Musical interpretations of the shutdown, when people do good, what's it like to be fireworks, the death of the serial comma, and the Milky Way from South Dakota.
Apparently, we're going to hear a factoid about South Carolina from now until its presidential primary on January 28 -- that South Carolina knows how to pick a winner when it comes to Republicans. That, allegedly, is why Republicans are schmoozing up the state.
NPR's Debbie Elliott passed the nugget along today in her piece about presidential politicking in the state.
South Carolina's "first in the South" primary has a track record. The state has picked the eventual Republican nominee in every race since Ronald Reagan in 1980.
We'll spot you Reagan, South Carolina, but beyond that, how big of a deal is this fact? Not very.
Consider two realities. Incumbent presidents are rarely tested within their own party and primaries are virtually irrelevant. Aside from Reagan's victory in 1980 (Strom Thurmond backed Reagan so the election was over early), that takes 1984, 1992 (George Bush was not seriously challenged by Pat Buchanan), and 2004 (the race was uncontested). '
That takes 4 primary results off the board.
In 1988, Reagan's VP defeated Bob Dole in South Carolina. A sitting VP clearly enjoys an advantage.
In 2000, George W. Bush beat John McCain, but it took a dirty tricks campaign to do so. Before the election, a phony poll was created to call voters and ask them, "Would you be more or less likely to vote for John McCain...if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?"
That leaves 1996 (Bob Dole over Pat Buchanan) and 2008 (John McCain over Mike Huckabee).
So since 1980, South Carolina has selected the eventual nominee in a contest that wasn't a foregone conclusion or decided by dirty tricks twice. Big deal.
All that said, Elliott's piece on the role of The Beacon -- and the character therein -- in presidential politics was pretty fine.
Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty's presidential campaign is out with a new commercial, scrapping the speeches and glitz of previous commercials and stressing Pawlenty's role in Minnesota's 2005 shutdown.
The ad makes no mention that one of the reasons the 2005 state shutdown lasted as long as it did, was Pawlenty's insistence on a tax on cigarettes, which he called a "health impact fee."
Nor does it contain Pawlenty's quote after the shutdown ended: ""Government is going to grow. Government does important things. We just want it to grow within reason and grow at a rate that's sustainable"(3 Comments)
The winners and losers in the Minnesota government shutdown were on display in downtown Saint Paul today.
Winners: There was no waiting at high noon today at the restaurants and fast-food joints in the city's Town Square and plenty of tables available in the usual free-for-all in the seating area.
Losers: Restaurants and fast-food joints. Not since the disastrous Republic National Convention in 2008, have the locals seen such a drop-off in business. The manager of a coffee shop told me this morning business was about half what it usually might be.
Why the impact? The Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the Driver and Vehicle Services office, the Department of Agriculture, and the office of the attorney general are among the bigger state agencies located in downtown Saint Paul.(15 Comments)
The Minnesota Court of Appeals today upheld the 40-year prison term of a man who paid another person a few hundred dollars to punch a pregnant woman in the stomach because he didn't want to pay child support.
Dameon Gaston said his second-degree murder conviction was invalid because he intended to kill a fetus, not a human being. The six-month-old fetus was delivered by C-section after the mother was punched in the stomach in 2007, but she died less than two weeks later.
Under Minnesota law, a person is guilty of intentional second-degree murder if he or she 'causes the death of a human being with intent to effect the death of that person or another.'"
But in 1986, the Minnesota Legislature enacted homicide statutes that criminalized the unlawful killing of an unborn child after the state Supreme Court ruled Minnesota's vehicle homicide laws do not consider a fetus to be a human being.
Gaston argued that he can't be held responsible for killing the child once she was born alive because he "did not intend to kill a human being; rather he intended to kill an unborn child," which would be attempted murder.
"This was no attempt," the Court ruled today. Gaston's actions "resulted in the death of a human being."
It said Gaston's "intent was to cause injuries to (the fetus) that would result in her death in utero, but the injuries instead resulted in (the baby's) death only after she was born alive. This variation is too slight for the law to shrink from imposing criminal liability for the intentional killing of a human being," the Court said.
(Here is the full opinion)(2 Comments)
Perhaps it only seems as though the Internet was taken over today by people closely following the Casey Anthony trial.
The worldwide flow of information did not jump measurably after the verdict, although it appears to have dropped slightly during it. But without seeing data from other days, it's hard to say such a sudden drop is attributable to people glued to their TV sets. It's possible people went to lunch or -- since this is a measure of global traffic -- bed.
A more parochial view of data shows a big spike after the verdict...
There are smarter people than me who have access to more data to draw better conclusions. Feel free to send it to me.
Herewith ends any discussion of the Anthony trial.(2 Comments)