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Walmart Says Yes to Employer Health Care! And Iran -- Still a Big Story in the Midst of Michael Jackson

Pigs are flying, lions lying down with lambs -- Walmart is calling for employers to provide health insurance!

Naturally, people are peeking behind the curtain to see what gives -- what's in it for Walmart? One of the men whose name is on the letter to President Obama, besides the Walmart chief's, is Andy Stern, who heads the Service Employees International Union.

He said it's all about acknowledging ''shared responsibility.'' But the national Chamber of Commerce is livid that the nation's biggest private employer would break ranks with retailers over this, and several of you who called raised the question about whether this would give Walmart an advantage over smaller retailers the way Walmart has been blamed for driving mom-and-pop stores out of business with its huge economies of scale and price-cutting power. This is one worth watching.

The always-able Hamid Dabashi has been here often enough now that he should get Frequent Guest miles. The Columbia professor of Iranian studies elegantly dissected the meaning of independent clerics declaring the newly elected government ''illegitimate.'' He said it would be like former Supreme Court justices in the US doing the same (not that there have been many of those in practice; justices tend to take on the job for a lifetime). He also described exactly what those ''confessions'' by arrested reformist leaders are worth: in sum, not much. They're usually extracted under duress, and just about everyone in Iran knows it.

Tomorrow, a post-memorial analysis of the big Michael Jackson sendoff in downtown LA. And, why so many people are buying big new TVs, and where all the old ones are going, and what they're doing to the environment. Did you spring for one? Call in and tell us why!

-- Patt Morrison

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