1)Cutting in line? Guantanamo Bay detainees are in line to get the H1N1 vaccine before many in the U.S. population. Says the Associated Press:
"(Army Maj. James Crabtree, a spokesman for the U.S. jail facility in southeast Cuba) acknowledged there may be an "emotional response" from critics who argue that terror suspects should not be allocated swine-flu medications while members of the U.S. public are still waiting due to a vaccine shortage."
2) A Little Falls Lutheran pastor has resigned because the church voted earlier this year to allow non-celibate gays in the clergy, the Brainerd Dispatch reports (reg. required). Another Lutheran church in Little Falls has lost parishioners because of the decision, its pastor says. In Pennsylvania over the weekend, a group of Lutheran pastors and lay people tried to discuss the split but found it's difficult to find common ground when most people think they're on the side of God and the others are not.
They split the participants into two types of diet - those who ate a diet largely based on whole foods, which includes lots of fruit, vegetables and fish, and those who ate a mainly processed food diet, such as sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products.
After accounting for factors such as gender, age, education, physical activity, smoking habits and chronic diseases, they found a significant difference in future depression risk with the different diets.
Those who ate the most whole foods had a 26% lower risk of future depression than those who at the least whole foods.
By contrast people with a diet high in processed food had a 58% higher risk of depression than those who ate very few processed foods.
4) What happens to the dogs from some of Minnesota's notorious "puppy mills?" If they're lucky, someone like Twin Citian Pete Howell steps into rescue them, one of many Pilots N Paws volunteers:
5) Ford announced this morning that's it's made a surprise billion-dollar profit. It is the only car maker the government didn't bail out, but the most interesting angle here is a few paragraphs into the story. Ford is asking its unions to take cuts in pay and benefits. Why? Because Chrysler and GM's workers took cuts and Ford's proposal would have its workers match the competition's. But Ford made a billion-dollar profit. So what's the right thing here?
Writing on Seeking Alpha, Michael Golde says the bailout of the competition is what's emboldened Ford workers:
If GM or Chrysler had been allowed to fail or to fend for themselves in Chapter 11, is it highly doubtful that Ford workers would reject cost concessions if their livelihoods were truly at stake? But, they needn't worry about that now. Bailout Nation mentality has now permeated large segments of our economy. And one bailout beget another bailout of the perception of a further bailout if necessary.
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) - First hour: Flu vaccines against H1N1 are hard to come by unless you're in one of the priority groups. It may be until end of November until there's enough for wide distribution. The top infectious disease official at the National Institutes of Health talks about the strategy for fighting H1N1, and how vaccines might be produced faster in the future.
Second hour: Guthrie Theater artistic director Joe Dowling.
Midday (11 a.m. - 1 p.m.) - First hour: A primer and call-in about instant runoff voting with guests Rachel Smith of the Humphrey Institute and MPR reporter Curtis Gilbert.
Second hour: Twin Cities mayoral debates. St. Paul in the first half hour and Minneapolis in the second half hour (metro-area only). I'll live-blog the debates here.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) - First hour: Drug czars and cops
Second hour: Underground comic legend R. Crumb, who illustrated the entire text of the book of Genesis.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - Some consumers are canceling credit cards as companies raise rates. the rate increases precede expected caps on credit card rates. MPR's Michael Caputo has their reaction.
MPR's Laura Yuen previews tomorrow's St. Paul mayoral election.
MPR News begins a series "stress-testing the recovery." First up: Hibbing, at the center of Minnesota's taconite mining industry, has seen some of the state's highest unemployment rates of late. The entire taconite industry shut down during the course of the year, and now some mines are coming back online. But why is the rebound is completely bypassing Hibbing?
One of the more surprising -- and disturbing -- aspects of the story surrounding Northwest Airlines Flight 188 (that's the one where the pilots were so busy with their laptops that they forgot to land the airplane) has been the number of other airline pilots who have been posting on various professional bulletin boards that it wasn't a big deal. Many have said -- perhaps with some justification -- that the jet landing on a taxiway in Atlanta was a bigger story.
Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, but it's obvious the FAA, which revoked the pilots' licenses last week, don't think so.
Today, I got a copy of the letter the FAA sent last week to pilot Tim Cheney, and have posted it here.
It's unlikely you'll ever read a more harshly worded letter from a federal agency.
It also has the clearest indication yet of what happened (or didn't) and when.
Tomorrow is Election Day in Minnesota. Would you expect a political reporter in the Twin Cities to predict a winner in either of the big-city mayoral races? Obviously, not (even though most newsies do have predictions).
So why is it OK for newspaper sportswriters to predict the outcome of games? If you follow football, for example, you've no doubt seen the Friday comparisons of two teams ending with a prediction of who will win.
"We did not get a single complaint from outside," (Editor Greg) Moore continues, "but I did look at the predictions before the San Diego game. Obviously, I had seen these for years. And it occurred to me that it must be making it hard for news reporters, especially when they pick against the team they cover. In an equal vein, these beat reporters don't want to seem like homers, always picking the Broncos. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed an unreasonable position to put these reporters in."
12:07 p.m.- Coleman introductory. Says "we've done a good job" getting through the worst economic times in the country.
Ng introductory. Says she found she could not make a living as an engineer during the oil bust. Became a business consultant, turning businesses around.
12:09 p.m. - Q: If elected, can residents expect tax and fee increases?
Coleman: The challenge we've had is since 2003, we've lost over $160 million in local government aid. "If the state continues to balance the budget on the backs of the cities, it'll be hard to do that (not raise taxes)"
Ng: Says she'd freeze raises and budget. "LGA is not a fixed number. It's a false thing to say we lost $160 million; it's a variable number every year."
Q: Where would you cut city budget?
Ng: This is what consultants do. They look for efficiencies and look to grow the revenue. "Properties and assets need to produce income." (Didn't really answer the question)
Coleman: If you're going to say you're going to freeze/cut taxes, you have to have a specific program. Are you prepared to close libraries, cut firefighters, police? In a business you can close unprofitable businesses. But you can't get out of the firefighting or snowplowing business.
12:14 p.m. Q: Is Central Corridor light rail line good for the city?
Coleman: It's the most important project that the city has ever seen. "It puts the East Metro on a part with what's happening in Minneapolis. If St. Paul is going to continue to thrive, we have to be part of a first-class transportation network.
Ng: This plan that we have is not the best one I've ever seen. We're taking an existing system, compromising it -- safety, cost, businesses losing parking. I project it will cost $2 billion by the time we finish. We should consider it doing north of there.
Q: Is the project so far down the tracks that you can't make those kind of changes?
Ng: We talked to Ray Lahood, the Transportation Secretary, and he says it's not too far down the road.
Coleman: The project has to have enough weight behind it that President Obama puts it in the budget. Says it won't cost more than $914 million.
12:17 p.m. Q: You (Coleman) made education a top priority when you ran four years ago. Had education improved in the last four years?
Coleman: We've received national recognition for the out-of-school programs. We've seen growth of new daycare facilities. We've opened college-access centers in libraries and have been able to leverage a network to provide out-of-school time for our children. We have made significant progress in helping people understand that one of the most important things we can do is provide quality out-of-school time.
Ng: The mayor's role is an advisory one. The mayor is saying he has funded three, four and five-year olds and that program is an overreach because the school department controls that budget; we shouldn't be spending city budget money. It's good to take kids off the street, but that program is not well administered. People on the East Side watch empty buses going up and down the street every hour. Our kids have a bigger achievement gap than ever. We have a 62% graduation rate.
Coleman: The money we spent on out-of-school programs is out of parks and recreation and library budget. The mayor has to be a critical and integral partner with the school district.
Ng: The mayor needs to convene the resources, but spending the city's money as opposed to the school board... there is budget in there to take care of the children.
12:22 p.m. Q: Should garbage collection be operated by city or individual contracting?
Ng: Residents like having choice. But they don't want to see wear-and-tear in their alleys. But they like their freedom of choice. The mayor should do listening and arrive at a solution.
Coleman: The city got out of the garbage business in the mid-'70s. You don't put that back in the box. Where people don't have garbage service, though, it impacts the neighborhood. We've tried to be aggressive on garbage cleanup.
12:25 p.m. Q: GOP National Convention. Success, failure or in-between?
Coleman: In between. There was a regional impact. Let's remember why we asked both parties to bid on it. If someone has been here, they rate is as one they want to come back to. If they've never been here, they rate it as one they don't want to come to.
Ng: Abysmal failure. To this day a lot of St. Paulites won't forgive the fact the banner at Xcel Center put Minneapolis on top of St. Paul. Guests were bused out of here.
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There are 11 candidates, Gary Eichten says, but "this being radio, we couldn't feature all 11 candidates so we chose the two endorsed by the major parties."
12:35 p.m. Introductory statements
Kolstad: I'm president of Mill City Music. I've done A Prairie Home Companion show when it was a morning show. The last 20 years I've been more active in civic life.
Rybak: When I ran for office, I said we'd be very focused, and we have been. We've had lower juvenile crime, we've created jobs, and we've created systems to help our young people for out-of-school time.
12:36 p.m. Q: What are the major issues:
Rybak: Public safety and job creation.
Kolstad: Increasing business, and the cost of a special election if Rybak runs for governor.
12:36p.m. How much of the lower crime rate is because of mayoral policies?
Kolstad: It's a national trend; it's not something controlled by what's going on in Minneapolis. This happened during the Great Depression. The most important thing to do to prevent crime is to have good jobs available. If you have that, they're not going to get involved with crime.
Rybak: If you ask the citizens of Chicago if it's a national trend, they'd say absolutely not. Minneapolis has led the nation in so many areas. We put 100 more police officers on the street. "They took down some key gangs." Launched youth violence prevention initiative.
12:38 p.m. Q: What would you do about complaints about the relationship between police and minority communities.
Rybak: We've made tremendous progress, but when police officers step over the line, they have to be accountable. Chief Timothy Dolan has removed three times as many police officers as any recent police chief. We'll continue to diversity police force, which is 18.6 officers of color. The recruit class is 50 percent officers of color.
Kolstad: There's mismanagement going on. The police are not being held accountable. There's a track record of the Minneapolis police ... there's serious cases of police violating civil rights, using excessive force, being absusive. If an officer does that, it's a criminal act and they should be held accountable. Too often, it's dealt as an internal affair.
12:41 p.m. How would you increase business?
Kolstad: Ninety percent of new jobs come from small business. They're being so burdened with taxes and fees and penalties. Their biggest problem is capital and when you rob them of that capital,you're harming business.
Rybak: John is wrong. Small business has a lobbyist in city hall and it's me. My parents ran a corner drug store. The first thing I did was to make it more efficient to get a business opened in Minneapolis. Before I took office, it took 37 days to get a permit. Today, it takes about nine days. We've done a tremendous amount for small business.
12:44 p.m. What would you do to make unemployment situation better?
Rybak: When I came into office, we merged programs and it's worked. The Sears building has 1,400 jobs for Allina. We've done things for smaller businesses. Standard Heating was thinking about moving out of the city; now we have 80 news jobs for Minneapolis. Wants more attention on job centers. Will continue to look at green and clean energy and medical technology.
Kolstad: He says small business has declined in the city. "I wish what he was saying was true, but East Lake St., looks like Detroit in the '70s. Things are not going well."
We have to find ways to support businesses. Green jobs is a great opportunity for the city. I'd like to turn it into a center for green technology. If I become mayor, I'd want to have an empowerment zone just for cities doing that and focus on small and independent businesses.
12:47 p.m. Can we assume taxes will go up?
Kolstad: Some people are hurting very badly. It's taking almost all of my capital to pay taxes, fees, and fines. They just started a new 20 percent penalty for fees that aren't paid on time. There are non-essential things; there hasn't been an internal audit in more than three years.
Rybak: The city is audited every year by the state auditor. Over the last eight years, I've made a series of tough choices and significant cuts. We cut $1.4 million out of budget last year. The city has navigated through incredibly difficult time. When I came into office, the city's debt rating was going down. First thing we said is we'd cut spending, then reform services and lay out a five year plan that would require people to put more money in. I'm very concerned about property taxes. Part of this issue rests on my shoulders. People who want property taxes should propose any cut they want to make, but we're not going to retreat on the process we've made. Not going to take cops off the street, or cut job creation strategies.
12:51 p.m. Why should people vote for you if you're going to run for governor?
Rybak: They knew three years ago when I became first mayor to endorse Obama that I would spend a lot of time campaigning for Obama. The years when we lowered unemployment, I was campaigning for Obama, but I was also working hard as mayor. The only thing I don't love about my job is the fiscal chaos.
Kolstad: He's appeared at three governor forums already. It's clear from what he's doing that he'll run. We've tried to get him to mayoral debates and he hasn't attended a single one. In 2001, there were 20 debates, in 2005 there were 10 debates for mayor. This year there were none. The mayor should make a choice.
12:54 p.m. Q: Do you support Republican and Independent Party platforms?
Kolstad: I'm endorsed by the GOP of Minneapolis, which is a little different than the statewide party.
Kolstad: I'm heading up a broad coalition across the political spectrum. These people are tired of mismanagement in Minneapolis. Are we better off than we were eight years ago? Most of us are not and it has to do with mismanagement by mayor and city council. Will remove regulatory burden on small business. I have 30 years of experience.
Rybak: I walked into our workforce center at Chicago and Lake and found something in short supply: hope. If that was the only sign of hope, I'd say our work has been successful. But then you look at Allina in the old Sears building, the streets are cleaner, in North Minneapolis you see crime dramatically down and improvements on West Broadway. There's been strong fiscal management. When a bridge collapses, when a tornado goes through a neighborhood, I've been a mayor who shows up.
"We wanted to document the pregnancy and create a one-of-a-kind memento for our baby to have forever," Lynsee told the website's partner KARE-TV 11, which is also following her pregnancy (she requested that I not publish her last name, for privacy reasons). "You'll be at some of the doctor's appointments... You'll be there in the delivery room, tastefully, but you will be there.''
One question. Why?
"Cindy Chapman (the site manager for MomsLikeMe.com) put up a post on the site asking if anyone was pregnant," she told the Globe. "I emailed her right away and she filled me in on the project, I talked with my husband and we were excited about it!"
This one's for couples who have kids. Would you broadcast it over the Internet?
How much will the middle class pay for health care under the House bill being considered in Washington?
The Congressional Budget Office today released its assessment of how much you and your family will pay for health insurance under the various plans being considered in Congress. You can read the entire letter to Rep. Charles Rangel, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee here, but here are the major examples it gives under the House bill:
♦ A single person with income of $26,500 in 2016 (225 percent of the FPL) would pay a premium of about $1,900 (after getting a premium subsidy of 64 percent) and could expect to pay another $900 in cost sharing (net of federal subsidies); thus, the average payment by such a person for the premium and cost sharing combined is projected to be $2,800, or about 11 percent of income.
♦ A family of four with income of about $54,000 (also 225 percent of the FPL in 2016) could expect to pay about the same share of its income for premiums and cost sharing.
♦ The average premium for a family policy would be $15,000 -- $9,500 after subsidies.
♦ A family of four making $102,500 (four times the current federal poverty level) would pay $15,000 a year plus $5,500 in "cost sharing" (such as co-pays and percentages not covered by insurance) for a total of $20,500 per year.
Question: How many of you keep track of what your health care is costing you now? If so, would you care to share? I'll be happy to go first. It's about half of these numbers, but my plan is shared by my employer).
Meanwhile, a North Carolina congresswoman had an interesting take on this today. Rep. Virginia Foxx said health care reform is a greater threat to the country than any terrorist in any country.