"TORT REFORM" ARGUMENTS -- ARE THEY EVER RIGHT? Brother Ezrahad a Slate piece this summer about the many empirical problems with the argument that capping medical malpractice suits would be a major source of cost reduction for the American medical system. (As Ezra points out, the overwhleming evidence against the idea that runaway malpractice awards drives up health care costs is amassed clearly and devastatingly in Tom Baker's terrific book, The Medical Malpractice Myth.)
PRESIDENTIAL FAITH ADVISER OUTED? Rev. Ted Haggard, pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs and president of the National Association of Evangelicals, is the target of accusations by Mike Jones, a male "escort," that the pastor has been a sexual client of Jones's for the last three years. Haggard belongs to the elite group of right-wing religious leaders party to regular Monday-morning conference calls with President Bush, according to reporter Jeff Sharlet, writing last year in Harper's.
TO LAURA. OK, in 2004, you came out and patted us all on the head and reassured us that all that icky stem-cell stuff wasn't something we should count on, no matter what beasties were lurking in our gene pools. Last week, you went back to that old stand, tut-tutting Michael J. Fox, simultaneously insulting him and condescending to every voter in Missouri. Then, there's this business yesterday.
FAILURE OF THE WILL. ViaThe Corner, conservative mil-pundit Ralph Peters has thrown in the towel on Iraq. What's revealing about the piece is that it's impossible to see why he bought into the Bush line in the first place. In a typical passage, Peters writes that "I believed that Arabs deserved a chance to build a rule-of-law democracy in the Middle East.
I know that I usually comment on the news after it's been reported, but I don't want to have to write tomorrow about how reporters missed a big story. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that productivity growth for the 3rd quarter was zero. I am always the first one to point out that quarterly productivity is poorly measured and highly erratic, but the rate of productivity growth over the last year was just 1.3 percent. This number will be revised down by another 0.2-0.3 percentage points when the 800,000 additional jobs from the benchmark revision to the establishment survey are included in the data.
MISS AMERICA COMPASSION.Jennifer Roback Morse's claim that voting for Rick Santorum -- conceivably the least libertarian major national elected official in the country -- is the only responsible choice for libertarians to make is, above all else, pure comedy gold. But her attempt to claim the libertarian mantle for Santorum based on his support for tax cuts and ...
A Washington Post editorial today warns us that allowing Medicare to negotiate prices directly with the pharmaceutical industry would be "a sure way of flooding the political system with yet more pharmaceutical lobbyists and campaign spending."
Those of us who live in Washington know that the industry already floods the political system in order to preserve and strengthen the government granted patent protection that allows them to charge monopoly prices. Taking the money away will reduce, not increase, the number of lobbyists.
It is hard to run a restaurant profitably. It is a crowded and heavily competitive market. This is why most new restaurants go out of business within a few years of opening.
Rather than blame their failure on market conditions or their own lack of business acumen, restaurant owners would much rather blame government regulation. Minimum wage laws are featured front and center in this story.