Five at 8 – 9/9/09: What’s left to say?

1) President Obama speaks to a joint session of Congress this evening about health care. Yes, you can hear it on Minnesota Public Radio. What’s left to say about the most talked about issue since the war? Here’s a guide on how to watch/listen to the speech, complete with a verbiage decoder. Similarly, Reuters provides this Q&A about the speech.

That brings us to Today’s Question:

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.

Interesting assertion. The Obama health care policy was directed to people who already have insurance, because Americans are reluctant to support anything that doesn’t have a clear benefit to themselves.

Nate Silver at says the “public option” idea is a popular one in the districts of “Blue Dogs,” conservative Democrats. That’s you, Minnesota 7th.

2) Maybe Rob and Laura Petrie had it right. Twin beds are healthier than one bed for couples. Half of couples who sleep together have sleep problems, which lead to depression, heart disease, strokes, lung disorders, traffic and industrial accidents, and divorce, UK researchers said.

3) Eric Ostermeier at Smart Politics looks at the power of incumbency in Congress and concludes history is on Rep. Michele Bachmann’s side:

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.

4) Timewasters: Monopoly City Streets went live online this morning, and only for four months. But good luck getting through. It’s been loading for me for about a half hour. It’s a Google-map version of the board game.

Says PC World Mag:

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.

5) Why? I’ll tell you why. Because they’re llamas, that’s why. And they’re dressed like giraffes, or brides, and fairies. And they don’t spit. They hum because they miss someone. And because MPR’s Nikki Tundel is a genius. That’s why.


MPR’s Public Insight Network is hosting an online forum this morning. What do business owners do when they can’t access a main source of financing? Nine entrepreneurs are discussing the facts around credit and financing a business today. Included in this discussion will be owners who explain how they have relied on credit cards, the ripple effect of those who are struggling to get capital and the ways to get around the credit crunch (such as going to an all-cash system).

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: What’s the down side of going green?

Second hour: A preview of President Obama’s health care address.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: What more will there be left to say in advance of the president’s speech? It’ll be up to Washington University political scientists Steven Smith to come up with something.

Second hour: Geoffrey Canada, speaking to the Minnesota Meeting about closing the achievement gap. He’s the founder of the “Harlem Children’s Zone.”

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The “Political Junkie” talks about, yeah you know.

Second hour: For $100, you can buy the password to almost anyone’s e-mail account. It’s not legal, but hackers advertise openly on the ‘net, and the FBI rarely investigates. How secure are you?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Experts say the next big financial crisis will be in commercial real estate. It’s already tough for some firms in Minnesota. MPR’s Annie Baxter will report.

At 10 a.m. this morning, NASA releases the first Hubble space telescope images since its repair. Nell Greenfieldboyce will have the story from NPR. Barbara Bradley Hagerty will profile a day in the life of an airport chaplain.

  • Daveg

    “Americans are reluctant to support anything that doesn’t have a clear benefit to themselves.”

    Or does them obvious harm.

    Not surprising, that.

    And the obverse is true: “Americans readily support anything that provides benefit to themselves even if it does obvious harm to other Americans.”

    There are always two sides to government largesse: those with their hands out, and those whose pockets will be picked. I find it completely understandable that there will be friction between the two, and especially so when talking about a trillion dollars or so.

    Why, a trillion here and a trillion there and before you know it, you’re talking about serious money.

  • sm

    The llamas piece was fabulous. I especially liked the llama closeups and variety of angles and thoughtful choice of shots. And the sound integrated seamlessly.

    This shows the contrast between a well-crafted intelligent feature piece and “gee whiz lookat this” tv “news”. Hats off to Nikki and the creative team for the work it took to put together.

    And llamas like to hum? Who knew? The costumes for both llamas and trainers were most excellent. Project Runway eat your heart out.