Sorry, people, I'm debated out and have overdosed on political analysis after last night's debate. Here in no particular order are non-debate items that haven't made my head hurt.
Far be it from me to encourage you to go off to another website -- even though it's my job -- but spend a few hours going over the New York Times project on Elyria. It's gorgeous in its design, heartbreaking in its reality because most of us have our own Elyria. We come from communities that have probably seen their better days, yet struggle to get up every morning with some semblance of optimism that it's possible they'll return.
The person who fills the coffee cups at the local diner, full of old men remembering better times, took some classes at the community college after high school, but the optimism of education gave way to the diner.
And there's the glory of the onetime football player, now the symbol of the racial undercurrent in the town...
The series, centered around a diner, is a sobering antidote to the flag-waving images of America appropriated by the politicians at this time of the year. It's reality. These are the communities we love, because they're the ones who raised us.
Tell me about your Elyria? (Here's mine)
The day is coming when your coffee pot might alert your doctor that you have dementia. Maybe someday. Wired.com reports that sensors embedded in everyday-life items might reveal the problem...
So far, dwellSense has been tested with 14 elderly people in the Pittsburgh area. In addition to coffee-making and pill-taking, Dey's group also tracked telephone-dialing. The information wasn't used for medical purposes, but to see if they tracked with traditional cognitive test results. Dey said they did.
"They correlated very well with occupational therapist results," Dey said. "It could catch problems more objectively, more quickly, than requiring an occupational therapist visit."
Why do gasoline prices go up faster than they come down? The Los Angeles Times is tackling that question today on the backside of the runup in prices that pushed a gallon of gasoline there to around $6 a gallon in some cases. It says gas station owners don't drop the price as fast because they don't want to sell their gasoline already in the tanks for less than they paid for it. But the paper also says it's your fault, American driver...
Consumers bear some of the blame too, said Matt Lewis, an Ohio State University professor whose specialties include research on retail fuel prices and the behavior of motorists.
Lewis said that drivers who aggressively search for the best prices as they are rising stop once they begin to trickle down again. When a station owner sees customers flocking in after a price drop of just a penny a gallon, they have no incentive to lower their prices faster, he said.
In the Twin Cities, gas prices have been dropping about a penny or two a day, after a 20-cent a day runup a couple of weeks ago.
Remember when many sports teams weren't scared to get on the "It Gets Better" bandwagon to assure young gay people that suicide as the result of bullying wasn't the answer? The professionals have walked away from the notion but college sports is still in the game, to their credit.
The newest project is You Can Play. The Miami University hockey team is the latest to support gay athletes, in this case, with a tribute to an openly gay manager who died in an accident.
(h/t: Ben Chorn)
There's something about hockey. According to the Wisconsin Gazette, and ESPN poll found that "NHL players are the most supportive of equality, with 92 percent of those polled saying they support same-sex marriage. Sixty-one percent of NFL players, 46 percent of NBA players and 45 percent of Major League Baseball players agreed.
General aviation is dying in the United States and elsewhere around the world. There aren't enough people who want to learn to fly and as the older pilots -- the ones who usually got their wings in World War II or with the GI Bill -- die, there aren't many coming along to replace them.
And yet, have you ever noticed how often these stories of people chasing dreams involve flying?
Bonus I: Wednesday is Marilyn Hagerty day, a day when we can finally get the answer to the question: Is the cole slaw any good at Green Mill?
Bonus II: The land of 10,000 hats
Bonus III: Click on the image if you need to see the captions better. Do not drink hot coffee while reading. Don't ask me how I know this.
Bonus IV: The guts behind Google.
Before the second presidential debate, political observers said President Obama needed a strong showing in order to make up for a subpar performance in the first debate. Today's Question: Did President Obama do well enough in this debate to restore any confidence that might have been lost in his campaign?
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) - First hour: We'll be taking a look at last night's second presidential debate. What worked and what didn't, what issues dominated the discussion, how did the candidates hold up, and what are we still hoping to see discussed in the final debate?
Second hour: How children succeed.
Third hour: The new science of fighting crime.
MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Rebroadcast of last night's presidential debate.
Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) - The Political Junkie and even more post-debate discussion.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Minneapolis police officers responds to tens of thousands of 911 calls every year. Often, they are called to the same address over and over again. Problem addresses are not only a drain on police resources, they are a big nuisance for neighbors. MPR's Brandt Williams examined a list of the 25 most called-on addresses on the city's north side, which contains some of the most challenged neighborhoods in the city.
Lila Downs may have spent much of her youth in Minnesota, but she's a worldwide ambassador for Mexico and its music. Born in Mexico to a Mixtec Indian mother and Scottish-American father, Downs grew up in Mexico, California and Minnesota, where she earned a degree in anthropology from the U of M. In college, she immersed herself in her roots and later discovered her love of singing. She brings her rich renditions of Mexican and indigenous music Wednesday to the Ordway and MPR's David Cazares has a listen.
Ten years after the crash that took his parents and sister, David Wellstone considers the Wellstone legacy. MPR's Tom Crann talks with him.
Perhaps the most contentious measure on the November ballot is a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as a man and a woman, and banning same sex marriage in the state constitution. MPR News partnered with KARE 11 to travel to five communities around the state, to see how the debate is playing out. In our first two reports, we visit Red Wing, where a Republican lawmaker broke ranks with his party to oppose the amendment, and Granite Falls, where a DFL lawmaker split from his party to vote to put the measure on the ballot.(7 Comments)
I was in the mood for a little napkin math today so picked up on the line from last night's debate from Gov. Romney stressing that he would eliminate taxes on the savings of middle-class families. In this case, middle class families consists of people making less than $200,000.
"No tax on your savings. That makes life a lot easier. If you're getting interest from a bank, if you're getting a statement from a mutual fund or any other kind of investment you have, you don't have to worry about filing taxes on that, because there'll be no taxes for anybody making $200,000 per year and less, on your interest, dividends and capital gains. Why am I lowering taxes on the middle-class? Because in the last four years, they've been buried. And I want to help people in the middle class."
What's the math on that?
Searching for the best savings rate online, the major non brick-and-mortar banks are offering about .75% annual return.
The site, Statistic Brain, says the average amount Americans have stashed in a savings account is $3,800.
According to this calculator, that yields about $28.59 a year. Here, you can calculate yours too...
Interest income is taxed as ordinary income, so the amount of tax depends on your tax bracket.
The highest bracket under the plan taxes these things at 33%. So, if you made $199,999, you save $9.53 a year.
The average American household income, however, is $44,000. Assuming there's no reduction in the adjusted gross income (highly unlikely), the interest income is taxed at 15 percent. So the proposal saved a family $4.29 a year.
But 25 percent of households in the U.S. have no savings at all. And the average retirement savings in a household is $35,000.
If all of that were shoved into a savings account (unlikely), it would yield about $253 a year in interest and the tax on the highest earners in Gov. Romney's definition of middle class would be $83.49. But, of course, many retirement funds are in accounts that pay no taxes until they're tapped after age 65, at a lower tax rate.
The debate isn't over until NMA says it's over.
What's the proper way to refer to a professional woman in a political campaign?
That has become an issue for debate in the race for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts where incumbent Scott Brown is facing Elizabeth Warren.
Boston Herald reporter Christine McConville raises the question after she attended a Warren rally this week. The Herald is the conservative alternative to the more liberal Boston Globe, just for the record.
"I want to go to Washington as a U.S. senator, to support all women, all the time," Warren told the roaring crowd.
That's when I raised my hand, with a question for Warren. What, I planned to ask her, matters more to today's female voters: the economy or abortion and contraceptive rights?
"Professor," I said, and the crowd started to hiss.
"Elizabeth," she replied.
But, of course, as a reporter, I'd never call her that. We're not friends, and she's an accomplished public person who deserves respect. I don't call Scott Brown "Scott," I always used "Mr. Baker" when I interviewed gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Baker a few years ago, and I don't want to think what would happen if I addressed Boston's mayor as "Tom."
"Why did you call her that?" one furious supporter sneered, when three of them confronted me afterward. "That's so demeaning."
Warren is a law professor at Harvard.
There was a way to get around the issue: Just ask the question without any reference to a title. Reporters do that all the time.(17 Comments)
If the locked out Minnesota Orchestra musicians are looking for a way to generate a little public support and interest, two words: flash mob.
It happened in Cologne with the WDR Symphony Orchestra.(1 Comments)
Good grief, science, it's been almost four months since you found the Higgs Boson particle, a discovery that could lead to determining the origin of mass. Have you done anything lately?
Science vlogger 1veritasium traveled to the CERN Large Hadron Collider to find out and just posted this.