4 in the AfternoonOkay. I swear this started out as a Six In The AM at about 7 this morning, then somebody woke up and decided that there would be no blogging this AM. So, instead of six you’re getting four not-so-surprising news stories.

1. WHO COULDN’T SEE THIS COMING? In an effort to reduce wait times, the Sask Party government is looking into using private clinics to help them reduce the surgery backlog. The Sask. Party government trying to sneak some healthcare privatization in through the backdoor you say? Really? Colour me gobsmacked. (Leader Post)

2. OKAY, WHO COULDN’T SEE THIS COMING? The U.S. is publicly calling for Canada to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2011. Really? They need us to stick around? You don’t say. What’s The Harpster going to do now? Risk pissing off the Socialist to the South or stay in the fight for a few more years? I’ve no idea. I’m all on tenterhooks.

3. WHAT ABOUT THIS? YOU CAN’T TELL ME YOU SAW THIS COMING! Okay, this news is five days old so maybe you heard about it already but it never made it onto dog blog and I was SOOOOOO surprised by it I had to include it today. Apparently, a couple professors did their own little feasibility study of a retractable dome stadium in Regina and confirmed what some folk in Fargo told the prairie dog last year: take any claims of great GDP gains from a sports stadium with a big ol’ grain of salt. Turns out this independent study suggests that some of the findings in the official feasibility study (the one we paid a million bucks for) were a little, shall we say, optimistic? (Leader Post)

4. OKAY, I CONFESS, I DIDN’T SEE THIS COMING AT ALL: Seems there’s a chance we could see the NHL moving the Coyotes back to Winnipeg. Seeing as I don’t follow hockey at all, if it hadn’t been for Whitworth e-mailing me at the crack of dawn saying, “You have to blog this!” I’d have had no idea any of this was going on. They had hockey in Winnipeg, you say? Colour me gobsmacked. (Winnipeg Free Press)