1) A CAMPAIGN WITH A HEAVY DOSE OF "FALSE"
I got home from the Timberwolves game -- where were you all? -- pretty late, so I didn't have a lot of time to go through the mail. Instead I just picked up everything that's glossy and threw it in the recycling without reading it. What did I miss? Not much, the PolitiFact.com people say.
Appearing on NPR's Morning Edition today, editor Bill Adair said this campaign season rates a "barely true." In particular, those citations of news stories used in the claims -- Minnesota Public Radio has been credited a few times -- are mostly bogus:
In many ads,small white letters flash on the screen showing the date of a newspaper story or a congressional vote. Those citations are supposed to back up the claim, but we have often found they were only tangentially related or provided little evidence.
Closer to home, MPR's
PolitiFact PoliGraph examines recent claims on the health care bill by gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. They're false, the PolitiFactPoliGraph team says.
This morning, an MPR-Humphrey Institute poll shows DFLer Mark Dayton widening his lead. If the poll is anywhere near accurate, it also shows Independence candidate Tom Horner is dead in the water at 11 percent. Horner's support has hardly budged in recent months.
WCCO found "Deputy Dave," the unnamed deputy sheriff who appears in a political ad complaining about the effect of taxes on his working man's salary. It turns out he's a Hennepin County deputy sheriff. And he's making a few bucks, and nursing apparently pays more than most people thought.
The final debate in the race will be held on Sunday afternoon, right around the time the Vikings-Patriots game starts. I'll be live-blogging. Stop by and report on the score.
2) SHOULD TEACHERS BE ALLOWED TO DISCUSS HOMOSEXUALITY?
The controversy in the Anoka Hennepin School District boils down to this: Should teachers discuss homosexuality as part of a curriculum? This week the district, in which several students have killed themselves, changed its policy to include sexual orientation in its anti-bullying policy, but some people want the district to go further. "We don't need to be a battlefield for this type of political and religious issue," he said of the district's "neutrality policy."
3) WHEN GOVERNMENT IS PRIVATE BUSINESS' BEST FRIEND
What was behind the new -- and certainly controversial -- immigration law in Arizona. NPR says its investigation reveals it was a private prison company, which had an idea for how it could get a constant influx of "customers."
The government pays millions of dollars to airlines and air carriers to provide air service to communities in the middle of nowhere. And that's good news if you're in the middle of nowhere. But it doesn't make much sense. In Alaska, a rock in the middle of the ocean gets air service. St. Cloud doesn't. Go figure.
4) FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ON FOOD STAMPS
From The Story: "This summer Kirsten Arianejad discovered the real cost of blowing the whistle. She lost her job. Kirsten worked for Compass Airlines, a regional carrier. Kirsten loved the job and the travel, but she says the pay structure is set up in such a way that she was earning about $17,000 a year for full-time work, so little that she qualified for food stamps. Kirsten spoke out to a local TV station. When her company found out, she was fired."
Flight attendants don't get paid for their work until the door of the airplane closes. They stop getting paid the minute it opens.
5) IDEAS FOR CALLING IN SICK
Career Builder has released its annual list of unusual reasons people call in sick.
1. Employee said a chicken attacked his mom.
2. Employee's finger was stuck in a bowling ball.
3. Employee had a hair transplant gone bad.
4. Employee fell asleep as his desk while working and hit his head, causing a neck injury.
5. Employee said a cow broke into her house and she had to wait for the insurance man.
6. Employee's girlfriend threw a Sit n Spin through his living room window.
7. Employee's foot was caught in the garbage disposal.
8. Employee called in sick from a bar at 5:00 p.m. the night before.
9. Employee said he wasn't feeling too clever that day.
10. Employee had to mow the lawn to avoid a lawsuit from the home owner's association
11. Employee called in the day after Thanksgiving because she burned her mouth on a pumpkin pie.
12. Employee was in a boat on Lake Erie and ran out of gas and the coast guard towed him to the Canadian side.
Bonus: Lost Remote to media on the Jon Stewart/ Stephen Colbert rally: "Lighten up."
San Francisco Giants fans aren't mean; they're stoned.
Dan Malmon of Roseville stopped by at Target Center last night to introduce himself. He was having a going-away party from his former job and starts a new gig next week. As it turns out, he and I had about the same role for the Timberwolves in the game last night as Kurt Rambis had for the team's best player, Kevin Love. That is to say: None.
Veteran politicians say voter anger is high this year. Attack ads are crowding the airwaves. In the current political climate, would you ever run for office?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Mark Dayton, Tom Emmer, and Tom Horner are applying for an important job, and the voters of Minnesota are the ones doing the hiring. Hear the candidates for governor make their case for why they should be chosen as the next CEO of the state of Minnesota.
Second hour: The history and the science of things that bite -- bedbugs, leeches, rabid dogs, even vampires.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First half hour: Sixth District congressional candidates Michele Bachmann, Tarryl Clark and Bob Anderson.
Second half hour: State Auditor debate: Pat Anderson and Rebecca Otto
Second hour: Broadcast of the 6th District congressional debate held in St. Cloud on Tuesday.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: A check-in on Haiti's recovery.
Second hour: NPR's longest-serving librarian, Kee Malesky, talks about her book, All Facts Considered.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Meanwhile, back at MPR, reporters are still covering issues in the governor's race. Dan Olson this afternoon will look at what the three candidates say about funding for Central Corridor, transit, the gas tax, etc.
Tom Horner took a big risk running for governor as the IP candidate this year. He split with the Republican Party, he gave up his successful business. Now with days left in the campaign, it looks like he may lose his bet. MPR's Mark Zdechlik will have more.
In 34 (all small, rural) school districts across Minnesota, next week's school board elections feature more seats up for election than candidates on the ballot. Why is that, and what are those districts' options for filling those seats? MPR's Tom Weber will report.
Did an NBC affiliate in Texas believe that asking "are homosexuals the downfall of America" was a neutrally phrased question? Or were they just trying to get people worked up enough to make the phone lines ring?
The video also sets the record for the most number of times the same three homosexual couples were shown in a segment about how many homosexuals there are.
The Courage Campaign has sent out action e-mails to NBC to protest.(2 Comments)
Posted at 12:04 PM on October 28, 2010
by Bob Collins
Years after completion of the replacement for the collapsed I35W bridge in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Supreme Court today rejected a claim by companies that lost out in the bidding process.
Several other construction firms had complained that the bridge builder -- Flatiron Constructors and Manson Construction -- got the job even though it had the highest cost of the four companies competing, and proposed taking the longest time to build the replacement.
But Justice Alan Page said the Legislature passed legislation that prevented the contract from simply being awarded to the lowest bidder:
Under the design-build best-value approach, the contractor submits a project design and a bid for constructing that design, based on design specifications provided by the State. Minn. Stat. § 161.3426, subd. 4(c)(1). The design-build best-value process differs from the lowest responsible bid process in that it allows public agencies to consider factors other than cost when awarding contracts.
"Although the lowest responsible bidder is still the preferred method for choosing a contractor, the Legislature has determined that in certain situations the design-build best-value procurement approach is in the public's best interest," Page said.
Here's the full opinion
(PHOTO: Creative Commons license by Thomas Brandt on Flickr)
Joe Loveland at The Same Rowdy Crowd takes a "glass half full " look at the nearly-concluded gubernatorial campaign and finds there's a lot to like about it.
MPR's Tom Scheck is probably too modest to point out props sent his way, so News Cut will do it for him.
COVERAGE OF NUMBERS. Not only did the candidates discuss the budget in detail, but reporters actually analyzed their proposals, repeatedly and well. They could have easily chose to cover hot button issues and candidate sideshows instead, but Tom Scheck at MPR. Eric Black at Minnpost and a few others respected the intelligence of their audiences enough to do deep fiscal dives.
MEDIA FACT-CHECKING. MPR, WCCO-TV, Minnpost, and KSTP-TV did a solid job analyzing candidates ads and utterances for accuracy. The non-analytical "he said, she said" style of political coverage was still the default approach, and the fact checkers' performance was often too timid. But the presence of the fact checkers does help improve the quality of Minnesotans' democratic experience.
Prevailing wisdom says many people don't pay attention to a lot of this coverage until the last days of the campaign. And, sure enough, we notice today that MPR's Select A Candidate is the most popular page on our Web site right now. When this was originally designed, the intent was to use it as a carrot (a "game" vibe) to get people to the stick (the accumulated substantial coverage). It's not entirely clear, yet, to what extent the people who are just getting around to paying attention to the candidates are digging deeply into the coverage provided so far.
If that's you, perhaps you could answer the question.(1 Comments)
The Guardian blows the lid off the soccer-predicting octopus story.
Paul the Octopus, who provided colourful if inane fodder for umpteen news and broadcast organisations during the World Cup, especially those with no rights to any live action in South Africa, was also credited with predicting correct match results for Euro 2008 games. It should be stressed that, contrary to some reports, that was actually a different octopus, and that the different octopus got other results wrong, but such facts shouldn't get in the way of a good story.
In other global news today, 350 people were killed in a tsunami in Indonesia.(4 Comments)
Is Randy Moss really happy to be back in Minnesota? Some Minnesota sportswriters are tweeting that he won't talk to the locals.
Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press says by league rules, Moss has to chat...
Since then, Moss has declined the last three interview requests. Players have the right to decline requests and don't have to be available every day, but consistent evasion violates Appendix C, Section 4(a): "Player will cooperate with the news media, and will participate upon request in reasonable activities to promote the Club and the League."
But the local ESPN radio affiliate -- KSTP -- says Moss is boycotting the locals:
"I don't have any questions or answers for you, man," Moss said in the locker room on Wednesday, continuing a media boycott that is entering its third week.
The mercurial receiver has spoken with reporters only three times since arriving in a trade from the Patriots on Oct. 6: at an introductory press conference the next day, after the Vikings' loss to the New York Jets on Oct. 11 and in the locker room on Oct. 13.
The boycott -- if it is that -- is puzzling because most of the local sportswriter coverage of Moss when his trade from the New England Patriots was announced sounded as though it could have come directly from the public relations firm of Randy & Moss. Or, as the New England Sports Network noticed, "he was lobbed softball questions at his reintroduction to the Minnesota media."
In Boston, meanwhile, the story line was that the media helped hound him off the Patriots. So today's tweet from a writer for the Boston Herald raised at least two eyebrows:
Moss isn't talking to the alleged friendly media, but he is talking to people from the old neighborhood?
Things haven't gone well for Moss. He brought up his contract issue in New England to try to pressure the Patriots to come up with a contract extension. When he was traded to the Vikings, he not only didn't get any additional money, he'll end up playing an extra game for nothing (Moss didn't get a "bye week"). The team he left is now 5-and-1 and tied with two other teams for the best record in the NFL. His new team is 2-and-4 and not playing well.
What's more: Deion Branch, signed to replace Moss on the Patriots roster, has more yards receiving in both games he's played with the Patriots than Moss has with the Vikings.
Moss plays against his old team on Sunday.(2 Comments)
1.5 million views in a week. That's as good a definition of a viral video as there is and this one from a filmmaker qualifies. George Clarke says Charlie Chaplin's The Circus has a time traveler in it.
He's wrong, however, that "nobody can give me an explanation of what it is." Several people have opined that it's a hearing aid, not a woman on a cellphone.
If it is a person from the future, who is she talking to? Someone in the future? You can't get a good signal from inside Target Center, but you can get one from the past?
Time.com -- who else would you go to for questions about time? -- is not buying it:
It can't be a cell phone -- or at least our version of one. The time-traveling woman must have been from further into the future than we are, because her phone seems to work without the help of satellites or towers. NewsFeed has to agree with the New York Daily News, which suggests it could be a hearing aid. They were invented in 1920 and were widely manufactured by 1928. Why is she talking into it? She could be testing the aid, talking to someone near her, or she could just be crazy and talking to herself. Don't judge her, she's hard of hearing as it is. But she's probably not a time traveler.(4 Comments)