Smart talk, May 14 

No thanks to him


In his latest newsletter to constituents, Rep. John Boozman, the lone Republican in the Arkansas delegation, discusses ways the unemployed and uninsured can get help with their health care needs during these rocky economic times.

From the newsletter: “Losing a job doesn't necessarily mean losing health insurance. A provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 makes health insurance more affordable for people involuntarily unemployed. The federal government will subsidize 65 percent of premiums for COBRA insurance plans for nine months. COBRA allows people to keep their employer provided health insurance for up to 18 months after they leave their job. The premium assistance applies to periods of health coverage beginning on or after February 17, 2009.”

What Boozman doesn't mention is that that he and other House Republicans opposed the act. Nice of him to let his constituents know about its provisions anyway.

The congressman had no comment for the Times.


Space 'maters


The University of Arkansas at Little Rock may get credit one day for providing astronauts their first BLT in space. Dr. Mariya Khodakovskaya, assistant professor of applied science, and Dr. Stephen Grace, associate professor of biology, have been working to create a cherry tomato with increased levels of the antioxidant lycopene and heart-healthy flavanoids and that is more drought-resistant. Now, Khoda-kovskaya, who's already grown cherry tomato plants aboard the International Space Station, and Grace, who researches plant metabolism, are about to patent their research. They hope their work will do more than provide healthy food to a crew en route to Mars: The research should have applications in creating more nutrient-rich and stress-tolerant crops on earth.





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