Daily Digest: Qaddafi’s family feud, autism’s treatment disparity, Obama’s campaign from Chicago

by Taryn Wobbema

Two of Qaddafi’s sons have proposed moving Libya toward a constitutional democracy by pushing their father aside and putting his son Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi in power. This comes in the midst of airstrikes from U.S. and other NATO forces that have lasted two weeks. The two sons, including Seif, are considered to lean toward Western-style governance, differing from Qaddafi’s other sons, Khamis and Mutuassim, who command militias that focus on repressing any internal squabbles. For a number of years there has been a rivalry between Seif and his brother Mutuassim, who also hopes to take over after his father. Either way, a rebel representative told the Times replacing Qaddafi with his sons would be “unacceptable.”

A Star Tribune report shows Minnesota has unequally provided treatment for children with autism. A single mother was told her son couldn’t receive Applied Behavior Analysis treatment because the $100,000-a-year procedure wasn’t covered. But in 2010, the state Medicaid program spent $13.5 million on ABA treatments for children, most of them above the poverty line. While those in the ABA programs averaged 770 hours of skills training per child in 2010, the state-funded alternative programs averaged only 39 hours in the same year. A lawyer whose son received ABA treatment sued HealthPartners on behalf of the single mom’s two-year-old son. He eventually got ABA treatment covered by Medicaid. The lawyer “sees the court battle as a test case” and wants the state to include ABA treatment as a option for low-income families. It seems like state officials were unaware of the inequity, but realized the pattern after the Star Tribune requested they look at the agency’s payments. 

Obama is officially running for re-election after sending an e-mail to supporters Monday and launching his campaign website, according to the Associated Press. It’s still 20 months until the 2012 election, but the president wrote that it’s time for supporters to start mobilizing, “even though … the race may not reach full speed for a year or so.” The campaign is based in Chicago – the first re-election campaign to be run so far from Washington. Jim Messina, who will run Obama’s campaign, told the New York Times moving the campaign to Chicago is an effort to “tune out the know-it-all clatter of the capital and focus wholly on politics, without having to juggle the demands of governing.” Messina also said the president will have to look at states he didn’t “play in” last time, because some states he won in 2008 – like Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia – have since seen major Republican gains.