1) IOWA UP CLOSE
It's almost over. The national media will soon pack up and take its "isn't Iowa just the cutest state full of hillbillies" nonsense with it. One thing we learned in this caucus season: You don't want to dump on Iowa. (not suitable for the workplace)
The assertion that Iowa is a Democratic state is an interesting one, and one on which David Yepsen, a political reporter in Des Moines, disagrees. Writing in the Washington Post, Yepsen debunks five myths about Iowa, one of which is that Iowa isn't the far right state this crop of candidates thinks it is (maybe that's why 41 percent are still undecided). But it is conservative.
After today, then, Iowa will go back to being Iowa. New Hampshire and South Carolina will be the new darlings of the national media. Maybe that's good news for Emily Price and her husband, Dave. They're political reporters in Des Moines, for competing TV stations.
Iowa lends itself to great images of campaigning. Today, the BBC provides this slideshow, which pales in comparison to MPR photographer Jeff Thompson's gallery of a day with Michele Bachmann.
2) HOLIDAY WINNERS AND LOSERS
How did the holiday economy perform? Fast Up Front has the winners and losers:
John Hammergren, the CEO of the McKesson Corp., a giant medical-supply company in California, is the $145 million man, top dog on the latest listing of the country's highest-paid chief executives. He's from St Paul, graduated from the University of Minnesota and the chances are you've never heard of him. (Daily Beast)
(h/t: Michael Wells)
4) CROSSING THE CONSTITUTION
Last Veterans Day, a retired Navy chaplain -- who served with four Marines who were killed in Iraq -- led a group of Marines and family members up a hill at Camp Pendleton to plant a 13-foot tall cross in their memory, the Los Angeles Times reports. They didn't ask for permission.
Now the cross isn't about the Marines' memorial, it's the latest battleground over the Constitution.
"The legal test is whether from the perspective of a reasonable observer this would be perceived as government endorsement of religion,'' said Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean of the law school at UC Irvine and a constitutional scholar, who says it is.
5) TONE IT DOWN, TWOLVES
In his column yesterday, Star Tribune sports reporter Michael Rand urged people to "tone down" the Ricky Rubio mania. Just one question: Why? Two moments from last night:
There's magic happening at Target Center, but, Minnesota sport teams, we have to talk about something that's getting out of control: Phony noise. The idea of a "host" at the game started several years ago and it was a nice little idea to get the crowd into the game. But now, the Minnesota Timberwolves have crossed the line. Constant, ear-splitting, high-decibel, "let me show you how to swallow this microphone!" pleas to "make some noise," are generally ruining the "fan experience" at sports venues. You can't go two minutes at a game now without the nagging. Even during Gary Glitter's Rock and Roll Part 2, we're instructed when to shout "hey." Who doesn't know when to shout "hey" during Gary Glitter's Rock and Roll Part 2?
Just, stop it!
It's the day of the Iowa caucuses, where voters will finally begin to get their say in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Today's Question: Who would you like to see emerge as the winner in the Iowa caucuses?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Kerri Miller talks with a panel of experts in Iowa politics and an audience of Iowa voters about the Iowa caucus and about how they define political leadership in 2012. A co-production of Minnesota Public Radio News and Iowa Public Radio.
Second hour: On the day of the Iowa caucus, we'll look at the campaign strategy for what happens after Iowa. Will victory in Iowa launch one of the candidates to the nomination, and will a disappointing result mean the end of the road for others?
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: Dennis Goldford of Drake University on the Iowa caucuses.
Second hour: American RadioWorks documentary, "Bridge to Somewhere: Lessons from the New Deal"
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Why is there less crime?
Second hour: Tara Parker Pope talks about "The Fat Trap." Plus, Facebook's so-called
It's been a month since journalism professor Stephen Bloom penned an article for The Atlantic revealing all he knows about Iowa, which from the reactions of most Iowans, may not be as much as he thinks.
It's been a debate that's been every bit as entertaining -- maybe more so -- than the humdrum work of electing a leader of the most powerful nation on the planet.
Bloom has had some time to think about what he wrote, and he isn't changing a thing.4 Comments)
Fox 9 uncovered a fascinating story about an Edina bridal shop that closed, and destroyed its wedding dresses with spray paint, leaving wedding-gown experts aghast.
It would be fitting if wearing wedding dresses spray-painted with red X's suddenly came into style.
Priscilla of Boston became a prominent wedding gown retailer after it made the wedding dress of Grace Kelly. There are 18 other stores around the country that also closed. But, so far, the Twin Cities location appears to be the only one where it's confirmed the dresses were destroyed..(17 Comments)
Something's missing this afternoon from the front page of the Des Moines Register's website:
It's the cleverly placed ad, purchased by Barack Obama's campaign, that was there this morning:
(From Romenesko)(7 Comments)
As just about everybody has been reporting for the last few weeks, ice on Minnesota lakes is too thin to be safe.
But few people seem to be listening.
The latest rescue happened this morning in Eagan, according to WCCO, when two people had to be rescued from a vehicle that had gone through the ice.
Up on Mille Lacs, the capital of ice fishing in Minnesota, a huge area of open water has opened up, according to satellite imagery from Mille Lacs Lake Webcam.
The Red Door Resort closed fishing access around its property, according to this post on New Year's Day:
The main sheet of ice broke loose from the north shore again, about 12:30 this afternoon. It's now open about a 1/4 mile or more wide from Myr Mar to Knox Point. The break heads southeast from Knox Point so as it goes by our place, it is about a half mile out-for now.
But there are still ice houses on the lake.
Two people broke through the ice Saturday on Lake Riley in Eden Prairie. A DNR ATV went through the ice last week on Lake of the Woods, and a Deephaven man had to be rescued on Saturday when his ice boat broke through on Lake Minnetonka.
The Fargo Forum editorial board didn't mince words today...
Still, there seems to be a dummy factor at work. Surely every angler who loves fishing through the ice knows the weather has been warm. Surely they understand that -- and this is not rocket science -- warm weather means thin ice, and thin ice is unsafe. Yet, out they go and in they go.
Now this would be no big deal -- no business of anyone but the anglers themselves -- if all they did is exercise their stupidity, and risk was limited to only them. But without fail, anglers who get themselves in life-threatening situations because they thought they could fool Mother Nature require rescue and often medical attention. Rescue and on-the-scene medical attention invariably entails mobilization of public resources, and that can get expensive. Therefore, the public expense of dealing with the ice-macho crowd is a concern of the taxpayers who pay the bill.(10 Comments)
CBS has now posted its video from its strange interview this morning with Herman Cain, the presidential candidate with the suspended campaign.
In an unusual move, Cain campaigned to be secretary of defense in a Republican administration, then cited as one of the reasons he's qualified for the position, the fact he'd been on a Navy ship.
But the interview also exposed Cain's inquisitors as something less than adequate. Nora O'Donnell, a CBS White House reporter, asked Cain how many people are in the military, a clearly "gotcha" question. She agreed it was, then recited statistics that appear to be incorrect.(12 Comments)
Longview Longville, Minnesota's Levi LaVallee set a snowmobiling-jumping record on New Year's Eve when he successfully launched himself over a section of San Diego Bay for a Red Bull stunt.
What could be better? Doing it on snow.
(h/t: Bring Me The News)
These sorts of jumps and records continue to push the envelope with man and machine. But you know what I miss? This:
Does anyone do this anymore?(3 Comments)