Hundreds of people showed up in Los Angeles this week for a free health care clinic. “When does your problem because my problem?” It’s one of the many simple questions we’re asking today. Read on. AP Photo: Nick Ut)
1) When does “I’m sorry” cut it? Where is the line at which some things are too unforgivable? This has certainly been a week to test the issue.
The Star Tribune has more information on the two Hennepin-Anoka teachers who apparently ran a kid out of the district by ridiculing him in front of their classes about their suspicion he was gay (he says he isn’t). He met with them in June. “They said, ‘We’re sorry you had to come here today. We’re very proud that you could stand up like this.’ Sorry doesn’t cut it, ” Alex Merritt said, “The teachers should be kicked out.”
The only man sent to prison for the Lockerbie bombing (it was unusual back then to have innocents targeted) is dying and may be released from prison in Scotland. He hasn’t admitted his involvement, but the court said he did it. Should he be released on the basis of compassion?
Basketball coaching legend Rick Pitino apologized this week for his affair with a woman six years ago. Oh, and that thing about having sex on the restaurant table and allegedly paying for her abortion. This is a guy who made a fortune speaking to companies and groups about faith and family. In his apology, he seemed to stress the words “six years ago,” while also using the word “indiscretion.”
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford – the Appalachian Trail guy — apologized again this week. His wife moved out of the governor’s mansion last week.
Michael Vick has apologized for running a dog-fighting operation. He’s gone to prison. He’s served his time. He’s back in the NFL. “PETA and millions of decent football fans around the world are disappointed that the Eagles decided to sign a guy who hung dogs from trees. He electrocuted them with jumper cables and held them under water,” PETA spokesman Dan Shannon told The Associated Press.
Vick is on 60 Minutes on Sunday:
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CBS reports that John Edwards is about to admit he’s the father of the baby of a woman with whom he had an affair. He had previously apologized for the affair, but denied paternity. If the CBS report is true, he’ll probably apologize for fibbing about the baby.
2) The overnight sensation. Eleven-year-old interviews Obama.
Smart kid. He put his teacher and principal’s name first in the video. Discussion point: Why do we change our voice when we talk to kids?
3) The easiest question you’ll get today: How can you not love Elizabeth Strohfus?
Be sure to read Nikki Tundel’s and Madeleine Baran’s story.
4) There’s always a camera. NBC News has obtained video of last weekend’s mid-air collision over the Hudson River in New York:
The videographer focused on the helicopter because his friend was in it. It confirms that the low-wing nature of the plane made it impossible for the pilot to see the helicopter. Meanwhile, an air traffic controller was on the phone chatting with his girlfriend when the crash happened. He’s been suspended.
5) Where are Minnesota’s uninsured? The state had the highest percentage of residents with health care insurance as recently as 2006. Colleague Paul Tosto has crunched the numbers and found some surprising factoids:
I would have guessed that the no-insurance numbers would match up pretty close to the unemployment numbers. It doesn’t necessarily look that way. What are we seeing there? Processing plant workers going without insurance? Farmers? Self-employed small town businesspeople?
The highest county uninsured rates are along Minnesota’s borders: Cook and Lake of the Woods along the Canadian border and Traverse on the North/South Dakota line.
Paul is “crowd sourcing” the data and in the meantime is calling on members of the Public Insight Network at MPR to look at the health care debate, and finding exactly what he’d hoped to find: insight.
“There are quite possibly five to seven major issues with health care that all need to be dealt with simultaneously,” says David Frank, a source from Canby, MN who’s a licensed broker for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MN and other plans.
“It seems that groups latch on to just one of the issues and then those groups argue with each other over who is correct when in reality they are all correct.”
Meanwhile, a question: Is this debate still about health care? If so, when do people start talking about the crowds that show up every time there’s a free clinic offered? Forget the means by which they can get help, the issue is now more basic than that. So let’s back up and look if there’s anything everyone can agree on. The question: Should they get help at all?
That’s the issue that is the underpinning of every political issue in America today and we’ve leap frogged over it. When is your problem, my problem? If there was ever a question to discuss — intelligently — at a town hall forum, that’s the one.
Forty years ago, 32 acts performed over three days and four nights at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York. A half million concert goers looked on as Joan Baez, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and many others defined a generation. If you were there, wish you had been, or were otherwise marked by those three days in August of 1969, what does Woodstock mean to you?
One possibility: It didn’t mean anything. It was just a concert in the mud. If we’re still searching for its meaning 40 years later, maybe it didn’t have any.
WHAT WE’RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) A gutsy topic for a radio show: Falling asleep. Second hour: Musician Bela Fleck.
Did someone say rouser?
Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak are in the studio at 11 to talk about their budgets (and I’m guessing they’ll be asked — again — whether they want to be governor). Both call for property tax increases. Here’s Brandt Williams’ story on Rybak’s announcement yesterday. I’ll be live-blogging the first hour here on News Cut.
Second hour: Helen Fisher, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival about romantic love and the brain.
Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – It’s Science Friday. I’ve seen nothing from NPR yet this morning that describe what’s on, however.
All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Collin Peterson holds a town hall on health care in Willmar. MPR’s Mark Zdechlik will be there.