December 11th, 2009
04:07 PM ET

Senate version of the health care bill


The health care bill being negotiated in the Senate would allow caps on annual insurance benefits, reversing a previous version of the plan that would have prevented insurance companies from establishing such limits, according to three Democratic aides.

Go here to view the Senate's full version of the health care bill.

Filed under: Health Care
December 11th, 2009
01:14 PM ET

Health care reform: sifting through the suboptimal solutions

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/17/health.care/art.obama.health.care.cnn.jpg caption="President Obama has been putting health care at the top of his domestic agenda."]

Arianna Huffington
The Huffington Post

editor’s note: Arianna will be on the show tonight to discuss politics.

If the fight over health care reform has proven anything, it's just how broken our system has become - from the crippling influence of money on our politics to the way the modern misuse of the filibuster has taken away the power of the duly elected majority and handed it to a handful of bought-and-paid-for senators (yes, I'm talking about you Joe Lieberman).

This disturbing and destructive state of affairs has created a country that is, in the words of Tom Friedman, "only able to produce 'suboptimal' responses to its biggest problems."

And that's where we find ourselves on health care as we head towards the legislative end game. The big optimal solutions have all been gutted - and we are left to pick through the patchwork of suboptimal ones.


Filed under: Health Care • President Barack Obama
December 11th, 2009
12:27 PM ET

50on50: The Bible on the Demo


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/11/art.50on50.rabbi.jpg caption="Rabbi Michael Beyo."]

Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

Yesterday it was a Nobel Laureate emailing me with ammunition here to take down the 18-49 year old “demo.”

Today, the clergy is beginning to weigh in.

This is what Rabbi Michael Beyo emailed me.

“God understood very well that the 18-49 age demographic is not the real important one, but that the older people are the true demographic to follow.”

How does Rabbi Beyo know this? What evidence does he believe God provides?

I’m glad you asked.

Rabbi Beyo:

“God, in His infinite knowledge – (and in this case we can say His infinite Marketing knowledge) – knew very well how to market to the world His message and His teachings.”

Here’s a sampling of the Biblical messages chosen by Rabbi Beyo that relate to the ultimate demo.


Filed under: Michael Schulder
December 11th, 2009
12:01 PM ET

The blind side ... of Congress

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Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

As a journalist, I’m used to being pushed around in the polls. It’s OK. I know you don’t like us much. You have doubts about the media’s integrity, trustworthiness, and honesty, and frankly there are times when I do too; when I want to say, “Move over. Make some room on that pew for me.”

Yet the good folks at Gallup have given my profession an early holiday gift that is lifting spirits in newsrooms coast to coast. A new poll shows that you, the public, consider members of Congress much less trustworthy than journalists. The House crowd was already in the ethics ICU, but now they are practically in need of life support.

Among the professions Gallup tested, nurses were the most trusted. Doctors, police officers and clergy, also took predictably high slots on the list. But then comes the bad news for the legislative bunch. Chiropractors, bankers, lawyers, advertising types, even insurance salespeople, and stockbrokers are all rated as more ethical. Congress members are down in the basement near HMO operators and car salesman.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Opinion • Raw Politics • Tom Foreman
December 11th, 2009
11:58 AM ET
December 11th, 2009
11:40 AM ET
December 11th, 2009
11:30 AM ET

Dear President Obama #326: A brilliant speech

Reporter's Note: President Obama gave a big speech about war and peace (the subjects, not the novel) as he accepted his Nobel Prize. I have not been given any medals but have some thoughts on the matter anyway in my daily letter to the White House.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/10/art.bonobel1210.gi.jpg]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

That was a crackerjack speech, I must say! You know that I don’t just mindlessly applaud all you do, and lately, I’ve thought that you were kind of losing your touch, what with those rather pedestrian addresses about health care reform and all, but this one was spot on the money. Presidential, well-thought out, easy to dance to…I’ll give it a ten, Dick!

But seriously, I really thought it was marvelous, not only for the beautifully chosen words and phrases, but for the depth of the thoughts as well. Acknowledging the controversy over the Nobel Prize being awarded to you right from the get go was a masterstroke. It not only robbed your naysayers of the right to criticize so sharply, but in a strange way formed an alliance with them, by making it clear that you too have doubts about your worthiness so early in your presidency. Speaking freely too about the international eyebrow raising that, in some quarters, surrounds any military action by the United States was also a fine approach.


December 11th, 2009
11:26 AM ET

A Nobel for a post-American president

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/europe/10/09/nobel.peace.prize/art.jagland.obama.afp.gi.jpg caption="Chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize committee Thorbjorn Jagland holds a picture of President Obama."]

Rich Benjamin
Special to CNN

This year's Nobel Peace Prize delivered a challenge that must be particularly familiar and vexing to our loquacious president: to not just give a good speech, but to produce results.

By awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel committee is championing a "post-American" outlook that the president personifies. Its gamble stakes the prize's prestige on the hopes that its ennobled recipient will then achieve real diplomatic gains.

The committee insists that the medal acknowledges the president's achievements. But if you read between the lines, it is really applauding a sensibility: American cosmopolitanism.

With his knockabout childhood and knowledge of Indonesian, language to the most populous Muslim-majority nation in the world, Obama is this nation's first post-American president.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: President Barack Obama
December 11th, 2009
11:17 AM ET

Think economy, jobs in climate debate

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/TECH/science/12/07/climate.clark/story.factory.smoke.afp.gi.jpg caption="Delegates are gathering in Copenhagen, Denmark, to reach a consensus on a global warming treaty." width=300 height=169]

Thomas J. Donohue
Special to CNN

There's been a lot of gloom surrounding the climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, and let's face it, some of it is well-founded. Trying to get 192 countries to agree on a new treaty would be tough even in the best of economic times, and these aren't the best of economic times.

Nevertheless, I remain optimistic that a workable climate change agreement is possible over time if the governments and business communities agree on some fundamental principles. Let me suggest what some of those principles should be.

First, whatever we do should not harm our economies or destroy jobs. Our policies must embrace the aspirations of people everywhere for a better life. We should never stand in the way of progress that reduces poverty, measurably improves health and living conditions, and restores human dignity. The fact is, we can't have healthy environments without first having healthy economies.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Economy • Environmental issues • Job Market
December 11th, 2009
11:11 AM ET
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