A few days ago, Dan Ariely of Duke University, was on NPR to discuss his research on the way doctors make decisions, which mirrors the troubling ways consumers make decisions. If a pizza menu starts with the pie with everything, then descends into options with fewer and fewer toppings, people will order more toppings than if they're looking at a menu that puts the plain pie at the top.
Today's Washington Post features a piece by two Democratic pollsters, Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen, advising Democrats to jettison health-care reform, because "the battle for public opinion has been lost. Comprehensive health care has been lost. If it fails, as appears possible, Democrats will face the brunt of the electorate's reaction. If it passes, however, Democrats will face a far greater calamitous reaction at the polls."
Lots of people, myself included, have lamented the fact that for all America's dominance of the Internet, there are other countries, like South Korea, where they have better broadband service than we do. But when you look at the entire globe, it's obvious that the world is divided into Internet haves, and Internet have-nots. Play around with this interactive data visualization from Google:
Progressives surely understand by now that Barack Obama has no intention of making the rhetorical case for progressivism a theme of his presidency. This is a continuing disappointment; if he spent as much time attacking conservatism as, say, Ronald Reagan did attacking liberalism, we might actually be able to change our national conversation on the role of government. And unfortunately, what ought to be the most powerful tool in that effort -- strong policy -- may have only limited effect.
Now that it's looking like there's not much they can do to stop health-care reform (if it does go down, it will be because of recalcitrant centrist Democrats), Republicans have taken to warning their opponents that if HCR passes, it will mean electoral doom for Democrats. So here's a question some intrepid interviewer might ask as a follow-up when they repeat this: