Five at 8 – 7/9/09

1) Another front opened up in the gay marriage battle. Massachusetts has filed suit against the U.S. Defense of Marriage Act, which — for purposes of federal benefits — defines marriage as one man and one woman, the Boston Globe reports:

Massachusetts risks losing millions in dollars for MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program for the poor, and for veterans’ cemeteries overseen by the state Department of Veterans Services, unless it obeys the Defense of Marriage Act. The federal government has told the state that it cannot provide federal funding for MassHealth benefits given to same-sex spouses. It also informed the state it will lose Veterans Affairs funding if it buries the same-sex spouse of a veteran in a cemetery, as the state does for heterosexual spouses of veterans.

The Justice Department under the Obama administration is in the position of wielding the fiscal hammer and defending a law it says it doesn’t like.

2) Is there a bigger ethical question than that of extending or ending the lives of the very ill? The New York Times has the second installment of a series, Months to Live. It focuses on a convent near Rochester, NY.

3) The ethnic violence in China continues, leaving the Western world to wonder what on earth is at the heart of people picking up sticks against another countryman? Then I ran across this from Philadelphia, but it probably could’ve been anywhere..

(h/t: Conner McCall via Twitter.)

4) Whatever happened to the revolt in Iran? In the Loop has posted an interview with an Iranian blogger, who explains how the protests there are changing into quieter, more symbolic acts. She also told ITL why what Americans want to see happen in Iran and what Iranians want are two totally different things.

5) Did MPR’s Midmorning promulgate a myth when one of its guests on Tuesday’s show applauded a caller for pointing out he wastes more energy trying to dispose of CFL light bulbs? Jim Nicolow Janne K. Flisrand , writing on the American Public Media Greenwash Brigade Web site thinks so:

A quick web search on “mercury cfl” turns up a load of corrections – mostly about two years old. The Energy Star fact sheet (PDF) is clear, the EPA fact sheet (PDF) talks about other mercury sources in homes, too, The NPR story is the most nuanced. Then, there are a number of smart blog posts. Plus, there are new, lower-mercury bulbs now available.

I spent about 20 minutes last night looking for the exchange and I couldn’t find it; at least not to the detail that the writer suggests. Crowdsourcing time. If you find it, please type the transcript of the exchange in the comments section below. I’m not disputing it’s a myth, mind you, just trying to double-check the accusation.

Update 7:56 a.m. – The audio portion referred to is at 44:22.

Bonus – My, that’s an awfully serious 5@8. Let’s leave on a lighter note: The search for J.D. Salinger.


If you could travel through time, would you? And this is timely — no pun intended — because…..


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – We’re traveling through time today, sort of. At 10, Ronald Mallett is the guest. He is a theoretical physicist works out the mathematic equations that show time travel to be possible. In the first hour, Kerri Miller will discuss the practice of two health care groups that pay providers salaries instead of providing reimbursements.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – Why is this story so undercovered? The apparent cyberattacks on South Korea and the U.S. A fresh round hit South Korea this morning. In the first hour, cyber-crime expert and Purdue University computer science professor Gene Spafford will discuss the attacks.

At noon, James Fallows, Andrew Sullivan and Jeffrey Goldberg on an Aspen Ideas Festival panel called “Tweeting the Revolution: Will Social Networking and Journalism Drive Democracy?”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Are private insurers really the the problem in the health care system? Second hour: Host Neal Conan talks to Ellen Ruppel Shell about her new book Cheap, taking a closer look at discount culture.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – MPR’s Sea Stachura, soon to leave us for the exotic land of Georgia, reports on a southeast Minnesota hog farmer who produces pork products, then recycles waste to support the operation. Also on tap: The wage of infidelity. What is the cost-benefit analysis of fooling around? And grown-ups who never learned how to ride a bike, are giving it a try. Oh, and the G-8 summit.