How much more iPad hysteria can you take? I mean the thing doesn’t even go on sale until March? The PiPress’s Julio Ojeda-Zapata laid hands on one of the things and came away — underwhelmed. “… [D]uring Steve Jobs’ extended demo of the gadget, I kept waiting for something … amazing. Yet I saw nothing, in all the iPad gaming and presentation making and Web browsing and e-mail sending and so on and so on, that I have not seen done on other computing devices in a not-dissimilar fashion. The iPad is basically a big iPhone, with the same home button and such, wrapped in a metal enclosure nearly identical to that of a MacBook Pro laptop …” And Julio would be your classic early-adopter.
The Strib goes with a New York Times story that is similarly skeptical of the thing achieving the God-machine status reflexively assumed by Apple-heads. ” ‘I think this will appeal to the Apple acolytes, but this is essentially just a really big iPod Touch,’ said Charles Golvin, an analyst at Forrester Research, who says he expects the iPad to mostly cannibalize the sales of other Apple products. Colvin said book lovers would continue to opt for lighter, cheaper e-readers like the Amazon Kindle, while people looking for a small Web-ready computer would gravitate toward the budget laptops known as netbooks.” Others remind skeptics that Apple has already sold more than 42 million iPhones. But, uh, you can make calls with those things … and they have a camera.
A headline that reads, “In Minneapolis, Why the Jump in Homicides?” almost certainly sits atop a story doomed to provide an inadequate answer. But MPR’s Brandt Williams wades in anyway. Talking specifically about crime over on the North Side, a leader of the Northwest Area Foundation says, ” ‘Further exacerbating this is men that have gotten out of prison and come back into the community — they have a higher rate of violence than other groups that haven’t been to prison’. … [he says] ex-cons have to compete for already scarce resources, like jobs and housing. That competition with other young black men can lead to violence. But what goes up, must come down. And [the spokesman] says this tragic cycle can also lead to periods of relative calm. He says sometimes so many young men aged 18-30 are in prison, there are few left in the community to cause trouble.” That sounds like fodder for the prison-building crowd.
City Pages has a fresh new bone with lots of meat on it. The bone’s name is Joe Basel, the ex-UM-Morris lad arrested (apparently) trying to wiretap Lousiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s phone. CP Editor Kevin Hoffman displays abundant glee in assembling a portrait of the young gentleman, under the headline, “Portrait of the Con Artist as a Young Douche.” … And no, the portrait isn’t particularly flattering at all. A sample, spiraling up from a commenter on a blog via an anonymous commenter on a blog (whoa!), is this recollection of Basel on campus: “Among other things, he was noted for posting up the “END RACISM AND SEXISM NOW, KILL ALL WHITE MALES” posters from ProtestWarrior.com and causing a big uproar on campus that led to a big campus forum about the posters. When forced asked to speak to campus, he told everybody about how the posters were there to counteract the far left LIES about racism, and then quoted Dr. Dre lyrics as an example of far left racism. This caused the ENTIRE black student union to storm out in anger. The rest of the night was super awkward and nothing got solved.”
Freshly elected State Sen. Mike Parry, the Republican who defeated both a Democrat and an Independent for Dick Day’s old seat down in the Faribault-Owatonna-Waseca area had a few words with the press Wednesday. Very few. Like so many, Parry campaigned on “cutting spending.” Uh, huh. Like what, for example? Pat Doyle’s Strib story has Parry at a bit of a loss on the pesky specifics thing. ” ‘I know there can be cuts,’ he told reporters at a news conference at the Capitol. ‘I wanted to take a look to find waste.’ Asked what he’d cut, Parry said, ‘Until I’m into it with both feet and looking at that, I can’t give you a specific answer.’ “
Colleague Lori Sturdevant argues that Minnesota’s love affair with the Independence Party is hardly over, even though the candidate in the Parry race “only” polled 20 percent. She adds, “Fans of instant runoff voting were quick to point out that had Srp’s voters been allowed to express a second choice, the outcome may have been different. But as long as one of the two big parties is the consistent victor in three-way elections in which a plurality wins, that party will mightily resist a statewide change to majority rule via instant runoff.”
The thought of 20 gubernatorial candidates in the same room at the same time itching for the same mike is the kind of thing that sends some people shrieking for the closest bar. But according to MPR’s Tim Pugmire a couple of hundred people turned out in Bloomington to listen to what the herd has to say. Not all candidates were asked the same question, but here’s waht seven responded on the topic of public funding for a Vikings stadium:
“Paul Thissen, DFL: Yes, if it’s not out of the general fund.
John Uldrich, IP: No.
Tom Rukavina, DFL: Yes, with user fees.
Bill Hass, GOP: No, private sector solution only.
Tom Emmer, GOP: No.
John Marty, DFL: Not with public money.
Susan Gaertner, DFL: Not now.”
The event comes days before Tuesday’s precinct caucuses.
Not exactly an exhaustive report from the Strib on its latest round of cuts Wednesday. Dave Phelps gets the unenviable assignment of getting something useful out of company suits. “The Star Tribune has cut 95 positions across the company since last fall, at a cost savings of $6.8 million, said spokesman Ben Taylor.” Well … thanks for THAT.
Lefty blog mnpACT! looks at fundraising numbers by the two DFLers running against Michele Bachmann. “Clark has a great number — $293,953. She has raised over $600,000 for the year and has about $390,000 cash on hand. Not bad. Not Bachmann type numbers, but not bad. However, Clark is not leaving Maureen Reed in a cloud of dust either. Reed had a pretty solid number of her own ($207,800) and has raised a total of about $575,000.” But then even they concede, ” It all begins to look like a horrible waste of Democratic resources. I understand the passion for opposing Bachmann — but in the kind of year that Democrats are looking at, it is hard not to think the party should be looking at concentrating resources in a race that has snowball’s chance — like the Third, [Erik Paulsen].”
Restaurateur Mitch Omer’s (Canal Park) Duluth incarnation of Hell’s Kitchen closed around the end of the year … and then re-opened a couple weeks later as “Hellburger.” I mean with last summer latest re-explosion of shamelessly large and greasy burgers, why not jump into that market? Unfortunately,Eric Faust at the always entertaining Heavy Table, is not pleased with what he finds. Not even the kosher hot dog. “The Devil Dog ($8) is a ‘Chicago-style Kosher foot long’, but after the relish-soaked bun falls apart and shrivels up in the basket, you are left with two six-inch hot dogs that call to mind the warm water bath at a service station more readily than they do a Chicago foodcart.”
Finally, in case you missed it, the protean Gregg Easterbrook, in his ESPN pro football analyst mode, delivers a very good analysis of the Vikes’ NFC championship loss, Brett Favre’s thinking on that final play and … well … more. “For two years, Favre has insisted that entire NFL franchises, the Jets and the Vikings, become thralls to his celebrity. He has used his stature to demand, demand, demand — the crux of the demands are always attention and publicity for himself. Now he is brought low. In two of the past three seasons, Favre has lost in the NFC Championship Game. Each time, his team seemed poised to win at the end; each time, Favre’s final play was a disastrous interception. And each of those title losses eventually came in overtime — to punish Favre for his hamartia, twice the football gods allowed him to come so close, so close, then denied him. Favre has been brought so low, he is now being laughed at in Wisconsin, and he has only himself to blame. Aristotle would not be surprised by the ending of the Favre saga. If, of course, it was the ending.” But, come on, it was a much more entertaining season …