The Monday Morning Rouser
1) As I was saying, "Norm Coleman is going to run for governor. The signs are almost as obvious as the ones that say Tim Pawlenty is running for president."
I want small, unmarked bills, in a suitcase, buried next to the Winter Carnival medallion by midnight tonight, or I predict a Vikings victory against the Saints.
Coleman announced he's not running for governor while sticking a finger in the media' s eye -- announcing it on Facebook, where we learn, "Just turned 60 this year. 32 years of public service-and loved every minute of it. A still beautiful wife after 28 years of marriage, and two wonderful grown up kids. I have been very blessed!"
Oh, and he's not running for the gig (psst: There's a Senate race in '12).
I love Minnesota and I love public service, but this is not the right time for me and my family to conduct a campaign for Governor.
Timing is everything. The timing on this race is both a bit too soon and a bit too late. It is too soon after my last race and too late to do a proper job of seeking the support of delegates who will decide in which direction our party should go. The commitments I have to my family and the work I am currently engaged in do not allow me to now go forward.
At the moment, I am tremendously energized by the work I am currently involved in to create a positive, center right agenda for this country. Anger on the left and anger on the right will get us nowhere. In Minnesota, we face a jobs deficit, a budget deficit and a bipartisanship deficit. We must all put aside the bitterness and sniping and remember that behind every job loss and every home foreclosure is a Minnesota family losing hope and confidence.
I think I can be part of recreating a more civil and respectful politics, a politics that better expresses the will of the vast majority of people. I will continue my efforts to work with Republicans, Independents and moderate, common sense Democrats across the country to advance the values of fiscal responsibility, entrepreneurship, effective government change, national security and respect for life. That's where America is philosophically and we need well-thought-out policies that express it.
My thanks to the many folks who encouraged me to run, but I've learned there are lots of ways to serve without an official position. Dr. King said everyone can be great because everyone can serve. We all need to seek out how our service can do the most good, and at this moment in my life, I've found mine.
Thanks. God bless you.
Coleman calls for more civil and respectful politics and then gets in a pretty good "Minnesota style" shot against Democrats by saying he'll continue his work with Republicans, Independents and then "common sense" Democrats. Well played, sir.
Coleman, like most people, has his Facebook page set to "private," so unless he's approved you to follow, you can't. Political journalists tend to follow politicians so, perhaps, this is the new -- no pun intended -- "norm." No more press conferences with those icky questions, just a posting on Facebook.
A sign of the times, indeed. Which brings us to...
2) If a popular news site like the New York Times starts charging for access to its Web site, my guess is a lot of other cash-strapped newspapers will follow suit. The New York Times is likely going to do just that, New York Magazine reports:
The Times has considered three types of pay strategies. One option was a more traditional pay wall along the lines of The Wall Street Journal, in which some parts of the site are free and some subscription-only. For example, editors and business-side executives discussed a premium version of Andrew Ross Sorkin's DealBook section. Another option was the metered system. The third choice, an NPR-style membership model, was abandoned last fall, two sources explained. The thinking was that it would be too expensive and cumbersome to maintain because subscribers would have to receive privileges (think WNYC tote bags and travel mugs, access to Times events and seminars).
Discussion point: Would you read daily news Web sites if they charged you?
3) The future of flying:
What do birds see when they fly?
(h/t: Discover blog)
4) Posting will be light today. I have the day off. Many people -- my wife, for example -- don't. I notice the trash haulers are working this morning; there's irony there. It's Martin Luther King Jr. Day and, no doubt the "I have a dream" speech -- or the usual portion of it -- will be replayed. I've already spent some of the day the way the holiday's supporters thought I should when they created it: reading old speeches. I suggest that this 1956 speech is the one that stands the test of time better? Paul's letter to America:
The misuse of Capitalism can also lead to tragic exploitation. This has so often happened in your nation. They tell me that one tenth of one percent of the population controls more than forty percent of the wealth. Oh America, how often have you taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. If you are to be a truly Christian nation you must solve this problem. You cannot solve the problem by turning to communism, for communism is based on an ethical relativism and a metaphysical materialism that no Christian can accept. You can work within the framework of democracy to bring about a better distribution of wealth. You can use your powerful economic resources to wipe poverty from the face of the earth. God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty. God intends for all of his children to have the basic necessities of life, and he has left in this universe "enough and to spare" for that purpose. So I call upon you to bridge the gulf between abject poverty and superfluous wealth.
Even parts of the "I have a dream" speech have been lost to history. Commentator E. Ethelbert Miller says the beginning of it should be considered:
When I listen to Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, I'm always curious as to why many of us overlook the opening statements of his 1963 address. It's as if we only hear one side of his speech. Why do we quickly repeat the words "I have a dream," and not the words "America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.' But we refuse to believe the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation."
5) It's day 7 of the post-earthquake world of Haiti. The story today moved to the bottom of page one in the Star Tribune, Mankato Free Press, and Duluth News Tribune. It stayed near the top of the page in the St. Cloud Times.
Newspaper editors have a difficult week ahead of them; they have to determine when you're sick of the story.
Bonus: What they're saying in New Orleans:
|Jeff Duncan's New Orleans Saints Vlog (Jan. 17, 2010)|
Today is Martin Luther King Day, a holiday established in 1983 to honor the late civil rights leader. Most schools and government agencies close for the day, but many businesses remain open. Are there better ways to honor Dr. King than to take the day off?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: The humanist chaplain at Harvard preaches on living an ethical life without belief in God as the underpinning. His new book explores why people manage to do good without belief in a deity.
Second hour: An environmental justice advocate from the South Bronx confronts "environmental racism." Majora Carter fights for urban renewal by bringing green space to her industrial neighborhood.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Sen. Al Franken will be in the studio to discuss his recent trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as health care reform, and the economy.
Second hour: Rev. Joseph Lowery, speaking this morning at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday breakfast at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: A closer look at the Haitian
Second hour: What does post-racial mean in the real world?
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - One year ago this week, Barack Obama supporters from around the country flocked to his inauguration. Many took home a positive outlook that's stayed with them. For others, the optimism did not last. We take a look back at President Obama's first year in office, and what people think of it.
Take a look at this image. Click on it to make it larger. What would it look like a year later?2 Comments)
Sen. Al Franken was on MPR's Midday with Gary Eichten today.
Massachusetts Senate election
Passage of the health care bill will be more complicated if/when a Republican is elected. "The House would have to vote for the Senate bill," Franken says.
What is likely to cause Martha Coakley's defeat? "(She) took it for granted. A lot of misinformation has been put out there" on health care. "It's not going to add to the deficit," Franken insisted. "People are dissatisfied with the way things are up there." (A little Washington perspective there. Massachusetts is "up there" there; not here)
Q: Is there anything in health bill that holds people accountable for their lifestyle decisions?
"Smoking... an insurance company is allowed to charge you extra if you smoke. We're not going to say 'if you're obese, you're going to be charged more.' There's going to be preventive care and chronic care. Doctors will be paid for that and they haven't been." He credits programs like Allina's Heart of New Ulm.
Q: Do you support Senate tax on union health plans? How can they be exempted?
"They're exempted until 2018. Cadillac plans are very high cost... luxurious health care plans. In some cases they aren't. Many unions had negotiated their contracts by negotiating away salary increases... for health care plans."
"I went to bat for medical device companies. They were to pay a $40 billion tax over 10 years. We have one of the largest medical device industries here. They create good jobs. They're a job creator."
(But doesn't this confirm that taxes to pay for health care will end up costing jobs?)
Q: Why aren't health care discussions taking place in public?
"A lot of it was... I watched five days of hearings (mark-up) on C-SPAN. I don't imagine many Minnesotans watched it, but it was there. And so was the Finance Committee. With 60 Democratic senators, we had a blessing and a burden. The blessing was you need 60. You also need every one of them. Every one had a veto. As a result Harry Reid had to deal with a number of individuals who were willing to scuttle this thing... what would have happened is you would have had kabuki theater on C-SPAN."
Q: (Caller) If there's so many people opposed to health care plans... when you see polls, people are against it... why you're voting for something when you're supposed to represent the people?
"I do represent the people of Minnesota so by your line of logic, I should vote for the bill. But this is a good bill. A lot of people really don't understand what's in the bill. We could elect pollster and just have them... someone to vote for whichever the wind is blowing. Forty-four percent of Americans favor this bill. "
Q: Are there sufficient health care cost containment provisions in the bill?
"I think there is... any kind of thing that you can do to contain costs is included in this bill," Franken said, quoting an MIT analysis from Jonathan Gruber. He's been the subject of some controversy when it was alleged he's on the government payroll.
Q:Should the president have set aside health care to work on jobs.
"He 'misunderestimated' how long this would take."
Q: (Caller) How will self-employed people be affected?
"You will be able to join the 'exchange,' in which you can change your risk pool from one person to several hundred thousand or million people. It doesn't get up until 2014 so you're going to have to wait for that. That will work for all small business, too. If you work for a small business and one person gets sick, your premiums go way up."
Acknowledges there's a possibility of the U.S. getting into a Vietnam-style open-ended war. He just returned from the region and says he came back more optimistic "about where we are." He says there was a spike in recruitment after President Obama's West Point speech.
"We're paying for 8 years of neglect in this place," he said.
Franken said "we shouldn't take anything off the table" when asked whether the U.S. should send troops to Yemen.
Q: Should we be conducting full-body scans at airports?
"I don't think we should be doing that routinely." He says it's easier to Google Gary Eichten and get immediate results than it is to search the U.S. no-fly list. He believes those on the watch or no-fly lists should get the full body scans.
Q: Should terrorists be tried in U.S. courts?
"The guys who bombed the World Trade Center the first time were tried and convicted in U.S. courts. We can do this."
Q: When will there be a jobs bill?
"There was a Minnesota Emergency Employment Department in the '80s. The government would pay for -- through tax credit -- any new employee. If we do that with $10 million, this will pay half the salary and jump-start.... people are waiting to hire. It was very successful. We need to be spending money on infrastructure."
Q: At a time when the government is in such dire straights should we put more money into a failed approach?
"Some of the TARP money can be lent to small businesses. Part of it is the banks on Wall Street aren't lending, and they should be required to. They're making money by borrowing money from the government at no interest and investing it in very safe bonds. They should be lending it to Main Street and it has nothing to do with the deficit."
"If you look at the money that's come to Minnesota, so much has been used to keep police and keep teachers. If we didn't have the stimulus package, I believe we would have gone into a depression."
Q: Who should be elected governor?
"I'm staying out of that and so many of my friends are running that it'd be ridiculous..."
Q: What about Norm Coleman's decision not to run?
Not surprised. "I saw him this morning at the Martin Luther King breakfast and we had a couple of nice exchanges. That's his choice."
Q: Are you expecting Republican gains in November?
"I'm not a prognosticator. My job is to go to Washington and represent Minnesota... I've got way, way too much work to do to be a prognosticator."(2 Comments)
Should cruise ships with tourists be making port calls in Haiti so soon after last week's earthquake?
A post on the Telegraph's Web site paints a clear picture of well-off tourists "cutting loose" on a private beach, while armed guards keep the Haitians away:
The Florida cruise company leases a picturesque wooded peninsula and its five pristine beaches from the government for passengers to "cut loose" with watersports, barbecues, and shopping for trinkets at a craft market before returning on board before dusk. Safety is guaranteed by armed guards at the gate.
The decision to go ahead with the visit has divided passengers. The ships carry some food aid, and the cruise line has pledged to donate all proceeds from the visit to help stricken Haitians. But many passengers will stay aboard when they dock; one said he was "sickened".
However, at the Cruise Critic Web site, an editor paints a different picture:
Cruise Critic Editor in Chief Carolyn Spencer Brown shares this firsthand story after engaging in conversation with a Haitian taxi driver in Miami while traveling there this weekend. "He's from Labadee of all places, which is a good distance from Port-au-Prince. I asked him: how do Haitians feel about a cruise ship coming back so soon. He said that Labadee was not affected and that it's still crucial for people there to keep working, to have some sense of normalcy -- and that the country needs any supplies it can get (which Royal Caribbean was bringing in).
"I said, 'So it's not disrespectful, then?' He looked incredulous, and said, 'absolutely not.'"
A poster in one of the forums has an idea that is... well, you decide:
"Honestly, you can get off the ship, contribute, and have a subdued day. I also would probably leave several pair of brand new pairs of flip-flops on the beach. Not to mention a few new t-shirts and whatever. New and unused."
This 2006 profile of the area from the Christian Science Monitor reveals that the cruise ships' captains didn't generally tell passengers where they were, referring to the island of Hispaniola.
"It's much like we refer to our port in Bayonne, N.J., as Cape Liberty Cruise Port," a marketing spokesman for a cruise line said. "We were getting the same response about not calling that port 'Bayonne Cruise Port.' "
Royal Caribbean has pledged $1 million to the relief effort and will spend part of that helping 200 Haitian crew members, the Telegraph said.