The Obama administration is sending mixed signals on its commitment to publicly funded, government-run health insurance as a supposedly indispensable component of health-care reform.
Over the weekend, President Obama said that the public option was not "the entirety" of health-care reform, and his secretary of Health and Human Services said that the public option was not the "essential element" of reform and suggested that instead the administration might be open to health-care cooperatives as an alternative. And Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs indicated that the public option might be only one way of achieving the administration's overriding goal of choice and competition.
The problem that President Obama was about to address was unconscionably big and growing worse: The huge backlog of Veterans' Affairs benefits claims filed by men and women who once fought America's battles -- only to discover they now must battle their own government, just to get what they already earned.
And the setting and audience where the president would be unveiling his plan for resolving the problem was also big, and appropriate: A speech to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, gathered in Phoenix on Monday, plus all those watching on cable news television.
Some of the nation's biggest advertisers are distancing themselves from Fox News host Glenn Beck after he called President Obama a racist during a July 28 broadcast.
Geico has pulled its ads from Fox News Channel's "The Glenn Beck Program." Lawyers.com, which is owned by LexisNexis, also has vowed not to advertise during the program, according to Color of Change, an African-American online political organization that has been urging advertisers to stop supporting the show.
Additionally, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance and SC Johnson all said their ad placements during the broadcast were made in error and that they would correct the mistake.
Let's hope the drafters of health-care reform have the political courage to stand up to the "death panel" crowd.
However, there is evidence that the strident mischaracterization of a useful provision in the bill is having an effect. Simply put, the provision says that if you choose to discuss end-of-life issues with your doctor, Medicare will pay for the visit. And it will pay for one such session every five years, more often for someone who is seriously ill.
The Obama administration has signaled that it might accept health care cooperatives instead of a government-run health insurance program to compete with private insurers.
Interest groups disagree on whether such co-ops would have enough negotiating clout to help consumers without threatening private insurance companies. Here, in question and answer form, is a look at the issue based on interviews with several authorities, including the chief proponent of health co-ops, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D.
South Carolina Republican Bob Inglis, frustrated by a restive crowd at a recent forum to discuss health care reform, suggested people turn off the TV when Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck came on.
Judging by the escalating boos and catcalls, squirting lighter fluid on burning coals would have been wiser. Beck is a hero to many people who are not buying the Age of Obama, and so is Fox. The network was already on pace for its best ratings year even before the health care debate sent viewership jumping during a traditionally slow month for news.
American consumer gloom deepened in early August as worry about scarce jobs and falling income overshadowed positive news that industrial output in July grew for the first time in nine months.
The latest data on Friday pointed to a sluggish recovery at best with little or no help to come from embattled consumers.
Former Democratic Senator and Presidential candidate John Edwards will finally admit he fathered the daughter of his admitted former mistress, unidentified sources tell a Raleigh TV station.
WRAL-TV cited sources Friday, reporting the man who won the Vice Presidential nomination in 2004 and ran briefly for President in 2008 before dropping out of the Democratic primary race will admit he is the fater of the 18-month-old daughter of former campaign videographer Rielle Hunter.
Americans at county fairs are friendly and nice. Americans at family reunions are fabulous. Americans at town-hall meetings? Not so great.
August being the month for all three, we are seeing a particularly dark side of ourselves this month.
The Fox News boys and other imitators of "fair and unbiased" media have had a field day with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's minor rhetorical misstep in the Congo earlier this week. I'm speaking of her angry response to a misinterpreted question from a student while visiting that war-torn land -- more on that part of her trip below.
But the unfortunate part of this headline-grabbing minute is that it obscured the vastly more important work she is doing to help the Congo and particularly Congolese women. I've covered women in international politics for some 20 years now, and I've never heard of atrocities as mendacious, perverted and quite frankly insane as those committed against the women of the Congo.