No snooze but plenty of news

John Taylor: June 20, 20070 Comments

Three things you won't get while flying (one stop in Dallas) cross-country from DC to Fresno in economy: 1) a soft seat; 2) free gruel; 3) enough room to easily read a broad-sheet newspaper.

A five-day pile awaited my return, sun-bleached or well-irrigated copies of the Fresno Bee, Wall Street Journal and New York Times. And then all the on-line news alerts. Good thing I wasn't sleepy.

Clearly, people doing the Harris Poll would consider me an aberration because they recently discerned that only 2 in 5 U.S. adults are regular readers of daily newspapers. The No. 1 source of news is TV -- but those polled said that in five years, it'll be on-line news.

Hanging on to the theme of numbers, truth be told, everything listed below came from on-line sources:

  • Looks like aging, overcrowded Parkland Memorial Hospital will be replaced by a brand-new public hospital costing more than $1.2 billion, with property tax hikes covering part of the cost (Dallas Morning News).

  • Houston-area hospitals are suffering ER meltdown from legions of  uninsured patients. One potential reason: To qualify for Medicaid, Texas says a family of three can earn no more than $4,822 a year. By contrast, California will qualify those who earn up to $18,000. Another reason: Texas forfeited $900 million in federal money over the last six years that would have insured poor kids because the state refused to ante up 28 cents for each 72 cents in federal money (USA Today).

  • In terms of voluntary sympathy payments (called "solatia"), U.S. military policy usually pays about the same for a mistakenly slain Iraqi as it does for a damaged Iraqi car -- $2,500 (Washington Post).

And this last bit of travel news from a recent edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science:

  • Argentinean researchers found that hamsters in a six-hour simulated flight traveling east overcame jet lag much more quickly when given a small dose of Viagra. It didn't work for westbound hamsters.