No April's Fool -- We first told you about Jody Caldarulo back in March, when the veteran kicked off his walk across the nation in Riverfront Park. Caldarulo is following Highway 80 across the nation to reach Washington, D.C., in time for the election in an effort to raise awareness about veterans' issues. We hear Caldarulo has reached Elko, Nev., and is expected to cross into Utah later this week. He's had a few blister issues but is otherwise still going strong. Get your own updates at www.aveteranswalk.com
A New Southern Strategy? -- In a recent edition of the Christian Science Monitor, retired newspaper editor Fran Marscher of Hilton Head, S.C., questions the current political wisdom that the South is strongly in Republican hands.
"If John Kerry wants to be president, he ought to come down South and ask us Southerners to vote for him. Say it nicely, and we might do it," Marscher writes. "It makes us mad that Republican candidates for president have come to taking us for granted and Democrats have come to ignoring us."
More Military Malaise -- People in the military, particularly young soldiers, are drinking and smoking at an increasing rate, according to a health survey conducted by the Pentagon. The 2002 survey -- before troops were deployed for the invasion of Iraq -- found that the percentage of troops engaging in "heavy drinking" (five or more drinks in a single occasion at least once a week) rose from 15.4 percent in 1998 to 18.1 percent by 2002. Likewise, the survey revealed more troops are having problems with stress and mental health but aren't seeking help. Troops listed deployment and separation from family as the biggest causes of stress, yet almost half of those surveyed said they believed it would damage their careers if they sought professional help.
The Medicare "Fix" -- Now that the Bush administration's plans for Medicare drug benefits are becoming a reality, the fine print is finally legible. According to a new congressional study, seniors will likely pay more for their drugs through the "discount" cards that are at the center of the Bush plan. According to the study, the 10 best-selling drugs were slightly more expensive through the card than through Drugstore.com, a reputable online pharmacy. And Canada is still an even better bet, as the same drugs there cost half as much.
So the country gets to pay for seniors' medicine, but they're getting charged more than in the free market? If we didn't know better, it would almost seem like somebody is profiting from all these new Medicare benefits.