FROM Elisabeth Rosenthal
The Affordable Care Act and the Skyrocketing Cost of Healthcare When it comes to healthcare, Americans spend a lot more than people in other industrialized countries, so why are we less healthy? Operations and treatments, from hip implants to colonoscopies, are more expensive here, and the costs are rising. Will Obamacare make a difference? It's similar to Mitt Romney's program in Massachusetts. Are costs coming down there? Are people satisfied with their health insurance? If the US spent as much on social programs as those other industrialized countries, could a healthier population spend less on the medical system?
Oil and Gas Boom Reshapes US Energy Landscape Turns out it was old news to energy experts, but this week's report from the International Energy Agency has a lot of others revising their thinking about the domestic production of oil and what it will mean for jobs and the economy. Until now, it's been conventional wisdom that Saudi Arabia would be the world's leading producer of oil until 2035. Now, the Agency says the US will surpass that country in just five years . America's boom in oil and natural gas is being compared to the tech boom of the 1990's, with the unexpected capacity to create new jobs and accelerate economic recovery. But it's already bad news for the environment and lifestyles in many places — and it could drastically set back efforts to cope with global warming.
America's Oil Boom: the Economy and the Environment When the President and Mitt Romney talked about "energy independence" during the recent campaign, it had the sound of an unattainable promise. Now the International Energy Agency says the US will surpass Saudi Arabia's oil production in just five years and be "all but energy self-sufficient" soon after. That means new jobs and economic growth, but renewable fuels and increased efficiency will also have to be part of the picture. If they're not, there could be drastic consequences for the environment and climate change.
Global Warming Reveals Oil, Gas and Rare Metals in the Arctic The rapid melting of Arctic ice has triggered political and economic competition among the world's great powers. Even China is getting into the act. Is the US holding its own? Can a remote and massive part of the world be preserved as well as developed?
Developing the Last Frontier without Destroying It With Arctic ice melting at a record pace and faster than scientists ever expected, outposts once thought of as barren wastelands are becoming new arenas for superpower competition for oil, gas, and minerals needed for high technology. Northern shipping lanes will be cutting traffic through the Panama Canal, and there's concern that the US is falling behind. But the Arctic will still be one of the most delicate, unpredictable regions on Earth, vulnerable to minor mistakes that can turn into major catastrophes. Can efforts at preservation keep up with development? We get a progress report.
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
Truth and Lies in Trumpland Donald Trump is using mis-information like no President has before him. It's an unprecedented challenge to the news media, and a potential threat to democracy. We hear how the "leader of all the people" is dividing Americans and confusing the rest of the world.