News Agenda – Wednesday October 29, 2008

The day ahead:

“Activist investor” William Ackman is going to detail his proposal to sell Target’s real estate. I posted about this yesterday and, given the stature of Target in these parts, I’m surprised it didn’t draw more attention outside Wall Street. In the Financial Times today an analyst said “fighting off activist shareholders would be a huge distraction for management at this crucial time of a very difficult year” for the local giant.

It’s a big day for News Cut. For the first time, an MPR talk show is tackling a subject based on a post here. It’s this one that I wrote earlier this month. Can we as a country work toward a common solution? Or are we doomed — especially with next week’s beginning of the 2010 election cycle — to be constantly in the middle of the election psyche. Or, as I asked in the post:


How do we know the difference between a healthy distrust of government and the kind that paralyzes and then divides a country?

This morning at 9, Kerri Miller tackles that question with several guests who, I’m told, aren’t enamored with the idea of trusting government. So, OK, maybe trust is the wrong word, but is it possible to create a common sense of purpose in the country without needing people to fly planes into buildings? I’ll be live-blogging the hour so I hope you’ll join me.

I’ll be live-blogging the second hour, too. Topic: The youth vote. When I was out in Denver, I attended a session on voting and a researcher claimed the youth vote is the most volatile because young people don’t have the patience to stand in long lines. We’ll see. We did a similar show in Denver and I can’t say the response was overwhelming.

WHO?

At 11 on Midday, Gary Eichten will talk with Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea and the challenger for her seat, Hennepin County District Court Judge Deborah Hedlund. Few people, I’m betting, go to the polls armed with data on judicial races.

The Minnesota Board of Judicial Standards sets the rules on these sorts of things. A few years ago lawyer Greg Wersal pushed a lawsuit that struck down most of the rules surrounding judicial elections. The Minnesota Lawyer blog details Wersal’s latest suit — one to get rid of the rule that prevents judicial candidate from endorsing other candidates.

Let’s see how much work you’re putting into this section of the ballot:

Day to Day is being pre-empted today through the end of the week. Each day we’ll present a Humphrey Institute speech with a Senate candidate. Today: Al Franken. The Humphrey Institute Web site has audio available with Norm Coleman talking about a bipartisan path to energy independence.

THE STUMP

On the campaign trail, Tim Pawlenty and Norm Coleman are teaming up again today. This time, the pair is in St. Cloud for a rally. Al Franken is in Red Wing and Winona late this afternoon and this evening.

Today, a group “Minnesota Voters Alliance” is holding a news conference to call for a voter ID law in city elections in St. Paul and Duluth. A voter ID law was upheld in Indiana earlier this year. A voter ID requirement would have to be passed by the Legislature. Incidentally, in Indiana, people without ID still can vote, but they vote on a provisional ballot that doesn’t count unless their identity can be confirmed within 10 days.

At the National Press Club this morning (9 a.m.) ACORN – The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now holds a news conference on its release of a 30-second ad calling on Senator McCain to put an end to what its says are voter suppression actics. ACORN and allied organizations

The pro-sales-tax-increase-for-outdoors-and-cultural-programs effort with Bud Grant and Ron Schara (where’s Raven?) heads for Duluth, Bemidji, East Grand Forks, and Moorhead.

Bill Clinton is in town for Barack Obama tomorrow night at 7:30 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. He’s also here for Senate candidate Al Franken. I think we can safely freeze the old thermometer and declare that Minnesota really didn’t “matter” as much as we did in 2004. Beyond that, though, it’s interesting to consider that Barack Obama didn’t make a late-campaign stop in a state whose 10 electoral votes he appears to have, but whose Senate seat could tip the Senate significantly in a Democratic president’s favor.

Fact-checking. It’s all the rage now. But has it made a difference? Political analysts examine the accuracy of presidential debates. Bloggers check out the statistics in campaign commercials. And there are numerous Web sites dedicated solely to researching the specifics of stump speeches. Voters have more access to the truth than ever before. On All Things Considered tonight, Nikki Tundel talks to a researcher who answers the question, does it matter? Daniel Libit on Politico asked a similar question a couple of weeks ago.

“We’re so hyper about fact-checking,” a McCain aide said, “that you have candidates actually curtailing what they believe they can tell the American people.” Yes, it’s getting so bad you can’t tell a fib anymore.

The national portion of All Things Considered tonight is mostly politics. One feature will focus on Colorado’s “personhood amendment” The ballot measure would give an embryo the same constitutional rights as a person.

>>Assignment: A colleague tells me she’s been unable to find those cloth fold-up chairs. Stores say they’re out of them. Is that because the camping season is over? Or because people are buying them for their wait at the polls next Tuesday? If you’re in a store today, ask and report back, please.

“CHEEEEEESE”

At 2:30 this afternoon, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is announcing an expansion of dental health services to all city elementary schools. It focuses on preventive care and no tax money will be used.

What’s the trend in college tuition? The College Board is releasing a report at midmorning. “Trends in College Pricing 2008″ and “Trends in Student Aid 2008.” Up. down.

The Federal Open Market Committee announces whether it’ll lower interest rates at 1:15 (C.T.) It will, the experts say, but it may not make much of a difference.

On the lecture circuit, Julian Bond

speaks tonight at St. John’s in Collegeville.

At the University of Minnesota tonight, Todd Haynes, director of the Bob Dylan biography, “I’m Not There,” speaks along with Dylan writer Greil Marcus at the University of Minnesota. Prep for the session by listening to Mary Lucia’s 2005 interview with Marcus.

And the Timberwolves open their season tonight. It should be a full house. Target gave away lots of free tickets. And this update just handed me: It’s Tampa Bay 2 Philadelphia 2 in game 5 of the World Series… still. How do you like that outdoor baseball now?

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