Daily Digest: weather, Packers, ethics

by Taryn Wobbema

Here is your Daily Digest for Monday, January 24, 2011. 


The center photo on the New York Times website this morning asked questions about the odd weather Europe and the U.S. have experienced this winter (and last winter). I thought that, since Minnesota is supposed to feel a bit warmer this week (30 degrees today!), it would be funny to mock their misery. The story is actually more interesting: For the past two years, while the South and the Northeast have dealt with blizzards, countries north of the U.S. have felt temperatures “15 or 20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.” Some scientists theorize that the strong pressure difference that usually keeps cold air circling close to the North Pole has lost some oomph. Less pressure means cold air is circulating further south and bringing warm air north. Of course, other scientists disagree or pose alternative theories and some say it could have to do with global warming and others hesitate to say that because the trend was reversed in the 1990s. But hey, the Northeast could see another snowstorm this week!


In case you’re like me and it took you until this morning to realize why everyone was freaking out about the Packers game yesterday … The Packers will play the Steelers in the Superbowl this year. If the beer ads on ESPN’s website are an preview of the Superbowl ads to come, I don’t think I’ll tune in this year.


Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann has invited Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to speak at the first of her “Conservative Constitutional Seminars,” pitting lawyers against one another over the question “Uh…is that allowed?” One said yes because it’s similar to writing a book, speaking at an event, teaching a class or participating in a panel discussion, all of which justices do frequently. University of Minnesota Law Professor Richard Painter says speaking at a partisan political event (Bachmann says anyone can come if they want, but the seminars will highlight Tea Party values) is not the same as any of those because the event is hosted by members of Congress because the Court often reviews the actions of Congress. Basically, Painter says it looks like an alliance, which seems ill-timed when “the national political debate has focused intensely on the constitutional limits of government in health care and the economy.”