For the first time ever, Medicare released information on how it pays doctors. From my standpoint, I think this is a good thing. I think the American public needs to know how our government is spending our money. I know that the American Medical Association has fought this tooth and nail for years. As you can imagine, many doctors are not happy that their financial data is now out in the ethernet. You can read more about it here.
A meteor flared through the skies over Russia’s Chelyabinsk region early Friday, triggering an atomic bomb-sized shock wave that injured more than a thousand people, blew out windows and caused some Russians to fear the end of the world.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has gone out of his way to prove that my home state, the state in which I grew up, has no clue, no ethics and no brains.
The downfall of Jesse Jackson, Jr and his wife is deeply distressing. About six or eight years ago, I met Jesse Jackson Junior in Chicago. At the time, I was representing the Society of Critical Care Medicine in a commission sponsored by the American Medical Association, which was tasked with figuring out how to end healthcare disparities. The young Congressman spoke to us. He was thoughtful; he was passionate. Healthcare for all. He was talking about a constitutional amendment which would guarantee the right of healthcare for all. I thought this was going a little far, but his passion was infectious. This is so sad. In my opinion, it is different when someone has no future and turns to crime. Somehow, I can justify that in my mind. On the other hand, when somebody has an extremely bright future and is making good money but wants to make the money faster, wants to take shortcuts, that is extremely disheartening. You can read the federal charges here.
The nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense has been held up by Senate Republicans. On one hand, this has been explained as Senate Republicans showing that they can still flex their muscle as the majority party. (Here’s a relatively straightforward explanation.) From my standpoint, it’ll be interesting to see what the Obama administration is willing to give Senate Republicans in order to free up the Chuck Hagel nomination. I know that Senator McCain is still upset that Chuck Hagel didn’t play his little “yes or no” game. One of the reasons that I am not a senator is that I’m not sure I could have shown the necessary restraint. I think I would’ve told John McCain that the answer to his question was no. No, you’re not right. The war was not worth fighting. The number of men and women we lost in Iraq simply wasn’t worth it. The surge didn’t work. The purpose of the surge was to allow Iraqis to figure out how to live in peace. Instead, we allowed the Shiite Muslims to ethnically cleanse neighborhoods of anybody who didn’t worship like them. But, I digress.
Today kind of kept going and going. I will look over the healthcare legislation tomorrow. Right now, I will hold my nose and support it. I will address the rift in the progressive blogosphere, which I don’t think is necessarily bad.
* Tehran: “Iran’s most senior dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, has died, his grandson said Sunday. He was 87. Nasser Montazeri said his grandfather, who was seen as the spiritual father of Iran’s reform movement, died in his sleep overnight.”
* Hopefully, a good sign: “The hiring of temporary workers has surged, suggesting that the nation’s employers might soon take the next step, bringing on permanent workers, if they can just convince themselves that the upturn in the economy will be sustained.”
* President Obama’s Passenger Bill of Rights: “The federal government will impose big fines starting this spring on airlines that keep passengers waiting on the tarmac too long without feeding them or letting them off the plane. Airlines that let a plane sit on the tarmac for more than two hours without giving passengers food or water, or more than three hours without offering them the option of getting off, will face fines of $27,500 a passenger, the secretary of transportation announced on Monday.”
* Counter-terrorism: “On orders from President Barack Obama, the U.S. military launched cruise missiles early Thursday against two suspected al-Qaeda sites in Yemen, administration officials told ABC News in a report broadcast on ABC World News with Charles Gibson.”