What makes NY different? (5×8 – 10/31/12)

Waiting for the outpouring, how money is buying an election near you, the mystery of the disappearing gravestone letters, are you afraid to show a tattoo, and why is your situation your situation?


There’s something different about the disaster in the New York-New Jersey area I couldn’t quite put my finger on until now: Where are all the appeals for donations for recovery? In most disasters — take your tornado-flattens-a-town disaster, for example — the Red Cross and other agencies would’ve flooded the email inboxes within in hours, seeking donations for the fine work they do. I’ve gotten but a trickle of them. The Twitter feed would be loaded with retweets of appeals to text to a certain number to donate $10. People might’ve even been moved to change their avatars. But the feed is comparatively still with little of the “let’s rally to help” social media effort for which the medium has gotten considerable — and well-deserved — credit in the past. And websites aren’t prominently featuring the “what you can do to help” angles.

There are, of course, exceptions:

We are not predisposed to root for the metropolitan area. They’ve got everything. But the unexpected lack of ‘buzz’ for disaster relief suggests people have a somewhat different view of the victims of this particular situation. What is it?

Related: And now the rats! Close the toilet lid! (HuffPo)

How AP filtered out phony images from the real ones. (AP)

It’s not like we weren’t warned. (NY Times)

We can fix the weather, but should we? (NPR)

Who are the victims? Some of the best writing you’ll read today is right here. (NYT)

What kind of person deliberately spreads lies during a disaster? (BuzzFeed)


PBS’ Frontline and American Public Media’s Marketplace have teamed up to focus on the effect of money on the election in the wake of the Supreme Court decision that gives corporations and organizations almost unlimited ability to influence elections.

Bottom line? At a time when a constitutional amendment in Minnesota purports to preserve the integrity of elections, integrity vanished from the electoral process months ago.

Watch Big Sky, Big Money on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.


The painted letters on headstones at Fort Snelling National Cemetery are fading and disappearing, just as officials intended, the Star Tribune reports today.

“It’s been four years now, and everything is gone off that stone. It’s horrible,” the daughter of one veteran told the Star Tribune’s Mark Brunswick. “Family wouldn’t be able to tell as well where she is, and that’s happening to all the veterans and family members who have died since then. If they would have asked me, I would have paid whatever to keep her name on that stone.”

It’s just as federal officials intended, however. They want the letters to fade to match the headstones in the rest of the cemetery.


Should a tattoo keep you from getting hired or getting a promotion? Delaney Daley at the University of Minnesota Daily considers why people get tattoos and then keep them covered up.

Can “guy with skull and anchor on his left arm” translate into “hirable?” It’s not impossible. If the employer is hiring for a position in which body modification is considered a personal characteristic, then it may be fine. If not, the effect of your body modifications is going to be at odds with your chances of being hired.

But is this fair? Shouldn’t an employer care more about an employee’s skills rather than his appearance? Probably, but while one’s body art is representative of personality, an employee is representative of his employer’s principles and values. To most customers, employees are the face of the company. Indeed, in a challenging job world, there is pressure to cover up or even remove body modifications in order to get hired.


How do you account for your economic station in life? NPR’s All Things Considered team has been traveling the country asking people why their situation is what their situation is. Some people are wealthy; some are not. Why?We can consider this too. What’s your life and why is it what it is?

Bonus I: Tips from the world champion pumpkin carver. (BBC)

Bonus II: The Minnesota mirror. Local kid Tom Friedman looks at the election from the district from which he hails. (NYT)


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: What would a Romney presidency look like?

Second hour: Homeless veterans.

Third hour: Rebroadcast of a conversation with Rajiv Chandrasekaran about his book “Little America.”

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): MPR’s Voter ID constitutional amendment debate from the Fitzgerald Theater, featuring Reps. Mary Kiffmeyer and Steve Simon, and Doug Chapin from the University of Minnesota. Tom Crann, moderates.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – The Political Junkie.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – NPR looks at the battle for a congressional seat in Florida. Republican Allen West has criticized Muslims, feminists, and accused House Democrats of being Communist Party members. Despite moving to a more conservative district, he’s in a very tough re-election bid.