Posted at 10:51 AM on October 23, 2006
by Bob Collins
Every day, it seems, I'm reminded I'm turning -- rapidly -- into my parents. This is not a good thing since one of them is dead and the other spends an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out how to save pictures in an e-mail. But it's happening. First it was not recognizing a single name in a Grammy Awards telecast a few years ago. Then last week, Jon Gordon sent me a Future Tense script to edit talking about Reuters setting up a virtual bureau with a real reporter who would be a simulated reporter in a game, so as to tell us actual humans what's going on in this non-actual universe. Huh?
Wait, it gets worse.
This morning, Reed DeLapp, one of our I.T. heroes who -- I think -- is a secret reader of Polinaut, sent me a link to a story about Google Earth starting an election center.
I don't get it. Of course, I don't actually have Google Earth (my computer is too old -- 5 years -- for such things) so it's a little hard to understand anyway. But it's Google and it's obviously cool and, no doubt, comprehensive.
Every once in awhile I stumble across a "forehead slapper." A "forehead slapper" is an idea so obvious, that nobody thinks of it until, well, someone does.
I came across this in a New York Times article today and then checked it out.
Now, I've noticed what has happened to the game of football -- and baseball -- as a result of fantasy leagues. (Disclaimer: I'm a past owner of the Eau de Ruben Amaro squad in fantasy baseball).
Basically, you no longer care about your local team, or the team you grew up loving if such love and care interferes with your fantasy squad.
In fact it's possible to even root against your long-time loves.
Fantasy does that to you.
So in this game, you get to draft -- and manage -- members of Congress. Think of it! This could be the thing that brings polarized America together.
Dozens of lefty Democrats, who own, say, John Kline... high-fiving their buddies during an anti-war march as word reaches them that Kline has cast a vote to continue the U.S. role in Iraq. Righty Republicans of all ages, chanting "Bet-tee....Bet-tee" as tears of joy stream down their faces when the news comes that the 4th District congresswoman has voted to approve creation of a cabinet-level department of bike riding (Note to the humor impaired: Umm...well, actually I have nothing to say here.)
What would be cool -- as we used to do in an APBA league -- is if you could buy, sell, and draft possible future members of Congress. What could you get for a lame-duck Martin Sabo? Arnold Schwarzenegger?
I'm on a panel next week which is going to explore how bloggers and the Internet are changing politics.
I don't ever prepare for these things since I'm still wrestling with the whole idea in the first place. I can think of a dozen reasons why bloggers are good for democracy.
I'm a cynical idealist. I like to think people in politics want what's best for the future of the Republic. That would involve actions that lead to a well-educated public, making informed decisions. The decision, itself, is almost irrelevant as long as it's informed.
That's the idealist part.
The cynical part is that there's too many lazy people playing into the hands of people in politics whose livlihood (or success) depends on lazy people.
And a lack of ethics.
Posted at 2:51 PM on October 23, 2006
by Tom Scheck
I was off Friday and busy this morning so we're gonna move quickly through this thing. Sorry if it's a bit hard to digest, er, handle.
We're going to arrange the digest in order of top of the ticket status. U.S. Senate race first then Governor and so on. Any objections? Hearing no objections, so moved.
U.S. Senate Race
Democrat Amy Klobuchar gets some good press and bad press over the weekend. First, the Minnesota Department of Administration says she should have turned over documents to the NRSC earlier. The Star Tribune has the story.
Klobuchar's good press comes in the form of two things. WCCO-TV's Pat Kessler has a profile of Klobuchar that you can see here. So Amy likes pumpkins and Mark can play the piano. Awesome.
This story says some Barbara Boxer money has gone to Klobuchar
Klobuchar is also mentioned in this Forbes article about what drives the vote.
Kessler, with WCCO-TV, reality checks Republican Mark Kennedy's ad.
If you scoff at that comment check out what Hotline has to say about the race in its latest ranking:
"Unlike in 1988, when Dukakis won here, Minnesota is no longer one of the top 10 most Democratic states. That said, being a liberal here still isn't the kiss of death it might be elsewhere and, as Mark Kennedy learned on "Meet The Press," being a GOP congressman means Iraq is your responsibility."
National Review also calls it likely Democratic Retention in their handicapping.
The New York Times mentions Minnesota's senate race and the stem cell debate in this story on health care.
Speaking of stem cells.
CQ tallies up Kennedy's votes with President Bush
The National Catholic Register says Kennedy is in for a battle national catholic register says kennedy in an election year battle.
We interrupt the scheduled digest run through to point readers to a Star Tribune story on microtargeting.
Don't want the parties to know how you vote? Buy that Golf Digest off the rack and pay for that rifle in cash.
Take the Pepsi, er Dr. Pepper, challenge here.
To the governor's race.
John Mercurio, with the National Journal, says things aren't going so well for Pawlenty and the GOP.
Don Davis, with Forum Communications, says both Hatch and Pawlenty have fuzzy proposals.
Forum Communications also looks at economic development in the governor's race.
The Star Tribune's Dane Smith talks to voters in St. Cloud and Rochester.
The National Journal says Dems will pick up governor's seats this year. It mentions MN as a toss-up.
Rothenberg calls it a toss-up as well:
Hotline ranks MN race as 8th most competitive:
Will Ken Mehlman have egg on his face Nov. 8 if a Dem tide sweeps out a bunch of Republicans (like Pawlenty) in the state he just awarded the 2008 GOP convention?
WUSA-9 also handicaps governor's races nationwide.
AP says the candidates for governor aren't offering specifics on education.
The Star Tribune says Pawlenty is targeting six pack voters.
Speaking of Pawlenty's ads. The New York Times says more and more candidates are using regular folks to criticize their opponent as opposed to those scary announcers and shows you the proof. Watch the video here. -
That's not good for the people who do the scary ad voicovers. MPR has a story on them here.
The National Journal moves the 6th up three in its rankings. For those of you who can't wait, the first moved up 13 spaces to 36.
Rothenberg calls the 6th a toss up and the 1st leans gop http://rothenbergpoliticalreport.blogspot.com/2006/10/2006-house-ratings_20.html
The Star Tribune's Eric Black truth checks a Michele Bachmann ad.
WCCO-TV says negative ads work.
GOP Congressman Gil Gutknecht tells Bloomberg that the dems smell blood in the water.
That may be why the DCCC is investing in the race between Gutknecht and DFLer Tim Walz says the Washington Post's "The Fix."
In Minnesota's 1st, Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R) has won better than 60 percent in his last two re-election bids, wins that belie the potential competitiveness of the southern Minnesota district. Prior to Gutknecht's election in 1994, the seat was held by Democratic Rep. Tim Penny, and President Bush carried it with 49 percent and 51 percent in 2000 and 2004, respectively. The Democratic nominee is Tim Walz, a first time candidate with lots of energy but -- until the planned DCCC buy -- not nearly enough money to be competitive with Gutknecht.
ABC's The Note mentions the first when it quotes someone from the DCCC:
Bill Burton, the communications director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, tells The Note that the DCCC does not plan to make a formal announcement about its new targets either today or tomorrow. But by Tuesday, the new targets will "become clear to everyone."
Brian Melendez, Andy O'Leary and Tim Walz cheer.
This L.A. Times story features the race in the 1st about the GOP defending its base.
The Star Tribune says the GOP is taking nothing for granted.
Gutknecht also mentioned in this story.
If Gutknecht loses, one reason will be D, M and E issue.
Another reason will be that the GOP security edge is dropping says USA Today.
Remember that Osama ad that the RNC was touting last week? Hotline says it ain't that big of a buy.
AP has a story on Ellison being low key about his faith.
The Star Tribune writes about the woman who is trying to get a restraining order against Ellison (Ellison already has a restraining order against her).
Could this also be a problem for Ellison?
The L.A. Times does the first Muslim in Congress story.
The Star Tribune writes about the Alan Fine photo incident at the end of this post.
Oberstar calls for more port security.
The Walker Pilot Independent says Republican Rod Grams visited Walker.
DFL Congressman Colin Peterson is mentioned in this Washington Post story on Pelosi.
This Pi Press story says DFLer Coleen Rowley is making gains on GOP Congressman John Kline.
The Red Wing Republican Eagle has a story on the debate between two of the three Lieutenant Governor candidates debate..
The Minnesota House.
MPR has a story on battle for control of the Minnesota House.
Northern MN legislators meet with Ainsworth officials.
Here's a profile of the contest in House District 13b.
Democrats in Northeastern MN would have power if their party takes control of house.
This Rochester Post Bulletin story says the legislative campaigns have gone negative in that region.
GOP House Speaker Steve Sviggum was campaigning in Marshall.
House Minority Leader Margaret Anderson Kelliher visited East Grand Forks.
Have a nice retirement Irv Anderson.
Austin Daily Herald has a look at the candidates in the Austin area.
The Pi Press asks if more $ for roads means less $ for schools.
Since you made it this far, here's a really good profile of Rahm Emanuel. It's really well written.
Posted at 3:42 PM on October 23, 2006
by Bob Collins
I don't know if the Washington Post is trying to out-YouTube YouTube, but they've set up a "political ad databse," with access to, well, political ads, oddly enough.
It's a nice start, but there's only 6 ads in the Minnesota listings and with Google acquiring YouTube, it's hard to image the WashPo being a significant player in this arena.
(h/t Matt Thueson)
Via The Carpetbagger Report, I got turned on to a controversy developing over what must be the most emotional ad of the campaign season. It's in Missouri, and it's an ad that Michael J. Fox did on stem cell research.
CR forwards us to Balloon Juice which has the ad.
CR also has Rush Limbaugh's "pushback" to the ad, which includes the allegation that Fox was acting and off his meds.
The interesting thing about this ad is it will no doubt spur some sort of partisan bickering -- it is the campaign season afterall. Republicans over here.... Democrats over there. But lost in that will be the one thing that people on both sides probably do agree on: Parkinson's sucks.
Normally, agreement is the foundation for action, but in politics, agreement often seems of little use. You can't beat your opponent over the head with agreement.
The debate springing from this ad will be embryonic stem cell research, I presume, and Parkinson's (disclaimer: my father in law has Parkinson's) will be linked to that issue, but no candidate, as far as I know, has called for a national initiative to wipe out Parkinson's. If the goal really is a cure for the disease, wouldn't there usually be some sort of rally around the disease, rather than the particular method of finding the cure?
No candidate this season, as near as I can tell, has called for a national initiative to cure the disease, but many have called for a position on stem cell research. Huh?
Is that the tail wagging the dog?
Is stem cell research an issue because it's an issue that breaks down along party lines? Or is the real issue mobilizing all resources and human brainpower to wipe out a disease, which does not lend itself to being politically expedient (who's against finding a cure for Parkinson's). Granted some folks think one begats the other, but without getting in the middle of that debate, there are more ways to research Parkinson's than stem cells. That's an issue that can be settled later.
Here, by the way, is some information on Parkinson's research. There actually is some going on that doesn't depend on solving the political glacier that is stem cell research.
If the issue really is about Parkinson's, how come nobody is bringing it up?
Heck of an ad, though.
But given the nature of politics in this country right now, a sure way not to find a cure for Parkinson's, is to inject it into a campaign.