Where are you spending election night? (5×8 – 11/2/10)

1) THE PLAN

It’s Election Day, we hear. I’ll be here starting at 7 tonight to accept your thoughts, your joy, or your tears, and applying political metaphors to the Wolves-Miami Heat game. MPR’s Tom Scheck, who won’t know what to do with himself when the campaign and election are over (don’t worry, there’s another one starting later this week) has these tips on what to look for this evening. You can find your polling place here.

The New York Times asked its readers to create videos about why they’re voting the way they’re voting.

FiveThirtyEight.com’s Nate Silver says the Republicans will take the House but are underdogs to gain control of the Senate. Here’s his prediction in the governor’s race in Minnesota.

Here’s NPR’s coverage plan for the evening.

The Minnesota Historical Society posted this old 1926 poster on its blog yesterday…

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… proving that people who lectured on good citizenship didn’t understand the Constitution even way back in 1926.

There is another angle that’s surfacing more this year than in recent years. Take this Tweet from humorist Tom Bodett, for example.

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Does voting against somebody instead of for somebody somehow make a person less of a good citizen. Why?

2) THE COST OF CONSERVATION

It would have cost you less if you had wasted more water, St. Paul. The Pioneer Press reports St. Paul Regional Water Services wants to raise water rates a whopping 5 percent (there was a time when 5 percent wasn’t “whopping,” but that’s before savings accounts earned only.25%). The problem is it rained a lot over the summer and people didn’t water their lawns. Other conservation methods — low-flow shower heads, for example — are also to blame.

Other communities are increasing customer rates, too.

“It’s all those plumbing fixtures,” said Bernie Bullert, director of water treatment and distribution for Minneapolis’ water department. “Over the years, the toilets, showers, dishwashers, laundry machines, they all get replaced, and all the new ones use less water.”

It’ll provide a neat example of conservation habits. Will people do it if it costs them money?

3) DO BIKE-SHARING PROGRAMS WORK?

A local bike enthusiast (and a former boss of mine) was a skeptic until he went to Washington last week, which has a bike-sharing program… even though:

The system, simple and elegant as it is, has a major shortcoming, though. Other people stranded with me at the Metro station were eager to try the bikes, but had no idea where to drop them off once they got where they were going (there was no system map at the kiosk). We tried to load the map on my iPhone, but it was too clunky to use. I found out after the fact that there’s an app I could have downloaded, but even then, if you don’t have a smartphone, you’re out of luck.

The following day, I ran into the same problem when my planned drop-off point was cut off by a street closure I couldn’t get around. Finding a parking spot while driving is hard enough, trying to find a BikeShare kiosk when you don’t know your way around town is a baffling, frustrating ordeal.

4) TRAPPED

A heartbreaking video uploaded yesterday. David Grinstead says he took it on Saturday on the Gunflint Trail.

5) THE STUFFED ANIMAL MYSTERY IN FARGO

Someone has been stuffing stuffed animals on the windshields of cars at a hospital in Fargo. The hospital called the cops.

Bonus: Are you married to your digital gizmo? How’s that working for you? “The digital age hasn’t introduced this problem, it simply gives us a more convenient means of checking out,” says Tara Fritsch, a marriage counselor in Edmond, Okla.

TODAY’S QUESTION

We want to hear about your experience at the polls today. Did you have any problems? How long did you spend in line? Was there anything unusual?

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The meaning of mid-term elections.

Second hour: How music can affect perception.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Long-time elections manager Joe Mansky answers listener questions about voting procedures, and ballot-counting procedures.

Second hour: Revisiting the 1960 Nixon-Kennedy presidential debates..

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: A look at ballot initiatives.

Second hour: Singer Dionne Warwick.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - A shortage of rental housing for large families in St. Cloud has forced some families – mostly new immigrants – to split up into two apartments. About150 families who are on the waiting list for Section 8 housing vouchers need four- bedroom or larger apartments. MPR’s Ambar Espinoza will have the story.

Two thousand years after her death, Cleopatra lives on as a legendary figure. She’s known as much for her relationships with men as her rule over Egypt. And as we’ll hear from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff, much of Cleopatra’s power came from knowing how to manipulate people.

  • bsimon

    I will be spending election night at home, likely trying to work from home; splitting time between putting kids to bed, checking election returns & doing actual work. I don’t expect surprises in MN, but as a political junkie, am itching to see what the rest of the country does to us.

  • Tyler

    Is TB kidding? ALL of my votes are against someone else. As to where I’ll be – after casting my ballot, I’ll be in the basement. For the next 2 years.

  • Kim E

    1. “Does voting against somebody instead of for somebody somehow make a person less of a good citizen. Why?”

    I never thought of it that way, but this year I guess I am voting “against” someone instead of “for” someone else. The person who I had planned to vote for ended up not making it past the primaries, so I don’t feel as strongly about this other candidate that I will vote for today. However, I still think the person I’m voting for will do a good job if elected. I also think I’m still being a good citizen. At least I’m voting at all instead of sitting at home in a huff because my first choice didn’t get on the ballot.

    2. “The Pioneer Press reports St. Paul Regional Water Services wants to raise water rates a whopping 5 percent….”

    I can’t be the only one that read that in my mind as “wants to waise water wates.”

  • Al

    \\Does voting against somebody instead of for somebody somehow make a person less of a good citizen. Why?

    No. You are not voting out of a list of your choosing. You can try to ensure that a person you actually want to vote for is on the ballot, but in the end you get to choose from a list that you have little control over. That may mean you are voting against someone. In fact, if you tend to vote Dem in MN, it has been my experience that you are likely to vote against someone else, given the sad slate of candidates that party has backed in major statewide races over the past decade.

  • Ken Paulman

    For what it’s worth, I heard back from a BikeShare official in D.C., and he said they don’t have full system maps up because they haven’t finished building all the stations yet. Once that’s done, the maps go up.

    That doesn’t completely solve the problem, but it’s a huge help.

  • BJ

    I will be at my pool league for the early part of the night. Then to bed. Like Tom Scheck my work depends on the next political election.

  • Noelle

    I will be at Altered Esthetics in NE Mpls helping host our single-day exhibition celebrating Dia de los Muertos, which will provide a good amount of disctraction from the election for at least part of the evening.

    I’m so weary of all the negative TV ads, I’m just thankful it’s almost over.

  • JackU

    As we use less water, a good thing, we have to pay higher rates to make sure that the system that provides us with that water can continue to operate.

    Like many things I would expect that compared to other nations in the world, and even other areas of this country, we pay a lot less for the water we use. As a result an increase in our water rates may put the monetary cost more in-line with actual “cost” of the water.