Archive

  • Who's Divisive?

    Kos says : As we strive to find our core convictions, and define who we are and what we stand for as a party, the DLC is one of the roadblocks -- a divisive, fundamentalist organization willing to sell any and all progressive ideals to the altar of big business. And anything that threatens their dominance has met with their ire -- be it Howard Dean, the netroots, or regular people suddenly interested in transforming and reforming the Democratic Party. And then, next paragraph, Kos says: Democrats have a choice to make -- stand with the DLC, or stand with the grassroots and netroots of the party. It's interesting that Democrats with a strong sense of self -- those who truly know what they stand for and are unafraid to say so -- are those least interested in the DLC's snake oil. If you want to blast the DLC for being a divisive organization that lashes out towards those they don't like, then you better be an inclusive organization that respects differences and allows for tents including...
  • My That's a Big Nose You Have, Senator Schumer

    Methinks subtlety is not The National Review's strong point .
  • Malpractice in Practice

    Reporting from the Aspen Institute's Ideas Festival, Kurt Andersen mentions this portion of Bill Clinton's speech: He said the Democrats are wrong to deny that malpractice suits don’t drive up medical costs. No, they're not. Generally, this sort of high-minded concession to conservative talking points gets ignored, or argued via anecdote. Happily, we don't have to do that anymore. The latest issue of Health Affairs published a study assessing the cost of malpractice premiums, litigation, and payments, in addition to potential expenditures from so-called "defensive medicine". The verdict? This stuff doesn't matter . I'm going to bullet point through the study because, to be honest, this stuff pops up too often for the evidence against it to languish in policy journals. • Are More Malpractice Claims Filed in the US? Yes. The authors compared domestic suits with those in Canada, Australia and Britain (all countries with a similar, British-based legal system), and it turns out litigious...
  • Maniacs

    Well now that's fucking scary.
  • Larry Lessig on ER

    Electronic records are one of those everybody-agrees ideas that sane people are begging doctors to implement and medical offices are dragging their feet on. Medicare, though, is trying to change that. With electronic files, patient records are not stuck on pieces of paper in endless files, but are on a screen at the touch of a key. The computers alert doctors to do medical tests and avert errors by warning when they write a prescription for the wrong drug or the wrong dose. Patients can often see their own files and even make their own appointments, online, from their homes. But most doctors have balked. The systems cost tens of thousands of dollars, and doctors worry that the companies selling them and providing support will go out of business. Many use computers to file health insurance claims, but only 20 percent to 25 percent of the nation's 650,000 licensed doctors outside the military and the Department of Veterans Affairs are using electronic patient records. Now, however,...
  • The Food Police

    Julie Powell has an op-ed today that I, as a Californian who frequents Whole Foods and buys organic, completely agree with: What makes the snobbery of the organic movement more insidious is that it equates privilege not only with good taste, but also with good ethics. Eat wild Brazil nuts and save the rainforest. Buy more expensive organic fruit for your children and fight the national epidemic of childhood obesity. Support a local farmer and give economic power to responsible stewards of sustainable agriculture. There's nothing wrong with any of these choices, but they do require time and money. When you wed money to decency, you come perilously close to equating penury with immorality. The milk at Whole Foods is hormone-free; the milk at Western Beef is presumably full of the stuff - and substantially less expensive. The chicken at Whole Foods is organic and cage-free; the chicken at Western Beef is not. Is the woman who buys her children's food at the place where they take her food...
  • Where Roberts Is

    One interesting subtext of the Roberts nomination has been the repeated, repetitive, even obsessive conservative declarations that conservatives know this guy and this one, he ain't no Souter. Well, fine, he may not be. But what's odd is that Democrats are saying something similar, though completely opposite. Roberts' many friends across the aisle are assuring the papers that Bush just nominated a nonideological, intellectually honest guy. Conservative, sure, but conservative in the way Democrats can respect, which is to say not very conservative at all. That's a weird contrast. Both sides think, deep down, very secretly, that he's the sort of conservative they like, either an extremist or an impostor. Sounds much like Clinton, where New Democrats thought he was their boy, liberals though he was their boy, and he ended up being circumstance's boy. But were I conservative, I wouldn't be so relieved that folks in the know were flooding the airwaves with assurances. Whichever direction...
  • When The Life of the Mind Becomes the Size of the Pecs

    This is crap. A travesty. A crime. Nick Confessore, of TAPPED, The Washington Monthly , and now The New York Times , is down to 4th place in Gawker's "Hot Men of the Times" contest. He deserves better. And you can make it happen . Incidentally, where's the "Hotties of the blogosphere contest?" Matt Yglesias v. Josh Chafetz. Josh Marshall vs. Andrew Sullivan. Kevin Drum vs. John Derbyshire. Michael Berube vs. Daniel Drezner. Roxanne vs. Malkin. Jeralyn Merrit vs. Eve Tushnet. Me vs. Someone Like Me. All proceeds go to charity. Then we can make a calendar, travel to America, have a big fight, return, make up, and sell the movie rights . This is gonna be great. And, in case you forgot the original point here, go vote.
  • Rarely is the Question Asked: Is Our Auto Industry Learning?

    Watching Japan rocket past our auto industry was bad enough, but is China poised to follow suit? they have initiated new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks sold in China. The first phase of the standards went into effect this year and range from 38 miles per gallon for the lightest cars to 19 miles per gallon for heavier trucks. In 2008, the standards will increase to 43 miles per gallon and 21 miles per gallon, respectively. Because the Chinese standards apply to each individual vehicle, rather than a vehicle class average as in the United States, American automakers may struggle to sell their vehicles, especially oil thirsty trucks, in the Chinese market. China is not stopping with efficiency requirements. They are also purchasing hybrids from abroad for immediate use and developing their own hybrid and fuel cell designs and manufacturing capabilities for the future. If this goes as promised, American automakers may lose their ability to effectively compete in China's market...
  • The Rove Affair is Dead. Long Live the Rove Affair!

    As I was hoping yesterday, Rove's back. The Washington Post has a front-pager explaining that the file detailing her relationship to Wilson was marked, very conspicuously, "Secret", and so there's no longer doubt about whether her status was classified. There's some doubt as to whether Rove knew her status was classified (he could've heard about her from another source), but one way or the other, someone committed a crime here. The article, for its part, has very good timing, as it'll surely come in handy tomorrow, when Senate and House Democrats hold public hearings on the situation. Reid, Dorgan, Waxman, Holt and others will be leading the proceedings, and scores of CIA officers and analysts will be testifying. A good time will be had by all including, I bet, the reporters. Lastly, I agree with Greg . If the White House thought the nomination of such an uncontroversial and essentially acceptable (barring, at least, revelations during his testimony, which is still months away)...

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