5 x 8: Playing chicken


Tonight’s government shutdown will be the first shutdown we’ve had in 17 years, and it feels like something “new”, Big Picture‘s Barry Ritholtz writes today. It’s not. There have been 17 of them since the ’70s.

“Shutting down nearly 25% of an already fragile economy is hardly the recipe for growth and advancement,” he writes, noting you’ll probably lose thousands out of your retirement accounts today.

This is the part of the game of chicken when the adults step up, CBS News says. But this is a government without adults.

As usual in Washington, someone who wasn’t elected is calling the shots, according to Time. It’s Heritage Action:

“We’re not ‘good Republicans,’” says Heritage Foundation Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Phillip Truluck. “We’re conservatives.”

But the real doomsday, it says, isn’t tonite; it’s later this month when the nation may default on its debts.

Most of this, of course, comes back to lingering frustration over Obamacare, the health care law that most Americans know little about but dislike anyway.


If you were losing your sight, what would you want to see before it’s gone forever? For Patrick Yarber, it’s sports games.

He has trouble seeing objects beyond 20 feet. He’s been to 53 major league baseball games, even though he can’t see a ball in flight. This get a little worse every day.

He’s on a mission now to visit as many college football stadiums as possible.

“There are times I say, ‘Why are you doing this? Why do you come?’ ” he told the Buffalo News. “It’s my therapy. It helps me deal with the vision thing because of the atmosphere. I feel like it keeps me going. As long as I still challenge myself, I haven’t thrown in the towel. I have no plans to throw in the towel. It’s frustrating at times, but it’s still worth it.”


We almost lost the Blog Dog a few years ago when she chased a rabbit, and ended up in someone’s yard who didn’t think the law in our town against steel traps in residential neighborhoods applied to him.

Who puts out steel traps where someone’s pet or someone’s kid could step in them?

Perfect Duluth Day has a perfect example of the thought process. Someone caught a squirrel at a park in Duluth with a steel trap.


The squirrel is probably a goner, but that’s not really the point, PDD says:

Again, this trap was not only a hazard to wildlife (which it was clearly meant to be), but also a hazard to pets and children playing nearby (three girls sitting nearby were the ones who spotted him and called us).


It’s harvest time and the combine is calling for farmers who don’t have farms anymore, according to the Fargo Forum.

“I don’t want to brag, but this is my 75th year that I’ve plowed,” Marvin Mahler said. He’s 87 and will be helping out farmers in Fergus Falls this year. “My dad got me on the plow with three horses and I plowed the farm that fall.”

But farming can be a lonely life, too lonely for some, Al Jazeera America says.

Idaho has a problem with suicide. So do a lot of rural states.

Rugged individualism doesn’t lend itself to asking for help. Al Jazeera has the story of one man who didn’t.


Tech writers Jacqui Cheng figured she’d be doing the teaching when she got a gig over the summer teaching kids in Chicago about the opportunities they could have in the tech world.

She started showing them the intricacies of social networking — especially privacy — and found they already know it.

It’s a reality that other teachers should pay attention to, she says, if they want to know their students.

That student who posts photos of questionable substances to Instagram is the same one who asks the most poignant questions in class—out of hundreds of students, he originally stood out to us because of his participation, as well as the business ideas he came up with during a session we held on startups. He also often goes on Twitter rants against America’s failed drug war and observes the effects of Chicago’s deep segregation on his friends. Sometimes I forget I’m following a teenager when I see his tweets fill my stream.

Another student, quiet and polite in class, revealed via social media that she’s been sleeping in the bathroom at school now that the semester has started—partly because she’s having a hard time making friends, and partly because doesn’t want to face her life at home. We had other students who would arrive hours early for class or stay for hours afterwards because, as they revealed on Twitter, they had nowhere else safe to be during that time.

Bonus I: An airline pilot acquaintance was flying into Washington DC over the weekend when he was reminded about September 11. That’s the idea the FAA had when it named in-the-sky intersections that pilots use as marker points when on approach to land.

Courtesy of Gary Baker.

You can’t see all of the intersections named but on this approach, pilot Gary Baker reports, they are — in order Wewil, Nevvr, Forgt, SepII, Alwys, Letzz, Rllll, Vctry, Heroo.”

Don’t get it? Say it fast and don’t pay attention to spelling or missing letters.

Bonus II: American Psycho: Why We Root For Walter White (WBUR).

Bonus III: The St. John’s campus by air.

Bonus IV: CHUCK HAGA: Writer looks back on years of sharing others’ lives through stories (Grand Forks Herald)

What can be done to reduce the number of children killed accidentally by guns?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Paul Huttner, MPR meteorolgist, discusses the U.N. climate change report.

Second hour: Not many people can explain string theory in 30 seconds, much less understand it. That’s just one of the many reasons why Sylvester James Gates recently received the National Medal of Science from President Obama. He stops by the Daily Circuit to discuss string theory, why “The Matrix” might be closer to reality than we think, and other mysteries of the cosmos.

Third hour: Talking Volumes with Edwidge Dantecat.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Dr. David Katz of Yale, speaking on disease prevention and health. His speech is titled “Feet, Forks and the Fate of our Families.”

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – Countdown to a shutdown.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – From the moment you wake up, you typically begin dropping digital breadcrumbs. And your data trail gets longer throughout the day. Where you go, how you get there, what you read, watch, and listen to they all seem private. But your basic daily habits are eagerly and easily monitored by many companies. NPR has an analysis of privacy in the digital life.

Bankruptcies have been on the decline in Minnesota since hitting a recent peak during the recession. The reasons for the drop are complicated, and are less tied to the economy than you might think, MPR’s Annie Baxter will report.

With Minnesota’s health insurance exchange going live in a few hours, MPR’s Catharine Richert looks at how various constituencies are feeling about MNsure and how it will work.