Minnesota Daily, but it’s unlikely any current generation could do it.

A professor asked students to replace their technology with the technology of the ’70s for a week. Apparently, they lasted only two days. The professor wanted to teach them that technology is just a tool, and not an extension of themselves.


Most teenagers play some sort of video games, and some of the most popular games feature violent content. How have you seen violent video games affect your friends or family?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Video games that award points for killing opponents in brutal ways turns the stomachs of parents, but do they harm kids? The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear a case that contests California’s wish to ban the sale or rental of violent video games to children. Two guests who have studied the effects of video games talk about what happens when kids participate in virtual violence.

Second hour: A typical pre-teen girl today obsesses with her appearance and forms close attachments to friends, according to psychologist Leonard Sax. He says the shrinking window of childhood hurts girls in the long run because it prevents them from creating their own identities.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour:

Second hour:

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Remembering Kent State.

Second hour: TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Wildfire officials say the moisture levels in much of northern Minnesota is worse than any time in recent memory; probably since the drought years of 1976 and ’77. State and federal agencies are aggressively attacking wildfires from the air to prevent small fires from quickly growing to very large ones. Meanwhile, continued dryness could result in more restrictions on activities – including a potential ban on logging in some places. MPR’s Bob Kelleher will have the story.

Film maker Robert Altman, writer/raconteur Studs Terkel, novelists Ray Bradbury and Phillip Roth. Hear why they feel they owe so much to radio legend Norman Corwin.

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