News Agenda – Monday October 27, 2008

What’s happening today:

The Department of Public Safety is taking a page out of the Defense Department’s playbook and issuing playing cards highlighting unsolved cases. It holds an 11 a.m. news conference. The target audience? Inmates in jail. The Defense Department issued playing cards of the “most wanted” in Iraq a few years ago. The whole “collectors item” thing didn’t work out, though. Amazon has them priced at about $3 today.

Speaking of Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus’ former executive officer is Kerri Miller’s guest in the 10 a.m. hour of Midmorning.

It’s the beginning of the last full week of campaigning. In the 6th District race, Elwyn Tinklenberg has a news conference this afternoon about Social Security. Over the weekend, Al Franken’s TV ads also focused on Social Security and privatization, which was an issue four years ago, but is it now?

The Times Leader in Pennsylvania has a story this morning on Social Security. A McCain supporter is quoted as saying privatization is still the answer. But when millions of people watched their IRAs wither in recent weeks, what’s the question?

It looks like another down day on Wall St.

The 3rd District race was profiled on the Minnesota Public Radio home page this morning. At 11, the three hold a debate on MPR’s Midday. And you can take the 3rd District Select A Candidate quiz here.

Political analysts tell you what you probably already know in the second hour.

Meanwhile, Kathleen Hall Jamieson at the U of Pennsylvania speaks tonight at Macalester on the political campaign messages of 2008. “Engaging and enraging citizens,” is the title of the evening.

During the first hour of Midmorning today, Kerri Miller looks at health care. You remember health care, right? Up until recently it was listed as the top domestic issue among voters in America. It’s the issue that questioners completely ignored in the first three debates in the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota. If you care about it, however, here’s where you can go to compare the plans of presidential candidates.

Once a year or so, some guest doesn’t show up on one of our talk shows. So we put together a hasty “what would you like to hear on XYZ” show. Invariably, the rights of fathers becomes a huge topic. On All Things Considered this afternoon, MPR’s Sasha Aslanian looks at whether joint custody of the kids should be a presumption in divorce cases. She goes back to the ’70s to visit a family that helped pioneer joint custody.

Tangentially, the Sacramento Bee reports that a nationwide search is on for two brothers of a Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy linked in court documents to last week’s killing of a state correctional officer. Police, the newspaper says, have spoken with the FBI and authorities in Minnesota about finding Gary and Chong Vue, the younger brothers of Deputy Chu Vue. It may involve a divorce and custody battle.

Also on local All Things Considered segments today, MPR’s Laura Yuen says some African American leaders are planning to make coveralls or jackets available to blacks who show up at the polls wearing Obama T-shirts. You can’t wear political buttons or clothing advocating a particular candidate at the polls, according to state law. The temperature was in the 20s in Minnesota this morning. If that weather holds next Tuesday, exposed T-shirts won’t be a problem.

From Washington, NPR’s Pam Fessler reports on voting machine problems. It’s a subject I tackled on Future Tense last week while I was filling in for John Gordon. ComputerWorld’s online issue today looks at some of the woes, and readers wonder why we have to make voting such a complicated process in this country.

There’ll also be a Tony Hillerman obit tonight. Alas, from what I can tell, Hillerman was never on MPR.

The NTSB is issue the final report on the collapse of the I35W bridge. Reports say — hold your breath — poorly designed gusset plates are to blame. Rep. Jim Oberstar has objected to the finding when it was floated earlier this year, and now his issue is that the final report was leaked to the Star Tribune.

Somewhat surprising in the finding is that more states aren’t just closing the bridges designed the same way. If the problem is a design that was not detectable through inspection, that why are so many states opting merely for inspections on like-constructed bridges?

Somewhat unrelated: The NTSB will hold a session tomorrow to outline its “most wanted safety improvements.” It’s a list that usually goes right to someone’s bottom desk drawer. In the past, one of the suggestions has been for states to adopt a seat belt primary offense bill, allowing police to stop you for not wearing a seat belt.

Tomorrow the U of M will try to set a Guinness record for most flu shots. But today all the glory goes to China, which has set a record for a 1.86 ton dried bean curd.

Viral video of the day:

Alas, News Cut did not win a regional Emmy award when they were handed out in Minneapolis on Saturday night. The overwhelming sadness, however, is eased somewhat (or is it made worse; I’ll have to think about that) by the knowledge that this “journalist” has one.

The news director of the TV station in Florida defended his anchor, saying “we ask tough questions.” Journalists should ask tough questions. But TV stations should embrace the concept of transparency. In this case the anchorwoman’s husband is in the political consulting business and one of his clients is, well, you figure it out.

The conflict of interest rap is hitting in Washington, too, where MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell got some scrutiny because she’s married to Alan Greenspan.

  • Rod Loper

    Well, the media meme that Biden is off message

    and/or loses his cool is off the mark. The right

    wing media is larded with these people who rotate between lobbying, media and jobs in republican

    administrations. If McCain wins I am sure she’ll

    get a good job screening applicants for government

    jobs.