The Trouble With Lieberman

In 2006 incumbent Connecticut Senator—and former Vice Presidential candidate—Joe Lieberman lost in the Democratic primaries to Ned Lamont, a relative unknown who had challenged Lieberman's support of the Patriot Act and the Iraq war. Unwilling to accept the results, Lieberman ran in the general election as an independent against his old party's own candidate, explaining that he was doing so not out of personal ambition but out of loyalty to his state, to his country, and—implausibly—to the Democratic Party. He managed to win re-election to the Senate in spite of the fact that almost twice as many Democrats voted for Lamont, mostly because—with the support of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck—he was able to get 70% of the state's Republican vote.

Although Joe Lieberman continued to caucus with the Senate Democrats, he campaigned for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in last year's presidential elections and even spoke at the Republican National Convention. And this week Lieberman told ABC news that he would support some Republican candidates for Congress in 2010. In spite of all this, the Senate Democratic Caucus agreed to allow him to continue on as chair of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.


Now Joe Lieberman has threatened not only to vote against the Democrats health care reform package, but also to support a Republican filibuster of it. As Nate Silver says, this is tantamount to electoral suicide. As it is, a Daily Kos poll found Ned Lamont would beat him soundly if the 2006 election were held again today. And another recent poll shows that fully 64% of Connecticut voters support a public option. Opposing the Democrats' health care plan would practically guarantee a serious challenger in the 2012 election, prompting Stephen Colbert to joke that Lieberman won't "let the voters push him around."

But as Maura Keaney points out, Lieberman's opposition to the health care package stands to benefit Connecticut's powerful health insurance industry. He has also received more than $1,000,000 in donations from the health insurance lobby—and, of course, his wife Hadassah is a senior counselor in a public relations company's health and pharmaceutical practice. Timothy Noah likewise accuses Lieberman of a being a pawn of the insurance industry.

Progressive groups like Credo Action have already renewed their call to have Lieberman stripped of his committee chairmanship. Although the Democratic leadership have been reluctant to punish him for allying himself with Republicans. But if they really do want to pass a real health care bill, they will have to show that there is a cost to working to block their legislation.

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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22 months of war - condensed in a 1-minute video

No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap

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  • Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
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Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
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Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

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How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

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