EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 27, 2013

Around the Nation


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — As states open insurance marketplaces amid uncertainty about whether they’re a solution for health care, Vermont is eyeing a bigger goal, one that more fully embraces a government-funded model.

The state has a planned 2017 launch of the nation’s first universal health care system, a sort of modified Medicare-for-all that has long been a dream for many liberals.

The plan is especially ambitious in the current atmosphere surrounding health care in the United States. Republicans in Congress balk at the federal health overhaul years after it was signed into law. States are still negotiating their terms for implementing it. And some major employers have begun to drastically limit their offerings of employee health insurance, raising questions about the future of the industry altogether.

In such a setting, Vermont’s plan looks more and more like an anomaly. It combines universal coverage with new cost controls in an effort to move away from a system in which the more procedures doctors and hospitals perform, the more they get paid, to one in which providers have a set budget to care for a set number of patients.

The result will be health care that’s “a right and not a privilege,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said.

Many military families turn to home schooling to ease transition

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. (AP) — A growing number of military parents want to end the age-old tradition of switching schools for their kids.

They’ve embraced homeschooling, and are finding support on bases, which are providing resources for families and opening their doors for home schooling cooperatives and other events.

“If there’s a military installation, there’s very likely home-schoolers there if you look,” said Nicole McGhee, 31, of Cameron, N.C., a mother of three with a husband stationed at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg who runs a Facebook site on military home schooling.

At Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, the library sported special presentations for home-schoolers on Benjamin Franklin and static electricity. Fort Bragg offers daytime taekwondo classes. At Fort Belvoir, Va., there are athletic events and a parent-led chemistry lab.

At Andrews Air Force Base about 15 miles outside of Washington, more than 40 families participate on Wednesdays in a home schooling cooperative at the base’s youth center. Earlier this month, teenagers in one room warmed up for a mock audition reciting sayings such as “red leather, yellow leather.” Younger kids downstairs learned to sign words such as “play” and searched for “Special Agent Stan” during a math game. Military moms taught each class.

JFK’s image, tested and sanctified, still shines 50 years after his assassination

BOSTON (AP) — Four days a week, David O’Donnell leads a 90-minute “Kennedy Tour” around Boston that features stops at government buildings, museums, hotels and meeting halls.

Tour-goers from throughout the United States and abroad, who may see John F. Kennedy as inspiration, martyr or Cold War hero, hear stories of his ancestors and early campaigns, the rise of the Irish in state politics, the odd fact that Kennedy was the only president outlived by his grandmother.

Yet at some point along the tour, inevitably, questions from the crowd shift from politics to gossip.

“Someone will ask, ‘Did Jack Kennedy have an affair with Marilyn Monroe?’ With this woman? That woman?” explains O’Donnell, who has worked for a decade in the city’s visitors bureau. Those asking forgive the infidelities as reflecting another era, he says. “It’s something people, in an odd way, just accept.”

The Kennedy image, the “mystique” that attracts tourists and historians alike, did not begin with his presidency and is in no danger of ending 50 years after his death. Its journey has been uneven but resilient — a young and still-evolving politician whose name was sanctified by his assassination, upended by discoveries of womanizing, hidden health problems and political intrigue, and forgiven in numerous polls that place JFK among the most beloved of former presidents.

Marcia Wallace, voice of ‘The Simpsons’ teacher Edna Krabappel, dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Marcia Wallace, the voice of Edna Krabappel on “The Simpsons,” has died.

“Simpsons” executive producer Al Jean said in a statement Saturday that her death is a terrible loss. He says Wallace’s “irreplaceable character,” the fourth-grade teacher who has to deal with Bart Simpson’s constant antics, would be retired from the show.

The longtime TV actress’ credits ranged from playing a wise-cracking receptionist on “The Bob Newhart Show” to appearances on Candice Bergen’s “Murphy Brown.”

Rarity for top teams to meet in World Series in era of expanded playoffs

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The teams with the best records in each league used to meet in the World Series every year.

Now it’s a rarity.

Boston and St. Louis are the first since 1999, when the New York Yankees swept Atlanta.

“You definitely have to be hot and play good baseball, maybe for a little bit longer,” Boston pitcher Jake Peavy said before his Game 3 start Saturday night.

From 1903 through 1968, the top teams had to meet in the World Series. There were no playoffs.