1) There are a lot of differences between the health care proposals being offered in Washington and the mandatory health care system adopted in Massachusetts, but the Bay State is still a lab rat for some of the claims of advocates. The Boston Globe has released a survey showing health insurance costs there are expected to increase 10 percent over the next year. The rates are double what they were 10 years ago. Too many people going to the doctor and getting too many tests are some of the reasons.
On Tuesday, the Kaiser foundation released a report showing the average annual family premium for health insurance is over $13,000. The Midwest is second to the Northeast in the cost of premiums.
2) How You Know You Were Meant to be a Father Department: You react like this when your kid throws the ball back.
How You Know You Weren’t Dept: You raised one of the kids on this bus:
3) It’s out in the open, now. It started with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd last weekend when she wrote, “Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.” Now, former President Jimmy Carter has joined in, saying there is “an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president”. Joan Walsh at Salon.com adds, “Listening to some parents’ expressing actual fear of having Obama beamed into their kids’ classrooms, it was hard to imagine such hysteria being inspired by a white president. It would never happen.”
And so here we are. The people most likely to play the race card have played it. “I never thought that Obama’s election would be all that helpful for American race relations: What if he failed, or even started to show signs of failing?” Ramesh Ponnuru wrote at the National Review.
“If this tactic is proved ineffective in such a high-profile, high-stakes debate, people will become far less likely to use it, which will be even better for race relations,” reasons James Taranto at the Wall St. Journal. “The current squabbles over race are stupid, but that is their virtue. They illustrate the pointlessness of dwelling on race.”
Where to now?
4) Birds on a wire. A musician noticed birds sitting on some utility wires represented notes on a scale.
5) This week various counties in Minnesota have been releasing their levy plans. There was a lot of chatter last spring that people would be hit — and hit hard — in their property tax bills thanks to Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s cutting of state aid. They still might; it depends on individual cities. But we can’t help notice a trend in the headlines this week:
St. Louis County’s part of tax bill could go down in 2010 (Duluth News Tribune)
Dakota County holds the line on levy (Southwest Review)
Beltrami County commissioners decrease tax levy for 2010 (Bemidji Pioneer)
Tax bill will decrease in (City of) Ramsey (Star Tribune)
Al Franken is cosponsoring legislation to help provide more counselors, psychologists and social workers in schools. Minnesota lags behind most other states in its ratio of counselors to students. What’s your experience with school counselors, social workers and psychologists?
WHAT WE’RE DOING
I’ll have another installment in the News Cut series, The Unemployed, early this afternoon.
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – Take us to DEFCON 1. Religious thinker John Shelby Spong tackles the question of whether there is life after death. And he begins by considering that Christianity’s emphasis on eternal life may be wrong. This is always good for an afternoon of blistering e-mail.
Second hour: Graphic designer and author Chip Kidd.
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Award-winning war correspondent and syndicated columnist Joe Galloway will talk about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the lessons we could have learned from Vietnam.
Second hour: Dennis Blair, the director of National Intelligence, speaking at the Commonwealth Club of California about the U.S. intelligence apparatus. He revealed on Tuesday that the U.S. spends about $75 billion a year on intelligence.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: NPR Political Editor Ken Rudin.
Second hour: Bill T. Jones’ celebration of Abraham Lincoln… in dance.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Unlike Gov. Pawlenty, all the Republicans who are running to replace him say humans play no part in global warming. Capitol reporter Tim Pugmire will have the story.
NPR will report on Max Baucus’ health care plan, Robert Siegel talks with an author — whose name is not Dan Brown — about the history of the Masons.