Lead story: It seems like conservatives’ first attempt at an October Surprise has fizzled before it even really got started. Desperate to muster an answer to the now infamous Mitt Romney “47 percent” video released by the left-leaning publication Mother Jones earlier this fall, Fox News and The Drudge Report began hyping a video of a speech with the headline “Obama’s other race speech,” which they insisted would blow the lid off his campaign. The problem is that the video was five years old and one that had already been through the election cycle wringing way back in 2008. Then the 40-minute video itself didn’t really hold any revelations and the supposedly racially charged content – on Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina – wasn’t all that revelatory. If anything, the video’s re-release, and Tucker Carlson’s attempt to point out the “accent” Obama adopts, is an attempt to race-bait by using this video as a way to portray Obama as a Scary Black Man. It’s another attempt at fear-mongering to scare away undecided white voters by driving division. As Slate’s Dave Weigel pointed out, it’s not like Drudge hasn’t race-baited before. If this is the best “October Surprise” the right-leaning press can muster, Obama’s probably not breaking much of a sweat.
Also: Mayor Rahm Emanuel was at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana Tuesday, trying his best to woo tech students to Chicago. He wants to further the city’s reputation as the tech hub of the Midwest, but it’s an uphill fight with the large, glamorous companies already out west – Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, etc. (Other initiatives, like The Starter League, are doing similar things, and other tech firms have followed.) In a recent feature titled “Startup Nation” that looked at tech across the Midwest, The Atlantic took a long look at Chicago’s tech culture, especially in terms of the recent rumblings at Groupon. The city may face some challenges trying to rival Silicon Valley, but the groundwork is already there and the opportunity is too good to pass up.
And then: Say farewell to “Snowmageddon.” Starting this winter, the Weather Channel has announced they will start naming winter storms, just like the National Hurricane Center, which ruins baby names every year by naming those storms. The names are kind of confusing yet kind of fun, like enjoying Disney World on acid. A few qualms: How could they name a storm “Rocky” but not used “Drago”? There is a Draco, though. Why did they have to get cute with “Q”? They also use Gandolf instead of Gandalf, which, as The A.V. Club points out, is a real character in a book that’s not Lord of the Rings and helps circumvents rights issues. Anyway, it’s weird but whatever makes them feel better. I’m still using “Snowpocalypse.”
RIP: Dr. Barry Commoner, an early environmentalist who was one of the first to warn against the harmful effects of radioactive fallout, at the age of 95.
- The implementation of Pennsylvania’s controversial new voter ID law has been put on hold until after the November election.
- Nearly 2,400 millionaires received unemployment in 2009.
- Some experts believe watching rising food prices may be a way to predict riots.
- American Airlines has a bit of a loose seat problem on its hands.
- Not to ruin cute animals for everyone but pet turtles have been linked to a few recent salmonella outbreaks.
- Jesse Jackson Jr.: Still running for reelection, still unseen.
- And somehow, plans for the Peotone Airport continue to move forward.
- After years of pondering, the federal government is finally moving forward on purchasing the large, vacant prison in Thomson, Ill., to house high-security inmates.
- The University of Chicago is doing away with its swimming test for incoming freshmen. In other news, the University of Chicago has a swimming test for incoming freshmen.
- MacArthur Foundation “genius” grants? No, thanks. I’ll take the Robert Goulet mustache award instead.
- The NHL lockout situation is looking bleaker by the day.
- Because there’s always room for more seats – and more money – the Cubs are looking for permission to move the brick wall behind home plate closer to the field so they can squeeze in a few more box seats.
- Former Bears player Tommie Harris is in hot water after an incident in Wrigleyville that allegedly involved public urination, indecent exposure and threatening a police officer.
- Jay Cutler, still being Jay Cutler, says there’s no heat between him and coach Mike Tice.
- Luol Deng is ready for the new Bulls season and says his wrist won’t be an issue.
This should help wash the political ickyness of the day right out.