Sunday, September 06, 2009

Obama's "Public Option"

The public option portion of U.S. President Barack Obama's health reform plan is key to the promises made by Obama during his election campaign. The president promised "universal healthcare," the proper definition of which was something the candidates often sparred over. The public option is the component of the health care program that provides something that can be considered relatively "universal."

The public option is brought on international comparisons -- first with Canada and more recently with the NHS public system in the United Kingdom. Conservatives have used the term "socialist" or "socialized" to describe these systems with the obvious intent of stirring up old Cold War sentiments.

Will Obama keep his promise?

Obviously Obama cannot force legislators to vote one way or another. However, there are many progressives who believe the president should stand firm on the public option even if it means risking losing out in the end.

During the campaign, Obama promised:

  • Universal healthcare, which is now represented by the public option
  • A health care option available to everyone that would be comparable to that he and other senators enjoyed in Congress.

Now, one of the options offered has been to use non-profit co-ops instead of a government-run insurance system. Such little information has been released on this idea that it's difficult to tell whether it could actually be considered "universal." Unless the co-ops were forced to accept everyone, then it cannot be considered universal. Also, whether the government would be able to maintain high quality using non-profit organizations is also a big question. It might be more cost-effective in the end run to use a government-run public option.

The lack of universal heathcare is one of the factors driving medical costs in the United States through the roof. Uninsured people are using expensive emergency rooms services currently as their healthcare "option." Low quality insurance is also leading to a large and rapidly expanding population of underinsured people who are going bankrupt in droves as they are unable to pay for their medical bills. A public option would help address these important issues that are weighting down on an already badly-bruised economic system.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Mt. Redoubt showing signs of possible eruption

Mount Redoubt in Alaska is rumbling and scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey say that it could erupt at any time.

Steam is reportedly rising out of the old vent from the 1989 eruption that dropped a layer of ash on Anchorage and damaged flying aircraft as far as Texas.

Authorities have warned residents living around the Cook Inlet area to take precautions against the possibility of a similar ash cloud that can harm the respiratory system and clog vehicle intakes.

New York Daily News

What's Happening Beneath Alaska's Mount Redoubt
FOXNews - 5 hours ago
By Jeanna Bryner Mount Redoubt volcano in Alaska could erupt within days to weeks, say scientists at the US Geological Survey, amazing the rest of us with ...
Video: Alaska Residents Prepare for Possible EruptionAssociatedPress

Mount Redoubt volcano in Alaska still rumbling but no eruption yet Los Angeles Times

Alaskans brace for Redoubt Volcano eruption The Associated Press

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fidel Castro trusts Barack Obama

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro says he does not doubt the sincerity of U.S. President Barack Obama in an editorial posted on the Juventud Rebelde Web site.

I personally harbor no doubt of the honesty with which Obama expressed his ideas,” Castro wrote. “However, despite his noble intentions, some questions remain unanswered. Like, how can a wasteful, consumerist system protect the environment.”

Obama promised to lift some restrictions currently in place against Cuba without ending the embargo that has lasted more than half a century.

BBC News

Fidel Castro Says He Harbors No Doubts About Obama’s Honesty
Bloomberg - 1 hour ago
By Daniel Cancel Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, in his first editorial in five weeks, said he has no doubt that US President Barack Obama is honest and has “noble intentions.
Video: Fidel's Doing Well? CBS
Castro Ends Silence, Praises Obama Voice of America

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ice storms and cold rock much of U.S.

Ice storms disabled much of New England, and now new ice storms are moving through Illinois and the Midwest.

Winter storms are expected to march across the country from West to East bringing severe cold and ice storms.

Winter Storm Ices Roads, Closes Schools
CBS2 Chicago, IL - 16 hours ago
CHICAGO (AP) ― A fast-moving winter storm delivered Illinois its coldest day of the season on Monday and coated roads in a thin sheet of ice that made for ...
Winter storm ices Illinois roads, leads to fatal accidents; more ... WREX-TV
Take precautions before hitting the road Kankakee Daily Journal
Winter storm ices Illinois roads, leads to fatal accident; more ... WAND

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

U.S. forces deal in Iraq collapsing

Talks between Iraq and the United States on the presence of American troops in the country are breaking down according to Iraqi officials.

The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) gives a legal basis for the US troop presence after the United Nations mandate expires on December 31.

With parliamentary elections coming up, many Iraqi voters see the deal as a prelude to colonialism and candidates fear voter wrath if they support the agreement. Washington may attempt to renew teh UN security mandate if the SOFA talks fail.

Daily Star - Lebanon

Deal on American presence in Iraq close to collapse
Times Online - 3 hours ago
Senior Iraqi politicians have warned that a crucial deal between Baghdad and Washington governing the presence of American troops in the country is doomed to failure after five months of talks.
Video: Inside Story - Iraq security deal - Oct 24 - Part 1 AlJazeeraEnglish
Iraq, SOFA and Mideast godfathers PRESS TV

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

United States will host global financial meeting

US President George W. Bush appeared with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso at Camp David to announce a global financial summit.

World leaders will explore ways of preventing a repeat of the current financial meltdown in the future.
US 'to host global finance talks' - 38 minutes ago
George Bush, the US president, will offer to host an international conference in the US tasked with overcoming the global financial crisis, a senior administration official said.
Bush to host world summit on financial crisis CNN International
Bush Will Host a Summit on Global Financial Crisis (Update2)Bloomberg

U.S. President George W. Bush (C), French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) and European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso are pictured during remarks to the press before their meeting at the Presidential retreat at Camp David, October 18, 2008. Bush said on Saturday he would host a global summit in the near future to look at strategies to combat the global financial crisis. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (C) addresses the media as U.S. President George W. Bush (L) and European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso looks on after their arrival at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, October 18, 2008. Bush said on Saturday he would host a global summit in the near future to look at strategies to combat the global financial crisis. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)

President Bush, center, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso arrive for a statement on the world economy at Camp David Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008 in Camp David, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Afghan Casualties Exceed Iraq Toll

With Washington focusing on the downturn of violence in Iraq since the beginning of the "surge," fighting has more quietly increased in Afghanistan.

In June, more U.S. and NATO troops were killed than in Iraq for the second straight month.

U.S. presidential candidate John McCain has touted the surge as a successful strategy in his campaign speeches.

US, NATO deaths in Afghanistan pass Iraq toll (AP)

In a Wednesday, June 25, 2008 file photo, Canadian soldiers with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) leave an armored vehicle as an Afghan helicopter flies overhead in the Arghandab district after it was recaptured by NATO and Afghan troops from Taliban militants last week in Kandahar province, south of Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq, File)AP - Militants killed more U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan in June than in Iraq for the second straight month, a grim milestone capping a run of headline-grabbing insurgent attacks that analysts say underscore the Taliban's growing strength.

Other news from the region:

Washington Post

Would-be Karzai assassins were Afghans
United Press International - 3 hours ago
KABUL, Afghanistan, June 30 (UPI) -- The alleged members of an assassination plot against Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai were mostly government employees, officials said.
No Afghan peace while Taliban have sanctuary - NATO Reuters
Afghan officials linked to attempt on Karzai’s life The Post

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