Here's what's coming today:
We're going to hear more about the markets today. The overseas markets melted down (how many times can something melt?) overnight and then Wall St. opened sharply lower. An analyst on CNBC, with panic in his voice, shouted "don't panic." How bad is it right now to be in the stock business? The BBC pulled its guy off the campaign and sent him to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to tell us it's bad.
By midmorning, the market was down about 350 points, which the American people have already been conditioned to shrug at.
There was an interesting moment in the coverage this morning on CNBC when resident curmudgeon Mark Haines went off on his co-anchor. It happened when some CNBC reporters were bending over backwards to find something positive in the markets and Haynes started singing the theme from "Annie."
"Do you want it to be cloudy for the rest of your life?" the co-anchor asked, sending Haines into a tizzy.
"That is such horsehockey I can't believe it," he said. "I deal in reality. I'm not talking about what I want; I'm talking about what's going on. If you can't stand the truth, then get out of the kitchen, but don't expect me to paint this thing with a rosy color."
It was an outburst that almost made it worth losing half my retirement fund. Almost. Still it raises the question of whether bad news begats more bad news.
Meanwhile, life seems to be going on.
On the talk shows, this being the end of the MPR membership drive, Midmorning is dusting off a couple of oldies. In the first hour, a reprise of the show on traffic and what it says about us with Tom Vanderbilt who wrote a book about it. I live-blogged the program so ignore references to it. You can read the original posting here.
In the second hour, a look at our easily distracted selves. By the way, on the CBS Early Show this morning, there was a segment on a new product that parents can install on cellphones to distract their kids from texting while driving.
MPR's Midday brings in the big guns today. Mark Seeley, U of M climatologist joins Gary Eichten to talk about the weather, which - if you haven't noticed -- stinks. We're obviously set to challenge the record for the most consecutive number of days without sun. NOAA, it's reported today, is about to award a contract for a new $7.5 billion satellite which will tell us faster that the weather stinks.
Out in Hutchinson, Minn., the lawsuit between the parents of a boy who wore an anti-abortion T-shirt to school is over with the school district agreeing to pay the kid $1.
On the campaign trail, another former Republican governor is endorsing Barack Obama. William Weld, the first governor I ever met who knew the lyrics to every song by the Rolling Stones, joins Arne Carlson in his support. Like Carlson, Weld is old-school Republican, the kind of Republican the new-school Republicans are referring to when they characterize someone as a RINO -- Republican in Name Only.
Some items we're staffing: The University of Minnesota School of Journalism is in day 2 of a conference, "The Obama Effect." Perhaps it's me, but news coverage of the coming election is starting to sound very much like the week before last January's Super Bowl, which of course was won by the New England Patriots, who remained undefeated. It was an amazing performance that went exactly as the football pundits were predicting and it warmed the hearts of Patriots Nation citizens everywhere.
In the "controversies in other states" file: The rumor is that the Patriots and Tom Brady are at odds over his decision to have his season-ending surgery in Los Angeles.
Minnesota Majority is holding a news conference at 11 a.m. about its suspicion of potential voting irregularities. We already know what they're going to say, based on what's on their Web site. The group snapped pictures yesterday of some addresses where people who registered to vote say they live.
Abbott Northwestern is having a news conference at 11:45 to talk about successful experimental surgery to save twin boys.
This afternoon, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition will protest raids conducted this week in St. James and Madelia. Tangent time: See Sea Stachura's interesting story today about Gaylord, Minnesota, where Latinos are claiming discrimination at the hands of the local police.
Tonight, Norm Coleman, Al Franken, and Dean Barkley are holding another debate on TPT's Almanac program. If you've seen one debate in this race, you've seen them all. But this one isn't sponsored by Debate Minnesota and the hosts of the program know how to make politicians answer questions instead of giving stump speeches. A Hmong organization has a Senate forum this morning. Only Barkley and Franken confirmed their attendance.
Norm Coleman is teamed up with Rudy Giuliani today with stops in Mankato, Owatonna, and Rochester. For a trip down memory lane, here's the MPR story of a previous Giuliani visit, when it appeared he had a shot at the top of the ticket.
On All Things Considered tonight, Tim Pugmire will look more closely at the latest polls in the 6th District race. The latest poll comes from MPR and shows a dead heat. Another poll out today shows Obama in good shape in swing states. Here's the PDF document of the NPR polls.
In the LA Times, Bachmann is making a splash. Commentator Patt Morrison finds it unbelievable that a member of Congress had never seen Chris Matthews' Hardball before.
John Ydstie of National Public Radio will lead off tonight's coverage on All Things Considered. A peak into the ultra-secret NPR assignment board reveals the substance of the report. "Markets: What the hey?" it says. Jim Zarroli will follow with a piece asking "where's the bottom?", thus violating News Cut's Principle of News Stories: All questions should have definite answers.
And former MPR staffer Dan Gorenstein will have the sad story of Scott Dimond, a New Hampshire National Guard soldier killed by a bomb explosion in Afghanistan, which was caught on video. His National Public Radio story tonight has already run on New Hampshire Public Radio and you can find it here.
The regional Emmy Awards are being presented
tonight Saturday night. The Emmys aren't just for TV anymore, although I'm not sure the Emmy folks "get" online, try as they might. Posting a Microsoft Word document announcing the nominations is the first clue.
This is my last day filling in for Jon Gordon on MPR's Future Tense. Blogging here will be a bit sporadic today as I'm working on Monday morning's program on the possibility we'll be flying around here with our own jetpacks.(6 Comments)
The cars of a Missouri congressman were vandalized overnight, with the message being the same one that was spraypainted on the homes of some of the congressional delegation in Minnesota.
Given that it happened a day after all the publicity about the Minnesota assaults, it's unlikely it was part of a coordinated protest.
(h/t: Tom Weber, MPR)
Does a state flag tell the world what a state is or what a state was?
In Oregon, the king newspaper -- the Oregonian -- is calling for a new state flag, according to the blog Visual Editors. From our listening post in Minnesota, it doesn't seem like a bad idea.
The front carries the state seal, which looks crisp on stationery, but not on a flag. It's almost impossible to interpret from afar and tough to tell apart from Wisconsin's, Vermont's or a bunch of others that also have a state seal stamped on a blue background.
Like, ummmmm, you know...
The Great Seal of Minnesota features a bare-footed farmer plowing a field. The farmer's axe, gun and powder horn are on a stump. An Indian rides nearby. A nearby field borders a river and waterfall. Ladyslippers are also on the seal because they're the state flower, although the official state muffin (blueberry), mushroom (morel), fruit (Honeycrisp apple), butterly (Monarch) or bird (loon) get no love at all.
A citizen's commission came up with a new design in the '80s. The Pioneer Press also did what the Oregonian is now doing. Bill were filed in the Legislature as late as 2007 and the air seems to go out of the effort every time an alternative is unveiled.
Next Thursday, I was reminded today, is the 6th anniversary of the infamous memorial service for Paul Wellstone that some think put Sen. Norm Coleman into office. The memorial service ended up being -- the narrative goes -- a political rally after
Coleman Wellstone campaign official Rick Kahn gave a speech that called for Republicans to support Wellstone's successor on the ballot, Walter Mondale.
From all accounts, he was a campaign friend overcome with grief. It was actually Tom Harkin of Iowa who gave the real stemwinder that night. Kahn introduced the "stand up" theme of the evening, but it was Harkin who brought it home.
The old audio from that night is RealAudio, so I've reprocessed Harkin's speech into an MP3.
One other missing piece of trivia in the aftermath of the speech: It was only after the service that Gov. Jesse Ventura appointed Dean Barkley, who is now running for the seat against Coleman and Al Franken, to fill out Wellstone's term. Prior to that, according to Ventura, he had intended to appoint a DFLer.(8 Comments)
Maybe gambling wasn't the answer afterall.
Canterbury Park today announced that 10-percent of its employees are being cut, citing the reduction in revenue in a bad economy.
"The downturn in the nation's economy has had a significant adverse effect on our card room and pari-mutuel revenues," stated Randy Sampson, Chief Executive Officer of Canterbury Park said in his news release. He also blames illegal Internet gambling.
In 2005, some state legislators wanted the state to partner with Canterbury to build a "racino," a combination horse track and casino.(1 Comments)
There are many ills in America's political system but one of the most disturbing ones is that important stories get lost in the nonsense of campaign trivia.
Half -- half! -- of the doctors in this country prescribe phony pills. Even worse, most of them don't feel bad about it.
Says the New York Times:
Several medical ethicists say they're troubled by the results, including study coauthor Franklin Miller: "This is the doctor-patient relationship, and our expectations about being truthful about what's going on and about getting informed consent should give us pause about deception
Some of the doctors embrace the "benevolent deception" theory-- that it's OK to deceive you if it's good for you in the long run.
And do patients really have that close of a relationship with doctors anymore, where the absence of trust is a big deal?
By the way, don't tell the New York Times, but I actually first brought this up in January.(2 Comments)