Toward Coverage for All in California
It's a good thing California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has health insurance, since he's been to the hospital three times during the past year or so. Nursing a broken leg from a skiing accident, he's now decided to make sure the state's other 36 million residents have coverage, too. In Sacramento last week, the governor unveiled a statewide mandatory insurance program. Since the public pays the bill for the 6.5 million Californians without insurance, the governor said it's cheaper overall if the state helps all residents buy their own insurance. The estimated cost: $12 billion, paid for by attracting more federal funds for healthcare, plus a 4 percent payroll tax on employers and other taxes on hospitals and doctors. That formula may change before the state Legislature approves any plan, but as in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine-other states tackling universal coverage-some action is likely.
A Contest They May Not Want to Win
The recent announcement that Southern Methodist University had become the lead finalist as the site of President George W. Bush's presidential library wasn't surprising. After all, the Dallas institution has close ties to the Bush family, and it's the alma mater of first lady Laura Bush. But last week, faculty questioned whether the decision to build the library, museum, and policy institute on campus would compromise the school's reputation and academic freedom. "We are worried that it will reinforce the most stereotypical view of us-a view that we are part of the legacy of the right wing," said Jeremy Adams, a history professor at SMU. At a faculty meeting, professors complained that they had been kept in the dark about financing, control, and interaction between the institute and the university. If opposition escalates, it could influence the outcome. Duke University faculty, for example, thwarted negotiations to locate Nixon's presidential library there in the 1980s.
A Hunt, a Death, and a Racial Tinge
A quarrel between two squirrel hunters in a public forest in Peshtigo, Wis., left a Hmong immigrant dead and another man wounded in an incident disturbingly reminiscent of a 2004 case. There are scant official details about how 30-year-old Cha Vang died. But the fiancée of James Nichols, 28, told authorities that Nichols said he stabbed Vang after the immigrant shot him in both hands. "I had this guy come up behind me, and I told him he was ... scaring the squirrels away," Nichols told her, she said. "He couldn't speak English, and he started yelling." Vang's wife insists her husband could not have provoked an attack. Nichols, who has a previous burglary conviction, was being held on a probation violation.
The killing comes just over a year after another Hmong immigrant was sentenced to multiple life sentences for killing six white hunters in 2004. In that case, the Hmong hunter claimed that one of his victims fired at him and shouted racial epithets.
At Michigan, No More Preferences
Just as it was sending out acceptance and rejection letters for next year's freshman class, the University of Michigan announced that it will heed the wishes of voters and abandon the use of race- and gender-based affirmative action in admissions. "We take these actions with regret, because we believe it would be fair ... to wait until after the current cycle," said provost Teresa Sullivan.