Public Option Fails

After President Obama addressed Congress about healthcare reform (that would be the You Lie! speech), a live Q & A was hosted by White House Communications Director, Anita Dunn. Demonstrating the Administration’s technological savvy as well as my own, a question I submitted live, via Facebook, was put to Ms. Dunn. No, she replied, America would not look to Europe for a healthcare model.


But now that the Senate Finance Committee has rejected two different proposals for a public option, just where is America looking for its healthcare ideas? Apparently not to the public, a filibuster-beating 65% of whom support a public healthcare option according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

My American-living-in-Europe ears get hot when I hear a public healthcare debate centered on economic issues like “choice and competition”. Why doesn’t the Congress prefer the health care legislation which would ensure the greatest healthcare for the greatest number of people? Economic ideology does not precede people on The List of Things We Hold Dear.

It seems the Republic party is completely out to lunch on healthcare reform, so let’s look at the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee who voted against a public option today. Let’s look, too, at how much money they’ve received from health insurers, HMOs and the pharmaceutical industry in the last 20 years (all data is from the Center for Responsive Politics):

Max Baucus, Montana                $1,774,954

Tom Carper, Delaware                  $598,974

Kent Conrad, North Dakota           $630, 930

Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas             $650,724

Bill Nelson, Florida                       $276, 911

These numbers are not the only reason these Senators voted against a public option. John Kerry, who voted in favor of both public options proposed today, accepted much, much more money from the “healthcare” lobby during his run for the presidency.

For other first reactions to today’s public option disgrace, you can check out the Atlantic Wire.

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

Videos
  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

Project 100,000: The Vietnam War's cruel and deadly experiment

Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?

Flickr user Tommy Truong79
Politics & Current Affairs
  • During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
  • The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
  • Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
Keep reading Show less

China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Keep reading Show less