In trying to rally support for health care overhaul, Obama described a patient who sees a physician for a sore throat, or a parent who brings in a child with a sore throat. “Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that’s out there. … The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, ‘You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out,'” Obama told a prime-time news conference.
Democrats are preventing Republican House Members from sending their constituents a mailing that is critical of the majority’s health care reform plan, blocking the mailing by alleging that it is inaccurate. House Republicans are crying foul and claiming that the Democrats are using their majority to prevent GOP Members from communicating with their constituents. The dispute centers on a chart created by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Republican staff of the Joint Economic Committee to illustrate the organization of the Democratic health care plan.
North Korea launched a scathing personal attack on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday after she likened the leadership in Pyongyang to “small children and unruly teenagers and people who are demanding attention.” (SNIP) The spokesman called Clinton “by no means intelligent” and a “funny lady.” “Sometimes she looks like a primary schoolgirl and sometimes a pensioner going shopping,” the statement said.
Two northern New Jersey mayors, several rabbis and other politicians were arrested on Thursday in a federal investigation into public corruption and international money laundering, U.S. authorities said. Among the approximately 30 people arrested were Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, who took office 23 days ago, Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, state Assemblyman Daniel Van Pelt and Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
A detailed, functional artificial human brain can be built within the next 10 years, a leading scientist has claimed. Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project, has already simulated elements of a rat brain. He told the TED Global conference in Oxford that a synthetic human brain would be of particular use finding treatments for mental illnesses. Around two billion people are thought to suffer some kind of brain impairment, he said. “It is not impossible to build a human brain and we can do it in 10 years,” he said.
Six people were shot Wednesday night, none fatally, on the Texas Southern University campus during an event recognizing a Houston area rapper, school and police officials said. University spokeswoman Eva Pickens said university officials were told that the shootings, which occurred at about 8:30 p.m. at Cleburne and Tierwester, near the East Garage, were gang-related. At least one of the people shot attended TSU, she said, adding that none of the injuries were life-threatening.
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Occidental Petroleum Corp. said it had discovered oil and natural gas in a Kern County field that might represent the biggest find in California in more than 35 years. The nation’s fourth-biggest oil company said Wednesday that it had found the equivalent of 150 million to 250 million barrels of oil, adding that two-thirds of the new source was believed to be natural gas.
ACORN engaged in a scheme to use taxpayer money to support a partisan political agenda, according to a new report from Republicans on a House oversight committee. The report, to be released Thursday afternoon, accuses ACORN of fraudulent activities and widespread corruption and calls for a criminal investigation into the advocacy group. It offers the first detailed account of the allegations that have dogged the organization in recent months.
A Chinese worker leapt to his death after allegedly being beaten by security guards for mislaying a top-secret prototype of the latest Apple iPhone. Sun Danyong, 25, had been responsible for sending 16 of the fourth-generation mobile phones to Apple from the factory in Shenzhen, southern China, where he worked. Ten days ago he discovered that one of the models was missing and reported it to his employer, Foxconn Technology Group, a Taiwanese company that manufactures Apple products.
An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper was given five days’ suspension without pay for “conduct unbecoming an officer” following his role in a widely publicized scuffle with a paramedic in May. The suspension of Trooper Daniel Martin started Wednesday and is effective through Tuesday. He is also to undergo an anger management assessment, an OHP spokesman, reading from a statement, said during a news conference Wednesday evening in Stroud.
Mormons have not only posthumously baptized President Barack Obama’s mother into their faith, but they may have performed the ritual for the president’s African ancestors as well, including his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, according to researcher Helen Radkey. She has uncovered records in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s new FamilySearch database that include personalized identification numbers for Obama’s relatives, including his father, Barack Obama Sr. The president’s father was Muslim, but later in life became a nonbeliever, according to the family. Records in the FamilySearch database do not indicate if the “baptism for the dead” ceremony was actually performed in an LDS temple, saying only that the information is “not available.”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews got into a heated exchange with a congressman on his show Tuesday as he revisited the question of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate — or lack of one. Rep. John Campbell, R-Calif., is a co-sponsor of the so-called “birther bill,” which would require future presidential candidates to provide a copy of their original birth certificates. “Birthers” are those who believe Obama is not qualified to be president, based on a belief that he was not born in the United States. Campbell is not a “birther” and never has claimed that Obama was born outside the United States or should be disqualified from being president.
A South Florida town manager who married a porn star last year was fired at an emergency meeting after the mayor and council members learned about it. Fort Myers Beach town council voted 5-0 to fire Scott Janke “without cause” after Mayor Larry Kiker called the Tuesday night meeting. Kiker said he learned that afternoon that Janke’s wife is an adult film star, and the elected officials took the action a few hours later.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has pushed an ambitious green agenda and cast himself as a national environmental leader, routinely runs afoul of his own anti-pollution policy by letting his official SUVs idle, sometimes for more than an hour. In spot checks over the past week, Associated Press timed idling periods for the mayor’s city-owned SUVs, which shuttle him around the city or trail him when he takes the subway. The parked vehicles idled at least eight times for periods of 10 minutes to more than an hour.
On October 22, Microsoft will finally release a new version of Windows that will be as good as the deeply disappointing Windows Vista should have been when it came out in January 2007. The new edition, called Windows 7, is a big improvement over both Vista and the sturdy, 2001-vintage Windows XP still widely in use. It will give Apple’s long-superior Mac OS X operating system a run for its money (though Apple might maintain its edge with a new version, called Snow Leopard, due in September). But how will Windows users transition their current computers to the new Windows 7? While this latest operating system stresses simplicity, the upgrade process will be anything but simple for the huge base of average consumers still using XP, who likely outnumber Vista users. It will be frustrating, tedious and labor-intensive.
Toyota Motor Corp. reportedly has decided to cease operations at the Bay Area auto assembly plant it shares with General Motors Co., a move that would shutter the last remaining car plant in California. The Kyodo News agency, citing unidentified sources, said the Japanese automaker will begin talks with GM next week to dissolve the New United Motor Manufacturing Co., or NUMMI, which opened in 1984 as a 50-50 joint venture between Toyota and GM.
The number of newly laid-off workers seeking jobless benefits rose last week, though the government said its report again was distorted by the timing of auto plant shutdowns. Unemployment insurance claims have declined steadily since the spring, but most private economists and the Federal Reserve expect jobs to remain scarce and the unemployment rate to top 10 percent by year-end. The Labor Department said today that its tally of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 30,000 to a seasonally adjusted 554,000.
The top Democrat in the Senate says lawmakers won’t vote until after August on health care, a blow to President Barack Obama’s ambitious timetable. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Thursday the Finance Committee will act on its portion of the bill before Congress’ monthlong break.
Quote of the day.
Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that’s out there. … The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, ‘You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out.
-Barack Obama accusing doctors of thinking money first patients second during healthcare scam press conference.