Congress and the public appear sharply divided on the issue of health care reform. Tonight, President Obama will address a joint session of Congress in an effort to rally Americans in support of his plan. What do you need to hear from the president's health care speech tonight?Meanwhile, the New York Times looks at the political reality of the health care debate, and the ghost of the Clinton administration health care effort.
A Smart Politics analysis of more than 560 U.S. House contests since statehood finds only 62 out of 487 incumbents who appeared on the general election ballot failed to win reelection, or 12.7 percent. For 2-term incumbents, like Congresswoman Bachmann, 88.2 percent have won a third consecutive term, or 75 out of 85 Representatives.Ostermeier says the DFL's best chance to unseat Bachmann was last year. All bets are off, however, if someone named Anderson runs against her.
Players will literally be able to buy any street in the world, and compete with every other player on the "board". You start with 3 million Monopoly dollars, and can build not only hotels and houses but also football stadiums, castles and skyscrapers, reports the UK's Guardian. Downing Street in the UK will cost $231,000, while Pennsylvania Avenue will cost $2 million.If I get through, I'm snapping up St. Paul's Cedar Ave. $3 ought to cover it.
The rescue of a New York Times reporter in Afghanistan is providing a glimpse into how several news organizations have different headline takes on the same story.
Sometimes, apparently, there are different views within the same organization.
The headline on the New York Times around 6:30 this morning said "New York Times Reporter Freed in Afghanistan." But only within the story itself was it noted that Stephen Farrell's translator was killed. That, Al Jazeera notes, is a huge part of the story.
At 9:50 a.m., the headline was changed.
NPR, using Associated Press copy, went with the "freed reporter" headline.
The translator's death was below the headline.
But even that only tells part of the story. A British soldier was killed, too. The Guardian, on the other hand, views the story differently... from its perspective:
But that's not the whole story, either. The BBC -- and apparently only the BBC -- played the story without injecting a perspective.
The number dead is not entirely clear. It's lost in a hail of other parts of the story. Whose bullets killed whom? And how did the women die?(1 Comments)
PRI just posted this video of Ira Glass of This American Life accepting the Edward R. Murrow Award.
Begin your Ira Glass impersonation now.(2 Comments)
NASA today released the first images taken by the Hubble space telescope since a repair mission repaired its lens a few months ago.
A nebula around a dying star, a clash among members of a galactic grouping, the crowded core of Omega Centauri, and the birth of a star in the Carina Nebula are the -- pardon the pun -- stars of the release. Click on the image for a better view.
The blog at Discover Magazine does a good job of dissecting what each of these photos is. And when's the last time you used quintillion in a sentence?
Of course, the space telescope actually looks back in time. The telescope's current mission is to look back in time to when the universe was less than 500 million years old. If it works, we'll be able, perhaps, to figure out what to do with a new photograph that shows 13 billion years ago.
It's difficult to think of such things and not get all philosophical on the possible. For example, if we can figure out how to look back in time 13 billion years, what can't we do?(1 Comments)
I guess I thought the end of the recession would be announced with a bigger deal. But there it was buried in a stack of wire copy, just another story.
Fed findings indicate recession may be over, the Associated Press declared today in a story about a Federal Reserve Bank survey of the country's regions.
In the new survey, all but one of the Fed's 12 regions indicated that economic activity was "stable," showed "signs of stabilization" or had "firmed." The one exception was the St. Louis region, which continued to report that the pace of decline in economic activity appeared to be "moderating."
The full Federal Reserve report -- called The Beige Book -- is available here.
The Minneapolis region's report, however, is hardly the stuff that leads to cartwheels.
On consumer spending:
Overall retail spending remained soft, except for auto sales, which were boosted by the cash-for-clunkers program. A major Minneapolis-based retailer reported that same-store sales in July were down 7 percent compared with a year earlier. Same-store sales at two Minneapolis area malls were down 4 percent and 8 percent, respectively, compared with last year.
Commercial construction activity mostly decreased, with some bright spots noted in public construction projects.
... lenders expect overall agricultural income and spending to decrease in the third quarter
In Minnesota a defense contractor laid off over 300 workers, a boat manufacturing plant also cut over 300 workers, about half of its labor force, and a medical device manufacturer announced plans to reduce staff by 200 companywide. A meatpacker in South Dakota laid off 30 workers. Competition for seasonal work was much greater this summer compared with a year ago in many areas of the District.
But, the Fed says, some month-to-month employment gains have occurred.
Reuters, however, wasn't quite as upbeat as the Associated Press, noting only that there are some signs of improvement.
Wall St. seems to be siding with that sort of shoulder shrug. At mid-afternoon, the Dow was up an uninspiring 33 points.
Aside: Be sure to spend some time with American Public Media's Marketplace program. It's just launched an impressive series about people who've started over in the recession.(2 Comments)
There may be no company more dependent on the health of its CEO than Apple. Today, Steve Jobs appeared at a company event in San Francisco, his first appearance in one year to the day.
He unveiled new iPod Nanos with video cameras and lower prices, and iPod Touches with more storage.
But people were more focused on how Jobs looked. He's suffered from several health problems since revealing he had pancreatic cancer in 2004. He had a liver transplant last year.
For many pundits, however, there was rejoicing that he was on the stage at all. Investors, however, were not impressed, sending the stock price lower on fears that an Apple without Steve Jobs and his intellect is a different investment.
Here's a look at him at company appearances over the last decade and how the company's stock price performed the same day. The numbers have been adjusted to reflect stock splits and dividends.
January 5, 1999 - Up $.52
July 17, 2002 - Up $.33
September 10, 2002 - Down $.02
January 6, 2004 - Down $.04
October 12, 2005 - Down $2.24
September 9, 2008 - Down $6.24
September 9, 2009 - Down $1.79
You know by now, probably, that President Obama is coming here Saturday to turn up the heat for his health care plan. And, of course, he's speaking this evening to a joint session of Congress.
The White House has put together a well-crafted presentation about three people in need of health care, one of whom is from Wisconsin:
For many reasons, stories of people battling cancer or heart problems resonate with America. Most people accept that they could easily be in that situation. But few imagine a life of schizophrenia or other mental illness.
Access to mental health care has been mostly left out of the public debate., and
it's not because we've got the greatest mental health care system in the world. While there are defenders of the health care system in America, there are few who'll proudly defend the mental health care system here.
So, perhaps, it's a good time to revisit this MPR series, A Bad State of Mind, about Minnesota's mental health system, because things haven't changed much since 2004. Unlike people with heart attacks or people with cancer, even people with health insurance get turned away when searching for help because there aren't enough beds in mental health wards in hospitals, especially for kids in crisis. And mental health units were closed down earlier this decade because hospitals could make more money with pricier cardiac care facilities.
There are reasons this happened. Government regulations, for one, provided incentives for hospitals to close their mental health facilities.
Recent legislation provided for mental health "parity," but as WHYY in Philadelphia reported today, that doesn't mean people are getting it. It may be the one area where insurance companies are most dictating health care treatment. "In every hospital with every therapist office, somebody is recommending eight session, and the insurance company says, 'No, we think six is enough,'" according to Trevor Hadley at the center for Mental Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.
All of this is grist for the health care debate, far more, anyway, than death panels. But people would rather not talk substantively about the problem.
Count President Obama in that group. At least in initial drafts of the speech, there is no mention of mental health. Will Rep. Charles Boustany, a heart surgeon who's giving the GOP response, bring it up?(5 Comments)