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  • Gay Activists Stage Civil Disobedience as Health Reform Gets Closer to a Vote

    While national attention was focused on the release of CBO numbers on the proposed health-care-reform bill (or, more likely, NCAA basketball), gay activists kicked off a campaign of civil disobedience that has already resulted in several arrests. It began when Lt. Dan Choi, an outspoken opponent of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, hijacked an anti-DADT rally hosted by Kathy Griffin (Griffin, it appears, had no problem with the interruption), leading those in attendance to the White House. There, he handcuffed himself to the gates along with fellow activist Capt. Jim Pietrangelo. ...
  • Gay-Rights Protesters Stage Sit-In at Nancy Pelosi's Office: Leaders Stand Ready to Bail Out Activists

    Activists are arrested after protesting outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office on March 18. (Photo: Joel Silberman via getEqual)According to gay-rights advocate Paul Yandura, activists have staged a sit-in at Nancy Pelosi's district and Capitol Hill offices. The groups are fighting for her to take the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to the floor for a vote, Yandura told NEWSWEEK as he drove toward his home in D.C. to meet with other activists. Yandura says he has collected enough bail through GetEqual, a new LGBTQ activism group, for everyone who may need it. "We have plenty, and we have sources ready to provide more if necessary."The proposed bill would prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for civilian nonreligious employers with more than 15 employees. Yandura claims that "both offices were swarmed, and the demand was made that she bring it to a vote." Pelosi’s offices, according to gay...
  • Thoughts on Why Obama Postponed His Trip Down Under

    News broke this morning that the president was postponing his trip to Australia and Indonesia until June. He'd already delayed the trip, moving his departure date back to Sunday. There are a couple of ways to read this. The first reaction may be that Obama is worried about health-care reform failing in the House and wants to be on hand to twist some arms if necessary. Ben Smith offers a counterpoint:The decision to cancel his trip may look like a sign of urgency, but...
  • Facebook's All-Out Assault on Google's Numbers

    It's easy to get numbed by the traffic stats for Facebook: more than 400 million users, the average user spends 55 minutes a day on the site, 3 billion photo uploads per month. At some point the stratospheric numbers just start to run together. Maybe that's why seeing a new metric in visual form, via this chart from Hitwise, stopped me in my tracks:  The headline around the Web was that, for the first time, Facebook had eclipsed Google as the most-visited site in the U.S. for a full week. Previously, Facebook had hit No. 1 on a few big holidays, like Christmas and New Year's Day. That makes sense—everyone is home and uploading photos from that digital camera Santa left under the tree, or furiously untagging photos from the night before (respectively). But for the week ending March 13, the biggest holiday I could find was Registered Dietitian Day. It's clear from the chart above that Facebook's days of needing major events to eke past Google are over.This isn...
  • Lt. Dan Choi Arrested at the White House, More Civil Disobedience Expected in Protest of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

    Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo handcuffed to the White House gates moments before they were arrested. (Photo: John Aravosis)  Gay activists in D.C. say they are planning acts of civil disobedience today to show politicians they have lost patience with President Obama and lawmakers when it comes to gay rights legislation. Earlier today, Lt. Dan Choi chained himself to a White House fence in part of protest over the slow response to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. According to Ahmir Rashid, a political consultant wearing a T shirt reading “Straight Folks for Marriage Equality” and a “Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” button, Choi and another lieutenant who had been discharged under DODT finished up a scheduled talk at a conference downtown, then walked up to the White House, gave a short speech and then chained themselves to the fence. “That’s when the Secret Service pushed us back, taped off the area where Choi was, and a huge onslaught of police arrived. They used megaphon...
  • Dems Losing Grip on Crucial Suburbs

    After the media overhyped Democratic losses in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections in November, I argued that the real warning sign for Democrats wasn't the statewide executive races, which are often driven by voters' feelings on the candidates themselves, but by results in the New York suburbs in Westchester County and Connecticut. Democratic losses for obscure local offices there, where the average voter probably knows little to nothing about the candidate reflect how voters feel about the parties as a whole. Prosperous, diverse, knowledge and service-economy inner-ring suburbs of New York are the bellwether Democrats should focus on. Those areas presaged the rise of the Obama coalition in the 1990s and 2000s, and a swing back to Republicans, who carried them in the 1980s with Ronald Reagan and, locally, Sen. Al D'Amato, would be a bad omen for Democrats. ...
  • A Perfect Match? No, But for Primary Care, a Promising One

    Today is a big day for young doctors in two ways. It’s Match Day, which means graduating medical students nationwide are finding out where they’ll be doing their residencies. And it’s an encouraging day for family medicine, because 1,169 of this year’s American graduates have chosen to go into that field, a significant increase from last year. This is good news for embattled and over-scheduled primary-care docs, for health-care reformers who promote preventive medicine, and for the rest of us who often find it hard to get an appointment for a checkup: it’s a sign that we’re starting to make some progress—albeit not enough—on the primary-care crisis. ...
  • Newsverse: Fast Cash No Credit Check Drive-By Lending

    “A Consumer Bill Gives Exemption on Payday Loans”—headline in , March 9, 2010When the bills can’t wait till paydayWhen you send up a fiscal MaydayCall Newsverse Fast-Cash Drive-By Lending!Drive on through and keep on spending! We’ll treat you like a long-lost brotherDon’t worry if you need anotherFast-Cash Drive-By Payday LoanYou can borrow on the phone! If your credit score is zeroIf Willie Sutton is your hero Come on down and have no fear!  “No”Is a word you’ll never hear! So—Just pull up and toot your claxonsCollect a stack of Andy JacksonsYou can pay us when convenientYou will find us very lenient*And at a most alluring rateTen percent, or even eight!**And once your crisis has recededWe will lend you even moreThan you ever thought you needed!It’s like a game! Who’s keeping score?***Such close and warm and fond relationsAren’t made by regulations!Rules are just a bunch of twaddleThat’s not the Newsverse business model!We would so much rather coddleYou and always be your friend!...
  • Bart Stupak: No William Wallace

    Abortion opponents were hoping that Bart Stupak’s final stand on abortion would look something like this (video care of Catholic Vote): In the end, though, signs are pointing toward more of a retreat than a battle. Yesterday, Rep. Dale Kildee, Democrat of Michigan and a strong opponent of abortion, came out in support of health-care reform with the Nelson language (he was among the 12 Democrats on House Minority Whip Eric Cantor’s list of Democrats who would oppose health-care reform because of the abortion language). After reading the Senate bill's abortion language more than a dozen times and consulting with his priest, Kildee said in a statement, "I am convinced that the Senate language maintains the Hyde amendment, which states that no federal money can be used for abortion."The nuns have come out in support of the health-care bill, as has the Catholic Health Association. And Stupak, who was telling Fox News last week that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not have...
  • Biden's Deathly Gaffe and Quick Recovery

    Last night, while speaking at a White House reception honoring Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, Joe Biden royally stepped in it, referring to Cowen's mother as having passed away ("God rest her soul")—even though she's still very much alive. Whoops. But what impressed us more was Biden's witty recovery. Have a look:
  • CBO Score on Health Reform Is Out. Game On.

    The Congressional Budget Office has long been a pivotal, though indirect, player in congressional politics, but it's hard to think of a time when a bill has hinged so precariously on its findings. This morning, reports are trickling out of Democratic offices, including Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's, that the CBO score (which will be officially released this afternoon) contains some pretty good news for health-reform proponents.The CBO will estimate that the bill the House will likely vote on this week will cost $940 billion and reduce the deficit by $130 billion over the first ten years. In the second decade of reform, the CBO anticipates that the bill will reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion. This score will be music to Pelosi's ears. The handful of undecided Democrats who say they were waiting on the score before they decide how they'll vote will have this afternoon what looks to be the most optimistic score any of the bills has so far received.We're still...
  • China Eyes Investment in Iceland

    By William UnderhillChina has become famous in recent years for its ask-no-questions checkbook diplomacy, especially toward resource-rich nations in the developing world. Now it seems Beijing may have a new target: Europe. The latest object of Chinese interest is Iceland, which is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, thanks to the excesses of its bankers. China's new embassy in Reykjavík will be the largest in the capital, and the Nordic country's official investment agency has noted a surge of inquiries from China.  As ever, Chinese investment reflects long-term thinking. At issue in this case? According to a report this month from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Beijing is interested in new trade routes across the Arctic as polar ice vanishes, slashing the journey time between the Middle Kingdom and its trading partners in Europe and North America. China already has an Arctic research station in Norway and plans to spend $300 million on a new...
  • Obama on Fox: The Interrupt-a-thon

    Since becoming president, Obama has done his fair share of interviews with the big TV news anchors, including sit-downs with Charlie Gibson, Brian Williams, and Katie Couric. It's part of my job to watch them and, let's be honest, they're usually a bit of a yawn. (No offense, Brian Williams, but you're way more entertaining on The Daily Show or Wait Wait … Don't Tell Me!, where I finally learned of your aptly titled music blog, BriTunes.) The questions are fairly uncontroversial. The anchor balances serious facial expressions and vocal tones with unrestrained politeness. Comity reigns. Tonight, Fox's Bret Baier junked most of those conventions. (Although he stuck with serious voice and face.)...
  • Quote of the Day: Barack Obama

    "If people vote yes, whatever form that takes, that is going to be a vote for health-care reform. And I don't think we should pretend otherwise.... If they don't, if they vote against it, then they're going to be voting against health-care reform and they're going to be voting in favor of the status quo." —President Obama during an interview with Fox News's Bret Baier Wednesday.  
  • Harry Smith’s CBS Colonoscopy: Both Too Much and Too Little Information

    Finally, someone has said loudly and clearly that the emperor has no clothes—or, more specifically, that the colonoscopy that Harry Smith of the CBS Early Show got, live, on the program a week ago amounted to cheerleading for a procedure whose value is much less than the public has been led to believe....
  • Global Warming Heats Up at the Smithsonian

    I thought I was just dropping my kid off at school this lovely St. Patrick’s Day morning, but instead we stumbled onto an environmental scuffle. My son attends kindergarten inside the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, but this morning it was the scene outside that grabbed our attention. ...
  • Obama to Talk Health Care on Fox But Conservatives Won't Be Swayed

    Obama will take to Fox News tonight to talk health-care reform. "Many of the falsehoods and myths about health reform gained traction with Glenn Beck and others on Fox, so the president is returning to the scene of the crime to make the final sale," a White House official explained to Politico earlier today. It sounds like a sensible calculation: dismantle arguments about government takeovers and death panels, up popular support. In fact, NEWSWEEK tested out that idea in our most recent poll. We wanted to know: when Americans learn more about health-care reform, do they support it more? Turns out, while that is indeed the case for liberals, conservatives are not likely to support health-care reform when they know what it actually does.  More from the poll: in late February, we asked Americans if they supported Obama’s health-reform plan and got a pretty predictable response: only 15 percent of self-described conservatives supported the plan versus 72 percent of liberals. ...
  • Nuns Support Health-Care Reform, Defy Bishops

    Hot on the heels of Kucinich's declaration of support for health-care reform, the Associated Press is reporting that Catholic nuns are urging Democratic lawmakers to support health-care reform. This is a major break with the church's bishops, who have strongly opposed the legislation on the grounds that some federal subsidies may end up funding abortions. Although the Senate bill does contain provisions that prohibit the use of federal funds for abortion—similar to the existing Medicaid provisions—bishops have been arguing that the bill is not rigid enough. Nuns disagree. The nuns who lead 60 different Catholic orders wrote on behalf of their 59,000 members to congressional representatives, saying "despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortion." They call the bill "the real pro-life stance" because it helps pregnant women access the health care they need. (For more on this argument, see T....
  • Kucinich Will Vote Yes

    Yesterday, I wrote that if there was ever a time for the most idealistic Democrats on the Hill to become pragmatists, it was now. I was referring in particular to Ohio's Dennis Kucinich, a former presidential candidate and steadfast progressive who arguably sits further to the left than any of his peers. Today, Kucinich announced he would drop his opposition to the health-care-reform bill and vote yes when it goes to the floor, likely Friday or Saturday this week. With the future of health-care reform hanging in the balance, support from Kucinich is big news.Kucinich maintains that the bill does not go far enough in providing affordable, universal health care, but he told reporters today that his belief that "health care is a civil right" and his understanding of the "historic nature" of the debate has finally outweighed is concerns. "If my vote is to be counted, let it count now for passage of the bill,...
  • Did Google Drop Censorship in China?

    Did it or didn’t it? News reports and online forums are buzzing with the news that Google.cn may have dropped its censorship wall. NBC news reported doing some sensitive searches on the mega search engine from China to test it. Among the items it Googled was the "Tiananmen Square massacre," which returned a fairly thorough list of results on the military crackdown—something the government doesn't normally allow. MarketWatch has also picked up on the reports, but according to their piece, it looks like Google's China spokeswoman, Marsha Wang, said they are running their business as usual. Scott Rubin, a spokesperson for Google U.S., confirmed that much to me in an e-mail saying, "Google.cn is still operating within the law in China." It's quite possible the search results don't mean what some news reports suggest they do. Nart Villeneuve, a well-known cyber guru, makes a very good case for that here. Still, it's a big coincidence, given...
  • Russia's Diplomatic Obstructionism

    By Owen Matthews and Anna Nemtsova U.S. officials negotiating with Moscow must often feel like the Kremlin's favorite word is nyet. Whether it's sanctions on Iran, missile defense, or arms control, Moscow seems to oppose every issue the U.S. raises. The Kremlin's apparent purpose: to extract as many concessions as possible before ultimately agreeing to some measures, like punishing Tehran or a new version of the START arms-reduction treaty. Exhibit A is Russia's continued blocking of U.S. missile-defense plans. Last year, as a good-will gesture, Washington bowed to Moscow's objections and scrapped designs for a defense shield based in Eastern Europe. Last week, it announced a less-threatening alternative: interceptors in the Black Sea, even farther from Russia's borders--a solution that the Kremlin itself suggested a year ago.So has Russia agreed? Nyet: the new offer is "even worse," says Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, despite the fact...
  • Hey, Congress: Nobody Likes You

    NBC and The Wall Street Journal are out with a new poll this evening, but the WSJ has already given us a sneak peek. And guess what? Voters don't like anyone right now. Nobody. Surprise! (Yeah, I'm not surprised either.) Congressional approval is down to just 17 percent, while 50 percent of respondents would like to throw everybody out—Republicans and Democrats alike—and start with a completely new Congress. Makes those heady days of 31 percent congressional approval seem peachy.There's no clear upshot here for health-care reform. At this stage it's damned if you do, damned if you don't. So I guess if you're one of those nervous Democrats worried about going on the record to support reform, you could rest easy knowing that your constituents will want to throw you out no matter how you vote.
  • It Didn't Start With Nancy

    When I get confused about the procedural and historical mysteries of Congress there is only one thing to do: call Norm Ornstein....
  • Will Dennis Kucinich Be Pelosi's 216th Vote?

    Dennis Kucinich is one of the odder characters in contemporary politics. Arguably the most committed progressive on the national scene, he generally operates on the edges of Capitol Hill's drama (the left edge, if you want to be precise). He's got a relatively small but fiercely loyal following, at the ready with applause and dollars each time he bucks his party or criticizes Democrats for being too moderate. He's not a fixture on cable TV, in the way that his conservative counterparts seem to be. Reporters often shy away from quoting him, partly because his dissent is mostly predictable, and partly because his views are often marginalized in congressional discourse. Nate Silver recently crowned Kucinich Capitol Hill's "Least Valuable Democrat" because he so rarely votes with his caucus on their signature issues, including climate-change legislation, the hate-crimes bill, and financial regulation. His voting record makes him look more like a blue dog...
  • House Dems Wary of Health-Care Bait and Switch

    Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Rahm Emanuel are running the final days of the health-care bill like a three-card monte game on Times Square. You have to admire their skill and audacity, even if you can't quite follow what they are doing. The suckers in this con could be wavering House Democrats, who may well place their fateful bets ("yes" votes) and lose their shirts.Silly me, I thought that I understood what the Democratic leaders (and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs) meant when they declared that health care would be "the law of the land" by this coming Sunday.I was assuming that they were aiming for final congressional action by then—before President Obama jetted off to Indonesia for his truncated (and now-non-spring-break-for-the-kids) trip. I was way wrong.Here, after patient explanations by Democrats on the Hill, is the scenario:Democrats are hoping that, on Saturday or Sunday, the House will pass the long-since-passed, original Senate version...
  • Colombia's Future After Uribe

    By Pablo Espinel On Feb. 26, Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled that President Álvaro Uribe could not seek a third term, thereby putting an end date on the leader's popular eight-year reign. The verdict has left Colombia in a state of shock and brings up major questions for its future--including whether this spells the end of the center-right, tough-on-crime brand of politics called Uribismo.To replace Uribe, analysts currently favor his former defense minister, Juan Manuel Santos, who has a 23 percent lead in the polls. Santos is likely to continue Uribe's crackdown on crime and on the FARC insurgency as well as his orthodox financial policies. No matter who's elected, meanwhile, relations with Colombia's neighbors are bound to improve: Uribe often clashed with über-leftists Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Venezuela's Hugo Chávez. And even though many of their underlying diplomatic disputes will remain--control of the border regions, alleged support of...
  • Quote of the Day

    THE PRESIDENT: Your own congressman, who is tireless on behalf of working people, Dennis Kucinich. AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Vote yes! THE PRESIDENT:  Did you hear that, Dennis? Go ahead, say that again. AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Vote yes! —President Obama and an unnamed audience member, urging wavering Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich to vote yes on health reform at an event in Strongsville, Ohio.
  • Absurdly Premature 2012 Watch, Vol. 11: Why We Want Petraeus to Run for President—and Why He Won't

     When word hit the wires late last week that Army Gen. David Petraeus had agreed to speak at St. Anselm college on March 24, the political punditocracy (rather predictably) flipped out. James Joyner of Outside the Beltway led with the big question: "Presidential Campaign Underway?" The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder noted that while Petraeus "has said he's not interested, in public," neither "do most would-be candidates at this stage." And Salon declared that "giving this speech ... can only mean one thing: He’s looking to run."The reason this hyperbolic response was so predictable is that St. Anselm is located in New Hampshire, home of the nation's first presidential primaries--and no one, according to the chattering classes, visits the Granite State at any point prior to a presidential election unless he or she harbors a burning desire to become leader of the free world. Nevermind that Petraeus owns a small boathouse on Lake...
  • Marco Rubio, Big Spender

    In a recent interview with a Wall Street Journal editorial writer, Florida Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio blasted irresponsible government spending and blamed members of both parties for getting the nation into its current economic mess. "I don't care whether Republicans or Democrats are in charge," he told the editorialist. "If you allow politicians to spend money, they'll do it."...
  • Honk If You Think This Is a Stupid Idea

    If you work near a congressional district office, you may want to bring earplugs to the office tomorrow, because the health-care debate is about to officially become what some people think it already is: a lot of confusing, loud, and futile noise. Noon tomorrow, according to the lobbying group Americans for Prosperity, "is the time to finish the job of protecting this most personal freedom by stopping the Democrats' Washington takeover of our health care in the U.S. House of Representatives." Apparently, you can accomplish this by "[driving] around honking your horn" outside your representative's local office. Oh, and slapping an anti-reform bumper sticker on your car and visiting your rep afterward, although if you're passionate enough to sign up for the "Honk No" protest, you've probably done both those things already. ...
  • Hunter Told Edwards Not to Run: Mistress Speaks in 'GQ' Interview

    You may recall that about three weeks ago, NEWSWEEK ran a story detailing Rielle Hunter's "quiet dignity" as the sordid John Edwards scandal unfolded. Well, no more: Hunter has opened up with an interview for GQ, complete with semi-risque photos (a pantsless Hunter) as well as a touching picture with her and Edwards's daughter, Frances Quinn Hunter). Among her revelations to interviewer Lisa DePaulo: she and Edwards, who she calls "Johnny" throughout, slept together the day they met; she insists he still loves her; and Edwards lived "in fear of the wrath of Elizabeth," his wife. The interview is fascinating in a rubber-necking sort of way, but there's not too much of political interest....
  • Europe Should Not Curtail Credit Default Swaps

    Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou claims to have discovered the culprit behind his country's economic misery, and last week he laid out his indictment. In a speech in D.C., he blamed hedge funds and other speculators for driving up the borrowing costs of his cash-strapped nation. In particular, credit default swaps--financial derivatives that act like insurance for bondholders--are a "scourge that haunts Greece and all of us," he said. By mid-week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy took up the baton and published a letter urging the European Commission to consider a ban on CDS speculation.But if Europe curtails the use of these and other derivatives, it will hurt, not help, the continent's sickly economies. To start, there is simply no evidence that swaps were really to blame for the Greek crisis. The German financial regulator, BaFin, said as much when it released a report on Greek credit default swaps last week. It turns...
  • NEWSWEEK Offers Condolences on Passing of Theodore Olbermann

    I got this e-mail from my good friend Keith Olbermann, whose father passed away over the weekend.  Theodore Olbermann's story—his late-life care, and the agonizing options involved—became an illustrative saga about health issues in and for America. We all offer our condolences to Keith. Here is the obituary:Theodore C. Olbermann died, in the city of his birth, New York, Saturday. He was 80 years old.Though the financial constraints of his youth made college infeasible, he became an architect licensed in 40 states, and practiced for 40 years. Much of his work was commercial and there was a time in the 1970s when nearly all of the Baskin-Robbins outlets in the country had been built to his design, and under his direction. He was predeceased last year by his wife of nearly 60 years, Marie. He died peacefully after a long fight against the complications which ensued after successful colon surgery last September, with his daughter and son at his bedside, the latter reading aloud to...
  • Today in Actually Useful News: Universal Health Care and Lower Abortion Rates

    The past week of news in abortion and health-care reform has been, frankly, pretty useless. The narrative changed every day—there was a compromise, then there wasn’t. Leaders were working out a deal with Stupak, now they’re not. Even after religiously reading the “Stupak” Google Alert I receive every day, I still have no idea what abortion language will appear in the final bill. It depends on too many unknowns: how many representatives plan to vote with Stupak (estimates have ranged from 3 to 20), how many other representatives are bowing out and how much supporters of abortion rights are willing to budge.So if you find yourself craving some actually-useful analysis of abortion’s role in health-care reform, I would recommend T.R. Reid’s counterintuitive explanation of why increased access to health care, including abortion services, correlates with reduced abortion rates.Right now, the United States has the highest abortion rate in the developed world, 20.8 per 1,000 women age 15 to...
  • Quote of the Day: Robert Gibbs

    "I am making good on my aspect of my wager with Dimitri, my Canadian counterpoint, who is somewhere several hundred miles north laughing." —White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, explaining the Canadian hockey jersey he wore at the start of today's press briefing
  • Health-Care Reform Stopped Being About Policy a Long Time Ago

    Patrick Caddell and Doug Schoen, a former pollster and a pollster, respectively, have written an op-ed in today's Washington Post about arguing that Democrats need to change their approach on health-care reform. They say the public is so overwhelmingly opposed to the reform package that Democrats would be better off if they broke the piece up into small, less ambitious policy initiatives that could achieve bipartisan support. But that misses the point. This debate stopped being about policy long ago. ...
  • Student Loans Make Health-Care Bill Even More Complicated

    In another twist in the health-care-reform saga, the Democrats announced Thursday a plan to include the contested Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) as a part of the final reconciliation bill sent to the Senate. ...
  • NYT Urges Abortion-Rights Supporters to ‘Make Their Voices Heard.’ The Real Question: What Should They Be Saying?

    “Americans who support women’s reproductive rights need to make their voices heard,” The New York Times editorial opined yesterday. Noting the number of state legislatures debating bills that would significantly limit a woman’s access to abortion—notably Utah’s ban on “illegal abortions” and the proposed pre-viability ban in Nebraska—the Times editorial board urged supporters of abortion rights to take a more active role in the debate....
  • Health Care Reform: Where It's At

    After almost a year of discussions, speeches, grandstanding, and dissembling about health care from those who roam Pennsylvania Ave., you'd be forgiven for feeling like the debate would never end. But it's definitely in the final stretch right now. The bill has clear momentum. There's been many developments this week, but if, like most people, you stopped combing the papers for the latest tidbit on reform, here's what you need to know....
  • Formula One's Comeback Story

    By Emerson Fittipaldi The 2010 formula one season-opener in Bahrain marks the return of perhaps the greatest athlete to ever compete in the sport: after a three-year retirement Michael Schumacher, the former Ferrari star and seven-time world champion, has joined the Mercedes GP team at the age of 41. He will face a slew of new rules designed to keep the sport's skyrocketing costs under control and compete against great drivers roughly half his age, such as 22-year-old Red Bull star Sebastian Vettel. Other top contenders include Vettel's teammate, Mark Webber; two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, now with Ferrari; Alonso's teammate Felipe Massa; and the McLaren team, which recruited last year's champion, Jenson Button, to join 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton.His return will be good for Formula One, on par with Michael Jordan's return to the Chicago Bulls in 1995. Schumacher's name alone draws tremendous interest from fans throughout the world, as well...
  • Sen. Harry Reid's Wife and Daughter Injured in Car Accident

    As if Sen. Harry Reid didn't have enough of a weight on his shoulders, now he has this to deal with: his wife, Landra, and his daughter, Lana, were injured—Landra quite seriously—when their car was rear-ended by a truck on Interstate 95 in Washington....
  • Anti-US Trade Deals Grow During Recession

    Last month, Latin American nations proposed a new regional bloc--­excluding the U.S. and ­Canada--to serve as an alternative to the Washington-dominated Organization of American States. Predictably, the leaders of Venezuela and Bolivia praised the step as an emancipation from U.S. "imperialism." But even moderate players such as Brazil and Mexico seemed to agree that the region's interests--especially its trade interests--might benefit from fewer ties to its big, recession-plagued neighbor to the north. Latin America is hardly alone in this epiphany. Asia has long toyed with the idea of a trade bloc, but for years the notion was hampered by Japanese and Chinese infighting, as well as Tokyo's and Seoul's eagerness to forge stronger ties to the American market. But experts say the recession has made Asia realize it can no longer rely on the U.S. to consume its exports. To counteract declining trade volume with the U.S., China and others have started engaging...
  • Who Administered Obama’s Physical? Not Sharon Begley

    Via Politico’s Live Pulse, the Archives of Internal Medicine has a great editorial this week calling attention to Obama's bad example setting in his most recent physical (no, not that whole smoking thing). Rita Redberg of the University of California, San Francisco, is dismayed that Obama received “2 cutting edge, expensive diagnostic tests that exposed him to a radiation risk while likely providing no benefit to his care.” The culprits: a CT scan for coronary calcium (the radiation of which will increase Obama’s lifetime likelihood of cancer) and a colon-cancer screening (not recommended for men in the president’s age group). More from Redberg: Inadvertently, but perhaps fittingly, the reports of Mr. Obama's physical examination reflect some of the key challenges facing health care reform today … Some might defend these tests on the grounds that the President, of all people, deserves the very best our healthcare system can provide, but that would miss the point: more care...
  • Bye-Bye Spies, Says Dubai

    Police in the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai have advised all foreign spies to get out of town—and preferably out of the region—within a week. Although it is widely known in international spy circles, news of the expulsion threat has received little circulation beyond media in the Arab world. However, Gulf News, a newspaper based in Dubai, said the demand that foreign spies leave the area was confirmed to it by Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai's police chief and leader of the investigation into the murder....
  • Why Won't Whitman Meet the Press?

    Has Meg Whitman come down with a case of Palinitis? On Tuesday, the former eBay CEO and current candidate for California's Republican gubernatorial nomination swung by a Union Pacific train facility in Oakland—and invited the press along for the ride. In politics, this sort of invitation generally implies that the candidate and the correspondents will interact at some point. But not, apparently, in Whitman's case. When the aspiring pol concluded her stilted chat with railroad officials, the press corps, which had been dutifully recording the conversation, began to pepper her with questions. Whitman stiffened, and a strained smile froze on her face. Her eyes darted to the back of the room.  "Yeeaaah," Whitman said. "I think we're not going to take questions this very minute." "Why is that?" shouted the reporters. Whitman forced herself to laugh, but otherwise she was speechless. Suddenly, staffers began to herd the press corps out of the...