Five at 8 – 4/14/09

  • What more is there to say about the Franken-Coleman fight? How about that it’s now entered “Calista Flockhart territory.” Nate Silver at says it. Silver calculates that it’s costing Coleman about $145,000 a week, so it’ll cost about $817,000 to keep pushing this thing. He calculates whether it’s worth it. Meanwhile, media watcher Brian Lambert says the media should acknowledge the elephant in the room and say Coleman is taking one for the team.
  • Is suicide a problem or not in Minnesota? Smart Politics, the U of M Humphrey Institute blog, conducted a study of state population density and suicide rates and determined that Minnesota has an “unusually low” suicide rate. “Nonetheless, Minnesota is fortunate to have one of the lowest suicide rates in the nation, and is second only to Illinois for the lowest rate among all Midwestern states,” it said. It used data from 2002.

    Meanwhile, the National Center for Health Statistics, using 2004 data, says the state’s suicide rate ranks 13th with 10.1 suicides per 100,000 people. It says the state is 6th best in rates of depression.

    Where it gets more interesting, however, is on the money spent on mental health. Smart Politics reports no other Midwest state spends more on mental health than Minnesota. But 5.9% of Minnesotans report they have unmet needs for mental health treatment and counseling. That’s worse than Iowa, Illinois, North Dakota, and South Dakota, and that’s the same percentage as Wisconsin.

    Contrary to the assertion, however, suicide prevention efforts in Minnesota are not rolling in dough.

  • Fans of The Current’s Mary Lucia probably are aware of her obsession with Phil Spector’s hair. Now, it’s all been documented . Much better, however, is an old New York Times tribute to his hair styles, including the “Marv Albert” and the “Doctor Who.”
  • The Twins are going to have new uniforms when they move into Target Field next year. Here are some possibilities. It mentions the hated Twins script design. Why is that hated? In other uniform news: It’s been a long time since the Star Tribune sports department felt powerful enough to refuse to use the real name of the Cleveland baseball team, let alone use its logo. The Cleveland Plain Dealer says there’s evidence the team is moving toward ridding itself of the logo, if not the name.
  • “The longer the winter, the sweeter the spring, and this winter seemed very long indeed,” writes painter Jeff Scher in the New York Times today. He produced a “welcome back” film for the greatest show on earth — spring.


    Midmorning – In the first hour, Kerri Miller and her guests discuss whether the nation’s airlines have long-term viability. In the second hour, long-time civil liberties advocate Nadine Strossen also talks about why she continues to fight for free speech.

    Midday – House Speaker Margaret Kelliher and Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller join Gary Eichten for a discussion about the legislative session and why we’re heading for a last minute showdown with the governor again.

    Talk of the Nation – A new approach at some universities will require that your degree reflect a defined set of skills, rather than that you passed a defined set of courses.

    All Things Considered – The news business’ obsession with the future of newspapers focuses today on the loss of arts critics. At some point, some of these stories are going to have to acknowledge that few people are reading newspapers. If a critic’s review falls in a forest…

    • betty tisel

      pardon my ignorance…. what does “taking one for the team” mean?

      I was a big Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer supporter, and I am choosing to look at this whole tedious recount/appeals thing as a really twisted economic stimulus package….

    • Bob Collins

      It means he’s doing the Republican Party a favor while destroying his own political future — at least as a candidate.

    • betty t

      Thanks, Bob. Why would Norm “take one for the team” – what’s in it for him? I just don’t get it.

      I do think though that were the roles reversed Franken would appeal as well. It’s almost like they are each playing a role that either could fill — (not that they are the same, but each is capable of playing this part). I’m ready for the denouement.

    • Bob Collins

      I’m not necessarily accepting Lambert’s premise but for the sake of argument what would be in it for him would be positions in a non-candidate setting — chairman of the Republican Party, for example.

      Political parties take care of the good soldiers and Coleman is being a good soldier.

    • Devin

      I vaguely recall Coleman being very vocal (almost to the point of issuing a public shaming) against Franken for pursuing the automatic recount, stating that (not an exact quote) “…it would be a waste of taxpayer time and money.” Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

    • Bob Collins

      Yeah, that video is floating around YouTube. I believe, however, that Coleman said he made a mistake saying that some days later and said he was wrong. That part gets left off of the story.

    • Devin

      Thank you Bob – I did not know he issued a retraction. Curious what the context/motivation was… foresight perhaps?

      Regardless of who wins, you have to admit that Coleman will be living with a less than ideal election history. First, there was the whole Wellstone “accident” (while I don’t buy into the conspiracy theory, I can’t imagine how it must feel to win an election by means of death default, so to speak), and now he’s going to deal with a bitter defeat (most likely), or a very bitter victory.

    • Bob Collins

      Politically, I don’t think it’s a complete stretch to suggest he’s pretty well done in Minnesota. But that doesn’t mean he’s done politically, of course.

      BTW, I don’t think Coleman won by a “death default.” That was going to be a close race even if Wellstone had lived.

      He won because of the memorial service/pep rally.

    • Devin

      Ah yes, the rally… that was certainly bordering on the line of shameless, wasn’t it. That was also my first experience in Minneasota:)

      P.s. News Cut is great. Just noticed the Five at 8 section – very cool – good distraction at work too.

    • bsimon

      Devin writes

      “Regardless of who wins, you have to admit that Coleman will be living with a less than ideal election history.”

      You have to go further still to fully recount the curious electoral history of Norm Coleman. In 1998, for instance, he ran for governor, and lost to Jesse Ventura, of all people. Prior to that episode, he was elected Mayor of St Paul, twice, once for each party.

    • Charley Underwood

      Like Betty, I was a big Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer supporter. In a way, I still am. I feel like this whole ugly process has born out what the JNP supporters were saying a year ago…that Franken wasn’t a particularly good candidate for Minnesota. At this point, I am quite a few months past even caring which of those two mediocre candidates wins.