Tears. What's with the tears? Or our fascination with them?
Edmund Muskie, prevailing wisdom goes, lost his chance to be crier-in-chief when he called Manchester Union Leader publisher William Loeb "a gutless coward" during the 1972 campaign. Oh, and he cried. End of story. End of candidacy.
When former Rep. Pat Schroeder announced in 1987 that she would not run for president, she threw in a pretty good cry, pretty much guaranteeing that any future possibility of her running for president -- ever --wouldn't be hers.
"There are different things we cry over," Republican strategist Edward Mahe said at the time. "A political decision should not be one of those things one breaks down and cries about."
"I got a devastating e-mail about it from a woman writer just a couple of days ago," Schroeder told the London Times the other day. "It's like I ruined their lives, 20 years ago, with three seconds of catching my breath."
Which brings us to New Hampshire and Hillary Clinton, where the now-leading candidate for the Democratic nomination appeared to tear up when talking about her campaign on Monday in Portsmouth (See video).
And, watching the morning talk shows today, one sees nearly all of the anchors asking her if her tears are the reason she won the primary on Tuesday.
"Something happened in the last 48 hours that made people change their minds (about Clinton)," said CBS' chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer, speculating that the incident in Portsmouth (in which, for the record, she didn't break down and blubber) had more than a little something to do with it. For some reason, though, he didn't mention the possibility that all the polls were wrong.
Writing today in Newsweek on Mrs. Clinton's win in New Hampshire, Jonathan Alter was more declarative on the subject.
Whatever actually happened, the 2008 New Hampshire primary will be remembered for Hillary Clinton choking up when describing her everyday struggles. (The original question was about how she got through every morning when things were so tough).
Even many of her harshest critics believed Hillary's emotions were authentic, which was a major advantage for her in closing the "likeability gap" and erasing her image as too controlled and lacking in spontaneity.
Tears as political strength? Now that's change!(2 Comments)
A column by a Twin Cities gossip columnist on Tuesday appeared to suggest St. Paul's city government was taking on the burden of monitoring the content of radio stations.
The column -- C.J.:Human rights guy wants B96 DJ to Tone it down and Fly right
-- focused on St. Paul's Human Rights Department head Tyrone Terrill, who was opposed to the language (language warning in link) radio station B96's morning show host used to describe an African American woman, and had set up a meeting with station management to find out "what happened and what are they doing to correct it."
The unanswered -- because it was unasked -- question: is St. Paul's city government in charge of monitoring content on area radio stations now?
"No," Terrill said this afternoon. He said his intervention was on behalf of the Communities of Color Leadership Council, the group that helped organize a protest against remarks last year from KQRS morning host Tom Barnard.
"We want to be positive and educate," he said, acknowledging that he was invoking no city-sanctioned enforcement authority as a result of the incident.(1 Comments)
Here's something you don't see every day, a carless Interstate 94 in Minneapolis
In the tunnel...
... at Broadway
.. at 42nd
..at Hennepin and Lyndale...
Posted at 2:48 PM on January 9, 2008
by Bob Collins
Given the number of news stories over the years about how Wal-Mart has destroyed small town America, it was interesting that a new study on the subject was buried in the business section of my local paper today. Even APM's Marketplace -- that's us -- gave it thin treatment, considering the rather startling conclusion.
Writing in Fedgazette, the newsletter of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis senior economist Terry Fitzgerald found that Wal-Mart is no different from any other business that comes to town.
For example, Wal-Mart is widely believed to destroy local firms and jobs and to have a dampening effect on wages. But fedgazette findings suggest the opposite: Firm growth, employment and total earnings were somewhat stronger in Wal-Mart counties and, in some cases, even in the retail sector. The research does suggest that retail earnings per job fell in virtually all counties studied. But they actually fell by less in Wal-Mart counties.
But neither has Wal-Mart been a boon for local communities. Poverty rates, for example, declined in most counties during the period studied, but they declined by less (poverty rates didn’t improve as much) in Wal-Mart counties. By other measures, Wal-Mart had no noticeable effect. Overall, counties with and without Wal-Mart had similar growth in population and income per person.
End of discussion, right? Not so much.
Writes one commenter on the Wal-Mart Watch, Web site...
The Fed? That bastion of support for lowly capitalists? It’s the Fed, and other legal and governmental manipulators, that prevent this market from being free.
Over on the blog, The Economist's View, the devil has been found in the details... err, methodology.
Most important, none of the findings can be considered causal in nature. In other words, the findings don't tell us whether Wal-Mart's presence (or lack thereof) is responsible for either positive or negative outcomes over the period studied. Proving a causal relationship between Wal-Mart and local economic trends is beyond the scope of this analysis.
(Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
This may be every Minnesota judge's nightmare. A high-profile case, big-name attorneys who love the limelight, and a rule that allows cameras in the state's courtrooms.
That, says Hennepin County (4th Judicial District) Chief Judge Lucy Wieland, is her and her associates' visceral reaction to the idea of allowing the Minnesota media to bring cameras into court. "We talked about it at our executive committee this morning and... there's the intellectual and the visceral position," she said Wednesday. "Intellectually, we should have a pilot. We've been playing with this issue since 1983."
On Friday, Judge Wieland will be one of those testifying when the Minnesota Supreme Court Advisory Committee on General Rules of Practice holds a hearing on a request by media groups to open up Minnesota's courts. The state tried a test program years ago, in which trials could be televised or filmed if the judge and all participants agreed. It didn't work because participants rarely agreed.
"It's uneasiness. It's fear. Is it really going to advance justice? That's the O.J. Simpson factor -- the sensationalism," Wieland said, emphasizing that she was speaking for herself and not for the judicial system. "What I hear the most is the concern on the impact on participants -- witnesses, family members, jurors. Are they going to be impacted negatively by this sense of public scrutiny? Is this difficult experience going to be made more difficult?"
But Wieland says she was impressed by an op-ed column in the Star Tribune last October by Marna Anderson, executive director of WATCH, a court monitoring and research group focused on violence against women.
Public access to the courts is a fundamental part of a healthy democracy. Court monitoring groups around the country exercise this right daily. But for most people, recordings broadcast on the Internet and television are the closest they come to a real courtroom.
Minnesota is one of 15 states with restrictions so great that its courtrooms are, for all practical purposes, closed to cameras. An advisory committee of the Minnesota Supreme Court held a meeting in September to review a proposal to allow cameras into Minnesota's trial courts. The proposal excludes electronic media by the authority of the presiding judge and "where it is shown that the proceedings will be adversely affected."
Other states -- Wisconsin, for one -- have eased the fears of some Minnesota judges. Cameras are allowed in Wisconsin courts and even with high-profile cases -- the Chai Vang case, for example -- the TV cameras and broadcasts caused no disruption, according to the judge in the case, Norman Yackel.
"I think if there are a couple of districts interested in having a pilot program, the committee will say, 'why not?'" Judge Wieland said.
Still, has there ever been a case in Minnesota in which Judge Wieland found herself thinking, "thank goodness there's no cameras allowed in Minnesota courts?"
"The recent Larry Craig case," she said. "Just the requests for access out of the Southdale courthouse . We had two people on our staff here working non-stop for a week, plus the judge trying to set up the rules on where the cameras could be in the parking lots. It was just incredible."3 Comments)
Posted at 6:16 PM on January 9, 2008
by Bob Collins
Billy Gaines is a 26-year-old patent attorney in Chicago, and a former competitive swimmer at Carnegie Mellon University. He's also the patron saint of Beer Pong fans, as one of the owners of a Web site dedicated to the drinking game. He is just back from Las Vegas, where he sponsored the World Series of Beer Pong.
As I wrote on Tuesday, it's a game that is behind what appears to be an epidemic of binge drinking on college campuses, especially by underage students. That's the game as some see it. It's not the game as Gaines sees it.
"There's a lot of misconceptions about the game," he told me in an interview on Wednesday. "The media will jump out and say Beer Pong is a drinking game and they'll say the cups are filled with beer... the first misconception is the cups are full with beer. The way the game is most often played is the beer is filled with only a couple of ounces. We make it so people play one game per hour so at most there's one beer per person per hour consumed."
Gaines doesn't see the game as being... or encouraging... binge drinking. "It's often described as a chugging contest, but chugging is not part of the game. Anyone who criticizes what we're doing (should) come out to an event."
"Beer Pong is not the problem. In today's society there's certainly a problem of underage overconsumption of alcohol, but I would submit if you were to take Beer Pong out, the same issues would still exist."
Listen to the entire interview with Gaines. (mp3)
Incidentally, on Friday MPR's All Things Considered looks at the issue of excessive drinking. Are college-age students engaging in more binge drinking, and is this a problem that goes beyond college campuses.