Imagine that your two best friends are British and Canadian tobacco addicts. The Brit battles lung cancer. The Canadian endures emphysema and wheezes as he walks around with clanging oxygen canisters. You probably would not think: "Maybe I should pick up smoking."
While that response would be highly irrational, the fact that America even is considering government medicine is equally wacky. The state guides healthcare for our two closest allies: Great Britain and Canada. Like us, these are prosperous, industrial, Anglophone democracies. Nevertheless, compared to America, they suffer higher death rates for diseases, their patients experience severe pain, and they ration medical services.
Look what you're missing in the U.K.:
The percentage of U.S. homeowners who owe more than their house is worth will nearly double to 48 percent in 2011 from 26 percent at the end of March, portending another blow to the housing market, Deutsche Bank said on Wednesday.
Home price declines will have their biggest impact on prime "conforming" loans that meet underwriting and size guidelines of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the bank said in a report. Prime conforming loans make up two-thirds of mortgages, and are typically less risky because of stringent requirements.
What does the country really need? That is the question of the hour in this the summer of our discontent.
Thomas R. Marshall, vice president of the United States under President Woodrow Wilson from 1913-21, once made the mistake of answering this question.
Apparently a likable man, he was a progressive governor of Indiana in his time, and he had a sense of humor, which always brings the chance of trouble.
Unfortunately, it was his fate to be remembered for one impish remark: "What this country really needs is a good five-cent cigar."
Erik Prince, the fanatical right-wing founder of mercenary contractor Blackwater Worldwide, murdered at least one informant who cooperated with federal investigators probing the company's illegal operations in Iraq and may have killed more, two former employees say.
The two former employees, one an ex-Marine, say Prince was guilty of many crimes while he ran the massive "security" company that murdered civilians in Iraq and lost its contract with the State Department because of that incident and other abuses.
Prince has resigned from the company,which now operates under a new name, Xe. Xe recently obtained contracts to guard American ships from piracy.
One of the more obnoxious tactics of the left, especially the student left, during the 1960s and '70s was to disrupt the meetings of those with whom they disagreed -- on the war, race, feminism, whatever -- until finally the targeted speaker gave up and left.
You would have hoped we had learned our lesson, but apparently not.
With funding and staff support from advocacy groups opposed to health-care reform in particular and the Obama administration in particular, organized groups have been showing up at congressional town-hall meetings held mostly by Democrats in favor of health-care reform.
Former president Bill Clinton arrived in North Korea on Tuesday on a surprise mission to free two jailed US journalists, in what was the highest-profile visit by an American to Pyongyang for nearly a decade.
"Our interest is the successful completion of this issue and to confirm the safe return of the two journalists," a US official travelling separately with the ex-president's wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, told reporters.
The official added Clinton's visit to Pyongyang would likely be short but refused to give more details. South Korea's Munhwa Ilbo newspaper said he was expected to return to Washington on Wednesday.
The National Safety Council advocates a total ban on all cell-phone use while driving. Further, a study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis estimated that 6 percent of vehicle crashes, causing 2,600 deaths and 12,000 serious injuries a year, are attributable to cell-phone use.
As a daily commuter, I often find myself, through no fault of my own, placed in life-threatening situations resulting from some cell-telephone user's inattention to the task at hand. Since my safety, and that of my fellow travelers, depends upon other drivers' concentration and consideration, it is clearly time for appropriate legislative action to end this very real and, unfortunately, increasingly common menace.
Why would anybody be surprised -- and some in Congress apparently are -- that the government's "Cash for Clunkers" program is wildly successful?
True, the American people can sometimes be a trifle dense about economic matters -- we want a whole lot of government services, but we don't want to pay any money for them. But Cash for Clunkers in any case doesn't make a great deal of sense economically. The American public does, however, have a ready grasp of the concept of free money.
He's become a publicity nightmare for CNN, embarrassed his boss and hosted a show that seemed to contradict the network's "no bias" brand. And on top of all that, his ratings are slipping.
How does Lou Dobbs keep his job?
It's not a simple answer. CNN insists it is standing behind Dobbs, despite calls for his head from critics of his reporting on "birthers" — those who believe President Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States despite convincing evidence to the contrary. The "birthers" believe Obama was born in Kenya, and thus not eligible to be president.
Dobbs' work has been so unpopular that even Ann Coulter has criticized him.
This was one government stimulus plan that yielded quick results. Maybe too quick.
Far more drivers signed up for the "cash for clunkers" program than anyone thought, overwhelming showrooms, blowing through the initial $1 billion set aside by Congress and leaving dealers panicked over when or if the government would make good on the hefty rebates.
Confusion reigned, even as dollars flowed into dealerships starved for business for months.