July 2006

Al Gore is a sellout

Monday, July 31st, 2006

The wife and I went to the Al Gore-global warming movie “An Inconvenient Truth” yesterday.

Even before the previews rolled, the first amazing fact was that the 4:15 show was sold out. (Actually, my esteemed colleague film critic Colin Covert told me this fact was “interesting but not amazing.” He already knew the film was doing well in its niche. Esteemed Covert said he understood it to have moved into fourth place on the all-time box office list for documentaries. And the number of people it takes to fill up one of the small rooms at the Lagoon Theater is too low to be amazing. This, you see, is the problem with doing additional reporting. Your “amazing” stuff gets downgraded to the merely “interesting,” which if I understand Minnesota-speak is actually polite code for “not really that interesting.” Note to self: Close this parenthetical before you get arrested.)

Anyway, it’s pretty hard to watch that film and not feel that you need to urgently change your own carbon-using habits and to demand concentrated action by our government to address global warming, for our kids’ sake.

Of course, there’s also the question of whether anyone who doesn’t already sort of feel that way would subject themselves to a two-hour power point presentation making them feel more that way.

It’s another way into the red-blue polarization issue. Do Democrats and Republicans also live in parallel realities in which not only the opinions are different, but the facts are also different. If pollsters ask about whether Saddam had weapons or Al Qaeda connections, we expect a partisan breakdown, even though the questions are purportedly questions of fact, not opinion.

But global warming takes us deeper into the scientific realm, where the facticity of the facts (p.s. I am not making that word up) seems even higher.

Yet when the Pew Research Center recently surveyed on global warming, here’s what they found, broken down by party identification.

Said that global warming is happening and human activity is the major cause:

Democrats: 54%
Independents: 47%
Republicans: 24%

6th District Lebanon quotes

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Oops. I posted briefly on Friday about a piece that was going to be in the Saturday paper about Bachmann, Wetterling and Binkowski’s views on Lebanon. Meant to provide a link for those who want to read the actual quotes.

Two days later, here ’tis.

Green Party candidate Michael Cavlan on the war in Lebanon

Friday, July 28th, 2006

In an email following Friday’s story regarding the views on the Lebanon crisis of Senate candidates Kennedy, Klobuchar and Fitzgerald, a Biq Question asked me to publish the Lebanon views of Green Party Senate candidate Michael Cavlan.

I’ve solicited Cavlan’s views and posted them here.
The short version is that Cavlan condemns the resolution, passed unanimously by the Senate, that affirmed the Senate’s “steadfast support for the State of Israelâ€? and “urged the President to continue fully supporting Israel as Israel exercises its right of self-defense in Lebanon and Gaza.â€?

Bachmann, Wetterling, Binkowski on Lebanon

Friday, July 28th, 2006

For a story that will run in the Saturday paper, I’ve interviewed the Sixth District candidates about the Lebanon situation. (Can’t link to the story till it gets into the system.)

It’s a follow-up on today’s front-page story about the Senate candidates comments on Lebanon, and it’s almost an exact replay.

Patty Wetterling and Michele Bachmann, who don’t agree on much, agree down the line that Israel is doing the right thing and that the administration is handling the situation properly. John Binkowski, the Independence Party candidate, is critical of both.

I haven’t been able to fully transcribe the Amy Klobuchar and Robert Fitzgerald interviews on Lebanon (and I’m going to try to have a life this weekend, so I can’t promise when I’ll get to it). But esteemed colleague Pat Lopez did provide text of her interview with Kennedy, which is available via this link.
I had a complaint a week ago, when I ended a post with “Go Twins,” that this constituted a lapse of objectivity. So as we enter a big weekend series, I’d best leave it at this:

Go Twins. Go Tigers (Not ).

Are we having fun yet?

Friday, July 28th, 2006

The DFL is having some fun with Mark Kennedy’s ads.

They’ve taken account of Kennedy’s second ad, titled “Crossing Party Lines,”, in which Kennedy presents himself as a frequent collaborator with Democrats; borrowed a bit of the soundtrack from his first ad (“About Mark”), in which the Kennedy brothers joked about being “sometimes too close,” and superimposed pictures of Kennedy with — well, guess who? Or if you can’t guess click this link.

The little parody is not going on the air, just online.

Klobuchar, Kennedy mostly agree on Lebanon

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Amy Klobuchar and Mark Kennedy don’t agree on much, or didn’t, anyway, until the conflict flared this month between Israel and Hezbollah. On that, it seems, they see eye-to-eye, not only with each other but with the Bush administration as well.

Robert Fitzgerald of the Independence Party disagreed on almost every point.

My esteemed colleague Pat Lopez interviewed Kennedy Thursday and I talked to Klobuchar. Later today, if I can trascribe more of the tape of the interview, I’ll post some longer excerpts of the interviews than what appeared in this morning’s Strib story.

Seriously, another new Kennedy ad

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Things are picking up speed, fellow seekers.

Another new Kennedy ad is out today. I doubt if my post of a few hours ago was the cause (if so, those guys are scary fast) but this appears to be the Kennedy campaign’s effort to directly address the party-line question, although not directly address the Bushiness issue.

Yes, I know. 97% Bush agreement between ’02 and ’04. Does that make an ad like this, in which he claims to depart from the party line occasionally, a lie, as some commenters on previous posts have suggested?

I say “lie” is a word to be used with great care. Does that make me a wuss? Is that even how you spell wuss?

More on this theme when I can draw a breath.

p.s. I can’t link you to the Chamber of Commerce Pro-Kennedy ad that’s also just out, but here’s the text:

ANNOUNCER: Congressman Mark Kennedy believes seniors deserve affordable prescription drugs.That’s why Kennedy supported the Medicare Part D law giving seniors a quality drug plan. Thanks to Mark Kennedy, 630,000 Minnesota seniors now benefit from drug coverage saving them an average $1,100 dollars a year.A lot people in Washington talk about improving health care, Mark Kennedy is doing something about it.

Ember R-J changes the billboards

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

Billboardgate may be coming to a close. The Ember Reichgott-Junge congressional campaign is changing its billboards and other campaign literature to comply with the demand by the DFL party that she clarify that she isn’t the DFL endorsee for the Fifth Congressional District seat being vacated by Martin Sabo.

The billboards which heretofore just had the letter DFL in the corner, will now say “DFL Member.” Other materials will say that she’s running in the “DFL Primary.”

And speaking of Kennedy ads

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

The first, as far as I know, third-party ad in the Minnesota Senate race is on the air. It’s pro-Kennedy, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, focusing on Medicare Part D (that’s the new drug subsidy for seniors, which Kennedy supported.)

I caught a few seconds of it on the tube this a.m., so I don’t know much. I’ll get back to you when I can link you to the ad itself, or its full text.

The Chamber’s website makes clear that the Kennedy ad is part of a series of similar spots that the Chamber is running on behalf of Part D supporters (the two on the website are for Sens. Mike DeWine of Ohio and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Kennedy Ad Reality Check

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

My esteemed colleague from the TV side, Pat Kessler of WCCO, did one of his “Reality Checks” on the Kennedy Ad.

Kessler’s been doing these for years and is very good at it. This one is mild, appropriate to the light-hearted and non-controversial nature of the ad, which the Big Question has already pronounced “cute as the dickens.”

Pat brings up several things not in the ad. For example, Kennedy doesn’t mention that he’s a Republican, nor that he’s a congressman, and he brings up the Dem’s favorite fact, that Kennedy voted with Bush 97 percent of the time in 2002-04. But he does it in a tone of adding information, rather than suggesting that there’s some big deception going on here.

That’s the right tone. It’s fine for Kessler to add relevant information. It’s not reasonable to expect Kennedy to put his opponent’s talking points into his ad.

On the other hand, wouldn’t it be smart for Kennedy to come up with a talking point of his own about his record of Bushiness, rather than just pretending it doesn’t exist and leaving the Dems free to simultaneously point it out constantly and gig him for trying to hide it?

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