Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) “said getting women and seniors to show up at the polls is key to her re-election hopes” 10/7.
Want More On This Race? Check out the Hotline Dashboard for a comprehensive rundown of this race, including stories, polls, ads, FEC numbers, and more!
Lincoln: “(They) sometimes are the category of people that in a mid-term election are less likely to come out in the numbers that they’ve come out in a presidential year.” She “said she hopes for a large voter turnout — one that would include more than just people voting out of anger.”
Lincoln: “Expectations have been heightened in presidential years, and you get to a mid-term and people that are most likely to be angry or upset are people who wanted something to happen overnight. And it’s not going to happen overnight. So they’re more likely, perhaps, to come out. People that are practical and realize that nothing happens instantly or overnight might be complacent and say, ‘Well, it doesn’t really matter.’”
Rep. John Boozman (R-03) “said a large turnout actually would favor him.” Boozman: “As I go around all over the state … the people of Arkansas are very upset with the administration. They’re upset that instead of agreeing with the views of Arkansans, she’s voted with the administration 95 percent of the time” (Lyon, Arkansas News Bureau, 10/7).
Lincoln, on trailing Boozman in polling: “I’ve never been a fan of polls, though some members of my staff are. The thing to remember is that polls are a snapshot in time. You have to look at all the variables - are they polling specific groups of voters or a cross-section or not? … We have internal polling showing my race a lot closer than the numbers out there.”
She “said she has been discussing her efforts to make the new health care reform law a more transparent process, job creation and getting the nation’s deficit and debt under control in coming years.”
Lincoln, on the financial system: “One of the big differences between Congressman Boozman and myself is that he backed TARP but not our Wall Street reform bill that became law this summer. He was all for bailing out Wall Street but not for cleaning things up.”
She “said” that “some” $21M “has flowed into the state” for negative advertising “against her re-election effort” during the primary, runoff and general election (Childress, Jonesboro Sun, 10/7).
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistated the name of The Times-Picayune‘s former food critic.
When the levees broke in 2005 and New Orleans began to fill with water, the staff of The Times-Picayune took flight to Houma, 90 minutes away. If they were going to put out a daily newspaper, they needed working equipment on higher ground. But someone had to cover the descent of my hometown from Bayou idyll to hellscape, so a dozen dutiful staffers — reporters, editors, photographers — hunkered down in a columnist’s uptown house. They chronicled the ensuing agony (the Convention Center) and ecstasy (rooftop rescues). They worked themselves raw. They won a Pulitzer Prize.
Next time a hurricane decimates New Orleans — it happens a few times per century — don’t expect these heroics. This week, Advance Publications, the media conglomerate that owns The Times-Picayune, cut the newsroom staff by 49 percent to 89 employees. When the overhaul is complete, the daily will be a Web-first publication that prints thrice weekly. In any town, this development would render hand-wringing. In New Orleans, the reaction is closer to horror. Practically every civic, culinary, religious, and artistic leader has begged Advance to reconsider.
That’s because New Orleans has a special love affair with itself. It’s not just garden-variety civic pride — the self-justifying way people convince themselves that their place is the best place. No, New Orleanians are obsessed with the anachronistic, easy-living, macabre, gluttonous, and jingoistic attributes that make the city what it is. And they’re largely right: The Crescent City is a place of glorious and conflicted weirdness. Impoverished black freedmen gave it music, their former masters gave it Mardi Gras and a love of rituals, and immigrants — Creoles, Cajuns, Italians, French — pitched in cuisine.
The Times-Picayune devoted itself to celebrating those attributes. It distinguished itself by the way it treated its subject — New Orleans — with exactly the right mix of curiosity, indignation, bemusement, reverence for tradition, hunger for progress, and love that the city deserves. As a local musician put it recently, The Times-Picayune was “the voice of the city.”
Yes, I’m writing in the past tense. This isn’t just a journalist’s elegy for his dying industry and the paper he grew up with — although, yes, it’s also that. Just to rehearse the main points for posterity: It is not possible in a greater metropolitan area of 1.2 million people to practice good accountability journalism with just 89 employees. Writers dashing off three Web stories every day will never be able to develop sources, get to know the subjects of their profiles, or spend enough time just observing to tell original stories. Especially when the story they’re trying to tell is as vital and complex as New Orleans.
More prosaically, but even more important, it takes manpower to comb through the jail logs and the City Council budget. Louisiana has a history of political corruption that exceeds even its reputation — a reputation brought to life as much by the enterprising work of investigative reporters as by local prosecutors. Meanwhile, the city faces a social-justice catastrophe: 28 percent of its residents live below the poverty line (more than double the national rate), and its nation-high murder rate is nearly 20 percent above the next-highest city on the list. The Times-Picayune says it will cover these stories, but the cutbacks belie the promise.
I’m not naive about the economics. After Hurricane Katrina, Times-Picayune circulation fell by nearly 30 percent, roughly mirroring the population decline. Although Advertising Age credited the publication with $70.4 million in print and Web ad revenue last year — sources inside the paper say it was profitable — national trends are obvious. (Advance is a family-owned company, so its finances are not public. It did not answer requests for comment.) Like all papers, The Times-Picayune must adapt.
But not this way! The print edition had 65 percent penetration in New Orleans, the fourth-best rate in the country. Now it will publish mostly online in a city where 36 percent of the people don’t have Internet access. Advance says the publication will focus more on sports and entertainment. (So why fire Brett Anderson, the beloved James Beard Award-winning food critic in a city that lives or dies with the fortunes of the food-service industry?) In other words, it will cater to white and wealthy readers in a town that owes its identity to the underclass, which stands to lose its voice.
It’s not hard to see Advance’s reasoning. Executives won’t sell the paper, because they can’t fetch a good price; and they don’t think it’s their responsibility to carry losses for the sake of the greater good. Maybe it makes sense to try something radical. Rip off the Band-Aid, right?
Wrong. A family-owned media company (no public shareholders or fiduciary obligations) can weigh other considerations, and in New Orleans there are many. Surely Advance knows that a newspaper is a public asset; it should have recognized that my hometown — beset by worse-than-normal urban pathologies, racing to reverse Katrina’s annihilation — needs one more than anywhere else. Ultimately, the company may be forced to move upmarket. But it could first try this experiment with its properties in, say, Newark, N.J., or Staten Island, both of which have less poverty and more Internet access.
And when the business model no longer works in New Orleans, as it eventually won’t, Advance should make the changes gently: Give readers time to make peace with them, cities time to generate more broadband penetration, and populations time to convert more fully to digital life. Cut publication but not staff, or not so dramatically, or not all at once — anything that prolongs the beautiful “voice of the city.” That, too, has value.
What We're Following See More »
"The U.S. has invested 16 years and more than $70 billion to train Afghan security forces, but the effort has been undermined by poor planning, training and oversight, a government watchdog said in a report Thursday. The 259-page report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or Sigar, offered a critical assessment of one of the top goals of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan—to train local forces so they can secure Afghanistan on their own. The report details how unprepared the U.S. was to train local forces when the war began in 2001 and concludes many of the problems that hampered the early days of the war still exist."
In 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration warned that individuals with terrorist ties were licensed to fly or repair planes. Years later, it is still a problem. Researcher Mark Schiffer found several known terrorists have FAA licenses when testing an algorithm on public records. Part of the problem is the FAA does not use photos on licenses and does not completely vet information. But they claim pilot certificates are to show the pilot's training level—not security—and pilots have to have government-issued IDs.
"Presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has corresponded with other administration officials about White House matters through a private email account set up during the transition last December, part of a larger pattern of Trump administration aides using personal email accounts for government business." His lawyer said Kushner and his colleagues usually forwarded news articles or political commentaries.
"President Trump will meet with major GOP donors for a private dinner on Tuesday in New York as part of a fundraising effort for the Republican National Committee, according to three people briefed on his plans." Trump is expected to talk about the party's agenda on the Hill and the midterm elections.