What's going on – News Roundup

Early Wednesday Morning News Roundup
  • The economic stimulus package passed the Senate yesterday by a 61-37 vote, which was no surprise. Lawmakers begin now the difficult task of reconciling the two versions of the bill. Remember that both the House and the Senate will vote on the compromise bill and if it passes both Houses then the bill goes to President Obama.
  • Progressives and moderates seemed to like President Obama‘s news conference yesterday. Predictably, conservatives — not so much.
  • Overseas — just to prove that the Bush administration did not corner the market on government scandals, Taiwan’s former first lady has admitted to laundering $2.2 million. To make matters worse, her husband is in jail and her son has already pleaded guilty to corruption charges.
  • An internal Pakistani memo suggests that five of the 10 gunmen who attacked Mumbai, India three months ago were from Pakistan. Tensions between Pakistan and India remain high.
  • There is a provision in the economic stimulus package, back here in the United States, that has set aside $1.1 billion for research comparing medical treatments/drugs/devices. The pharmaceutical industry and the medical device industry are not interested in such research projects. They are gearing up to pressure lawmakers to take this provision out of the bill while lawmakers from the House and Senate reconcile the two versions. I think this is a small window into what is going to become a much larger fight as president Barack Obama and the Democrats are planning on health-care reform.
  • Just when you thought you’ve heard the last of Sarah Palin and Trooper-Gate it appears that the state Attorney General is resigning. Oh, by the way, Governor Palin was invited to speak at that big conservative convention (CPAC). Interestingly, she has declined the offer and will instead send a video.
  • Yesterday, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner rolled out what was supposed to be the administration’s plan to fixing our banking system and take care of toxic debt. Unfortunately, it appears that the plan was not all that detailed. I was somewhat disappointed but, more importantly, Wall Street had a hissy fit. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down over 300 points. Remember, is the third major speech that we’ve heard from a Secretary of the Treasury on how they plan to fix our financial crisis. Each time, they have failed to come up with a clear and concise plan. Noble prize-winning economist Paul Krugman was less than impressed. With luck, over the next several days, Secretary Geithner will begin filling in the details.

NBC’s Brian Williams interviews Timothy Geithner.  Watch:

  • Agriculture Secretary (former governor of Iowa) Tom Vilsack is thinking about combining the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the portion of the FDA responsible for food inspection. It sounds reasonable. Maybe, just maybe we can actually get some food inspection going on. There’s a nice article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the FDA’s failure to regulate this particular plant over an eight-year period.  Spoiler alert – Bush administration didn’t enforce regulations.
  • Elections are over in Israel. It appears that the Kadima party has won first place. Benjamin Netanyahu, former prime minister, and his Likud party have come in a close second. It is going to be interesting to see if the coalition government can be formed.
  • CNN’s Campbell Brown has always been somewhat of a joke to me. I’ve never looked at her as a serious news anchor. She expressed outrage over a trip that Wells Fargo executives took to Las Vegas. In my opinion, outrage has little or no consequence to these bank executives. Hefty fines. Now, that’s something they will understand. Until we can get fines from aiding oversight commission that is looking at the billions of dollars that we’ve handed out to these financial institutions, we are wasting our breath.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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