My dog, the official dog of News Cut, has a wart on his nose.
"Why don't you get that wart taken off?" people ask when they meet Wart Dog for the first time.
"Because he's a dog," I reply. "He doesn't know he has a wart on his nose. Plus the vet wants $400 to do it."
There's the widening debate in a nutshell, as the medical technology that has expanded the life of humans is now available for pets. And so is the price of it.
In the Boston Globe on Sunday, Vicki Constantine Croke asked the pertinent question: How far should we go to save our pets.
This is a country in which 93 percent of we owners describe our pets as members of the family, where 70 percent of us sleep with our dogs and 78 percent with our cats, in which nearly three-quarters of married pet owners report greeting their pet before their spouse when they return home. It is a culture in which, according to one New York study, women report feeling "significantly" more intimacy with the closest pet than the closest person in their lives.
What? Seventy percent of us sleep with our dogs. What?
We Americans spend $20 billion a year on healthcare for our pets - $1.12 billion of that is spent on vet care here in New England, according to a recent study from the Cummings School. And for most pets, that care comes out of an owner's pocket. A surprisingly small number of owners in the United States carry pet insurance - only 3 percent as of 2004. It made me wonder what we pet owners should dread the most. What's the most expensive thing to deal with?
Constantine Croke describes one dog owner who spent $20,000 (how much is that in dog dollars?) to help the dog battle bone cancer. She, herself, has spent $10,000 on her own pet.
Money is one thing. But, like the human version, there's the question of the quality of a pet's life, too.
Constantine Croke, of course, never answers the question she asks.
How would you?(6 Comments)
Money Magazine, the magazine that's made surveys a cottage industry, has another Minnesota feel-good survey for us.
Plymouth, you're number one.
Lots of rich people, plenty of good jobs, and -- no doubt -- more than a few Money Magazine subscribers makes it the "best small city in America."
Eagan is at #17
More people come to work in Eagan than leave each day. Big companies like Thompson-Routers and Blue Cross Blue Shield are its largest employers.
Check with us on that a year from now, Money.
Apple Valley is #24
To combat urban sprawl, the city has a core downtown area where all commercial businesses lie, with the surrounding neighborhoods free from them.
No offense, Apple Valley -- and Money -- but unless I'm missing something, you look like just about any suburb in America.
Lakeville, which actually has a there there, is #26.
Lakeville is a southern suburb of the Twin Cities that has more than 100 years of history. The town treasures an historic downtown that gives it a unique feel compared to other burbs.
Eden Prairie is #40. Maple Grove is #41. Burnsville is #43. Rochester is #70 (not really sure why Rochester is on this list since it's apparent you have to be a cookie-cutter suburb to even be considered in Minnesota. How else do you explain the absence of so many -- you know -- small cities where people actually answer with the name of the city they actually live in when people ask them where they're from?). Blaine is #93.
Texas had the most number of cities on the list (13). Minnesota tied with New Jersey (9) for second.(11 Comments)
Conservatives have been fairly consistent in the last few decades, railing -- as it were -- against public radio and light-rail.
Who knew that one could be used to get rid of the other?
Jeffrey Dvorkin, who once was the National Public Radio ombudsman, writes on his blog today that the radio folks are worried that mass transportation will lead to a decline in radio, especially public radio.
But there is one aspect that deserves a little mulling - the complex relationship of Americans and their automobiles. People who were stuck in their cars during their long commutes to and from work were captives of NPR programs. After all, there is only so much of Blue Oyster Cult that can be endured.
During my stint as NPR's Ombudsman (2000-2006), I noticed that a lot of email came in around 9 am local time. I concluded that listeners who heard the program in their cars would arrive at the office, steamed about something they had heard. They turned on their computers and fired off an email usually to express some level of exasperation about NPR's "Morning Edition."
Dvorkin points to an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail. In it, Richard Florida declares the era of urban sprawl over.
While we are in the early development of this new economic geography, one trend is clear: The history of economic development and of capitalism revolves around the more intensive use of urban space. The coming decades will thus probably see greater concentrations of people, increasing densities, and further clustering of industry, work and innovation in a smaller number of humongous cities and mega-regions globally. Alongside that will come ever more concentrated economic opportunity and deepening social and economic divides between people and places.
Florida doesn't exactly say that this new economic age will eliminate the long commute and then -- as Dvorkin theorizes -- public radio.
I always got a cheap laugh when I said that NPR's success was based partly on the listeners' addiction to their cars and that there would be trouble if people decided to start taking the bus. Hence "public radio hates public transportation."
Have you wondered how many actual terrorists since 9/11 have come though the airport security screeners?
The name of the Justice Department's former top criminal prosecutor has turned up on the U.S.'s terrorist watch list, according to the Associated Press.
This terrorism-era roster, which likely has caused thousands of innocent Americans to be questioned or searched, popped up with the name of former Assistant Attorney General Jim Robinson.
Robinson joined another mistaken-identity American and the American Civil Liberties Union Monday in calling for elimination of the list that's designed to identify suspected terrorists.
Chad Kolton, a spokesman for the Terrorist Screening Center that maintains the list, says that number includes aliases. Kolton said about 400,000 individuals are on the list, nearly all of whom are foreigners.
Something's not right here. A government report (from the General Accounting Office) last fall, put the number of watch list "members" at 755,000. The ACLU, which claims to have been been tracking the list, says there are over 1 million names on it now.
An additional problem is that officials are stopping people whose names are close to the names on the list, according to the Washington Post.
U.S. senators, congressmen and women, Nelson Mandela, veterans, and dead dictators are also reportedly on the list.
Oh, and they're also stopping 6 year olds.
The Feds won't tell you if you're on the terror watch list. But they've still set up a "redress procedure" (which is overburdened) for people who think they are. But when you go to the FBI site, it tells you they don't accept inquiries from the public. Instead, it recommends you go to the Department of Homeland Security where you can fill out a complaint form.
Or you can fill out a form on the ACLU site.
Tonight, Jesse appears on CNN's Larry King Live -- opposite the Home Run Derby featuring Justin Morneau -- to reveal whether he'll run for the U.S. Senate. Tonight's viewer choice: Jesse or Justin?
What will he do? The reasons not to run, from his perspective, might be the reasons he would -- he might win. Ventura was the "accidental governor" of Minnesota, when a campaign he started on a lark ended up succeeding. He and his family were uncomfortable with the lack of privacy of an elected official, but what could they do? The voters elected him.
It was little surprise, then, that he only stuck around for one term, but why would he want to put his family through it again? He says he doesn't need the money because MSNBC gave him a fat contract for the three years after his term ended. Does he need the fame? Is he tired of surfing? For the most part, the media he hates left him alone when he moved to Mexico. If he hates it, why invite them back into his life?
Oh, did you expect an answer? I have no clue, nor insight to the world of Jesse Ventura. I'm content -- for now -- to marvel at his changing looks. Is there anybody not named Johnny Depp who can look so different from one gig to the next?
Of course, we had the gubernatorial Jesse...
There's the May 2008 "looking like an older Jim Belushi" Jesse
There's the "Run Forest Run," Jesse...
In 2004, he had the whole black-T-shirt and Jack Sparrow look going.
In 2006, there was the Fu Man Jesse look when he got together with Kinky Friedman in Texas.
On Friday, he did an interview with CNN as "waiting to get a tee time" Jesse...
If Ventura announces he's running tonight, the first hour of Midmorning on Tuesday will look at the impact he'll have on the Senate race.(11 Comments)
Open your wallets and purses and look at your money. Is there any writing on any of it?
MPR's Tom Weber stumbled across this while working at his father's store in Illinois over the weekend.
This dollar was slipped under Katie's pillow by the Tooth Fairy in 2005. Then, she went and spent it. It went around and around and ended up in somebody's wallet in 2008, a good souvenir gone bad.
It would be fascinating to track a dollar bill as it makes its way around the universe. One Web site has tried to do it. You enter a serial number in at Where's George and you can see the list of places it's been. The problem is, how many people out there are going to register their dollar bills? (Answer: Other than Tom Weber? None.)
"I'm just an average woman who feels passionate about our
country and our government. I don't have a lot of
money and I certainly haven't had the liberty or the freedom to not
work for the last two years, but I still would be an excellent
senator." -- Priscilla Lord Faris
But can she win? She's an unknown, with little experience and her announcement today that she's running for the U.S. Senate seems particularly fertilized with a frustration with Al Franken, whose candidacy is not energizing the state, at the moment. His poll numbers aren't budging.
"I've been watching the polls and kind of wondering how this race was going to go and one of the issues for us was where was he going to be in the polls on the 15th?" she told MPR. "If he's ahead great. If he's behind. I don't want to sit and wait and wish or hope."
This is a shot across the Franken bow.
Franken's campaign has been puzzling. Polls show energy now tops the list of issues on the mind of voters. So what does a blast of TV commercials for Franken take on this week: Ex-politicians as lobbyists. True, he ties lobbying in with the price of gasoline, but that's not exactly an energy policy.
Today, on the day Sen. Norm Coleman filed his papers, the Franken campaign put out this statement:
"Six years ago, Norm Coleman was given the chance to go to work for the people of Minnesota. Instead, he sold out to the special interests and voted with George W. Bush nearly 90% of the time - and Minnesotans are paying the price. We can't afford to stay the course in Iraq, in our energy policy, or with this economy: it's time for a change."
The words of Al Franken? Nope. They're the words of Andy Barr, Franken's communications director.
The campaign had no comment on Lord Faris' candidacy.(5 Comments)
A grand jury has today indicted Minneapolis cop Michael D. Roberts, 57, on corruption charges.
The indictment reads like a cheap novel.
8. In or about August 2007, the defendant devised and intended to devise a scheme to defraud and to deprive the State of Minnesota and its citizens of the intangible right to the defendant's honest services, performed free of deceit, fraud, dishonesty, conflict of interest and self-enrichment, and caused the transmission of an interstate wire communication for the purpose of executing his scheme.(3 Comments)
9. On August 9, 2007, the defendant met with a person, "T.T.," whom defendant understood was engaged in criminal activity. During that meeting, the defendant caused a National Crime Information Center (NCIC) internet inquiry and obtained nonpublic
information from the State Driver Vehicle System ("DVS") regarding a Minnesota license plate number XXX XXX, which defendant then provided to T.T. When accessing this information, the defendant intentionally failed to notify the Minneapolis Police Department
and concealed that his effort was not law enforcement related. This omission by the defendant was material. The defendant took $100 from T.T. for obtaining the information. The following day, T.T. asked for additional information, but the defendant indicated he could not provide at that time because he did not have a squad car at that moment.
10. On August 14, 2007, the defendant again met with T.T., this time in the defendant's squad car. At the beginning of this meeting, T.T. identified himself to the defendant as a member of the Gangster Disciples street gang. At the request of T.T., the defendant improperly accessed the Minneapolis Police Department "CAPRS" computer system and provided information to T.T. from the nonpublic portion of the CAPRS system. The information obtained by the defendant came from a police report regarding a person who was allegedly providing information to law enforcement regarding T.T.'s narcotics distribution activities. The defendant knew this information was nonpublic and knew it was illegal to provide the information to T.T. The defendant failed to notify the Minneapolis
Police Department that this search of the CAPRS system was not law enforcement related. The defendant again took $100 from T.T. for obtaining the information.
11. Shortly after receiving the $100 from T.T., the defendant suspected that T.T. may have been working as an informant. Thereafter, The defendant filed a false police report, CCN: MP-07- 269790, stating in the report "when the party left [T.T.], he moved to shake the officer's hand and actually put 5 - $20 bills in the officer's hand. This money was later property inventoried." The defendant never put the $100 that he received from T.T. into
property, but instead used it for his own private purposes.
There must be a good reason to close down the Stone Arch Bridge to bike traffic. Indeed there is: an energy drink must be promoted.
The Red Bull illume is being installed. They're large black reflective cubes. It's all very artsy.
Peter Fleck (above, via Flickr) has viewed, posted images to flickr, and given his opinion, all at the same time.
It'll be up through the 20th.(9 Comments)