What's the Latest Development?

Columnist Margaret Wente elaborates on a recent scandal involving American doctors accused of having a serious conflict of interest. While she says it is very rare for doctors to contradict their colleagues' findings, a group of whistle blowers has accused surgeons of downplaying the dangers of a potentially harmful treatment used during spinal surgery. The treatment uses technology created by the private medical company Medtronic, Inc. which has collectively given a group of 15 surgeons over $60 million dollars in unrelated work. 

What's the Big Idea?

Wente was born in the U.S. but now lives in Toronto, Canada. While she loves to visit her native land, she says she is glad not to live there. For her, America faces a crisis of political leadership. The country seems unable to solve even its most basic problems. From the wrangling over the debt ceiling to a healthcare system that, to quote Warren Buffet, "is like a tapeworm eating at our economic body," America has increasingly been handed over to business interests at the expense of the common good of its citizens. Despite Chicago's glistening hospitals, she says, its society is nearly bankrupt.