Leading up to the White House health-care "summit" on Feb. 25, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat -- trying hard to seem like a reasonable conservative -- offers a blueprint for bipartisanship:
The right seeks a functioning marketplace in health care, subsidized but not micromanaged by the government. However many small steps the Democratic legislation takes in that direction, its biggest step goes miles the other way — toward a world where consumers are required to buy a particular kind of health insurance, insurers are required to sell it to them, and the cost of health care gets held down, ultimately, by price controls and bureaucratic supervision.
The latest New York Times/CBS News poll has some predictably bad news for Obama -- falling approval ratings, particularly on the economy -- and some remarkably good news. For instance, when they asked respondents who is more responsible for the budget deficit -- which has become the rallying cry of the GOP, not to mention the tea baggers warning about our descent into socialism -- 41 percent said it was primarily the fault of the Bush administration, 24 percent said it was primarily the fault of Congress, and only 7 percent said it was the fault of the Obama administration. So that's one Republican message that isn't getting through.
On Wednesday, Google announced that it would be experimenting with building an ultra-high-speed broadband network -- delivering up to 1 gigabyte of data per second, which is about 20 times as fast as what most broadband subscribers get today -- serving somewhere between 50,000 and 500,000 lucky consumers in a small number of communities to be named later. "Imagine sitting in a rural health clinic, streaming three-dimensional medical imaging over the Web and discussing a unique condition with a specialist in New York," Google says. "Or downloading a high-definition, full-length feature film in less than five minutes.
Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration announced a new initiative to increase the safety of imaging devices that use radiation, like CT scans. This came about because of a New York Timesinvestigation detailing horrifying cases of patients being given overdoses of radiation when going in for routine scans. Hospitals are employing incredibly powerful equipment that can -- and has -- killed people if used incorrectly. The machinery sometimes lacks systems that would prevent these deaths, like an alarm telling the technician when they're about to deliver an overdose of radiation.