Five at 8 – 1/11/10: Politics by the book

This week’s Monday Morning Rouser was submitted by DK of St. Paul:

1) There’s no bigger story than the new book that’s out, Game Change, which details what really was going on in the last presidential campaign. Republicans will say the real story is Harry Reid and the “negro” quip. Democrats will say the real story is Sarah Palin’s alleged craziness. I say the real story is that a post-campaign book has revealed — again — that while-it’s-happening campaign coverage is shallow and uninformative, and ask why do we have to wait for two years to find out details of what we should’ve known then?
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Perhaps it’s time to stop covering the same stump speech over and over and the latest poll numbers and start covering what’s really going on in a campaign.

2) Who owns Lyndale Avenue North? The Deets’ Ed Kohler crunches some property ownership numbers:

At the national level, it looks like a common theme is bank ownership. Foreclosures on Lyndale Ave N are now owned by banks in New York City, Houston, and Rancho Cucamonga.

Why does this matter? It turns out that home ownership rates have a significant correlation with neighborhood challenges, such as crime rates.

Across the river, meanwhile, St. Paul real estate guru Teresa Boardman looks at some areas that have been devastated by foreclosure and city rules that prevent people from reinvesting in some of the bigger, older homes.

3) Discussion points: Take one and pass the rest. The New York Times’ Ross Douthat considers the furor caused by FoxNews’ Brit Humes’ suggestion that Tiger Woods find Christianity:

If you treat your faith like a hothouse flower, too vulnerable to survive in the crass world of public disputation, then you ensure that nobody will take it seriously. The idea that religion is too mysterious, too complicated or too personal to be debated on cable television just ensures that it never gets debated at all.

Meanwhile, The New Republic connects the dots in the Harry Reid affair:

To rake Harry Reid over the coals about his “no Negro dialect” comment will bring to mind the Biblical passage about trying to take a speck out of someone’s eye when you’ve got a log in your own. Pretty much all of America black and white feels exactly the way Harry Reid does about the way black people tal—- and aren’t even worried about saying it out loud.

4) What hath the Internet wrought? The New Scientist considers the possibility that the Internet has allowed us to outsource our memories and faculties of judgment to the virtual universe and the hive mind?

For computer scientist Daniel Hillis, the internet has changed the way we make decisions, as we farm individual choices out to the collective web. “If the theme of the Enlightenment was independence,” he writes, “our own theme is interdependence. We are now all connected, humans and machines. Welcome to the Entanglement.”

5) Eat your heart out, New York!

Bonus: No surprises here. Why is the old media still necessary? Because that’s where new media gets its news, a new study says.

News Cut reader Jim O’Donnell, on the other hand, takes note of a Michael Kinsley assertion that one reason newspapers are on the rocks is because the writing therein is too long and “encrusted.”


The Great American Think-Off, a philosophy contest run by the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center, has announced its debate question for 2010. And it gives us Today’s Question: Do the wealthy have an obligation to help the poor?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Where are the jobs of the future?

Second hour: How doctors can prevent mistakes.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: NPR’s Julie Rovner on the health care bill debate.

Second hour: National Press Club broadcast with Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO. Labor leaders are scheduled to meet with the President about health care reform today.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour:

Second hour: A look at the Midwest cold snap, just in time for the January thaw. TBA

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Cell phones are not the only things getting smarter. In some new buildings, buttonless elevators can do the thinking for you. They predict human behavior and cut down on your wait time. And now there’s 57 of them in the world’s tallest building in Dubai. Inside the elevator brain. NPR will report.

The gay marriage trial starts in California today.

  • BJ

    “Perhaps it’s time to stop covering the same stump speech over and over and the latest poll numbers and start covering what’s really going on in a campaign.”

    But then the “public” would just watch Simon Cowell all day. By “public” I don’t mean anyone that reads this blog.

    I’ll have to look up the paper but I read, somewhere years ago, that 80% of the population knows only 1 fact about the candidates they vote for, and that one fact is not a position fact. Off the top of my head, perceived race, preceived religion, party, and preceived age – plus one or two more I can’t remember. 15% know 2 of the items in that same list, with only 5% knowing 2 things plus a policy position.

  • anotherbob

    “Perhaps it’s time to stop covering the same stump speech over and over and the latest poll numbers and start covering what’s really going on in a campaign.”

    Forget “perhaps.” I’m waiting for MPR’s and NPR’s pledge to quit focusing on the horse race and hyping poll results, and start covering what’s really going on in campaigns.

  • Jamie

    From what I’ve heard about this book (which isn’t very much, admittedly), it sounds like a lot of not-very-meaningful stuff. And I don’t know why I should believe any of it, either.