How a word manipulates your political view (5×8 – 9/9/11)

The ‘J’ word, Mauer’s dough, the business of 9/11, give me your huddled masses; keep your mentally ill, and your moment of Minnesota zen.


President Obama used the word “jobs” last night 39 times. He never used the words “stimulate” or “stimulus.” Why not? Because the odds are you wouldn’t support a program if the “S” word had been used, but you are more likely to support the very same measures if the “J” word is used, Nate Silver of says.

Look at these recent polls with the “J” word used…


… and with the “S” word…


The politicians know all this stuff. Note Rep. John Kline’s (R) reaction to the speech last night as reported on Capitol View:

“Unfortunately, his call for more stimulus-type measures ignores the reality that people – not government – are our nation’s true job creators. “

And Rep. Betty McCollum (D):

“The American people want jobs, not dangerous and harmful Tea Party schemes to protect polluters, bust unions, eliminate Medicare, and outsource more jobs.

Says Silver…

We’re likely to see a real semantic scrum over the next few weeks as partisans seek to define the territory that the bill occupies. Pollsters, whether knowingly or not, will be a part of that battle. I would advise them to use multiple question variants where possible, taking a larger sample and splitting it into halves or thirds, and I would advise readers to be suspicious of articles that cherry-pick one or two polls without discussing the broader context.

Meanwhile, we have a new protocol breach at the Capitol. Protest signs:


Which opens up a whole new world of possibility…



There aren’t a lot of problems with making the big money that some athletes said; but there’s one big one: Expectations. Joe Mauer, hometown hero, was booed at Target Field the other night. That’s what happens when you make a huge amount of money and your team finishes in last place (or near it), and you get injured for part of the season.

ESPN has unveiled the Joe Mauer calculator — the Salary Crunch — which merely shows how long it takes Joe Mauer to make what you make.


The calculator includes only his baseball money. Throw in the rest of his income — from endorsements and commercials — and he’s probably covered any of our annual salaries in the time it took you to read down this far.

Getting booed can’t be a lot of fun for anyone, but it’s still a good time to be Joe.

(h/t: BMTN)


Nothing says 9/11 like a bottle of wine. We have another submission in our call for ad campaigns that are tying into this week’s reliving of one of the worst days in American history (previous one here). A liquor store in Afton says it’s honoring the hundreds of first responders in “the best way we know how.” The best way it knows how is $2 off a bottle of wine. (h/t: Mark Snyder)


No angle has been left untouched in the reliving of 9/11 this week. Today: Comedy. It was difficult to get America laughing again after 9/11. Several comedians here discuss how they did it:


More than a dozen people with a history of mental illness and/or suicide attempts have been denied entry to the United States in the last year, the CBC reports today. Their medical records were shared with the Department of Homeland Security.

“It speaks to the myth we still hold,” one woman says, “that people with a mental illness are violent criminals.”

Or criminals of any stripe since suicide isn’t a crime in either country.

Meanwhile, “perfectly healthy” people intending to blow up New York and Washington were apparently ushered through.



Thousands lost their lives and many more lost family and friends, but the terrorist attacks of 9/11 affected people all over the world in different ways. Today’s Question: How did the attacks of 9/11 change your life?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: How literature has been shaped by 9/11,

Second hour: Actor Ed Asner.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: What does business need to generate to more jobs and a stronger Minnesota economy?

Second hour: From the Aspen Ideas Festival: “Could 9/11 Happen Again?” Panelists include Michael Chertoff and Jane Harmon.

Science Friday (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: New research looks in detail at fossils from an ancient hominid. But is it a human ancestor, or an evolutionary dead end?

Second hour: Psychological effects of terrorism, and how to treat victims, from studying 9/11 survivors.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – After 12 years of lobbying, bonding and building, The Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts opens this weekend in downtown Minneapolis. Members of the dance scene hope and expect it will ignite Minnesota dance the same way the Guthrie Theater sparked the regional theater scene when it was built in the early 60s. Chris Roberts reports

As she campaigns for the Republican presidential nomination Rep. Michele Bachmann has been noticeably absent from New Hampshire. That’s where the first primary will be held next year. Bachmann has almost exclusively focused on Iowa and South Carolina, and some political insiders say that suggests a niche candidate who’s unable to wage a national campaign. Mark Zdechlik will have the story.

MPR’s Tim Nelson says the families of Anousone Phanthavong and Joe Senser are still awaiting the outcome of an investigation into the August 23 crash that killed the Thai chef. Some answers have already come out. But other cases, like a fatal May 2010 crash on Interstate 35, show that it can take a year or more to sort out the facts of even a basic death investigation.

  • Love the Sunset!

    Looking forward to fall colors. My camera and I are ready and eager…

  • Josh

    Mauer has made more money sitting out with made up illnesses this year than I will make in my lifetime.

  • andy

    Does Mr. Drilling = Jobs guy think he’s going to accomplish anything with his silly sign? Good grief, we don’t have politicians anymore, we have wannabe reality TV stars. Mission accomplished ding-a-ling.

  • Bob Moffitt

    Congressmen like Jeff Landry (the sign holder) are more proof the United States should try to get its money back from the Louisiana Purchase.

  • Vivian

    Bob and andy,

    Thanks, I needed that. : )

    It looks like it was creatively drafted on a legal sheet and folded up for safe keeping in his deep pockets.

  • matt

    I agree with the sign, Arrested Development is one of the greatest shows ever.

    For the pro stimulus aka pro create job crowd – how much stimulus has to be spent to prove that it isn’t going to work and indeed is the root of our problem today? Our $14 trillion of debt is stimulus, the anticpatory wealth of our unfunded liabilities is stimulus (discounted for sure but still stimulative), state and local debt = stimulus, personal debt = stimulus. The Keynsian model takes all of these as stimulus to boost aggregate demand claiming we need more ignoring what we already have spent is folly. Demand simply does not exist at the level we pretend it does.

    Take your medicine people, passing it on to your children fails under any ethical framework save hedonism.

  • Heather

    Matt, you know what would be really great for deficit reduction? MORE PEOPLE WORKING. Spending is conservative right now because so many have been unemployed for so long, and those who are working can look around them and see that it’s completely possible that they’ll lose their jobs. Also, two words: wage stagnation.

    I am sick of hearing Republicans whine about the deficit while fighting tooth and nail to keep taxes low on corporations and the wealthy while kicking the rest of us to the curb. Will corporations suddenly decide to start hiring once their tax-preferred status is certain? When pigs fly.

  • Jon

    Maybe the wine shop is confused about Hook & Ladder? There is a Maryland beer by the same name that donates money for each bottle sold to benefit firefighters (though I think only a penny). The wine company’s website does not indicate anything similar. Maybe the company thought they did too or maybe I’m being overly generous to the store and they are really just playing up the name.

  • matt


    My comment was not about deficit reduction per se. If the US had an incredible surplus and paid for the stimulus out of savings the argument that stimulus was not working would still hold true. It is more dangerous because of the debt that it creates.

    As for taxation I have argued for more taxation here for quite some time, we have to pay for what we have spent or repudiate that debt.

  • Heather

    I think your last line actually does shift your emphasis to deficit. And a lot of people are taking plenty of medicine already, thank you very much.

  • Vivian


    May I ask what you do for income?

  • matt

    I work for a printing company, accounting.

  • Vivian

    @ matt-

    as in the Federal Reserve?

  • matt

    Our presses don’t go nearly that fast 😉

  • Jamie

    Re: What We’re Doing/Midday — Why isn’t the president’s speech being aired, the way the 2-hour Festival of Lies at the Republican presidential debate was aired yesterday?

  • matt


    I agree. The festival of false promises deserves the same treatment as the festival of lies. At least Obama had the decency to keep his festival short so as not to interupt the football game.

  • Vivian

    //Our presses don’t go nearly that fast 😉

    not fast enough for the Reserves and the presses run too slow, (or to ‘slow’ as a verb) at the request of the printing the payroll checks?

  • Jamie

    And speaking of Festivals of Lies, one would think that Midday producers could have found some progressive voices to be in on the discussion about business. Nah, I must be wrong; public radio is part of the “liberal media”!They would never have hour after hour after hour of right-wing-biased programming.

    Matt: I didn’t hear Obama making any promises. He was making proposals. And his proposals were mostly devised around the idea of having a prayer that he could get them through an obstructionist Republican-controlled Congress — and that includes the Senate, which can’t do anything because of Republican obstruction. And, of course, they’re obstructing everything not because they think it’s better for our country to do so, but because their main purpose is to make Obama fail (as attested to by their leaders). They are despicable.

  • Jamie

    Matt, the world’s smartest economists continually say that the stimulus a couple years ago should have been even bigger, and that we should not worry about the debt or deficit-reduction right now, and that another stimulus would be in order. They cite what happened in the 1930s when people got scared and reigned in spending and made the depression last longer (5 additional years, if I remember correctly). The stimulus a couple years ago did help; it saved many thousands of jobs. The recession would have been even worse if we hadn’t had that stimulus. Now it probably IS going to get worse because of the focus on budget cutting. You can’t lose 700,000 government jobs (and counting) without some negative economic consequences. Those job losses are just the tip of the looming iceberg.

  • Mark

    “You would be amazed and angry if you knew just how little respect the typical pollster, PR guru, or advertising executive has for your opinion.” Frank Luntz “Words That Work” p,4. Amazed? No, opinion leaders (including politicians) burn few calories hiding their contempt for their audience. Angry? Yes.

  • matt


    Paul Kruman, Mark Zandi and the Neo-Keynsian (generally democrats) economists are saying more stimulus/should have been bigger stimulus. The freshwater economists (generally republican) are saying more tax cuts or monetary easing. The Austrians (generally libertarian) are saying take your medicine. You may think Krugman is the smartest, he certainly does (every macroeconomist does), but that does not equal consensus or correctness. Even if collectively accept Keynes/Krugman as gospel we still face the fact that we are stimulating much higher than we were in the great depression and were in a better economic position to do so then than we are now.

    More importantly the great depression occurred during of technological expansion that clearly led to economic expansion – we were set to grow out of any depression and fully absorb stimulus spending in organic growth of the economy. That is not the case today, there is no industrial revolution to carry us forward. If we were China or Brazil it would be much easier to accept a Keynsian approach but the model does not work in a fully modernized industrial economy. Again, the demand for growth is not there at the level we spend. Krugman et al assume some level of linear growth that is not based on any fundamentals.

    I would reccoment Tyler Cowen’s e-book “The Great Stagnation” not to convert you or anything but as a great description of the fundamental problem that our economy faces and the reality that we might have a flat GDP for a couple of decades. Heck, even Krugman has read it.

  • Jeanne

    #3. And I’m so relieved to know that Swirl’s 9/11 tribute is being followed up on 9/15 with the Ultimate Girls Night Out and a Wine Cruise. All is right with the world once again.

  • Jamie

    // the fundamental problem that our economy faces and the reality that we might have a flat GDP for a couple of decades…” //

    I know about these things. I don’t need a libertarian’s view of them. I vehemently disagree with basic libertarian values (every woman for herself, etc.).

  • matt

    I am sorry to hear that you have such an uninformed understanding of libertarianism.

  • Bob Collins

    Address the issue. Leave the insults alone or go somewhere else.

    I tire of making this announcement.