1) THE PLAN
It's Election Day, we hear. I'll be here starting at 7 tonight to accept your thoughts, your joy, or your tears, and applying political metaphors to the Wolves-Miami Heat game. MPR's Tom Scheck, who won't know what to do with himself when the campaign and election are over (don't worry, there's another one starting later this week) has these tips on what to look for this evening. You can find your polling place here.
The New York Times asked its readers to create videos about why they're voting the way they're voting.
FiveThirtyEight.com's Nate Silver says the Republicans will take the House but are underdogs to gain control of the Senate. Here's his prediction in the governor's race in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Historical Society posted this old 1926 poster on its blog yesterday...
... proving that people who lectured on good citizenship didn't understand the Constitution even way back in 1926.
There is another angle that's surfacing more this year than in recent years. Take this Tweet from humorist Tom Bodett, for example.
Does voting against somebody instead of for somebody somehow make a person less of a good citizen. Why?
2) THE COST OF CONSERVATION
It would have cost you less if you had wasted more water, St. Paul. The Pioneer Press reports St. Paul Regional Water Services wants to raise water rates a whopping 5 percent (there was a time when 5 percent wasn't "whopping," but that's before savings accounts earned only.25%). The problem is it rained a lot over the summer and people didn't water their lawns. Other conservation methods -- low-flow shower heads, for example -- are also to blame.
Other communities are increasing customer rates, too.
"It's all those plumbing fixtures," said Bernie Bullert, director of water treatment and distribution for Minneapolis' water department. "Over the years, the toilets, showers, dishwashers, laundry machines, they all get replaced, and all the new ones use less water."
It'll provide a neat example of conservation habits. Will people do it if it costs them money?
3) DO BIKE-SHARING PROGRAMS WORK?
A local bike enthusiast (and a former boss of mine) was a skeptic until he went to Washington last week, which has a bike-sharing program... even though:
The system, simple and elegant as it is, has a major shortcoming, though. Other people stranded with me at the Metro station were eager to try the bikes, but had no idea where to drop them off once they got where they were going (there was no system map at the kiosk). We tried to load the map on my iPhone, but it was too clunky to use. I found out after the fact that there's an app I could have downloaded, but even then, if you don't have a smartphone, you're out of luck.
The following day, I ran into the same problem when my planned drop-off point was cut off by a street closure I couldn't get around. Finding a parking spot while driving is hard enough, trying to find a BikeShare kiosk when you don't know your way around town is a baffling, frustrating ordeal.
A heartbreaking video uploaded yesterday. David Grinstead says he took it on Saturday on the Gunflint Trail.
5) THE STUFFED ANIMAL MYSTERY IN FARGO
Someone has been stuffing stuffed animals on the windshields of cars at a hospital in Fargo. The hospital called the cops.
Bonus: Are you married to your digital gizmo? How's that working for you? "The digital age hasn't introduced this problem, it simply gives us a more convenient means of checking out," says Tara Fritsch, a marriage counselor in Edmond, Okla.
We want to hear about your experience at the polls today. Did you have any problems? How long did you spend in line? Was there anything unusual?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: The meaning of mid-term elections.
Second hour: How music can affect perception.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Long-time elections manager Joe Mansky answers listener questions about voting procedures, and ballot-counting procedures.
Second hour: Revisiting the 1960 Nixon-Kennedy presidential debates..
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: A look at ballot initiatives.
Second hour: Singer Dionne Warwick.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - A shortage of rental housing for large families in St. Cloud has forced some families - mostly new immigrants - to split up into two apartments. About150 families who are on the waiting list for Section 8 housing vouchers need four- bedroom or larger apartments. MPR's Ambar Espinoza will have the story.
Two thousand years after her death, Cleopatra lives on as a legendary figure. She's known as much for her relationships with men as her rule over Egypt. And as we'll hear from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff, much of Cleopatra's power came from knowing how to manipulate people.
When you take MPR's Select A Candidate survey, we log the cumulative data you supply. The most interesting aspect is usually the issues people say are or aren't important to them.
It's surprising that same-sex marriage emerged as the #1 issue when it had almost no role in the campaign, other than attempts by third parties to introduce it. The number 1 issue of the campaign -- the state budget and the economy -- was ranked #4 by the survey takers.
But some things can always be counted on. Since we started Select A Candidate almost 10 years ago, "agriculture" has always finished dead last in important issues.
There's no science applied to this, since it's a self-selected survey. More than 37,000 people too the Select A Candidate gubernatorial survey this year.(2 Comments)
It has not been announced yet, but from the sound of lukeandginger.com, news is coming out of Wyoming about the fate of Luke Bucklin and his three sons, whose plane went down over Wyoming last week. (It's now been confirmed)
Six kids, four cars, two houses, and a few crustaceans.
By ginger - Posted on November 2nd, 2010
We are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Luke, Nate, Nick and Noah. We look to God as our refuge and strength and trust him to carry us through the painful days ahead.
We send a heartfelt thank you to all the family members, friends, and others from the Twin Cities community and around the world, for their prayers and expressions of love and concern over the past week. These have been a major source of support for us during this difficult time.
update 10:21 a.m.
From the Prayers For Luke Web site:
At dusk last night, the search and rescue team located the plane and the bodies of Luke, Noah, Nate and Nick. Please pray for peace and comfort for Michelle, Ginger, Sarah, Samantha and Oliver as they absorb this news and as they grieve the loss of their family members. Pray for the rest of the extended family, the loved-ones of the Bucklins, Luke's co-workers, and the boys' friends.
update 10:38 a.m. - From The Nerdery, the blog at Sierra Bravo, which was founded by Luke Bucklin:
Our deepest sympathies go out to Luke's family and all who love him and his sons Nick, Nate and Noah. We're forever grateful to all who bravely stepped up in search efforts in Wyoming, and we're incredibly moved by the overwhelming support from the community for Luke's family and friends.
We will sorely miss Luke as our leader. But we'll miss him far more as our friend. Everyone who knew Luke came away better for it.
While always a programmer at heart, Luke's entrepreneurial spirit touched every facet of our business. Everyone here revered him for his personable leadership style and good nature. In his epic all-staff email that promoted all his Nerdery colleagues as his Co-Presidents, he wrote that during the early days of our company he did it all, but now he no longer had to. Always humble, he said that thanks to all of us, his workday now consisted of "Connect Four, meetings, and Connect Three (red chips are wild)". But everyone knew he could do it all, and we watched him go wherever he was needed most, day-to-day, without ever losing sight of the bigger picture of where he wanted to take the company.
Putting his family first, Luke was in Wyoming vacationing when we last made the 2010 Fast 50 list of fast-growing private companies, but first he had this published exchange with Biz Journal:
Editor Kim Johnson: "Tips for managing and motivating people?"
Luke: "Go beyond just treating employees fairly. Understand their career goals, and work to help them achieve success. Don't make them earn your trust - give them your trust to make decisions, and stand behind them when they do."
He said it and meant it and lived it well. Luke believed in giving back to our community, and under his leadership The Nerdery was honored in 2010 with The Quality of Life Award and The Jefferson Award for corporate philanthropy through The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, at which volunteers have so far donated more than a million dollars worth of web development services to 39 nonprofit organizations. Luke called this a good start.
Growing The Nerdery's capabilities, staff and revenue tells only part of Luke's success story as a business leader - but it's not what meant the most to him. Cobbling together a culture and company where likeminded people wanted to work and play with him mattered more. When a programmer dreamed up our now biannual Pentathanerd competition, Luke jumped right into the the first Summer Games and promptly won a gold medal playing Boggle. When asked what he was most proud of about The Nerdery, he said "The Nerdery." When The Nerdery was #1 on Biz Journal's Great Places to Work list , Luke's "I-told-you-so!" memo to staff gained wider audience when it appeared on this blog.
When times got tough, Luke stood right up and said so. His emails weren't as funny those times, but his integrity was in every word. Even as the leader of a privately owned company, he held himself publicly accountable when we faltered, as he did in this blog post.
Beyond all that, Luke was the kind of guy that would wear a tux to work on the day he'd get a pie thrown in his face for the sake of raising money to fight cancer - something worthy of due respect and worth watching over and over again.
Luke's sense of humor was all-inclusive and never missed an opportunity to laugh loudest at himself. He took it characteristically well when we lampooned him on his fortieth birthday. We wish he'd have had many more.
Whether you knew Luke or not, I hope knowing more about the kind of person he was makes you smile. His humanity can't help but poke through even the darkest clouds. As brave a face as we try to put on, we'll not be the same without Luke. But we will honor his legacy, always, and we'll follow his lead by living up to the example he set for all of us. Thank you for keeping Luke's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
update 10:47 a.m. Courtesy of The Nerdery, here's a video of Luke Bucklin -- in the tuxedo -- getting hit in the face with a pie for charity.
update 10:49 a.m. Here's the press release from the sheriff's office in Wyoming:
(Lander, WY) - Fremont County Sheriff Skip Hornecker confirmed the wreckage of a single-engine fixed-wing aircraft was found late Monday in the primary search area east of the Continental Divide. Searchers on the scene reported there were no survivors. The crash site was found approximately one mile east of the aircraft's last known location near Indian Pass at an elevation of about 11,100 feet early this evening, Nov. 1, 2010.(1 Comments)
Four members of a Minnesota family were on board.
Searchers found the aircraft exactly seven days after it disappeared from radar Monday, October 25, on a flight from Jackson Hole to Riverton, en route to Minneapolis. The aircraft left Jackson's airport in a snowstorm. The crash site is in the Fitzpatrick Wilderness Area of the Shoshone National Forest.
The wreckage was found in a small steep drainage on the side of a mountain in a boulder field. A ground search team comprised of two women and one man, all technical mountaineers was traversing down the side of the mountain when they spotted the wreckage from above. The wreckage was partially covered with snow. The discovery of the missing aircraft followed an exhaustive effort by both ground and air searchers from multiple agencies in northwest Wyoming.
During the seven day-long search, a total of nine aircraft and 13 ground teams were involved. Searchers logged a total of about 1,500 man-hours while committed aircraft time was 60 hours. The command and logistics team coordinating the search logged about 2,000 man-hours.
The Fremont County Coroner's office now assumes management of the recovery operation. Coroner Ed McAuslan said recovery of the crash victims would begin this morning. Once recovered the crash victims will be taken to the Fremont County Morgue in Lander, pending autopsy. Once released, the crash victim's bodies will be moved to Hudson's Funeral Home in Lander where arrangements will be made in accordance with the wishes of the family.
Further information will be released after the recovery operation.
The lead agencies that directed the search effort were the Fremont County Search and Rescue Team and the Fremont County Sheriff's Department. Searchers came from across Fremont County and multiple other agencies and organizations were involved, including the National Outdoor Leadership School, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Wyoming State Forestry Division, Bureau of Land Management, Civil Air Patrol, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming Army National Guard, Sublette County's Tip Top Search and Rescue Team, Park County Search and Rescue Team, U.S. Forest Service, City of Lander, Fremont Counseling Service, Wyoming, Inc, the Wyoming Department of Homeland Security and the office of Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal.
"We want to express our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and we thank the many dozens of volunteers and agencies who assisted in this effort," said Incident Commander Chip Williams of Lander.
The search was the 49th search and rescue operation mounted in Fremont County this year.
It's getting harder to keep a vote secret. I felt a little silly putting my ballot in the "secrecy sleeve" at the voting place today. It's designed so that nobody can see how you voted when you're putting your ballot into the counting machine, like Tom Emmer is doing in this Star Tribune photo.
Let's take a closer look:
Alas, no surprises (you can click the image to see a larger version).
On Twitter today, there was a discussion on whether people should feel that someone asking how you voted -- a friend, as opposed to the news media -- should make you feel uncomfortable, as an invasion of privacy. What say you?
On the subject of privacy, Facebook is asking people to push the little button that tells them whether you voted...
Facebook is notorious for its inability (or unwillingness) to protect the privacy of the people who leave shreds of personal data around every time they click something on Facebook. There's no indication what Facebook intends to do with this data -- if anything -- but perhaps we'll learn whether Farmville users are more likely to vote than Mafia Wars participants. Did you click the button?
From the Department of Useless Information:
Democratic Twins fans who are down about possibly losing control of the Minnesota House of Representatives can hang a hat on this one: History favors a winning Twins team when Republicans control the Minnesota House.
Since 1971, the Twins average 80 wins and 80 losses in seasons in which Republicans control the House. They average 77 wins and 81 losses in years the DFL is in charge.
The wins have had 6 winning seasons and 6 losing seasons under Republicans. Under Democrats they've had 10 winning seasons and 15 losing seasons.
The future is even brighter if the first bill introduced in the next House session is one mandating the team have a quality ace pitcher.
Don't hold your breath on either.
We're going to miss him. Mediocre football players aren't that interesting.
(h/t: Sean Collins)
Today's Moss story is that his undoing in Minnesota was not the Sunday postgame self-interview, but his treatment of caterers on Friday.(1 Comments)
9:27 p.m. - Looks like all of District 56 in the East Metro will go all red, reversing the stunning swing to blue in 2006.
9:21 p.m. - Unless the 8th District changes hands, this will be the second straight election cycle in which millions of dollars are spent on the campaigns, and nothing changes in the congressional delegation. The last sitting congressperson to lose an election in Minnesota was Gil Gutknecht. The last metro congressman to lose his job was Bill Luther, but his district was carved up in redistricting and he ended up trying to run in a Republican district.
9:08 p.m. - The Washington County numbers are coming in. Bachmann doing very well in a county which is her weakest county. Karen Housley trails in Senate District 57 (South St. Paul), which surprises me a bit.
8:40 p.m. - Christine O'Donnell has lost in Delaware. Hundreds of political reporters and bloggers have suddenly realized they don't know what to talk about now.
8:04 p.m. - Gov. Hoeven has won the Senate seat in North Dakota, according to NPR. Hovan was impressive in the Red River Valley flooding in 2009.
7:54 p.m. - Here's the Minnesota Twitter feeds of Minnesota's best and brightest.
7:53 pm - Jon Gordon's and Larry Jacob's first bit:
7:50 a.m. - Linda McMahon has lost her bid for the Senate in CT. Jesse Ventura retains his title of the wrestler elected to the highest office.
7pm - This is the time of election day when it gets pretty quiet and we get nostalgic -- before the polls close and we have something to do. So we swap stories about election nights past. Here are two segments from 2006 that were produced for our election night party on the subject of the role of blogs in political journalism - here and here. This was just four years ago. Consider how you're getting your information tonight and compare to four years ago. It's stunning how fast it happened.
6:53 p.m. - Here's NPR's election center, courtesy of NPR's Andy Carvin via Facebook:
6:43 p.m. - This will be the online election center at MPR. Once the plate full of cold cuts -- expiration time 6:30 -- is finished, it'll fill up, but for now people are checking out phone lines and making sure reporters are where there supposed to be. Jon Gordon is hosting the online blast this evening along with Larry Jacobs from the Humphrey Institute. I'm in a cubicle far on the other side of the newsroom, within eyeshot of the Wolves-Heat game in Miami.1 Comments)
Oklahoma appears well on its way to approving voter ID, requiring voters to prove they who they say they are when attempting to vote. Only a precinct or two is reporting but in early returns, a few thousand had voted for the measure. Nobody had voted against it.
Oklahoma has its share of some of the odd ballot measures, because it's a state -- unlike Minnesota, for example, that has "initiative petition," by which residents can get something on the ballot if they gain enough signatures.
One of those items is a proposal that would bar the application of Muslim or Sharia Law, something that -- as far as anyone knows -- wasn't a threat in Oklahoma anyway. It's a state which appears to use the Constitution. It's sailing through.
Apparently it stems from a case in New Jersey:
Despite his powerful position as head of the Transportation Committee, Rep. Jim Oberstar has been one of the more obscure members of the Minnesota congressional delegation, tucked away as he is in the north country.
For people in the metro, Oberstar's legacy will likely be two things: the light-rail you see, and the riverboats you don't.
Oberstar helped steer millions to Minnesota for light-rail projects, including the soon-to-be-built Central Corridor.
He's also primarily responsible for the disappearance of three big paddlewheelers on the Mississippi River -- the American Queen, the Delta Queen, and the Mississippi Queen. When he became chairman, he refused to let a bill exempting the three from federal law to come to a vote. He considered the paddlewheelers "fire traps," and federal law doesn't allow wooden passenger boats on the river.
So is tonight's reportedly close 8th District race a riverboat referendum? No. The remains of the ships have scattered. Chattanooga got the Delta Queen for a floating hotel, but it's leaking money badly. The Mississippi Queen was sold and sent to a scrapyard. The American Queen is rotting in Beaumont, Texas.
(Photo: Minnesota Historical Society)(2 Comments)
It's unusual to have much interest in judicial district races; nobody who didn't graduate from law school can even name a sitting district court judge in Minnesota.
But in the 10th judicial district, 24 people are trying to get one job. Early in the evening Christopher Penwell was leading. He's the Republican-endorsed candidate.
It's still unusual to see candidates campaigning for judgeships in Minnesota while touting his conservative credentials, as Penwell did. His Web site says he favors "the principles and transcendent truths set forth in the Declaration of Independence including but not limited to the Sanctity of Life, the Rule of Law, Equality and Justice."
At the same time, two high-profile Republican judicial candidates -- Tim Tingelstad and Greg Wersal -- got clobbered in their bids for the state Supreme Court. But the argument over whether Minnesota continues to elect judges is only going to get louder. A commission is pushing to have Minnesota adopt a system where judges are appointed.
Update 10:36 p.m. It appears that Tad Jude has now opened a huge lead. Jude probably has the best name recognition in the area since he ran for Congress in the '90s. Jude also served 16 years in the House and served on the Hennepin County Board. He adopted a more benign campaign against "judicial activism."(2 Comments)