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Wednesday’s Top 10 news digs

Every morning I will post my top 10 stories I’m digging that day with a little commentary to go with each. Here’s today’s list:

1. McCain: Both parties to blame for US woes – Arizona Daily Star “We Republicans let spending get out of control, and we paid a very heavy price in the election,” McCain said, adding that Republicans “are in step 1 of a 12-step program. We’re still in denial. We need to move on from that.”

If he had picked Colin Powell for veep, or someone similar, i.e. competent, McCain would be president today. Is he young enough to lead his party out of the wilderness? I think he’s the only guy who can do it but time is not on his side. If not him, then who? Lindsey Graham? I’d vote for him. It sure ain’t Mitt Romney.

2. AZ bill: US med plan optional – Arizona Daily Star Christie Herrera, who works for the American Legislative Exchange Council, said the measure is needed to preclude the kind of “socialized medicine” being considered in Washington, which exists in some other countries.

Oh, come on, get off the socialized medicine schtick. We already have socialized medicine for the very old and the very poor. It’s everybody in the middle who is screwed. We need a single payer system in this country with an opt out for those who can afford to choose private plans. A couple of years ago my employer-subsidized insurance plan changed and my family was forced to change all of our doctors because they weren’t providers on the new plan. I tried to buy private insurance to keep our doctors, but every insurance plan had stiff pre-existing condition clauses that refused to pay for chronic health problems for at least a year and never for some of my wife’s health problems. So we changed doctors. Then the plan changed again a year later as the company shopped around for a cheaper plan yet again. I wasn’t a proponent of a state-run single payer insurance plan until I got screwed by our nation’s broken health care system. Now I am. We need to decide in this country if health care is a right or a privilege. To that end, see below.

3. Health-care issue hashed out – Arizona Daily Star The notion of making health care in the United States a right rather than a privilege touched a nerve in Tucson on Tuesday night. About 1,000 people filled the auditorium at Sahuaro High School for a town hall meeting focusing on national health-care overhaul — twice the number expected by organizers from the Tucson office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

If health care is a privilege, stop requiring hospital ERs to treat everyone who comes in the door. If it’s a privilege, eliminate medicare and medicaid, why should old and poor people get government health care and the rest of us don’t? If it’s a privilege, let people get the health care they can afford, and if they can’t afford any, tough, the more people dying from cancer, the flu, heart and lung disease at an early age will help with Baby Boomers breaking the Social Security bank. Or, we can call it a right, create a government system that relieves employers of the crushing burden of health insurance subsidies.

4. Ariz. drop in smoking is largest in nation – Arizona Daily Star That same year, voters agreed to make smoking more expensive, raising the state tax on cigarettes by 82 cents a pack. That brought the total state levy to $2 per pack.

Great. This is good news. Except for all those programs being funded by the smoking sin tax. Now that the sin tax is having its intended effect, the money it generates will fall, providing less money for the health care programs it funds. However, while the tax income is falling, the demand for the program will remain high well into the future. Classic example of why social engineering might sound good but ultimately fails and ends up costing more than doing nothing.

5. Awash in drugs, America remains a ‘dealer’s dream’ – Arizona Daily Star This array of consumers is providing a vast, recession-proof, apparently unending market for the Mexican gangs locked in a drug war that has killed more than 10,780 people since December 2006. No matter how much law enforcement or financial help the U.S. government provides Mexico, the basics of supply and demand prevent it from doing much good.

We have met the enemy and he is us – Pogo.

6. Bill legalizing sparklers clears a major hurdle – Arizona Daily Star As part of a political compromise, lawmakers agreed to allow city councils to declare the use of sparklers illegal within their own limits. But cities could not bar stores from selling the items or consumers from buying them.

Dear legislators, listen to me very carefully . . . PASS A BUDGET!

7. Wife of Ariz. treasurer dies after childbirth – Arizona Republic Dean Martin liked to refer to the child as “LT,” for “Little Treasurer,” and made up a baby outfit bearing the words, “Deposits up front, withdrawals in back.”

What a horrible tragedy. My condolences to Dean Martin and his family and my best wishes to the recovery and health of his new son.

8. U.S. consumer confidence soaring – Arizona Republic A widely watched barometer of confidence unexpectedly rose to the highest level since September, buoyed by an unexpected surge in the stock market, bringing hope that the job market might turn around and the belief that the worst of the recession is behind us.

Really? Nobody called me and took my poll. My confidence is still in the crapper. But maybe that’s because I’m typing this in an empty newsroom, having escaped the layoff ax by mere inches.

9. Cardinals’ Boldin dismisses agent – Arizona Republic Anquan Boldin took a major step in trying to resolve his contract dispute with the Cardinals and repair his image with fans by firing agent Drew Rosenhaus, a move some teammates applauded Tuesday.

Hallelujah. Now, if all the other athletes would fire Rosenhaus maybe sanity would return to professional sports. (Yeah, right, but it’s a good first step).

10. Restaurants cross lines as they struggle through recession - USA Today The fallout looks — or tastes — surreal. Many of the food innovations appear to be the opposite of some chains’ founding principles, and carefully honed brand image. Could sushi at Taco Bell(YUM) be next?

I learned a very disgusting lesson early in life – never order spaghetti at a Chinese restaurant. Same goes for tacos at a burger joint and burgers at a chicken joint.

Citizen Online Archive, 2006-2009

This archive contains all the stories that appeared on the Tucson Citizen's website from mid-2006 to June 1, 2009.

In 2010, a power surge fried a server that contained all of videos linked to dozens of stories in this archive. Also, a server that contained all of the databases for dozens of stories was accidentally erased, so all of those links are broken as well. However, all of the text and photos that accompanied some stories have been preserved.

For all of the stories that were archived by the Tucson Citizen newspaper's library in a digital archive between 1993 and 2009, go to Morgue Part 2

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