Five by 8 – 5/13/2010: When politicians are people too

1) We usually get our best insight into people in politics after they’ve dropped the better-not-say-anything-that-might-cost-you-an-election strategy that’s made campaigns so utterly predictable. It’s too bad. Rep. Marty Seifert, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor, writes the MPR commentary today, revealing to us the human toll of being a politician. He described the day after he dropped out of the race:

Two days later, after mass on Sunday, my wife Traci and I took Brittany and Braxton to Sioux Falls — the closest “big town” to where we live — and played games at Chuck E. Cheese’s, saw a movie and had a great buffet dinner.

When I snuggled with Braxton, our 5 year old, that night, he said, “Daddy, this was the best day ever. I am so glad you lost.”

Meanwhile, at the Capitol, there’s no agreement over a new budget despite a night of meetings. Some 5-year-old isn’t getting to snuggle with mom or dad.

The governor says he’ll go fishing this weekend, even if there isn’t a budget deal.

Should the governor go fishing?online survey

2) For the last week or so, I’ve wondered if there’s another word we newspeople can use for what the oil is doing in the Gulf of Mexico besides gushing. Then the House Commerce Committee released this underwater video yesterday of the “leak” and I got my answer. It’s “no.”

A congressional investigation continues today. So far, it’s suggested the multi-billion dollar disaster might have been caused by parts that cost a few dollars and incompetence — the two things that cause most man-made disasters.

But a poll out overnight shows it doesn’t much matter. Those surveyed are still fans of oil drilling.

Unclear on the Concept Department: In Ohio, a legislative committee has approved a plan to tighten oversight of coal mines. It funds it by taking money from a fund to help miners with Black Lung disease. (h/t: Midwest Energy News)

3) Other than Updraft, Tim’s Weather Blog, is one of the most enjoyable area meteorological endeavors. It’s written by Tim Burr of Duluth. This morning, he recounts his weekend trip to Tornado Alley. He went storm chasing, and found what he was looking for.

4) They’re killing off Little Orphan Annie. The quote from the licensing company is hilarious:

‘Annie’ is more of a kids’ property, so it’s less relevant to newspaper audiences than say a ‘Dick Tracy’ or a ‘Brenda Starr,'” Tippie said

If that doesn’t describe the problem facing newspapers, nothing does. They’re places where Dick Tracy and Brenda Starr are still relevant.

The whole subject makes me want to head for the Wayback Machine:

5) We have a winner in the Best Illusion of the Year contest:

The gathering in Naples, Florida examined how our brains deceive us on a daily basis because it attempts to “solve what it sees.”

Bonus) “Did you see this video? It seems like something that’d be on a 5@8,” Ryan Vanasse wrote yesterday. He’s right, and it is. Let’s just put it here in the “what would you have done category?


Jon Stewart said, “Love what you do. Get good at it.” Winston Churchill said, “Never give in. Never, never, never, never.” It’s commencement season, and you or someone you know will soon be listening to a speech. What’s your message for the Class of 2010?

Here’s Stewart’s speech.

(Bob notes: It’s the same message I had for the class of 2009)


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: The classic gumshoes, spies, and femme fatales of crime, mystery, and spy novels.

Second hour: Broadcast of Kerri Miller’s conversation with author Colum McCann. (Originally broadcast 10/5)

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: NPR health reporter Julie Rovner answers questions about the new health care law.

Second hour: Best-selling author and attorney Scott Turow, speaking at the Commonwealth Club about his legal thrillers, including his latest: “Innocent.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: In the last 10 years, changes swept every branch of the military. Besides the enormous strain of deployments in the Army and Marines, more and more Air Force pilots fly unmanned drones, women will soon serve on Navy submarines, and Marines can no longer get Semper Fi tattooed on a forearm.

Second hour: It’s a medical mystery: Why do sugar pills work so well? In some drug trials they work better than the real thing.

  • Jamie

    Pardon my cynicism, but I don’t believe his kid really said that. Seifert (the guy who brings his kids to the legislature floor as props) should work in advertising. His typically Republican ability to quip what news media people think are so-clever one-liners and stinging spin (i.e., non-truths) against the opposition is also where this Hallmark Hall of Fame story comes from.

  • Vic

    Um, did you look at that Dick Tracy cartoon before you posted it?

  • Steve

    To me it doesn’t seem like Seifert has dropped the campaign strategy. Anytime I read a statement that specifically names the wife/husband and the kids, I can pretty much assume it’s a politician who is speaking. Most people are fine with “My spouse and I went with our children to so-and-so”, but I guess you get more votes if can make it seem like you are just a regular person with kids who have regular American names. And unlike the comment above I don’t think this is just a Republican trait. But I agree that it would be nice if candidates did drop the robot-bland strategy while running.

  • Bob Collins

    //Um, did you look at that Dick Tracy cartoon before you posted it?

    Yep, this is your historical culture that is considered still relevant.