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.